Oct 212014
 

finging skyFinding Sky
(A Nicki Valentine Mystery)

Mystery
Henery Press (October 7, 2014)
Paperback: 276 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1940976303
E-Book File Size: 590 KB
ASIN: B00N11DG2O
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She’s a parent. She’s (almost) a P.I. No one gets on your case like mom.

Suburban widow and P.I. in training Nicki Valentine can barely keep track of her two kids, never mind anyone else. But when her best friend’s adoption plan is jeopardized by the young birth mother’s disappearance, Nicki is persuaded to help. Nearly everyone else believes the teenager ran away, but Nicki trusts her BFF’s judgment, and the feeling is mutual.

The case leads where few moms go (teen parties, gang shootings) and places they can’t avoid (preschool parties, OB-GYNs’ offices). Nicki has everything to lose and much to gain — including the attention of her unnervingly hot P.I. instructor. Thankfully, Nicki is armed with her pesky conscience, occasional babysitters, a fully stocked minivan, and nature’s best defense system: women’s intuition.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Nicki Valentine has a degree in forensic psychology and is attending classes to become a private investigator all while taking care of her two young children.  It didn’t take me long to see that Nicki has a huge heart and finds it very hard to say “no” to anyone. When her best friend’s surrogate disappears Nicki barges right into an investigation without really giving it much thought. Thankfully her extraordinary handsome instructor is there to help her better format a plan and move forward more carefully. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t find herself in some scary and dangerous situations. Nicki is more of an act first – think about it later sort of person.

The author has created some wonderful characters including Nicki’s mom, her friends Kenna and Andy, and P.I. Instructor Dean. All the characters have plenty of room to evolve as we get to know them better in future installments. We know Nicki and her kids are vegetarian and like most single moms housekeeping is not high on her priority list. Kenna wants to be a mom more than anything and her husband Andy is worried about what another disappointment could do to her and their relationship. They have been through a lot but their relationship has remained strong so far. Nicki’s mom is her go to babysitter unless she is off visiting her sister in Florida. She would do anything for daughter and grandchildren. Dean, oh Dean, this plot was just starting to thicken as this story came to its end but it looks like things could get very interesting.

A missing person case is an unusual case for a cozy mystery but I must say it was fun to read especially when you have rival gangs and drugs that could be involved. There is more than one edge of your seat moment! I was really surprised by the ending. I thought I knew the who but couldn’t figure out the why until everything all came together.

This series is off to a good starts and I am looking forward to the next book in this series.

just you and a friend4 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find our more about Susan O’Brien on her webpage herewww.skywritingsusan.com

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

Oct 182014
 

First I need to apologize to Christine DeSmet. I love featuring authors from my home state of Wisconsin. It definitely took me way too long to find this series!

FIRST DEGREE FUDGE
First-Degree Fudge:
A Fudge Shop Mystery

First in the Series
Cozy Mystery
An Obsidian Mystery (September 3, 2013)
An Imprint of New American Library
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451416476
E-Book File Size: 753 KB
ASIN: B00BDQ38V8
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New candy store owner Ava Oosterling specializes in making heavenly homemade fudge and fresh starts. But she’s just found out that her newest flavor is to die for….

Between getting her store up and running and uneasily settling back into her charming Lake Michigan hometown, Ava Oosterling has her plate full. She hopes using local fresh dairy and her own flavorful imagination to cook up one-of-a-kind fudge will also create a brand-new start for her. And if she can tempt wealthy ex–film star Rainetta Johnson to try her newest creation, Cinderella Pink, at a local fund-raiser, maybe her road to big-time success will be short and sweet.

But when Rainetta chokes to death on a stolen diamond hidden in the fudge’s fluffy depths, Ava is pegged as the prime suspect. Now saving her business and reputation means investigating a batch of townspeople who had numerous reasons to hate disdainful, hard-bargaining Rainetta. With Ava’s best friend and her former flame in the suspect mix, she must figure out who the real culprit is fast or face a very bitter end.…

Includes Delicious Fudge Recipes and Fudge-Making Tips!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Oosterling’s Live Bait, Bobbers, & Belgian Fudge is where Ava Oosterling sells her fudge right across the store where her grandfather sells bait, bobbers, beer and other things a fisherman may need. Located on the pier in Fisher’s Harbor, Wisconsin, in the heart of Door County.

Door County is a place we have vacationed at several times over the years and Fisher’s Harbor depicts clearly the life of the towns along the peninsula protruding into Lake Michigan. I enjoyed all the local references included those outside of Door County. Heck the town we are living in now even gets a mention. Door County is known for its lighthouses, fish boils and cherry orchards.  Wisconsin is also home to the Green Bay Packers and fans just love their beer and brats. The author gives us a great overview of the entire area.

She introduces us to Ava who has returned to the area after short stints in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. One bad decision pulled her life off course and she has come back home to start over. Her parents own a farm that can supply some of the fudge ingredients and her grandfather (Gilpa) has some room in his store. Together they decided to add a few special things and make half of the shop a place for Eva to make and sell her fudge.  She has a chance to really get her product off to a good start at an event ex–film star Rainetta Johnson will be attending but things go awry when the actress is found dead with a piece of Ava’s fudge in her mouth.

