Nov 112015
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640
Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am always so happy when Sally stop by for a visit!

SALLY

 

Visiting Dolly’s cozy corner is like coming home in a way. She and I have been sharing books and lives for years now. Thank you for inviting me back.

 

And in the beginning there was . . .

 

The release of the tenth seaside knitters mystery this month (Trimmed with Murder) has me feeling nostalgic (TEN books. That means ten plus years of hanging out with Nell, Izzy, Cass and Birdie—ten years of friendship with these ladies, ten years of following them around and asking them to share their lives with me).

It has me thinking about the very beginning of the series when I had nothing but a vague idea that I wanted to write a mystery series revolving around four smart, curious women of different ages, four women with four unique personalities—just like the wonderful readers who have come to share them with me.trimmed for murder

Here’s how they came about. I sat down in front of a blank computer screen and began writing four essays about the women I’d like to have as friends. I decided on an age span that I found interesting—30s, 40s—60 and Birdie, who is Sea Harbor’s wise and wonderful grande dame, somewhere around 80. The essays included things that might never appear in the books, but allowed me entry into their lives, telling me where they were born, went to school, what they studied, their first romantic encounters, first jobs. Astrological signs. Hobbies and idiosyncrasies.

  • Izzy and Nell came from the Midwest where I now live. Izzy headed to Boston to college, just as my daughter did. Nell loves to cook (me, too).
  • Birdie is an easterner who has always lived in the Cape Ann area, but she was actually inspired by a Midwestern woman, a mentor of mine— a wonderful woman who taught me philosophy years ago, who marched at Selma and who is an infinitely wise and wonderful friend.
  • And Cass, my favorite lobsterwoman, was inspired by several books I read about a lobsterwoman who was raised in New England and worked on Cape Ann. I loved the idea of a woman overseeing crusty fishermen – and then sitting in Izzy’s back room and learning how to knit.

And the place? That was easy. My daughter lives on Cape Ann, and about the time I was developing the series, she was beginning her family. Grandchildren on Cape Ann. A place I would want to visit often.

  • Sea Harbor, the seaside knitters’ town, is culled from all that I love about Cape Ann and Boston’s North Shore. Charming New England villages, wonderful little stores and restaurants, and interesting personalities and nationalities forming communities that live and love and work together.

Ten years. Happy anniversary Nell, Izzy, Cass, and Birdie. Those long-ago essays were a start, and in each book, I hope to delve a little deeper into their lives, finding out what makes each of them the woman she has become. In TRIMMED WITH MURDER we learn a little more about Izzy’s family. I hope you enjoy meeting Charlie….

Until next time, thank you for joining me in this wonderful Cozy Corner. And thank you Dear Dolly.

~Sally

About The Author

Sally Goldenbaum is a sometime philosophy teacher, a knitter, and an editor, and the author of more than thirty novels. Sally became more serious about knitting with the birth of her first grandchild and the creation of the Seaside Knitters mystery series. Her fictional knitting friends are teaching her the intricacies of women’s friendship, the mysteries of small-town living, and the very best way to pick up dropped stitches on a lacy knit shawl.

Follow Sally

Webpage

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trimmed for murderTrimmed with Murder:
A Seaside Knitters Mystery

10th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Massachusetts
An Obsidian Mystery (November 3, 2015)
New American Library
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Hardcover: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451471628
E-Book ASIN: B00SI02B2Y
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

 

In this holiday yarn from the USA Today bestselling author of A Finely Knit Murder, all Izzy Chambers Perry wants for Christmas is to keep her brother out of jail….

In Sea Harbor, the holidays mean cozy fires, festive carols, and soft skeins of yarn waiting to become hats and sweaters and scarves. And this year, Izzy and the other Seaside Knitters are also knitting tiny ornaments to decorate a tree for the first annual tree-trimming contest.

Their holiday cheer is multiplied when Izzy’s younger brother, Charlie Chambers, unexpectedly arrives to volunteer at a local clinic. He brings with him outspoken hitchhiker Amber Hanson, who is returning to Sea Harbor to claim an inheritance. She quickly reacquaints herself with the area—and forms an unlikely friendship with Charlie. But their bond is shattered when her body is found beneath the undecorated trees on the Harbor Green.

Charlie is a suspect in the murder, so Izzy and her fellow Knitters step in to uncover the truth. Their journey takes them into Charlie’s past and tests their fierce love for him. But it’s only by peeling away long-buried secrets that they can hope to restore joy to the season and enjoy the shining lights of the newly decorated trees….

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I have been looking forward to this book since I finished A Finely Knit Murder in the Spring and it is even better than I had hoped!

Charlie Chambers, Izzy’s brother, returns to Sea Harbor very unexpectedly and just happens to pick up Amber Hanson along the way. Charlie is there to start work at a free clinic and Amber has some papers to sign regarding an inheritance. They become fast friends knowing that neither of them plans to stay in town for long. Sadly Amber’s visit is cut short when she is found dead on the Harbor Green. Charlie may have been the last person to see her alive and quickly becomes the prime suspect. So Izzy and the Seaside Knitters are plowing through the clues to prove his innocence. They are also hoping he stays in Sea Harbor well past the holidays.

Curl up in front of the fire with a class of wine and enjoy the latest Seaside Knitters mystery. I sure did.

Sally Goldenbaum breathes such life into these characters it is hard to remember they are not real. Izzy, Nell, Cass and Birdie are the Seaside Knitters. They meet each week at Izzy’s shop to work on their projects, enjoy some delicious food and discuss everything from knitting to families and  sometimes even murder. They also gather at least once a week at Nell’s along with their families and friends for a potluck dinner and some adult beverages. The current crime is also a hot topic. After 10 years we have met so many wonderful characters. I have given up trying to choose a favorite because I love them all.

It was so easy to envision Sea Harbor at Christmastime. The annual tree decorating contest is an awesome idea. All the trees recently planted on the Harbor Green and each business or group trimming with specially made ornaments all to raise money for charity.

Several plotlines, Charlie’s return after so many years, Amber’s life that was tear jerking as we came to know more and more, the holiday events. They all converge when Amber is murdered. The killer strikes several chapters into the story so Amber has found her way into our hearts. Charlie’s pain at the loss was just so sad.

Like all the earlier installments friendship is the main theme of this book. The people we meet in these stories are one big family. The celebrate the highs and are so supportive in the lows. There are shoulders to cry on, hugs are passed out freely and ears are always open to listen. Great food and drink and yarn entangles them altogether. And vicariously we get to go along for the ride.

It has been an amazing 10 books and I truly can’t wait for trip #11.

