Nov 232012
 

2012 best mystery

To Hell in a Handbasket
(Claire Hanover Gift Basket Designer Mystery)

2nd in Series
Mystery
MIDNIGHT INK (November 8, 2012)
A Imprint of Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd.
Trade Paperback: 312 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738727028

It’s snow accident when a young woman’s icy demise sends Claire’s vacation to hell in a handbasket

Skiing with her family in Breckenridge, Colorado, gift basket designer Claire Hanover hears a terrified scream cut the frigid mountain air. She is horror-stricken to find Stephanie Contino, the sister of her daughter’s boyfriend, dead on the slopes. While everyone else assumes the death was an accident, Claire is suspicious of the extra ski tracks that cross dangerously into Stephanie’s path. But the police are skeptical of foul play, even as more signs point to murder.

When incriminating clues put her daughter Judy in danger, Claire investigates and finds trouble around every mogul. Between interviewing a daredevil snowboarder and giving ski lessons to a drug boss, she uncovers a chilling conspiracy that could turn deadly for her family.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Hang on to your ski poles, this is a wild run!! Watch out for out of control snowboarders, flying bullets and families keeping secrets.

Claire finds herself right in the middle of the drama as she tries to protect her daughter while helping the police catch a killer. Any mom knows you do not get between a mom and her kids. We will lay down our lives to keep our children safe no matter if they are 5 or 25. Claire is a strong courageous woman and her daughter Judy is following in her footsteps.  Of course not all of us have a friendly drug dealer we can call to help us get information and what he wants in return is hilarious. The picture that forms in your mind will have you laughing out loud.

Husband Roger touched my heart. He and Claire are trying to rejuvenate their love after the stress of incidents in the first book in the series, A Real Basket Case. He knows that he can’t keep her from investigating so he helps her as much as he can. He also tries to squeeze in some romantic moments along the way.

I have learned my lesson about Beth Groundwater stories:

  • When you start reading you will not stop until you reach the end.
  • Her characters are real and constantly evolving and pull you right into their lives and hold on tight.
  • They take place is wonderful scenic places.
  • I use the word “wild” a lot when describing her books.
  • These are not cozy mysteries! They are edgy mysteries full of suspense!
  • Bits of humor and tries at romance keep the story with the right feel for cozy lovers.
  • Think “cozy mystery on steroids”!

I love the way Beth writes and have loved every one of her stories. I highly recommend escaping into this book as soon as possible!

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

My reviews of other books by Beth Groundwater:
A Real Basket Case
Deadly Currents
Wicked Eddies

About This Author

Beth Groundwater writes the Claire Hanover gift basket designer series (A Real Basket Case, a Best First Novel Agatha Award finalist, and To Hell in a Handbasket ) and the Rocky Mountain Outdoor Adventures series starring whitewater river ranger Mandy Tanner (Deadly Currents,March, 2011, and Wicked Eddies, May, 2012). The third books in both series will appear in 2013. Beth enjoys Colorado’s many outdoor activities, including skiing and whitewater rafting, and loves talking to book clubs. Please visit her website at bethgroundwater.com and her blog at bethgroundwater.blogspot.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.”

Nov 202012
 

2012 contempoary cozy

Written in Stone
(A Books by the Bay Mystery)

4th in Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (November 6, 2012)
A Division of The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425251737
Cover Illustration by Kimberly Schamber
Cover Design by Rita Frangie

Written in Stone (A Books by the Bay, #4)

Olivia Limoges has been summoned to see Munin Cooper, known as the witch of Oyster Bay. Munin tells Olivia that death is coming. Neither woman realized that is was Munin’s death that was imminent. When her body is found Olivia instincts tell her there is something more sinister than a mystical force at work.

Finding Munin’s killer takes top priority for Olivia even though she needs to be getting ready for the Coastal Carolina Food Festival. Munin had given Olivia a memory jar that she had made and Olivia knows that if she can just figure out what the keepsakes mean she will be able to identify the killer. She enlists the help of the Bayside Book Writers to help her solve the pottery puzzle and help her to catch the culprit before he claims another victim.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Ellery Adams just keeps topping herself. Each book is better than the last. This is definitely one of the best books I have read this year.

One of the mysteries of this series has been the star character herself and we are finally really getting into the heart of her life in this installment. Plus the character is evolving and moving forward in the most wonderful ways.

In this story we also learn about the Lumbee Indian Tribe. The Lumbee are one of eight state-recognized Native American tribes in North Carolina. The author took the history of this tribe and wove it right into Olivia’s world. I really love the way she does this because added to the enjoyment of the story we get a little education as well. The memory jug with the keepsake clues added that additional element every great mystery needs. The puzzle to figure out, not just trying to pick up clues from what the characters say or remembering something at at that climatic moment.