An author faces an uphill battle when debuting a new cozy series. They not only need to introduce to the characters and the setting but they also have to wrap it all in a mystery that keeps readers engaged while at the same time leaving room for the characters to grow in future installments. I think Christine DeSmet did this very well. The premise of the mystery was a little bit out there but I could see the possibilities. One major clue helped me to  figure out who the killer was a bit before Ava but I did enjoy her following the breadcrumbs and catch the culprit.

The story has just the right amount of humor and romantic tension you could cut with a knife. The characters are charming and I want to know more about them.  DeSmet has laid a good foundation for the series. I hope to read Hot Fudge Frame-Up soon. Five-Alarm Fudge. the 3rd book in the story will be out April 7, 2015.

just you and a friend4 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about Christine DeSmet and her books on her web page 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.”

Oct 172014
 

PICKED TO DIE OCTOBERPicked to Die
(An Orchard Mystery)

8th in Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (October 7, 2014)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Mary Ann Lasher
Cover Design by Annette Fiore Defex
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425257111
E-Book File Size: 2091 KB
ASIN: B00ISEOIMG
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A TREE IS KNOWN BY ITS FRUIT

It’s harvest time in Granford, Massachusetts, and orchard owner Meg Corey and her fiancé, Seth, are both racing to beat the New England winter. Meg is bringing in her apple crop with a team of workers, while Seth is working to restore an old building in the center of town. But when his project is set back due to the unexpected discovery of a skeleton under the building—and even worse, a young man related to one of Meg’s former apple pickers is found dead behind the local feed store—the couple’s carefully laid plans are quickly spoiled…

Meg can’t help but wonder: are they just unlucky, or is there something rotten in Granford? If so, she knows she’s got to seek out the bad apple before it ruins the whole bunch…

Includes Delicious Recipes

Dollycas’s Thoughts
I am so excited to be back to Granford and it is the busiest time of the year – Harvest Time!

Meg and Bree and their hired hands are picking apples as fast as they can. Seth is involved in so many projects too. There is definitely no time for them to sit down and discuss wedding plans.

Seth’s biggest project is restoring and adding space to a building on the town square. Meg is excited about seeing just how they are going to add that space as they are planning to add it under the building. But just when things get started everything comes to a halt when something is found in all that dirt. Then one of the migrant workers is found dead. He was not working for Meg but they do have a connection. So if Seth and Meg were not short on time before they really are now as they have 2 mysteries to solve.

I really love these stories because the next one always picks up where the last story left off. Unfortunately that also means Granford is becoming a hotbed of mystery and murder which is starting to effect the residents we have grown to love. The one I think it is effecting the most is Bree. She has her moments when I think she really resents or gets a little angry about all the time Meg spends away from the orchard chasing down clues and checking out the happenings about town. Although she and one of the workers end up doing something really nice for Meg, I think Meg needs to concentrate more on her business. She would be totally lost with Bree by her side.

We meet some new characters this time too as a young history buff teams up with a professor at the university to try to sift out information about the incredible find under the building. The author throws in some history about the area too that was a surprise to many of the people of Granford.

As with all the stories in this series Sheila Connolly packs the pages with not just one but two mysteries and masterfully weaves them together. I love these wonderful characters and the way they interact with each other. Seth and Meg were too busy for much romance in this edition but a strong foundation is being built as they move forward with their life together. I also enjoy what big hearts they have, putting others needs before their own.

I really am sad when these stories come to an end. I can’t wait until my next escape to Granford.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

This is not the only mystery series Sheila writes. Check out her webpage here to stay up to date on all of them.

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.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End October 31, 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

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 152014
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640
Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am so pleased to welcome author Teresa Trent to Escape with Dollycas!!

ttrent

Writing the Pecan Bayou Series-
A Little Texas,
Some Helpful Hints and Recipes, and Murder

by Teresa Trent

A few years ago, I started writing first book of my Pecan Bayou series, A Dash of Murder. I am a big fan of ghost hunting series on television, and so I wanted to tell a story about a ghost hunt. From that story emerged my amateur sleuth, her family and all of the wacky characters in the town of Pecan Bayou. Are any of these people real or at least patterned after real people? Not really. Many of the characters, like Danny, who has Down Syndrome are composites of many people real and fictional. Betsy is a little bit me, but there are risks she takes that I wouldn’t dream of trying. Aunt Maggie is a little me, a little of my mother and the all the aunts I’ve been blessed with in my life. Rocky the newspaper editor, is purely fictional. Although, if Hallmark ever calls me to tell me they want to use my books as a series, I would love to get Sam Shepherd to play him.

From the first book a romance developed between Betsy and Leo, and their story continued through five more mysteries. It was a slow simmering romance that wasn’t even consummated until the second book, but isn’t that the best kind of falling love?