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 2 copies to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

Leave a comment for Sally 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 November 25, 2015 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 272015
 

christmas bellsChristmas Bells: A Novel
Dutton (October 27, 2015)
Setting – Massachusetts
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Hardcover: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0525955245
E-Book ASIN: B00SI02BZ6
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

 

New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Chiaverini celebrates Christmas, past and present, with a wondrous novel inspired by the classic poem “Christmas Bells,” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

I heard the bells on Christmas Day/ Their old familiar carols play/ And wild and sweet/ The words repeat/Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

In 1860, the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow family celebrated Christmas at Craigie House, their home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The publication of Longfellow’s classic Revolutionary War poem, “Paul Revere’s Ride,” was less than a month hence, and the country’s grave political unrest weighed heavily on his mind. Yet with his beloved wife, Fanny, and their five adored children at his side, the delights of the season prevailed.

In present-day Boston, a dedicated teacher in the Watertown public school system is stunned by somber holiday tidings. Sophia’s music program has been sacrificed to budget cuts, and she worries not only about her impending unemployment but also about the consequences to her underprivileged students. At the church where she volunteers as music director, Sophia tries to forget her cares as she leads the children’s choir in rehearsal for a Christmas Eve concert. Inspired to honor a local artist, Sophia has chosen a carol set to a poem by Longfellow, moved by the glorious words he penned one Christmas Day long ago, even as he suffered great loss.

Christmas Bells chronicles the events of 1863, when the peace and contentment of Longfellow’s family circle was suddenly, tragically broken, cutting even deeper than the privations of wartime. Through the pain of profound loss and hardship, Longfellow’s patriotism never failed, nor did the power of his language. “Christmas Bells,” the poem he wrote that holiday, lives on, spoken as verse and sung as a hymn.

Jennifer Chiaverini’s resonant and heartfelt novel for the season reminds us why we must continue to hear glad tidings, even as we are tested by strife. Reading Christmas Bells evokes the resplendent joy of a chorus of voices raised in reverent song.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

There are two stories in this book. One set in present time and the other in 1863. They are tied together by Longfellow poem Christmas Bells. The book alternates chapters going back and forth between the two stories.

The main story tells the reader about Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and his family before and through the civil war. As always Jennifer Chiaverini has researched his life and bought us a wonderful story and presented a slice of history in a very enjoyable way. His love for his family and the heartbreak he suffers leaps off the pages. His wonderful poems are given new life. That new life shines in the second story.

The present day story introduces us to Sophia, a schoolteacher whose music program is being slashed by budget cuts. Something that is happening all across the United States. Sophia is also the music director at her church. She is featuring the carol “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” based on Longfellow poem for the church’s Christmas service. This story takes place in a short period of time and each chapter is told from a different person’s point of view. This story was entertaining as well. Because parts of the story overlapped there was quite a bit a repetition. I found myself skimming those parts and wish the author had found another way to present this story. The characters were very engaging and I would have liked a broader story about them.

Chiaverini has added another wonderful book to her repertoire. Perfect for the holiday season.

just you and a friend4 STARFISHDollycas

You can find out more about Jennifer Chiaverini and her books on her webpage here.



GIVEAWAY

Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 2 copies to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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 November 10, 2015 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 222015
 

special guest blue

Leigh Perry’s new book The Skeleton Haunts a House 
was released October 6.

I am so excited she had time to stop by for a visit
just in time for Halloween!

leigh perry

How to Write a Haunted House;
Or How to Haunt a Mystery

By Leigh Perry

 

Early on in the process of writing The Skeleton Haunts a House, I decided it was going to be set in and around a haunted house—meaning the Halloween season kind with fake ghosts and gore, not actual spirits. So I did a fair amount of research into how a haunted house is put together and run. Not only did I want to get the background details and jargon right, I actually wanted to lay out my fictional haunted house so I could bring it to life. (Not quite in a mad scientist bringing the monster to life kind of way, but sort of like that.)

I worked in a haunted house myself back in high school, and my original plan was to have my fictional house set up the same way, with random creepy sets and costumed spooks throughout the house. It turns out that industry standards have evolved a great deal since then. These days a haunted house is very much a carefully designed experience.

The starting point is the venue. Is it an old house, a theater, a cornfield, a amusement park, a hayride, or even an abandoned location like a hospital or prison. You can haunt just about anything. The best haunted house venue I’ve ever heard of is Burg Frankenstein, near Darmstadt in Germany. It’s rumored to have been an inspiration for Mary Shelly’s book Frankenstein, and there’s been a Halloween festival there since 1978.

Since my book was going to be set in Pennycross, a small Massachusetts college town, I couldn’t legitimately plant a set of castle ruins in the middle of town, or even on the outskirts. Instead I decide to sneak in an unused class building onto the grounds of McQuaid University, where my protagonist Georgia Thackery works. To give it some gravitas, I called it McQuaid Hall, but for Halloween, it becomes McHades Hall.

Once the venue is set, I gave my haunted house a theme. You see, the really modern haunted houses have themes that inform the details of the designs. I could have gone with haunted toy store, creepy carnival, post-apocalyptic nightmare, insane asylum, hospital of the damned, and on and on. Since I already had an academic setting, I ran with that: McHades Hall would be college-themed. (The fact that my daughter is starting to look at colleges had no influence in my view of a campus as intensely frightening.)

Even with a creepy college as a starting point, I had plenty of latitude to put together the actual scare areas and to staff them with a wide variety of scare actors. (Scare areas and scare actors are industry terms, but they’re pretty self-explanatory.) This is where I got a little fast-and-loose with the themes. I mean, for history classes I had Countess Bathory, the Black Death, and Jack the Ripper. Technically historical, but not what I studied in college. (Though Harvard used to have a great class about the repercussions of the Black Death.) For English, it was characters from The Exorcist, The Shining and Psycho. Good books to be sure, but probably better known for their movies. And I never had one single  chemistry prof turn into a werewolf. (Of course, I only had daytime chem lab…)

skeleton haunts the houseOf course, scare actors don’t just stand around and look horrifying. They have to be doing horrifying things. The zombie frat boys have to chase you, the cannibalistic cafeteria workers have to threaten you, and if anybody is just standing around, it’s a trick to lull you into a false sense of security until they jump at you. While there’s a certain amount of ad-libbing for the scare actors, in general they do have lines to say and blocking, as in any kind of theater.

Of course, all that stuff is what the customers see. (I was hoping to find an industry-specific name for people-who-come-through-haunted-houses, but customer is all I could find. Couldn’t they at least be scare customers?) Since I wanted some behind-the-scenes plotting, I had to figure out what it looks like behind the scenes. That’s when I found out that most haunts have a host of hidden paths and passages to get around the house. They line the rooms with a fabric called scrim, so they can hide behind and look out, but you can’t see them. Now that is mystery-writing gold!

For the final touch of authenticity, I used some of the wisdom accumulated by hundreds of scare actors.

Watch out for hitters! Apparently some people lash out when they’re frightened.

If you hear somebody’s name, tell the other scare actors so they can use it. It’s scary for anybody in a zombie suit to chase you, but even worse when they make it personal.

Never do a gag with a noose. People have died that way. That is not an urban legend. Scare actors have accidentally strangled themselves.

