Feb 172017
 


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.
Clearing a book by Janice Peacock from my Kindle shelf today!

High Strung (Glass Bead Mystery Series)
1st in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Washington
Vetrai Press (June 3, 2016)
Paperback: 222 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0990570547
Kindle ASIN: B01GIBQTFY

 

 

After inheriting a house in Seattle, Jax O’Connell is living the life of her dreams as a glass beadmaker and jewelry designer. When she gets an offer to display her work during a bead shop’s opening festivities, it’s an opportunity Jax can’t resist—even though the store’s owner is the surliest person Jax has ever met.

The weekend’s events become a tangled mess when a young beadmaker is found dead nearby and several oddball bead enthusiasts are suspects. Jax must string together the clues to clear her friend Tessa’s name—and do it before the killer strikes again.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Jax O’Connell gets the chance to follow her dreams when she inherits a house and a bit of money from her aunt. She packs as much as much as her new VW Bug can hold including her cat and leaves Florida behind and heads for Seattle.  The house has been converted into a duplex but needs a little TLC. Jax fixes up a few things so she can work on her beads and jewelry from home and makes some friends in the bead-making world. She is excited when she is invited teach a class and show her work at a bead-making event. The store’s owner is not the nicest person on the planet but Jax knows she can work with her. When the owner is injured during the event and another young beadmaker is found dead in a dumpster the next day things get a little heated. Especially when the police are convinced one of Jax’s friends is the killer. Jax knows she must work fast stringing together the clues to not only clear her friend but catch the killer before anyone else is strung up.

This was a fun read. You know right away that Janice Peacock is a beading enthusiast. She describes that processes of bead making and making jewelry with those beads so well that it is very easy to picture. The beads sound just beautiful and making them sounds so unique. I have heard about glass blowing, but glass bead making is brand new to me. I have seen them everywhere but never thought much about how they were actually made. Her enthusiasm is also apparent in most of the book’s characters.

High Strung is populated with eclectic group of characters you expect to find in a cozy mystery. Jax is a strong woman, on her own after leaving her less than stellar boyfriend in Florida. Her tenant and friend Val is a hairdresser, aspiring baker and quite the spitfire.  Her best friend since kindergarten, Tessa, has her own studio, where she gives classes. Rosie, the owner of Aztec Beads, where the event is taking place, is pretty cantankerous and a little odd. Marta is a fellow beader that Jax met at a beadmakers’ conference. She is staying with Jax so she can take part in the weekend event. She also brought her “animal companion”, Stanley, along without even asking Jax if that was o.k. Gumdrop is Jax’s kitty, addicted to catnip, maybe a little physic, and definitely not a Stanley fan. The are also a couple of young bead makers that sell their wares on the street. We also meet Jax’s other friends and of course the local police, Detective Grant.

As is the case with most books that are the first of a series the mystery starts to happen several chapters in to give readers time to get to know the players. But when it starts the pace picks right up and continues on to the end. There are really 2 mysteries to solve because we don’t know if the cases are connected. In fact, the police believe one was either self inflicted or just an accident. Jax has other ideas.

At just 222 pages this cozy is a bit shorter than normal but they are jam packed with detail, deception and more than a few twists and surprises. The characters are very believable and their dialogue is very well written. I also enjoyed a few laugh out loud moments.

A fast read for a cozy afternoon. I have moved the next book in this series to the top of my To-Be-Read list on my Kindle.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author

Janice Peacock decided to write her first mystery novel after working in a glass studio full of colorful artists who didn’t always get along. They reminded her of the odd, and often humorous, characters in the murder mystery books she loved to read. Inspired by that experience, she combined her two passions and wrote High Strung: A Glass Bead Mystery, launching a new cozy mystery series featuring glass beadmaker Jax O’Connell.

When Janice isn’t writing about glass artists-turned-amateur-detectives, she makes glass beads using a torch, designs one-of-a-kind jewelry, and makes sculptures using hot glass. An award-winning artist, her work has been exhibited internationally and is in the permanent collections of the Corning Museum of Glass, the Glass Museum of Tacoma, WA, and in private collections worldwide.