In the series Betsy has to find killers in the library, in a Fourth of July parade, at her own wedding, and while she endures a terrible case of flu that won’t seem to go away. (Hmmm newly married with a terrible case of stomach flu–what could it be?)

My favorite scenes and characters to write were the fun ones like the exploding port-o-potty, the run through the haunted hospital, Miss Caroline chasing Betsy around with a baby quilt and Ruby Green, the beautician from the Best Little Hairhouse in Texas, stealing the megaphMURDERFORARAINYDAY_COVERone from the Pecan Bayou Police and shouting for the killer to “get her crazy-ass out”. I love Miss Ruby so much, sometimes I think she needs her own book.

Still though, I’m coming to the end of this series. We are on the final edits of my sixth novel for Pecan Bayou, Murder for a Rainy Day. I continue peeking into the lives of Betsy and her family as she is about to give birth to her second child…in a hurricane…with a mystery to solve. If you want to find out when this book will be available visit my website at teresatrent.com to sign up for my mailing list. If you have never read a book in the series, A Dash of Murder, a Halloween mystery, is on sale this month at Smashwords for 99 cents. Just use coupon code XW38Q when you check out. Smashwords has the book available in many ereader formats.

Even though I’m loading up the car and driving out of Pecan Bayou, not to worry. I’m working on my next series right now. We’re heading to the Piney Woods of Texas. Time for some gumbo, the smell of fresh pine and of course, murder.

~Teresa

About This Author

Teresa Trent writes her Pecan Bayou Mystery Series from Houston, Texas.  With a father in the army, her family moved often finally settling in Colorado.  Living in Texas for the last 19 years she loves the people and even the weather.  Murder for a Rainy Day includes a hurricane, and having endured Hurricane Ike and Hurricane Rita with her family, Teresa would much rather write about them than evacuate from them.   Teresa includes Danny, a character with Down Syndrome in her Pecan Bayou family and in real life is the mother of an adult son with Down Syndrome/PDD.  Creating the character of Danny and all of the other inhabitants of Pecan Bayou has been a joy for her.  This book is the last one in the Pecan Bayou Series taking Betsy from single mom to mother of three.  Teresa is now working on her next series.

 Author Links:

Webpage:  www.teresatrent.com

Facebook

GoodReads

Twitter: @ttrent_cozymys

I am playing catch up on this wonderful series. I was thrilled to meet Teresa through Great Escapes Book Tours. She will be touring with us again November 24 – December 5 with Murder For A Rainy Day. What for my review of A Dash of Murder on Halloween!

murder for a rainy day  large banner448Thanks to Teresa Trent I have 1 e-book to giveaway!
Winner’s Choice of any of her Pecan Bayou Mysteries!
The book will be gift through Amazon from the author!

Remember to use the Code above
to get the 1st book in the series for just 99 cents from Smashwords!

Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

Leave a comment for Miranda for 5 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End October 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

Oct 142014
 

legend of sleepyThe Legend of Sleepy Harlow
(League of Literary Ladies)

Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (October 7, 2014)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Dan Craig
Cover Design by George Long
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425257777
E-Book File Size: 2138 KB
ASIN: B00ISEOLYQ
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It takes more than a lurid legend to scare off the League of Literary Ladies…

For Halloween, the Literary Ladies have chosen to read Washington Irving’s spooky classic, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, with its infamous headless horseman. But South Bass Island has its own headless legend—of a Prohibition bootlegger named Charlie “Sleepy” Harlow. Decapitated by rival rumrunners, Harlow appears once a year in spectral form to search for his noggin.

This October, the Elkhart Ghost Getters (EGG) have returned to the island. The group claims that they have film footage of Harlow’s ghost, and are determined to get more. They’re staying at Bea Cartwright’s B and B, but it’s Kate Wilder who isn’t happy to see them after they trashed her winery last year. When the EGG leader turns up dead, Kate becomes the prime suspect, and the other League members need to scramble to crack the case.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

That darn Jerry Garcia, Chandra’s cat, would be on his 9th life if he lived around me –  but he does give this story quite a start.

That is until the  EGG (Elkhart Ghost Getters) show up with all their ghost busting and filming equipment. That is when we find out about The Legend of Sleepy Harlow. We also find out this is NOT the EGG’s first visit to South Bass Island and everyone is not happy about their return. In fact Kate is screaming mad they are back in town but would she really kill one of them?

I have read The Legend of Sleepy Hollow several times. The story by Washington Irving is a classic and a very fast read. Logan’s story took that and combined it with the Ghostbusters and Ghost Hunters of movies and television respectively. I am not as familiar with the Ghost Hunting series but the equipment immediately made me think of the things Egon created in Ghostbusters.  All mixed together it made for a very exciting and entertaining read.

Of course I love these Literary Ladies. They have their hands full with this adventure especially when one of their friends is off having surgery and another has a special project thanks to Jerry Garcia. Luella is also doing everything she can to push Bea and Levi together. Bea takes the lead on the investigation and is doing everything she can to find suspects besides Kate but those alibis keep tripping her up. I had a thought of who it could be but that final twist made everything fall right into place.

