Feb 112016
 

DRAWING BLOOD large banner640

Drawing Blood
by Deirdre Verne

drawing blood
Drawing Blood
(A Sketch in Crime Mystery)

2nd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – New York
Publisher: Midnight Ink (February 8, 2016)
Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738742281
E-Book ASIN: B019KKTX0I
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Synopsis

CeCe Prentice returns with her band of Dumpster-diving pals in this fast-paced mystery that puts the eco-friendly heroine back on top—of a pile of trash.

When Big Bob, manager of the town dump, goes missing, CeCe is worried about more than where she’ll score her next salvaged car. First at the scene when Bob’s body is recovered from under the weekly recycling haul, CeCe is quick to identify potential witnesses and provide crucial scene sketches. But when CeCe is uncharacteristically startled by an unidentified woman at Bob’s abandoned house, her artistic talents are challenged, and her drawings, much to her frustration, come up short.

With CeCe’s observational talents on the fritz, Detective Frank DeRosa, CeCe, and her network of Freegans are forced to recreate Big Bob’s life from the garbage up. The team is soon thrust into the underworld of recycling where what appears to be junk could actually be the clue that saves a life.


Dollycas’s Thoughts

As I ended my review of Drawing Conclusions, the first book in this series, I was wondering how this author was going to keep up to the excellence she reached in that story. I just finished Drawing Blood and let me tell you she a drawn up another story that will keep you totally entertained.

Cece and her friends are “freegans“, a unique lifestyle. They dumpster dive for food, have a huge garden, and visit the local recycling center and thrift stores for most of their needs. In this installment Cece’s friend and housemate Katrina is due to have her baby any day, her friend, Big Bob, manager of the local recycling center in missing, and Cece is looking for a child that could be hers that would have been carried by a surrogate. And that is just how the story starts, there is so much more. The synopsis tells you Big Bob’s body is found under a pile of garbage and that Detective Frank DeRosa in on the case but when Cece and her friends join the investigation it all leads to something you have just have to read for yourself. I really enjoyed that Frank knows he can ask for and get help from Cece and the others.

As with the first story, this author’s distinct writing  style shines. The plots and subplots twist all together throughout the story and each twist has its own little “wow” factor.  Cece’s  unique ability to see people in her mind so clearly and pick up their nuances and put the images down on paper is key to solving the case. She has trouble with the facial details for one person that she knows is so important. She works so hard to try to grasp that image. The investigation seems to be turning up more questions than answers but Frank, Cece, Charlie and even a very pregnant Katrina each help to put things together and details start to fall into place. This sets up a very suspenseful and dramatic ending that had me sitting up straight in my chair.

Excellent from start to finish. A story that deserves more than 5 stars!

This story does build on the first book so I do recommend reading that one first. In fact a perfect winter weekend curled up with both books is something I recommend wholeheartedly.

I will not wonder about Verne’s next book because I just know if will be as amazing as the first two. I just hate that we will probably have to wait a year for it.

paradise 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent


 

deidre

About This Author

Deirdre Verne (Lower Westchester, NY) is a mystery writer, college professor, and an active college blogger. Deirdre’s interest in green living inspired her to create an off-the-grid character who Dumpster dives her way through the “Sketch in Crime” mystery series. Verne’s second book, Drawing Blood, is available in February 2016. “A dysfunctional functional family to die for…[CeCe Prentice’s] second case is every bit as twisty and surprising.”-Kirkus Reviews.

A member of Sisters in Crime, Deirdre’s short stories appear in all three New York chapter anthologies – Murder New York Style, Murder New York Style: Fresh Slices and Family Matters. Visit her online at DeirdreVerne.com.

 

Author Links

Webpage   Blog 

Twitter – @deirdreverne         GoodReads 

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Tour Participants

February 8 – Babs Book Bistro – Guest Post
February 9 – Island Confidential – Interview
February 9 – The Book’s the Thing – Spotlight
February 10 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – Review 
February 11 – Musings and Ramblings – Guest Post
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February 14 – A Holland Reads – Interview
February 15 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy,  &, Sissy, Too ! – Spotlight
February 15 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Guest Post
February 16 – LibriAmoriMiei – Review
February 16 – StoreyBook Reviews – Spotlight
February 17 – Reading Is My SuperPower – Review
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February 18 – Back Porchervations – Review
February 18 – A Blue Million Books – Interview

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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.”

Jan 292016
 

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 have wanted to catch up on this series for awhile!

diners driveins and death
Diners, Drive-Ins, and Death:
A Comfort Food Mystery

Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – New York
An Obsidian Mystery (January 6, 2015)
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451415103
E-Book ASIN: B00KWFZ73S
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For Sandy Harbor’s tastiest comfort food, venture to the Silver Bullet Diner. But head next door to the new drive-in theater if you have an appetite for murder….

Trixie Matkowski has a tall order to fill this fall. Aside from dishing out delicious fare at the Silver Bullet during peak fishing season, she’s helping her friend—Antoinette Chloe Brown, or ACB for short—open a drive-in movie theater in the vacant lot beside her diner. It’s just the thing to take ACB’s mind off Nick, her missing biker beau.

