Feb 162017
 

Where the Lost Girls Go: A Laura Mori Mystery
Thriller/Suspense/ Women Sleuths
1st in Series
Setting – Oregon
Crooked Lane Books
(February 7, 2017)

Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1629538051
Kindle ASIN: B01KGD6JV4
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Rookie cop Laura Mori catches her first investigation when the fiery crash of a sports car lights up the night sky. The fire burns the body beyond recognition, but the police are able to identify the car as that of Kent Jameson, celebrity author and benefactor of Sunrise Lake. And Jameson fears that the unidentified body is his seventeen-year-old daughter Lucy, who stormed out of the house that night after an argument.

When lab reports reveal that the body was not Lucy, but a teen runaway named Kyra whose disappearance has been linked with other missing persons–more than half a dozen “lost girls” who disappeared while living on the streets of Portland–the investigation takes a drastic turn. How did Kyra come to land at the Jameson estate in rural Oregon, and what was she doing driving their car? And who cut the brake lines on the vehicle?

Just when Laura is making progress in the case, she comes across a suspicious lane in the forest that uncovers new evidence that will once again alter the course of the investigation and rock Sunrise Lake to its core.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

A serial killer in Portland?? That may be the case. When Rookie Officer Laura Mori arrives at an inferno of a car on fire with her partner, she had no idea what was going to develop. What seemed to be a tragic traffic accident turns into a homicide investigation. Since her partner is due to leave for vacation Mori is assigned the case. The girl in the car turns out not to be who they thought but someone linked to a missing persons case involved several “lost girls”. What evolves will have you unable to put this book down.

R.J. Noonan has written a riveting mystery full of suspense. This story is played out in Portland, Oregon but could take place anywhere.

Laura Mori is a Japanese American whose parents think her job is just a phase she is going through. Because of her gentle demeanor they thought she would become a psychologist to help people, but college didn’t quite go as planned. They don’t really understand it, in fact, she is still living with her parents and her mother was upset the night of the accident that she didn’t call home and tell them she was going to be late. Her natural compassion is a double edged sword in her being a cop. She seems to get people, witnesses and suspects, to talk to her easily, but she does take the job home with her. She has a few issues of her own, but when working on the case, she works through her own problems the best she can. She is a complex main character.

The case focuses on the Jameson family. He is a rich author, his wife, number 2, works for charities and helps him organize his complicated life, his daughter, 17 year old Lucy, is a rebellious teenager that has her dad wrapped right around her little finger. The car in the accident belonged to them and the girl killed in the crash was Lucy’s friend. They live on a huge estate with stables and guest houses and they raise alpacas. Of course, they don’t do the work, they have a crew of hired hands.

The author twists and tangles the Jameson family together with their staff and a group of people living in the woods near their estate. There is also a corruption aspect in the police force. Readers follow Laura through her investigation. While trying to prove to everyone she can handle her job she does take some real risks. I wanted to jump into the book a few times to stop her, like when you scream at the characters in horror movies,  telling them not to go into the dark scary places, same kind of thing here.

I am not going to say I was totally caught off guard by the way the story ended because I was in the ballpark as to the right suspect. I just needed the how and why to be definitely determined. It was even more twisted than I imagined.

Knowing this book is the start to a series is exciting for me. I found our protagonist to be very engaging and interesting. The other characters that I assume will be returning in future installments were also strong in this story. I am interested to see what the author has in store for all of them.

As this is the first story I have read by this author I now know I need to find out more about her and her other works.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

  You can find out more about R.L. Noonan on her webpage here.

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

Dec 062016
 
red-queen-rules
The Red Queen Rules
(A Red Solaris Mystery)

Mystery
Setting – Nevada
3rd in Series
Henery Press (December 6, 2016)
Paperback: 246 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1635111217
E-Book ASIN: B01M02MBOP
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Free speech or hate? When a white supremacist schedules an event on campus, Red Solaris must confront her own feelings about an issue that challenges the very core of American education: campus safety versus freedom of speech. Amidst escalating tension, Red meets with the editor of the student newspaper—who also confides in Red that her young cousin is missing, probably a victim of local sex traffickers.

Agreeing to rescue the girl, Red solicits help from her beloved Detective Joe Morgan. But when Joe goes undercover into the dangerous world of human trafficking, he disappears without a trace. Red must balance her fears for Joe with her worries that a campus riot may soon break out.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This has become one of my favorite series.

Bourne Morris takes on a hot topic in America right now. I know she wrote this book during the presidential election but she shines her focus on something in the news right now.

Red Solaris is the Dean of Journalism at a college in Nevada and recognizes how important the First Amendment is regarding Freedom of Speech, even when it comes to a group of white supremacists attending the college. They have asked a very controversial speaker to the college for a rally.  Red just wants it to take place without violence but to pull that off is not going to be easy. Joe is off on a special assignment working undercover to find a victim of human trafficking so she is worried about him as well. Especially because it was one of her students that put the case on his radar.