Kylie Logan writes such fun mysteries and she creates such vibrant characters. She also puts then in some scary situations. Snakes, Kylie, I could have done without the snakes, but there were right where you would expect them to be so I shouldn’t have been surprised. It just sent extra chills up my back for just a few moments. :)

Kylie Logan has done it again. This is a fabulous mystery and perfect for your Halloween reading! This story does read well as a stand alone too but you really need to read them all and meet these ladies from the start, back when they couldn’t stand each other. This is an excellent cozy series!

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about Kylie Logan and her books on her webpage here. Be sure to Click the AKA Tab at the top right hand side of the page.

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 102014
 

special guest blue
I am really excited to have Miranda (Dean) James here today
talking about these wonderful Southern Ladies and their new cozy series!

miranda deanBelles of Steel
By Miranda James

Every small Southern town has them – those indomitable women who run all kinds of organizations, from garden and bridge clubs to charitable agencies. Often they come from the town’s oldest families, generation after generation of club women who oil the wheels of the social engine. These were exactly the women I needed when I was working on Out of Circulation, the fourth book in my “Cat in the Stacks” series.

The story revolved around fund-raising efforts for the local public library – in this case, the fictional Athena (Mississippi) Public Library. I needed strong characters for the Friends of the Library Board of Directors, and I counted on disagreements among the members. Has there ever been a committee when members didn’t butt heads over even the most minute of details? Perfect starting point for conflict in a murder mystery, I thought.

BLESS HER DEADLITTLE HEART OCTOBERIn the spring of 2011 I attended the first-ever Daddy’s Girls Weekend, an event put together by my friend and fellow writer, Carolyn Haines, author of the Sarah Booth Delaney series. There I met two sisters, An’gel Ducote Molpus and Dickce Ducote Little, who inspired me to create their fictional counterparts, Miss An’gel and Miss Dickce Ducote.

The fictional sisters are several decades older, unmarried, and childless, yet their characters owe much to their real-life inspirations. The Ducote sisters are the true grandes dames of Athena society, intelligent, hard-working, and intolerant of pretention and snobbery. The conflict between them and the character of Vera Cassity was an essential element of the story, and I had great fun with the scenes involving these characters.

Not long after I finished Out of Circulation I was working on ideas for a second series, one that would feature two older women characters. After discussion with my agent and my editor, we settled on making the Ducote sisters the main characters. I loved them, my editor loved them, and evidently so did my readers. Thus was the new series born.

The first book in the “Southern Ladies” mysteries, Bless Her Dead Little Heart, was released on October 7th.

The Ducote sisters are on their own as amateur detectives, because Charlie Harris and his family are in France on vacation. They do have the assistance of Diesel, the Maine Coon cat, who makes a cameo appearance in the book. An old sorority sister, Rosabelle Sultan, turns up on the sisters’ doorstep one August afternoon and claims that someone in her family is trying to murder her. Miss An’gel and Miss Dickce know that Rosabelle loves being the center of attention, but this sounds a bit over-the-top even for this self-absorbed socialite. When Rosabelle’s family members follow her to Athena, however, the sisters quickly discover that one of them does have murder in mind.

I had great fun writing this book, letting the sisters have their way. I hope readers will have fun, too, getting to know Miss An’gel and Miss Dickce.

~Miranda

Find out more about Miranda (Dean) James and their books on their webpage here.

BLESS HER DEADLITTLE HEART OCTOBERBless Her Dead Little Heart
(A Southern Ladies Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
Brand New Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (October 7, 2014)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Dan Craig – IT IS GORGEOUS!
Cover Design by Lesley Worrel
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425273043
E-Book File Size: 2067 KB
ASIN: B00ISEOMQS
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An all-new mystery featuring Miss An’gel and Miss Dickce Ducote, two snoopy sisters who are always ready to lend a helping hand. But when a stressed socialite brings murder right to their doorstep, even they have trouble maintaining their Southern hospitality…

With the Mississippi sun beating down, An’gel and Dickce are taking a break to cool off and pet sit their friend Charlie Harris’s cat, Diesel, when their former sorority sister, Rosabelle Sultan, shows up at their door unexpectedly, with her ne’er-do-well adult children not far behind.

Rosabelle’s selfish offspring are desperate to discover what’s in her will, and it soon becomes clear that one of them would kill to get their hands on the inheritance. Suddenly caught up in a deadly tangle of duplicitous suspects and deep-fried motives, it will take all of the sisters’ Southern charm to catch a decidedly ill-mannered killer…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!

These Ducote sisters are as sweet as the tea they serve. Miss An’gel and Miss Dickce were introduced to us in Out of Circulation the 4th Cat in the Stacks Mystery. I loved them then and am thrilled that they have been spun off into their own series. My favorite cat Diesel even makes a guest appearance in this first installment along with Chief Deputy Kanesha Berry.

