Oct 102014
 

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

miranda deanBelles of Steel
By Miranda James

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~Miranda

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

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

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

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

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

Dollycas’s Thoughts

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!

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

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

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

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

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

Leave a comment for Miranda for 5 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End October 24, 2014 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

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

Apr 042014
 

I forgot to add that I am able to give 1 Kindle copy away! Just leave a comment below with your email and I will choose 1 winner next Friday!

retarded girl
Retarded Girl Raised in Dog Pen:
Authorities Say Girl Witness to Murder

Psychological Mystery
Published by Sartoris Literary Group (March 13, 2014)
Print Length: 250 pages
File Size: 574 KB
ASIN: B00J0GU4EW
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Baby is every adoptive parent’s nightmare—blind, paralyzed from the waist down, unable to speak, and diagnosed with developmental and intellectual disabilities. For the first 10 years of her life she is raised outside in a dog pen by a cruel adoptive father, a Mississippi deputy sheriff who values his bird dogs more than his daughter.

Retarded Girl Raised in Dog Pen is the story of Baby’s placement in a Mississippi mental institution for individuals with profound retardation after the brutal murder of her father and the arrest of her mother, and her desperate attempt to escape the institution.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I have to start this review by saying I absolutely hate the title of this book!! After reading it I came up with several alternatives but the one I like best is Baby’s Story. The synopsis posted with the book on Amazon and GoodReads is too long and gives away too much of the mystery. I feel the synopsis should spark a reader’s interest to read the book, not give away most of the story. That being said, it was the synopsis that actually made me say yes to this review request. When I first read the title the request was headed for the trash. But I think what I included above is really all that is needed.

Baby was born without eyes or vocal cords and her treatment by her father just made me sick. Her mother did try to help her but her husband was abusive of her as well. The thing that I couldn’t believe was that the father was a Deputy Sheriff and no one even questioned him about the daughter that was never seen, or in school,  or that no one ever stopped by their house and noticed the girl.

Putting that aside I continued reading. My daughter works for a state run center that works with the developmentally, physically and emotionally challenged. I wanted to see if this part of the story rang true with stories she shares about her clients. For the most part it did. Baby was an extraordinary client and turned out to be totally different from what was expected by her caregivers. I have loaned my copy to my daughter to get her thoughts.

This was story that had me crying and I figured out the mystery part quite quickly, but it was well written and paced well too.  I can’t say I enjoyed the book because of the horrific theme but it is a story that will stick with me for awhile. I think people need to look past the title and get to the story. I hold out hope the author will decide to change it because then I think this story would be read by a larger audience.

just you and a friend4 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About the Author

Lauren Leigh is a mental health professional who has devoted her life to working with individuals with intellectual disabilities. This is her first novel.

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.”

Feb 082013
 

Out Of Circulation

Out of Circulation (Cat in the Stacks Mystery)
4th in Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (January 29, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425257272
E-Book File Size: 580 KB
ASIN: B0095ZP1AU
Cover Illustration by Dan Craig
Cover Design by Lesley Worrell

Out of Circulation (Cat in the Stacks Mystery, #4)

Everyone in Athena, Mississippi, knows Charlie Harris, the librarian with a rescued Maine coon cat named Diesel. He’s returned to his hometown to immerse himself in books.

Charlie has found himself on the committee to plan this year’s library fundraiser gala. Mainly that means staying out of the way as barbs fly between Vera Cassity and Miss An’gel and Miss Dickce Ducote. It seems no one really cares for Vera, even Charlie’s housekeeper, Azalea, seems to have it out for her. At the gala Charlie starts to understand why. Apparently no one ever taught Vera that “if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all.” She had a verbal jab for almost everyone that night. And these bitter words happened to be her last. Yes, while Vera was not the life of the party her death turned the party upside down.  She was found dead and Azalea was standing over her body. Charlie knows there is much more to the story so with a bit of help from his sidekick Diesel he sets out to catch the killer before his last chapter is finished.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This 4th installment is the best one so far. The female characters are the shining stars this time. Miss An’gel and Miss Dickce are wonderful characters. Full of Southern charm and feisty. These are not women to mess with. We get to know Azalea better in this story too, a little blast from her past. She is another strong opinionated woman and I loved her speaking out – finally. Her daughter, Kanesha,  gets her spunk from her mother. I see her taking over that police force in the near future. 

