Apr 222014
 

sugar and icedSugar and Iced
(Cupcake Bakery Mystery)

6th Book in Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (April 1, 2014)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Jeff Fitz-Maurice
Cover Design by Lesley Worrell
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425258927
E-Book File Size: 1991 KB
ASIN: B00F9F0UV0
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Sugar and spice and murderous vice.
That’s what pageants are made of…

Melanie Cooper and Angie DeLaura are back in this sixth cupcake mystery and their cupcakes are donning tiaras! As a favor to her mom Mel agrees to provide cupcakes for the seventy-fifth annual Sweet Tiara Beauty Pageant.  It is great publicity for Fairy Tale Cupcakes and when their young friend Lupe decides to enter the pageant Mel’s mother is smiling ear to ear. She takes Lupe under her wing to help her prepare for the competition.

Not everyone is thrilled with this new face on the pageant circuit. One high strung judge scores her very low on the  first day. When that judge ends up dead, fingers are quickly pointed at Lupe as the prime suspect. The whole Fairy Tale Cupcake crew comes together to prove her innocence so she can continue in the competition and not end up behind bars before she gets to strut her stuff.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Jenn McKinlay has whipped up another great story with SPRINKLES on top!!!!

I love this series and I love these characters!!

Mel and Angie are best friends, as close as sisters and may actually be related in the not too distant future, unless something goes terribly wrong.  She now has three man in her “man club”  Joe is #1, Manny is #2 and Steve is #3 and each man knows and understands their rating but that doesn’t stop them from trying to win her over to their side. They all also try to keep her out of trouble.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Tate is also part of team that makes up Fairy Tale Cupcakes and he is very interested in another part of the team, he just needs to get out of his funk and do something about it.

Oz and Marty round out the crew and are a different as night and day but they part of the reason this series is so great. They really add the humor!!! We get to know Lupe, Oz’s skateboarding friend, and Oz finally sees her as a girl instead of just his buddy. I absolutely loved it!!!!

I was in a pageant eons ago, first runner-up, thank you very much, and the girls and their mothers could be a bit catty but killing a judge, oh my!! What a splendid idea for a mystery! There are plenty of suspects with means, motive and opportunity.

The only thing I didn’t like about this book was that it left us hanging about a very important person and I have to wait until the next book comes out to find out more. Next year? That is just too long!! :)

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Thankfully Jenn has other series for us to read while we wait for the next Cupcake Bakery Mystery!!

Check out her webpage here too!!

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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Apr 022014
 

great escape tour banner large death on eat street large banner640

Death On Eat Street
by J.J. Cook

death on eat street

Death on Eat Street
(Biscuit Bowl Food Truck)

A Brand New Cozy Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (April 1, 2014)
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425263457
E-Book File Size: 1949 KB
ASIN: B00F9EZAUW
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Zoe Chase always wanted to own her own restaurant—but first, she’ll have to serve up a heaping helping of meals on wheels, with a side of mystery…

When she’s once again passed over for a promotion at work, Zoe decides to take the big leap and go for her dream. She quits, gives up her fancy digs, and buys a fixer-upper diner in a shady part of town. To keep above water during the renovation, she buys a used food truck to serve the downtown and waterfront of Mobile, Alabama.

Zoe starts to dish out classic Southern food—but her specialty is her deep-fried biscuit bowls that blow traditional bread bowls away.

After a promising start, things start to go downhill faster than a food truck without brakes. First, someone tries to rob the cash register. Next, Zoe is threatened by the owner of a competing food truck for taking their spot. And when the owner ends up dead inside Zoe’s rolling restaurant, Zoe and her sole employee, Ollie, find themselves hopping out of the frying pan into the fryer. They need to find the real killer, before both of them get burned.

(Recipes Included)

Dollycas’s Thoughts

For a great cozy series to be a success you have to have great characters that readers can get comfortable with and invest themselves in. J.J. Cook has introduced us to some truly wonderful characters in this new series.

Zoe is a leading character readers will fall for quickly. Passed over time and time again for jobs that went to men, men she had trained, she chucks the easy paycheck and goes after her dream. She wants to open a restaurant and to make enough money for that she starts out with a food truck selling some awesome biscuit bowls with delicious fillings.

Her parents, who are divorced, think she has lost her mind. Her mom is a bit over the top but her dad seems to understand but won’t stand up to his ex-wife. This couple plus her Uncle Saul  brings  much of the comedy to this story.

Then there is Zoe’s boyfriend that soon becomes her ex-boyfriend who may be banking smart but is relationship stupid.