Let’s just say these two sisters have the patience of saints as their former society sister and her whole crazy family show up at their door without so much as a phone call. These people have no manners let alone any of the Southern variety. There was only one that I liked, the rest were deplorable house guests and so very selfish. But Miss An’gel and Miss Dickce take it in stride and with the help of their housekeeper, Clementine and her granddaughter, Antoinette make the entire bunch as comfortable as possible.  Even when one of them ends up dead, these charming Southern ladies stay calm and in control and do whatever then can to catch the killer so that they can get the rest of this horrible family out of their house.

A  truly terrific story with the perfect amount of murder and mayhem and of course the perfect amount of southern charm.  I was amazed at what wonderful amateur sleuths these grande dames made. They had a plethora of suspects under their roof and with just a bit of innocent snooping they had some excellent leads. They cut things pretty close though and I was afraid this first book in the series was going to be their last. James plotted a fabulous mystery that kept me guessing until the very end.

I also was so happy to have Diesel visit, he is quite a cat,  but as you can see from the cover there are some new pets in town. I am ready for the next installment right now but see that Arsenic and Old Books (Cat in the Stacks Mystery) hits stores January 27, 2015 so I will be returning Athena, Mississippi very soon!

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 Miranda for 5 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End October 24, 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.”

Oct 082014
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am happy to welcome Linda Joffe Hull today as my guest!

Lin 42

On the Journey with Mrs. Frugalicious

Hi, it’s Linda Joffe Hull here, author of ETERNALLY 21 and the newly released BLACK THURSDAY, the first two titles in the Mrs. Frugalicious mystery series. I’m delighted to have been asked to contribute to Cozy Wednesdays at Escape with Dollycas!

We all know that mystery readers are a clever group. By definition, the whole experience of reading crime fiction revolves around looking for clues planted by the author to figure out whodunit, hopefully before the end of the book. As a writer, it’s my job to make sure that’s not an easy task. When I came up with the idea for my series, my more seasoned mystery writer friends warned me to be sure I plotted out not only the details for each murder, but the overarching story for the series as a whole. Otherwise, I would hear about plot holes and errors from, and I quote, “a bunch of really smart readers who get your story better than you do.”

And then I chanced upon the Venn diagram below:

AuthorMeaning

ETERNALLY 21

Daunted to say the least, I did tons of research to make sure my story would be as accurate as possible. I plotted, planned, outlined, and voilá (eventually that is) ETERNALLY 21, the first book in my series, was born.

Maddie Michaels, my protagonist, is a formerly well-heeled housewife, whose husband, TV financial guru, Frank “Finance” Michaels, has lost all of their money in a Ponzi scheme. To make ends meet, she not only becomes a coupon clipper, but starts a blog called Mrsfrugalicious.com to share her tips with others who love to bargain shop. The blog goes viral, but Maddie can’t let anyone know she is Mrs. Frugalicious or Frank will lose his job. While shopping at her local mall, Maddie witnesses the death of an unpleasant store manager and finds herself in the midst of a murder investigation where the suspects range from the food court servers to a husband-and wife team with a wandering monkey, to the prime suspect– Maddie herself. She has to take matters into her own hands in order to clear her name and solve the murder.

Seeing as my contract was for three books, I decided that Maddie, along with couponing, crime solving, and dealing with the daily dilemmas of raising teenagers, needed a bigger overarching problem that could stretch through the series. Specifically, she suspects that her husband, Frank, is a philanderer.

BLACK THURSDAYI won’t give things away entirely, but in book two, BLACK THURSDAY Maddie has been revealed as Mrs. Frugalicious. That’s the least of her issues, though. It’s Thanksgiving, and Frank has invited his entire family to spend the holidays trying to talk Maddie out of divorcing him after his exploits in book one. Anxious to get out of the house, Maddie accepts an offer to bargain shop on camera during the Black Thursday shopping frenzy. In the midst of the commotion, a pallet of toasters falls on one unlucky shopper and kills her. Maddie soon discovers that the victim was none other than CC, her online heckler, and that the ‘accident’ was, in fact, murder.

ETERNALLY 21 came out to positive reviews and a notable lack of emails criticizing my methods of murder, sleuthing techniques, or other possible freshman mistakes. The good comments gave me a boost that helped me finish BLACK THURSDAY and turn the manuscript into my publisher.

I was well into book three, tentatively titled SWEETHEART DEAL, when the advance reviews for BLACK  THURSDAY began to appear. The story is actually an ideal fit for this blog as Maddie, who has transitioned from a popular blogger into the reality TV star of “The Family Frugalicious” finds herself down in Mexico at a fabulous resort investigating the vexing world of timeshares and, of course, murder.

The feedback for BLACK THURSDAY was positive and encouraging once again. This time, however, two separate reviewers leveled a similar observation. One of them said, “I really liked this book, even if I didn’t agree with some of the things going on. For one thing, I personally don’t believe every man cheats.”

My first and second thought were WHAT???

As the author, I’ve never, ever thought such a thing. In fact, the message I was trying to convey over the course of the series was that Maddie, as a loyal wife and mother, when faced with personal lemons makes lemonade. More important, Maddie, as a character, evolves from a plucky housewife into a strong empowered lady. The confusion, I believed, came from Maddie’s over-the-top, wacky mother-in-law who makes the comment while admitting her son has acted like a dog. She also encourages Maddie to make him pay, literally, for the rest of the marriage in the form of apology gifts.