To fully appreciate this story it is necessary to read all of the books in order. Only then can the reader enjoy the growth of all the characters.

Kudos Ellery!!! Bring on Poisoned Prose!! I can’t wait!!

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

To find out more about Ellery Adams visit her webpage here.

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

Nov 152012
 

2012 best contemporary fiction

Mare’s Nest
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (November 9, 2012)
Contemporary Fiction
Paperback: 466 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1479149186
E-book File Size: 566 KB
ASIN: B00A05JI8K

Mare's Nest

Annie Bellamy loves horses. She grew up showing horses and the buying, selling, and showing of horses led to the bankruptcy and break-up of her family, and perhaps, her mother’s death. She now is trying to come to grips with her past as her own daughter, Teddy, falls in love with horses the same way she did. She vows that history will not repeat itself. Teddy’s talent cannot be denied. She connects with these horses like Annie never did.

Her daughter’s passion does come with a hefty price tag and she wonders how that will impact her family. She also never imagined the ruthless barn owners, the crooked trainers or the viciously competitive show moms they would meet on this journey in the horse world or “saddle soap opera”. Annie realizes that making her daughter’s dreams come true is going to take courage to stand up to all those around them wanting them to fail.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

A captivating and inspiring story of a mother’s love and the special bonds of mother and daughter. Based on a true story, Lesley takes us into world of showing horses. What happens behind those barn doors and in the practice rings. The greed, the jealousy, the corruption, she tells all.

Mare’s Nest is a term defined as “an extraordinarily complicated situation”. That’s what the horse world is, a series of extraordinarily complicated situations. I love the way Kagen writes with heart and humor and the strength she gives her characters. Annie and Teddy had quite an uphill battle and a few missteps but it made each of them stronger and their relationship stronger as well.

As a mother with two daughters myself this book touched my heart. It also made me thankful they played volleyball, basketball and softball. The competitive parents are still there, the coaches did have their favorites, but the equipment can be put in a closet or the garage in the off season. A horse needs care year round and my heart would break every time one got hurt or would have to be sold.

You do not need any knowledge of horses or the competitions involved in showing a horse to love this book. I sure didn’t and I absolutely loved this story. It is a powerful story that every mother or daughter would enjoy. It is a truly awesome book! Definitely worth 10 stars!!!

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author

Lesley Kagen is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author, a mother of two, an actress, voice-over talent,former restaurateur, and accomplished equestrian. Her previous books include Whistling in the Dark, Land of a Hundred Wonders, Tomorrow River, and Good Graces. She lives in Wisconsin. Visit with her on Facebook, and at her web site www.lesleykagen.com

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

Oct 242012
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I spend a lot of time each month searching for future books coming out to share with you. When I saw the cover of Sheila’s book I knew I had wanted to read this book.  I did a little research and found out that Border Collies as well as an Australian Shepherd were some of the stars of this story. As a mom of 2 Border Collie/Blue Heeler mixes I knew I had to invite Sheila to be my guest.  I am thrilled that she is here today!!!

Hi Sheila!

Hi Everyone!

 

Dogs, Cats, Horses – oh my! Animals have always been part of my life, so it makes sense that they have also been important to much of my writing. Horses had most of my attention in my teens and twenties, and more than a few cats have graced by life. And as I’ve written in some of my books, I inherited the “dog gene” through my maternal line. My mother and her mother and, well, mothers all the way back, were crazy about dogs, and growing up we had a lovely variety – Chihuahuas, a mixed-breed who was my childhood heart dog, various other mixed breeds, a Scottish Deerhound, an Irish Wolfhound….In the 1980s, I got involved with dog obedience with my Labrador Retriever, Raja, and in the early 90s I fell in love with an Australian Shepherd puppy, the first of my Aussies in my life. For more than two decades I’ve been heavily involved over the years with rescue, canine-assisted therapy, public education, and various canine sports.

Write what you know, or what you love! I started writing as an academic folklorist, and spent a number of years teaching writing at universities and working as an editor and freelance writer. My first commercial magazine article was “The Legend of Gelert,” about a Welsh folktale of King Llewllyn’s hound. It was published in two versions, one of them in Dog Fancy magazine, and I was off and running.  I spent a few years writing a lot of articles for dog and cat magazines. Then in the early nineties I helped founded two rescue programs. This was before the Internet was such a tool, and information was hard to find, so I decided to write the book that I could have used when I was starting. Breed Rescue (Alpine, 1998) won a Maxwell Award from the Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) for Best General Interest Book. For the next fifteen years I wrote almost entirely about dogs and cats, and I’m honored to say that six of my books have won “best book” awards from the DWAA and the Cat Writers’ Association, and several others were finalists.

