Feb 032017
 


On Flashback Fridays I will share with you the books I was not able to review when they were first released that have been screaming at me from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.

I am not going to lie, what is happening in our country scares me. I will not get all political but it did cause me to choose a different type of book for this week’s Flashback Friday. A book with no mystery to solve, a book about just every day life that I could comfortably “escape” into for a few hours and forget about what is really happening in the real world. I hope you won’t mind that I slipped away from the mystery genre this week.


Everyone Is Beautiful: A Novel
Domestic Life/Humor/Fiction
Setting – Massachsetts
Ballantine Books (February 17, 2009)
Hardcover: 256 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1400066438
Paperback
ISBN-13: 978-0749909307
Kindle ASIN: B001NLL2TS

 

 

Lanie Coates’s life is spinning out of control. She’s piled everything she owns into a U-Haul and driven with her husband, Peter, and their three little boys from their cozy Texas home to a multiflight walkup in the Northeast. She’s left behind family, friends, and a comfortable life–all so her husband can realize his dream of becoming a professional musician. But somewhere in the eye of her personal hurricane, it hits Lanie that she once had dreams too. If only she could remember what they were.

These days, Lanie always seems to rank herself dead last–and when another mom accidentally criticizes her appearance, it’s the final straw. Fifteen years, three babies, and more pounds than she’s willing to count since the day she said “I do,” Lanie longs desperately to feel like her old self again. It’s time to rise up, fish her moxie out of the diaper pail, and find the woman she was before motherhood capsized her entire existence.

Lanie sets change in motion–joining a gym, signing up for photography classes, and finding a new best friend. But she also creates waves that come to threaten her whole life. In the end, Lanie must figure out once and for all how to find herself without losing everything else in the process.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I needed to read something different and funny and this book fit the bill.

Lanie’s life takes an abrupt turn when her husband’s new job uproots her family from their Texas home and into a 3rd floor 2 bedroom apartment in Massachusetts. She is with her kids, three under the age of 4,  24/7. While visiting a nearby park one day she reconnects with a classmate from high school and this gives her at least one adult to share things with and keep her sane. Her husband is wrapped up in his work and their relationship has reached the phase where you just go through the days without any real firm connection beyond being parents. At the end of her rope she joins a gym and realizes she has dreams as well. She just needs to figure out what they are and then find space to place them in her life. But can her marriage survive her putting herself first even just for part of the day or week without losing everything else so important to her.

As a mother of four I could relate to Lanie’s story quite easily. Mom’s always put themselves last. Those days when the children are small and it is a triumph to just get a shower or go to the bathroom by yourself. Unlike Lanie, I worked full time when my children were growing up, so I was around adults for a least 8 hours of the day. Lanie heads to the gym for her “me time”. I used to escape to my sewing room, where I made the lion’s share of the clothes for my family, and let my creative juices flow.

The author gives us an entertaining and in places really funny look at family life. You know the day to day stuff most of our lives are filled with. It’s not rocket science but sometimes getting through days with toddlers it seems like rocket science would be easier. Three little boys can be tough, especially 3 boys under four years old. I did want to jump in the book a few times to tell her to put the youngest one down. He was almost a year old and not crawling or walking yet and I think that was because she carried him everywhere. He was like her security blanket. Funny, after some lifestyle adjustments near the end of the book the little guy starts walking and crawling all in one day

This was just the book I needed to read at this time. It brought back some fond memories, but even it, a book like this, my new trigger word appeared, “suicide”. It seems I just can’t escape that in anything I read these days. Thankfully it was only a mention and was followed by a moment that made me laugh. This book was recommended to me several years ago, long before my son took his life. It has been buried in my To-Be-Read stacks since then. Waiting for me to find the perfect time to read it. Well last Sunday was the perfect time. If you need a light read, this may be the one.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent


I am giving away my hardcover 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.

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

Contest Will End February 17, 2017 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

*This book was from my personal collection.

Dec 212016
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

Today we have 2 authors visiting!! 

Welcome Barbara Ross and Liz Mugavero! 

Talk of the Town

Liz Mugavero and Barbara Ross both have books coming out December 27. For Liz, it’s Custom Baked Murder, the fifth book in her Pawsitively Organic Pet Food Mystery series. For Barb, it’s Iced Under, the fifth book in her Maine Clambake Mystery series. Recently, they got together to talk cozy towns.

Barb: Hi Liz. If I know you as well as I think I do, you, like me have been watching the new season of The Gilmore Girls. As I watched, I realized one of reasons for the series’ success, along with the snappy dialog and endearing characters, is the town of Stars Hollow. Like the towns we write about, Frog’s Ledge, Connecticut and Busman’s Harbor, Maine, Stars Hollow is a classic New England town with a green and a band shell and a grab bag of eccentric characters.

What do you think attracts readers and viewers to these places?

Liz: Hi Barb! Yes, you do know me as well as you think…although I have a dilemma. I made a pact with myself that I’d watch all the original Gilmore Girls before watching the new season. I started over the summer and convinced myself that I’d be done way before November 25th! Alas, life got in the way and I’m only on season four – so no spoilers for the new ones!

Now, to your question. I have a confession. I watched Gilmore Girls before I moved to Connecticut. And I think one of the reasons I ended up here was because I was convinced every town was like Stars Hollow! Unfortunately it wasn’t true, but I became obsessed with the idea that I would find a little town to love that would love me back. A town with the perfect bookstore, the perfect grocer, the perfect people. And, the perfect coffee, of course. But it’s that sense of security I got from watching the show that drew me in. The idea that the people around you had your back, even though they weren’t traditional family. It’s that idea that you make your own family, right?

So let’s talk about that. How did you come up with the people with whom you populated your town? Based on real people, or totally made up?