But their plans are fried after Nick’s body is discovered during the groundbreaking for the drive-in. And when the police connect the murder weapon to ACB, she becomes the prime suspect in eighty-sixing Nick. With the fate of her innocent friend and her business on the line, Trixie must make the guilty party pay up before someone else gets stiffed….

Includes Delicious Home-Style Recipes!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Trixie Matkowski owns the Silver Bullet Diner and summer rental cottages. She also has a bit of land that came in handy when her friend’s significant other is found in a shallow grave. Antoinette Chloe Brown, or ACB for short, owns a restaurant in town and she wants to build a drive-in on land next to Trixie’s. Her biker boyfriend, Nick, has taken off without a word to anyone, her ex-husband, the boyfriend’s brother, is rotting in jail, and she is organizing a beauty pageant, so why not jump in with both feet to another venture. She is so worried about Nick she asks Trixie to help her find him but he turns up before they do much looking. His body is discovered during the groundbreaking for the drive-in and there is enough evidence at the scene to arrest ACB and haul her off to jail.

What follows next is a nifty mystery served up with a bowlful of humor. ACB and her colorful mumus and fascinations just crack me up. Seeing her in a motorcycle sidecar must be a hoot! She and Trixie are the best of friends. Trixie even put up the bail to get her out of jail. She also let her move right into her house. The antics of these two are absolutely hilarious but Trixie does keep them on track as they try to find the real killer.

I have grown comfortable with these characters and I appreciate the comfort food served at the Silver Bullet. I don’t know how I got behind on this series but that will be remedied soon. I am so glad I started Flashback Friday to help me catch up on great series like this one. Macaroni and Freeze has moved to the top of the To-Be-Read stack and It’s A Wonderful Knife comes out February 2.

perfect 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about Christine and her books 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 February 12, 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.”

Jan 212016
 

death of a brooklyn landlord large banner640

Death of a Brooklyn Landlord
by Susan Russo Anderson

death of a brooklyn landlord
Death of a Brooklyn Landlord:
A Lorraine McDuffy Mystery

Suspense – Woman Sleuths
Setting – New York
Self Published
Publication Date: December 23, 2015
Print Length: 319 pages
ASIN: B017KORLJG

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A Mystery, A Kidnapping, A Missing Mom … The First Book in a NEW Spinoff Series!

Synopsis

When newly widowed Lorraine McDuffy gets a call in the middle of the night, it’s not the ghost of her dead husband on the line, but the trembling voice of an old flame, Frank Rizzo, a local butcher. He’s found the battered body of rent-gouging Brooklyn landlord Viktor Charnov. Felled by blunt trauma to the back of his head, the victim lies in the fetal position in the back of Frank’s shop, a pork chop clenched between his teeth. The distraught butcher asks Lorraine to investigate.

As the story moves through the entangled web left behind by the landlord’s evil dealings, Lorraine searches for Viktor’s estranged wife as well as a missing teen with ties to the landlord, believed to have jumped in despair from the Brooklyn Bridge two months earlier. Along the way, Lorraine spars with Detective First Grade Jane Templeton and cares for the victim’s ten-year-old son, baseball-loving Joey Charnov, while she searches for his mother. And despite her guilt, Lorraine and Frank deepen their relationship in fits and starts.

If you’re a fan of Fina Fitzgibbons and her crew, you’ll recognize the main characters in this new series—Lorraine McDuffy, Fina’s mother-in-law and protagonist in charge of the Fina Fitzgibbons Detective Agency while Fina and Denny are on their honeymoon; detectives Jane Templeton and Willoughby, her partner Minnie, admin assistant at Lucy’s and now taking on a greater role in the agency; Cookie and her husband, Clancy; and a newcomer, Fina’s estranged father, Paddy Fitzgibbons, who creates his own boozy havoc as he tangles with Lorraine and Cookie.

Dollycas’s Thouughts

Fina and Denny are on their honeymoon so Lorraine takes over the business until they get back. Her first case hits close to home when she gets a call Frank Rizzo, a local butcher and an old flame. He has a dead body in his shop and it happens to be his landlord who just doubled his rent. Lorraine rushes to his side to check things out for herself, and then she calls him a lawyer, and then she calls detective Jane Templeton. Fina’s detective agency begins to work side by side with the police due to a shortage of man hours. They find this case may also tie in to a case of a missing teenager.

I am just amazed at how many stories contain a thread about suicide. Since my son took his life last March it seems to pop up in so many of the stories I read. Maybe it was there before but I am hypersensitive to it now. In this story it was minor enough not to make me put the book down and walk away but it still gave me pause.

I like Lorraine, she is moving on with her life after her husband’s passing and throws herself into this investigation. She stands up to the power that be and is able to care for the victims 10 year old son while she tries to find his mother. The case takes her in many directions but she is able to stay focused. Fina’s father plays a major role in the story and for me the jury is still out on him. I am not sure if his intentions are true and he still has a lot to work out to get his life on track. Like in the main series the police detectives drive me crazy.  The relationship between Lorraine and Frank surprised me as things heat up pretty quickly.