I didn’t think I could make up a story, but a few years ago I found myself in a writers’ group with three other women who were all writing mysteries. They would show up with juicy murders and quirky characters and I would show up with “how to get puppy peepee out of your carpet.” Then one day I was driving home from a dog show and an opening line popped into my head, and a title, and by the time I got home I could see the whole story. So I started to write.

That said, like all novelists, I draw on personal experience to create characters. Janet MacPhail, the series protagonist, isn’t me, but we do share some quirks. (No, I won’t say which ones!) Sometimes life imitates fiction, too. I created Janet and made her an animal and nature photographer, then became friends with two women who are animal and nature photographers. Neither of them is precisely Janet, but they’re terrific resources for anecdotes and to keep me accurate. Janet’s Aussie Jay is – surprise! – based on my own Aussie Jay, and Labrador Retriever Drake is a composite of my own three Labs. The other dogs, too, are based on dogs I’ve seen or known or lived with. Drop Dead on Recall also has a lovely feline character, Leo, who plays a heroic part in the story, and he is a blend of my two beloved orange tabbies, Leo and Malcolm. Many of the scenes are built around my own experiences or stories I’ve heard from friends.

That’s what novelists do. We take life and bend it to our purposes and give it back to our readers. Great fun!

Drop Dead for Healthy Dogs. I love cooperative ventures – everybody wins! So I have teamed up with Canine Health Events, the Australian Shepherd Health and Genetics Institute, and an independent bookstore in Wilmington, NC, where I live, for a “Virtual Book Launch Party” through October 31. Readers can order personally autographed print copies of Drop Dead on Recall or Rescue Matters from Pomegranate Books. I will pop into the bookstore and sign the books, and the store will ship them to the buyers. Pomegranate will then donate a portion of the sales to Canine Health Events to support their projects.

People can order online at http://www.sheilaboneham.com/dropdeadforhealthydogs.html or call Pomegranate Books at 910-452-1107.

In obedience competition, there is an exericise called the “drop on recall” in which you call your dog (the “recall”) and, on a signal from the judge, you have your dog lie down, then come the rest of the way. One of my favorite dog show bumper stickers says, “Old dog trainers never die, they just drop on recall.” So, Drop Dead on Recall opens with a leading obedience competitor keeling over during the drop on recall, and the story unfolds from there. My protagonist, Janet MacPhail, is an animal photographer who is there competing with her Australian Shepherd, Jay. Janet also has a heroic little orange tabby named Leo, and lots of other dogs play big parts in the story.

The “Animals in Focus” series is not a dog mystery series, by the way. Upcoming books involved birds, cats, and….well, we’ll see!

No one in the book is “real,” but everyone – dog, cat, bird, person – is realistic. Like my protagonist, Janet, I believe that animals are much more interesting when we see them as themselves, not as funny little people in fur coats, so the animals in my book act like, well, animals. They don’t talk, and we can’t get into their heads (though I would love about five minutes in a dog’s head!).

~Sheila

Sheila, Thank you so much for being my guest today. I love your real animals! I live in a house full of them so I completely understand!

About This Author

Award-winning author Sheila Webster Boneham writes fiction and nonfiction, much of it focused on animals, nature, and travel. Although best known for her writing about dogs and cats for the past fifteen years, Sheila also writes fiction, narrative nonfiction, and poetry, teaches writing workshops and classes, and is interested in speaking to groups about writing, creativity, and related topics. Drop Dead on Recall, her new mystery, is available now from your local bookseller and online in print and ebook formats; the Audible edition will be available soon. Find Sheila at http://www.sheilaboneham.com, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sheilawrites, and on Twitter @sheilaboneham.

2012dollycas favorite cozy

Drop Dead on Recall
(An Animals in Focus Mystery)

A Brand New Series
CozyMystery
Midnight Ink (October 8, 2012)
An Imprint of Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd.
Paperback: 408 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738733067
Cover Illustration by Joe & Kathy Heiner/Lindgren & Smith
Cover Design by Lynne Menturweck

Drop Dead on Recall

When a top-ranked competitor keels over at a dog obedience trial, photographer Janet MacPhail is swept up in a maelstrom of suspicion, jealousy, cut-throat competition, death threats, pet-napping, and murder. She becomes a “person of interest” to the police, and apparently to major hunk Tom Saunders as well. As if murder and the threat of impending romance aren’t enough to drive her bonkers, Janet has to move her mother into a nursing home, and the old lady isn’t going quietly. Janet finds solace in her Australian Shepherd, Jay, her tabby cat, Leo, and her eccentric neighbor, Goldie Sunshine. Then two other “persons of interest” die, Jay’s life is threatened, Leo disappears, and Janet’s search for the truth threatens to leave her own life underdeveloped – for good.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I absolutely loved this story!!!!! As the parent to two Border Collie/Blue Heeler mixes and 3 rescue kitties this book hit me on a very personal level. Pet lovers know all about the way our furry friends delight us.

