Feb 102016
 

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Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!!

Diane Vallere is my Special Guest today and she has a treat for us. When she offered me this guest post I was absolutely thrilled because I had always wished an author would write a guest post like this.   

DianeVallereAuthorPhoto_color_cropped

 

Hi Everyone,

Back in September of 2013, I had the fortunate opportunity to submit a proposal for a possible new cozy mystery series that featured a costume shop owner. Originally I was going to base the protagonist on a character in a shot story that I’d written, but it became too hard for me to stay true to the character traits that I’d established in that story while also building this new world. I changed her name from Mia Thomas to Margo Tamblyn (change is reflected below to keep things from being confusing), but otherwise, this is the series concept and individual book ideas that I submitted to Berkley Prime Crime. MYSTERY PARTY ended up being the basis for A DISGUISE TO DIE FOR, the first in the Costume Shop Mystery Series, that came out Feb 2!

Series Proposal:

A Disguise To Die ForSETTING:
Proper, Nevada. [fictional town] Census-designed town in southern Nevada near California state lines. Population has grown several hundred to several thousand in a decade. Long-time residents have fought the influx of transplants. Close proximity to early settlers of Nevada, lots of ghost stories and rumors of treasures in the caves on the outskirts of town. Residents consist of retired casino employees, 4th generation wealth from gold rush, and new families who have relocated here because of new schools and low cost of living.

The town holds an annual sagebrush festival in the summer, a Beaux Arts ball in the winter, and a mineral-themed festival in the summer. Proper, Nevada has a tight community that immediately takes notice of newcomers. The town prides itself on hosting a creative social calendar of parties and events, keeping the residents in a constant state of one-upmanship when it comes to planning birthdays, engagements, retirement parties, and anything else they can think of.

SHOP NAME: Disguise DeLimit

CHARACTERS:
Margo Tamblyn: owner of costume shop. Margo’s mom died during childbirth, so she was raised by her father. The owner of a costume shop, he fumbled through raising a girl by relying on costumes for Margo’s school clothes, thus instilling in her a lifelong love of playing dress up. Now an adult, Margo dresses in “themes,” incorporating props and toys as accessories to her outfits. When her father has a heart attack and is forced to retire, Margo moves to Proper to care for him and take over the costume shop.

Margo has a small gray cat that she rescued. His name is Jaws 2 (named after her Betta fish Jaws, who suffered an unfortunate fate.)

Margo suffers from feelings of inadequacy, which she is dealing with in therapy. Her psychiatrist has been encouraging her to take more risks and open up to people, metaphorically “dropping the mask” that she hides behind. [this will become a source of conflict for Margo]

Other regular characters:

Ebony Welles [friend/surrogate mother]: Owner of a local party planning business, thirty years older than Margo. She acted as a surrogate mother to Margo in her childhood and remains the most influential woman in Margo’s life. Ebony is a black woman who copies different cinematic icons as her “look” to match the parties that she is planning, but mostly dresses in a 70’s style. At different times she could be Foxy Brown, Grace Jones, Diana Ross, Tina Turner, Dorothy Dandridge.

Other regular characters will include Tak Hoshiyama, local cop/love interest, son of Japanese and American parents, and Margo’s dad, who is recovering from a heart attack.

CONCEPTS:
MYSTERY PARTY
The beginning of spring marks the beginning of outdoor birthday party season in Proper. When spoiled Blitz Manners hires Margo’s friend to plan a mystery-themed birthday party, Margo is brought on board to provide the perfect costume for the birthday boy. Even though Blitz’s Sherlock Holmes costume is spot-on, he’s openly disappointed that she went classic Holmes instead of pop-culture Holmes. He cancels his order, leaving Margo unpaid for her work. When an invitee offers to buy the costume, Margo considers it a stroke of luck, until he is found dead at the party. Did Blitz have second thoughts about the costume, or did someone kill the wrong Sherlock? All detectives on deck for this one!

FESTIVAL FATALITIES
The beginning of summer brings the annual sagebrush festival. Craft vendors, artists, and musicians celebrate Nevada’s state flower with booths where they showcase their talents, live performances by local actors, and a parade. Margo has been hired to outfit the Sagebrush Sallies, a group of retired go-go dancers who perform a modified version of their sixties dances at the festival. But when Margo discovers a pair of abandoned white boots by the Sallies’ dressing quarters days before the festival, she suspects the worst. She follows the heel marks in the dirt and finds the body of one of the dancers. With no suspects and no leads, Margo takes a place in the kick line, hoping to expose the murderer.

TEDDY BEAR TRAGEDY
When a wealthy resident hires Carolyn to plan a birthday party for her daughter’s teddy bear, she uses the book Bear Party as her jumping off point. Suddenly, Margo is booked creating costumes for the plush animals of Proper! But when priceless jewelry goes missing at the party, it seems the only suspects are made of fiberfill—until one of the maids is found murdered in the kitchen. The local police, under pressure to find the valuables, threaten to confiscate all of the children’s teddy bears in a search and seizure. Margo and Carolyn are on a race to find the missing jewels and unmask a murderer before the most innocent of residents are literally turned inside out.

SCI-FI SHOWDOWN
When a sci-fi convention comes to Proper, the whole population gears up to get their Trek on. Margo is hired to design costumes for an alien/intergalactic army opening number performed by Proper’s city council. But when one alien is found dead before the opening act, and the mayor’s toy gun is found to be a carefully disguised pistol with the same bullets that shot the alien/actor, Margo has to find out who substituted her costume props for deadly weapons and why.

BEAUX ARTS BUST
The annual Beaux Arts Ball is upon the city of Proper. The theme is Garden of Earthly Delights, and the city’s wealthiest residents intend to pull out all the stops when it comes to their costumes. Local resident Amelia Hartford, director of the museum where the party will be held, consults with Margo for an elaborate Lady Godiva-type costume guaranteed to put her in the spotlight. But when Amelia is found dead in the Hieronymus Bosch wing of the museum and the police find an empty hidden pocket in the lining of her costume, everyone is a suspect. Was it a board member? An ex-husband? Or a crazy art lover who blurred the lines between art and reality? Margo can’t help wonder if what Amelia had hidden in that pocket had gotten her killed.

MOB MENTALITY
When local homicide detective Tak Noh convinces his precinct to host a Guys and Dolls party as a fundraiser, Margo finds herself knee-deep in pinstripe and fedoras. Her friend the party planner arranges for casino-type rentals in a local party hall and invites the town’s population to join in for a night of fun that will help the boys in blue. When a real mobster on the run hears about the event, he knows it’s the perfect place to hide. He pretends to be part of the force, getting Margo to make him a costume too, but when the event is raided by the very men he’s hiding from, can he continue to lay low, or does he come out of hiding to get a piece of the action.

~Diane

I don’t know about you but I love seeing the way the books we love get started. We all hear the term “pitched” thrown around but to see the pitch is very exciting for me. We also get a preview of stories coming in out future. Thank you so much Diane!!

A Disguise To Die For A Disguise to Die For:
A Costume Shop Mystery

New Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Nevada
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (February 2, 2016)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House, LLLC
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425278284
E-Book ASIN: B00X5936W2
goodreads-badge-add-plusShop Indie Bookstores

Someone is dressed to kill in the debut Costume Shop Mystery from the national bestselling author of the Material Witness mysteries.

No sooner does former magician’s assistant Margo Tamblyn return home to Proper City, Nevada, to run Disguise DeLimit, her family’s costume shop, than she gets her first big order. Wealthy nuisance Blitz Manners needs forty costumes for a detective-themed birthday bash. As for Blitz himself, his Sherlock Holmes is to die for—literally—when, in the middle of the festivities, Margo’s friend and party planner Ebony Welles is caught brandishing a carving knife over a very dead Blitz.

For Margo, clearing Ebony’s name is anything but elementary, especially after Ebony flees town. Now Margo is left to play real-life detective in a town full of masked motives, cloaked secrets, and veiled vendettas. But as she soon learns, even a killer disguise can’t hide a murderer in plain sight for long.

INCLUDES RECIPES AND COSTUME IDEAS!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Disguise is the limit!! This is a soaring debut!

Margo Tamblyn had a very interesting upbringing. She lost her mother at birth and grew up with her father running their costume shop, Disguise DeLimit. From an early age and still today Margo wears costumes or parts of costumes as her everyday attire. She marches to her own drummer and is stronger than she knows. She has been working in Las Vegas as a magician’s assistant, but after her father suffers a heart attack she quickly finds a replacement and comes home. She wants to look after her father but knows she has to keep the store open. She is unsure about her father’s finances but is sure his recent trip to the hospital left him with some bills to pay. When Blitz Manners enters the store demanding she pull together 40 costumes for his birthday party as soon as possible she is thrilled to do so. It is a detective-themed party so she starts putting costumes together for Sherlock Holmes, Kojak, Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew and more. What she wasn’t expecting was the birthday boy to end up dead before the end of the party and her party planning friend Ebony to be accused of his murder. Margo decides she needs to actually become a detective, not just look like she plays one on t.v. Her friend needs her help and she is going to find the real killer.

What a great story!! I have been looking forward to this book since I first saw the cover. Disguise DeLimit is quite a store with every costume imaginable and if they don’t have what you want they will custom make it for you.  I really like Margo but her father is great person too. He has kept this shop going through thick and thin. His favorite part is traveling to find new costumes for the store. That part has taken a back seat since Margo moved away but he does take a very interesting trip in this book. Ebony, who has a dog named Ivory, that is him on the cover, helped raise Margo and is a mother figure to her. She is a very unique individual with a huge heart. We also meet Tak Hoshiyama but you have to read about him yourself, he starts out as a bit of a mystery and I don’t want to spoil that.

The plot and subplots are excellent. The mystery is kind of a closed room mystery but there are so many suspects and they are all in costume so figuring out the real culprit is no easy task. It came together for me after Margo figured it out. There were so many twists and diversions but it all came together perfectly. I was just not puzzling things out well at all :)

There is a Special Preview of the next book in the series, Masking For Trouble, coming in October and great costume ideas and recipes in the back of the book too!

If you are looking for something fun to read this is a perfect choice!

perfect 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author

I’m a former fashion buyer turned mystery writer, trading fashion accessories for accessories to murder. I was bit by the mystery bug as a kid reading Trixie Belden, Connie Blair, and The Three Investigators. Now I’m writing three series: the Style & Error Mysteries, the Mad for Mod Mysteries, and the Material Witness Mysteries. Coming in Feb 2016: The new Costume Shop Cozy Mysteries!

The Material Witness mysteries feature Polyester Monroe, who inherits the fabric shop where she was born. Books include SUEDE TO REST and CRUSHED VELVET. The third, SILK STALKINGS, will be out in August 2016.

The Style & Error Series features former fashion buyer turned amateur sleuth Samantha Kidd. Books in that series include DESIGNER DIRTY LAUNDRY; BUYER, BEWARE; THE BRIM REAPER; and SOME LIKE IT HAUTE. (A short story, “Just Kidding,” tells the story of how Samantha first met shoe designer Nick Taylor). Book 5, GRAND THEFT RETRO, will be out in 2016.

The Madison Night Mysteries feature a modern day interior decorator who specializes in midcentury design (studying Doris Day movies to get the look right). Books are PILLOW STALK, THAT TOUCH OF INK, and WITH VICS YOU GET EGGROLL. A prequel novella, “Midnight Ice,” can be found in OTHER PEOPLE’S BAGGAGE.

Author Links

 Webpage           Facebook      Twitter          GoodReads

Purchase Links

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

This year I am trying to build my Twitter following so for this giveaway 4 Bonus Entries will be awarded by following me on Twitter. @dollycas

Leave a comment for Diane for 5 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End February 24, 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.”

Jan 272016
 
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Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am always excited when Avery Aames stops by for a visit!

Daryl Wood Gerber 0218 100dpi

I adore Mac ‘n Cheese
By Avery Aames aka Daryl Wood Gerber

My author pal Krista Davis tells me that everything tastes better with bacon. I believe her. I believe everything Krista says.

When I’m writing, I need mental support. And mac ‘n cheese is, quite simply, comfort food to the MAX. Each bite packs a punch. Each bite melts in your mouth. Add bacon and wow!

By the way, according to Wikipedia, which happens to be my go-to source for absolutely truthful information (LOL), I discovered the following.

Did you know that pasta and cheese casseroles have been recorded in cookbooks as early as the Liber de Coquina (which is one of the oldest medieval cookbooks)? Also, a pasta and cheese casserole known as makerouns was recorded in an English cookbook in the 14th century. The casserole was made with hand-cut pasta and sandwiched between a mixture of melted butter and cheese. Oh, yum!!! AND it was considered an upper class meal in Italy until around the 18th century.