Janice lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, two cats, and twelve chickens. She has a studio full of beads…lots and lots of beads.

Author Links

Webpage – Facebook – GoodReads 

I am giving away 1 e-copy of High Strung.
It will be sent directly to your email from Amazon.

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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.”

Feb 102017
 


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.


A Wee Dose of Death (A ScotShop Mystery Book)
Paranormal Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Vermont
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (January 5, 2016)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425270325
Kindle ASIN: B00W2ZKSLC

While business is booming at the ScotShop in Hamelin, Vermont, proprietor Peggy Winn doesn’t have time to toast her good fortune thanks to her hot-tempered, fourteenth-century Scottish companion. Being thrust into the modern world hasn’t been easy for Dirk, but Peggy is at her wit’s end trying to keep the ghostie galoot in line.

But when the local police chief finds the body of Peggy’s friend Karaline’s college professor in a deserted mountain cabin, everyone is thrown for a loop. It seems the secretive professor may have been killed over his ecological work, an idea that’s only reinforced when Karaline herself is shot. Now Peggy and Dirk must set aside their differences to put the cold-blooded killer under loch and key…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Peggy and Dirk are back and have their hands full, well as much as a ghost can have his hands full.  If you haven’t read the previous story you need to know that Dirk came home to Vermont after a trip Peggy took to England. She purchased a shawl and never knew it came with a ghost as a bonus item.

Cross country skiing is a big thing in Hamelin, Vermont, even the chief of police straps on his skis and grabs his poles every once in a while. His first trip of the season goes horribly wrong when he falls and breaks his leg. With no way to call for help and no one around, he uses his ski to splint his leg and crawls to a nearby cabin. He never expected to find a dead body there. Sadly the guy isn’t missed right away but when he is found he tries to wrap the case before he has all the information. Peggy and her friend Karaline along with a certain cranky 14th century Scotsman try to find out what really happened. When Karaline gets shot things get more than a wee bit serious but Peggy isn’t giving up.

I love that Dirk and Peggy are at odds through most of the story. It has to be hard having him around all the time and answering all his questions. The author keeps the Dirk’s way of speaking genuine to his time period and his reactions to modern day things may me laugh out loud several times.  When he gets on her nerves Peggy just folds up the shawl and he disappears. We don’t know where he goes but he doesn’t appreciate being dismissed in that way at all, but it gives Peggy a bit of a breather.

The rest of the characters are fleshed out well and each holds their own in a twisted mystery that will keep the readers on their toes. We also meet a wonderful Scottish terrier named Scamp who seems to make himself right at home in the ScotShop. We are provided with plenty of suspects and several red herrings. I was kept guessing the whole way and figured it all out right along with Peggy.

Fran Stewart has given us a captivating cozy, with witty characters and top notch mystery. I look forward to the next installment,  A Wee Homicide in the Hotel was released this month and I will be reading it soon. 

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

To find out more about Fran Stewart and her books on her webpage here

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

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something you like here and become a follower.

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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.”

Feb 032017
 


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.

I am not going to lie, what is happening in our country scares me. I will not get all political but it did cause me to choose a different type of book for this week’s Flashback Friday. A book with no mystery to solve, a book about just every day life that I could comfortably “escape” into for a few hours and forget about what is really happening in the real world. I hope you won’t mind that I slipped away from the mystery genre this week.


Everyone Is Beautiful: A Novel
Domestic Life/Humor/Fiction
Setting – Massachsetts
Ballantine Books (February 17, 2009)
Hardcover: 256 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1400066438
Paperback
ISBN-13: 978-0749909307
Kindle ASIN: B001NLL2TS

 

 

Lanie Coates’s life is spinning out of control. She’s piled everything she owns into a U-Haul and driven with her husband, Peter, and their three little boys from their cozy Texas home to a multiflight walkup in the Northeast. She’s left behind family, friends, and a comfortable life–all so her husband can realize his dream of becoming a professional musician. But somewhere in the eye of her personal hurricane, it hits Lanie that she once had dreams too. If only she could remember what they were.