So, here I am halfway done with book three. Maddie still has a secret–she and Frank are married in name only and only for the sake of their TV show. Never mind I’ve gone and killed off a handsome, sweet-talking, south-of-the border lothario, who, is, in fact, a married man.

Really? Did I really do that again?

While my motivation for making him married was to provide a very likely suspect (his wife), I couldn’t exactly continue to weave such a plot point in the book. Not without more well-placed and legitimate comments, that is…

So, I owe a debt of gratitude to modern technology and a thank you to some astute early readers for helping me clarify the overarching story in the Mrs. Frugalicious series. The inadvertent message I never, ever meant to convey has now been edited out of book three.

Writing in the modern age truly is a group effort!

~Linda

To find out more about Linda and her books visit her webpage here. You can also be her Fan on GoodReads. Follow her on Twitter and Follow her on Facebook.

BLACK THURSDAYBlack Thursday
(A Mrs. Frugalicious Shopping Mystery)

2nd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Published by MIDNIGHT INK (October 8, 2014)
Trade Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738734903
E-Book File Size: 2286 KB
ASIN: B00MMMCQS8
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

A bad deal for Mrs. Frugalicious  

When Maddie Michaels, AKA Mrs. Frugalicious, is invited to take a local news crew with her on a Black Friday shopping expedition, she’s excited to show viewers at home how to score the season’s best savings. Despite a negative comment from Contrary Claire— the sole naysayer in her growing Frugarmy—Maddie is hopeful her first TV appearance will be a bargain-savvy success.

But Black Friday eve takes a bleak turn when a shopper is crushed beneath a pallet of toasters. After learning that the victim could be Contrary Claire, it becomes clear that Claire has made more than one enemy. Maddie finds herself dealing once again with a murder investigation. Will she catch the killer before someone else is slashed like a sale price?

Includes couponing tips!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I fell for Maddie in Eternally 21. A wife and mother trying to clean up a huge mess her husband is responsible for in a very creative way, blogging as Mrs. Frugalicious. What a wonderful protagonist!

Frank is trying to make amends but I don’t think Maddie is buying what he is selling. Her teenage sons are fantastic. Now that their mother’s secret is out they are super supportive even trying to help her with her site and helping her find her cyber enemy Contrary Clare.

On the other hand I hated most of Frank’s family, just as the author intended. I wouldn’t put murder past a couple of them. Yes, they say they are trying to support her but descending upon her house at the busiest time of the year for a shopping expert is just not cool, but again Maddie handles it all. She is even trying to clip the culprit that set that pallet of toasters in motion but let’s face it she would have done anything to get away from those people. But I think the search ended up much more than she bargained for…

I really enjoyed this story. Linda Joffe Hull has let these characters continue to grow and brought back some very special characters from the first story for a very surprising event.

She has also written quite a mystery. It may have you thinking twice as you head out for the holiday sales this year and looking up much more often as you shop those big box stores.

I also love and appreciate all the tips she provides about sales, shopping and coupons throughout the book.

My only complaint is with the e-copy formatting which is not the author’s fault and since I am reviewing from an uncorrected proof I am sure the problem was fixed in the final edition. Tips like this are easy to put at the top or bottom of a printed page but when you take it digital wonky things can happen, like these tips landing in the middle of a paragraph, which messes with the rhythm of the story.

A marvelous mystery to pick up and enjoy now so you are ready to shop and save this holiday season!

 

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

Leave a comment for Linda for 5 Bonus Entries!

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End October 22, 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.”

Oct 072014
 

NEW RELEASE TUESDAY 2014New Release Tuesday – October 2014

These wonderful books are available today
wherever fine books are sold.
Click on the book covers below to order from Amazon.com

Black Thursday (A Mrs. Frugalicious Shopping Mystery)

The actual release date on this one is tomorrow
and the author will be my Cozy Wednesday guest this week!

The Forgotten Girl

I will be reviewing this book on Thursday!!

Bless Her Dead Little Heart (A Southern Ladies Mystery)

New Series from Miranda James!
She will be my Special Guest on Friday!

Picked to Die (An Orchard Mystery)

I will be reviewing this book Friday, October 17!

Murder Off the Beaten Path (A Search and Rescue Mystery)

M.L. Rowland will be my guest for Cozy Wednesday on October 22.

Off Kilter (A Scottish Highlands Mystery)

New Series from Hannah Reed. She will be my guest on October 20 for Cozy Wednesday!

A Crafty Christmas (Cumberland Creek)

Mollie Cox Bryan is touring with Great Escapes Book Tours October 7 – 20, 2014

More Books Out Today!

More Books Out Later This Month

I am an Amazon Associate so purchases made at Amazon.com originating from my
blog earn me a small commission which I use for giveaway prizes.

HAPPY READING EVERYONE!!