This author knows the dog training world very well and takes us behind the ropes at the competition level. Is this competitive circuit cutthroat enough for people to get murdered??

Janet MacPhail is the perfect amateur sleuth to find out. With her camera and her own canine she can get up close and personal with all the suspects. Janet is a mature woman that I can easily relate to dealing with real life issues. Taking care of an aging parent is so very hard and making the decision to remove much of their independence is a very tough issue many of us face. The author takes on this issue with love and mixes in wonderful bits of humor that helps ease the pain we know Janet is feeling.

The author’s sense of humor is what really stands out to me in this story. The mystery is top notch, character development spot on, a bit of romance, wonderful animals, but it is the laughter that will make me remember each and every page of this story. There is a part where Janet is in a cafe waiting to meet a detective that had me laughing out loud and almost rolling on the floor. The comedic timing is excellent. I can’t believe this is Sheila Webster’s Boneham’s first dip in the fiction pool. This book is so dog gone good!!!

Fans of Linda O. Johnston and Susan Conant will love this story. All animal lovers who like great mystery will enjoy it as well. Heck I think mystery lovers will find it delightful whether they love pets or not. It is a wonderful read!

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

I am giving away my gently read autographed copy to one lucky winner.
U.S. and CANADIAN RESIDENTS
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 Sheila and earn 5 more Bonus Entries!

If you publicize the giveaway anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End November 7, 2012 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.”

Oct 012012
 

It has been such an honor for me to organize this Virtual Blog Tour for Kim. God placed us in each other’s path several years ago and she is the most amazing person with a heart as big as all outdoors. Back in 2001 she visited me often while I was hospitalized after my accident. She read to me, prayed with me and her daughters filled my room with their precious artwork. I knew then God had a plan for Kim but I never imagined where he would send her or the extraordinary work she and Randy would come to do. They rallied the troops and started on this wonderful journey of mission. I wish I could travel with them and do so much more. God may have me sidelined from traveling with them but his journey for me has put me in a place where I can share this wonderful book with you.

2012 non-fiction memoir


Tears Water the Seeds of Hope
CrossHouse Publishing (September 6, 2012)
Hardcover or Paperback: 232 pages
E-Book File Size: 626 KB
Non-Fiction/Memoir

This true story of selfless endeavor is so inspiring. Have a tissue handy because you will shed a few tears of your own. But there are funny parts too and places were I shook my head in disbelief and then cheered for the amazing things that  were accomplished.

I just want to tell you a little bit about a 16 year old girl’s story that reached me on a more personal level.

Alma was diagnosed with scoliosis but not the usual C or S two dimensional curvature. Alma’s curvature is three dimensional like a cork screw. Without the terribly high risk surgery Alma was going to die. Her family had begged for help from anyone with U.S. connections to help Alma but no one could help them. Kim dreaded giving them the same answer, the surgery would cost more than Outreach For World Hope could afford. Trying not to give them false hope Kim told them she would see what she could do.

My back and spinal cord issues pale in comparison to what this child has suffered. To find out what happened you are going to have to read the book.

The book is filled with adventure and heartwarming occurrences that prove ordinary people can make extraordinary things happen. Kim has a very descriptive writing voice that will draw you in and hold you from the first page to the last. It is a book that will stick with you forever. The pictures will touch your hearts and the stories will touch your soul.

If you purchase just one non-fiction memoir type book this year it should be this book.  It will be a book you will want to share with your family and friends. A book for your keeper shelf as well.

I have one copy to give away. 

U.S. and CANADIAN RESIDENTS
Contest Ends October 16 at 12:01 a.m. CST
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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


Sep 132012
 

2012 self published mystery thriller

I often wonder what we did before the internet. You know when we actually had to write letters and make phone calls. But today I am so happy we have the internet, Facebook, and blogs. It lets me share the books I love with all of you but it also helps me connect with the authors who write the books that I love.

Back in June James Houston Turner filled out one of my contact forms telling me about his new book Greco’s Game and invited me to be part of this tour.