Nobody can resist a chainsaw. Apparently the bravest of customers is prone to losing it when somebody comes after them with a chainsaw. And if you think the chainsaw is an amazingly realistic prop, think again. It’s probably a real chainsaw. They take the chain off, but I still wouldn’t grab hold of one.

Once I had all my pieces in place, I could start plotting the actual sections of The Skeleton Haunts a House that take place in McHades Hall. And it occurred to me that the process is a lot like designing a haunted house.

  • Venue = Setting. I started out with the town of Pennycross.
  • Theme = Genre. It’s a murder mystery in which Georgia Thackery, an adjunct English professor and single mother, solves crimes with the help of her best friend Sid. Did I mention that Sid is an ambulatory skeleton?
  • Scare actors = Characters. In addition to Georgia and Sid, we have Georgia’s daughter Madison, her sister Deborah, her parents, her friends Brownie and Charles, and plenty of others.
  • Action = Plot. As with most mysteries, we start with the finding the body and then progress through investigation until Georgia and Sid find the killer. And along the way, there’s some romance and secrets and what I hope are surprise twists.
  • Behind-the-Scenes = Red Herrings. I have to walk that tight-walk between not being about to figure out the murderer right away while having it all make sense in the end.
  • Authenticity = Authenticity. Of course, I wanted to make sure the haunted house stuff was realistic, but I also have to make sure the university runs like a real university. The same for the carnival that comes to town, and the police procedures.

I hope that once it all comes together, The Skeleton Haunts a House has some of the same excitement and thrills as a haunted house. That’s the plan, anyway.

Maybe I should have put in a chainsaw.

~Leigh

About The Author

Leigh Perry is a pseudonym for Toni L.P. Kelner, an award-winning mystery author. Under the name Toni L.P. Kelner she has published eleven novels and twenty-something short stories, and have co-edited six urban fantasy anthologies with New York Times best seller Charlaine Harris. She was born in Pensacola, FL and raised in Charlotte, NC, and has been living north of Boston, MA for 26 years or so. She shares the house with her husband, two daughters, two guinea pigs, and a ludicrous selection of books. While the population of people and guinea pigs stays constant, the number of books is on an ever-rising curve.

You can find her on Facebook  and can follow Sid on Twitter. You can find out more about Leigh Perry and her books on her webpage here.


Find more at Toni L. P. Kelner 

skeleton haunts the houseThe Skeleton Haunts a House
(A Family Skeleton Mystery)

3rd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Massachusetts
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (October 6, 2015)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Cover Illustration by Ben Perini
Cover Design by George Long
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425255858
E-Book ASIN: B00SI02E4O
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

 

Sid the Skeleton bones up on clues to solve a Haunted House homicide in this mystery from the author of The Skeleton Takes a Bow

What holiday could bring more warmth to a skeleton’s chest cavity than Halloween? And when you’re a living skeleton who’s not supposed to be seen outside the house, it’s a welcome chance to get some fresh air and rub bony elbows with people. That’s why Sid doesn’t mind wearing a full-body dog suit and going as Scooby-Doo along with Georgia Thackery’s Velma to the Halloween Howl.

Sid can’t wait to go through the Haunted House—but he gets rattled for real when a genuine dead body is discovered. Trapped inside as the police quickly seal off the crime scene, Sid makes no bones about dropping the dog suit and posing as an actual skeleton. This murder is a skull-scratcher, but as long as Sid is on the inside, he might as well case the joint to figure out who used the cover of darkness to commit the perfect crime…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Sid is truly one of my favorite characters. He and his family are getting pretty brave. This time he dresses up like Scooby-Doo to visit a haunted house on campus. Since Georgia is not a fan of these scary places Sid joins another group and enters by himself. What could go wrong? Well there happens to be a real dead body in one of the rooms that jars Sid right out out of his dog suit. When the police lock down the house he has no way to escape. Since there are several fake skeletons hanging around he decides to blend in and see if he can figure out what happened to leave the a young co-ed heading for the great beyond.

This is the 3rd book in this series and I have loved them all. For me Sid is a real as real can be. I can see it coming down the stairs, sitting at his desk on his computer, and hiding in the armoire when people come to visit. He is smart and has a keen sense of humor. He is just a bare bones kind of guy. :) His antics will definitely put a smile on your face.

Leigh Perry has written a fabulous Halloween cozy mystery. One that we can enjoy from our skulls to our distal phalanges.  The whole family gets together to keep Sid safe and get him back home. Then Georgia does most of the legwork while Sid tickles the keys on his keyboard to track down the killer as the investigation continues. Sherlock Bones is an the case.

I appreciate this quirky family. Georgia is a adjunct professor at McQuaid University. Her parents are tenured professors at the university and have just returned from a trip abroad. Georgia and her teenage daughter, Madison, have been living in their home and have been asked to stay since the house has more than enough room and Sid has made himself at home in the attic.

I have not visited a haunted house for many years and they sound like even more fun and so much scarier than I remember. The author gives us plenty of details so we can easily picture both the eerie haunted house when it is in operation and behind the scenes while tracking down a murderer.  So many twists and turns made that murderer was a complete surprise.

This is a unique series and perfect for fall reading.  This one will surely tickle your funny bone too!

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 2 copies to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

Leave a comment for Leigh 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 November 5, 2015 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.”

Jun 232015
 

FINELY KNITA Finely Knit Murder:
A Seaside Knitters Mystery

9th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Massachusetts
An Obsidian Mystery (May 5, 2015)
An Imprint of New American Library
Published by The Penguin Group
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451471604
E-Book ISBN-13: 978-0451471604
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

In the newest mystery from the national bestselling author of Murder in Merino, the sleuthing skills of Izzy Chambers Perry and the Seaside Knitters are tested as death mars the beginning of the school year…

Seaside Knitter Birdie Favazza is thrilled that her granddaughter Gabby will be visiting for the fall and attending the Sea Harbor Community Day School. Gabby loves the school, with its newly-adopted progressive curriculum, and she loves that the Seaside Knitters are teaching knitting as part of the enrichment program. It’s a huge success, and on crisp autumn days, girls camp out on the terraces, knitting up hats for charity.

But not everyone is happy with the direction the school is taking. Outspoken board member Blythe Westerland has sparked tempers with her determination to unravel the current administration. Then, on the evening of an elegant school event, Blythe’s body is found near the school boathouse.