These days, Lanie always seems to rank herself dead last–and when another mom accidentally criticizes her appearance, it’s the final straw. Fifteen years, three babies, and more pounds than she’s willing to count since the day she said “I do,” Lanie longs desperately to feel like her old self again. It’s time to rise up, fish her moxie out of the diaper pail, and find the woman she was before motherhood capsized her entire existence.

Lanie sets change in motion–joining a gym, signing up for photography classes, and finding a new best friend. But she also creates waves that come to threaten her whole life. In the end, Lanie must figure out once and for all how to find herself without losing everything else in the process.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I needed to read something different and funny and this book fit the bill.

Lanie’s life takes an abrupt turn when her husband’s new job uproots her family from their Texas home and into a 3rd floor 2 bedroom apartment in Massachusetts. She is with her kids, three under the age of 4,  24/7. While visiting a nearby park one day she reconnects with a classmate from high school and this gives her at least one adult to share things with and keep her sane. Her husband is wrapped up in his work and their relationship has reached the phase where you just go through the days without any real firm connection beyond being parents. At the end of her rope she joins a gym and realizes she has dreams as well. She just needs to figure out what they are and then find space to place them in her life. But can her marriage survive her putting herself first even just for part of the day or week without losing everything else so important to her.

As a mother of four I could relate to Lanie’s story quite easily. Mom’s always put themselves last. Those days when the children are small and it is a triumph to just get a shower or go to the bathroom by yourself. Unlike Lanie, I worked full time when my children were growing up, so I was around adults for a least 8 hours of the day. Lanie heads to the gym for her “me time”. I used to escape to my sewing room, where I made the lion’s share of the clothes for my family, and let my creative juices flow.

The author gives us an entertaining and in places really funny look at family life. You know the day to day stuff most of our lives are filled with. It’s not rocket science but sometimes getting through days with toddlers it seems like rocket science would be easier. Three little boys can be tough, especially 3 boys under four years old. I did want to jump in the book a few times to tell her to put the youngest one down. He was almost a year old and not crawling or walking yet and I think that was because she carried him everywhere. He was like her security blanket. Funny, after some lifestyle adjustments near the end of the book the little guy starts walking and crawling all in one day

This was just the book I needed to read at this time. It brought back some fond memories, but even it, a book like this, my new trigger word appeared, “suicide”. It seems I just can’t escape that in anything I read these days. Thankfully it was only a mention and was followed by a moment that made me laugh. This book was recommended to me several years ago, long before my son took his life. It has been buried in my To-Be-Read stacks since then. Waiting for me to find the perfect time to read it. Well last Sunday was the perfect time. If you need a light read, this may be the one.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent


I am giving away my hardcover 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.

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

Contest Will End February 17, 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

*This book was from my personal collection.

Jan 272017
 


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.

Paint the Town Dead
(An Aurora Anderson Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – California
Henery Press (December 8, 2015)
Paperback: 264 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1943390335
Kindle ASIN: B0156W71GW

 

 

The Ocean Painting Society invites you to join the painting wave…

It’s June in the quiet Los Angeles County city of Vista Beach, the place computer programmer and tole-painting enthusiast Aurora (Rory) Anderson calls home. Decorative painters are flocking to the newly built Akaw hotel to attend the Ocean Painting Society’s inaugural convention.

During the weeklong event, Rory plans on shopping the trade show floor, working in her mother’s booth, taking classes and connecting with other decorative painting fans. She doesn’t expect to witness her childhood friend collapse in class and die. When the police find no evidence of foul play, Rory embarks on her own investigation. Can she brush aside the lies to uncover the truth and bring the killer to justice?