Barb: What a great question. Of all my characters, Gus is the only one based on a real Maine person. There really was a guy who owned an old restaurant near us in Maine with a gorgeous view of a place called, believe it or not, Cozy Harbor. The restaurant looked like an Edward Hopper painting with an old-fashioned gas pump on the outside and a candle-pin bowling lane on the inside. And, just like in the books, Gus only served food to people he knew, or people who knew someone he knew. No one else is based on a real person, though I know people in the real Boothbay Harbor like to guess who’s who!

So my town is kind of, sort of, based on a real town, highly fictionalized. What about you? Is there a real basis for Frog Ledge? How is it similar and different physically and otherwise?

Liz: My fictional town started with a real thing. The town next to me has a really cool town green with a walking path, and I started bringing the dogs there. It’s about a mile around, and there are houses on both sides as well as a bunch of historical buildings, the library, and a museum. And there are always activities happening on the green, from farmers’ markets to 4th of July fireworks to summer concerts. It’s a cool place, and there’s a lovely little Victorian house on one side. I was there one day and thought, wow, this is the place. The place where people in my books can go for all the gossip. The place where Stan should live and spend a lot of her time. The true center of town, you know? And then from there I beefed up the rest of the town with some fictional places like Izzy’s coffee and chocolate shop, the flower shop, the pub. I pulled elements of neighboring towns so it became sort of a hybrid of real places with some fiction thrown in.

It works for me. What about you? Is there something different you wish you’d done relating to how you set up your town? Or is it perfect the way it is?

Barb: Five books in, Busman’s Harbor is still growing. I’ve added shops along Main Street as I’ve needed them—a hardware store for Clammed Up, a frame shop for Fogged Inn, and a jewelry store for Iced Under. It’s kind of like an old map, some places are well understood and finely drawn, while others are completely blank “Here be dragons.” One thing I wish I’d done. I wish I’d called my main road “Maine Street” with an e. So obvious, and yet I missed it.

Of course the most important thing in a cozy mystery, wherever it is set, is a sense of community, of people pulling together, and then potentially pulling apart due to murder. Our sleuths need to set things to rights again, and that means Stan Connor and Julia Snowden have their work cut out for them.

We have our work cut out for us, too, since both of us are on deadlines for book six. Good luck with it, Liz. Let’s talk soon!

Liz: Good luck, Barb.

About The Authors

Barbara Ross is the author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries, including the Agatha-nominated Best Contemporary Novel Clammed Up, as well as Boiled Over, Musseled Out, Fogged Inn, and Iced Under. Her story “Nogged Off” appears in the holiday novella collection Eggnog Murder along with stories by Leslie Meier and Lee Hollis. Barbara blogs with the Wicked Cozy Authors and Maine Crime Writers. In the summer, she writes on her big front porch overlooking the water in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. You can visit her website at http://www.maineclambakemysteries.com

Liz Mugavero is the author of the Agatha Award-nominated Pawsitively Organic Mysteries Kneading to Die, A Biscuit, A Casket, The Icing on the Corpse and Murder Most Finicky. Custom-Baked Murder, the fifth in the series, will be released in December 2016. As you can imagine, her canine and feline rescues demand the best organic food and treats around. She is a member of Sisters in Crime National, Sisters in Crime New England, Mystery Writers of America, and the Cat Writers’ Association. She currently lives in Connecticut.


Iced Under (A Maine Clambake Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – Maine/Massachusetts
Kensington (December 27, 2016)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496700391
E-Book ASIN: B01DRXCGEE

 

 

The snow is deep in Maine’s Busman’s Harbor and the mighty rivers are covered in ice. Snowden Family Clambake Company proprietor Julia Snowden and her mother, Jacqueline, are hunkered down for the winter when a mysterious package arrives—heating up February with an unexpected case of murder . . .

Inside the mystery package is an enormous black diamond necklace that once belonged to Julia’s great-grandmother and disappeared in the 1920s. Who could have sent it—and why? Julia’s search for clues takes her on a perilous journey through her mother’s troubled family history, from a squabble over the family fortune in “frozen water” to the recent unexplained death of Jacqueline’s long-lost cousin Hugh—who’d been missing and presumed drowned for more than forty years. To protect her mother’s inheritance, Julia must fend off a small army of feuding relatives, solve the mystery surrounding Hugh’s demise, and get back home before the next blizzard buries them all . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

It may be winter in Busman’s Harbor but Julia still has a mystery to solve. Her mom received a package containing a wonderful family heirloom, one the disappeared back in the 1920’s. The problem is they have no idea who sent the package. Julia’s investigation leads her to connect with family she didn’t know she had and she arrives at their door just in time to find out the person she hoped to meet died recently. Shortly after her arrival the family learns that the death was not from natural causes, it was MURDER!

I really love these stories. So much happens in addition to the main mystery. In a subplot Julia’s sister, Livvie, is due to give birth any day and the snow coming could make getting to the hospital an adventure. This mirrors my daughter’s experience almost exactly 4 years ago. Her dad drove her to the hospital in the middle of a blizzard following a snow plow all the way. Babies seem to want to make appearances in reality and fiction at the most inopportune times.

In the main mystery plot the author introduces many new characters enabling Julia to meet and learn about family members she and her mom didn’t even know existed. She also learns the truth about an event in the past that happened very differently than her mother thought. I enjoyed the history research and the stories told by these family members almost more than the mystery and it is a great mystery full of twists and surprises.

The author provides enough background to allow this book to be read without reading the previous stories but I encourage you to read them all in order. The characters really grow and become more distinct throughout the series and each includes a stellar mystery.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent


Custom Baked Murder
(A Pawsitively Organic Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – Connecticut
Kensington (December 27, 2016)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496700193
E-Book ASIN: B01DRXCGD0

 

 

Kristan “Stan” Connor gladly turned tail on her high-flying job and moved to a quaint New England town to sell organic pet treats. But with her nose for solving murders, there’s no such thing as a quiet life…

Summer is winding down in Frog Ledge, Connecticut, but Stan’s love life and career are both heating up nicely. In between planning her new pet patisserie and café, Stan is settling into living-in-bliss with sexy pub owner Jake McGee. Love’s on the menu for Stan’s mom, Patricia, too, who’s engaged to Frog Ledge’s mayor, Tony Falco.