Her friend Ollie has her back and helps out with the food truck. He is a homeless man she met at a shelter where she donates any food not sold at the end of the day. There is much more to his story and we just scratch the surface in this installment.

To top things off there is Miguel, the lawyer that comes to Zoe’s rescue more than once and makes her heart rate increase. I can’t wait to see how this relationship progresses.

And I mustn’t forget Crème Brûlée, Zoe’s fabulous feline. He plays a key role!

Added to this characters is a fantastic mystery. As the body count rises Zoe does her best to try to sort out the clues and find the real killer.

J.J. Cook has cooked up a real winner with this series debut. I read it all in one serving, I mean sitting. I could not put it down!!

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About J.J. Cook

J.J. Cook writes award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as themselves, Joyce and Jim Lavene, and Ellie Grant. They have written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon, and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family. Visit them at www.jjcook.net.

 Author Links

www.tellingstoriesthrupictures.blogspot.com

www.jjcook.net

@authorjlavene

https://www.facebook.com/BiscuitBowlFoodTruckMysteries

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18492486-death-on-eat-street

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.

Leave a comment for J.J. Cook for 5 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 16, 2014 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

 

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Mar 272014
 

inherit the wordInherit the Word
(A Cookbook Nook Mystery)

2nd in Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (March 4, 2014)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Teresa Fasolino
Cover Design by Jason Gill
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425258071
File Size: 1416 KB
ASIN: B00EOARZMI
B&N: ISBN-13: 9780698137967
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Jenna Hart moved back to Crystal Cove, California, to recapture her joie de vivre and to help her aunt Vera run the local culinary bookshop and café. But it’s hard to follow a simple recipe for relaxation when murder gets thrown in the mix…

The Cookbook Nook and Cafe has been asked to host this year’s Grill Fest. The theme is GRILLED CHEESE!! Eight local chefs plan to win the judges favor with their sandwich creations. This is not a friendly battle, it is a grudge match and tempers are as hot as the stoves they are cooking on. A break is taken before Round 1 and it proves deadly. The 8 time Grill Fest Champ is found dead in the alley behind the Nook. It doesn’t take long for one of the other competitors to be named the prime suspect.  Jenna know the woman wouldn’t hurt a fly and she is bound and determined to find the real killer before they get away with another murder.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

The second Cookbook Nook Mystery is even better than the first. I don’t know why but it took be awhile to get in touch with Jenna in Final Sentence, the first book in this series. This time she had be from page one. She jumped right in to prove her friend’s mother was innocent and sort through a ton of clues to catch the killer. I also was happy that more about Jenna’s husband death came out but I think there is more to that story.

My favorite character again was Aunt Vera, she is so funny and takes everything in stride. She can also give you a tarot card reading on the spur of the moment.  There are plenty of the required quirky characters in this cozy and level headed ones as well. Jenna’s dad is a former FBI analyst, and Rhett Jackson, former chef and now owner of a sporting goods store, both are easy on the eyes.

The mystery was extremely well plotted and kept me guessing until the very end. I had a twist in my head that didn’t play out at all. I will say the final twist Gerber threw at us did really throw me for a loop.

I also like the bookstore setting and the wide range of books and other products they carry, including a kids corner.  Much more than cookbooks, culinary mysteries too. It is fun to see some of my favorite cozies are on the shelves at The Cookbook Nook.  Another plus is the Nook Cafe. I would love a few cooking lessons from Katie myself.

This is a fun and entertaining story. It will have your mouth watering in no time. Good thing the author includes some recipes!! Stirring the Plot, the next book in this series hits stores September 30.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about Daryl Wood Gerber here.

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

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Mar 152014
 

In my continuing quest to pare down by ever growing To Be Read Shelf
I am giving up another book.

road to cardinal spotlightThis is the Hardcover Edition

The Road to Cardinal Valley
Berkley Hardcover (December 31, 2012)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 0425252841
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages (January 7, 2014)
ISBN-13: 978-0425253823
E-Book File Size: 480 KB
ASIN: B0095ZMGC6
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In this heartwarming follow-up to Earlene Fowler’s national bestseller, The Saddlemaker’s Wife, Ruby McGavin returns to the small town of Cardinal, California, where a year ago she brought her husband’s ashes back to his family’s ranch, and discovered safety, peace, and love…

Back in Cardinal, Ruby is hoping the place and people who gave her so much can give her brother, Nash—who’s been drowning in drink in Nashville—the fresh start he so desperately needs.