I was immersed in the story from the very first word and didn’t put the book down until I reached the end and was surprised at how quickly I read the book. To me this was like watching a movie or a prime time drama. The author sets the tone and scene so well giving the reader plenty of information. The pace was fast with something new always happening but not overwhelming at all. I pictured everything so vividly. Several times I found myself sitting up straight almost trying to actually escape right into the book.

Red and Joe are fantastic characters and in reality Red would not be able to go the places or do some of the things she did but that is why they call it fiction, you have to suspend that type of thinking and just let the story take you away. If you do that you will enjoy it as much as I did.

I do wish the way the students at the college dealt with the situation presented to them was reality. An easy solution that sadly does not happen enough or at all.

Every book in this series has been excellent and the topics are very current. The stories have an edge and while Red is an amateur sleuth I do not categorize these stories as cozy, they are suspenseful and wonderful mysteries. I highly recommend them all!

perfect 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About TheBourne 2014 Author

After Bennington College, I worked at McCall’s Magazine and then went to Ogilvy&Mather, New York during the “Mad Men “ era. David Ogilvy and his colleagues treated me wonderfully, promoted me several times and then sent me west to become head of their agency in Los Angeles. I had a splendid run in advertising.

In 1983, I joined the University of Nevada Reno as a full professor in Journalism where I taught until 2009. I learned about campus politics when I served as chair of the faculty senate. I retired to write mysteries in 2009 after a wonderful teaching career.

I live with my husband of 34 years in a ranch house with a view of tall trees and mountains. We have four children and eight grandchildren. Life is good.

 

Author Links

Webpage    Twitter    Facebook   Goodreads

Purchase Links

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.”

Nov 182016
 

9WbGnJTR
On Flashback Fridays I will share with you the books I missed when they were first
released that have been screaming at me from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.
Did a little rearranging on my bookshelves last week and was so excited I found this book I read it before I read the book for yesterday’s post. 🙂

dead-insider
Dead Insider (Loon Lake Mystery)
13th in Series
Mystery
Setting – Wisconsin
Tyrus Books (June 18, 2013)
Paperback: 208 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1440533563
E-Book ASIN: B00CA9DKE2
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In the midst of a catastrophic August rainstorm, a grisly discovery shatters the serenity of a summer evening in northern Wisconsin. Moving quickly to prevent a panic among tourists, Loon Lake Police Chief Lewellyn Ferris enlists the forensic and interrogation skills of her close friend and fellow fly fisherman, the retired dentist “Doc” Osborne. Within hours of launching their investigation, they find themselves faced with a national media circus as Loon Lake becomes the focus of a murderous scenario that links the murder to the race for the U.S. Senate by a woman who is heir to a Northwoods fortune and other, less savory, family traditions.

In the meantime, Doc Osborne’s eldest daughter, Mallory, enters into a relationship that may put her life at risk–unless her father and Chief Ferris can find the killer stalking the residents of Loon Lake.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Reading this after the crazy political season we just experienced seemed fitting.

It is raining cats and dogs in Look Lake. Roads and fields are flooding and while blocking vehicles from traveling through the water something awful is found floating now a new rainfall river. The findings lead to a woman running for the U.S. Senate. Loon Lake Police Chief Lewellyn Ferris has her hands full. Thankfully her friends and officers are there to help her pull all the pieces of this terrible murder investigation together.

Fly fisherwoman Lew Ferris has caught a huge case and relies on the resources available to her to solve it. I had my main suspect but the twisted plot made the conclusion and the motive totally surprising.  What followed was a tragic tale that left me almost visibly shaking. The pain felt by the killer’s mother just broke my heart.

Ms. Houston dug deep for this one. The laid back community of Loon Lake was not only rocked by the flooding but a terrible murder. People came together to help with the case and handle the media because tourism in the bread and butter of this community. I felt a plethora of emotions as the story continued. How could something so awful happen in this little town?

I enjoy these characters and admire the soothing calm they find standing in a lake or river casting their line time and time again. Sometimes never catching a thing. It’s in those places Lew and Doc can order their thoughts and break away from the stress and trauma of the case. I can see their faces so clearly. My grandfather was a fisherman and his perfect place to relax was in his little boat out on the water with a fishing pole in his hands. He never had the stress of a murder to solve but his life wasn’t easy. I loved going out in his boat with him. Some days we caught a lot of fish and some days we just caught some sun and had good conversation, me the youngster not even in my teens and him sharing his life’s stories with me. The look on his face was just peaceful out on the water. Times I will never forget. The stories in this series touch my heart because of my relationship with him. Doc Osbourne’s thinking and temperament remind me so much of the wonderful fisherman in my life. Lew is a strong woman in a top position and she takes her job seriously. Together they make a great team.

Sadly, these little vacations north to Loon Lake are way too short. I hope to return again soon. Not so much for the mysteries, although those are good, but for the serenity outside of the drama. Both grab a hold and don’t let go.

perfect 2016

 

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

To find out more bout Victoria Houston visit her webpage here.