So there. Raise a pinky and eat mac and cheese!

What’s your favorite guilty-pleasure food?

Mac & Bacon & Cheddar Cheese
(Gluten-free or regular)

4Ingredients:

2 cups dried macaroni, cooked to tender (about 4-5 cups cooked) (gluten-free or regular macaroni – I like the Bionatura brand of gluten-free elbow pasta)
4 tablespoons butter [1/2 cube]
1/2 tsp. white pepper
1 teaspoon garlic salt
2 tablespoons rice or potato flour (for regular, you may use regular white flour)
1 cup milk
1 cup grated cheese (equal parts white and orange Cheddar)
4 slices bacon, cooked crisp and broken into bites
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (for garnish)
Paprika (for garnish)

Directions:

Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain and set aside. This may be made a day ahead. NOTE: Do not forget to drain and set aside. You do not want the pasta to be “wet.”

In a large sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic salt & pepper and cook about 2 minutes. Add flour (gluten-free, if necessary) and stir. Cook 1 minute more, letting boil. It will thicken into a roux. Stir constantly.

Add milk, stir and let boil to thicken. About 1 minute.

Remove from heat and add white and orange Cheddars. Add bacon. Stir.

Pour sauce over drained macaroni. Toss well. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Dash with paprika.

cheddar or worse
For Cheddar or Worse:
A Cheese Shop Mystery

7th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Ohio
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Berkley (February 2, 2016)
ISBN-13: 978-0425273326
E-Book ASIN: B00X593CK8
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

In the new Cheese Shop Mystery from the Agatha Award-winning author of As Gouda as Dead, an extra-sharp tongued cheese critic is cut down during a summer cheese festival.

It’s time for the annual Cheese Festival in Providence, Ohio, and Charlotte Bessette’s cheese shop is packed with homemade specialties. Meanwhile, her friend Erin is prepping her dairy farm and inn for cheese makers, marketers, journalists, and one surprise guest—Lara Berry, pretentious cheese whiz, pompous bestselling author, and pungent critic whose extra sharp tongue can crumble a reputation.

Even though any love for Lara by her friends curdled long ago, Charlotte is surprised when the foodie is smothered to death in her room at Erin’s inn. Accusations start flying, but the one laying blame on Erin strikes Charlotte as a crock. Now, to clear her friend’s name, Charlotte has to sift through Lara’s ex-lovers, former business partners, and unforgiving enemies to find a killer before Lara’s past casts a tainted pall on the festival’s future.

RECIPES INCLUDED

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Say Cheese for one last time. Seriously, I had tears in my eyes when I learned that this would be our last visit to Fromagerie Bessette. I absolutely love these characters and I will miss them dearly. Avery Aames pulls out all the stops and gives us a fabulous mystery to bring the series to a close.

Providence, Ohio is hosting their annual cheese festival. Food, music, plays and a “brain trust” for cheese makers, distributors, and journalists. The “brain trust” is being held at the Emerald Pastures Farm owned by Erin Emerald. She also has an inn where several of the participants are staying. One special surprise guest has been added to the group, Lara Berry, best selling author and food critic. She is not well liked by those who know her, her reviews have done damage throughout the industry. When she is found murdered there is no shortage of suspects but the prime one is Charlotte’s friend, Erin Emerald. Charlotte butts right into the investigation to prove her friend’s innocence.

All our favorite characters are back.  Charlotte and Jordan are settling in to their married life and doing their best to mesh their very busy schedules. Charlotte’s grandmother, the mayor, is involved in almost every aspect of the festival. Her grandfather is helping out at the cheese shop while Charlotte attends the brain trust with her new hubby. Matthew and Meredith are expecting and she has been put on complete bed rest.  Not an easy task for an active woman with 2 young girls in the house or the man trying to keep everything as normal as possible. Delilah and the police chief, Urso, have rekindled their relationship.  And then we have all the crazy characters in town for the festival and the brain trust.

A fantastic plot full of surprises carries these characters through the pages. Interspersed between the main plots and subplots there is plenty of cheese, both tasting and food created with cheese. You will find yourself drooling. I found myself so entranced by the story I felt like I was searching out clues along with Charlotte and could almost taste the delectable treats sprinkled throughout the entire story.

I didn’t want the story to end. I slowed down my reading and tried to savor each and every interaction and step the characters took.  I knew when I reached the final page there would be no more. No more Charlotte and Rebecca working together at the shop, no more Matthew picking out the perfect wine, no more Pépère sneaking pieces of cheese, no more Grand-mère and her magnificent plans for the city or the playhouse, no more Charlotte trying to get Urso to tell her things he shouldn’t, no more cheese and those amazing recipes, no more of so many things I am going to miss. I am greedy. I wanted more! The only good thing is that I will still be able to read what Avery Aames writes because she does have another series written as herself, Daryl Wood Gerber. The Cookbook Nook Mysteries are fun and fabulous too! So if like me and are saying good-bye to Charlotte and her family and friends, I hope you are saying hello to Jenna and everyone in Crystal Cove. Of course, if both series are new to you I highly recommend them all.

perfect 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author

Avery Aames is the Agatha Award–winning author of The Long Quiche Goodbye and six other titles in the Cheese Shop Mystery series. As Daryl Wood Gerber, she is the nationally bestselling author of  the Cookbook Nook Mysteries, including Fudging the Books, Stirring the Plot, Inherit the Word, and Final Sentence. Like her protagonist, Avery is an admitted foodie. Prior to writing, Avery (aka Daryl) acted on stage and television, including on Murder, She Wrote. Don’t forget to sign up for her fan club so you can be entered in all her contests! You’ll find that fan club on her website! Visit her website at www.darylwoodgerber.com.

Author Links

Blog: www.mysteryloverskitchen.com (Blog Wednesdays)

www.facebook.com/darylwoodgerber     www.pinterest/darylwoodgerber

www.twitter.com/darylwoodgerber     www.twitter.com/averyaames

www.goodreads/darylwoodgerber     www.goodreads/averyaames



GIVEAWAY

Penguin is giving away a copy of For Cheddar or Worse
and Avery is giving away copy of winner’s choice of CHEESE SHOP MYSTERY!!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

Leave a comment for Avery for 5 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End February 10, 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

Avery is also touring with
Great Escapes Book Tours this week!
Visit every stop for more reviews, recipes and giveaways

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Tour Participants
January 25 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review, Giveaway
January 26 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post, Giveaway
January 27 – Brooke Blogs – Review, Guest Post, Giveaway
January 28 – Mallory Heart Reviews – Review
January 29 – Griperang’s Bookmarks – Review, Giveaway
January 30 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review, Guest Post, Giveaway
January 31 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Review, Guest Post, Giveaway

Including this Great Grand Prize!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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 262016
 

sweet peppet heroSweet Pepper Hero: A Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mystery
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Tennessee
4th in Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
Published by Penguin Random House, LLC.
Release Date: January 5, 2016
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425279236
E-Book ASIN: B00W2ZKNZ8
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

Old rivalries heat up in the fourth Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade mystery from the national bestselling author of In Hot Water.

Fire chief Stella Griffin has been put in charge of judging the annual recipe contest, but Eric—her resident ghost and true culinary genius—has vanished. Before she can track down his latest haunt, she’s called in to investigate a local moonshine distillery that was set ablaze, making her realize there’s more than pies and cakes cooking in Sweet Pepper.

As rumors of a revived whiskey war ignite, Stella turns to the town’s elders to help her find answers. The past might have some clues as to what has sparked the present fires. But when following a lead lands her in buried rubble, Stella realizes she must extinguish this case fast or she might be going down in flames.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Is that a beautiful cover or what? Kudos to Mary Ann Lasher and George Long!

I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book. The authors left us with a cliffhanger at the end of In Hot Water and these characters are some of my all-time favorites. Chief Eric or his ghost is near and dear to my heart because he reminds me so much of my dad. The cliffhanger was resolved but not in a way I ever expected. Pretty dramatic but it had me laughing too.

Aside from the cliffhanger, in this installment, the police have orders from the ATF to investigate stills in the area. It seems that even today people are brewing moonshine illegally. When a still explodes and a man dies it is time for Stella to step in. Then when another still starts on fire along with the house it is hidden in, Stella starts to think it is not a coincidence so she starts her on investigation. But before she can even sort through the evidence she finds herself in peril.

I love the way Stella and Eric work together to solve the mystery. This story is filled with fires, explosions, whiskey wars and other drama. We also meet a few more ghosts that are nothing like Chief Eric. They have their own issues. More members of the community are joining the fire department and the fires and training sessions are quite interesting as all the personnel kinks are worked out.  But in my opinion fire dog Hero, lives up to his name and is the star of the story as the title implies. He is such a smart dog. with keen instincts. The people of Sweet Pepper are fortunate to have him as part of the brigade.

These authors continue to give us absolutely awesome stories time and time again. They can have us on the edge of our seat one moment, laughing out loud the next and even occasionally reaching for a tissue. So much happens in these pages that it truly boggles my mind and everything just flows right together perfectly. The ending was a real surprise and the teaser for the next book has me so anxious that waiting a year is just plain mean :)

Sweet Pepper, Tennessee is know for its peppers so of course there are recipes in the back of the book.

This is a great addition to this wonderful series! Start a fire (in your fireplace) and curl up with it as soon as you can.

perfect 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Authors

J. J. Cook is a pseudonym for a married couple who writes mysteries, mostly set in the South, with a touch of paranormal and romance.

Author Links:

Webpage       Facebook      Twitter

GIVEAWAY
Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 1 copy to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

This year I am trying to build my Twitter following so for this giveaway 4 Bonus Entries will be awarded by following me on Twitter. @dollycas

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 February 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.”

Jan 202016
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am pleased to welcome Bailey Cattrell to Escape With Dollycas today!

McRae_Cricket pic

 

Daisies For Innocence is first in the Enchanted Garden Mystery series and features Elliana Allbright, aromatherapist extraordinaire and owner of Scents & Nonsense. A thirty-something recent divorcee, Ellie has lived in Poppyville, California her entire life.

In fact, her great, great grandfather was one of the founders of the town – along with Pauline “Poppy” Thierry, the local madam in 1849. Originally settled in order to cater to the miners headed into the Sierra Nevada Mountains during the California Gold Rush, modern-day Poppyville is a tourist town chock full of Old West flavor and offering nearby hot springs, mountain biking, horseback riding, and fly fishing.

Ellie lives with Dash, her Pembroke Welsh corgi, in a super-efficient Tiny House at the back of the Scents & Nonsense property. The shop is guarded day and night by a Russian blue shorthair named Nabokov who regularly attracts clusters of blue butterflies when he ventures out to sun himself in the garden. By the end of the book, Ellie’s growing menagerie is joined by a beta fish named Leonard.

daisies for innocenceThe space between Ellie’s home and work is packed with garden beds connected by winding stone paths. There are seating areas and cozy alcoves interspersed with fairy houses, gnome doors and miniature tableaus tucked in surprising nooks and crannies. An etched boulder in the center of the space declares it The Enchanted Garden, and over time it has gained a reputation as a place for children to come explore the tiny “fairy” worlds while their parents have a cup of tea and nibble on the cookies Ellie’s best friend, Astrid Moneypenny, brings into the shop each morning.

However, the Enchanted Garden also provides the flowers and plants Ellie distills down into custom “perfumes” that do more than just smell good. She learned about plants and their essences from her gamma, who left behind a dog-eared but beautifully illustrated garden journal and an ancient, copper alembic. An alembic is a kind of still (think moonshine), but much smaller and used for distilling essential oils.

Her whole life, Ellie always had a fine-tuned sense of smell, which, combined with a natural ability to know how scents can help other people, uniquely qualifies her to create her special perfumes. When Astrid calls it a superpower, Ellie just laughs, but it turns out Astrid might be more right than Ellie realizes!

In Daisies For Innocence, Ellie’s part-time employee, Josie Overland, confesses that she has been dating Ellie’s ex-husband for a month or so. Ellie is surprised and worried at this news, as she doesn’t want Josie to get hurt the same way she did. But when she finds Josie dead on the boardwalk in front of Scents & Nonsense the next morning, she is unable to convince Detective Max Lang that she had no motive to kill Josie. After all, Max and Ellie’s ex, Harris, are best friends, and Harris has painted Ellie to be a jealous shrew.