Saddlemaker Lucas McGavin is thrilled that Ruby is back. He hasn’t given up on his love for her, despite the awkward fact that she’s his brother’s widow—and that this may be his last chance to win Ruby’s heart.

When Nash starts drinking again and has a devastating accident, Ruby seeks out their estranged mother to help with an intervention, not realizing that Etta Walker harbors a horrible secret that keeps her from reconnecting with the children she deserted so many years ago.

As Ruby, Lucas, and Etta struggle with the present and confront the past, they each learn the power of forgiveness…and reach for a new future filled with hope, grace, and love.

To find out more about Earlene Fowler and her books visit her webpage here.

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.

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

Contest Will End March 29, 2014 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

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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Mar 142014
 

keeping mum
Keeping Mum
(A Garden Society Mystery)

3rd in Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (March 4, 2014)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Catherine Deeter
Cover Design by Lesley Worrell
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425252062
E-Book File Size: 1539 KB
ASIN: B00EOARZ46
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Roanoke, Virginia, is home to some of the country’s most exquisite gardens, and it’s Camellia Harris’s job to promote them. But when a political fundraiser turns deadly, everyone’s a candidate for murder…

Camilla has been asked to help plan a gala for a candidate running for Senate. With Annie’s help they come up with the perfect plan.  A murder mystery themed silent auction where the guests bid on who will be the night’s “victim.” What could  go wrong? Well when the first body is found and he was not the “designated victim” and he is really dead you know things are not going well.

Turns out not too many people are sad that local financial tycoon Derrick Windermere is dead.  This leads to plenty of suspects and as police start to sort things out one of those suspects has disappeared. Annie’s dad, a former state senator is missing.   Cam quickly finds herself trying not only to find Annie’s dad but a killer. These two things just have to be connected.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This is the 3rd book in this series and all my favorite characters are back. Cam, Rob, Annie, Jake, Petunia and Nick, plus more. There are a lot of characters in these stories. This time the Garden Society wasn’t the host of the event so some of those members were replaced by some politicians and other very interesting people. Sometimes it was a little hard to keep everyone straight but as the very intriguing plot played out things came together nicely.

Alyse Carlson has created a very current story using the political arena for her theme.  Nothing good seems to happen when a group of politicians with opposing views get together, even if they are surrounded but acres of beautiful flowers. I am surprised there aren’t more mysterious deaths as people are very passionate about their politics.

Cam, Annie and Rob dig right in to solve both mysteries with just a bit of help their favorite officer, Jake. With Annie’s father missing this personal for all of them.  The secrets they uncover that may help catch Windermere’s killer are just an added bonus until they see where those secrets are leading them and then they can’t let go even if it means putting themselves in danger.

Carlson has a very descriptive way of writing that not only brings her characters to life but the settings as well. From the beautiful bountiful gardens or the deep dark woods or the sailboats in the marina, the are all in vivid color in our minds. She includes those little details that help us “see” the story.

I was sad to see the alphabet series end after The Azalea Assault and The Begonia Bribe, but no matter what they are titled I am a fan of Alyse Carlson captivating cozies. Chrysanthemum may have just been too long for a title :)

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author
Alyse Carlson is the pen name for the author some of you may know as Hart Johnson. She writes books from her bathtub and when she isn’t writing, does research for a large, midwest University or leads the Naked World Domination Movement (your choice).

Check out Alyse’s blog: Confessions of a Watery Tart.

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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Mar 122014
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

Duffy Brown is my guest today!
Her new book Pearls and Poison is one crazy cozy you will all love!!

duffy brown

Sleuthing and the BFF…
By Duffy Brown

It’s that dark and stormy night we hear so much about, your car just broke down in the middle of nowhere and you forgot to recharge your cell phone. In the moonlight you see an old dilapidated farmhouse off in the distance.

The question is… Who’s walking to that farmhouse with you?

P&PSherlock has Watson with him, Perot  has Captain Hastings, Nancy Drew has  boyfriend Ned, Stephanie Plum has Lula. Some sleuths even have a cat or dog. Sometimes they even talk. I wish my cats talked. Actually I wished they did the laundry and vacuumed but I digress.

Every sleuth has a BFF to chat with, get into trouble with, drink with.

On TV Beckett has Rick Castle. The SCI people have each other kicking around and Lizbeth has tea-drinking Patrick Jane in the Mentalist.

It’s not just solving the crimes together that makes them BFFs, but sharing their personal lives. IMO it’s this personal touch that’s the most interesting part of the show or book. Don’t you love when Sherlock does something nice for Watson or Perot and Hastings travel and take on the chase together or when Becket and Castle turn to each other and say I know who the killer is!