This is all I needed to read of the synopsis to know I had to read this book:

Colonel Aleksandr Talanov – the “ice man” – is married to a woman he wishes he could love. But he can’t, and it’s an ugly consequence of his training with the KGB. Even so, no one should have to experience what Talanov experienced: the brutal murder of his wife in front of his eyes. Wracked with guilt and suspected of plotting her death, Talanov spirals downward on a path of self-destruction.

Jim and I will probably never meet in person but because of all this wonderful technology I have found an outstanding author and made a truly awesome friend.

Let me tell you about Jim before I tell you about Greco’s Game.

A native of Kansas, James turned to writing fiction as a result of his years as a smuggler behind the old Iron Curtain. He has been on a KGB watchlist, organized secret midnight meetings with informants, located hidden mountain bunkers, and investigated legends of forgotten tunnels buried beneath the cobblestones and bricks of some of Central Europe’s most venerated cathedrals. Department Thirteen, his debut thriller featuring former KGB informant, Colonel Aleksandr Talanov, was inspired by those experiences and went on to win the USA Book News “Best Thriller of 2011″ award, a gold medal in the 2012 Independent Publisher “IPPY” Book Awards (thriller/suspense), and a gold medal in the 2012 Indie Book Awards (action/adventure).

A former journalist in Los Angeles, James holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Baker University and a Master’s Degree from the University of Houston (Clear Lake). His 2011 “Too Ugly Tour” saw him drive 4500 miles across America promoting his books and speaking to thousands of students about not letting the hard knocks of life defeat you, which in his case included years of rejection, surviving cancer, and once being turned down for a customer service job because he was “too ugly” — a reference to the facial scars he still carries from his successful 1991 battle against cancer. He and his wife, Wendy, a former triathlon winner, live in Adelaide, South Australia.


Comfort Publishing (September 1, 2012)
Suspense Thriller
Book 2 in the Aleksandr Talanov series *
Paperback: 329 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1936695485
E-book File Size: 625 KB
ASIN: B008PFCRTY
*Reads as a stand alone very well

Greco’s Game finds Talanov witnessing the brutal murder of his wife. Convinced the bullet was meant for him and wracked with guilt, he spirals downward on a path of self-destruction, hitting rock-bottom on the mean streets of Los Angeles. But in a seedy world ruled by the Russian mafia, all is not as it seems. Was her murder an accident, or was it a carefully-planned strategy? The answer lies in Greco’s Game, a chess game played in 1619 that Talanov’s old KGB chess instructor regarded as the most brilliant example of how to trap and kill an opponent. The question is: who was the target?

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Wow! This is an outstanding story! Riveting, intense and full of suspense!

You have the CIA, FSB (Federal Secret Service/Russia), LAPD, the Russian Mafia and Aleksandr Talanov, former KGB agent, all coming together in Los Angeles, California. Who killed his wife? Until he knows he can’t trust anyone!

While clues play out we learn that they are patterning a chess game played hundreds of years ago but you do not need to like or understand chess to follow this story. Just hold on tight you are in for a wild ride.

Turner takes us on a journey into the gritty world of human trafficking in a universe where much has changed since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Men Talanov knew back in his time in the KGB could be working for anybody. He can’t even trust his former mentor. The author takes us through the clues and strategy at an amazing clip making it impossible to put down. This story would make a fantastic movie.

The author has created rich and colorful characters that just seem to leap off the page. We follow them through chilling car chases, cars crashing through buildings, and cars with surprises in the trunks. Gun blazing, bombs blowing, bouncers dishing out beatings and worse.

I have not yet read Department Thirteen and had absolutely no trouble loving this deadly game of pawns and queens. I did learn James Houston Turner loves to leave us hanging.  He resolves most of the issues but baits us with just a few lines and a bit of book #3, Dragon Head coming in 2013.

This is one of those books I want to shout about from the rooftops!! It is amazing! A MUST READ if you like mystery, suspense, action and thrills!!!

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

You may visit him at www.jameshoustonturner.com

James loves hearing from readers and bloggers. To contact him directly, http://www.jameshoustonturner.com/contact.htm

Follow James on Twitter: https://twitter.com/jhoustonturner

Follow James on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jameshoustonturner

Follow Greco’s Game on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GrecosGame

Follow Talanov on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aleksandr.talanov

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.”

Aug 292012
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!!

