Sep 042015

the paris keyThe Paris Key
Published by New American Library (September 1, 2015)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Women’s Fiction
Setting – Paris France
Trade Paperback: 384 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451473691
E-Book ASIN: B00SI027FA
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An American in Paris navigates her family’s secret past and unlocks her own future, in this emotionally evocative novel by New York Times bestselling author Juliet Blackwell.

As a girl, Genevieve Martin spent the happiest summer of her life in Paris, learning the delicate art of locksmithing at her uncle’s side. But since then, living back in the States, she has become more private, more subdued. She has been an observer of life rather than an active participant, holding herself back from those around her, including her soon-to-be-ex-husband.

Paris never really left Genevieve, and, as her marriage crumbles, she finds herself faced with an incredible opportunity: return to the magical city of her youth to take over her late uncle’s shop. But as she absorbs all that Parisian culture has to offer, she realizes the city also holds secrets about her family that could change her forever, and that locked doors can protect you or imprison you, depending on which side of them you stand.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Genevieve Martin returns to Paris after her uncle passes away to take over his locksmith shop. There is so much bureaucratic red tape for her to be able to work as a locksmith in Paris so she is unsure how long she will actually be able to stay, but she hopes things work out. Her aunt is in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s and her cousin has no desire to take over her father’s business. Before Genevieve has time to sleep off the jet lag she has customers at her door. The neighbors are friendly for the most part and take her under their wing.  She tries to settle in but then she starts to discover secrets about her mother that could change her entire life. What a story!!!

The story travels between Genevieve’s life now, and when she visited Paris in 1997, and her mother Angela’s life in the early 80’s. It does get a little confusing at times because so many people intersect over all three time periods but the chapters are clearly labeled which helps. These are rich characters and some things they go through are heartbreaking. They both have escaped to Paris, Angela questioning her life and her marriage, Genevieve after her mother dies and now as her divorce is close to final. It was so nice to see Paris through their eyes. The descriptions were vivid and easy to envision. How different things looked from Genevieve the child to Genevieve the adult. Love for Paris shines brightly.

The story itself was all about family, the journey, the good times and the bad, unlocking memories and secrets. This story has much more depth than I originally expected.  I found myself absolutely and totally escaping into this book.  I have enjoyed Juliet Blackwell’s mysteries so I knew I would enjoy the story but I was truly blown away. I hated to reach the last page.  I have never been to Paris but after reading this book I hope to travel there someday.

Thank you Ms. Blackwell for taking me on this amazing journey.



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Find out more about Juliet Blackwell on 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.”

Apr 102015

GLASSBLOWERS WIFE  large banner 640

by Joanna Campbell Slan

I am so thrilled so share this story with you today!!

GlassblowersWife_Final_LightenedTHE GLASSBLOWER’S WIFE
Historical Mystery – short story
Publisher: Spot On Publishing (March 20, 2015)
Print Length: 42 pages

When Jewish glassmakers and their families flee the powerful Doge of Venice, the cost of their freedom is three hundred and fifty-seven mirrors—the creation of the magnificent Hall of Mirrors in Versailles. But the Doge sends assassins to pick off the artists, one by one. Can Ruth Telfin, the mute widow of the head glassmaker, save her people?

Dollycas’s Thoughts
This is an exquisite story. The Glassblower’s Wife, Ruth just grabbed hold of by heart and held on tight and wouldn’t let go.

I remember learning a bit about Versailles in a college class (always wanted to travel there and see for myself) and while I remember learning of the beauty of the building I had forgotten the story of the glassblowers until reading this story. The French convinced a number of Venetian artisans to defect and come to make the mirrors for the great hall. In response, the Venetian government ordered the assassination of the these artists to keep the secrets of how to make mirrors a secret from the French.

Joanna Campbell Slan uses her vivid imagination to give us a story the brings this part of history to life. Saul Telfin, was the head glassblower and Ruth was his wife. Due to her disability she was able to blend into the shadows and hear things. She remembered those things with great detail…very important things.