Mayor Falco’s dogged ambition isn’t popular among locals, but it’s his executive coach, Eleanor Chang, who’s inspired a dangerous grudge. When Eleanor is found dead, there’s a whole pack of suspects to choose from. Stan has first-hand experience of Eleanor’s unsavory business tactics. But finding out who forced her to take a fatal plunge off the corporate ladder means unearthing some shady secrets…and a killer who’s too close for comfort.

Includes Gourmet Pet Food Recipes!

This is a series I really need to get caught up on. I did receive a note from a friend warning me that this story may have parts that would be hard for me to read after the death of my son so I will hold off reading it for now. 

Thanks to the authors I have 1 copy of each book to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

Leave a comment for Barbara or Liz for 5 Bonus Entries.

Click the Like Button at the top of this post for a Bonus Entry.
.
Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 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 January 4, 2017 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 132016
 

seeds-of-deception

Seeds of Deception (An Orchard Mystery)
by Sheila Connolly
Cozy Mystery
10th in Series
Setting – Massachusetts/New Jersey
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (October 4, 2016)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425275825
E-Book ASIN: B01AHKXJF0
goodreads-badge-add-plusShop Indie Bookstores

 

The New York Times bestselling author of A Gala Event returns with newlyweds Meg and Seth Chapin who should be worried about writing thank you notes, not taking a juicy bite out of crime…

With the bushels of time they spent organizing their wedding, Meg and Seth didn’t have a chance to plan a honeymoon. But now that winter has arrived, there’s not much to do at the orchard. So with their shared love of history and all things apple, they pick Thomas Jefferson’s orchards at Monticello as the perfect getaway.

While they enjoy the beautiful sights, there’s a rotten addition to the agenda when Meg’s parents discover their handyman dead in the backyard. With a bitter police chief eyeing Meg’s father as a suspect, Meg and Seth have to cut their honeymoon short to find the root of the problem.
 
 
Includes Delicious Recipes

Dollycas’s Thoughts

It’s honeymoon time for Meg and Seth and they set off on a road trip. The trip gets a huge detour when they get a call from Meg’s mom saying when they returned home to New Jersey there was a dead body in their backyard. Seems the police chief and her dad have a bit of a conflict so Meg and Seth head to Jersey to aid in the investigation, who am I kidding, Meg butts her way into the investigation to follow the seeds of deception as only she can.

We really don’t know too much about Meg and her parents or her life before coming to Granford. Her parents married right after her dad received his law degree. He eventually went to work for the New York firm, Blackwell, Hyzy and Cates 🙂 (Love this cozy author tie in.) He commuted on the train every day.  Her mother kept house and volunteered. When Meg left for college he opened his own firm and moved to the home where they now reside. Much too large for just 2 people but it sounds like a fabulous home. I really enjoyed getting to know her folks and I think they saw a whole different side to their daughter.

This has been a strong series from book 1 , One Bad Apple,  because the author has not only created fantastic characters that have continued to grow throughout the series, but she always plots a fabulous mystery around those characters. This time she takes the story out of Granford and the mystery really focuses on Meg, Seth and Meg’s parents, Elizabeth and Phillip. We learn a lot about all four characters. Seth hangs back a little in this story as he lets Meg lead the way and deal with her parents. That is not to say he is not involved. Staying quiet and listening helps him to ask the right questions at the right times to move closer to finding out whodunit and why.

I have enjoyed every book in this series. Winter in the orchard has a lot of downtime so this was the perfect time for Seth and Meg’s wedding and honeymoon and taking them on a trip. They get some news when they get home that means some changes are ahead and leaves me excited to see what Sheila Connolly has planned next.

I recommend you pick this one up and take a nice juicy bite. But why stop there, if this is a new series for you then you are going to want to read the whole bushel.

perfect 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author

Sheila is the author of many fantastic reads. She not only writes County Cork Mysteries, but the Orchard Mysteries and the Museum Mysteries too. Find out all about Sheila  and her books on her webpage here.

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

Click the Like Button at the top of this post for a Bonus Entry.
Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 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 October 27, 2016 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 162016
 

9WbGnJTR
On Flashback Fridays I will share with you the books I missed when they were first
released that have been screaming at me from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.

gala-event

A Gala Event (An Orchard Mystery)
by Sheila Connolly
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Massachusetts
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (October 6, 2015)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Cover Illustration by Mary Ann Lasher
Cover Design by Annette Fiore Defex
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425275818
E-Book ASIN: B00SI02DVI
goodreads-badge-add-plusShop Indie Bookstores

 

Wedding bells are ringing for Meg and Seth in the latest Orchard Mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of Picked to Die

The fall harvest may be just about over, but orchard owner Meg Corey is busier than ever planning her wedding to Seth Chapin. Who knew picking apples would be less work than picking out rings and a dress? And even though the happy couple has invited most of Granford, Massachusetts, to the ceremony, they might have to make room for one more guest…

Ex-con Aaron Eastman has unexpectedly reappeared in his hometown, searching for answers to the tragic fire in his family’s past that put him behind bars twenty-five years ago. Moved by his sincerity, Meg vows to do everything she can to help him solve the cold case. As she cobbles together the clues, it becomes increasingly clear that Aaron may have been considered the bad seed of the family, but someone else was one bad apple…

Includes Delicious Recipes!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I have loved this series from the start and absolutely think this one has the best cover so far. Yes, those are alpacas!

Almost all the apples have been picked and it is time for Meg and Seth to get into high gear for their upcoming nuptials, but when Aaron Eastman comes to town Meg is drawn into his story like a moth to a flame. Oh and Seth decides to overall the plumbing and add two bathrooms and update the existing one. At least he is on hand if Meg needs any help.