That LuLa is a once-upon-a-time hooker makes for a great character, that Patrick Jane is hunting for Red John keeps us riveted, that Rick Castle is has a grown daughter and a boyfriend who is nothing like Rick and has his mother is living with him gives a human touch to finding killers and tripping over dead bodies.

In my book the Consignment Shop Mysteries protagonist Reagan has BFF Auntie KiKi. KiKi was once a roadie for Cher and spouts Cher-isms when giving sage advice like A girl can wait for the right man to come along but in the meantime she can have a darn good time with all the wrong ones.  When KiKi was born the angels chanted cha-cha-cha over her crib and turned her into Savannah’s resident dancing teacher, when Reagan’s mom was born she was wrapped in a blanket with pink elephants resulting in Reagan being named Reagan.

In Pearls and Poison, Reagan’s mom is running for city council and her opponent winds up dead…that’s one way to win an election. Daughter Reagan and Auntie KiKi run to the rescue to find the real killer discussing suspects over martinis.

Back to our dark and stormy night. We know who our sleuths have at their sides when going into that creepy old house. So who would you have tagging along. Who is at one person that when you show up at their house with a dead body grabs a shovel and doesn’t ask questions.

When life goes right to hell in a hand-basket, who do what at your side?

~Duffy

 About This Author

Duffy Brown loves anything with a mystery. While others girls dreamed of dating Brad Pitt, Duffy longed to take Sherlock Holmes to the prom. She has two cats, Spooky and Dr. Watson, her license plate is Sherlock and she conjures up who-done-it stories of her very own for Berkley Prime Crime. Duffy’s national bestselling Consignment Shop Mystery series is set in Savannah and the Cyclepath Mysteries are set on Mackinac Island. Duffy writes romance as Dianne Castell and is a USA Today bestselling author.

www.DuffyBrown.com

DuffyBrown@DuffyBrown.com

Facebook.com/authorduffybrown

P&P

Pearls and Poison
(A Consignment Shop Mystery)

3rd in Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (March 4, 2014)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Julia Green
Cover Design by Diana Kolsky
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425252482
E-Book File Size: 1534 KB
ASIN: B00EOARZMS
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It’s election time in Savannah, Georgia, and Judge Guillotine Gloria—aka Reagan Summerside’s mom—is neck and neck in the polls with Kip “Scummy” Seymour. But the already dirty campaign is about to get downright filthy—with one candidate getting buried six feet under…

With her strong opinions and knack for getting into trouble, Reagan is not an ideal volunteer for her mother’s alderman campaign. Plus, she’d rather be running her consignment shop, the Prissy Fox, and eating doughnuts with her dog, Bruce Willis. But when her mother’s opponent, Kip, is found poisoned and her mother is pegged as a suspect, Reagan nominates herself as lead murder investigator.

Reagan is intent on finding Kip’s killer and clearing her mother’s good name, but she soon finds herself on the bad side of Kip’s enemies-turned-suspects. This time, no amount of costumes and makeup can keep her inconspicuous and out of danger. Because the closer Reagan gets to the truth, the hotter things get…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Another winner from Duffy Brown!!

These are some of the best cozy characters out there today. Reagan and Aunt Kiki are pure treasures.  Boone continues to grow on me and he is starting to grow on Reagan as well. Judge Gloria was a little more mellow this time but then she was the prime murder suspect so she was “watching her  p’s and q’s”, except she was “helping” at the Consignment Shop. Reagan exercised extreme patience with her mother.  I don’t know how she did it :)

While this story is full of Southern charm it is the dialogue that makes this story stand out. When these characters communicate the reader can almost hear the words like they are right there in the Prissy Fox or running around with Reagan chasing down clues and ducking danger.

The political plot worked really well except I wouldn’t ever expect a judge to want to be an alderperson, but maybe that is the way things work in Georgia. Dirty politics is always a great jump off for mysteries and this one had plenty of twists to keep us guessing.

Great characters, wonderful setting, a believable plot, southern charm, sassy dialogue and humor all add up to make this one fine cozy.

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 2 copies to give away!

Plus the author is giving away 2 Pearl and Poison Tote Bags!!

That’s 4 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.

Leave a comment for Duffy for 5 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 26, 2014 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

great escape tour banner large pearls and poison large banner640

 

Check out the rest of the tour!