With a killer on the loose, Birdie is determined to keep Gabby safe. Working together, the Seaside Knitters carefully unravel the layers of Blythe’s complicated life, bringing faculty members and town residents under scrutiny. Before the cast-off rows are made on the students’ projects, the knitters will need to stitch together the evidence to see if a murderer has been walking beside them all along.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Returning to  Sea Harbor is always a pleasure. The Seaside Knitters, their families and their friends have truly become fictional friends to me. I love checking in to catch up a news and what their are knitting and the local gossip too. This story focuses on the Sea Harbor Community Day School, the school Birdie’s granddaughter, Gabby attends. There is a new headmistress, Elizabeth Hartley,  and she has fabulous ideas but board member Blythe Westerland prefers the old ways and she is very vocal about it.  When her lifeless body is found the police tie her murder to the school and its new headmistress. The Seaside Knitters rally to prove her innocence as Police Chief Jerry Thompson is sidelined due to his romantic relationship with Elizabeth. The will need to finely knit all the clues together to find the real murderer.

Over the years the cast of characters has really grown. Fans of the series will have no trouble keeping everyone straight but if this series is new to you don’t worry the author tells you about all of them at the beginning of the book. The characters are absolutely fantastic and have evolved more in each installment. The Seaside Knitters and “the men in their lives” are a tight-knit group of friends and that is what makes these stories so great. The spend a lot of time together and when a murder needs to be solved that all band together and don’t give up until the mystery is solved. I especially like the way that they spend every Friday night at Ben and Nell’s  for some delicious food and drinks and share their lives.

In A Finely Knit Murder they are all drawn into events at the Sea Harbor Community Day School because one of the youngest and newest characters goes to school there. Some have taken positions on the board and several are teaching the girls to knit as part of the enrichment program. This introduces us to some new characters and new place for things to go awry. Blythe Westerland was not a popular person at the school and she was definitely an easy woman to dislike. When the Knitters dig a little deeper into her life more suspects emerge giving readers a wonderful read as we try to solve the mystery ourselves.

Sea Harbor sounds like a beautiful town and Sally Goldenbaum describes it so well we are easily transported there. The school grounds, the boats in the harbor, the boathouse, and even Ben and Nell’s home and deck are crystal clear.

As always the mystery is very intriguing, the characters are genuine and thoughtful and the setting is sublime. While the story reads well as a stand alone I do recommend you start at the beginning with Death by Cashmere.

I can’t wait to celebrate the holidays in Sea Harbor, Trimmed With Murder: A Seaside Knitters Mystery hits shelves November 1.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

SALLY

 

About The Author

Sally Goldenbaum is a sometime philosophy teacher, a knitter, and an editor, and the author of more than thirty novels. Sally became more serious about knitting with the birth of her first grandchild and the creation of the Seaside Knitters mystery series. Her fictional knitting friends are teaching her the intricacies of women’s friendship, the mysteries of small-town living, and the very best way to pick up dropped stitches on a lacy knit shawl.

Author Links

https://www.facebook.com/authorsallygoldenbaum?ref=hl

twitter.com/sallygoldenbaum

www.sallygoldenbaum.com

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to the people at Penguin I have
1 Hardcover copy of A Finely Knit Murder
and 1 Paperback copy of Murder in Merino
to give away!

Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

Following the new Google+ Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book Fan Page
will earn you 3 Bonus Entries.

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 July 7, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Apr 292015
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640I am so happy to welcome Edith Maxwell here today.
Her new book will be released May 26 and she is here to tell us a bit about it and one lucky reader will win an Advance Copy of Farmed and Dangerous!!!

Maxwell

farmed and dangerousI’m delighted to be your guest today for Cozy Wednesday. New England is just coming off one of the snowiest winters in history, so it’s apt that Farmed and Dangerous is set in January in Massachusetts. My farmer, Cam Flaherty, doesn’t get to escape for a tropical vacation, and instead is keeping her farm share program going despite snow and cold temperatures. She also tends her chickens, and has to deal with an anonymous neighbor dropping off an unwanted rooster named Ruffles for her to take care of.

I didn’t get to escape the cold, either, despite having a farmer son living and working in Puerto Rico. I’m now a full-time writer, though, and since we didn’t lose power in any of this winter’s storms, I just sat up in my second-floor home office, watched the snow fall, and wrote books.

JDmarch2013In past years, though, I did get to escape to the tropics several times. The first year my son was in Puerto Rico, I went for Thanksgiving. Late November is a very dark time of year in the northeast, so it was a total treat to head south. He joined me at a mountaintop bed and breakfast, where our cabin had an outdoor kitchen and I fell asleep to the sound of the Coqui frog chirping, “Ko-kee? Ko-kee?” and the sight of fireflies. The weather was warm during the days and comfortably cool at night. We ate Thanksgiving dinner at the beach with the family who owns the farm – picture doors open to the outside, everybody barefoot and in shorts, and children in and out of the swimming pool. It was heavenly.

CostaRica2009Two other Januaries we went to Costa Rica. Swimming in the warm Caribbean. Eating fresh pineapple and recently caught fish. Zip-lining through treetops. Gazing at splendid colorful birds like Scarlet Macaws and toucans.

Blue_MorphoSpending an afternoon in a butterfly sanctuary and having Blue Morphos land on your arm. Also heaven! On one of those trips I had the best massage of my life on a pavilion with a roof but no walls. Mild fresh air on my skin, a tall strong woman kneading my muscles, and hot oiled rocks warming my back. Now that’s an escape.

IMG_1579Other winter getaways used to be primarily to visit my mother in southern California where I grew up. The last one, in 2012, was especially poignant because she died two months later, but my sisters and I had a lovely time with her and we all felt so grateful to have been there.

PlayaI’m not sure where Cam would go for a winter escape if she could. Her pal, farm volunteer Lucinda DaSilva, is Brazilian, though, so maybe they’ll both go south to solve a farm-related mystery in Rio one of these books!

~Edith

farmed and dangerousFarmed and Dangerous
(Local Foods Mystery)

3rd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Massachusetts
Kensington Books (May 26, 2015)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0758284679
E-Book ASIN: B00ONTR4IU
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Snow is piling up in Westbury, Massachusetts, and Cam Flaherty’s organic farm has managed to survive the harsh New England winter. Unfortunately murder seems to be the crop in season…

Organic farmer Cam Flaherty is struggling to provide the promised amount of food to her customers in her first winter in Westbury, Massachusetts, and her new greenhouse might just collapse from the weight of the snow. Supplying fresh ingredients for a dinner at the local assisted living facility seems like the least of her worries—until a cantankerous resident with a lot of enemies dies after eating the meal.

But while the motives in this case may be plentiful, the trail of poisoned produce leads straight back to Cam. Not even her budding romance with police detective Pete Pappas will keep him from investigating her.

As the suspects gather, a blizzard buries the scene of the crime under a blanket of snow, leaving Cam stranded in the dark with a killer who gives new meaning to the phrase “dead of winter.”

About The Author

Agatha-nominated and Amazon-bestselling author Edith Maxwell writes four murder mystery series, most with recipes, as well as award-winning short stories.