GIVEAWAY
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This book was from my private collection.

Nov 082016
 

BODY ON THE BAYOU
Body on the Bayou by Ellen Bryon

2nd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Crooked Lane Books (September 13, 2016)
Hardcover: 320 pages 
ISBN-13: 978-1629537689
E-Book – ASIN: B01H082DPY
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Synopsis:

The Crozats feared that past murders at Crozat Plantation B&B might spell the death of their beloved estate, but they’ve managed to survive the scandal. Now there’s a très bigger story in Pelican, Louisiana: the upcoming nuptials between Maggie Crozat’s nemesis, Police Chief Rufus Durand, and her co-worker, Vanessa Fleer.

When everyone else refuses the job of being Vanessa’s Maid of Honor, Maggie reluctantly takes up the title and finds herself tasked with a long list of duties–the most important of which is entertaining Vanessa’s cousin, Ginger Fleer-Starke. But just days before the wedding, Ginger’s lifeless body is found on the bayou and the Pelican PD, as well as the Crozats, have another murder mystery on their hands.

There’s a gumbo-potful of suspects, including an ex-Marine with PTSD, an annoying local newspaper reporter, and Vanessa’s own sparkplug of a mother. But when it looks like the investigation is zeroing in on Vanessa as the prime suspect, Maggie reluctantly adds keeping the bride-to-be out of jail to her list of Maid of Honor responsibilities in Body on the Bayou.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

We return to Pelican, Louisiana and the Crozat Plantation B&B. Our protagonist Maggie Crozat has become maid of honor for Vanessa, one of her coworkers, because everyone else ran away from the job. With Vanessa due to deliver a baby soon, she has heaped most of the wedding plans on Maggie’s shoulders. Vanessa and her mom both expect Maggie to just do everything they ask and do it immediately.  She also has Vanessa’s cousin Ginger and her entourage staying at the family B&B. When the cousin is found dead just a couple of days before the wedding and the police suspect list keeps growing it looks like Maggie will be adding “find the killer” to her long list of duties.

First let me say, Maggie has the patience of a saint. Dealing with Vanessa, her mom and the groom, Police Chief Rufus Durand, would have most people throwing in the towel before they completed the first task.

Ellen Byron has created some very multidimensional characters and their growth from the first book is very clear. The undercover romance of Maggie and Bo continues and hits some bumps as his ex-wife comes to town. His autistic son is excelling in his art lessons with Maggie though and she enjoys their time together.  Her family pulls together in the story not only to help Maggie but they also take in some new kittens and puppies that were found by the bayou. These little guys stole everyone’s heart.

She took all the characters and wrapped them into a complex mystery. The ending caught me completely by surprise due to some very intricate twists and turns. As I eliminated suspects in my mind a twist had me seeing things differently.

The covers of both the books in this series are beautiful and made me want to escape right into these stories. I have never been to Louisiana but the covers and author descriptions make me feel like I have been there. She also describes the glorious Cajun cuisine in the most mouthwatering way. Yes, there are recipes at the end of the story.

Love this series and hope to return to Pelican soon!

perfect 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

ellem byronAbout The Author –

Ellen’s debut novel, PLANTATION SHUDDERS: A Cajun Country Mystery, has been nominated for an Agatha Best First Novel award, a Lefty for Best Humorous Mystery, and a Daphne Award for Best Mainstream Mystery. The second Cajun Country Mystery, BODY ON THE BAYOU, will be available in September 2016. Ellen’s TV credits include Wings and Just Shoot Me; she’s written over 200 magazine articles; her published plays include the award-winning Graceland and Asleep on the Wind. Ellen Byron is a native New Yorker who lives in Los Angeles and attributes her fascination with Louisiana to her college years at New Orleans’ Tulane University.

Webpage – Blog – Twitter – Facebook – GoodReads

Purchase Links:

Amazon  B&N

GIVEAWAY

I have 1 hardcover copy of the first book in this series 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.

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Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
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If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End November 22, 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.

To win a copy of Plantation Shudders
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.”

Oct 262016
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am excited to have Kate Parker visiting today! 

website-043

 

Planning for a Getaway
by Kate Parker

I love running away to London. It’s the exact opposite of where I live. Big city. Good public transportation. Cool weather eight or nine months of the year. Ancient buildings made of stone. I live in a small town with no public transportation. We have warm weather eleven months of the year. While we have older buildings, there isn’t a stone in the entire county.

By the time you read this, I’ll be back from my newest trip to London. So this may not be my itinerary, and we may have adventures I’ve not dreamed of yet, but here is what I’m looking  forward to between now and when I join you on Escape with Dollycas.

www.thetravelmentor.comThe British Library. The new building, near King’s Cross, is four stories of researchers, students, and tourists in a mix of business and silence. Since I already have a British Library card, with a photo that is every bit as bad as my driver’s license photo, I head straight to the basement to get a locker. No coats, hats, purses, pens, umbrellas, bottled water or cameras are permitted. All I take with me is my reader’s pass, a couple of pencils, my steno notebook, my wallet, and the key to my locker in one of the clear plastic bags they provide. The locker costs me a pound coin, but I’ll get it back at the end of my session.