Fortunately, Max’s partner, Detective Lupe Garcia is open to looking for other suspects. Unfortunately, Garcia’s new to town, and so it’s up to Ellie and Astrid to ferret out the real killer. Ellie also gets help from members of the Greenstockings, her women’s business group, and Ritter Nelson, an old high-school crush who is back in town visiting his sister.

And then there’s the mysterious plant that sprouted under the birdbath the same day Josie was killed – a plant that grows faster than anything Ellie has ever seen and that she can’t identify anywhere except in her gamma’s journal. As she looks into the life of a woman she thought she knew while hunting for her murderer, Ellie waits for the chance to distill the strange plant’s heady essence – and whatever memories it might bring – for herself.

The book includes a recipe for Astrid’s Chewy Double Chocolate Chunk Hazelnut Cookies, aromatherapy tips, and essential oil blends for things like relaxations and concentration. There’s also the first chapter of Brownies and Broomsticks, the first of the NYT bestselling Magical Bakery Mysteries that I write as Bailey Cates.

Next up? Spells and Scones, the sixth Magical Bakery mystery, will release in July, 2016, and I’m currently working on the second Enchanted Garden Mystery, Nightshade for Warning.
For more information about all my books, please visit www.baileycates.com, Like my page on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter.

~Bailey

daisies for innocenceDaisies For Innocence:
An Enchanted Garden Mystery

New Cozy Mystery Series
Setting – California
An Obsidian Mystery
Published by New American Library (January 5, 2016)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451476883
E-Book ASIN: B00W2ZKKM4
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Shop Indie Bookstores

From Bailey Cattrell—who writes the New York Times bestselling Magical Bakery Mysteries as Bailey Cates—comes the first Enchanted Garden Mystery featuring custom perfume maker Elliana Allbright…

The Enchanted Garden behind Elliana Allbright’s perfume shop draws people of all ages with its fragrant flowers and lush greenery. But when the magical serenity is interrupted, it’s up to Ellie to sniff out a killer.

Ellie’s life has blossomed in Poppyville, California, since she opened Scents & Nonsense, a custom-made-perfume store. Her skills with aromas and botanical essences—some from her very own garden—seem almost…supernatural. Her perfumes can evoke emotions,  bring about change, or simply make people happy. Customers are flocking to the store to buy her wares or just to sit in her beautiful garden, sip tea and enjoy homemade cookies.

But she smells trouble when she learns that her part-time assistant Josie is dating her ex. And before she can tell the young woman to beware of his charms, she finds Josie dead in the Enchanted Garden. Now the prime suspect in Josie’s murder, Ellie must search for the real culprit in Josie’s past—because it’ll take a miracle to nip this problem in the bud….

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Elliana Allbright has a fantastic place in Poppyville, California. At the front of her lot is Scents & Nonsense, her store, where she sells items scented from the flowers in her very own garden. The Enchanted Garden fills the side and back yards right up to the front of her tiny house. I can picture it so clearly in my mind with her bird bath and other whimsical touches surrounded by flowers that bloom all year. Even a few extra special varieties.

Ellie has a gift of matching the right scent to each person for any occasion and her Gamma’s journal is the guidebook to everything growing in the garden.  Everything is coming up roses until her friend and employee, Josie Overland, is pushing up daisies, dead in the garden. Not so enchanting.

The was a fun read. Because of the location of the body, Elliana is the prime suspect. One of the officers on the case is best friends with her ex so she knows she isn’t going to get much help there but his partner, Detective Lupe Garcia, has a more open mind and actually investigates. I liked that Ellie didn’t just jump into the investigation. She stayed in touch with Garcia and they shared infomation. We meet several unique characters throughout the book. Friends from her high school days, friends that Ellie made before her divorce and new friends since opening her store. Ellie shop also has a resident feline and she has a Welsh Corgi named Dash too.

The book started a little slow for me but soon I was fully engaged and stayed up until early in the morning  to finish. The mystery has its share of plot twists to keep readers guessing and I was surprised to learn I had picked the right culprit from the bunch.

I loved the aromatherapy theme and was thrilled to see the blends at the end of the story.

Bailey Cattrell has planted all the seeds to get this series off to a blooming start.

enjoyable 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent


Writing as Bailey Cates


Writing as Cricket McRae


GIVEAWAY

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

This year I am trying to build my Twitter following so for this giveaway 4 Bonus Entries will be awarded by following me on Twitter. @dollycas

Leave a comment for Miranda for 5 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End February 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.”

Jan 032016
 

g-gif-update (2)
AND GOOD RIDDANCE!

We all know personally 2015 was the worst year of my whole life, but I threw myself into this blog and the book tours.

In 2015, I read 196 books, 54165 pages, gave away 282 books, organized 168 book tours, and completed all but 1 of my challenges. It was a fantastic year in my virtual world.

Since I need this to qualify as my Challenge Wrap Up Post, this is how I did:

 

2015 Challenges

2015RC HowManyBooks-hostingI signed up at Level 2 – 150 books

My list is on GoodReads shelf here.

my read-2015 shelf:
LORI CASWELL's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read-2015 shelf)

alphabet 2015A. All The President’s Menus by Julie Hyzy
B. BIG MOJO by Jack Getze
C. Crash & Burn by Lisa Gardner
D. Devil in the Deadline by LynDee Walker
E. An Early Wake by Sheila Connolly
F. Feta Attraction by Susannah Hardy
G. Garden of Death by Chrystle Fiedler
H. How to Catch A Cat by Rebecca M. Hale
I. In Hot Water by J.J. Cook
J. The Jesus Cow by Michael Perry
K. A Killer Retreat by Tracy Weber
L. Lie of the Needle by Cate Price
M. Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule by Jennifr Chiaverini
N. New Uses For Old Boyfriends by Beth Kendrick
O. One Garish Ghost & Blueberry Peach Jam by Jennifer Fischetto
P. Passing Through Perfect by Bette Lee Crosby
Q. To Quiet in Brooklyn by Susan Russo Anderson
R. A Root Awakening by Kate Collins
S. A Seamless Murder by Melissa Bourbon
T. Tales From Suburbia by Brandi Haas
U. Under the Cajun Moon by Mindy Starns Clark
V. Visions of Sugarplums by Jennifer Blake
W. Wedding Duress by Elizabeth Lynn Casey
X. X Out of Wonderland by David Allan Cates
Y. Yarned and Dangerous by Sadie Hartwell
Z. The Alpine Zen by Mary Daheim

just for fun 2015JanuaryApple Turnover Murder by Joanne Fluke
February – Book Fair and Foul by Erika Chase
March – The Body in the Boudoir by Katherine Page Hall
April – Almost Always by Bobbi Reed
May – The Body in the Piazza
June – Devil’s Food Cake Murder by Joanna Fluke
July – Death is Like A Box of Chocolates by Kathy Aarons
August – The Corpse With the Platinum Hair by Cathy Ace
September – For Whom The Blue Bell Tolls by Beverly Allen
October – Farewell, Dorothy Parker by Ellen Meister
November – Mrs. Kaplan and the Matzoh Ball of Death by Mark Reutlinger
December – Snow Way Out by Christine Husom

ANIMAL READING CHALLENGE

 1. A Killer Retreat by Tracy Weber
2. Kill ’em With Cayenne by Gail Oust
3. Kelly’s Koffee Shop by Dianne Harman
4. Fry Another Day by J.J. Cook
5. Romeow and Juliet by Kathi Daley
6. Lie of the Needle by Cate Price
7. Arsenic and Old Books by Miranda James
8. License to Dill by Mary Ellen Hughes
9. The Mad Catter by Kathi Daley
10. How to Catch A Cat by Rebecca M. Hale
11. Denim in Demise by Duffy Brown
12. Hot Fudge Frame Up by Christine DeSmet
13. Seven Threadly Sins by Janet Bolin
or more.

Challenge Completed April 22, 2015

Cruisinchatting cozies
1. In Hot Water by J.J. Cook
2. Feta Attraction by Susannah Hardy
3. All The President’s Menus by Julie Hyzy
4. A Killer Retreat by Tracy Weber
5. Devil in the Deadline by LynDee Walker
6. Kill ’em With Cayenne by Gail Oust
7. One Garish Ghost & Blueberry Peach Jam by Jennifer Fischetto
8. A Seamless Murder by Melissa Bourban
9. As Gouda As Dead by Avery Aames
10. Kelly’s Koffee Shop by Dianne Harman
11. Cunning Cruise Ship Caper by Sally Carpenter
12. Fry Another Day by J.J. Cook
13. Dead Man Walker by Duffy Brown
14. A Root Awakening by Kate Collins
15. Criminal Confections by Colette London
16. Death and The Redheaded Woman by Loretta Ross
17. This Old Homicide by Kate Carlisle
18. Romeow and Juliet by Kathi Daley
19. Lie of the Needle by Cate Price
20. Arsenic and Old Books by Miranda James

21. Drawing Conclusions by Deirdre Verne
22. The Deep End By Julie Mulhern
23. License to Dill by Mary Ellen Hughes
24. Dang Near Dead by Nancy G. West
25. An Early Wake by Sheila Connolly
26. A Suspendered Sentence by Laura Bradford
27. Murder with Fried Chicken and Waffles by A.L. Herbert
28. Flamenco, Flan, and Fatalities by Mary McHugh
29. Deadlines by E. Hepner
30. The Mad Catter by Kathi Daley
31. Too Cute To Kill by Linda Crowder
32. Main Street Murder by Linda Crowder
33. How to Catch A Cat by Rebecca M. Hale
34. Garden of Death by Chrystle Fiedler
35. Denim in Demise by Duffy Brown
36. Wedding Duress by Elizabeth Lynn Casey
37. Ladle to the Grave by Connie Archer
38. Bridges Burned By Annette Dashofy
39. Hot Fudge Frame Up by Christine DeSmet
40. Dark Chocolate Demise by Jenn McKinlay
41. Seven Threadly Sins by Janet Bolin
42. Lemon Pies and Little White Lies by Ellery Adams
43. Slayed on the Slopes by Kate Dyer Seeley
44. Musseled Out by Barbara Ross
45. Oh Say You Can Your Fudge by Nancy Coco
46. The Final Reveille by Annette Dashofy
47. Deadly Desires at Homey Church Hall by Hannah Dennison
48. The Body in the Birches by Katherine Hall Page
49. Bite the Biscuit by Linda O. Johnston
50.  The Alpine Zen by Mary Daheim
51. The Diva Steals a Chocolate Kiss by Krista Davis