Farmed and Dangerous is the latest in Maxwell’s Local Foods Mysteries series (Kensington Publishing). The latest book in the Lauren Rousseau mysteries, under the pseudonym Tace Baker (Barking Rain Press), is Bluffing is Murder. Maxwell’s Country Store Mysteries, written as Maddie Day (also from Kensington), will debut with Flipped for Murder in November, 2015. Her Quaker Midwife Mysteries series features Quaker midwife Rose Carroll solving mysteries in 1888 Amesbury, with John Greenleaf Whittier’s help, and will debut in March, 2016 with Delivering the Truth.

A fourth-generation Californian, Maxwell lives in an antique house inorth of Boston with her beau and three cats. She blogs every weekday with the other Wicked Cozy Authors (wickedcozyauthors.com), and you can find her at www.edithmaxwell.com, @edithmaxwell, on Pinterest and Instagram, and at www.facebook.com/EdithMaxwellAuthor.

GIVEAWAYThe author is giving away 1 Advance Copy!!
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.

Following the new Google+ Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book Fan Page
will earn you 3 Bonus Entries.

Leave a comment for Edith for 5 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End May 13, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
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Click Here For Entry Form

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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.”

Sep 232014
 

the skeleton takes a bowThe Skeleton Takes a Bow
(A Family Skeleton Mystery)

2nd Book in Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (September 2, 2014)
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425255834
E-Book File Size: 1727 KB
ASIN: B00IOE3O7K
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And the best performance as a skull goes to…

After years of hiding in the Thackery family house, Sid the skeleton is delighted to finally have his moment in the spotlight. He’s starring in a high school production of Hamlet. Well, not so much starring in as being a prop. At least part of him has a part—he’s using his head to play Yorick of “Alas, poor Yorick” fame. Every day, Georgia Thackery’s daughter, Madison, who’s also in the play, brings in his skull, and every night, she takes him home…

Until one night when he’s accidentally left at school—and hears the sounds of someone being murdered. But the next day, there’s no body and no one seems to be missing.

Sid is not a numbskull—he knows what he heard. Georgia thinks he imagined it—until a week later when a body is found. Now Georgia and Sid will both need to keep their heads as they stick their necks out and play sleuth to catch the conscience of a killer…

Dollycas’s  Thoughts

I absolutely love Sid!!! What a hoot it would be to have my own Sid :) I couldn’t wait to read this book and Leigh Perry did not disappoint. I read the whole book in one sitting.

Georgia and Madison are great characters too. When Sid claims to have heard a murder happen they try to do everything right, even when no dead body is found. When all their efforts fail they have no choice but to investigate even if they put every bone in their bodies on the line.

This story is so much fun to read. It is one of those stories where it is so easy to let go of reality and believe Sid the Skeleton, can walk and talk and think. He can read and surf the internet and he is Georgia’s best friend and has been since she was a child.  If you haven’t  read A Skeleton in the Family you have to read that book first, then jump right into this one. You will not be sorry. These story will not only tickle your funny bone, it will delight your mind as well.

The worst part is waiting whole year for Book #3.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Leigh Perry is a pen name for author Toni L.P. Kelner. Find out more about the author here.

I am giving my review copy away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Contest Will End October 7, 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.”

Sep 152014
 

FOR EVERYTHING A SEASONFor Everything A Season
Self Published
Paranormal Romance
E-Book File Size: 458 KB
Print Length: 231 pages
ASIN: B00LBL7T9W
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Not all the witch trials took place in Salem. And there are people in nearby Rachael Crossing who believe the abandoned old house in their midst has roots going back to those awful times.

Determined not to be spooked by vague rumors, Deborah Colby leases that house for the summer and when she meets Ethan Burke, she’s certain she’s made the right decision – certain her whole life has been leading her there to him.

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I was introduced to Sharon Pape through her cozy mysteries and was very excited to hear she was re-releasing her 1983 novel Ghostfire that she updated a bit and turned it into For Everything A Season.

I haven’t read a Gothic Romancel in a very long time and I escaped right into this one. What a fantastic story.

Deborah Colby was looking for a little escape herself.  She thought spending the summer away from her overbearing sister would be a good idea so she decided to work as a camp counselor in a place called Rachel’s Crossing. Her sister was very disappointed, they always spent their summers together and she was bound and determined to find Deborah the perfect man to marry.  When they traveled to Rachel’s Crossing to find a place for Deborah to rent for the summer her sister was so happy to hear there wasn’t really any place available. She thought he sister would cancel her plans but Deborah was determined. The real estate agent said there was one place but it needed a lot of work. Deborah thought the place was acceptable if some basic work was done before she returned for the summer and signed the lease.

Deborah never realized that when she signed on the dotted line how much her life was about to change. The house not only needed maintenance, the house had secrets and everyone in town thought it was haunted.  Deborah didn’t believe it, and shortly after moving in she met Ethan Burke. She was immediately drawn to him and was so happy so came to Rachel’s Crossing.

I started reading this story and couldn’t put it down. The story starts out in 1692, the time of the Salem witch trials and then the chapters go back and forth between 1692 and 1982. I was drawn right in. The story was full of intrigue and mystery and a very interesting romance. At the end it jumps into the future a bit with a twist the still gives me an eerie feeling. I wanted to know more.

If this was one of Sharon Pape’s first stories all I can say is Wow! It sure shows me her not so cozy side and I absolutely loved it.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 Find out more about Sharon Pape and her books on her webpage here.

*Amazon Purchase

May 292014
 

THE GOODBYE WITCHThe Goodbye Witch:
A Wishcraft Mystery

4th in the Series
Cozy Mystery
An Obsidian Mystery (May 6, 2014)
An Imprint of New American Library
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451465870
E-Book File Size: 1571 KB
ASIN: B00FX7LWNO
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As Enchanted Village’s resident Wishcrafter, Darcy Merriweather has the power to make other people’s wishes come true, but what she really wishes is that she had the power to uncloak the invisible man who’s stalking her best friend….

Darcy’s closest friend and fellow witch, Starla Sullivan, hoped she’d never see her ex-husband, Kyle, again. Two years ago he tried to kill her, and he has been a fugitive ever since. Now Starla claims to have seen him back in Enchanted Village, but it seems she’s the only one who can see him. To everyone else, her ex is invisible.

Darcy only wishes his motives were as transparent as the rest of him. Since the police can’t arrest someone they can’t see, it’s up to Darcy to find the secret behind Kyle’s latest disappearing act—before he does something they can’t see coming….

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I have been totally and utterly fascinated by this series since the beginning but this one topped them all. Blake has created the ultimate world to escape into. The Enchanted Village is a magical place that wishes can come true. I wish I could live there myself.

The series has a wonderful cast of characters. Darcy is not only a wishcrafter, she is a strong woman. She has a great relationship with Police Chief Nick who understands her craft because his daughter is a wishcrafter too. Aunt Ve is helping Darcy learn more about her gift along with Darcy’s sister Harper. The all believe everything Starla is telling them, they just need to figure out how Kyle is doing it. They are assisted by some truly magical characters, Pepe, a mouse who can sure thread a needle, and Archie, a talking parrot who can remember any line from almost any movie ever made.