Dollycas’s  Thoughts

Rory has her hands full this week helping her mother at the Ocean Painting Society’s inaugural convention. She is excited to be able to spend some time with her friends, especially Jasmine, who has moved back to the area. She is devastated when Jasmine collapses and dies during one of the painting classes. The police believe the woman took her own life but Rory isn’t buying that at all. She immediately starts her own investigation.

Sybil Johnson has given us quite a twisted up mystery. Someone attending the convention wanted Jasmine dead and they had to be very sneaky to bring it all about. You see she had a condition that the killer had to know about to pull off their crime and not too many people knew about it. In fact that is why suicide was the immediate cause of death determination. Thankfully Rory was ready to fight to prove that wrong.

I reviewed the first book in this series a couple of weeks ago and I had a problem with the flow of the story. Well I did not have that problem with this story at all. The flow was steady from start to finish. There are several things happening. We start with a brick through a window, then on to protesters picketing the damage the new hotel did to the area, to all the snafus that can go wrong at a big convention, and even Rory’s mom pushing her to get a man in her life. Yes, there is some romantic tension too as we meet someone special in our dashing detective’s life. But all may not be what it seems…..and then of course there is the murder.

I like these characters, Rory and Liz’s friendship is fun and they have each other’s back. I like where the author is heading with all of the characters. The story is very well written and the mystery makes sense. Rory’s job as a website consultant and helping out at her mother’s tole painting and scrapbook store’s booth at the convention give her plenty of opportunity to follow clues and hunt down leads and get herself is some dicey situations too.

This was a strong addition to this series. I am looking forward to the newest book in the series, A Palette for Murder, releasing January 31.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

SybilJohnson_2_cropped

About The Author –

Sybil Johnson’s love affair with reading began in kindergarten with “The Three Little Pigs.” Visits to the library introduced her to Encyclopedia Brown, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and a host of other characters. Fast forward to college where she continued reading while studying Computer Science. After a rewarding career in the computer industry, Sybil decided to try her hand at writing mysteries. Her short fiction has appeared in Mysterical-E and Spinetingler Magazine, among others. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, she now lives in Southern California where she enjoys tole painting, studying ancient languages and spending time with friends and family.

Author Links

Website    Facebook Author page     Twitter   GoodReads    Publisher

I am giving away 1 e-copy of Paint The Town Dead.
It will be sent directly to your email 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.

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.

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5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End February 9, 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.”

Jan 202017
 


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.

Knit to Be Tied (A Knitting Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
14th in Series
Setting – Colorado
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (June 7, 2016)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Hardcover: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425282502
Kindle ASIN: B016JPTMSU

 

In Fort Connor, Colorado, the friends at the House of Lambspun knitting shop are welcoming a new face into the fold. Shy, sweet, and pregnant Nancy Marsted would like to knit a baby hat, and the Lambspun ladies are more than happy to show her the ropes. They share their own pregnancy yarns and soon learn the father of Nancy’s baby isn’t quite the man she dreamed he was. He’s a cad.

Then one dark night a speeding car fatally mows down the dad-to-be and strikes a cyclist, spinning the town into a frenzy. Everyone worries that a crazed killer is on the loose. Now it’s up to Kelly and the gang to put down their needles and cut to the chase before the culprit is driven to kill again . . .

Dollycas’s  Thoughts

I have  enjoyed this series from the start. Each trip to Fort Connor is like going off to visit friends. Kelly spends much of her days at the House of Lambspun, working on her accounts or knitting on the garden patio or at the large gathering table inside the shop. She meets her friends there and then plan get togethers and touch base on what each of them are dealing with. Sometimes it’s work or kids or baseball games. This time one of her friends is a victim of a hit and run while on his bicycle. He is terribly injured and facing weeks of rehab, and they have no idea who was driving the car. But Kelly with some assistance from Burt is knitting together the clues pretty rapidly.