James writes fun and entertaining mysteries with characters fleshed out making them real and identifiable. Writing strong women that have to relate with each other and relate to the reader can be a difficult task especially when the protagonist is a male. The author, yes also a male,  has become a master with this latest story. 

I will admit it. I absolutely love Diesel!! He is such a special cat that is tuned in to the humans around him. His meows, warbles, chirrups, and head bumps are priceless. No magical powers just a real cat acting like a cat. I live with one that could be Diesel’s brother who looks and acts exactly the same way. 

All of these characters are part of a terrific mystery with a very important and surprising twist.  Cozy readers will love this story!!

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about Miranda James on her webpage here.

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

2013where are you readingCruisin 2013WAARCreadalattechallenge_zps01d248d0

Feb 012012
 


This book caught me a little off guard because of its release date. Usually all my cozies are released on the first Tuesday of the month and this one came out yesterday, the last Tuesday of the month. I am sure the publisher’s know what they are doing, but it messed with my routine :) so I didn’t ask Miranda to guest post today, but we can have fun just the same because File M for Murder just like the other two Cats In The Stacks Mysteries it is another purr-fect escape!!

File M for Murder
A Cat In The Stacks Mystery
3rd book in the Series


A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Dan Craig
Cover Design by Lesley Worrell
Available Now!


This series features Charlie Harris who has returned home to Athena, Mississippi to work as a librarian. He also has a sidekick that goes almost everywhere he goes, a rescued Maine coon cat named Diesel. Diesel is happy to don a harness and leash and travel around town with Charlie. Most of the people of Athena have adjusted to this huge cat and realize how friendly he is, they always have pats and treats ready for Diesel.

In File M for Murder, Charlie is surprised when his daughter, Laura, returns home from Hollywood to fill in for another professor at the local college. Charlie, Sean and Diesel are thrilled to have her home.

He then learns that her old boyfriend, Connor Lawton, a playwright,  is also at the college as a writer-in-residence, working on his new play and helped her get the job. Charlie in not at all impressed with the man who is just plain rude. Connor is also followed to Athena by an old girlfriend who believes she is the only woman good enough for Connor.

Before the sharp tongued writer can finish his play he is murdered and Charlie’s daughter becomes the prime suspect. Charlie and Diesel are on the case. He soon finds many other viable suspects but can he find the real killer before any of his family or friends end up filed under M for murder.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Yes, Diesel is one of the shining stars of this series. His meows, warbles, chirrups, and head bumps are priceless. He is so in tune to human’s feelings. If you are a cat person like me you will truly understand. But without Charlie there is no story so together they make a great team of shining stars. We also know that Charlie is not the only human who talks to their pets like they understand exactly what we are saying. I know Azalea is shaking her head at me.

This story touched my heart because of the relationship Charlie has with his daughter. I found myself missing the talks I used to have with my dad. Like Charlie, he was there for me through thick and thin until his death, although he definitely was not a cat person. :) Charlie was definitely Laura’s hero in this story, just like a dad should be. James creates a wonderful family dynamic that reaches out to Justin and Stewart, Charlie’s boarders. All the characters are strong, real and jump right off the page.

This mystery was complex and following the tidbits and putting them all together was very entertaining. It will change the way you look at your local librarian because contrary to what we think we can’t find everything we need to know on the internet. Sometimes we need to dig a little deeper and go through those old musty files, especially when trying to solve a murder, be it a new one or a very old one.

File M for Murder is full of Southern Charm and the residents of Athena will work their way right into your heart, especially one huge Maine coon cat! Love ya Diesel! 

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

For the giveaway today I am giving my gently read copy of

File M for Murder (Cat in the Stacks Mystery)

plus 2 BRAND NEW COPIES FROM PENGUIN!!

Just Fill Out The Form Below!
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.

***Remember GFC is going away March 1, 2012
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continue to follow Escape With Dollycas.

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

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

Contest Will End February 15, 2012 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted 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.”