My favorite character though was Mrs. P.  (Mrs. Pennywhistle) This lady touched by heart. She wanted to do anything she could to help Starla and all her friends even when she wasn’t physically able.

There are several subplots marvelously woven into the main storyline. The Goodbye theme is carried throughout the entire story. I don’t want to say more because you need to read this and discover it yourself. Just keep a tissue handy. This is the first cozy mystery I can remember reading that made my cry.

Heather Blake has written a wonderful, sensational, awesome story.  It deserves way more than 5 stars!!

paradise5 STARFISH5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author
Heather Blake (aka Heather Webber) is the author of over a dozen novels. She’s a Dr Pepper enthusiast, total homebody who loves to be close to her family, read, watch Reality TV (totally addicted, especially to competition shows), crochet, occasionally leave the house to hike the beautiful mountains in the northeast, bake (mostly cookies) and dreams of owning a house at the base of Mt. Mansfield in Stowe, VT. Heather grew up in a suburb of Boston, but currently, she lives in the Cincinnati area with her family and is hard at work on her next book. Find out more at http://www.heatherblakebooks.com/

I am giving away my review copy!!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Contest Will End June 12, 2014 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

May 222014
 

suspicionSuspicion
Suspense Thriller
Published by Dutton (May 27, 2014)
An Imprint of The Penguin Group
Hardcover: 400 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0525954606
E-Book File Size: 1446 KB
ASIN: B00G3L7VDE
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When single father Danny Goodman suddenly finds himself unable to afford the private school his teenage daughter adores, he has no one to turn to for financial support.

In what seems like a stroke of brilliant luck, Danny meets Thomas Galvin, the father of his daughter’s new best friend, who also happens to be one of the wealthiest men in Boston. Galvin is aware of Danny’s situation and out of the blue offers a $50,000 loan to help Danny cover his daughter’s tuition. Uncomfortable but desperate, Danny takes the money, promising to pay Galvin back.

What transpires is something Danny never imagined. The moment the money is wired into his account, the DEA comes knocking on his door. Danny’s impossible choice: an indictment for accepting drug money that he can’t afford to fight in court, or an unthinkably treacherous undercover assignment helping the government get close to his new family friend.

As Danny begins to lie to everyone in his life, including those he loves most in the world, he must decide once and for all who the real enemy is or risk losing everything—and everyone—that matters to him.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This is my first book by Joseph Finder but it definitely won’t be my last.  I have wanted to read his books for some time so when NetGalley offered this book I jumped at it.

The author quickly engages the reader into Danny’s life as he stretched to his limits with no help in sight until he meets the father of his daughter’s new best friend. When the man offers him a loan and he accepts things start to careen out of control. I couldn’t have put down this book if I wanted to. The author proceeds to take us on a wild ride without giving us much time to catch our breath. My heart was just pounding as the pages kept turning.

Danny’s relationship with his daughter, Abby, was a struggle in itself. She had lost her mother and feels betrayed that the true story of her mother’s illness was kept from her. Danny tries to keep things as normal as possible including continuing her education as this pricey school. While I felt for Abby I was also disappointed in her. She knew money was tight, yet she tried to pull off the little rich girl persona with her friend Jenna. She spent so much time at Jenna’s and never would think of inviting Jenna to her home as that would bring out her lies.  Her character was really fleshed out but it was really hard to like her and made me feel even more compassion for Danny.

There are some crazy twists in this thriller that really turned the story on its ear. One had me saying “Oh My God”! That being said I can truly understand why Finder’s stories are being made into movies. This story would make a great movie!

If you like the mysteries of Harlan Coben you will love Suspicion. I will be adding the rest of Joseph Finder’s book to my wish list right away!!

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

Find out more about Joseph Finder and his books on 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.”

May 082014
 

special guest blue

SALLYThank you, Dolly, for inviting me back to one of my very favorite places to spend time. A warm hello to those I’ve ‘met’ in this cozy corner before, and a welcome to those who are new to me. Thanks so much for dropping in.

1. sea harbor 2 copyThe release of Murder in Merino (#8) this week has made me think more about the seaside knitters’ town—a place that has become very dear to me. My home is in land-locked Kansas, but I live in another home, another town, in my imagination (it’s the perfect way to get a second home without having to buy one!).

Sea Harbor is where my friends Nell, Birdie, Izzy, and Cass live and love and solve mysteries. I love being with them, walking the streets of Sea Harbor, stopping in at the bookstores and cafes, walking the miles and miles of beaches that surround Cape Ann.

MURDER IN MERINOI’d love to have you join me there. My friends would welcome you warmly with a glass of wine or tea, or maybe dinner on Nell and Ben’s deck. They’d take you to Izzy’s yarn shop, maybe a sail on Sam and Ben’s prized Hinckley, or a stroll along the beaches that surround Cape Ann.

Recently that’s what Jules Ainsley did in Murder in Merino—appeared in my home away from home. She slipped into Sea Harbor like a ghost in the night, checking in at Mary Pisano’s B&B. She was seen every day, running through the streets and along the beaches, embracing the town, talking to strangers. But who is she? the townsfolk asked. And why is she there? No one was sure…

Now that you’re here with me in this beautiful place, let’s follow Jules, see the town through her eyes, and just maybe figure out what she’s up to…

2. drivewayJules is a jogger. Today she’s up early for breakfast, then heads down the long B&B drive. When she sees Birdie in the driveway that leads up to her home 3. Main-Streetabove the sea, She stops to say hello, but soon she’s off again, running along Harbor Road, stopping first to talk to Harry Garozzo outside his deli, and then slowing to look into shop windows or pick up a book.

She stops at a yarn shop and is lured inside by a display of the most beautiful merino yarn she’s ever seen. Izzy welcomes her—and you—and introduces everyone to Purl, her shop kitten, before showing us around. Noticing Jules’ is on a jog, Izzy suggests a new running path—along a beach near a house Izzy used to live in.

“But run by and say hi to my friend Nell first,” she says.

4. deckAnd so we follow Jules to the airy house in the shady neighborhood just a short jog away. Nell invites us to sit on the deck and brings out tray of iced tea, some blueberry scones, and listens patiently as Jules asks a million questions about the town, its history, the people who live there. And when the questions end, we all fall in love with Nell’s garden, just down the deck steps—the backyard where Izzy married Sam, and to a pathway near the edge of the woods.

It’s a shortcut to the beach, Nell says, so we follow Jules through the pines and maples, along the well-worn path to the sea.

5. muffy's beachSoon we’re following her along the tide-tended beach, the sand as smooth and silky as some of Izzy’s yarn. Jules waves at a fisherman, pushing his boat into the ocean, and then she continues on until the beach ends at an outcropping of giant granite boulders. She heads up a small windy hill.

And then she stops. Suddenly, staring up the side of the hill. A car honks at her and she moves slowly to the side of the road, her eyes still glued to something we can’t see.