Tour Participants

March 4 – A Date with a Book – Review, Guest Post
March 5 – Chloe Gets A Clue – Interview – Blog is having server issues – She should be back up soon.
March 6 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review, Interview, Giveaway
March 7 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Review, Guest Post
March 7 – Thoughts in Progress – Review – Giveaway
March 8 – A Year of Jubilee Reviews – Review, Giveaway
March 9 – Psychotic State Book Reviews – Review – Giveaway
March 10 – Book Lady’s Booknotes – Review, Guest Post
March 10 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – Guest Post, Giveaway
March 11 – My Recent Favorite books – Review, Giveaway
March 12 – Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf – Interview, Giveaway
March 12— Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Cozy Wednesday (Guest Post)
March 13 – Deal Sharing Aunt – Review, Guest Post, Giveaway
March 14 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post, Giveaway
March 15 – Brooke Blogs – Review, Giveaway

Giveaway at each stop!

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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Mar 052014
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640

 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!!

I am so excited to welcome my friend Laura Bradford here today!!

I will post my review at the bottom for this book but I just have to tell you know this story is amazing!!

elizabeth lynn casey

 

From the Fringes to my Heart

By Laura Bradford

Looking back through my life, I think I always liked the people on the fringes, best. I never fell for the popular jocks, or the boy everyone in class thought was so amazing. I guess, even then, I could see past the sparkle and glare to what mattered most.

So I have to wonder if some of that is why, in both my mystery series, my favorite character is found among the secondary line-up. Sure, I love Claire, my main character in my Amish Mysteries, and Tori in my Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries…but it’s the folks around them that really make me smile.

shunned and dangerousIn Shunned and Dangerous, the third book in my Amish Mysteries, Detective Jakob Fisher (one of my favorites) gets a lot of page time and that couldn’t thrill me more. You see, Jakob has an interesting past—one that’s responsible for a lot of heartache and tension in his present, and it allows me, as the writer, to really delve into the concept of excommunication among the Amish.

Jakob Fisher spent the first nineteen years of his life being Amish. He lived it, and he embraced it. That said, he developed a curiosity about police as he entered his teen years and opted to spend his brief Rumspringa learning more about the profession before he returned to the life he fully intended to lead. So sure was he about his future, he cut his Rumspringa short in order to be baptized.

Once a member of the Amish community is baptized, there is no going back. If they opt to leave before baptism, they can still have a relationship with their family. However, if they opt to leave after baptism, they are ex-communicated from their home, their community, their family. This ex-communication holds true even if the Amish person in question leaves for an otherwise noble reason—like wanting to join the police force to help solve a crime against his brethren…

Today, Jakob is a detective in Heavenly, Pennsylvania, the same town in which he grew up. He took the job to be closer to his family, to see them walking down the street or working in the fields. It’s his way of making sure they’re okay, even though he knows he can’t be part of their lives ever again—not as a son, brother, or uncle, anyway.

It’s a heartbreaking aspect to write, at times, but the dynamic is wrought with opportunities for tension, emotion, and, at times, even hope.

Is it painful to see the rejection Jakob faces from his family at times as this series progresses? Sure. But, at the same time, it makes his triumphant moments all the more powerful.

If you haven’t read my Amish Mysteries yet, I hope you’ll give them a chance.

~Laura

 

About This Author

Laura Bradford is the national best-selling author of the Amish Mysteries (Berkley Prime Crime). The third title in the series—Shunned and Dangerous—is now available. To learn more about Laura and the Amish Mysteries, you can visit her website: www.laurabradford.com. If you’d like to say up to date on Laura and her series beyond her website, you can “like” her page on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Laura-Bradford/316744455035472?ref=hl, or follow her on Twitter @Bradfordauthor.


shunned and dangerous
Shunned and Dangerous
(An Amish Mystery)

3rd in Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (March 4, 2014)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Mary Ann Lasher
Cover Design by Sarah Oberrender
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425252437
E-Book File Size: 1980 KB
ASIN: B00EOAS01I
goodreads-badge-add-plus

Living in the small town of Heavenly, Pennsylvania, Claire Weatherly has come to admire the Amish for their wholesome, honest way of life. But she also knows that nothing is as simple as it seems—especially when murder disturbs the peace.

It is harvest time in Heavenly and Claire is excited to try out one of Mose Fisher’s famous corn mazes. Her excitement quckly turns to terror and she rounds a corner and comes face to face with a very dead Harley Zook. Harley was a local Amish dairy farmer and handyman.