52. Bubba Done It by Maggie Toussaint
53. A Wee Murder in my Shop by Fran Stewart
54. The Book Stops Here by Kate Carisle
55. Purl Up and Die by Maggie Sefton
56. Death at Timberly by Maithili Pradhan
57. Smothered, Covered and Dead by Liz Lipperman
58. A Fatal Chapter by Lorna Barrett
59. A Bushel Full of Murder by Paige Shelton
60. A Finely Knit Murder by Sally Goldenbaum
61. Dressed to Kill by Lynn Cahoon
62. Justice For Katie by Linda Crowder
63. A Season for Killing Blondes by Joanne Guidoccio
64. Murder at Beechwood by Alyssa Maxwell
65. Fatal Reservations by Lucy Burdette
66. Grace Cries Uncle by Julie Hyzy
67. Butter Off Dead by Leslie Budewitz
68. Fatal Fairies by Joyce and Jim Lavene
69. The Royal Assassin by Kate Parker
70. Peaches and Screams by Susan Furlong
72. Hooked on Ewe by Hannah Reed
73. Death by Didgeridoo by Barbara Venkataraman
74. The Case of the Killer Divorce by Barbara Venkataraman
75. Peril in the Park by Barbara Venkataraman
76. Caught Read-Handed by Terrie Farley Moran
77. Trawling For Trouble by Shelley Freydont
78. The Karma of King Harald by Richard Audry
79. King Harald’s Heist by Richard Audry
80. Fudging the Books by Daryl Wood Gerber
81. The Musubi Murder by Frankie Bow
82. Give Em Pumpkin To Talk About by Joyce and Jim Lavene
83. Fool Me Once by Steven Hockensmith
85. Seniors Sleuth by J.J. Chow
86. Dream A Little Scram by Mary Kennedy
87. Murder in the Paperback Parlor by Ellery Adams
88. Under the Cajun Moon by Mindy Starns Clark
89. Better Homes and Corpses by Kathleen Bridge
90. A Desperate Homecoming by Anna Loan Wilsey
91. Under the Cajun Moon by Mindy Starns Clark
92. Better Homes and Corpses by Kathleen Bridge
93. A Deceptive Homecoming By Anna Loan Wilsey
94. Revenge of the Chili Queens by Kylie Logan
95. Murder on the Horizon by M.L. Rowland
96. If Onions Could Spring Leeks by Paige Shelton
97. Basket Case by Nancy Haddock
98. Truffled to Death by Kathy Aarons
99. Black Cat Crossing by Kay Finch
100. Cancans, Croissants and Caskets by Mary McHugh
Challenge Completed 9/16/2015
101. Law and Author by Erika Chase
102. Threads of Evidence by Lea Wait
103. Move Your Blooming Corpse by D.E. Ireland
104. – The Cracked Spine by Paige Shelton
105. Mission to Kill by Lizbeth Lipperman
106. Looking for Mr. Good Witch by Joyce and Jim Lavene
107. Plantation Shudders by Ellen Bryon
108. Floral Depravity by Beverly Allen
109. Mission Impastable by Sharon Arthur Moore
110. Guaranteed to Bleed by Julie Mulhern
111. Heroes and Hooligans by Amy Metz
112. Murder Plainly Read by Isabella Alan
113. The Skeleton Haunts the House by Leigh Perry
114. Trick or Deadly Treat by Livia J. Washburn
115. The Corpse with the Sapphire Eyes by Cathy Ace
116. Florist Grump by Kate Collins
117. Short and Tall Tales in Goose Pimple Junction by Amy Metz
118. Flipped for Murder by Maddie Day
119. Olive and Let Die by Sussanah Hardy
120. Death Changes Everything by Linda Crowder
121. Trimmed for Murder by Sally Goldenbaum
122. Miss Ruffles Inherits Everything by Nancy Martin
123. Stabbing in the Senate by Colleen J. Shogun
124. Dead Tease by Victoria Houston
125. Mrs. Kaplan and the Matzoh Ball of Death by Mark Reutlinger
126. A Pain in the Tuchis by Mark Reutlinger
127. Dead to the Last Drop by Cleo Coyle
128. Sweetheart Deal by Linda Joffe Hull
129. Writing All Wrongs by Ellery Adams
130. Cover Shot by LynDee Walker
131. Murder Most Howl by Krista Davis
132. Smart, But Dead by Nancy G. West
133. Bun For Your Life by Karoline Barrett
134. To Brew or Not To Brew by Joyce Tremel
135. Yarned and Dangerous by Sadie Hartwell
136. Murder Fir Christmas by Joyce and Jim Lavene
137. The Conspiring Woman by Kate Parker
138. Dorothy Parker Drank Here by Ellen Meister
139. Engaged in Murder by Barbara Venkataraman
140. Here Today, Gone Tamale by Rebecca Adler
141. A Christmas Mourning by Laura Bradford
142. Rest Ye Murdered Gentkeman by Vicki Delany
Finishing the Series
1. The Body in the Boudior  – The Body in the PiazzaThe Body in the Birches by Katherine Hall Page
2. Too Cute to Kill and Main Street Murder – Justice for Katie – Death Changes Everything by Linda Crowder

where are you reading

1. Tennessee
2. New York
3. Alabama
4. District of Columbia
5. New Jersey
6. Washington
7. New Hampshire
8. Virginia
9. Georgia
10. Minnesota
11. Texas
12. Ohio
13. Oregon
14. Missouri
15. Delaware
16. Indiana
17. Mississippi
18. Pennsylvania
19. Maryland
20. California
21. Wyoming
22. South Carolina
23. Vermont
24. Wisconsin
25. Arizona
26. Connecticut
27. Maine
28. Michigan
29. Iowa
30. Colorado
31. Montana
32. Kentucky
33. Massachusetts
34. Rhode Island
35. Florida
36. Hawaii
37. Louisiana
38. North Carolina
39. Nevada
40. Arkansas
41. South Dakota

Abroad
1. Ireland
2. Spain
3. Italy
4. Amazon Rainforest
5. England
6. Ontario, Canada
7. France
8. Scotland
9. Wales
10. Mexico

literary road trip 2012
1. Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule by Jennifer Chiaverini (Wisconsin Author)
2. License to Dill by Mary Ellen Hughes  (Wisconsin Author)
3. Hot Fudge Frame Up by Christine DeSmet (Wisconsin Author & Setting)
4. The Jesus Cow by Michael Perry (Wisconsin Author & Setting)
5. Hooked on Ewe by Hannah Reed (Wisconsin Author)
6. Lost in America by Laura Fitzferald (Wisconsin Author)
7. Death on the Prairie by Kathleen Ernst (Wisconsin Author)
8. Christmas Bells by Jennifer Chiaverini (Wisconsin Author) 
9. Trimmed for Murder by Sally Goldenbaum (Wisconsin Author)
10. Dead Tease by Victoria Houston (Wisconsin Author) (Wisconsin Setting)

ebookreadingchallenge
1. Tales From Suburbia by Brandi Haas
2. BIG MOJO by Jack Getze
3. A Killer Retreat by Tracy Weber
4. Crash & Burn by Lisa Gardner
5. Devil in the Deadline by LynDee Walker
6. One Garish Ghost & Blueberry Peach Jam by Jennifer Fischetto
7. Kelly’s Koffee Shop by Dianne Harman
8. Cunning Cruise Ship Caper by Sally Carpenter
9. Dead Man Walker by Duffy Brown
10. Criminal Confections by Colette London
11. Death and The Redheaded Woman by Loretta Ross
12. Drawing Conclusions by Deirdre Verne
13. The Deep End By Julie Mulhern
14. Dang Near Dead by Nancy G. West
15. Flamenco, Flan, and Fatalities by Mary McHugh
16. Too Cute To Kill by Linda Crowder
17. Main Street Murder by Linda Crowder
18. The Glassblower’s Wife by Joanna Campbell Slan
19. Bridges Burned By Annette Dashofy
20. The Denim Blue Sea by Joanne DeMaio
21. The Body in the Birches by Katherine Hall Page
22. Deadly Desires at Homey Church Hall by Hannah Dennison
23. A Far Gone Night by John Carnen
24. Dying Brand by Wendy Tyson
25. Bite the Biscuit by Linda O. Johnston
Challenge Complete May 13, 2015 but going to try for the next level of 50.
26. To Quiet in Brooklyn by Susan Russo Anderson  
27. Southern Heat by David Burnsworth
28. When the Balls Drop by Brad Garrett
29. Death at Timberly by Maithili Pradhan
30. Let Me Die In His Footsteps by Lori Roy
31. Smothered, Covered and Dead by Liz Lipperman
32. Dressed to Kill by Lynn Cahoon
33. Justice For Katie by Linda Crowder
34. A Season for Killing Blondes by Joanne Guidoccio
35. Somebody I Used to Know by David Bell
36. Fatal Fairies by Joyce and Jim Lavene
37. Death by Didgeridoo by Barbara Venkataraman
38. The Case of the Killer Divorce by Barbara Venkataraman
39. Peril in the Park by Barbara Venkataraman
40. Trawling For Trouble by Shelley Freydont
41. The Musubi Murder by Frankie Bow
42. Give Em Pumpkin To Talk About by Joyce and Jim Lavene
43. Fool Me Once by Steven Hockensmith
44. Zachary’s Choice by Susie Labonte
45. The Paris Key by Juliet Blackwell
46. The Reckoning Stones by Laura DiSilverio
47. Cancans, Croissants and Caskets by Mary McHugh
48. Lost in America by Laura Fitzferald
49. The Brooklyn Drop by Susan Russo Anderson
50. Move Your Blooming Corpse by D.E. Ireland
Challenge Completed 9/24/2015
51. Mission to Kill by Lizbeth Lipperman
52. Death on the Prairie by Kathleen Ernst
53. Guaranteed to Bleed by Julie Mulhern
54. Heroes and Hooligans by Amy Metz
55. The Corpse with the Sapphire Eyes by Cathy Ace
56. Short and Tall Tales in Goose Pimple Junction by Amy Metz
57. Death Changes Everything by Linda Crowder
58. Dead Tease by Victoria Houston
59. Mrs. Kaplan and the Matzoh Ball of Death by Mark Reutlinger
60. A Pain in the Tuchis by Mark Reutlinger
61. Sweetheart Deal by Linda Joffe Hull
62. Cover Shot by LynDee Walker
63. Snow Deer and Cocoa Cheer by Joanne DeMaio
64. Smart, But Dead by Nancy G. West
65. Bun For Your Life by Karoline Barrett
66. Yarned and Dangerous by Sadie Hartwell
67. Murder Fir Christmas by Joyce and Jim Lavene
68. The Rise of The Red Queen by Borne Morris
69. Dorothy Parker Drank Here by Ellen Meister70. Engaged in Murder by Barbara Venkataraman
70. Revenge of the Sea by Jesse Giles Christiansen
71. A Christmas Mourning by Laura Bradford
72. Tis the Season by Sharon Pape
72. Visions of Sugarplums by Jennifer Blake

Wow, that is a lot of books! Most are linked to my reviews. I completed all but the Where Are You Reading? Challenge. 41 states, not too bad, maybe in 2016 I will visit them all.

How did you do this year? Books read? Challenges completed? Please share!!

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Dec 262015
 

challenges
It’s that time of year, wrapping up this year’s Reading Challenges and planning for next year’s Reading Challenges.

I keep track of all my challenges on the Reading Challenges Page here on my blog but most challenges do not require a blog. You can keep track on spreadsheet or word document. You can also set up separate bookshelves for each challenge on GoodReads. The important thing is to read books you enjoy and sometimes challenges give us the push we need. This post is about the new 2016 Challenges. I will post a wrap up of my 2015 in early January.

I have already posted about the Challenges I am hosting.

Craving For Cozies Challenge 2016 and the 2016 Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge.

472 goodreadsSince 2011 I have participated in and completed the GoodReads Reading Challenge. The link for signing up with be posted on GoodReads soon, usually January 1.

You Read How Many Books

The 2016 You Read How Many Books Challenge is now being hosted by The Crafty Engineer’s Bookshelf, It is for people who read more than 100 books a year.

Choose a Level
Level 1: 100 minimum
Level 2: 150
Level 3: 200
Level 4: 250 or more

I almost made it to 200 books this year which really surprised me, so I am signing up for Level 3 for 2016.

Just click here for more details and to sign up.

 

pages read

The Crafty Engineer’s Bookshelf is also hosting 2016 Pages Read Challenge.  This is a new challenge for me.

Choose a Level
Level 1: 13,000 pages read
Level 2: 26,000 pages read
Level 3: 52,000 pages read
Level 4: 78,000 pages read
Level 5: 104,000 pages read

I am going to strive for Level 3.

Just click here for more details and to sign up.

ebook16

Annette’s Book Spot is again hosting the E-Book Reading Challenge.

Levels:

1. Bits – 5 ebooks
2. Bytes – 10 ebooks
3. Megabytes – 25 ebooks
4. Gigabytes – 50 ebooks
5. Terabytes – 75 ebooks
6. Empty the Cloud – 100 ebooks

I signed up for Level 4 – Gigabytes this year and am amazed that I almost reached Level 5 – Terabytes. So I can going to attempt the Terabytes level in 2016.

Click here for more details and to sign up.

cozychallenge2016

Even though I am hosting my own Cozy reading challenge I will still be taking part in the Cruisin’ Thru The Cozies Reading Challenge 2016 hosted by Yvonne at Socrates Book Reviews. I have taken part in this one since she started it back in 2010.

Choose the level you wish to participate:

Level 1 – Snoop – Read at least 6 books
Level 2 – Investigator – Read 7-12 books
Level 3 – Super Sleuth – Read 13-20 books
Level 4 – Sleuth Extraordinaire – Read 21 or more books

I will be signing up at the Sleuth Extraordinaire level.

Click here for more details and to sign up.

What an animal ixSocrates Book Reviews also hosts the What An Animal IX Reading Challenge. Animals and cozy mysteries seem to go hand in hand.

Level 1 – Read at least 6 books
Level 2 – Read 7-12
Level 3 – Read 13-20
Level 4 – Read 21 or more

I am signing up for Level 4 this year.

Click here for more details and to sign up.

craftycozychallenge1

This is a new challenge. The Crafty Cozy Challenge is hosted by Books Are Life – Vita Libri.

There are no levels for this tour. I can’t wait to see how many I read that fit the category. I am starting out with a goal of 25.

Click here for more details and to sign up.

cloak and dagger

It has been a few years since I have participated in a general mystery/thriller challenge. This challenge is hosted by Books, Movies, Reviews. Oh my! and Booker T’s Farm. I have plenty of books on my shelf to choose from. For me this will be a non-cozy challenge.