I found Knit to Be Tied as more of a character driven story. The mystery was more of a subplot with only a couple of suspects and readers will figure it out pretty easily. That being said I did enjoy this story because of the investment I have put into these characters for 14 books. I want to know what they are doing, what is happening in their lives. There are some big things happening  for this group of friends. They have grown so much over the years. And the author gives us awesome news at the end of the story that has me very excited for book 15.

This was a story that catches us up on the Lambspun gang and sets us up for the next one. Sometimes long running series need books like this one.

A comfortable read, cozy mystery lite 🙂

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

MAGGIE SEFTON is the New York Times Bestselling author of the Berkley Prime Crime Knitting Mysteries. UNRAVELED, 9th in the series, made the New York Times Bestselling Hardcover Fiction List after its June 2011 release. All of the mysteries in the successful series have also been Barnes & Noble Top Ten Bestselling Mysteries. Maggie was first published in historical fiction in 1995 with ABILENE GAMBLE under the pen name Margaret Conlan. She wrote over a million words of historical romance fiction before she ever wrote the first mystery. DYING TO SELL, with real estate agent sleuth Kate Doyle, was published by Five Star/Tekno Mysteries in 2005. Maggie has been a CPA and a real estate agent in the Rocky Mountain West, but finds nothing can match creating worlds on paper.

She was born and raised in northern Virginia, where she received her bachelor’s degree in English literature and journalism. Maggie has worked in several careers over the years, from a CPA to a real estate broker in the Rocky Mountain West. However, none of those endeavors could compare with the satisfaction and challenge of creating worlds on paper. She is the mother of four grown daughters, currently scattered around the globe. Author of the nationally bestselling Knitting Mysteries, she resides in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado with two very demanding dogs.

Check out her website here.


I am giving away my 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.
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Click the Like Button at the top of this post for a Bonus Entry.

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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.”

Jan 132017
 


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.


Rest in Peach
(A Georgia Peach Mystery)

by Susan Furlong
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Georgia
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (April 5, 2016)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425278567
Kindle ASIN: B011IVWSEA
Shop Indie Bookstores

 

Rest in Peach by Susan Furlong – The annual Peach Cotillion, Cays Mill, Georgia’s biggest event, is fast approaching and Nola Mae Harper is just as excited as the rest of the town—even though she’s busy juggling both the cotillion dinner and the grand opening of her new shop, Peachy Keen. But she never expected that plans for the cotillion would end up in the pits because of the cutthroat competition between local debutantes.

When Vivien Crenshaw, insufferable church organist and despised mother of the town’s spoiled-rotten Peach Queen, is stabbed to death, the police turn to Nola’s friend Ginny as prime suspect. Apparently the two had fought over a one-of-a-kind cotillion gown. As Nola steps in to prove Ginny’s innocence she soon finds herself picking through a bushel of suspects, twice as many motives, and at the mercy of a killer all too keen on killing again.

INCLUDES RECIPES!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I am not from the south and have never attended a cotillion, but from everything I have seen and read I know the debs and especially their mothers can be pretty cutthroat. So when one of the mothers was found dead, stabbed in the throat with a sewing shears, I must say I wasn’t surprised. Beyond that this story was full of surprises.

Our victim, Vivien Crenshaw, mother of debutante Tara, gets into a spat with Nola’s friend Ginny over a dress. Seems the owner of the dress shop made a huge mistake and Ginny’s daughter, Emily and spoiled brat Tara ordered the same dress. Vivien feels the dress belongs to her daughter and that Emily can choose a new dress. Ginny is not backing down but Emily and Nola convince her to just let it go. The argument happened in front of a store full of people and Ginny did threaten Vivian so when she is found dead Ginny is targeted as the prime suspect faster than you can slice a peach. Nola has her new shop, Peachy Keen opening soon and has so much left to do but she has to set this half baked idea that her friend is a murderer to rest as quickly as possible even if it means putting herself in danger.

Susan Furlong has written another strong story. She has captured the craziness that surrounds a cotillion from the dresses to the dinners and the dances in such a fun way. Each chapter even starts with a debutante rule.