 

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Oct 032014
 

missing headThe Question of the Missing Head
(An Asperger’s Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
First in Series
Publisher: MIDNIGHT INK (October 8, 2014)
Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738741512
E-Book File Size: 2245 KB
ASIN: B00NJ2U6HI
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

Samuel Hoenig answers questions for a living. And as a man with Asperger’s Syndrome, his unique personality helps him ferret out almost any answer there is. But his latest question is a rather odd one–who stole a preserved head from the Garden State Cryonics Institute?

Arriving at the scene of the crime accompanied by his new colleague, Ms. Washburn, Samuel finds that what started out as a theft has escalated to murder. With suspects and motives emerging at a rapid rate, one final question remains–can Samuel’s powers of deduction uncover a killer in the face of overwhelming odds?

Before I review this book I want to give you a little information about Asperger’s Syndrome. A member of my extended family was diagnosed with this disorder very early in his life so I am not an expert but know a little bit.

Aspergers according to Wikipedia is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, alongside restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. It differs from other autism spectrum disorders by its relative preservation of linguistic and cognitive development. Although not required for diagnosis, physical clumsiness and atypical (peculiar, odd) use of language are frequently reported.

The author Jeff Cohen has written 2 books on the topic from a very personal standpoint, as a parent with a child that living with the disorder. In this new mystery series he showcases it in a fun way while at the same time bringing awareness to a disorder we are still learning about every day. The exact cause is still unknown and families with children need help understanding how to help their child.

Because of this the authors have started the MISSING HEAD CHALLENGE: Buy a copy of THE QUESTION OF THE MISSING HEAD on its publication day (October 8). Then take a picture of yourself with the book (or your e-reader with the title page showing) and post it on Facebook or Twitter. Be sure to tag E.J. Copperman and Jeff Cohen in your posts.

For each picture seen by me or Jeff Cohen, we’ll donate $3 to ASPEN, the Autism Spectrum Education Network, up to $300. And HSG Agency, which represents us, will match the donation! So you get to help families with at least one member who has a spectrum disorder, and you don’t have to spend an extra dime!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This is an absolutely wonderful story that features a great whodunit too!

Samuel Hoenig has Asperger’s Syndrome and in fact is quite a genius. When you first start reading you may think he is like Adrian Monk of television fame and the books by Hy Conrad and Lee Goldberg, but Mr. Monk has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and that is very different from Asperger’s.

Samuel has opened up a business, Questions Answered, and his new client has a doozy of  question – Who took the head of a woman from my cryogenics lab? Another woman, Mrs. Washburn, had come in to ask Samuel a question herself but this newcomer’s question definitely takes precedence. In fact she tags also as Samuel’s assistant in his endeavor to find this “missing head”.

I love Samuel. I love the way he takes care of his mom and she takes care of him. I love how quickly he gets close to Mrs. Washburn and they way she understands his unique personality. These characters a flashed out and real and they jump off the pages.

Then we have the characters at Garden State Cryonics Institute. They are a very interesting group from the CEO that asked the “question” to the Security Commander who thinks everyone is pointing figures his way for the missing cranium.

We also meet Detective Lapides who is really in uncharted waters with a case of this magnitude. Nothing like this have ever taken place for him to investigate. Plus he needs to deal with Laverne and Arthur Masters, the mother and brother of the woman whose head was being preserved at the institute and is now missing.

Most of the story takes place at the cryogenics lab and it is quite a place. It seems to give Samuel more questions than answers at first. The reader gets to follow him through his process of interviewing suspects, identifying clues and following where they lead and basically getting to understand the way Samuel evaluates things to answer the question.

The authors have also shown us a bit of the funny side to Samuel’s life, things that those around him have grown to love about him. So  truthful as those who have loved ones with this disorder will recognize. It affects people differently and at different levels but I feel the authors are created a wonderful protagonist and written a great mystery around him while at the same time creating  awareness about Asperger’s.

I truly can not wait to read the next story in this series. These authors have hit it out of the park on this one! and I think Samuel has answered his baseball question as well!!

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

For more information about E. J. Copperman and his books check out his website here.

For more information about Jeff Cohen and his books check out his 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.”

Oct 012014
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640
Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am happy to welcome Linda O. Johnston here today!
The first book in her Superstition Mystery Series, Lost Under a Ladder
will be available October 8!!
Linda is also touring with Great Escapes Book Tours right now!

linda o johnston

Superstitions Forever!

Are you superstitious? My fingers are crossed that you are!

On the other hand, you don’t have to be superstitious to read my new Superstition Mystery series. In fact, its protagonist Rory Chasen is more skeptical than superstitious.

lost under a ladderThe thing is, Rory is trying to find out the reality of superstitions–because it’s important to her to learn whether the reason her beloved fiancé Warren died was because he walked under a ladder. Did that cause the car to hit him a couple of minutes later? She doesn’t know. She wants to learn, though, because that may be the only way she gets closure.

Rory’s good friend Gemma, a librarian, helps her to start researching superstitions–and encourages Rory to visit Destiny, California, a town that is all about superstitions. Maybe she can find answers there.