Levels:

1-10 books – Amateur Sleuth
11-20 books – Detective
21-30 books – Inspector
31+ books – Special agent

I am signing up at the Detective Level.

Click here for more details and to sign up.

Final 2 Large

Bea’s Book Nook has taken over hosting this challenge. The Finishing the Series Challenge pushes me to catch up on my favorite series but I set some extra rules for myself. I have to be 2 or more books behind in the series. That is why I only commit to finishing just 2 series each year.

Level 1 (Novice series reader) – Complete 1 series.
Level 2 (Testing the waters) – Complete 2 -4 series.
Level 3 (Experienced) – Complete 3 – 6 series.
Level 4 (Expert series reader) – Complete 7 or more series.

Click here for more details and to sign up.

TBR CHALLENGE

This year I will not be hosting the Just For Fun Reading Challenge but I want to try to read more books from my huge TBR (To Be Read) stacks. This is a perfect challenge to help me. The 2016 TBR Pile Reading Challenge is hosted by Bookish Lifestyle. They also have a book club as an optional add to this challenge.

How many books are you planning to read for this challenge?
1-10 A Firm Handshake
11-20 A Friendly Hug
21-30 First Kiss
31-40 Sweet Summer Fling
41-50 Could This Be Love?
50+ Married with Children

I am going to try to reach First Kiss level.

Click here for more details and to sign up.

literary road trip 2012

I challenge myself personally each year to read 10 books written by or books set in my home state of Wisconsin. You can do your own personal challenge to read books from your home state too.
Reading Challenge Addict
By my count that is 13 Challenges when you add the 2 I am hosting. So yes I am a Reading Challenge Addict. This year Bev from My Reader’s Block is one with a HUGE problem and the current author and caretaker of the challenge that was previously hosted by Cheryl at CMash Loves to Read and then Gina at Hott Books.  We each can stand proudly and say,

I am a Reading Challenge Addict.

How addicted are you?

  • Easy as Pie: 1-5 Challenges (Entered & Completed)
  • On the Roof: 6-10 Challenges (Entered & Completed)
  • In Flight: 11-15 Challenges (Entered & Completed)
  • Out of This World: 16+ Challenges (Entered & Completed)

__________________

There is still one challenge I hope to add and that is the Where Are Reading Challenge hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. Sheila lost her son in a car accident not long after my Kris took his life. I am not sure if she is going to host in 2016. If she doesn’t it will be a personal challenge for me. That would keep me still in the In-Flight level.

Looks like I will have a very busy year ahead with so many great books to read.

Remember you do NOT need a blog to enter these challenges. Just sign up and read and have fun. Start with just 1. Be careful, as you can see they are quite addicting!!

Come back and tell me about the ones you join and let me know of others you find. If the ones above aren’t for you, head over to A Novel Challenge. They are featuring many more.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

May 132015
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!!

I am excited to tell you about Linda’s new series as part of her Great Escapes Book Tour!

Why a Barkery?

by Linda O. Johnston

linda o johnstonMy new Barkery & Biscuits Mystery series has now started.  The first book is Bite the Biscuit, and it was released in early May.

In the series, protagonist Carrie Kennersly is a veterinary technician who also gets to realize her dream of becoming an entrepreneur.  Her good friend Brenda Anesco has to sell her bakery, Icing on the Cake, and move away because her mother is ill.  Carrie buys it from her and converts half of Icing into Barkery and Biscuits, a store that sells handmade dog treats made from healthy recipes Carrie developed for patients as a vet tech.

Lots of people enjoy cozy mysteries where the background theme involves cooking and food.  People also enjoy cozies that focus on animals.  I’m hoping that people have fun with my Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries, which have both.

When I first came up with the hint of an idea for this series a couple of years ago, I was aware that there was an emerging industry of small shops that catered to home-cooked meals and treats for pets but it wasn’t very popular–then.

23364540Now it’s a different story.  In my area of Los Angeles, for example, such kinds of stores, often chain stores, keep opening.  In some, the employees are the cooks and bakers as well as sales help, using stoves and ovens and more to create the foods right there.  In others, the employees sell to customers boxes, bags and other containers of food and treats that are made locally with the best of ingredients and then sent to stores for sale.

I buy samples most places I visit.  But I’m limited on what I get and give to our dogs, Lexie and Mystie.  They both have health issues.  Mystie is on prescription dog food and Lexie has a somewhat limited diet.  Yes, I understand that the kinds of healthy things that these stores sell and that Carrie comes up with might be good for both of them.  But they’re each doing okay in their own ways and I’m concerned about rocking that particular boat.  So, I don’t intend to change their diets now.

I don’t even mention the possibility of such amazing diets to Lexie and Mystie.  They already give me enough orders that involve providing them treats I know are okay for them.  And also don’t tell Mystie, but Lexie sometimes does get fun new treats from some of those stores,  as long as they’re limited in number and content.

In the meantime, Carrie’s dog Biscuit gets to hang out in the Barkery and sample all the wonderful dog treats.  I hope she doesn’t tell Lexie and Mystie, either.

And it’s certainly fun to write about the Barkery.  I hope you enjoy reading about it!

~Linda

 

23364540Bite the Biscuit
(A Barkery & Biscuits Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
New Series
Setting – California
Publisher: Midnight Ink (May 8, 2015)
Paperback: 312 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738745039
E-Book ASIN: B00VXK6CTY
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Carrie Kennersly, a veterinary technician, has become known for offering healthy and popular dog treats at the clinic where she works. When the local bakery’s owner moves away, Carrie jumps at the chance to convert it into the Barkery, a shop to make and sell her canine delights.

But Myra Ethman, co-owner of another pet product store, hates the new competition. At the Barkery’s opening party, she badmouths Carrie’s homemade dog biscuits, insisting she’ll find a way to shut the place down. So when Myra is found dead with a Barkery biscuit beside her, Carrie must prove she didn’t do it before she’s collared for murder.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Linda O. Johnston loves her pets and that truly shines through in her writing. In Bite the Biscuit she introduces us to Carrie Kennersly who has so much energy it is absolutely amazing. She works at a local veterinary clinic as a tech and has just bought a local bakery and added on to include a “barkery” where she bakes and sells yummy treats for dogs. Her own dog, Biscuit, goes almost everywhere with her. She is at her shop by 5 a.m. each morning baking and her day continues on in her store until it is time for her to work at the clinic and then she goes back to close up her shop. She did inherit 2 assistants when she purchased the bakery but she enjoys doing both things and plans to continue that as long as she can.

Her grand reopening is all set and people are showing up in droves, including the owners of a local pet supply store, her closest competition. Myra Ethman owns the store with her husband and she doesn’t make a quiet entrance. She is bad mouthing Carrie’s treats to everyone and threatening to put the new barkery out of business. She and Carrie exchange a few heated words but Carrie is not about to let one cranky customer ruin her day. But it does ruin the next day and week when Myra is found dead and the police are trying to find enough evidence to collar Carrie for the crime. So now Carrie’s busy days also have to include time for snooping, sleuthing and solving the mystery of who made Myra Bite the Biscuit .

This was a fun story with some very entertaining characters both 2 and 4 legged. We not only meet Carrie and her store clerks, we also meet her brother, Neal, Dr. Arvus Kline, the vet that helped Carrie buy her bakery/barkery, and Dr. Reed Storme and his dog Hugo, plus many more.

The mystery was very well written as well. Myra wasn’t the most liked woman around town so there were plenary of suspects. I saw where the story was headed  and was still surprised by the way things actually played out in the end.

The author also includes some doggy treat recipe in the back of the book too.

This is a great start for this new series!

just you and a friend4 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author

Linda O. Johnston’s first published fiction appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and won the Robert L. Fish Memorial Award for Best First Mystery Short Story of the year. Since then, Linda, a former lawyer who is now a full-time writer, has published more short stories, novellas, and 38 romance and mystery novels, including the Pet Rescue Mystery Series, a spinoff from her Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime, and Harlequin Romantic Suspense as well as the Alpha Force paranormal romance miniseries for Harlequin Nocturne. She additionally writes the Superstition Mysteries for Midnight Ink.

Her latest cozy mystery series, the Barkery and Biscuits Mysteries also from Midnight Ink, kicks off in May with BITE THE BISCUIT.

 

Author Links:

Webpage: www.LindaOJohnston.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LindaOJohnston

GIVEAWAY

a Rafflecopter giveaway

bite the biscuit large banner640

Praise for Bite The Biscuit
Bite The Biscuit by Linda O. Johnston is a pawsitivly fantastic read for anyone who loves well written cozy mysteries where it isn’t easy to figure out who-dun-it!
~WV Stitcher

Linda has done it again. She has created a captivating cozy with great characters who truly love animals.
~Melina’s Book Blog

It ‘s full of interesting and fun characters, cute animals, there’s quite a mystery to solve, and also an interesting relationship almost love.
~LibriAmoriMiei

I loved this adventure and mystery. I have loved every book written by Ms. Johnston she is really a great writer…
~Community Bookstop

 

Be sure to check out the other tour stops!!
Tour Participants

May 8 – WV Stitcher – Review
May 9 – Deal Sharing Aunt – Interview
May 10 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review, Guest Post
May 10 – LibriAmoriMiei – Review
May 11 – Community Bookstop – Review
May 12 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post
May 13 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Cozy Wednesday
May 14 – Musings and Ramblings – Review, Guest Post
May 15 – Christa Reads and Writes – Review
May 16 – readalot – Review
May16 – Laura’s Interests – Review
May 17 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Review, Interview
May 18 – Bea’s Book Nook – Review
May 18 – View from the Birdhouse – Review
May 19 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – Review, Interview
May 20 – Socrates Book Reviews – Review
May 21 – dru’s book musings – Guest Post

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.”

May 102015
 

southern heat large banner640

Southern Heat
by David Burnsworth

I am excited to share this book with you today!!

SouthernHeatFrontSouthern Heat
Setting – South Carolina
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Five Star; first edition (February 19, 2014)
ISBN-13: 978-1432828004
E-Book ASIN: B00IF9FAKS
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Synopsis:
Gunshots echo down an antebellum Charleston alley. Brack Pelton, an ex-racecar driver and Afghanistan War veteran, witnesses the murder of his uncle, Reggie Sails. Darcy Wells, the pretty Palmetto Pulse reporter, investigates Reggie’s murder and targets Brack.

The sole heir of his uncle’s estate, Brack receives a rundown bar called the Pirate’s Cove, a rotting beach house, and one hundred acres of preserved and valuable wetland along the Ashley River. A member of Charleston’s wealthiest and oldest families offers Brack four million dollars for the land. All Brack wants is his uncle’s killer.

From the sandy beaches of Isle of Palms, through the nineteenth-century mansions lining the historic Battery, to the marshlands surrounding the county, Southern Heat is drenched in the humidity of the lowcountry.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I am just amazed that this was David Burnsworth first novel. He credits several people for helping him polish it for publication but let me tell you this is an author to watch!

Action starts on page 1 when Brack Pelton finds his uncle shot in an alley and takes us  to the best and worst parts of Charleston as he tries out who pulled the trigger and why. The story continues to be very fast paced and my Kindle’s pages were flying and then I ran out of power. I tried plugging it is to keep reading but the machine wouldn’t cooperate so I downloaded it to Mr. Dollycas’s Kindle so I could keep reading and stayed up reading until I reached the end.

His characters were so vividly written. From Brack to Brother Thomas, Mutt, Darcy, Detective Wilson and even a 50 pound mixed breed Dog named Shelby, I could picture them all in my mind and was totally engaged.  The bad guys as well as the good were perfectly described and Burnsworth writes in such a way that the details just naturally flow without becoming too wordy.  The plot flowed easily as well. A really great balance is achieved and that can be very difficult.

My favorite character was easily Brack. He has been through so much already in his life and even when he wants to give up he finds ways to keep going.

It is usually hard to give a debut novel 5 stars because as a reader I have set the bar high then for their next book, but this story is definitely worth a 5 stars. It has been more than a year since this book was released so I hope the author releases a new one very soon. I am anxiously waiting!!

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

db-photo
About This Author

David Burnsworth became fascinated with the Deep South at a young age. After a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Tennessee and fifteen years in the corporate world, he made the decision to write a novel. Southern Heat is his first mystery. Having lived in Charleston on Sullivan’s Island for five years, the setting was a foregone conclusion. He and his wife along with their dog call South Carolina home.