This investigation is going to be difficult for Detective Jakob Fisher. Mose Fisher is his father and because Jakob has been shunned by the Amish Community he has not had any recent contact with the man. When the evidence starts to point directly at Mose things get even tougher. Claire feels she has to step in and find the real killer before someone else turns up dead.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Cozy mysteries are my favorites and Laura Bradford (aka Elizabeth Lynn Casey) is one of my favorite cozy authors. She is an amazing storyteller so I always know the book is going to be a great read but with this story she absolutely blew me away!!

When an author writes a series each book brings a new adventure and the characters continue to evolve. This has to be extremely difficult. You have to tell the reader enough to get them engaged but you can’t “spill all the beans” too soon. In the first 2 books of this series we were introduced to Jakob Fisher and knew he had been shunned by his Amish Family. In this story Jakob takes center stage and we find out more details but also see the pain he must endure for the choice he made.

Most of us know the Amish live a simple life. They do not have telephones or electricity and travel by horse and buggy.  Personally there is an Amish community near here and my daughter visits often. She shops in their stores and bring me the most delicious baked goods. I have also witnessed some of their excellent building and woodworking skills. But I never really think of those that have been shunned for choices they have made. How they can forgive someone who may have committed a terrible crime against them but when a member of their family makes a choice after baptism to leave the community they cannot be forgiven. They are ex-communicated (shunned) forever.  Even if they have left to protect and serve others. The way Jakob has to deal with this just breaks my heart.  Claire is trying to understand the workings of the Amish too, just as I was and this really added to my relationship with this story.

In addition to this character study Bradford creates an outstanding mystery that she weaves right into this heartbreaking situation. There were so many twists and turns it was hard to believe this story took place in just 288 pages. She packed the drama and emotions into this story, it left me reeling.

I love my cozies and with no disrespect intended at all. This was so much more than a cozy mystery. This is a story that is going to stick with me longer than any story I have read in a long time. It was so eye-opening and thought provoking.

Laura you really hit a home run with this one. You get my first Paradise rating of the year.  I can’t wait to travel back to Heavenly again soon.

paradise5 STARFISH5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

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.

Leave a comment for Laura for 5 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 March19, 2014 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

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

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Feb 272014
 

Scandal
Scandal in Skibbereen
(A County Cork Mystery)

2nd in Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (February 4, 2014)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration By Daniel Craig
Cover Design By Judith Lagerman
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425252505
E-Book File Size: 1280 KB
ASIN: B00DYX9KFQ
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In this second installment of the County Cork Mysteries Bostonian Maura is beginning to feel settled in her new Irish home and as owner of an Irish Pub. She is anxious to see what kind of business she will have a the summer tourist season begins.

Althea Melville arrives from the U.S. but she is not on a pleasure trip. She is on a mission to find a rare painting and she believes she may find it in County Cork, not far away from Maura’s pub. Althea is not use to Irish traditions and comes across as “a bull in a China shop” as she tries to get Maura and others to help her find the painting. When a gardener is found dead outside of a local manor house Maura starts to question Althea’s motives and thinks there is much more to her story than just local for a piece of art.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Finding out I have a bit of Irish heritage myself makes me love these mysteries.

Connolly has created some wonderful characters. Maura is still finding her way in her new surroundings but she has something every barkeep needs, the gift of gab. She is friendly and outgoing and really strives to get to know the people around her. Her relationship with Billy reminds me of myself so much. When my parents owned a tavern there was always a group of elders there each day to play cards and share old stories and new. I could sit and listen to them for hours and they taught me how to win at cards too.

I also love the recurring characters and the way Maura’s relationships with all of them are evolving. Especially the relationship she has with Garda Officer Sean Murphy.

The new character that captured my heart was Eveline Townsend, the owner of Mycroft House. This is a woman that is aging gracefully living in a Manor House with only 2 other people and a nephew that helps to pay the bills and visits on a rare occasion, like when one of the employees has been murdered. This woman is much more alert and has a better memory than anyone thought and she knew many secrets that gave this story a few twists and turns.

The mystery of the lost painting and the murder were very well plotted.  The location was sublime. I have been told Spring and Summer are the best times to visit Ireland. You can tell the author loves her setting and has researched it thoroughly. Her love for the Irish countryside just glows throughout the story.

a perfect escape
5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author

Sheila Connolly has taught art history, structured and marketed municipal bonds for major cities, worked as a staff member on two statewide political campaigns, and served as a fundraiser for several non-profit organizations. She also managed her own consulting company providing genealogical research services. Now a full-time writer, she thinks writing mysteries is a lot more fun than any of her previous occupations.

She is a member of Sisters in Crime-New England (president 2011), the national Sisters in Crime, and the fabulous on-line SinC chapter, the Guppies. She also belongs to Romance Writers of America and Mystery Writers of America.