The plot to this one was different and interesting as Meg tries to solve a mystery from the past and reunite what it left of a family and give them some closure. I was ready for the expected twist and thought I knew what had happened and I was partially right but I picked the wrong bad apple.

I did enjoy the mystery and the way Meg, Seth, their family and friends all worked together to solve it, but was left just a little disappointed that the Gala, the Wedding, the Big Event was lost until the final chapter. Meg and Seth were just so low key about the whole thing, Meg hadn’t even picked out a dress and the reception planning was so last minute. I felt I was looking more forward to the wedding than the bride and groom. I understand this is a mystery novel not a romance novel and the author has to find balance, but with a title A Gala Event, I was hoping for a little more GALA.

Now don’t get me wrong, the mystery was well plotted and the story was very well written and I did enjoy it. The visiting alpacas were so funny, especially Meg’s first reaction. So it did have everything that usually makes for a perfect escape, if it just had a few more wedding elements then it would be perfect.

I am excited for the next book, Seeds of Deception, out next month to see how they start their married life together and what kind of trouble they get involved in next.

enjoyable 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author

Sheila is the author of many fantastic reads. She not only writes County Cork Mysteries, but the Orchard Mysteries and the Museum Mysteries too. Find out all about Sheila  and her books on her webpage here.

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.

Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Click the Like Button at the top of this post for a Bonus Entry.
Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 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 September 30, 2016 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.”

Aug 102016
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640

I am so excited to welcome Julianne Holmes to Escapes With Dollycas today! 

The 2nd Clock Shop Mystery, Clock and Dagger,  was just released on August 2!

13925983_10100630193718661_3107194438960158061_o

There’s No Escape for Writers

Ever since I said aloud “I want to be a published author”, vacation and escapes have taken on a different meaning. My writer brain is never shut off. This is a particular issue for us mystery authors, since our brains (even when cozy) go to odd places. “That is a great place for a body dump” or “Did you know that plant is poisonous?” or “No cell reception? This would be a great place for the final scene of a book” are not common conversation starters with friends and family. Vacation photos are typical poses, but also include alleyways, stores, houses, gardens, and other things that I want to add to my research pool. Since I’ve started writing the Clock Shop Mystery series, clocks are a “must” wherever I am. Visiting friends in Connecticut? A stop at the American Clock and Watch museum is a must.

I’ve given up trying to pretend I can shut that off. Instead, I make sure that I balance other activities in my getaways, but I also include my writerly pursuits. Of course I’ll go zip-lining with the nieces. On the way back, we need to go to this town library to see their grandfather clock. Family barbeque down the Cape? I’ll go take the tour of the clock tower beforehand, and be there a little late, very sweaty, and a little dusty.

A few years ago I was at a dinner party, making small talk with a friend’s husband, whom I had just met. I found out he was a doctor, and asked his opinion on a couple of types of poison. He looked horrified, so I explained that I wrote mysteries, and preferred poison to guns. He was still wary, but did call me a couple of days later with a few ideas. Within a few weeks he was my go-to on poison from a medical perspective, helping me figure out what a doctor might miss unless she was looking for it.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

These days, since my first novel Just Killing Time was published last fall, my family and friends are co-conspirators in helping me plot. My friend Pat was telling me about a community gardening project she is coordinating. “Every time I see the compost pile I think of you,” she said. For others, that may be an insult. For me, it is the highest compliment. She is another source for plot surprises.

So how do I unplug? Seeing or being near water is always an escape for me. Since I live in New England, there are lakes, rivers, and the ocean very close by. I am going on vacation later this month, and heading to Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. One of my favorite things to do on vacation is to catch up on my reading. Binge reading for a week is a wonderful escape. Doing it with my feet up on a longue chair, seeing water between my feet, an icy cold drink at the ready? Perfection.

Daydreaming about committing a crime in paradise? Part of the vacation.

Perfect Beach Reads! Twitter post 2

~Julianne

clock and dagger

Clock and Dagger (A Clock Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Massachusetts
A Berkley Prime Mystery (October 6, 2015)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425275535
E-Book ASIN: B01839Q4HM
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

 

Ruth has three days to pull off four events—including the grand reopening of Cog & Sprocket, the clock shop she inherited from her grandfather—so she doesn’t have time for Beckett Green’s nonsense. The competitive owner of a new bookstore, Green seems determined to put other businesses out of business by also carrying their specialty items. He’s trying to steal Ruth’s new watchmaker, Mark Pine, not to mention block her plans to renovate the town clock tower.

Ruth is already all wound up when she’s alarmed to discover Mark’s dead body. As the denizens of Orchard each chime in as to who they think the murderer is, Ruth needs to watch her back as she investigates on her own. Despite the danger, Ruth won’t stop until the killer is behind bars and serving time…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Ruth has been busy updating both the Cog & Sprocket and her apartment above the shop. She is still trying to restore the local clock tour but keeps getting waylaid by the city manager. The owner of the new bookstore, Beckett Green, is giving all the Orchard merchants headaches as he plans to open a place selling much more than books, competing with almost every business on Orchard by selling the similar merchandise. He even tries to lure one of Ruth’s employees away from her. Sadly the young man ends up dead, and Beckett Green is Ruth’s prime suspect, but the police have another suspect in mind. Ruth works well with the local police chief, but the city manager keeps calling in the “staties”, which doesn’t sit well with either of them.

A lot takes place within these pages. The story ticks right along at the perfect pace. The book starts out with Ruth needing party supplies for several events including the grand reopening of the clock shop she inherited from her grandfather, her step grandmother’s surprise birthday party, and an event featuring most of the shops on the street. Add in a murder, a bit a jealousy, and a stranger coming to town and you have one heck of a story.

I am impressed with all Ruth has taken on and happy to see she has surrounded herself with some great people. She does realize that she really needs to learn more about each of them because they are quickly becoming friends and not just mere acquaintances. The author is doing an excellent job at making the characters more three dimensional and engaging. I have grown to like most of them very much.