Debutante Rule #032: Like a magnolia tree, a debutante’s outward beauty reflects her strong inner  roots…and that’s why we never leave the house without makeup on. 

Debutante Rule #067: A debutante is like a tea bag. Ya never know how strong she is until she is sitting in hot water.

Main character, Nola Mae Harper, continues to grow and evolve. She has decided to stay in Cays Mill and help her family’s peach business grow by opening up her own little store to sell products made with peaches from their orchard. She already has an online presence and some local customers. She is hoping the tourists will become more than just one time buyers. While she does have a plan for the business her own personal life is not so smooth. I love some romantic drama.

The murder mystery was top shelf. So many suspects and a few secrets make this a mystery I could really sink my teeth into. I was right there to the end with Nola trying to figure out whodunit.

The entire book is full of Southern charm and laced with humor. It was a “perfectly peachy” read. I am excited for book #3, War and Peach, set for delivery February 7.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About Susan Furlong

During her writing career, Susan has worked as an academic writer, freelance writer and novelist. Currently she’s busy working on The Georgia Peach Mysteries. (Berkley Prime Crime/July 2015) She also writes under the pen name Lucy Arlington. To learn more about her writing, visit her website at www.susanfurlong.com


I am giving away my 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.

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 January 27, 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 162016
 

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.


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.

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 30, 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 092016
 

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.
I grabbed this book at the end of last year on Amazon and reading it helps me finally finish this year’s Alphabet Soup Challenge.

The Yellow Rose Beauty Shop
The Cadillac Series

Romantic Comedy/Women’s Fiction
3rd in Series
Setting – Texas
Montlake Romance (July 14, 2015)
Paperback: 313 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1477830604
E-Book ASIN: B00S6Z3S8C

 

 

Stella’s mama never should’ve put Stella on the church prayer list. With Stella’s twenty-seventh birthday coming up fast, Nancy desperately wants to see her daughter married and giving her grandbabies. Petitioning heaven seems like a surefire way to get it done. But in Cadillac, Texas, where the gossip’s hotter than the city’s famous jalapeño peppers, it isn’t long before all hell breaks loose.

Heather, the bossy leader of the church’s Prayer Angels, thinks a summer ball will get Stella and the town’s other single gals paired off. But nobody can tell redheaded spitfire Stella what to do—not her mama, not Heather, and not even the sexy beau Stella’s been seeing in secret. Together, Stella, her best friends Charlotte and Piper, and the loyal customers of the Yellow Rose Beauty Shop hatch a good old-fashioned scheme to sabotage the ball. But will it wreck Stella’s relationship with her mama forever? And what will the church folk think when Stella reveals the identity of her mystery man?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I did not know this was a series when I purchased it but I had no trouble following the characters or the story.

Welcome to Cadillac Texas, where everyone knows your business and gossip runs rampant. Nancy wants her daughter to get married and start giving her grandchildren. So at the weekly meeting of the “prayer angels” at her church she asks them to “prayer for my daughter, she needs a husband”. No one was more surprised that Stella when her mother’s request was posted for all the world to see on a the sign in front of the church.  Add the that, the head of the group thinks the way to help Stella is to have a gala ball and maybe she can help other singles as well. Stella and her friends Charlotte and Piper run The Yellow Rose Beauty Shop so Stella has to face the public every day. Why in the world did her mother put in this predicament? There is no way she is going along with this. She already has a man in her life, but she is not ready to make her relationship public just yet. So, she and her friends are going to do anything they can to sabotage this ball/barn dance.

This story is a HILARIOUS HOOT!

Set in a small southern town all the characters are very realistic. They could be in a small town anywhere with the exception of the dialogue that I read hearing a bit of southern twang. There is a bit of swearing, the sh*t word is used frequently but it fits with the characters and the story.