I am jumping up and down today because I am thrilled Joanna is here plus I can’t wait to tell you all about her new book and this new series. Jane Eyre is one of my all time favorite reads. I reread it often and must say it was one of the few books that I was forced to read in high school that I actually enjoyed and have worn out several copies. When I heard Joanna was writing The Jane Eyre Chronicles I knew I was going to love them. If you haven’t read Jane Eyre you can get it at Amazon.com for your Kindle for free. A great book to check out from the library as well. But you can just take the plunge into Death of a Schoolgirl even if you have not read the classic as the author drops us masterfully into Jane Eyre Rochester’s life. I will continue my praise in my review after Joanna’s post.

Please join me in welcoming Joanna Campbell Slan!

Hi Joanna!

Hi Everyone!

A storm is brewing outside my window. Isaac threatens us here on the Florida coast, and the sea is rough with the slap-slap-slap of waves. A low drumroll of thunder grumbles in the distance, a harbinger of the wild weather to come.

Far from being afraid, I look forward to the stormy weather. You never know what the seas will toss onto the sand! After a storm, I love looking for shells and bits of treasures. However, not so long ago, someone walking these beaches could have easily come upon a half-drown sailor. Ships were often blown off course and crashed on the Anastasia rock formation, a barrier that runs parallel to the shore. Back in 1876, the government built five “houses of refuge” up and down the coast of Florida. These were places charged with offering temporary shelter to sailors. A decade later ten more were added. But today, only one still exists, the House of Refuge on Gilbert’s Bar, on the St. Lucie Rocks, on Hutchison Island, Florida.

Although I’ve visited the House of Refuge many times, I dropped in again yesterday. As always, I was fascinated by the artifacts from the past. One item in particular interested me this time—the large piece of hair work adoring a wall of the dining room. Now I can’t imagine anyone on HGTV suggesting, “Oh, let’s put a humongous wreath made of human hair over your dining room table!” At least, not without the homeowners gagging. But years ago, it was quite the thing.

 As you can tell, I have a passion for history. When I wrote Death of a Schoolgirl, I immersed myself in the years 1820-21. Imagining the smells of London, the sorts of clothing women wore, the way people spoke, the food they ate, the places they went, well, I enjoyed every minute of it. Hardest of all was to capture the mindset of the people of that time.

Today we worry about climate change. About the shooting sprees that seem rampant in our country. About the upcoming election. These concerns color the way we live our daily lives. Growing up during the Cold War, I worried about Russia hitting us with a nuclear bomb. Sociologists suggest that the tenor of our formative years shapes who we are as adults. For example, my grandmother grew up during the Great Depression. As an adult, she saved tin foil and rubber bands. When she died, we cleaned out cabinets full of such “treasures!” To us, it seemed silly, but to her, such economies gave comfort.

When I sit down to write about another era, I try to imagine the zeitgeist of times gone by. By doing so, I can approach my characters more honestly, with compassion for them. As a result, I hope they are more real to my readers…because they certainly are to me!

~Joanna

Thank you Joanna for visiting today. Your characters jump right off the pages and into our hearts.

About This Author

Joanna Campbell Slan is the author of Death of a Schoolgirl (The Jane Eyre Chronicles)(Berkley), the first book in a new series featuring Jane Eyre as an amateur sleuth.  She also writes the Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series and has the Southern Beauty Shop Series in the works. To learn more, visit Joanna at www.JoannaSlan.com

2012 best historical cozy

Death of a Schoolgirl
(The Jane Eyre Chronicles)

A Brand New Series
Historical Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Publish by The Penguin Group (August 7, 2012)
Cover Art by Alan Ayers
Cover Design by George Long
Trade Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425247747

Death of a Schoolgirl

 

In her classic tale, Charlotte Brontë introduced readers to the strong-willed and intelligent Jane Eyre. Picking up where Brontë left off, Jane’s life has settled into a comfortable pattern: She and her beloved Edward Rochester are married and have an infant son. But Jane soon finds herself in the midst of new challenges and threats to those she loves…

Jane and Edward are very upset by a letter they receive from Adèle Varens, Rochester’s ward. She is residing at a boarding school in London and the letter is a cry for help. Adèle has a tendency to be a bit dramatic and she craves attention but Jane feels Adèle is truly in trouble.

Jane decides she must go to London immediately even if that means leaving her son and invalid husband behind, traveling alone into the big city. Her travels are event filled but nothing comes close to arriving at the school just in time to see a body being removed. A classmate of Adèle’s has died and no one seems very upset. Jane uses the chaos created by a teacher leaving and her replacement being delayed to pose as an instructor to find out what is really going on behind the walls of the school. She starts to uncover some “unsavory secrets” that may lead to her own demise.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
A FANTASTIC STORY!!!! This is one of those that earns well beyond the five stars!!!