Author Links:

www.davidburnsworthbooks.com,

https://www.facebook.com/BurnsworthDavid, https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7229192.David_Burnsworth?from_search=true,

https://twitter.com/DavidBurnsworth

Be sure to visit the other stops on this tour!
Tour Participants

May 6 – A Blue Million Books – Interview
May 7 – readalot – Review
May 8 – Tea and A Book – Review, Guest Post
May 9 – Mystery Playground – Interview, E-Book Giveaway
May 10 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Review
May 11 – fuonlyknew – Review, Print Giveaway
May 12 – Lori’s Reading Corner – Guest Post, Print Giveaway
May 13 – Omnimystery News – Guest Post
May 14 – View from the Birdhouse – Review
May 15 – Brooke Blogs – Review, E-Book Giveaway

Giveaways as shown

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.”

May 062015
 

oh say can you fudge large banner640

Oh Say Can You Fudge
by Nancy Coco

ON SAY CAN YOU FUDGEOh Say Can You Fudge
(A Candy-coated Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Michigan
Publisher: Kensington (April 28, 2015)
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0758287144
E-Book ASIN: B00ONTR4U8
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Allie McMurphy is busy making yummy fudge for the summer holiday–until murder gives her something else to chew on. . .

Red, White, And Boom

It’s not Fourth of July on Mackinac Island without fireworks and fudge. The Historic McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop is supplying the treats–and Allie has hired Rodney Rivers, the biggest name in aerial displays, to create an unforgettable spectacle. Unfortunately, Allie finds him dead, covered with screaming chicken fireworks, just before the entire warehouse of pyrotechnics goes up in smoke. Is it arson or is it murder? Allie and her bichonpoo, Mal, must sift through the suspects until the killer is caught and the island can enjoy a star-spangled celebration.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I love big fireworks celebrations because the 4th of July is just 3 days after my birthday. We usually take in 3 or more shows around that time. Of course attending 3 on Mackinac Island with FUDGE would be perfect sans the dead bodies of course.

This time Nancy Coco has really given protag Allie McMurphy a lot to do. She is not only running the McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop and trying to come up with the perfect Red, White and Blue fudge recipe, but she is also in charge of making the 3 fireworks shows go off without a hitch. Her plan goes horribly awry when the pyro – technician she hired is found dead and the whole batch of fireworks explodes in the warehouse. Of course, the celebration committee hold her responsible and expects her to find more fireworks and someone to set them off with only a few days until the 4th. She also is hot on trail trying to catch the person that blew up her whole part of the celebration. Independence Day takes on a whole new meaning as everything she loves could be in danger due to her sticking her nose into the investigation.

I really enjoy my virtual trips to Mackinac Island and visiting Allie, Jenn, Frances, Mr. Devaney, Trent and all the rest of its residents. Allie’s puppy Mal always makes me smile. Coco puts several of them in danger this time and that made my heart beat just a little faster. There is also a dash of humor and bit of romance to round of this entertaining story.

This series and the Fudge Shop Mysteries by Christine DeSmet are very similar with fudge shops located in tourist attraction spots. They both have great characters and fine mysteries. If you like one be sure to try the other.

just you and a friend4 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

nancy

About This Author

Best known for writing plucky heroines Nancy Coco AKA Nancy J. Parra has 15 books published-

Most recently Nancy has three cozy mystery book series going.
Gluten for Punishment and Murder Gone A-Rye are both part of the Gluten Free Baker’s Treat Mystery series. (Berkley Prime Crime)
All Fudge Up and To Fudge or Not To Fudge are part of the Candy Coated Mystery series (Kensington) -which Nancy writes as Nancy Coco
Then there is Engaged in Murder- the first in the Perfect Proposal series from Berkley Prime Crime.

All Fudged Up was Nancy’s first National Best seller.

Author Links:

http://www.nancyjparra.com/
https://www.facebook.com/nancyjparraauthor
@nancyjparra

GIVEAWAY

a Rafflecopter giveaway

More Praise For Oh Say Can You Fudge

Very fast paced with lots of clues to keep the reader guessing. I was eager to turn each page to see what happened next. The reveal brought with it a total surprise.
~Lisa K’s Book Reviews

I love this series, it is fun, well written and the characters make it a smashing hit.
~Shelley’s Book Case

If you enjoy cozy mysteries – all the elements are here. Somehow our heroine is in the middle of discovering a dead body, she has a cute dog, lots of friends, and some cantankerous folks that blame her for things out of her control.
~Lilac Reviews​

With fireworks and Mal Allie’s wonderful dog you will be kept guessing until the end of who done it in this great mystery.
~Bab’s Book Bistro

I am a sucker for foodie cozies. (And cute animals) This series has both, so I am totally in my element. Recipes in the story always make me happy.
~A Chick Who Reads

Oh Say Can You Fudge is the 3rd book in Coco’s (aka Parra’s) ‘Candy-Coated Mysteries’ and reads quite well as a standalone. How does an author write such a book, that works well on its own, but makes people want to read the rest of the series. Well, I don’t know. But whatever the process is, Coco has that recipe memorized, because this book has whetted my appetite for some more of her sweet reads!
~Back Porchervations

Tour Participants

April 28 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post

April 29 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review, Guest Post

April 30 – Lilac Reviews – Review

May 1 – Babs Book Bistro – Review

May 2 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – Spotlight

May 3 – A Chick Who Reads – Review

May 4 – Back Porchervations – Review

May 5 – Brooke Blogs – Review

May 5 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – Review

May 6 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Review

May 7 – fuonlyknew – Review

May 8 – Laura’s Interests – Review

May 9 – Griperang’s Bookmarks – Review

May 10 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Interview

May 11 – View from the Birdhouse – Review

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.”

Apr 222015
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I love when Janet Bolin drops by for visit!! Her new book hits stores May 7 and we are going to tell you all about it today!!

Make Believe by Janet Bolin

EPSON MFP imageFor as long as I can remember, I’ve loved putting on costumes and pretending I’m something I’m not. Never mind the pout on the face of the girl wearing the telephone costume: after my cheerful siblings were pulled aside and I had the limelight to myself, I was all smiles.

Make believe does not always require costumes. Sometimes, it requires only a pencil and paper. Or a computer and word processor. I created a village where I would want to live, chock full of shops where crafty enthusiasts could buy supplies for sewing, quilting, yarn arts, machine embroidery, and nearly everything else they wanted or needed for making clothes, quilts, home dec, and yes, costumes. The village quickly earned a nickname—Threadville. I filled it with citizens. Most of them are people I would like as friends.

Some of them, however, are not quite as pleasant as the others, and are not above committing a little murder and mayhem.

My characters (the nice ones, that is) are adept at putting together clothing and quilts, which meSEVEN THREADLY SINSans that they can also fit clues together and help solve murders.

I decided they should have the opportunity of solving a mystery related to the sins of fashion. Not surprisingly, my characters fond of wearing costumes and playing make-believe. I would let them be in a fashion show . . .

A few months after I turned in the manuscript for SEVEN THREADLY SINS, my editor sent me a copy of the cover painting—a conservatory with clothes hanging in it and fabrics nearby.

Janet Bolin crowning herselfAnd then I was offered a small part in a mystery dinner theater play, Murder at the Pie Auction. I jumped at the chance. Who knew if I could act, memorize lines, or project my voice beyond the first set of dining tables? I could wear costumes and generally goof around. That was good enough for me.

Other than being handed a paper chef’s hat, told I should wear an apron for part of the play, and that the rest of my outfits should be mostly lime green, I was in charge of creating my own costumes. I haunted consignment shops. I made a long apron and used my embroidery machine to put punny sayings on the bib. I decorated the chef’s hat with stick-on “gems.” I found lime green sneakers that suited my character—and my feet–perfectly.

There were only two performances. They went rather well, I thought. The audience laughed when we hoped they would, anyway.

After having shopped for lime green, I kept seeing it everywhere.

And then I needed the cover for SEVEN THREADLY SINS for a blog. I dug out the photo, took one look at it, and burst out laughing. Wouldn’t you know? A couple of the garments hanging in the conservatory, waiting for someone to wear them in the fashion show, are lime green.

Don’t you love it when make-believe and real life converge?

~Janet

Janet Bolin’s acting career may be really, really short. In addition to goofing around in costumes, Janet likes sewing, machine embroidery, all sorts of other needlecrafts and handcrafts, reading, writing, and walking with her dogs. SEVEN THREADLY SINS, the fifth book in the Threadville Mystery Series, comes out May 5.

Author Links:
Webpage: http://ThreadvilleMysteries.com/

Blog: http://www.KillerCharacters.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Janet-Bolin/267325191115

Twitter: @JanetBolin

SEVEN THREADLY SINSSeven Threadly Sins
(A Threadville Mystery)

5th in series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Pennsylvania
A Berkley Prime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (May 5, 2015)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Robin Moline
Cover Design by Annette Fiore Defex
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425268001
E-Book ASIN: B00O2BKLAM
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Fashion turns killer in the latest novel from the national bestselling author of the Threadville mysteries…

Threadville, Pennsylvania, is famous for its fabric, needlecraft, and embroidery, so it’s only natural that it would become the home of the Threadville Academy of Design and Modeling. While Willow Vanderling has certainly never wanted to be a model, here she is, voluntarily strutting her stuff in a charity runway show in outrageous clothing, all to support the Academy’s scholarship fund.

But the lascivious, mean-spirited director of the academy, Antonio, is making the fashion show a less-than-fabulous affair. After Antonio plays a shocking prank on Willow and her friends that doesn’t exactly leave the ladies in stitches, he mysteriously winds up dead—and someone is trying to pin the blame on Willow.

Now, she must do whatever it takes in order to clear her name, even if it means needling around in other people’s secrets…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Time for your yearly trip to Threadville and it sure was a fun escape.

Willow and the other Threadville shopkeepers take part in a fashion show hosted by Antonio of the Threadville Academy of Design and Modeling. He was quite a jerk and I wasn’t surprised he ended up dead, but Willow doing him in, no way. Willow and her friends work hard to stitch together the clues and make sure the right person is pinned for his death. As usual they put themselves in some precarious situations to sew everything up.

All our favorite characters are back. Willow, Haylee, Opal, Naomi, Edna, Ashley and even Mona could all be suspects because they all made up the seven Antonio accused of committing “Threadly Sins”. But they are joined by some very eccentric characters, of course they are “fashion designers” but that doesn’t explain all the eccentricities :)

Janet Bolin takes us on quite a ride with several twists and turns. She stitches in humor, a bit of romance and jealousy, along with a finely crafted mystery.

I should mention that this story was one that gave me a “book hangover”. I started reading and stayed up until I finished it. Just couldn’t put it down.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

GIVEAWAY 

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Leave a comment for Janet for 5 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End May 6, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

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

Apr 152015
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640

I am so excited to welcome Wisconsin Author Christine DeSmet
to Escape With Dollycas today!!

Christine DeSmet author pic

The Cape Cod of the Midwest is this cozy’s setting

With author Christine DeSmet, the Fudge Shop Mystery Series

Ava Oosterling and her Grandpa Gil operate Oosterlings’ Live Bait, Bobbers & Belgian Fudge & Beer on a harbor in Door County, Wisconsin, known as the “Cape Cod of the Midwest.” They’re the sleuths in the Fudge Shop Mystery Series (New American Library/Obsidian books).

Their county is that real thumb of land jutting into Lake Michigan and forming the bay of Green Bay. Door County is about a three-hour drive north from Chicago.

The quaint county has 11 lighthouses, beautiful shoreline parks, and winding two-lane roads canopied by maples. The upper half of the peninsular county is a vacationer’s paradise with its spas, wineries, art, golfing, and boating and many miles of shoreline. It has only 2-lane roads, and stoplights are rare.

The lower half of the county has a different landscape—one rich in dairy farms and a history connected to the thousands of Belgian immigrants who settled there.

Ava and her family are Belgians, and Ava grew up on a farm near Brussels (real name) in Door County in the southern half of the county. Her fudge shop is in the northern touristy part in a fictional town called Fishers’ Harbor. I like to tell people she’s the first Belgian sleuth since Poirot hit the scene in 1920.

In Five-Alarm Fudge, Book 3 of the Fudge Shop Mystery series, Ava and her Grandpa Gil are again mixed up in a fun fudge felony—this time involving romance, royal relatives, and revenge.

When a visiting European prince asks Ava Oosterling to unearth a priceless, 1800s divinity fudge recipe, the request fans the flames of foul play, with murder marring Ava’s Cinderella dreams.

Prior to the story, Grandpa took it upon himself to invite the prince of Belgium to visit. Grandpa insists the prince is a shirt-tail relation but far enough removed by ancestors to qualify as marriage material for Ava.