Heather, the head of the “prayer angels” really doesn’t like Nancy or Stella. She has dreams way beyond Cadillac and she will use just about anyone and anything to make her dream come true. Stella and  Nancy are the typical mother and daughter, but Stella is not ready to forgive and forget the position her mother has put her in. Agnes Flynn, is a redhead like Stella, and at 80 years old she still likes to be right in the mix of all the drama especially if she is the one creating it. Some of her one-liners had me laughing out loud. Stella, Charlotte, Piper, Nancy and Agnes compare themselves to the characters in Steel Magnolias and that hits the nail right on the head.

At the heart this is a story of friendship and the friend’s romances and family life. A funny and heartwarming story with some fun and sassy characters set in the hotter than hot Cadillac Texas right in the middle of the summer. With the temp getting lower and lower here in Wisconsin, I enjoyed the virtual heat and always love a happy ending.

This is my first Carolyn Brown story but it definitely will not be my last. I have already ordered The Blue-Ribbon Jalapeño Society Jubilee, book 1 in this series. 

 

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

You can find out more about Carolyn Brown and her books on her webpage here.

You can find more of Carolyn Brown’s books on Amazon here.

I had planned to offer a giveaway of this book, but the paperback copy I ordered has not yet arrived. I will try to give a copy away at the end of the month during my Blogoversary Celebration.

This book was from my private collection.

Dec 022016
 

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.

claws-for-alarm
Claws for Alarm:
A Nick and Nora Mystery

Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – California
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (November 3, 2015)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425270219
E-Book ASIN: B00TY3ZKGI
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 
 
 
 
 
 

“The purrfect sleuthy duo”* is back, and this time murder hits close to home for Nora Charles and her partner Nick, a stealthy little feline gumshoe groomed to solve a shocking crime.

Since inheriting her mother’s sandwich shop, Nora Charles is more about hot grilled paninis than cold-blooded murder—until her sister Lacey is arrested. The victim, an esteemed art collector and Lacey’s bullying professor, was stabbed in the heart. Apparently, all over a lousy grade.

Off campus, things were just as dicey. The prof had an ex with secrets, a trophy wife set to inherit a fortune in masterworks, and a scorned student mistress. Going undercover, Nora realizes that investigating this crime is the biggest test of her sleuthing career. Because if she fails, even Nick’s animal instinct won’t be enough to rescue Lacey from a perfectly executed framing.

INCLUDES DELICIOUS SANDWICH RECIPES

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I thoroughly enjoy this author’s twist on The Thin Man as the theme for her mysteries.  In this case Nora is joined by a lovable cat named Nick and I believe there is more to this cat than just being lovable, he is a very special cat. A cat very savvy in figuring out clues and presenting them in very clear ways for Nora to understand.

In this 2nd installment of the series, Nora receives a call from her aunt telling her that her sister Lacey is in big trouble. One of her professors has been killed and Lacey was seen standing over his body with the murder weapon in her hand right before she fled the scene. The man wasn’t well liked and there have to be many more suspects. Nora and Nick set out to get their claws into the real killer and get her sister out of jail.

The author has given her readers another strong mystery to solve and thankfully Nick is there to move both the reader and Nora down the right path because there are twists that had us scratching our heads but later made perfect sense. She is also still trying to find out what happened to Nick the cat’s former owner Nick the private investigator. There are a couple of interesting developments.

All the characters are well developed including a man from Nora’s past and a very handsome FBI agent.  They do their best to keep Nora at her sandwich shop and out of their investigations but she is a pretty stubborn woman when she sets her mind on something, especially when it comes to trying to save her sister.

Speaking of the sandwich shop, there are recipes at the end of the story. You may want to start there and make yourself a sandwich before you begin reading. Sandwiches are described within the pages with their clever and catchy names. They will have your stomach growling and your mouth watching so it is better too be prepared than having to put the book down for a grocery run or a trip to the kitchen.

Great characters and a great plot means this book is a perfect escape!