The small town of Orchard is a great setting. Of course, it has it share of troublemakers and small town politics. Ruth’s grandfather used to be a favorite of all and a peacemaker when the need arose and his presence is greatly missed.

The mystery itself was puzzling. I wasn’t sure who was our killer until a twist at the end that was absolutely perfect.

I found the bits of knowledge about clocks and watches captivating. I love the idea of making jewelry out of the cogs and sprockets.

Don’t waste any time, this series should be on the top of your To-Be-Read stack!

perfect 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author

Julie Hennrikus As Julianne Holmes, she is a mystery writer. Her Clock Shop Mystery series debuted in October 2015 with Just Killing Time, which was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Clock and Dagger was released August 2, 2016. As J.A. Hennrikus she has had short stories published in Level Best Books anthologies: “Her Wish” in Dead Calm, “Tag, You’re Dead” in Thin Ice, “The Pendulum Swings, Until It Doesn’t” in Blood Moon. As Julie Hennrikus she runs StageSource, the service organization for the New England theater community. She is on Twitter (@JulieHennrikus), Instagram (@jahenn), Pinterest, and Facebook. She blogs with the Wicked Cozy Authors, Live to Write/Write to Live, and is on Killer Characters on the 20th of each month. Julie is a board member of Sisters in Crime and New England Chapter of Sisters in Crime. She is also a member of Mystery Writers of America and the Guppies. You can find out more about Julianne Holmes on her webpage here.

GIVEAWAY
Thanks to the publisher 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.

Leave a comment for Julianne for 5 Bonus Entries. 

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

Contest Will End August 25, 2016 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 032016
 

9WbGnJTR
On Flashback Fridays I will share with you the books I missed when they were first
released that have been screaming at me from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.

I reviewed Forever Beach by Shelley Noble on Tuesday and the lead character had a clock shop. So this book that also features a clock maker seemed to be a perfect choice for today’s Flashback Friday!

just killing time

Just Killing Time (A Clock Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Massachusetts
A Berkley Prime Mystery (October 6, 2015)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425275528
E-Book ASIN: B00SI026TW
goodreads-badge-add-plusShop Indie Bookstores

 

Ruth Clagan may be an expert clockmaker, but she’s always had a tendency to lose track of time. And when trying to solve a murder, every minute counts…

Ruth’s beloved grandfather instilled in her a love of timepieces. Unfortunately after her grandmother died and he remarried, Ruth and Grandpa Thom became estranged. She’s wanted to reconnect after her recent divorce, but sadly they’ve run out of time. Her grandfather has been found dead after a break-in at his shop—and the police believe he was murdered.

Now Ruth has been named the heir to Grandpa Thom’s clock shop, the Cog & Sprocket, in the small Berkshire town of Orchard, Massachusetts. As soon as she moves into the small apartment above the shop and begins tackling the heaps of unfinished work, Ruth finds herself trying to stay on the good side of Grandpa’s bossy gray cat, Bezel, while avoiding the step-grandmother she never wanted. But as old secrets and grudges start to surface, Ruth will have to kick into high gear to solve the killer case before someone else winds up dead…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

It happens to a lot of us. Life gets in the way and we miss out on connecting with those that love us as often as we should. Ruth Clagan was very close to her grandmother. When she died it was hard on Ruth. Ruth became all twisted up in her own drama and when her grandfather remarried she just couldn’t accept it. Some time passed and she got her own life back on track and was ready to reconnect with her grandfather. But she was too late. Her grandfather was found dead behind his clock shop. She comes home to find that her grandfather has been murdered and he had left his clock shop to her. Before she can make any decisions about staying in Orchard she has to find out who killed her grandfather and why. She doesn’t have time to waste, the clock is ticking and she doesn’t want to become another victim.

Ruth Clagan is a strong woman and she is smart. I liked her immediately. I had sympathy for her situation. I was impressed with her determination to not only sleuth out a killer but the way she is wants to make her grandfather’s dream come true. It is not going to be easy but she is up to the task. I also enjoyed her reconnecting with people she hadn’t seen in years. I will admit parts of Ruth’s story had me teary eyed and missing some my own family who have passed away. Her story fits the “tomorrow is never guaranteed, so cherish what you have today” line really well.

As far as the mystery there are several good twists but I did figure it out early. That can be common in first books in a series because you have to introduce the characters and the setting which is a big task. In this case the main character is also on an emotional roller coaster. So a complex mystery would be tough to get in with only 300 pages. The author has built a nice foundation for this series the mysteries to come.

This was an enjoyable debut. The next book in this series, Clock and Daggerwill be released August 2. I am anxious to get my hands on it and see what author Julianne Holmes has in store for my new favorite clock maker.

enjoyable 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

You can find out more about Julianne Holmes on her webpage here.

GIVEAWAY
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.

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 June 17, 2016 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 072016
 

special guest blue
I am thrilled to have Heather Blake drop by today!

Heather Blake 2014

Paranormal, on the Light Side

By Heather Blake

(Post received from publicist.)

I’ve always had a fascination with the paranormal, so it’s really no surprise to me that I started writing witches, psychics, and empaths… My early love of I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, and more recently, my slight addiction to Long Island Medium have all have influenced me. But alas, I’m not a witch. Or a genie. Or a psychic. Instead of writing what I know (a common phrase in fiction writing), I simply write what fascinates me.

gone with the witchBeyond pop culture influences, I’ve also had some personal incidents in my life that have made me take note of the paranormal. When my twenty-two-year-old son was three, it was early morning when I heard him talking in the other room, having a full conversation with someone I couldn’t see… When I asked him who he was talking to, he said quite seriously (yet calmly), “The man.”

Spooky, right? It was for me too—at first. But my grandfather had died the week before, before he’d had a chance to meet my son… I like to believe that they were getting to know each other.

