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.”

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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.”

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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.

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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 sow 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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Jun 192013
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am excited to bring you a Brand New Cozy Series today
and to welcome Edith to Escape With Dollycas!

MaxwellCrop
tine to liveGrowing Garlic

Thanks so much for asking me over, Lori! My new cozy mystery, A Tine to Live, A Tine to Die, is set on an organic farm, and I wanted to share a bit of my own background in farming.

Twenty years ago I operated and co-owned a small certified-organic farm in northeastern Massachusetts. One of my specialties was garlic. I grew hundreds of bulbs of both stiff-neck and soft-neck (braidable) garlic.

Seed Garlic

Seed Garlic

Finished Bed

Finished Bed

April

April

June

June

It’s a fantastic crop. You plant it in late fall, when everything else is dying off for the winter, preferably on a nice sunny Indian-Summer kind of day. After the ground freezes in December, I mulch the beds with salt marsh hay, which prevents frost heaves.

In April the green shoots push up through the hay, and I harvest it in late July. I learned much of what I know about growing garlic from a great book, titled Growing Great Garlic.

Garlic has no pests in our area. It doesn’t need pruning or thinning. It feels like a free crop in the spring, because the work was done so long ago. I use lots of garlic when I cook, and it stores well. What’s to lose?

Here is a paragraph from my second Local Foods mystery, ‘Til Dirt Do Us Part, which takes place in the fall but will be out in early spring 2014. Farmer Cam Flaherty is planting her garlic. She has already split the garlic bulbs into cloves, selecting the fattest ones for planting and using the rest in her own kitchen. (Preston is her Norwegian Forest cat)

“She took the basket of cloves and a pitchfork to the field. She loosened a large bed that had held bush beans earlier in the season, so it was now rich in nitrogen from nodules on the legume roots, and covered it with several inches of finished compost. Kneeling, she pressed a clove, root side down, about an inch into the loose rich soil. The next clove went in four inches away. She continued that way along the length and width of the bed, every clove a hand’s width from its neighbor. Preston sidled by to visit and sat on a bale of salt marsh hay to watch her work.”

Scapes

Scapes

Scapes

When you plant stiff-neck garlic varieties like German Red and Rocambole, the cloves grow in a single layer around a central stalk. Right around now in the season, the plants throw up a scape. It’s the stalk becoming an alien-looking pointy growth that loops around into a circle and then keeps growing. The scape ultimately wants to become a garlic flower, but that robs the bulbs of energy, so farmers clip them off with scissors. I like to saute them. These crunchy green stalks, either whole or chopped, provide a nice mild garlic flavor.

After the Equinox, the garlic starts bulbing underground. I harvest it when two-thirds of the leaves are yellowing, and lay it out first in the sun and then in a cool dry place to cure. Soft-neck garlic varieties, which grow in several concentric layers and don’t have the rigid central stalk, can then be braided.

What about you? Have you grown garlic? Do you have any varieties you prefer, or would you rather just shake a little dried garlic out of a jar?

~Edith

About Edith Maxwell
Locavore Edith Maxwell’s Local Foods Mysteries published by Kensington let her relive her days as an organic farmer in Massachusetts, although murder in the greenhouse is new. A fourth-generation Californian, she has also published short stories of murderous revenge, most recently in the Fish Nets and Thin Ice anthologies.

Edith Maxwell’s pseudonym Tace Baker authored Speaking of Murder, which features Quaker linguistics professor Lauren Rousseau and campus intrigue after her sexy star student is killed. Edith is a long-time Quaker and holds a long-unused doctorate in linguistics.