The newsroom, with old newspapers on microfilm, is on the second floor. I’m looking particularly for fashion news from Paris in autumn, 1938, for Olivia’s next story. When I drag myself away, which I’d better do because I’m supposed to meet my daughter in the courtyard or lobby, there is always a chance we’ll browse through the shop on the first floor for reprints and clever oddities. Then it’s off for a pub lunch across Euston Road. I admit to a fondness for fish, chips, and mushy peas. My daughter shudders at the peas.

Wagamama. My older daughter lived in London for a while, and she introduced us to the original Wagamama. There are 12 in London now, plus in the US, Denmark, Cyprus, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Malta, Sweden, and a bunch more places. It’s inexpensive, no frills, and not the place to take a meat and potatoes guy. I can’t wait.

bbc.co.ukCourtauld Gallery. It’s a gallery devoted to French Impressionism, which I love, and is situated in Somerset House, where sleuths of Miss Marple’s generation would go to discover who was secretly married to whom and the name and gender of heirs on whom a plot rests. I’ve never been there, but I know I’ll have to take a few pictures of the outside to stoke my imagination if I send someone there after a clue.

KateParker_DeadlyWedding800St. Luke’s Anglican Church. Built when the Duke of Wellington’s brother was the rector, I plan to use the building, moved to the right area, for the site of Georgia and the Duke’s wedding.  That story, finishing the Victorian Bookshop Mysteries, will come out next year along with another pre-WWII story chronicling Olivia’s adventures as a society reporter that is sending me to the British Library.

Windsor Castle. I was last there in 1989 with my daughters. The daughter I’m meeting in London wants to see it again, and I think it will be great fun. Another reason to pack my camera. This time, I hope to cross the bridge and see the town of Eton as well.

By Matt Mayuploaded and derivative work: MrPanyGoff - http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattmay/2678769535/in/set-72157606229507513, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19188699West End Theatres. Every time I go over, I see a play, and I’ve never seen a bad one. Some have been popular and some have been surprisingly – different, but they’ve all been enjoyable. I have no idea what we’ll see until we go.

And that leads me to the variety of restaurants in London. Something you don’t find in a small town in the South. We ate at a tapas restaurant the last time we went to a play in London.  My daughter, who used to live in Manchester and loves Indian foods, will get me to at least one, where I will explain I need the blandest dish they have. There are also a lot of good Chinese restaurants in London, which I enjoy. My daughter always finds the ones where I am the only person in the restaurant using a fork, which I had to ask for.

We usually do at least one walk, which has taken us all over London and shown us many things we never would have seen otherwise. Who knows where we’ll end up this time. That’s also true of Bletchley Park, the various war museums, the British Museum, the Museum of London, and a huge collection of other places to visit.

We won’t be over there for long, so I hope we find time to do at least most of these things. And when you read this, my daughter and I will once again be across the country from each other with pleasant memories of our trip and great relief at being home.

~Kate

deadly wedding large banner640

KateParker_DeadlyWedding800

Deadly Wedding (The Deadly Series)
2nd in Series
Cozy Historical Mystery 
Setting – England
JDP Press (October 17, 2016)
Paperback: 318 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0996483148
E-Book 266 pages
ASIN: B01LW0HO5L

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Synopsis:

Why murder a dying man?

Olivia Denis is hesitant to help an old family friend get ready for her wedding outside London. The so-called friend is a master at using people. As a young widow trying to find her way through a new romantic relationship, Olivia would rather avoid the large party.

She definitely didn’t plan to find the bride’s grandfather stabbed to death. The cruel, enormously rich aristocrat had changed his will only the day before, angering all his children.

As Olivia is forced to investigate the murder, she’s called away by her employer, the owner of an influential London daily newspaper. She must carry out another secret assignment, one that will take her to Vienna, now part of Nazi Germany.

With war on the horizon and attacks on the old man’s family increasing, can Olivia find a way to save lives in two countries?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This is another fabulous story from Kate Parker.

Olivia Denis is back and getting ready for a wedding of an old family friend. The problem is this friend is treating her more like a servant than a life long friend and Olivia just goes along with it to keep the peace just to get through a wedding that had already been postponed more than once. When the bride goes to her grandfather’s room before the service Olivia is dragged along. What they find is the man dead with a knife in his chest and the bride tells her to keep it mum until after the wedding. Thankfully one of the real servants notifies the authorities. The bride begs Olivia to find the killer and we readers are off on another investigation with Olivia Denis.

The main plot is strong and compelling, the subplots are excellent and just as compelling. Kate Parker sets the scene, introduces the characters and draws us right in from the very first page. Olivia also makes a very dangerous journey for her employer and that part had me holding my breath. That coupled with the death and subsequent drama made for a book that was impossible to put down.