For years, I’ve noticed that when I get into my car, my rearview mirror is tilted. If I run an errand and come back to the car the mirror is askew. Not every time, but enough times to make me wonder who’s riding along with me.

It’s situations like these — and others I hear about — that keep me writing about things that can’t easily be explained. I write books that deal with things that go bump…all day long. All of it is unexplainable. All of it so very fun.

Fun, because my preference is to take supernatural experiences and keep them light, to find the humor in them, or to take an emotional look at how these things can impact the lives of those around them…for the good. Despite writing murder mysteries, I prefer to focus on the good, not the evil, which comes across in every book I’ve ever written. There’s too much dark in the world as it is—which is why I don’t like scary movies…or watching the news. Instead you’ll catch me watching repeats of Bewitched.

Have you had anything go bump lately?

~Heather

Heather Blake (aka Heather Webber) is the author of more than twenty novels and has been twice nominated for an Agatha Award. She’s a total homebody who loves to be close to her family, read, watch reality TV (especially cooking competition shows), drink too much coffee, crochet, and bake cookies. Heather grew up in a suburb of Boston, but currently she lives in the Cincinnati area with her family.

Follow Heather – www.heatherblakebooks.com
On Facebook
On Twitter


Also by Heather Blake

gone with the witch
Gone With the Witch (Wishcraft Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Setting – Massachusetts
An Obsidian Mystery (May 3, 2016)
An Imprint of New American Library
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1101990117
E-Book ASIN: B013Q70B1Q
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

 

Darcy and her dog Missy are determined to put their best foot forward at the Enchanted Village’s annual Pawsitively Enchanted pet contest. She’s happy to lend a hand when the show’s organizer hires Darcy to keep an eye on things among growing suspicions that someone is sabotaging the event. But Darcy’s quest for justice is thrown off the scent when her lead suspect is found dead at the competition.

As if a murder weren’t bad enough, someone begins snatching up prize-winning pets right from under their owners’ noses. Darcy is determined to protect the pampered participants at whatever cost. But she’ll have to work fast to sniff out the thief before she becomes the next victim of a killer determined to stop her dead in her tracks…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Another enchanting tale from Heather Blake. This series is so magical. I sat down to read and the real world just disappeared.

The pets are on parade in this Wishcraft Mystery with a Pawsitively Enchanted Pet Contest. It is set up like a fair with each pet having a booth. Darcy and Missy are entered but they are really on a job. They have been hired to make sure a certain someone doesn’t sabotage the competition.  When that certain someone ends up dead Darcy focus changes from saving the fair to catching a killer. That isn’t all, someone is stealing some of the contestants and their owners are desperate for their return. Darcy has her handful and wishes she could wish all the problems away but she is going to have to collar the killer by tracking them down herself.

I love the characters, the setting and Ms. Blake always pens a fantastic mystery.

The human residents of The Enchanted Village are wonderful but the “familiars” always put a smile on my face. Pepe and Mrs. P. are quite a pair and always available to help Darcy out. Archie has his own problems this time but still has time to throw a few movie quotes about.

The village is not just enchanting, it is a busy place. There is always something going on. In addition to Darcy work she is having a house renovated and her romantic relationship with Nick is moving right along. Aunt Ve is always up to something. Darcy thinks she is meeting in secret with The Elder and wonders what they have brewing.

Magic and mystery are blended together in such a great way. I was engaged from the first page until the last and sorry that the story had to end.

Throughout the series a big secret has been kept from Darcy and her sister. We got close to a reveal in the last book but it comes to light completely in this story. Now we have to wait to see what happens next in The Witch and the Dead in October. I am wishing it wasn’t so far away! 

perfect 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

GIVEAWAY
The publisher is giving away 1 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.

Leave a comment for Heather 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 May 21, 2016 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 042016
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I love when Sally Goldenbaum stops by for a visit.

Her new book, Murder at Lambswool Farm, the 11th Seaside Knitters Mystery, was released yesterday in hardcover. A Finely Knit Murder, book 9 in the series was released in trade paperback yesterday too. 

SALLY

 

My warmest thanks to our wonderful hostess, Dolly. She is a friend to so many of us, bringing readers and writers together in her cozy corner. Thank you, dear Dolly.

It all began with a Farm, a Lamb, a Beautiful Sunset Dinner . . .

sally 1Sometimes when a new mystery is about to be launched and people ask me how it all began, I have to really think hard to separate the final product from the very first idea, that first ‘ping’ that made me think of my Sea Harbor women and their mystery solving expertise.

Was it something I read?   A conversation I overheard in Starbucks? Something I saw on a walk?

sally 2Sometimes that moment is easy to remember, like the time I spotted a deserted baby car seat on a beach and it was still there days later. It stayed in my head, a mystery for Nell, Izzy, Cass and Birdie to solve—a scene that launched the fifth seaside knitters mystery, Angora Alibi.

Or the day I walked along the Gloucester harbor and was curious about an overgrown piece of valuable land, strewn with trash and bordered by a rusty fence. Who owned it? Why was it such a mess? It wasn’t until I explored it in A Fatal Fleece that an old fisherman named Finnegan helped the seaside knitters figure it all out.

sally 3Murder at Lambswool Farm was different. It began with beautiful photographs I came upon by chance: a green sustainable farm in Massachusetts, a photo of a barn transformed into my dream kitchen, and a photo of an elegantly set table out in a field. I wanted to be in every one of those scenes. And so was born Lambswool Farm, a piece of land Birdie (the oldest seaside knitter) had inherited. She decided to turn it into a farm where guests could dine alongside the vegetables—with the sea in the distance and soft music floating on the salty breeze. And of course it would be called Lambswool Farm. Birdie is a knitter, after all—and she has a granddaughter who loves lambs.

sally4It wasn’t until I began writing about the farm that the mystery developed. It happened the day a stranger stopped at the gate. His car broke down, or so he said. He was a photographer … or so it seemed.  A passerby…he said…but one who seemed overly curious about the seaside knitters and Sea Harbor—especially the town’s medical clinic, where strange things began happening.