A mother and former technical writer, Edith lives north of Boston in an antique house with her beau and three cats. You can find her at www.edithmaxwell.com and
989166434badge125 (2)

tine to liveA Tine to Live, A Tine to Die
(Local Foods Mystery)

Brand New Series
Cozy Mystery
Kensington Books (May 28, 2013)
Hardcover: 272 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0758284617
E-Book File Size: 502 KB
ASIN: B00B60D92E

goodreads-badge-add-plus-d700d4d3e3c0b346066731ac07b7fe47It’s the start of the farming season in Westbury, Massachusetts, and geek-turned-novice farmer Cameron Flaherty hopes to make a killing selling organic produce. A colorful Locavore Club belongs to Cam’s farm-share program. But when a killer strikes on her property, her first foray into the world of organic farming yields a bumper crop of locally sourced murder. To clear her name, Cam has to dig up secrets buried deep beneath the soil of Produce Plus Plus Farm. And when the police don’t make progress in the case, she has to catch a murderer whose motto seems to be, “Eat Local. Kill Local.”

Dollycas’s Thoughts
An excellent debut!!

Cam Flaherty is a protagonist that is easy to identify with. She has come back to Westbury to take over the farm where she spent so many summers growing up. Just when her ideas starts to bear fruit a man is murdered.

Maxwell has surrounded Cam with more than a few suspects and friends that keep her strong as she fights to clear her name. These characters are really well fleshed out for the first book in a series. We learn a lot about their backgrounds which always makes the reader invested in their lives and the story. It also makes the book extremely hard to put down.

With issues like a local militia, some residents with immigration problems, and the localore way of eating many Westbury area residents are adapting makes this a very interesting story in addition to a well plotted mystery.

Edith Maxwell has firmly planted a great foundation for what I know is going to be a very tasty series!

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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

Thanks to Edith Maxwell
I have 2 copies to giveaway!!
My Advance Review Copy and 1 Brand New Hardcover!!

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

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

Leave a comment for Edith 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 July 3, 2013 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 author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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May 092013
 

cozy wednesdayWelcome to a Special Edition of Cozy Wednesday!

I am always excited to have Sally drop by for a visit!

Many, many thanks to the wonderful Lori Caswell for inviting me to drop in again. Dolly’s cozy corner is a perfect place to take a break, to relax with friends like you…and to talk about books and life. Today my topic is:

THE PERFECT PLACE TO WRITE

Recently I watched an HGTV show featuring a couple looking for their dream home.

cartoon

The husband—a writer—was having a horrible time because he could only write in a bathtub, he said, and none of the homes they toured had one he considered suitable. Lots of questions ‘surfaced’ in my head—is there water in the tub? A pillow on the bottom? A waterproof computer on his knees….? (And certainly I had major curiosity about what he wrote.)

kingBut each of us has our own quirks about where we write, and I moved on from bathtubs to thinking about a notable writer, Stephen King, who has strong ideas about where writers should write. He says all novelists should have a serene, preferably dull, writing place. But dull and serene is very subjective, don’t you think? I spend lots of time writing in a local coffee shop. I easily block out the cappuccino machines and gossip and crying babies. But when I need to come up for air and prove to myself that there are other people living in this beautiful universe, I look up from my laptop and rejoice at the people around me, proof that I haven’t totally left the world of the living.

N&S3Different stories require different writing spaces. While working on the fifth book in the Seaside Knitters Mystery series,The Wedding Shawl, I spent the summer writing on my screened porch with tentNancy Pickard, who was writing The Scent of Rain and Lightning, The view of my back yard, where my daughter was married a few years earlier, was the inspiration for Izzy’s wedding inThe Wedding Shawl. It was the perfect place to write that book.

tea shopA portion of a A Fatal Fleece (now in paperback) was written in the Pleasant Street Tea Co. (which is in Gloucester, a REAL town on Cape Ann, just down an ocean road from the fictitious Sea Harbor). The shop, which has deep, comfortable couches and an amazing prosciutto and pesto panini sandwich, is where Nell, Izzy, Birdie and Cass—the Seaside Knitters—would hang out with me, leading me forward, as together we faced a ghost in Birdie’s closet, dealt with an unexpected turn in Cass Halloran’s life, and solved the mystery of a colorful old fisherman’s murder.

creekBut for my most recent book, Angora Alibi, I retreated to Nancy’s deck—a most necessary move since my son and his family (including 3 children under 4) were living with my husband, me, two dogs, and our cat. The porch, filled with toys, no longer held its former serenity. But Nancy’s deck definitely did. As I looked out over the duck ponds and jogging trails, Angora Alibi came to life, and I followed along as a pregnant Izzy and her knitting friends worked deliberately and desperately to uncover the secret behind an infant baby carrier abandoned on a Sea Harbor beach, the untimely death of a young man the seaside knitters all knew—and the murder of an old man each of them held dear.