Joanna Campbell Slan has masterfully dropped us right into Jane’s life. She picks up right where Charlotte Bronte leaves off and spins a wonderful tale turning Jane Eyre into a Nancy Drew from 1820. What a marvelous idea.

Jane has evolved into a wife and a mother still retaining the complexity and strength that Bronte created. She has overcome so much in her life and emerged a strong woman with a compassionate heart. Edward Rochester has grown as well, coming to terms with his disabilities as the high price for the errors of his past, but not letting them consume him.  Together they are the perfect match and their love just shines. The author has made these characters jump right off the page and into our hearts. A trip back in time to visit some dear old friends.

The mystery is dynamic with many twists, turns and surprises. It is well researched giving the reader a clear sense of history and place.

Beautifully written. The writing style reminds me of Charlotte Bronte herself. While the novel Jane Eyre was  said to be “ahead of its time” and explored many social themes and mores, this “chronicle” is timed perfectly to show us life as the Rochester’s move forward.  Their eyes are have now been opened to the world outside Ferndean Manor. As the make plans to rebuild Thornfield Hall I see them taking on more responsibilities as landowners to care of the people around them. 

This will be one of my Best Reads of 2012. Right now it holds the top spot!! A Extraordinary Read!! A More Than PERFECT ESCAPE!! A great way to introduce a new generation to Jane Eyre.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Would you like to win a copy of this wonderful book?

Thanks to the people at Penguin
I have 2 copies to giveaway!!

U.S. and CANADIAN RESIDENTS
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 Joanne for 5 Bonus Entries !

If you publicize the giveaway anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End September 12, 2012 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.”

Review: Cera’s Place by Elizabeth McKenna

 Reviews 2012, Wisconsin Author  Comments Off on Review: Cera’s Place by Elizabeth McKenna
Aug 112012
 

2012 historical romance

Cera’s Place
CreateSpace (December 19, 2011)
Trade Paperback – 270 pages
Historical Romance
ISBN-13: 978-1468110272
ASIN: B005PNP3BI – 298 KB

Cera's Place


Set in San Francisco in 1849 Cera’s Place is where men go for a hot meal, whiskey and a game of cards. You want anything more you can take your business somewhere else. Prostitution is not allowed. Cera offers women honest work and a chance to redeem themselves. The employees at Cera’s place are her family and she will go to great lengths to protect them. Even places women at not allowed. So when a young Chinese woman bursts threw the door telling of murder, kidnapping and the selling of young girls, Cera vows to save every girl she can and put those responsible for this outrage behind bars or worse. Jake Tanner, a soldier from the Civil War, enters Cera’s Place as a man on a mission. He comes with many scars inside and out but thinks things will be better if he can just fulfill a promise he made to his dying friend. Meeting Cera he is immediately taken by her strength and beauty. He wants to stay on and help her in her fight but she has been burned by a man before and is wary of Jake’s intentions. She may need to swallow her pride and admit she needs him in more ways than one.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

An awesome debut! A love story that will carry you back to a very exciting time. It turned out to be really different from what I was expecting.

Cera is strong, outspoken, opinionated, all very uncommon for woman of  this era. She only has her saloon because she has a male partner. She is a lady all about justice repeatedly putting herself and others in danger. Jake comes to town just in time to save Cera and himself. They both need each other. First they need to right the wrongs of others and then they can concentrate on healing each other.

All the characters were very well developed and believable. The story was paced well and descriptions sent vivid pictures to my mind. This story is a romance but it is wrapped in a very suspenseful mystery. There are a few steamy moments too.  A perfect story for me. I was unable to put it down. For a debut novel it is definitely worth 5 stars! I am looking to reading more by this author.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

  About The Author

Elizabeth McKenna is a full-time technical writer/editor for a large software company. She never read romance novels until one Christmas when her sister gave her the latest bestseller by Nora Roberts. She was hooked from page one (actually, she admits it was the first love scene). She had always wanted to write fiction, so when a psychic told her she would write a book, Elizabeth felt obligated to give it a try. She combined her love of history, romance and a happy ending to write her first novel Cera’s Place. She recently released a short story titled The Gypsy Casts a Spell. Elizabeth lives in Wisconsin (Packers, Brewers, and Badgers – oh my!) with her understanding husband, two beautiful daughters, and sassy Labrador. When she isn’t writing, working, or being a mom, she’s sleeping.

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


Jul 242012
 

2012 contemporary romance

On the Island: A Novel
A Plume Book
Published by The Penguin Group

On the Island


 

Anna Emerson needs a getaway. She is a 30 year old English teacher in a stalled relationship. Before she makes a huge decision she jumps at the chance for a real adventure. She accepts an offer that will get her out of Chicago for the entire summer. She will be tutoring 16 year old T.J. on a beautiful tropical island.