And so it began . . . .a farm, a lamb, a sunset dinner . . .and the murder of a well-loved Sea Harbor resident. . . a seaside mystery to be solve

~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

Twitter    Facebook

MURDER AT LAMBSWOOL FARM
Murder at Lambswool Farm (Seaside Knitters Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
11th in Series
Setting – Massachusetts
An Obsidian Mystery (May 3, 2016)
New American Library
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451471642
E-Book – ASIN: B013Q70DCS
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

 

Late summer blooms in beautiful Sea Harbor, Massachusetts, and while a harvest thrives, Izzy Chambers Perry and the other Seaside Knitters will need to cast on their sleuthing skills to save a local farm.  Unfortunately, finding a killer can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. . . .
 
Seaside Knitter Birdie Favazza has long loved knitting, but lately she’s taken on a new challenge—making a family farm operational again. With help from friends, Lambswool Farm is now up and running, with thriving crops and grazing sheep.  In addition, the farm will host rustic, six-course prix fixe dinners plated by local chefs and served on a gorgeous restored harvest table, decorated to perfection with colorful knitted vegetables crafted by Izzy Chambers Perry, her aunt Nell, and the other Seaside Knitters.

But on the night of the first meal, everything spins out of control when one of the guests, Seaside Harbor’s family physician, becomes fatally ill. It seems that behind Dr. Alan Hamilton’s friendly bedside manner was a man with enemies and secrets.

Soon the town is gossiping and pointing fingers at all possible suspects—including the women at Lambswool Farm. Now the Seaside Knitters must join together to uncover the truth in Dr. Hamilton’s complicated past—and restore peace to town and country alike.

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

When I pick up a book by Sally Goldenbaum I feel like I am going to visit dear friends. I can’t believe this is book 11 in this series, meaning this is my 11th visit to Sea Harbor. This time we travel to Lambswool Farm. Birdie with the help of several Sea Harbor residents has given new life to the Favazza Family Farm. The fields are full of crops and there are sheep in the pasture. The farm will now serve diners huge farm to table dinners outside at huge table. (Check out the cover for a great picture.) I love this idea! But on the night the first meal is served a long time Sea Harbor resident dies. No one else even got sick, so there is definitely some cause other than the fabulous food. The Seaside Knitters need to find the truth before it not only ruins Birdie’s plans but tears the community apart.

The Seaside Knitters, Izzy, Nell, Cass and Birdie, along with their spouses, significant others, kids and friends are some of the best characters right now in cozy literature. Over the years the group has grown because as a whole they are all so welcoming. Knitting may have brought them together in the beginning but it is their friendships that have stood the test of time. (Don’t worry if you are new to the series or need a little refresher the author includes a cast list as the start of the book.) They welcome someone new to the group this time who seems to be just passing through but ends up staying longer than they planned.

The dialogue between the characters is genuine and smart. They all have different ways to process clues and it is fun to see how it all comes together in the end.

Great dialogue is born from a great story. The murder plot was so well written and knit together with everything else going on is Sea Harbor flawlessly. I really enjoy the way Ms. Goldenbaum tells a story. The death doesn’t happen early in the book. She lets the reader catch up with our favorite characters and all that is happening in their lives before we really need to sink our teeth in to trying to solve the mystery. Then she throws in some twists that have us doing a backstitch or two as she keeps us guessing right to the end.

I have enjoyed every virtual vacation to Sea Harbor. It is a beautiful place to visit full of wonderful people. I am ready to book my next trip there as soon as possible.

Thank you Sally for the wonderful trip!

 

perfect 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

GIVEAWAY
Thanks to the publisher I have 2 copies of Murder at Lambswool Farm to give away!
AND 1 copy of A Finely Knit Murder too!

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.

This year I am trying to build my Twitter following so for this giveaway 4 Bonus Entries will be awarded by following me on Twitter. @dollycas

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 May 18, 2016 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.”

Apr 122016
 

delivering the truthDelivering the Truth
(A Quaker Midwife Mystery)

New Series
Historical Cozy Mystery
Setting – Massachusetts
Publisher: Midnight Ink (April 8, 2016)
Paperback: 312 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738747521
E-Book ASIN: B019KKTWX6
goodreads-badge-add-plus

Synopsis

Quaker midwife Rose Carroll hears secrets and keeps confidences as she attends births of the rich and poor alike in an 1888 Massachusetts mill town. When the town’s world-famed carriage industry is threatened by the work of an arsonist, and a carriage factory owner’s adult son is stabbed to death with Rose’s own knitting needle, she is drawn into solving the mystery. Things get dicey after the same owner’s mistress is also murdered, leaving her one-week-old baby without a mother. The Quaker poet and abolitionist John Greenleaf Whittier helps Rose by lending words of advice and support. While struggling with being less than the perfect Friend, Rose draws on her strengths as a counselor and problem solver to bring two murderers to justice before they destroy the town’s carriage industry and the people who run it.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This is an excellent debut!

The story takes place in Amesbury, Massachusetts in 1888. Rose Carroll is a midwife and she is also a Quaker. She has been taught from birth to see the best in people and let God’s light shine on everything she says and does and in times of turmoil. Turmoil comes in a fire, an arson, of a carriage factory and all the surrounding buildings. Several lives are lost. The turmoil continues when the owner of the carriage factory’s son is murdered. The weapon just happens to be one of Rose’s knitting needles. This means she knows the killer. When another death occurs, one of her patients, she knows she has to do all she can to uncover the truth and the murderer.

I am so impressed with this author’s writing. The Quaker lifestyle is unique and it is portrayed so well in this story.  She is writing about something she know personally and it shines. I appreciate the insight into their Meetings and their quiet form of worship, their views and beliefs on equality and passive resolution. As someone not too familiar with their way of life I really only knew about their manner of speech,  their use of thee as an ordinary pronoun, and plain manner of dressing. So in addition to a fine mystery the story was educational as well.