And now I’m writing the 8th book in the series, the one in which a stranger comes to Sea Harbor to find out who she is. Where, I wonder, is the best place to write it? I’m thinking it could be on a porch…a coffee shop…a deck…a library. Hmmm…well, it could be almost anywhere, as long as Nell, Birdie, Cass, and Izzy stop by and sit with me, telling me what’s happening next in their lives. Anywhere. Sometimes that’s the perfect place to write.

 ~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

angora alibi

Angora Alibi:
A Seaside Knitters Mystery

7th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Obsidian (May 7, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451415349
E-Book File Size: 702 KB
ASIN: B00BYLQO54
 

The sun is shining in Sea Harbor and a group of friends, the Seaside Knitters, are spending Thursday evenings knitting the sweetest of gifts—a baby blanket. But as the due date draws near, they find they must take time away from their needles and yarn to confront a murder and untangle a mystery before a certain baby is brought into the world….

Everyone is excited about the upcoming birth of Baby Perry and Izzy is trying to take perfect care of herself by getting plenty of exercise. On one of her walks along the beach she notices an abandoned infant car seat complete with a yellow angora baby blanket.  After several days she realizes no one is claiming the seat and it bothers her to just leave it there. She stows it the trunk of her car but then the seat starts showing up in her dreams/nightmares. She just can’t get the thing off her mind. What happened to the baby? She just has a feeling something bad happened or is about to happen. Are her raging hormones responsible for these terrible thoughts?

Then a young man who does odd jobs around town dies while scuba diving. Is this the bad thing that has been on her mind? When it is learned that he was murdered and he has a connection to the car seat Izzy rallies the Seaside Knitters to investigate. Their attention to intricate patterns may be just what is needed to catch a killer.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I look forward to my visits to Sea Harbor. Sally has created a special place with very special people. The friendship of these characters is so genuine, readers feel like a member of the group. Nell, Birdie, Cass and Izzy are blessed to have each other in their lives. The joyful preparations for the new baby are so much fun, aside from the murder, of course.

My favorite character this time was Gabby. She has grown up before our eyes and has a heart as big as all outdoors. She also has a real talent that comes to light which was quite a surprise to the other characters as well as readers.

The death of Horace caught me a little off guard as he was a very interesting individual that had a great way of compensating for his failing eyesight. Something that unfortunately led to his demise.

The new characters really made the plot very complex with several red herrings that keeps the reader on their toes. We are also kept guessing about whether Izzy is having a boy or girl until the big moment arrives. I found this very refreshing as most couples these days know and have a name chosen months in advance. I like the surprise and while we had a list of names ready after the birth of all four of our children it was important to us to actually see and hold them before donning their names upon them. Only one child came home with the first name on the list.

An excellent story, a delightful place, rich characters – I couldn’t ask for more!  But there is a tasty recipe and a baby blanket pattern too!

I am anxiously awaiting my next trip to Sea Harbor!

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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

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

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

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

Leave a comment for Sally 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 May 23, 2013 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.”

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Apr 122013
 

the good bad and witchy

The Good, the Bad, and the Witchy:
A Wishcraft Mystery

3rd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Obsidian (April 2, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451239693
E-Book File Size: 706 KB
ASIN: B008BM0JVE

The Good the Bad and the Witchy (A Wishcraft Mystery, #3)

Darcy Merriweather is Enchanted Village’s newest resident Wishcrafter—a witch who can grant wishes for others. But as Darcy prepares a celebration for a magical florist, she discovers that every rose has its thorns…

As You Wish, Darcy and Aunt Ve’s personal concierge service has been hired to throw a party for magical florist, Harriette Harkness. She is 80 years young and plans to celebrate. She is also celebrating her new Witching Hour rose, it is the very first all natural midnight black flower.