I discovered Kate Parker through her Victorian Mystery Series where she kept topping herself in each new book and now with this Deadly Series she is doing the exact same thing. I loved the historical aspects to the story along with the great mystery. The characters are colorful, unique and realistic for the time period. I love what a strong woman Olivia Denis is and the way she takes on whatever is asked of her. She doesn’t do anything halfway.

Deadly Wedding can be read as a stand alone but I strongly suggest you read Deadly Scandal first.  I can’t wait for book #3.

perfect 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kate Parker has wanted to travel to 1930s England since she read her mother’s Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers mysteries when she was a schoolgirl. After many years of studying science, she decided a time travel machine was out of the question so she found herself limited to reading about the period and visiting historic sites. Her love of this fascinating and challenging period led her to the research from which the Deadly series grew. Eventually, she found it necessary to spend several days in the British Library reading old newspapers, which meant another trip to England. Near Christmas. A sacrifice she’d gladly make every year.

The first story in the series is Deadly Scandal, released January 14, 2016.

Author Links:      Website     Facebook    Twitter    Goodreads
Purchase Links:

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I am giving away my review copy and the author is giving 1 away too!!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

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

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

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 Kate for 5 Bonus Entries.

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October 17 – Back Porchervations – Review
October 18 – A Holland Reads – Review, Giveaway
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author. 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.”

Oct 212016
 
x-dames
X Dames: A Lucy Ripken Mystery
International Mystery & Crime
*2nd in Series
Self Published
Setting – California/Mexico/New York
Paperback: 148 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1533562982
E-Book ASIN: B015YOQZUA
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An old friend calls Lucy Ripken out of the blue to offer her a job writing for a new reality TV show: The X-Dames, an all-female extreme sports competition, starting with a surfing contest. Lucy jumps at the chance—the pay is great and means she gets to travel down to the colorful little beach town of Sayulita and get out on the waves again.

While scouting the talent, Lucy makes a friend, an impulsively charismatic young surfer with a gift for both painting and self-destruction named Marcia. Winning the competition means she might be able to pay for art school… or rehab. Either way, it’s a win.

But things take a sudden, nasty turn, when one of the contestants turns up dead. It looks like an accident, but Lucy’s seen that movie before and suspects it was only made to look that way. One drugged drink later, and Lucy’s not only sure it was murder, she’s pretty sure she’s gonna be next.

With her reality show suddenly skewing less X-Games and more X-Files, Lucy and Marcia hit the beach to save lives, stop bad guys, and maybe work on a tan.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

While Lucy is an amateur sleuth, this is not a cozy mystery. The book has explicit language and adult themes.

Lucy Ripken heads back to Mexico after a brief stop in California with the crew of a new television reality show featuring female extreme sports competitors. The first episode covers some extreme surfing, and when one contestants dies the first day of filming Lucy knows it wasn’t any accident. With a little help from her friends she is going to prove that. While she is in Mexico, her landlord is trying to get her booted from her rent control apartment and her boyfriend is in Florida on his own adventure.

I know some sites show this as the 3rd book in the series and others show it as the 2nd. The first book was not available so I jumped in with Mexican Booty last week and this one this week. They do read well as stand alone but in this installment there were more references to things I assume happened in book 1 but the author gives us plenty of background to keep us in the loop, but it does make me wish I could read book 1.

Again J.J. Henderson pack a lot into these 150 pages. We are getting to know Lucy Ripken a little better but I think we have just scratched the surface. I love that she gets a call and goes where the job is and this time it sounds like a great opportunity and very well paying.  I also liked the reality show aspect, you know when you bring a group of people together vying for a prize there is going to be drama. Unfortunately this time the drama included murder and the more Lucy digs the more suspects come to light. I was totally caught by surprise how everything connected.

I have started to get invested in these characters and the author surrounds them in a good mystery. I like that we meet new characters too in each installment. I also enjoy the way he describes the setting and action. Excellent for the reader to visualize without getting too wordy.

 I originally grabbed this book when it was free and I needed n “X” book for my Alphabet Soup Challenge. I am glad I decided to read the one before this one because now I want to read them all. I have added the rest of the series to my wish list.

enjoyable 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

You can find out more about author J.J. Henderson on his webpage here.

*The book was from my private collection.

GIVEAWAY

I am giving away 1 e-copy of your choice in this series,
delivered directly from Amazon! 

Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old

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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Contest Will End November 4, 2016 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
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Click Here For Entry Form

Oct 202016
 
a-study-in-scarlett-women
A Study In Scarlet Women (The Lady Sherlock Series)
Historical Cozy Mystery
New Series
Setting – London, England
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (October 18, 2016)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Trade Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425281406
E-Book ASIN: B01ASO6JIY
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USA Today bestselling author Sherry Thomas turns the story of the renowned Sherlock Holmes upside down…

With her inquisitive mind, Charlotte Holmes has never felt comfortable with the demureness expected of the fairer sex in upper class society. But even she never thought that she would become a social pariah, an outcast fending for herself on the mean streets of London.

