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

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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
 

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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

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

Feb 182015
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am so excited to have Cate Price visit today!
Lie of the Needle, the 3rd A Deadly Notions Mystery came out last month.

Cate Price

LIE OF THE NEEDLE by Cate Price

Thanks so much for having me here today, Lori!

In Lie of the Needle, Daisy Buchanan has recently purchased some antique samplers for her store, Sometimes a Great Notion. It’s a quirky place where she sells vintage sewing notions and whatever else happens to catch her eye at an estate sale or auction. As she researches the value of the exquisite needlework, she wonders if a clue to the current murder could possibly be found on a family heirloom that was stitched over a hundred years ago.

lie of the needleOriginally samplers served as a way for women to store their personal repertoire of stitches. This collection of “samples” of favorite motifs and designs could be rolled up and kept with them as a guide.

In the eighteenth century, the purpose of a sampler gradually changed to become a teaching tool for young girls, not just to learn to sew, but also to practice their alphabet and numerals. A young woman had to have excellent needle skills to be suitable for marriage, as one of her primary responsibilities was to monogram and mend the household linens.

Some of the best examples in the early nineteenth century were made in Pennsylvania, and especially in the Quaker schools. One famous school that currently houses a collection of 130 antique samplers is the Westtown School in Chester County. Quakers had their own designs that extolled the virtues of simplicity and peace, like the bird-in-branch motif, paired doves and floating swans.

It’s amazing to me that this intricate work with tiny stitches was done by such young girls, some as little as seven or eight years old. The verses themselves often seem quite grim considering their age, but many of these children were no strangers to death. They had probably already experienced the loss of at least one of their siblings. A verse extract can go something like this:

When I am dead, laid in my grave
And all my bones gone rotten
When this you see, remember me
That I be not forgotten

Have you ever attempted making a sampler? Do you have any advice for those who might be considering taking on the challenge?

~Cate

About the Author:
Cate Price is a regular sight on the streets of her home town walking her two amazing rescue dogs, and she also enjoys gardening, yard sales, and cooking with friends. Writing the Deadly Notions mysteries proved to be rather an expensive project, because while researching auction houses, she also became addicted to bidding on box lots.
Cate is a member of Romance Writers of America, Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. Visit her at www.cateprice.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/catepriceauthor

lie of the needleLie of the Needle
(A Deadly Notions Mystery)

3rd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting: Pennsylvania
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (January 6, 2015)
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Ben Perini
Cover Design by Diana Kolsky
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425258811
E-Book ASIN: B00KWG5RKK
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As the owner of Sometimes a Great Notion, a shop specializing in vintage sewing notions and antique treasures, Daisy Buchanan is a strong advocate of preserving the past. But when a killer strikes, she turns her attention to saving lives…

Talk about a great notion! As a fund-raiser to save a two-hundred-year-old farmhouse and stop an ambitious developer, the ladies of the Historical Society of Millbury, Pennsylvania, are producing a Hunky Men of Millbury calendar. Daisy is delighted to lend her support, and the female population of the village is abuzz with anticipation.

But after Daisy’s close friend Cyril doesn’t show up for his photo shoot and the calendar photographer is found dead, it’s beginning to look like the days may be numbered for the men of Millbury. Can a cryptic verse on an antique sampler help Daisy pin down the killer before another pinup runs out of time?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Murder and a missing person create mayhem in Millbury. The Historical Society fundraiser – Hunky Men of Millbury Calendar raises a few eyebrows and sounds like fun until Daisy’s friend and Martha’s beau, Cyril goes missing and the photographer is dead. In between running her shop, feeding Cyril’s cat, and worrying about Martha, Daisy is trying to sort out some History Society financial problem, find her friend, and pin down a killer.

The crazy thing is this is not the first book I have read this year that starts out with a naked man and the story build from there. Sure gets you attention right from the first page.

This was one of those books that just pulls you in deeper and deeper and when you think you know where the story is headed the author throws a twist and then another and then a really good one that knocks you back on your heels.

Cyril grabbed my heart in the last story, A Dollhouse to Die For, so I too was concerned about his welfare. Daisy and Joe are a wonderful caring couple. They look out for all of their friends and Daisy jumps right in to help Detective Serrano any time she can.

Cate Price writes a story in such a way that the reader really feels emotionally drawn to her characters and their lives. I wish Daisy and Joe were my neighbors. I think we would be great friends. I love all needlecrafts and my husband and Joe would really hit it off. She also stitches together a great mystery and I think this one tops the first 2 in this series.

This installment also has some great information about samplers, some with quite a history. From the first page to the last you are going to enjoy sampling each and every word. I loved this story!

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 Cate 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 March 4, 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.”