This really is a must read and as only 42 pages you will fly right through it. It will stick with you for much longer as you think of the sacrifices made and the way the story comes together at the end. I was truly moved.



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More Praise for The Glassblower’s Wife

There are three reasons I enjoyed this book: the setting of Venice, the glassblowers and the historical element. I love the art of glassblowing and I never realized that this fascinating back-story existed before. The Glassblower’s Wife is also well written and is a very interesting story.

This is a short story that draws you right into the drama. I liked it and the only problem with the story was it was short story. I liked the characters and I wanted more of them.

Joanna Campbell Slan weaves an intriguing short story around this little known nugget of history. Although the story is short, the she still manages to give us richly developed characters.
~Cozy Up With Kathy​

I was very impressed with the whole story being wrapped up in such a short format…If you like historical fiction and strong female characters, I strongly recommend you read this enchanting story.
~Booklady’s Booknotes

This is a short story about Jewish glassblowers who were being hunted and killed by the Doge in Venice. What is interesting is the back story about Saul’s wife, Ruth. She is really the key in all of this…
~Storeybook Reviews

This short story does a nice job of weaving historical fact with historical fiction and really presents the mystery nicely…
~Brooke Blogs

The story is beautifully told by Joanna Campbell Slan. It reminded me a bit of the fairytale-like stories of Isaac Bashevis Singer.
~View From The Birdhouse

joanna campbell slanAbout This Author

Joanna Campbell Slan is the award-winning author of the Kiki Lowenstein Mysteries (an Agatha Award Finalist) and two other mystery series. Her stories in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series has been read and loved by millions. Her books reviving the classic heroine Jane Eyre have won the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award. In her past life, Joanna was a television talk show host, an adjunct professor of public relations, a sought-after motivational speaker, and a corporate speechwriter. She is married to David Slan, CEO of Steinway Piano Gallery-DC. The Slans make their home on Jupiter Island, Florida.

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Tour Participants

April 3 – Musings and Ramblings – Guest Post, E-Book Giveaway

April 3 – MysteriesEtc – Review, E-Book Giveaway

April 4 – Babs Book Bistro – Guest Post, E-Book Giveaway

April 4 – readalot – Review

April 4 – The Gal in the Blue Mask – Review, Interview

April 5 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Review, Interview

April 5 – Booklady’s Booknotes – Review, Guest Post, E-Book Giveaway

April 6 – Michelle’s Romantic Tangle – Guest Post, E-Book Giveaway

April 6 – Brooke Blogs – Review, E-Book Giveaway

April 7 – StoreyBook Reviews – Review

April 7 – Frankie Bow – Interview

April 8 – View from the Birdhouse – Review, E-Book Giveaway

April 9 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – Review, E-Book Giveaway

April 10 – Tea and A Book – Review, Interview

April 10 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Review, E-Book Giveaway

April 11 – Laura’s Interests – Review, E-Book Giveaway

April 11 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – Spotlight, E-Book Giveaway

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Mar 012013

corpse with the silver tongue

The Corpse with the Silver Tongue
(Cait Morgan Mystery) (Cait Morgan Mysteries)

1st in Series
TouchWood Editions (April 3, 2012)
Paperback: 240 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1927129098
E-Book File Size: 554 KB

The Corpse with the Silver Tongue

Cait Morgan, a criminology professor in Canada, travels to France to present a paper for a colleague unable to attend  a conference. She happens to run into an old boss and can’t escape an invitation to his wife’s birthday party. She can’t stand the man but decides to attend anyway.  When the guy drops dead in the middle of dinner and the necklace he brought his wife as a birthday present disappears her quick trip to France turns into a real nightmare. Her French is not that good but knowing she is a main suspect is not lost in the translation. She wishes her friend Bud was there to help her out of this mess but he is back in Canada up to his neck in an investigation of his own.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Ace’s first Cait Morgan mystery has that Agatha Christie feel and I was quickly caught up in the mystery. Plenty of suspects seated around the table but who would kill this pompous man and why?