Darcy has all the plans under control and ready to go. She is just waiting for Michael Healey to deliver the cake and the special entertainment to arrive. When she goes out to the parking lot to track down these very important party needs the celebration is turned inside out. She finds Michael’s dead body not far from the bakery van. She then receives another surprise when Michael’s ghost imprints itself on her. This means they are bonded together until she “untangles the thicket surrounding his murder”.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
I have fallen hard for this series and its magical characters.

A contemporary fairy tale, The Good, the Bad, and the Witchy even has a set of Wicked Sisters! All my favorites are back from past stories, including the lovable familiars, Pepe and the movie line expert Archie. They are joined by all the witch crafters that call the Enchanted Village home. 

The part that really caught my interest was the imprinting of the ghost on Darcy. I think this would be so cool!!! as long as it was a friendly ghost like Michael. They way they were able to communicate was just brilliant. The special craft the he and his sister had was also interesting. 

I was also taken in by the floracrafters vs. the terracrafters and the dysfunctional families created by their prejudice of each other. To me both gifts would be so much fun with all the plants, the blooms, the lawns, the gardens. 

The Enchanted Village is truly a magical place, full of whimsical characters. A place where wishes come true and spells are cast. A place where the familiar becomes extraordinary. A place where romance is starting to bloom. A place I would love to visit often. I wish I never had to leave!!!!

The whole series is recommended highly. I know you will be as enchanted as I have become with these wonderful stories!

a perfect escape

5 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/

Watch For This Title Coming Soon!!!

Watch For This Title Coming Soon!!!

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

the good bad and witchy

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Mar 122013
 

SIX YEARS

Six Years
Mystery/Thriller/Suspense
Dutton Adult (March 19, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
Hardcover: 368 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0525953487
E-Book File Size: 568 KB
ASIN: B008EKMBW8

Six Years

Six years have passed since Jake Fisher watched Natalie, the love of his life, marry another man. Six years of hiding a broken heart by throwing himself into his career as a college professor. Six years of keeping his promise to leave Natalie alone, and six years of tortured dreams of her life with her new husband, Todd.

But six years haven’t come close to extinguishing his feelings, and when Jake comes across Todd’s obituary, he can’t keep himself away from the funeral. There he gets the glimpse of Todd’s wife he’s hoping for…but she is not Natalie. Whoever the mourning widow is, she’s been married to Todd for almost two decades, and with that fact everything Jake thought he knew about the best time of his life—a time he has never gotten over—is turned completely inside out.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Classic Coben! I absolutely loved this story! Wow!

The entire story is told from Jake’s point of view and we get to know everything he is feeling from confusion to joy and every other emotion you can conceive. A character with layers and we get to peel them away and really understand his life. To love someone so quickly and so deeply, then to have them just slip away, later realizing all the lies and deception, and knowing that if he delves any further to get to the truth he is putting himself and people he cares about in danger.

This complex story is very unique and perfectly paced. I loved the romantic twist in this suspense filled novel, spiced with just a bit of humor – Coben style. Readers are taken on a wild ride from the first page to the last.  You will not be able to put this book down so plan accordingly. Harlan Coben keeps getting better and better! I don’t know how he is going to top this one! Pre-Order your copy today!

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author
cobenWith over 47 million books in print worldwide, Harlan Coben’s last three consecutive novels, Caught, Long Lost and Hold Tight all debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list and lists around the world. His next thriller Live Wire will be out in early spring 2011. His books are published in 40 languages around the globe and have been number one bestsellers in over a dozen countries.