I need to mention that you do not need to know anything about the movies or the original story by Dashiell Hammett to enjoy this story, but if you do this story is a must read. I used to watch the movies with my mom way back when. This story and the one before always bring up those fond memories. You can probably catch them somewhere on television if you want to check them out.  Also the next book in this series, Crime and Catnip hits store shelves December 6.

perfect 2016

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

 

New Series coming in March 2017

GIVEAWAY
I am giving away my 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.

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 16, 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.”

Nov 252016
 

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.
A major organizing feat unearthed this book from my To-Be-Read shelf.
It also reminded me of how many books I want to read
and it doesn’t included what is on my Kindle.
So I hope you have enjoyed Flashback Friday because I will be continuing it in 2017.

one-hot-murder
One Hot Murder (Victoria Square Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – New York
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (February 5, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425251904
Digital Ebook – ASIN: B0095ZMRA2
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

 

Where there’s smoke…

Katie Bonner, the reluctant manager of Artisans Alley in the quaint shopping district of Victoria Square, is no stranger to ambivalence. Things have been going hot and heavy with pizza maker Andy Rust—so much so that Katie has moved in over his pizza parlor. But now that summer’s ushered in a heat wave, an apartment above pizza ovens without an air conditioner is making Katie hot and bothered.

At the height of the heat wave, a tragic fire strikes Victoria Square. Wood U, a small store selling wooden gifts and small furniture, is destroyed. But the fire may just be a smoke screen—for murder. A body is found among the charred wreckage, and the victim didn’t die from smoke inhalation. He was shot. Now—despite making Detective Ray Davenport hot under the collar—Katie is determined to smoke out a coldhearted killer…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

As the temperatures around here were dropping the temperatures at the Artisans Alley were heating up. It’s summertime at the Victoria Square and the air conditioning at the Artisans Alley can’t cool off the entire building. Katie also doesn’t have air conditioning in her apartment above the pizza place either. With only open windows and a fan to help her cool off she is shocked to notice a fire out her window at Victoria Square. She calls 911 and rushes over there to find Wood U totally engulfed and when the fire in extinguished the firefighters find a dead body. Everyone is distraught that the owner of the shop has died but then they find out, the person was killed before not during the fire. Because of the status of the body they know he was murdered by they can’t make conclusive identification. Detective Ray Davenport is on the case but that doesn’t mean Katie isn’t hotfooting it all over town to find the killer.

This is a hot, Hot, HOT! murder mystery. I sat down on Sunday afternoon to read and read it all in one sitting.

This is the 3rd book in the series and it has been awhile since I had read book 2, The Walled Flower, but Ms. Bartlett creates very memorable characters so I was all caught up by the end of Chapter 1. Katie Bonner inherited ownership of the Alley and she has been working hard to make it work for all her crafters and turn a profit for herself so she can invest in some upgrades like a new air conditioning system.  Her tenants are an eclectic bunch, some pitch in to help all the time, some need to be reminded and one is there all the time and is getting on Katie’s last nerve. Detective Ray Davenport is retiring from the force and this murder investigation is his last. Andy and Katie are still working opposite hours but are trying so hard to spend more time together.

These wonderful characters are surrounded by quite a mystery. Until the body is properly identified Katie and Ray are assuming they know who it is and proceeding in their investigations accordingly, but the clues they uncover twists things in a way that just don’t fit together. Plus there are a few subplots that tie in to the main mystery in several ways.

One of the subplots deals with Katie’s dream of purchasing a big Victorian home to turn it into a B&B. Her money is all tied up in the Alley and the inventory she has been stashing away for when her dream becomes a reality. Her dream goes up in smoke when she learns someone else has purchased the home. It was how she handled this situation that I as a reader could see how much this character has evolved from the first book in this series. I found it very refreshing to read. I am still unsure about her relationship with Andy so I am looking forward to seeing how this is addressed in the next book. Yes, the next book! It has been awhile but Dead, Bath, and Beyond is being released next month.

To me this author is one of the best at writing cozies mysteries. You can’t go wrong with anything she writes!

perfect 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 About The Author

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

GIVEAWAY
I am giving away my 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.

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 9, 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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