We move closer. Through the tangle of grasses and bushes and scrub trees, a row of small houses hug the top of the hill, their backyards just barely visible. A neighborhood.

Jules is frozen in place, her expression a mixture of awe and shock.
We look again—and again we see scrap trees, tangled vines, stunted trees.

And then we look at Jules, and a strange sensation passes through us, a cold wind. Whatever it is that Jules Ainsley sees through those branches—she is changing before our eyes.

And we don’t know why.

We head back to Nell’s for lunch, leaving Jules still staring up the hill. And we’ll wonder along with the seaside knitters what has shaken this mysterious woman. We’ll wonder why she has come to Sea Harbor.

We’ll wonder who or what she saw in the small hill beside the sea. And perhaps, as you sip a glass of wine and watch the gulls dip into the sea, you’ll help Nell, Cass, Birdie, and Izzy discover the secret to Jules’ strange behavior.

And they’ll welcome you warmly to your new home away from home.

When Jules Ainsley is implicated in the murderer of a well-loved bartender, the seaside knitters are pulled into the murder that shakes the whole town. In their search, Nell, Birdie, Cass, and Izzy spare no one—not neighbors or friends, not visitors or shopkeepers—as they probe into a past long buried, seeking a murderer who may be walking right alongside them on Harbor Road.

~Sally

About This Author

Sally Goldenbaum is a philosophy teacher, knitter, editor, and the author of more than two-dozen novels.

Please visit her on Facebook.

Or at her Website: sallygoldenbaum.com

MURDER IN MERINOMurder in Merino:
A Seaside Knitters Mystery

8th in Series
Cozy Mystery
An Obsidian Mystery (May 6, 2014)
An Imprint of New American Library
Published by The Penguin Group
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451415363
E-Book File Size: 2193 KB
Amazon: ASIN: B00FFFN7UK
B&N: ISBN-13: 9780698146686
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It’s autumn in Sea Harbor, and as the tourists leave, a mysterious guest arrives. When she’s implicated in a crime, the Seaside Knitters must quickly table their knitting project and search out a motif for murder.

Julia Ainsley has come to Sea Harbor and she is not your typical tourist. She quickly knits herself into the fiber of this seaside town, even wanting to purchase a house, Izzy’s house, even though she has never set foot inside.

The realtor has already set up an Open House and Julie receives a mysterious call from a man asking her to meet him before the Open House starts. But when she arrives he is nowhere in sight. Deciding to take a quick look around the property Julia finds more the a beautiful view. She finds a dead body in the backyard. Her name and phone number are found on the body and she becomes the police’s prime suspect.

Things take a drastic turn as secrets kept for years are revealed and old friends are linked to both Julia and the dead man. The Seaside Knitters must work to unravel the real reason Julia Ainsley has come to their town—and the tangled and troubled ties from the past that bind friends and townsfolk together.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

The characters in this story continue to amaze me. They are so welcoming even when they have a few doubts about a newcomer. They all support each other through life’s daily drama and celebrate together the milestones. This time it was Nell and Ben’s 40th wedding anniversary and young woman who seems just work her way into their lives.  They also pull together to find a killer even when they can’t believe where the clues are leading.

Sally Goldenbaum makes every trip to Sea Harbor pure pleasure with the great characters, the beautiful setting and a top-notch whodunit. I started to see where this story was headed and thought I had to be wrong and with that final twist thankfully I was and I was still knocked for a loop when it all came together.

In addition to being a cozy mystery these stories are also about the powerful friendship this group of people have. They meet each week at Ben and Nell’s for a wonderful dinner. Ben is the chef and everyone brings something to add from a bottle of wine to a pie for dessert. They share their lives and dreams and dilemmas and if there is a murder to solve they talk it out together. If a member is missing everyone worries. If there is a joy to share everyone celebrates. Friendship like this today seems to be rare with everyone having so much to do and no time to relax. Our heads are staring at our phones or computers. We text and email and don’t take time to just stop and enjoy our friends. We could all learn a little something from the wonderful people of Sea Harbor.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 2 copies of Murder in Merino
and 1 paperback copy of Angora Alibi 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.

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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 Sally for 5 Bonus Entries !

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5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End May 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.”

Mar 222014
 

dead ballDead Ball
(The Lainie Lovett Still Kicking Mysteries)
Brand New Series
Cozy Mystery
Bell Bridge Books (January 31, 2014)
Paperback: 248 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1611944112
E-Book File Size: 617 KB
ASIN: B00I9GYO8G
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Lainie Lovett teach fourth grade in the very rich and very historic Massachusetts town of Rockford and plays soccer in a women’s soccer league.  When she finds out her teammate’s husband, a home construction tycoon,  had been killed at one of his job sites she just couldn’t believe it. She drives by the site on the way home and sees the crime scene tape all around the home. She also is questioned by the police about her reasons for being there.  Who knew checking out where someone was killed would land you at the top of the suspect list?

So, who pulled the trigger of the nail gun that killed construction tycoon Arthur Cavanagh? His widow, who’d sworn to kill him if he ever cheated on her? His hostile teenage son, who felt neglected by his father? His foreman, who’d regularly fought with his boss? The angry environmentalists, protesting his latest development? Or the blond mystery woman who’d been seen with him the night of his death? Lainie has to find out to get her life back. Her students and her team need her!!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

What a wonderful start to a new cozy series.

Lainie is a terrific main character. She is easy to like and care about. We know she is a dedicated teacher that really cares about her students and will go the extra mile to help them strive. I am a bit jealous of her athletic ability but her regimen really impressed me. She also has a way of getting to the bottom of things and following clues even if it means putting herself in danger. She also has a vulnerable side as she takes steps reentering the dating game after her husband passing away a couple of years ago.

There are also several supporting characters like Lainie’s daughter, Karen, who has moved home after college and is having some dating issues herself.  Peter, one her husband’s law partners, who comes to Lainie’s rescue when the cops start to really believe she was in on the murder. Bill Stavic, who dropped into Lainie’s life just in time to bring her a lot of grief and a bit of pleasure. Plus there are Lainie’s soccer teammates who know the gossip and the truth and most of them are her friends.  There is so much room for all of them to grown in future installments.

Arnold also crafted a great whodunit that kept me guessing to the very end.  I really enjoyed this story and am looking forward to see what kind of trouble Lainie gets herself into next.

I do caution there is strong, adult language in this book so it may not be everyone’s cup of tea.

just you and a friend4 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

You can find out more about Judith Arnold and her books 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 292013
 

quotientThe Quotient of Murder
(Professor Sophie Knowles)

4th in Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (November 5, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Art by Lisa French
Cover Design Lesley Worrell
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425262702
E-Book File Size: 2602 KB
ASIN: B00BC255W8
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Dr. Sophie Knowles loves using puzzles to make math fun for students. But when winter seizes Henley College, she must thaw out a cold case to track down a killer—her most difficult puzzle yet . . .