Winner of the Edgar Award, Shamus Award and Anthony Award—the first author to win all three—international bestselling author Harlan Coben’s critically-acclaimed novels have been called “ingenious” (New York Times), “poignant and insightful” (Los Angeles Times), “consistently entertaining” (Houston Chronicle), “superb” (Chicago Tribune) and “must reading” (Philadelphia Inquirer). His most recent novels, Caught, Long Lost, Hold Tight, The Woods, Promise Me, The Innocent, Just One Look, No Second Chance, Tell No One and Gone for Good have appeared on the top of all the major bestseller lists including the New York Times, London Times, Le Monde, Publishers Weekly, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal and USA TODAY.

To find out more about Harlan Coben and his book check out his webpage here. You can even read the first chapter of Six Years,

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.”

SIX YEARSreadalattechallenge_zps01d248d0mystery challenge

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Jan 092013
 

cozy wednesdayWelcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am thrilled to welcome Ada Madison (Camille Minichino) to Escape With Dollycas today!!

slideruleLG

I love Dollycas’s idea of ESCAPE! So many meanings, so many twists to discuss.

Last time I visited here, I talked about 2 things that keep me from escaping into a book: when authors give Wikipedia-type descriptions of places, signaling that they’ve never been to the location; and when they name characters after their relatives or friends, taking the reader out of the story to note, “How cute, she’s giving a nod to her cousin Chucky.”

For me as an author, the best way to escape is to break the rules. I’m such a wimp, an utter rule-keeper in real life, that writing a character who breaks the rules is true escape. Here are a couple of real-life instances that have inspired me to have my characters break a rule or two, including Sophie Knowles in A Function of Murder.

Case #1. Trespass!

One time I showed up to teach a writing class that was to be held on the property of a county park. The class was scheduled for ten o’clock. I showed up about 15 minutes early and found a couple of students waiting outside an impressive fence with a chain, a serious padlock, and a large, forbidding No Trespassing sign.notrespass

No problem; we were early. We chatted on; more students came. Minutes passed. No one showed up to let us in. A couple of delivery people came by in trucks and left when they realized there was no entry. We made a few calls with our cells—first to my contact at the school, who suggested I call the park police, who suggested I call the city police, who suggested I call my contact at the school, and so on.

The boring part of the story is that eventually someone came to let us in.

The interesting part happened while we were waiting.

A young woman pulled up in a low red sports car. She got out and addressed us. “I have to get in there,” she said. “I was at a wedding in the park last night and I left my purse.”

We shrugged and explained that there was nothing we could do until someone came with a key for the padlock.

She grunted, and thought a minute. The next thing we knew, she was scaling the fence, her long hair flying in the breeze. She plopped down on the other side and walked into the park. About 5 minutes later, she approached the fence again, from the inside, and climbed out.

In her hands were a purse, a pair of glittery sling backs, and a bra.

She gave us a wink, got in her car and drove off.

My writing students and I got a lot of mileage of the incident, creating many colorful back stories. We all agreed, however, that the most impressive thing was the young woman’s willingness to disregard the No Trespassing sign and its warning of a heavy fine.

For me, the physical difficulty of scaling a fence pales in comparison to the mental and psychological difficulty of disobeying a sign.

Maybe that’s why I write fiction—to break laws vicariously!

Would you have climbed that fence?

Case #2. Disregard This Announcement!Function of Murder

Waiting for a train in an underground San Francisco transit station, I sat next to two 20-something women slurping cold coffee drinks from a Starbucks cup. Between them was a bag of Mrs. Field’s cookie bites. They were happy snackers, chatting away, in English (you’ll see why that’s important in a minute).

Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and say there were first-timers on BART and didn’t know the rules: NO food or drink allowed in BART stations or on trains.

Then it’s a good thing there are signs with the information repeated in a scrolling message overhead.

Let’s give them another chance and say they didn’t lift their heads to read the message.

Then it’s a good thing a loud warning announcement came over the PA system, every 2 minutes or so, interrupting their conversation: Eating or drinking in a BART station can result in a fine of up to $250.