But at first Rory finds more questions than answers. She brings her adorable black and white dog Pluckie along, and soon after they arrive Pluckie helps to save the life of Martha Jallopia, a senior woman who has collapsed in the back of the Lucky Dog Boutique. Martha, taking a look at Pluckie, knows she’s going to be just fine, since seeing a black and white dog is lucky, especially if someone is on her way to a business meeting.

Is that destiny? Rory is the assistant manager of a pet store back home, and Martha wants her to stay and run the Lucky Dog. And, because this is a mystery series, Rory agrees.

So why did I start writing the Superstition Mysteries? Am I really superstitious?

Well, what constitutes a really superstitious person? Do I knock on wood? Yes. Do I cross my fingers? Yes. Do I pick up heads-up pennies if I happen to see them on the ground? Yes. Do I walk under ladders? No.

But do I expect the end of the world to occur if I do the wrong thing in the world of superstitions? No. Or at least I didn’t. Now that I’m writing the Superstition Mysteries, I’m much more conscious of superstitions, whether or not they’re likely to come true.

So how about you? Are you willing to take a chance on the Superstition Mysteries? I’ve been telling people it’s good luck to read them. Can I guarantee it? No, but I’m certainly sending good luck wishes to everyone who reads them.

And knocking on wood that they enjoy them and come back for more!

~Linda

About This Author

Linda O. Johnston’s first published fiction appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and won the Robert L. Fish Memorial Award for Best First Mystery Short Story of the year.   Since then, Linda, a former lawyer who is now a full-time writer, has published more short stories, novellas, and 37 romance and mystery novels, including the Pet Rescue Mystery Series, a spinoff from her Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime, plus Harlequin Romantic Suspense as well as the Alpha Force paranormal romance miniseries for Harlequin Nocturne.

Her latest cozy mystery series, the Superstition Mysteries from Midnight Ink, kicks off in October 2014 with Lost Under a Ladder.   Linda believes that reading the Superstition Mysteries will bring good luck!

 

Author Links

Webpage:  www.LindaOJohnston.com

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

lost under a ladderLost Under a Ladder
(A Superstition Mystery)

New Cozy Mystery Series
Published by Midnight Ink (October 8, 2014)
Trade Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738740775
E-Book File Size: 1844 KB
ASIN: B00NJ2U6AK
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

Is it Luck? Or is it Destiny?

Rory Chasen never thought superstitions were real—until her beloved fiancé is killed after walking under a ladder. To find closure and the truth about superstitions, Rory takes her dog Pluckie to a town called Destiny, where superstitious beliefs are a way of life.

Rory’s visit to Destiny takes an unexpected turn when Pluckie saves Martha, the owner of the Lucky Dog Boutique. While Martha recovers, Rory reluctantly agrees to manage the pet shop for her. But when Martha becomes the prime suspect in the local bookshop owner’s murder, Rory can’t believe that the sweet old woman would do it. Convinced the real killer is still roaming Destiny’s streets, Rory resolves to crack the case before Martha’s luck runs out.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I admit it, I am a bit superstitious. Cross my fingers, knock on wood, and I would never walk under a ladder.

The town of Destiny, California is all about superstitions with the Broken Mirror Bookstore, Wish Upon A Star Children’s Shop, Lucky Dog Boutique and more but the town still has it’s share of skeptics. Police chief Justin Halbertson calls himself a superstition “agnostic” but don’t let  his boss the mayor hear that. The mayor, Bevin Dermot, represents his town and all the superstitious beliefs to the hilt, even dressing in clothes that make him look very leprechaun-ish.

Rory Chasen and her dog Pluckie have come to town to get some answers so that she can get her life back on track but from the start her trip doesn’t go as planned.  She meets Martha and because of the “good luck” that a black and white dog brings they become fast friends. Rory has a big heart and finds she can’t say no to Martha’s request.

The premise of this story seems pretty unique. I had never heard of a town like Destiny and never had heard that black and white dogs are good luck. I have a black and white dog that I love but I don’t think she has ever given us good luck for a business meeting or in any other way but she she is great to cuddle with while I read or keep my feet warm as I type.

We meet some very interesting characters, like the bookshop owners, the one who died had written a type of guidebook to superstitions.The mayor is a bit quirky too but most of the other characters seem pretty down to earth. I do realize this is just the first book in the series so there is still much to learn about the residents of Destiny and its visitors.

I enjoyed that most of the businesses in town including the eateries allow dogs. In fact most of the restaurants had patio areas perfect for pets.  After reading other series by this author I know how important pets are to her so I knew Pluckie would play a major role in this story. Like all mysteries there is the last good twist that gives us readers that “aha moment”.

Linda O. Johnston is off to a good start with this series. I am looking forward to a return trip to Destiny to see what Rory and Pluckie are  up to next.

just you and a friend4 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

Thanks to the people at MIDNIGHT INK  I have 1 copy to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
U.S. ONLY ADDRESSES

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.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

Leave a comment for Linda 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 October 15, 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.”