Ava is beside herself with Grandpa. She’s in the midst of a rekindled romance with her ex, Dillon Rivers, who is refurbishing the Blue Heron Inn in order for Ava to take it over. In the meantime, Ava lives in a rundown rental cabin with an ever-present field mouse.

Grandpa has also promised the prince that Ava will find a long, lost divinity fudge recipe supposedly hidden in a local historical church by a Belgian nun during an 1871 fire.

Five-Alarm_FudgefrontcoverI used a lot of the real history of Door County for the background in the new Five-Alarm Fudge.

The irony of being surrounded by miles and miles of water in this peninsular county is that on October 8, 1871 the very real Great Fire happened—taking an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 lives in this region. This event occurred the same days as the famous Chicago fire that took about 300 lives.

This novel also delves into the real history of Sister Adele Brise, who hid in a wood church southwest of Namur, Wisconsin, that fateful day when the fires swept the territory. It’s considered a miracle that the wood church was spared.

For travelers, a fun fact to know is that before she became a nun, the young Adele Brise reported that she was visited at least twice by Mary, the mother of Jesus. The site of this visitation is the only Catholic bishop-sanctioned Marian sighting in the entire United States.

LighthouseNoFenceDSCN2208Today, you can visit the church, shrine, and gravesite of Sister Adele in a little town called Champion, Wis., which is on your way to Door County. It’s a peaceful place on a country road. A quick search online will give you dozens of articles about Sister Adele and maps to the area.

Just north of there, in Namur, Wis., a little church once known as St. Mary’s of the Snows features prominently in my mystery. Grandpa Gil feels sure that the traveling, teaching nun must have hidden an early version of a divinity fudge recipe in the brick church, thus protecting the special recipe from fires.

Ava scours the local church for the recipe, but instead finds a dead body, a fire, and the start of a game of hide-and-seek with an arsonist out to do in Ava.

Many people bypass little towns like Namur in their travels, and that’s a great loss. The small-town festivals are where we often find the heart of a region’s culture and history.

Every fall on a September Sunday, Namur has a kermiss—a Belgian harvest festival. (It’s also spelled “kermis.”) The celebration features a dozen kind of pies because Belgians are known for pies. Their pie tins from the old country are 12 inches wide! None of the puny 8-inch or 9-inch stuff for a Belgian. Of course chocolate abounds at a kermiss in the form of cookies, bars, fudge and other confections. And you get some excellent Belgian beer! (In Wisconsin, everything ends with beer.)

You also want to try the Belgian booyah when traveling in Door County. Namur is having a big booyah fest on Sunday, April 26, 2015.

Booyah is a tomato-based chicken stew made outside in a big stainless steel barrel over an open fire. Like the story about making stone soup, neighbors will often bring vegetables to put in the pot. A recipe for booyah is in Book 2 of my series, Hot Fudge Frame-Up.

photo 83PinkFudgeOnCrystalPlateFor dessert? Try Ava’s signature “Cinderella Pink Fudge,” a cherry-vanilla flavor. Door County is a leading producer of cherries in the U.S.

Other regular characters in my series include Ava’s best friend Pauline, who’s a kindergarten teacher, and Laura, who’s having twins and waiting for her husband to come home from a special mission in the Middle East. There’s also a smart gaggle of church ladies who often cause Ava no end of trouble when they volunteer at the fudge shop. And Dillon Rivers’ American water spaniel, Lucky Harbor, finds his nose in all kinds of trouble in every fudge mystery.

My series presents a warm-hearted view of a real place popular for vacations—Door County. I hope readers have a chance to look it up online to explore and then visit sometime.

~Christine

About The Author
Christine DeSmet writes the Fudge Shop Mystery Series (Penguin Random House/NAL/Obsidian). She’s also an award-winning scriptwriter and teaches writing at University of Wisconsin-Madison Continuing Studies where she directs the annual June Write-by-the-Lake Writer’s Workshop & Retreat. You can write to her at UW-Madison, cdesmet@dcs.wisc.edu or find her on Facebook or at her website, www.ChristineDeSmet.com.

I really had the best intentions to get the 2nd and 3rd book of these series read before Christine’s visit but that did happen :( So today I am going to review Hot Fudge Frame Up with a promise to review Five Alarm Fudge in the very near future because I am really enjoying this series!

hot fudgeHot Fudge Frame-Up:
A Fudge Shop Mystery

2nd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Wisconsin
An Obsidian Mystery (June 3, 2014)
An Imprint of New American Library
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451416483
E-Book ASIN: B00GS9XGX0
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

Candy shop owner Ava Oosterling mixes it up with a fudge judge with a grudge—who loses his life before he can pick a winner….

Ava is gearing up for the First Annual Arts Festival—a huge celebration that could draw national attention to her old-fashioned fudge shop in Door County, Wisconsin. She’s invited two celebrity chefs to go head-to-head with her in a fudge contest. Everyone is having a tasty time…until a judge for the festival is found dead.

To her shock, he’d been complaining around town that her Fairy Tale fudge flavors were…well, fudged. Now the sheriff is wondering if Ava fits the mold for a murder suspect. As Ava tries to square her reputation and find the real killer, she’s in for a whole batch of trouble….

Includes Delicious Recipes and Fudge-Making Tips!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Our family loves to travel to Door County for day trips or family vacations so I feel right at home visiting Oosterling’s Live Bait, Bobbers, Belgian Fudge & Beer.  I love all the local references.

In this second book of the series Ava is competing with two celebrity chefs, one of them has some crazy ideas for her fudge ingredients, in a fudge contest. Local leaders have been lined up as judges. As Ava works on her new fudge flavors, the other chefs can’t be in the same room together without feet and food flying. The event is being filmed for television so Ava tries to just stay out of the line of fire. But when one of the judges is found dead, the fights become the least of her worries. Especially when the sheriff starts to treat Ava as a suspect. Lloyd, the now deceased judge, was Ava’s grandfather’s best friend and owned quite a bit of local property. Ava quickly puts together a list of other suspects, now she just needs to figure out which one has fudged up her life this time.

The author has given us quite a mystery to chew on. A lot happens within these 352 pages. The story is much more complicated than it first appears and I was totally taken aback with the way things played out. Wow, I sure didn’t expect that ending.

We learn a lot about the history of Fisher’s Harbor, and some people’s plans to change the town and take away its charm. Ava is very concerned about those plans but also how they will affect her family, especially her grandparents.

I really enjoy the way the residents come together in times of distress and also in times of celebration. In this story we not only have a festival with a prom-like dance but a funeral. People always bring food to the family after a death and most funeral luncheons are potluck. Very familiar to me after the past few weeks. The dance was for the young and old alike and there were even bets placed on who Ava’s date would be. Her date was also quite a surprise and absolutely perfect.

The book not only has a beautiful setting, an awesome mystery, and terrific characters, it is also full of humor and a bit of romance. I highly recommend this book and if you can, take a real trip to Door County to take in all it has to offer from fudge, cherries, beer, cheese…oh and lighthouses, beautiful beaches and more. It is called The Cape Cod of the Midwest for good reason!

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

GIVEAWAY

FIRST DEGREE FUDGEhot fudgeFive-Alarm_Fudgefrontcover

Today I have my review copies of First Degree Fudge and Hot Fudge Frame Up plus a brand new copy of
Five Alarm Fudge from the publisher.
There will be 3 Winners!

 

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Leave a comment for Christine  for 5 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End April 29, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Apr 082015
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I was super excited Duffy Brown was going to be my guest today, but we are so lucky she sent Walker Boone in her place  – while she takes a spin in his car!!
If you recall my review of Dead Man Walker I was very excited about this new book.

Hi, it’s Walker Boone here. There’s a dead guy in the bathtub, my gun’s responsible for the dead part and I don’t know how to get out of this mess.

duffyThe thing is I didn’t kill the guy and until I can find out who did, I’m on the run. It’s not as easy as you might think. This is Savannah and everyone knows me. I’m that lawyer guy who dives the ’57 red Chevy convertible. It’s a given I can’t use that as a get-away car so I switched it for a pink scooter. No ones going to look for me in a pink scooter…right?

Now where to hide is the problem. I can’t leave town. If I do that I’ll never find the killer and I’ll be on the run for the rest of my life. I don’t want to be on the run, I want to stay in Savannah.

I’m a Southern boy, I like it here, it’s home. I have a house, and a law practice, a dog named Bruce Willis and I have a girl, a special girl. And that’s where things get even trickier.

It’s been a little rocky between us since I represented her ex in their divorce a few years back and sort of took her to the cleaners in the settlement. In my own defense she’s the one who signed the prenup that made the cleaners part pretty darn easy.

But since then our paths kept crossing. I know her mom, her aunt, Bruce Willis–our shared rescued pup—thinks I’m a good guy and then there are the dead bodies that keep popping up. Hard to imagine forming a relationship over a corpse but that’s how it is. We’re usually trying to find the killer sometimes together, other times not so much.
Reagan…that’s her name, Reagan Summerside…has her ways of doing things and I have mine. Mine are a little more calculated and thought out. Hers are mostly dumb luck that puts her in the right place at the wrong time.

We’ve gotten close, closer than I’ve ever been to anyone. Why did I have to figure this out now of all times when things are so uncertain? Why not before?

Well there you have it. I’m a guy on the lam and a guy in love and I don’t know how to fix either one. Wish me luck and maybe give me some advice on how to let Reagan,…this very special girl in my life…know I care about her when I can’t even let her know where I am.
~Walker Boone

DemiseDemise in Denim
(A Consignment Shop Mystery)

4th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Georgia
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing (April 7, 2015)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Julia Green
Cover Design by Diana Kolsky
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425274705
E-Book ASIN: B00LMGK5EM
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

It’s springtime in Savannah, Georgia, in the newest Consignment Shop Mystery from the national bestselling author of Pearls and Poison. The azaleas and magnolias are in bloom—and Walker Boone is on the run. . .

When Reagan Summerside turned the first floor of her old Victorian home into a consignment shop, she never imagined she’d be harboring a fugitive in her attic. But after a dead man is found in a bathtub and local lawyer Walker Boone is accused of doing the dirty deed, she suddenly has a new house guest.

Having the lawyer who took her to the cleaners in her divorce settlement—and who has been getting under her skin ever since—in close proximity is enough to drive Reagan to distraction. For the sake of her sanity—and Walker’s freedom—they need to put their heads together to find out who is trying to get the lawyer out of the picture . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I couldn’t wait to read this story and Duffy Brown does not disappoint. The blurb above does give away something that was unknown by Reagan way past the middle of the book and I am glad I didn’t read it until after I finished the book.

I love these characters. As Reagan and Boone’s relationship continues to evolve I love them even more! They make me laugh, they made me cry, but I am just more emotional these days. The high jinx in this installment were absolutely stellar, but Boone’s poor car!!!

The plot has its edge of the seat moments and enough twists to leave you absolutely dizzy. I was so wrong about the real bathtub killer and I changed my mind more than once. That is what makes stories like this so much fun to read.

I love the way this author writes. Again the dialogue sings and includes the “Cher-isms” I look forward to. The story is also full of Southern charm even though a couple of characters are not very polite to Reagan, bless their hearts, let me pull that knife out that you just stuck in her back. But she doesn’t let it get her down, she gets up, brushes herself off and starts in a new direction.

This the best book in this series so far as Duffy Brown continues to top herself. Another marvelous mystery featuring fantastic characters that will leaving you shouting for more! Both Cher and the real Bruce Willis would agree. Hmmm does Bruce Willis know about his loveable four legged namesake….

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

duffy brownAbout This Author

While others girls dreamed of dating Brad Pitt, Duffy Brown longed to take Sherlock Holmes to the prom. Today she conjures up who-done-it stories for Berkley Prime Crime and has two series, the national bestselling Consignment Shop mysteries set in Savannah and the Cycle Path Mysteries on Mackinac Island.

 

 

Author Links:

www.DuffyBrown.com

FB: www.facebook.com/authorduffybrown

https://twitter.com/DuffyBrownCozy

https://www.pinterest.com/duffybrown/

https://www.facebook.com/authorduffybrown


GIVEAWAY

Fan of the Month Teresa will receive a copy of Demise in Denim

That means I have my review copy to give away!

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

Following the Google+ Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book Fan Page
will earn you 2 Bonus Entries.

Leave a comment for Duffy or Walker Boone for 5 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End April 22, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

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

Apr 012015
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640
Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am still behind on my posts but am making progress.
Rebecca was originally to be my guest last Wednesday.