Her descriptions of Amesbury make the town come to life. Following Rose from place to place we have a clear bird’s eye view. I loved traveling back in time, no cars and only a few telephones. It was amusing to see Rose handling the new invention of the safety bicycle (both wheels the same size.) She also shows us the dark things of this period. Children working at a very young age and  the poverty families faced. Most people worked so hard to provide so little.

I love Rose. She has such a good heart and is an wonderful midwife. Amazing to think she was only paid $2 per child and when people could not afford to pay she worked things out in trade. Being a midwife and a Friend enabled her to get close to people to ask questions about the deaths. She also has a beau who is not a member of her faith. This makes for interesting times together like meeting his parents.

Edith Maxwell has written a complicated mystery. She gives us plenty of suspects with different types of motive. It keeps a good pace and then ramps up at the end with an edge of you seat climax.

If you are a fan of historical mysteries you will love this book. If you are looking for something fresh and new that takes you back in time this is the perfect book for you. For me this one goes on the keeper shelf and gets a paradise rating.

paradise 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

MaxwellAbout This Author

Edith Maxwell is an Agatha-nominated mystery author. MURDER MOST FOWL, book four in her Local Foods Mystery series, releases in 2016. Edith once owned and operated the smallest certified-organic farm in Essex County, Massachusetts.

Edith also writes the historical Quaker Midwife Mysteries. DELIVERING THE TRUTH, featuring a Quaker midwife sleuth in 1888, just released.  Edith is Clerk of Amesbury Friends Meeting. Her story, “A Questionable Death,” is nominated for an Agath Award for Best Short Story.

As Maddie Day, Edith writes the Country Store Mysteries set in southern Indiana. GRILLED FOR MURDER releases in 2016.

BLUFFING IS MURDER, the second in Edith’s Lauren Rousseau mystery series (written as Tace Baker), features a Quaker linguistics professor. Edith holds a PhD in linguistics.

Her short stories have appeared in more than a dozen juried anthologies and magazines. She is active in Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime and is the Vice President of SINC New England.

Edith, a fourth-generation Californian, has two grown sons and lives in an antique house north of Boston with her beau, their three cats, a small organic garden, and some impressive garden statuary. She worked as a software technical writer for almost two decades but now writes fiction full time.

You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and at www.edithmaxwell.com.



As Tace Baker

As Maddie Day

Edith is touring Delivering the Truth right now with Great Escapes. You can go to the Tour Page HERE to check out the stops and enter the giveaway.

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 012016
 

9WbGnJTR
On Flashback Fridays I will share with you the books I missed when they were first
released that have been screaming at me from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.

After my son’s death last year my reading schedule really got messed up. I just realized that a new book was coming out in this series in May and I hadn’t read this one yet. I had given the 4th book in the series, The Goodbye Witch, a Paradise Rating so how did I miss this book??

some like it witchy
Some Like It Witchy: A Wishcraft Mystery
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – Massachusetts
An Obsidian Mystery (May 5, 2015)
An Imprint of New American Library
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451465887
E-Book ASIN: B00O2BKM0Q
goodreads-badge-add-plus

Wishcrafter Darcy Merriweather can charm desires into reality, but as the national bestselling Wishcraft mysteries continue, she won’t be able to magically avoid trouble when death holds an open house….

The Enchanted Village is abuzz when the old Tavistock house finally goes up for sale. Darcy’s friend Curecrafter Cherise Goodwin is hoping she will have the winning bid on the home, but Darcy can’t shake the feeling that something bad is about to happen—and her magical instincts are usually right.

Sure enough, while Darcy and Cherise are looking at the property, they discover real estate agent Raina Gallagher stone-cold dead on the floor. Clutched in her hand is a gemstone amulet and, on the wall above her, a large red A. While Raina had no shortage of enemies, there’s also a dark legend about the house itself. To track down the killer, Darcy must unlock the secrets of both the deceased and the estate—and she’ll need to act fast, because revenge is a deal that never closes.…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I LOVE THIS SERIES!!

Darcy Merriweather is wishcrafter, meaning she can grant wishes, with the exception of bringing someone back from the dead or money. Boy, those are two wishes I wish for every day 🙂 but she is able to grant some really wonderful wishes. She also runs a personal concierge business call As You Wish with her Aunt Ve.

In this installment Darcy is taking care of the business and Aunt Ve is running for town council. As You Wish has been hired to help Curecrafter Cherise Goodwin find the perfect home. Cherise has decided the perfect home for her is right next door to her ex and Darcy has been unable to change her mind, so they go to take one last look at the house before the final bid. Darcy just has an inkling something bad is going to happen and it does. They find their real estate agent, Raina, dead on the floor. This is when dating the police chief has its advantages. They kinda work together to solve the crime. I am sure Nick wishes she would leave the investigating to him but that is one wish she definitely will not be granting.

Again, I escaped right into this story and enjoyed every minute. All of the characters are special, the setting is as the name says, enchanting, and plot and subplots are fun, entertaining and tricky too. So many secrets are whirling around The Enchanted Village. Some humorous, one that made Darcy, her sister and me all say”EW”, o.k. I said it with a little giggle, and others that lead you deeper into the story of why the realtor had to die. There is also a big secret that I think I know the answer to. Maybe it will be revealed in the next book.

Heather Blake is a gifted storyteller. Every one of these characters came alive in these pages and I truly “WISH” they were real. I want to pack my bags and move there today.  She has created a modern day fairy tale, that tests our minds as we follow the clues and puts a smile on your face throughout the whole story.

Each story on this series builds from the last as Darcy learns more and more about her gift and this very unique tourist hot spot. That is why I recommend starting at the beginning. That being said the author gives enough information to really jump in anywhere.

Some Like It Witchy – I sure do!

perfect 2016

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/


Coming in May

Also by Heather Blake

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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.”

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