Wow! $250. I started to get nervous for the girls. I looked over and one caught my eye and gave me a friendly, relaxed smile. In other words, fully aware of the rules they were breaking, what the girls weren’t breaking was a sweat.

I scooted away from them, lest the BART police think I was with these lawbreakers.

I’ll jump ahead to the end of the story: Nothing bad happened to the young women, who carried their food and drink onto a train. As far as I know they reached their destination, escaping any punishment.

I’m not sure how hungry or thirsty I’d have to be to take food or drink down to the BART station. Starving? Dehydrated? Even at an age when I could easily claim exigent senior citizen circumstances, I couldn’t do it.

I’m envious. It’s not about the BART rule, or the No Trespassing rule in Case #1; it’s about any rule. I just can’t break them. (Note that I’m holding a slide RULE in the photo.)

Criticism is levied against cozy mysteries because their amateur sleuths often do foolish things, unlawful even, while investigating murders.

But isn’t that what fiction is for? Someone has to live an exciting rule-breaking life for us.

Do you follow even the smallest rule, or would you make a good amateur sleuth?

Excellent post! I am just like you! Thank you so much for visiting today!!

 

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.

Function of Murder

A Function of Murder
(Professor Sophie Knowles Mystery)

3rd in Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (December 31, 2012)
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425251751
E-Book File Size: 613 KB
ASIN: B0095ZMIEM
Cover Illustration by Lisa French
Cover Design by Lesley Worrell

A Function of Murder

Math Professor Sophie Knowles is looking forward to some time off as this year’s class graduates, but things do not go as planned. The graduates are complaining about the mayor who gave the commencement address, one student is upset about her grade and vents on social media, and just when she is about to escape all of the drama to take a stroll with her helicopter pilot boyfriend things go horribly wrong.  They are interrupted by the mayor himself as he falls into the fountain with a knife in his back.  Sophie is shocked to find out the mayor was seeking her out for help before he was killed. Solving this murder in’t going to be easy but Sophie is ready to show her work as she tries delve into all the scandal and corruption that seems to connect to the mayor and find out how she fits into this criminal equation.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Sophie is such a fun protagonist. She really doesn’t want to get all wrapped up in a murder investigation but she just can’t help herself.  Her boyfriend does his best to keep her safe but they can’t be together 24/7. Thankfully she has a great relationship with Detective Virgil Mitchell. The killer really surprised me. I figured it out at the same time Sophie did.  It was a puzzler with quite a suspenseful ending.

The subplot of the student that is unhappy with her grades was wonderful. I am sure teachers near and far deal with this problem. With social media the student can take their issue to the masses making resolution difficult especially when “friends” take the problem to a whole new level. 

Ada Madison has written three marvelous main characters, surrounded them with a group of very interesting individuals in a setting ripe for mystery. Add it all together and A Function of Murder equals an absolutely impressive whodunit. 

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Camille has made the giveaway today SPECTACULAR!!

In addition to the 2 books I am giving away
thanks to the wonderful people at Berkley Prime Crime - 

She is giving away 3 additional copies with bookmarks and rulers!!!

THAT’S A TOTAL OF 5 COPIES!!!

U.S. AND CANADA ONLY

To enter you must leave a comment below
answering Camille’s question:

Do you follow even the smallest rule, or would you make a good amateur sleuth?

Plus fill out the entry form found here!

Winners will be chosen by Random.org
Winners will be notified by email and
will be posted in the sidebar of this blog.
Entries without a comment will be disqualified!
Contest Will End January 23 at 11:59 p.m. CST

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.”

85941Cruisin 20132013where are you readingreadalattechallenge_zps01d248d0

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Aug 222012
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

We all have our favorite genres and those we tend to avoid. For me I avoid anything with aliens, vampires, werewolves or zombies. Witches and ghosts also used to be included on that list. Paranormal stuff just wasn’t my “cup of tea”. But thanks to authors like Heather Blake I have changed my mind. I am one of those people she talks about in her post below. Maybe you are too!

Hi Heather!

Hi Everyone!