When the city is struck by a trio of unexpected deaths and suspicion falls on her sister and her father, Charlotte is desperate to find the true culprits and clear the family name. She’ll have help from friends new and old—a kind-hearted widow, a police inspector, and a man who has long loved her.

But in the end, it will be up to Charlotte, under the assumed name Sherlock Holmes, to challenge society’s expectations and match wits against an unseen mastermind.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I am in a quandary about this book. As a Sherlock Holmes fan I thought I would love this story. As a fan of Anna Lee Huber I love historical mysteries where the usual man’s part is played by a women so I should have loved this story. But this book started at a super slow pace to help us get to know Charlotte Holmes and something about her just felt off. After some thought I pinned it down to her behavior. She is very clever and has that Holmes insight but she doesn’t think her actions through which put her in places she didn’t need to be. She has a gift but was very unsure of herself at times, thankfully she found her Watson to help her out and guide her.

The mystery itself seemed complex, but introduced almost too many characters to keep straight and it is told from multiple points of view. This is not a quick read, you need to slow down to be sure you catch each detail and realize which character is telling the story at the time. It jumps around a lot without much rhyme or reason. At times I felt we were reading the story of Inspector Treadles, instead of the story of Charlotte Holmes. Sad to say he didn’t really grab a hold of my either. It doesn’t help that Charlotte was investigating 3 separate deaths and trying to determine and convince Treadles how they were connected.

Charlotte’s sister was the character that did grab me but she wasn’t present in the book as much as I would have liked. She came across as very genuine to me.

The ending was a bit of a surprise but I wanted more, the case was wrapped up for me in a way that made no sense, especially after the time put into the investigation.

As I reflect back I think the problem is something many first books in a series have, the endeavor of introducing the characters and giving readers a mystery we can sink our teeth into. I think the author just tried to cram too much into this first installment. I needed their to be less characters and more about those that remain and maybe just one death to get more acclimated to our new Holmes.

That being said I may want to read book #2, but if it was available today I wouldn’t be rushing out to purchase it. Now that I know the characters a bit and after some time has passed I may be ready for another escapade with Miss Holmes, her family and her friends. This seems to be this accomplished author’s first stab into the mystery genre, I do have confidence she will find her way.

satisfactory 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

You can find out more about Sherry Thomas and her books on her webpage here

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy 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.

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 November 3, 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.”

Oct 142016
 

9WbGnJTR
On Flashback Fridays I will share with you the books I missed when they were first
released that have been screaming at me from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.

I had purchased the 2nd book in this series X-Dames, for my Alphabet Soup Challenge. Since I recently read a series starting with the 2nd book and regretted it I decided to purchase this one to read first. There was another book listed as 1st in the series on Amazon and GoodReads from several years ago but that title has been taken down.

mexican-booty

Mexican Booty: A Lucy Ripken Mystery
1st in Series
International Mystery & Crime
Explicit Language
Setting – New York/New Mexico/Mexico
Self Published (September 10, 2015)
Paperback: 156 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1533562760
E-Book ASIN: B0157QLY06
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Lucy Ripken is 30-something, single, and struggling to make it as a photographer in New York City.

Desperate to keep the roof over her head and caffeine in her cup, she takes a job on the Upper East Side, photographing some mind-bogglingly expensive pre-Colombian sculptures. But something is off about the woman she’s working for, and something is off with the pieces she’s photographing.

Overpaid and under stimulated, Lucy decides to bite the suspicious hand that feeds, travelling first to Santa Fe, and then to Mexico to unravel the mystery. Her part time paramour Harold Ipswich might have been able to help, but he’s fallen off the wagon and into a bottle, and much like his drink of choice, he and Lucy are on the rocks.

No man, no problem, though, as Lucy relies on her best friend, the recently engaged (but always up for adventure) Rosa. They’ve got spunk, and they’ve got style, but spunk and style only take you so far when you’re neck deep in shark infested waters, metaphorically… and literally, too. Can Lucy and Rosa make it through the choppy seas of conspiracy, betrayal, and apex aquatic predators?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I like Lucy Ripken, she is down but she is not out when she gets the call to photograph some Pre-Colombian pieces for a gallery catalog. When a friend she brings along to the shoot tells her the pieces are fake and the gallery owner assures her they are not she feels there is a story there. She pitches the story and gets funding to research the pieces. She jets off to Santa Fe and Mexico to find the truth never realizing the danger she has put herself in.

The author gives in depth and colorful descriptions of every place Lucy travels. It was so easy to picture them vividly. From beauty to ruins, each was crystal clear.

Lucy does have a friend in Santa Fe, Rosa, in fact Rosa’s fiancee recommended Lucy for the job at the gallery. Rosa along with a pre-Columbian collector go with Lucy to Mexico where we are introduced to more interesting characters. All these characters seem to be portrayed realistically, or at least realistic enough for fiction or television. The dialog between the characters is very well written.