T.J. Callahan has been battling cancer but it is now in remission. It is completely his parents desire to spend the summer in the Maldives. They think away from his friends, with a tutor, he can catch up on the classwork he missed last year so he will not be held back. He would rather stay in Illinois with his friends. He talks his parents into letting him stay home until after a friend’s party. His parents fly ahead and he will fly over with his tutor.

Anna and T.J. board a private plane for the final leg of their trip to the Callahan summer home. Then the unthinkable happens. While flying over the 1200 Maldives’ islands the plane crashes in the Indian Ocean. They make it to the shore of one of the small uninhabited islands. They just need to survive until someone finds them. When weeks, turn to months, their challenges mount. T.J. is growing into a man right before Anna’s eyes. Food, fire and water are not the only challenges they face.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Masterfully written! A beautiful story of so much more than mere survival. A truly wonderful debut.

Tracey Garvis Graves took what could have been a tricky story line and created a awesome book.

The characters are real and each are at a type of crossroads in their lives. The land on the island as strangers and quickly become best friends long before they fall in love. They need each other to survive but the relationship evolves a little more with each passing day. The author is written with each chapter alternating the point of view between Anna and T.J. which allows the reader into each of their thoughts. It didn’t take long to become engaged in their story.

Life On the Island was far from ideal. Dealing from basic survival like building a fire, catching a fish, collecting rain water to drink and hoping each and every day to be rescued.

Need a beach read this summer, this is it! It is a New York Times Bestseller for a reason. Tracey Garvis Graves is a new author to watch! I cannot wait to read more of her work!!

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author
Author of the USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and New York Times bestseller On the Island. She likes reading, writing, martinis, karaoke, 70’s music, my dog Chloe, my kids, my husband Dave, wine, and my suburban neighborhood.
Check out her website  http://www.traceygarvisgraves.com/. Looks like she has a new book coming out in the Spring!

This is such an extraordinary story I just have to share it as soon as possible!
I will be giving away my gently read review copy.
U.S. and CANADIAN RESIDENTS
YOU MUST BE A FOLLOWER TO WIN!
CONTEST WILL END AUGUST 7 AT 11:59 P.M. CST
Winners will be notified by email and announced in the sidebar of this blog.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

Jun 082012
 

2012 self published mystery

Firefly Beach
Published by CreateSpace

Firefly Beach

Beth is having a terrible time. Her 40th birthday is quickly approaching, her mother died the previous December from a heart attack, right before Christmas, and her husband asked her for a divorce in January.

The divorce was finalized in May, her husband moved out months ago. Beth was boxing up her things to move to an apartment when she came across several paintings. Paintings she had done when she was a junior in high school. She had planned to go to an art college in Boston, maybe moving to a small town in the northeast and painting the rocky coastlines and lighthouses. Sometime her senior year these dreams were forgotten and she went to the University of New Mexico to study economics. She met her husband, got her MBA and moved up the corporate ladder.

There really was nothing keeping her in New Mexico. Is it too late to follow her dreams? She grabs an old atlas, closes her eyes, aims for the east coast and she lands on Virginia Point, Maine. A small town with a population of just over 1500. She spends a couple of days on the internet and finds a cottage to rent. Then she sets off for Maine.

She wants to just be alone and paint but something mysterious changes her plans. The spirit of Firefly Beach takes her on an adventure.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
I sat down with this book one night last week. I planned to read just a few chapters before bed. The next thing I knew it was just past 1 a.m. and I had finished the book. The book had me in a trance, time had passed but was actually hours seemed like minutes. I had been tired but don’t recall yawning one time. I finished the book and felt refreshed. Yes the clock said go to sleep but my mind was still wrapped up in this story.

Meira’s writing has almost a tranquil lyrical flow. The characters are extremely engaging, the mystery creative and the setting idyllic. If you could read a painting this is the story it would tell. The whole story is absolutely magical.

Beth is on a journey, an emotional journey. The people she finds in her path are quirky, lovable, flawed and real. Her character evolves as do all of the others.

I write all about “Escaping Into A Good Book”. This is a book that is beyond the perfect escape. Book your passage now, this is a trip you will not want to miss. This book should be on everyone’s summer reading list. Escape into Firefly Beach.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

The author is giving away 1 copy of this wonderful book!!
U.S.  RESIDENTS
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 anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.Contest Will End June 22, 2012 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted 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.”

The Drawing Game (A Sketch in Crime Mystery) by Deirdre Verne Get Your Copy Today!
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