Sheila is Regent of her local DAR chapter, and a member of the Society of Mayflower Descendants. She’s also the grandchild of Irish immigrants (in case you’re worried that she’s a snob). In addition to genealogy, Sheila loves restoring old houses, visiting cemeteries, and traveling. She is married, and has one daughter and two cats.

She blogs with Poe’s Deadly Daughters and Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen on Fridays, and Killer Characters the 25th of each month.
Check out her webpage: www.sheilaconnolly.com

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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Feb 262014
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640
Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!!
I am excited to have Carol here today! Technically her books are not cozies as India is an agent of Her Majesty’s Government but these mysteries are full of humor, romantic tension and fantastic characters. If you like your cozies that take you back in time or across the pond you will love India Black.

Carol GB

KEEPING IT FRESH
by Carol K. Carr

            I’m four novels into the India Black series, and I’m not tired of her yet. Or of Lachlan French, Vincent, the Marchioness or any other of the series characters I’ve introduced. That may seem like an odd thing to say, but authors do grow weary of their creations. Arthur Conan Doyle famously killed off Sherlock Holmes only to bring him back several years later, in part because Doyle got tired of being harassed about Sherlock’s untimely demise by fans of the detective.india black and the gentleman thief

            But just because I say I’m not tired of India doesn’t mean that I think she should never change. We all grow and develop, even as adults, and while India would declare that she is perfect just as she is, she must also stretch her wings a little or we’ll all get bored.

            So, how to keep India interesting? Some things are easy. I’ll send her off to South Africa with French, posing as missionaries. The very idea tickles me. The comedic possibilities boggle the mind. My mind, anyway. Because what could be more amusing than a, ahem, brothel owner masquerading as a daughter of the church?

            I can also put India in circumstances that make her uncomfortable. She’s my character, after all, and I can do what I like. India claims she doesn’t possess the emotions typically sported by the average human, so why not put that premise to the test? Will she admit to a growing fondness for the Marchioness, or mistake that unsettling feeling for indigestion?

            And then there’s the painful, even tortured, relationship India shares with French. That has to move along soon. I don’t want the readers to get restless. Has the tease gone on long enough? Probably. But don’t anticipate a future of white picket fences and (shudder) children for the two of them. India wouldn’t be India if she meekly accepted the role of Victorian wife. I almost feel sorry for poor French.

Well, there are a few ideas for keeping India fresh. I hope you’ll all be around for future installments.

Thank you, Lori, for the opportunity to appear as a guest on your blog.

You can read all about India, French and the gang at www.carolkcarr.com

~Carol

Thank you Carol for visiting today!! I hope you will visit again soon!!

india black and the gentleman thief
India Black and the Gentleman Thief
(A Madam of Espionage Mystery)

4th in Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (February 4, 2014)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Alan Ayers
Cover Design by Rita Frangie
Trade Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425262481
E-Book File Size: 1262 KB
ASIN: B00DMCV1PQ
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India Black’s double life operating a high-class brothel and running high-stakes espionage for Her Majesty’s government can take its toll. But there’s no rest for the weary—particularly when an international conspiracy comes knocking…

India Black is one of Victorian London’s most respected madams—not a bloody postmistress. So when Colonel Francis Mayhew forwards a seemingly innocuous shipping bill to her address, she’s puzzled. And when three thugs bust down her door, steal the envelope, and rough up both her and fellow agent French…well, that’s enough to make India Black see red.

The veteran spies soon discover that Mayhew has been butchered in his own bedroom. An impromptu investigation leads them to London’s docks, where India makes a startling discovery she can’t bear to tell the rakish French—she has a history with their chief suspect, the gentleman thief who once stole her heart…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Each story is better than the last and Carr’s writing and her characters continue to evolve. India is the madam of Lotus House, a London brothel, where gentleman of of very high rank in government and military are welcomed daily.  She has grown from just a madam to work as an agent for Her Majesty’s Government with full approval of the prime minister while maintaining the brothel. It makes a great cover.  I have loved India Black since the start but the India in this story starts to let her guard down just a bit. The tension both romantic and in general between India and French is reaching a peak. We also learn more about India’s past and French’s too. Having the Marchioness of Tullibardine and her entourage underfoot at Lotus House gives the story a whole new dimension and even makes Vincent shine.

The  story is full of action as India, French and Vincent travel from the War Office to the dirty, gritty docks and around the English countryside trying to catch a killer and stop a international smuggling ring.  They find themselves in some quite precarious situations.