This is a novella at 156 pages and an extremely fast read. The plot is intense but but there is a bit of humor in places too. The pages were turning very rapidly and I was surprised at how quickly we reached the end. I am ready for another Lucy Ripken adventure and I already have the next book ready to go on my Kindle.

enjoyable 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

You can find out more about author J.J. Henderson on his webpage here.

Watch for a giveaway next week when I review book #2.

*The book was from my private collection.

Sep 202016
 

I have been waiting for this book! No matter what I am doing when I get my hands on a Harlan Coben novel time stops and I must read it immediately. When the story features Myron Bolitar I am even more excited! I originally picked up Deal Breaker, the first book in the series at Paperback Swap  several years ago for my husband to read, but was so intrigued by the synopsis I read it myself first and then hunted the rest down to get caught up on the series. When I started blogging I tried desperately to get his books to review. As my following grew I received that first email offering me one of books to review I was absolutely chair dancing. Then he re-tweeted one of my tweets about a review I wrote and was jumping up and down as much as a woman with one side paralyzed can do. Yes, I am a fan, A HUGE FAN! Heaven forbid I ever actually meet him in person!

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

 

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.”

Aug 092016
 

special guest blue
I am so happy to welcome Carolyn Haines back to Escape With Dollycas!
She has a new series and this first book is absolutely AMAZING!!

Carolyn and CojarRaissa James and the Spiritualist Movement

I love ghost stories. All kinds of ghost stories. But there are a few which have stayed with me over the years. Some by Edgar Allan Poe, or Sheridan Le Fanu, or M.R. James, or even Henry James, whose “Turn of the Screw” is an epic ghost story that scared the socks off me.

I’m a fan of Stephen King, Sarah Waters, and the wonderful Barbara Michaels. AMMIE, COME HOME is a classic. I put Daphne du Maurier’s REBECCA in the same category.

Why am I so compelled to read and write about the shadow land? The truth is, I see dead people. Not all the time, and certainly not when I want to. And not often. But in my life, I’ve seen a few ghosts.

And it’s a phenomena that has drawn me to the “other side” in my reading and research. And in my writing.

the book of belovedWhen I first thought to write THE BOOK OF BELOVED, I had assumed it would be contemporary, a mystery with a bit of a ghost story. Didn’t happen. Sometimes a story knows best its setting, time period, and focus. When I finally listened to the story, I realized the protagonist was a young, modern woman, but a modern woman of the 1920s. Raissa James is a WWI widow who teaches school in Savannah, Georgia but takes a summer break to visit her uncle in his fabulous estate in Mobile, Alabama.

Raissa is putting her life back together since her husband was killed in Europe in the war, and her ambition is to become a “woman scribbler.” As outrageous as that is in 1920 when women were thought not to have the intellect to write, Raissa takes it a step further. She wants to write ghost stories like the Victorian writers she reads, teaches, and adores. It’s at Caoin House, her uncle’s impressive home, that she realizes ghosts are present.

I wasn’t certain why the 1920s insisted on being the setting for my story until I began the research. In 1920, spiritualism was rife in America and England. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, was a believer in the abilities of “true” mediums to contact the spirit world. He wrote and lectured on the topic.

To that end he did much research on which mediums were real and which were fakes, because there were many fakes, charlatans who saw an opportunity to capitalize on the loss and heartbreak of others.

This spiritualist movement was a world of séances, spirit visitations, messages from the Great Beyond. Some of the more famous were the Fox sisters from upstate New York. They created a sensation when they were able to communicate with the dead via knocks and raps.

It was later revealed by two of the Fox sisters that they were fakes—they had begun their games to torment their older sister. It’s a fascinating story if you want to explore it.

But there were mediums who connected with spirit on the other side and were able to bring back messages. Doyle was a firm believer, as am I.

In our day, television shows have featured John Edward in CROSSING OVER. James van Praagh was the consultant for GHOST WHISPERER. There are several shows such as LONG ISLAND MEDIUM and A HAUNTING where contemporary mediums explore psychic phenomena and attempt to resolve energetic disruptions. Good television or real—you have to decide.

When I was working on HALLOWED BONES, I went to Reinbeck, NY, to the Omega Center for a weekend on Soul Survival. I heard Dr. Raymond Moody talk about near-death experiences.

Another speaker talked about mind, body, and spirit healing. Dr. Brian Weiss took 400 people on a past life regression. The final day was van Praagh, and he channeled a dozen people who’d died in 9/11.

I grew up on Victorian ghost stories, and if you’d like to sample Le Fanu’s story, “Green Tea,” here’s a link. https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/l/lefanu/green/prologue.html Remember, it’s from the Victorian era so the language is dense, but the mood is delightful.

I confess I have an active imagination. But I’ve also have strange experiences. One night when I outside late looking for my kitty, I saw someone in my pickup truck in the driveway.