I really enjoyed the location and the travels through the compound where many of the suspects resided. The gardens – beautiful, the underground tunnels – scary and revealing of secrets. The links to the past and the provenance of the necklace was so interesting.

The characters unique, from the gold digger wife to the American writer that lives upstairs. Even Bud back in Canada was easy to connect with through just the phone calls. Cait is an intriguing protagonist with her criminology background and her unusual observation skills. The detectives in France were not sure what to make of Cait Morgan but I thought they were excellent characters. Moreau did not speak much English so Bertrand had to translate. Both stayed as objective as possible until finally realizing Cait may be able to help them but by then it was almost too late. 

This was a captivating debut and look forward to reading more about Cait, Bud, and hopefully Bertrand in the future.

just you and a friend



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 About This Author
Born and raised in Wales, Cathy Ace worked for many years in marketing communications in London and across Europe, eventually moving to British Columbia, Canada in 2000. Her short story “Dear George” appeared on the UK’s O Level English Language syllabus and, together with another story, “Domestic Violence”, has been produced for BBC Radio 4. Cathy’s second Cait Morgan Mystery, “The Corpse with the Golden Nose”, will be available in March 2013.

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.”

1st in a seriesreadalattechallenge_zps01d248d0mystery challenge2013where are you reading2013EbookChallenge

Mar 272012

Guilty Wives
Little, Brown and Company
Hachette Book Group
Available Now!

Four wives fly off in a helicopter no less for a Girl’s Weekend in Monte Carlo. Serena Schofield, a former U.S. Champion skier, she is the one footing the bill for this weekend. Her husband provides for her but it really is a loveless marriage. Bryah Gordon, born in Johannesburg under the oppression of apartheid, her husband is very controlling and at times physically abusive, so this is her first ever weekend away with just the girls. Winnie Brookes, an exotic Brit, beautiful inside as well as out. Her husband was in British Intelligence for years and now works at the British Embassy in Bern. Then there is Abbie Elliot, her husband is a diplomat at the U.S. Embassy in Bern. She can’t believe these women are her friends.

They are all having a fabulous time hitting the casinos and clubs, eating delicacies, drinking champagne, sitting by the pool, drawing the attention of many handsome men. Sounds like a wonderful weekend right?

When the “girls” wake up on a yacht surrounded by police they realize something awful has happened. They are arrested for a crime so unbelievable. The vacation of a lifetime becomes the fight of a lifetime.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
A few years ago I read that James Patterson has so many story ideas that he basically just writes about a 100 page outline for each idea and then passes off to a co-writer to complete. This formula has produced many bestsellers. I had read two books earlier this year by David Ellis and was very impressed with his work. 

The theme of this book is interesting but there are just a couple of things that are keeping me from loving this book and giving it 5 stars. I am really starting to hate the 2 or 3 chapters at the beginning of a book that tell us almost word for word something happening later and then the story moves back to where the events started. It ruins the flow when you get to that part of the book and you think, “I already read this/knew this”. Then early in the book the readers are given a huge clue to what really happened and we keep reading until the characters realize the truth and have that “aha moment”. It takes away from the suspense.

With that being said I did enjoy the story. The procedures followed by the French officials, detectives, prison guards and the ease of buying certain ones off really showed the French in a bad light. I have never been to France or in this situation but realize being in prison is no picnic. What these ladies experienced could very well be true. It does make for a fine piece of fiction.

Patterson and his co-writers do deliver good stories. After so many and releasing so many each year I feel like they are getting to be rushed out to rake in the cash. This book will still be a bestseller because of Patterson’s reputation but this really could of have been great with just a few changes. My recommendation when you read this book start on page 15 and only read the first paragraph on page 31. Then you will love this book!!!

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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.”