What I love about these stories is these fantastic characters are all unique and even facing serious danger their personalities continue shine through. India is a very stubborn woman, French puts up with her and does his best to keep her safe. Their dialogue is full of sarcasm and wit and at times had me laughing out loud.

We met the marchioness in India Black and the Widow of Windsor and the gentleman thief connects to the short story India Black and the Rajah’s Ruby,which is a prequel to the series. The stories take place in pretty quick succession. We are given just a hint as to what India and French will be up to in the next installment as this story ends. To truly enjoy this series it should be read in order.

A truly great series I recommend highly.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

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.

Leave a comment for Erika for 5 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 12, 2014 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

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

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Feb 192014
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am excited to welcome author Elizabeth Lee here  today!

Elizabeth Lee author pic

A TOUGH NUT TO KILL
by Elizabeth Lee

 

When I began writing A Tough Nut to Kill I wasn’t sure a pair of grandmother and granddaughter protagonists was going to work as my investigators.  At first I thought: Lindy’s in her twenties, Miss Amelia’s seventy-seven.  A couple of generations apart.  I told myself: no interests in common—one’s an educated botanist, the other an elderly southern woman whose days consist of baking pecan pies for The Nut House, the family outlet for the pecans grown on their ranch near Riverville, Texas.

Lindy spends the warming spring days with her head in a botany book or tending the new species of pecan tree she’s developing out in her greenhouse, while Miss Amelia gossips and hands out advice left and right to the townsfolk.

I had to find where the women came together, were similar, shared interests, shared common goals.

a tough nut to killAnd it was right there in front of my nose.  Of course they shared the best of things, like most grandmothers and granddaughters do.  I found things that went so far beyond daily events, beyond education, beyond interests, the music they listened to, the friends they had.  Two women.  Related.  Tied by blood, by love of family, deep love and respect for each other, for friends and family.  Two women who shared a thirst for justice coming from past injustices they both had suffered.

It was going to be all right.  When Lindy found Uncle Amos, the black sheep of the Blanchard family who had disappeared over a year ago, dead on the cement floor of her greenhouse and then a family member was charged with the murder, it was no giant guess that this pair of southern women would get out there and chase down old lies and old enemies, hide evidence when they needed to, or do a line dance or two at the Barking Coyote Saloon if it will get them information from a bar maid.  From Riverville to a rehab facility in Houston to the offices of a Columbus, Texas, private detective, they dig up old murders, ferret out old injustices, and face down a killer.

Granddaughter and grandmother—southern womanhood at its best.

 ~Elizabeth

Thank you for stopping by  today Elizabeth!!

a tough nut to kill
A Tough Nut to Kill (Nut House Mystery Series)
A Brand New Cozy Mystery Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (February 4, 2014)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Robert Crawford
Cover Design by Diane Kolsky
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425261408
E-Book File Size: 2589 KB
ASIN: B00DYX9KII
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

 

Lindy Blanchard has devoted five years of her life to saving the pecan trees on her family’s farm—but someone is going to deadly lengths to see that she fails……

Welcome to Riverville, Texas, the heart of PECAN country. The Blanchard family farm is well known for its acres of pecan trees and also for their store, The Nut House, where they sell all kinds of yummy pecan treats including special pecan pies made daily by Miss Amelia. Miss Amelia’s granddaughter, Lindy, has been using her college education as a plant biologist to try to cultivate a pecan tree that is more resistant to drought to not only help her family but all pecan ranchers. But someone doesn’t want her to succeed and has even committed murder to try to put the Blanchard family out of business. The local sheriff is stumped and Lindy and Miss Amelia find themselves trekking all over the countryside trying to catch a killer.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This is a fine debut to this new nutty series. The author has given us the most important ingredient of a cozy mystery – Quirky Characters! She has created some real treasures. In addition to the Blanchard family we have the Chauncey twins and Miss Ethelred Tomroy. There is also Deputy Hunter Austen, more hunky than quirky, he has been friends with Lindy since they were kids and its hard for them to keep secrets from each other. This comes in handy while trying to solve a murder but there is also room for this to grow into a more romantic relationship.

Lee has also put together a well thought out whodunit. Plenty of suspects and red herrings to keep the readers guessing. There is also a great deal of humor and Southern charm spread throughout the entire story.

The reader is also treated to a look behind the scenes of a pecan ranch and several recipes.

I really liked this story and am looking forward to more adventures with Lindy and Miss Amelia.

just you and a friend4 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

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.

Leave a comment for Elizabeth for 5 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 5, 2014 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

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

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