He was a tall, thin man with dark hair and eyes. He wore a blue plaid shirt, and he was somehow connected to my red pickup that I bought at auction. This gentleman sat gripping the steering wheel, a strange aquatic blue light filling the cab. He wanted to talk to me, but I was too afraid. Every time I saw him I ran in the house and locked the door (like that would really help).

I became afraid of my truck at night. I wouldn’t even walk near it, which was an extreme inconvenience.

I finally gritted up the courage to speak to him. So I went out to the truck and asked him what he wanted and I offered to help him. That was all it took. He disappeared and hasn’t been seen since. I think he simply wanted an offer of help, then he could let go.

Tell me some of your experiences with ghosts or psychic phenomena.

~Carolyn

 

the book of beloved

The Book of Beloved
(Pluto’s Snitch)

Paranormal Historical Suspense Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Alabama
Thomas & Mercer (August 9, 2016)
Paperback: 330 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1503938069
E-Book ASIN: B01BXSFGDS
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As a young woman widowed by World War I, Raissa James is no stranger to ghosts. But when an invitation arrives from Caoin House, her uncle’s estate in Mobile, Alabama, she’s finally ready to cast off the shadows of her past. And what better way to do so than with a grand party in her honor? An aspiring authoress, Raissa’s eager to soak up more of life—and immerse herself in the dark history that haunts the estate.

But the revelries come to an abrupt end when one of her uncle’s guests takes a deadly plunge. And when a ghost from the property’s past, a Confederate soldier, reveals himself to Raissa, she’s more determined than ever to get to the heart of the mysterious deaths that plague Caoin House. Enlisting the help of Reginald Proctor, a self-proclaimed medium, she holds a séance to shed light on old secrets. But she discovers that some secrets, even those long dead, still have a startling hold on the living…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

It has been a while since I have had an honest to goodness book induced hangover. The Book of Beloved is responsible for my latest. I started reading it after finishing another book and thought I will just read a couple of chapters and it was almost 3 a.m. when I put the book down after reading the whole thing.

Main character Raissa James travels to Caoin House, her uncle’s estate, which has been said to be haunted. There have been a few mysterious deaths there over the years. She is not there long when she sees her first ghost, a Confederate soldier. Her sighting happens shortly after a man falls to his death at a party at the estate. It is ruled accidental, maybe a suicide, but Raissa thinks it was murder. Raissa uses her desire to become an author to dig deeper into the recent death and those from the past. She thinks the ghosts are key to finding out the truth.

The suicide element of this story should have been a trigger for me after my son’s death and there was a lynching in part of the book as well, but after a couple of short pauses and skimming past a few lines I just kept going. Something just a few months ago that would have made me drop the book and stop reading in an instant, but I am starting to heal more every day and the story had me so enthralled that I just couldn’t stop, I had to know how this story played out. (This may not always be the case but was with this story.) Seances also play into the mystery, trying to get answers, learning more about the people that haunt Caoin House, a way to communicate with those who have passed on. This is something that has really piqued my interest since my son’s death. I truly wish I could communicate with him, maybe someday that wish will come true. So until now I have not been able to read a story with these topics, this one brought them all together in a way my mind and soul could handle.

The reason I was able to read this story is because Carolyn Haines has written it with the hand of a master. She draws the reader in almost timidly. A niece visiting her uncle at an old estate after losing her husband in World War I, then a man falls to his death and the suspense builds, then ghosts begin to appear and secrets starts to be revealed, the suspense builds a little more and things start to get scary. I should have stopped reading then but knew there was no way I was going to sleep then so I kept on reading. Then Raissa makes a startling discovery and I was reading at lightning speed. I can’t say more because I don’t want to ruin the story for anyone. Needless to say I didn’t get much sleep even after I finished the book. I would advise you not to read before bedtime.

I will say I really like Raissa. She is an intelligent and independent woman that I can see being very involved in the causes of the time period, the 1920’s, like woman getting the right to vote. I also see her becoming a very successful author. I am interested to see where the author takes this character in the future.

I rarely give a Paradise Rating to the first book in a series because usually the plot takes a lesser role as the author needs introduce us to all the characters and the setting and time period. In this case Carolyn Haines does all that and gives us a fantastic mystery too.

paradise 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author

USA Today bestselling author Carolyn Haines has published over 70 books in a number of genres, both dark and light. She is an animal advocate and a former muckraking journalist. THE BOOK OF BELOVED, a Pluto’s Snitch mystery, is the first book in a new series. The latest book in the Sarah Booth Delaney series is ROCK-A-BYE BONES.

To learn more about Carolyn or to sign up for her newsletter, please go to www.carolynhaines.com or find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram


Click on book covers for more info or to order from Amazon.

GIVEAWAY
The author is giving away 1 Copy of Book of the Beloved!

Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

Print Copy U.S. Only – E-Copy International.

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 Carolyn for 5 Bonus Entries.
Sign Up For Her Newsletter for 5 More Bonus Entries!
http://www.carolynhaines.com/newsletter.aspx

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 August 23, 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.”

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