Enchanted

I knew that when I started writing the Wishcraft mysteries that some of my readers wouldn’t be as enchanted with them as I was. Mostly because of the content—after all, the stories center around witches, and some people just don’t do witches—as I heard discouragingly time and again.

I understand, I really do. I was in their position recently with Meg Cabot’s vampire series. I don’t particularly care for vampire books, but I love Meg Cabot’s books and her writing, so I gave the vampires a try. The result? I loved them. Lesson learned. I’d never let a stereotype dissuade me.

So my response to my readers? Give my books a try. Especially if you’ve read and enjoyed my other novels, give this series a chance. Trust me as an author, and trust my writing enough to deliver a satisfying story.

Most did. The result? They were…enchanted.

Why?

Because my books are all about the characters. Darcy, who stars in the Wishcraft mysteries, is just a woman trying to figure out who she is and how she belongs. She’s had more downs than ups, but she’s strong and willing to fight for what’s right. She’s relatable and flawed. And she just happens to be a witch.

Then there’s one of her sidekicks, the town historian with a long history, big talent as a clothing designer, a cranky disposition, and a penchant for biting. He’s also a mouse—something easy to forget as one gets wrapped up in the story.

The characters are unique and lovable, fun and endearing. They become…friends.

So for all of you who are on the fence about reading a “witch” book…give it a shot.

Maybe you’ll be enchanted, too.

~Heather

 I have definitely been enchanted by these stories! Heather, I hope you come back again to visit soon!!

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/

A Witch Before Dying:
A Wishcraft Mystery
2nd in Series
An Obsidian Mystery
Published by New American Library (August 7, 2012)
A Division of the Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451237637
Cover Illustration by Bella Pilar

A Witch Before Dying (A Wishcraft Mystery, #2)

 
Darcy Merriweather is a wishcrafter who can grant wishes for anyone but herself. She works for her Aunt Ve’s personal concierge service, As You Wish.

Aunt Ve is feeling a bit under the weather plus she is trying to plan her wedding. Darcy is trying to help her but she also takes on Elodie Keaton as a new client.

Elodie’s mother has been missing for so long Elodie realizes that she can no longer afford to pay all the bills and keep her mother’s house. Her mother was a bit of a hoarder and Elodie hires Darcy to clean out the house so she can list it for sale. The motto of As You Wish is “No Job Impossible” but this house is close to impossible.  Darcy just starts to make a little headway through the piles of boxes, newspapers and other “treasures” when she makes a disturbing discovery. She finds Elodie’s mother’s body buried under all the chaos.

It has been over a year since Patrice Keaton was seen. She disappeared shortly after an argument  with her charmcrafter boyfriend. Darcy is determined to figure out just how Patrice ended up being part of her own collection. Was she killed in a fit of jealousy? Or was she killed because she had something someone else wanted? Darcy knows she doesn’t have much time and while she can’t grant her own wishes she has to make sure the wrong person’s wishes don’t come true.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
I am definitely enchanted by this story and its characters! Darcy, Ve, Nick and Mimi will wish their way right into your heart.

Blake has crafted characters that not only include some delightful witches but the familiars are absolutely charming! Archie and Pepe had me in stitches. Easy for Pepe as he’s a tailor who also happens to be a mouse. Archie is a parrot that can quote a line from almost any movie. Archie has a unique run in with a very large dog that had me giggling out loud and reading the snippet to everyone I could.

The story has a really fairy tale feel. As Pepe was sewing away I was picturing the mice in Cinderella as they granted her wishes. Heather Blake wraps her fairy tale with a bewitching mystery, snappy dialogue, and a bit of romance in a truly Enchanted Village.

A magical story to escape into today. It is a fun, lighthearted read that I know you will enjoy. Watch for the next book in this series, The Good, the Bad and the Witchy: A Wishcraft Mystery hitting shelves in April 2013.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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

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

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

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

Leave a comment for Heather for 5 Bonus Entries !

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

Contest Will End September 5, 2012 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR GIVEAWAY 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.”

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