Henley College has decided to offer a Winter Intersession over the holiday break, 4 weeks of classes, 3 credits each, 31 days braving the cold winter weather on campus. Dr. Sophie Knowles in teaching 2 classes, something she could deal with but then she learns the heating system in Benjamin Franklin Hall is not working and she also has to park way across campus as construction crews continue to work restoring the college’s bell tower and carillon, the huge instrument that consists of huge bells and the keyboard that  play beautiful melodies. While she is looking forward to the bell tower reopening she is not happy about the cold windy walk only to enter the cold drafty building.

The bell tower has been closed for 25 years and Sophie is shocked to learn why—a student apparently leapt from it to her death but there seems to be so many secrets about the case, Sophie wonders if it really was a suicide.

Then one of Sophie’s favorite students, Jenn Marshall, is attacked in broad daylight on campus. The fact that she is one of the students that will be  playing the carillon when the tower reopens just like the girl 25 years before seems just a little too coincidental to math professor Sophie.  It seems like a perfect puzzle for her to figure out before someone else gets hurt.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
How come there were no professors like Dr. Sophie Knowles when I was in college? I absolutely hated math and the classes were so boring.

Sophie is a great amateur sleuth with her analytical mind. Her emergency helicopter boyfriend, Bruce, is a thrill seeker, who goes on hikes up icy mountains. He prefers Sophie stay out of these investigations but when their friend Detective Virgil Mitchell asks for her help all he can do is try to keep her safe. These three characters are all fantastic and I enjoy their interplay so much.

Madison really drew me in to this story with the mystery surrounding the carillon. My children all played in the bell choir of our church and understanding this on this much larger scale was very interesting. I love hearing music from the bell towers but never knew the mechanics behind it.

The way the cold case and the new case are written and how they may be connected is masterful. There is a lot of information and misdirection that keeps us readers on our toes. I thought I had this one figured out but I was wrong.

This entire series is very entertaining and this 4th installment is the best one yet!! The author also includes some brain teasers  and puzzles at the back of the book. Maybe a few brain exercises will give me a better chance at solving the next mystery she tests us with.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author

Camille Minichino, a retired physicist turned writer, has published 17 mysteries in three series: The Periodic Table Mysteries, The Miniature Mysteries (as Margaret Grace) and The Professor Sophie Knowles Mysteries  (as Ada Madison). Soon, every aspect of her life will be a mystery series. She’s also written short stories and articles for popular magazines and teaches writing and science in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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 072013
 

relatively dead
Relatively Dead
Historical Mystery
Published by Beyond the Page (May 16, 2013)
E-Book File Size: 497 KB
Print Length: 211 pages
ASIN: B00CUEGU4E
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Abby Kimball moved to New England with her boyfriend when he accepted a new job. He made a good salary which gave her some time to settle in and decide whether to return to teaching or take some of her other experience and try something new. Boyfriend Brad spent a lot of time working or hanging out with his other coworkers that left Abby with a lot of alone time on her hands.

Abby decides to take a tour of historic homes in the area where she meets Ned. He was the docent for the last home on the tour. He also was a witness to a very strange experience she had in the house. As she entered one of the rooms she saw a family scene but it wasn’t a recreation using actors it was a haunting vision of a family who had lived in the house nearly a century ago. Having never had anything like that happen before she was positive something was very wrong with her. Thankfully Ned was helpful and encouraging and open to what she described to him. He even offered to help her investigate the vision and why she was seeing it in the first place. Abby leery at first eventually decides to spend her free time exploring and she finds out these visions may be connected to her own past.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
If you are familiar with Sheila Connolly or her books at all you know history is a major theme that runs trough her stories and that she is very interested in genealogy. That is what first drew me to this story but she is also a fantastic storyteller and that is what kept me reading.

I struggled a bit with Abby and Brad’s relationship at first but things started to click into place there for me rather quickly. As an avid mystery reader I kept waiting for Ned to show his ulterior motives and be the bad guy. Ned does have secrets but in a whole different direction than I originally thought.

What I really enjoyed was the process Abby followed to dig in to the local history and the visions she continued to have and the emotions she felt. People are investigating into exploring their family trees and history right now. With so much information being made available on the internet and the several websites created to help people connect the story is very current. Granted not everyone has visions like Abby but it is not beyond the realm of possibility. I have decided to keep an open mind on anything of that nature. My parents have both passed away and while I have never “seen” them or any of my other relatives there are times I just “feel” their presence. I think it would be cool to have way to really connect with them and learn more of my family history to pass on to my kids.

I thought this was a very original story tying a little paranormal activity into a different type of mystery with a bit of romance thrown in too. Connolly’s  writing is very descriptive and I love it.  

It was a nice, light,  easy read and a perfect book for me to curl up with on a dark rainy evening.

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 To find out more about Sheila Connolly visit her webpage here.

~I had received a copy of this book from NetGalley but when I went to read it the file would load on my Kindle correctly so I purchased a new copy from Amazon.

Oct 312013
 

skeleton in the family
A Skeleton in the Family
(A Family Skeleton Mystery)

Brand New Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (September 3, 2013)
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425255841
E-Book File Size: 1009 KB
ASIN: B00BDQ3BQA
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Most families have skeletons in their closets…

But Sid is a very special skeleton. He and Georgia Thackery have been friends for as long as she can remember.  Sid is the Thackery family’s skeleton. He’s lived in the house as long as Georgia can remember, although no one, including Sid, knows exactly where he came from and how he came to be a skeleton.

Georgia has accepted a job back in her hometown and her parents are away on sabbatical so she has moved back into the family home with her teenage daughter, Madison. But her daughter knows nothing about Sid. He lives in the attic and stays out of sight whenever Madison is at home.

Sid walks, talks, reads and as far as Georgia know never sleeps. He even convinces Georgia to take him out of the house. That’s when things get crazy. He sees a woman who triggers memories of his past. Now he wants to know how he died and ended up living with the Thackerys. Georgia agrees to investigate a bit and leads that to “a killer who’s still alive and well and bad to the bone…”

Dollycas’s Thoughts
This is a really fun premise for a mystery series. Sid is a complete treasure. I want a Sid of my own and after you read this you will too!

Georgia is wonderful too. She is a professor who just can’t get on the tenure track at any nearby colleges. But she doesn’t let it get her down. She has a very positive attitude and a great daughter. Her parents are both professors and have been for a long time which is why they are able to take a sabbatical. I am sure they will show up in a future installment.

I don’t want to give too much of the plot away so I will just say that the mystery of Sid leads to a current mystery that circles back to the past. Very clever writing and thoroughly enjoyable. Funny and exciting and a great book to read on a chilly autumn evening. A terrific start for this new series.
just you and a friend
4 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Leigh Perry is a pen name for author Toni L.P. Kelner. Find out more about the author here.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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