Rebecca Hale author pic size large

San Francisco’s Golden Gate: Hidden in Plain Sight

In the first five books of the How to Wash a Cat series, Rupert and Isabella’s feline adventures have taken them all over San Francisco and across Northern California. From their home base in the Jackson Square antique shop, the cats have ventured out to explore the murals of Coit Tower, the science museum in Golden Gate Park, and the cupola at the top of City Hall. With the help of a cat-modified stroller, they’ve visited a California gold mining town, the State Capitol, and historic Monterrey. Along the way, the cats have uncovered Gold Rush treasure, cavorted with multitalented frogs, rescued an abducted albino alligator, and unmasked the murderer of a City Hall intern.

how to catch a catRupert and Isabella’s latest mystery takes them on a journey through time – back to 1775 when the first European sailboat discovered the Golden Gate, the passage leading from the Pacific Ocean into the San Francisco Bay.

With each book in the series, I’ve tried to capture an intriguing aspect of San Francisco history or culture. There’s no shortage of potential material. The Bay Area has always prided itself on being quirky and peculiar.

The story of the San Carlos certainly fits the bill. For hundreds of years, mariners failed to notice the opening to the San Francisco Bay. Even after Governor Portola stumbled across the estuary on a land expedition, few believed the enormous bay he described existed.

The Golden Gate, the opening now spanned by San Francisco’s famous red bridge, was hidden in plain sight. The hills on the bay’s east side combined with the bay islands of Alcatraz and Angel to create an optical illusion. From the perspective of someone sailing in the Pacific Ocean, the shoreline appeared to be contiguous. Some of the world’s most famous explorers sailed right past the strait, never giving it a second glance.

The San Carlos might have missed it too – if not for the assistance of a sharp-eyed Siamese named Isabella…

~Rebecca

About The Author

NY Times bestselling author REBECCA M. HALE worked for almost ten years as a patent attorney in the San Francisco Bay Area before taking time off to write her first novel, HOW TO WASH A CAT. She is now the author of nine Penguin titles and a growing list of ebooks released under her own imprint Green Vase Publishing. She writes fiction, typically in the form of quirky mysteries that reflect her travel experiences and the people she meets on her journeys.

Rebecca lives in Western Colorado with her feline writing associates, that is, when she’s not off researching future books set in San Francisco, the Caribbean or wherever else her wandering spirit takes her.

Find out more on her webpage here.

how to catch a catHow to Catch a Cat
(Cats and Curios Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Setting – California
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (March 3, 2015)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Mary Ann Lasher
Cover Design by Diana Kolsky
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425258880
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

A serial killer with a peculiar penchant for City Hall interns is on the loose in San Francisco, and it’s up to me—and my two cats, Rupert and Isabella—to put a stop to the spree. Unfortunately, worrying about my uncle Oscar’s failing health and assisting with the interim mayor’s America’s Cup regatta doesn’t leave me with much opportunity to chase down clues.

Could the key to apprehending the killer be found in San Francisco’s sailing history? The first European vessel to pass through the Golden Gate contained a familiar cast of human—and feline—passengers as well as an elusive killer who used a similar murder weapon. Will the past catch up to the present in time to crack the case?

Dollycas’s Thoughts
The truly is one of my favorite series. They are so much more than mysteries that are adventures and Rebecca M. Hale spins quite a story or should I say stories. She takes the reader back and forth from 1775 to present time and gives this series a fabulous finish.

Again the story picks up right where the last one leaves off as Oscar, his niece and her cats are trying to catch the Knitting Needle Ninja. A killer who hides blades in the ends of knitting needles, apparently it is a weapon used way back in the past too. This time the story focuses on an America’s Cup Regatta in present day and the search for a hidden bay off the coast in the past. The stories parallel perfectly and leave the reader wondering about all the characters.

Like my reviews of previous books in this series I stress that these books need to be read in order because each one builds to the next. Reading this as a stand alone would leave too many questions or disappointment for the reader. The entire series is excellent so if you are not already a fan please start from the beginning.

The author does a vast amount of research and her fiction is based on facts which really draws me into these stories. I always want to do a little research on my own after finishing or sometimes during these stories. Her writing style is very creative and it takes a few chapters to get into the rhythm but soon the reader is so immersed in the story it is as if you are watching a movie as the pictures just form before your eyes.

The characters are rich, genuine and also quirky and the cats Rupert and Isabella are some of the finest felines you will find in fiction today.

This book is dedicated to the readers by Rupert, Isabella and Rebecca – stating “It has been a pleasure sharing our adventures with you.” Well all I have to say the pleasure was all mine. I loved each and every one of them!

a perfect escape
5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

GIVEAWAY

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Leave a comment for Rebecca for 5 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End April 14, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

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

Mar 122015
 

mad catterThe Mad Catter
(Whales and Tails Mystery Book 2)

Cozy Mystery
Setting: Island off Washington State
Publisher: Kathi Daley Books (February 1, 2015)
Paperback: 190 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1505436167
E-Book ASIN: B00Q1Z8XB6
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

When a cat named Alice comes into her life, Cait begins to suspect that Alice may hold the answers to the mystery surrounding the body she found in the church as well as the person behind her aunt’s illness. Join Cait and her feline and human friends as they track down a killer and save a community.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

The story picks up shortly after the first book ends. Cait and Tara (mostly Tara) are supervising the remodeling of the old cannery into their Coffee Cat Books, a bookshop/cafe/cat lounge. Cait is in the wrong place at the wrong time and finds a body of a local woman. So now she is on a trail to find the killer and still solve some of things that were left hanging in book one.

Cait has so much going on, the cat sanctuary, the store remodeling, her recovering aunt, looking in on her elderly neighbors and now she has a new cat trying to help her follow the right clues to catch a killer. Plus her childhood crush is back on the island and they are spending a lot of time together.

Again Kathi Daley has given us wonderful human and animal characters and wrapped them in a wonderful story. We continue to follow life on Madrona Island and learn more about its history too. With not many visitors the suspects are limited but the way this one played out truly surprised me. Great Job Kathi!

These stories are really quick reads and need to be read in order. The 3rd book in the series, Grimm’s Furry Tail comes out March 15 and I can’t wait!

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

kathi daley Kathi Daley is the author of the Zoe Donovan Mysteries, Tj Jensen Paradise Lake and now the Whales and Tails Mystery series.

Come for the murder, stay for the romance.

Kathi lives in the beautiful alpine community of Lake Tahoe with her husband Ken and dog Echo. When she’s not writing she enjoys hanging out on the beach with her children and grandchildren. During the summer she enjoys hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, wakeboarding, and sunset cruises on the lake. During the winter she enjoys cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and curling up by a fire with a good book.

Kathi uses her mountain home as inspiration for her books, all which include appearances by the wildlife she shares her life with.

Visit Kathi on Facebook at Kathi Daley Books, and on Twitter @kathidaley.

She also has a website, www.kathidaley.com, where she shares photos of her mountain home as well as recipes featured in her books.

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 252015
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am so happy to have former Wisconsinite Mary Ellen Hughes drop by for a visit!

Mary Ellen Hughes author pic

My Ten Favorite Things about Writing License to Dill

Starting a new series is always exciting, but it’s also plenty of hard, intensive work. There’s so many decisions to make, such as where to set it, who your characters will be, their relationships, and so on, which is what I went through with The Pickled Piper, book #1 of my Pickled and Preserved mystery series. After careful thought, I chose upstate New York as my setting and named my fictional town Cloverdale. I sent my twenty-nine year old principal character, Piper Lamb, there from Albany after she ended her going-nowhere engagement. And I put Piper’s Aunt Judy and Uncle Frank on a nearby farm, gave Piper a great assistant for her pickling shop, and introduced Piper to Will, a handsome Christmas tree farmer. So all the important decisions were made with book #1.

Book #2, License to Dill, by comparison, turned out to be a breeze. Everything was set up and ready to go! All I needed to do was write the mystery (“all” she added, laughingly). But having already done the ground work, I could now relax and focus on the plot, which became the first of my…

Ten Favorite Things About Writing License to Dill :
1. My characters, after a couple of weeks of rest, were super-eager for action. They practically snatched the pages from me to get back to work.

2. Piper and her new boyfriend, Will, had progressed beyond the awkward getting-to-know-you stage and were pretty happy and comfortable with each other.

3. Of course, I couldn’t let that continue, so I brought Piper’s ex-fiancé, Scott, back from his travels, and he decided to settle in Cloverdale. (Uh-oh.)

4. I imported an entire soccer team of handsome young men from Italy to challenge Cloverdale’s All-Stars, which meant writing exciting soccer scenes. I now understand the game much better!

5. The Italian team’s coach and manager occasionally spoke Italian. With the help of a Italian-born friend, I learned several useful Italian phrases and sometimes found myself writing with an Italian accent!

6. Since a dill field figures importantly in the murder, I learned—and shared in the book—quite a bit about growing and using fresh dill. I could practically smell that wonderful weed as I typed.

7. Since Piper makes all the pickles and preserves for her shop herself (with the help of her assistant, Amy), I kept various pickles on hand, because writing pickling scenes was sure to bring on a craving.

8. Piper spends plenty of time with her Aunt Judy and Uncle Frank at their farm. Whenever Piper drove up, Jack, their mixed-breed dog went crazy with excitement. I, unfortunately, am allergic to dogs, but I could enjoy petting Jack vicariously through Piper—with no sneezes!

9. While looking into the murder, Piper meets several people in the Cloverdale area with new-to-me occupations. I particularly loved writing about the chainsaw sculptor and will have to seriously consider bringing him back some day.

10. After spending months with Piper and all the people of Cloverdale in The Pickled Piper, I became pretty fond of them. (Well, most of them. There was, after all, a murderer in the mix.) But writing License to Dill was like going to a reunion—lots of fun getting reacquainted with everyone. But I do hope they’ve forgiven me by now for what I’ve put them through…

~Mary Ellen

About The Author

Mary Ellen Hughes is the author of the Craft Corner mystery series – WREATH OF DECEPTION, STRING OF LIES, and PAPER-THIN ALIBI – as well as the Maggie Olenski mysteries – RESORT TO MURDER and A TASTE OF DEATH.

She has also authored several short stories, including THE WOMAN ON THE TRAIN, and short mysteries included in the Chesapeake Crimes and Tales from the Backlist anthologies.

A transplanted Wisconsinite, Mary Ellen now lives in Maryland where she is excited to be working on her new Pickled and Preserved mystery series beginning with THE PICKLED PIPER.

license to dillLicense to Dill
(Pickled and Preserved Mystery)

2nd Book in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – New York
Release Date: February 3, 2015
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Chris O’Leary
Cover Design by Karen Oberrender
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425262467
E-Book ASIN: B00NUMIDHC
goodreads-badge-add-plus

Piper Lamb knows how to make fruits and vegetables keep for months. Unfortunately, it’s the people around her who are expiring too soon…

After her fiancé left her, Piper came to Cloverdale to rebuild her life and open up her shop, Piper’s Picklings, to sell pickles and preserves. When her ex decides to drop in for a visit—just as things are heating up between her and a local Christmas tree farmer—Piper finds herself in a jam.

But there are other visitors to worry about…

An Italian soccer team is set to play the Cloverdale All-Stars in an exhibition game. Their manager, Raffaele Conti, was a bitter rival of Piper’s dill supplier, local farmer Gerald Standley. After Conti is found dead in Standley’s field, Piper must work to clear Gerald’s name and find out who relished killing Raffaele before the town is soured by another death.

INCLUDES RECIPES!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I knew that darn Scott was going to be trouble when he appeared in Cloverdale at the end of The Pickled Piper and he is sticking around too, renting an office just down the street from Piper’s store. Piper does her best to fully explain to him their relationship is over, but Scott does not give up. Thankfully Will is a patient man but Scott just keeps popping up everywhere, even at the exhibition soccer game where he wedges himself into the seat closest to Piper. When the manager of the Italian team is killed he even tries to help Piper catch the killer. Piper truly has herself in a pickle as she tries to clear her friend’s name and make it clear to Scott she has moved on.

I love Piper, she is really making herself at home in Cloverdale. She still visits her Uncle Frank and Aunt Judy often but is branching out making new friends and her relationship with Will was moving at a nice pace. She made me laugh out loud several times and caused me to worry about her too as she finds herself in more than a bit of trouble.

Mary Ellen Hughes has given readers a nice treat by adding a few hunky Italian soccer players to the story. The way she tied this into the whole plot is very interesting and gives us a barrel full of suspects.

The story has a wonderful mystery, fun characters, a nice romantic subplot and the perfect amount of humor. I am already looking forward to my next visit to Cloverdale!!

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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

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