I am not sure if a story like this could take place in real life. The police are basically led around by the nose by the private investigators, but it sure does make for some entertaining reading. I am also concerned about the overlap in characters from the main series and this spin off. It will be interesting to see how this set of stories moves forward.

The story can read as a stand alone but reading the original stories will help you keep track of the vast number of characters.

enjoyable 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

susan

About The Author

Susan Russo Anderson is a writer, a mother, a member of Sisters in Crime, a graduate of Marquette University. She’s taught language arts and creative writing, worked for a publisher, an airline, an opera company. Like Faulkner’s Dilsey, she’s seen the best and the worst, the first and the last. Through it all, and to understand it somewhat, she writes. Too Quiet in Brooklyn, the first book in the Fina Fitzgibbons Brooklyn mystery series, published December 2013. The second book in the series, Missing Brandy, about a missing teen, published September 2014, and Whiskey’s Gone, about the abduction of a single mom, completes a trilogy.  Fina’s fourth book, THE BROOKLYN DROP, published August 2015.

 

Author Links:

Website

Facebook
Twitter @SusanRussoAnder

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Tour Participants

January 18 – StoreyBook Reviews– Spotlight
January 19 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – Review
January 20 – Back Porchervations – Review
January 21 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Review
January 22 – Island Confidential – Interview
January 23 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy,  &, Sissy, Too ! – Spotlight
January 24 – Christa Reads and Writes – Review
January 25 – Lori’s Reading Corner – Guest Post
January 26 – Cassidy Salem Reads & Writes – Spotlight
January 27 – Babs Book Bistro – Spotlight

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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.”

Dec 182015
 

It has been a rough year and I will admit that when this book came for review I took one look at the cover and decided to wait to read it. I usually watch all he Christmas movies and really get into the Christmas Spirit. This year I am just dreading it without Kris.  Losing a child at any age is hard but losing your oldest child, an adult, who leaves behind a child, to suicide has really shaken me to my core. Last Friday evening I needed a book to read and this one was right there on the shelf and I thought, O.K. let’s try it. I made it through and thank you Vicki Delany for a wonderful story. Read below for my review.

rest ye murdered gentleman 2Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen:
A Year-Round Christmas Mystery

Brand New Series
Setting – New York
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (November 3, 2015)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Cover Illustration by Julia Green
Cover Design by Sarah Oberrender
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425280805
E-Book ASIN: B00SI0B5R6
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In Rudolph, New York, it’s Christmastime all year long. But this December, while the snow-lined streets seem merry and bright, a murder is about to ruin everyone’s holiday cheer…

As the owner of Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, Merry Wilkinson knows how to decorate homes for the holidays. That’s why she thinks her float in the semi-annual Santa Claus parade is a shoe-in for best in show. But when the tractor pulling Merry’s float is sabotaged, she has to face facts: there’s a Scrooge in Christmas Town.

Merry isn’t ready to point fingers, especially with a journalist in town writing a puff piece about Rudolph’s Christmas spirit. But when she stumbles upon the reporter’s body on a late night dog walk—and police suspect he was poisoned by a gingerbread cookie crafted by her best friend, Vicky—Merry will have to put down the jingle bells and figure out who’s really been grinching about town, before Vicky ends up on Santa’s naughty list…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

First things first, look at that gorgeous cover. I like to mention the artist and cover designers because the cozy covers are so incredible. This time Sarah Oberrender has taken my breath away. From the snow lined window to the puppy in the front, I don’t know how anyone could resist buying this paperback even before thinking about the fantastic story inside.

Vicki Delany takes us to Rudolph, New York. A year round Christmas Town that is such a joy to visit. That is until a dead body is found and word gets out. The cancellations to the local hotels, inns and B&B’s start before you can say Jack Frost. A series of troubling events takes place and Merry knows there will be no Merry Christmas in Rudolph until the Grinch is caught.

Merry Wilkerson, who happens to have sisters named Eve and Carol is a marvelous protagonist. Her shop Mrs. Claus’s Treasures is right in the heart of Rudolph so she is right on top of everything happening. Her dad being the former mayor and the local Santa Claus has his connections too. She knows her friend Vicky had nothing to do with the murder, she just has to prove it.  She is strong, smart, and feisty.

What I really like about this story is the way the town pulls together with the exception of whoever is trying to destroy the reputation and credibility of this great tourist attraction. Even Betty than owns the store next to Vicky.  She may not be the nicest person but would she sabotage the whole town? A new resident to Rudolph, Detective Diane Simmonds, is one of my favorite characters. I think and hope that she and Merry will become good friends.  All the residents of Rudolph are very real and engaging, each in their own way, including Merry’s adorable St.Bernard pup named Mattie.

Delaney has given us a story full of holiday cheer, an exciting mystery, wondrous characters all in a place I would love to really visit. It’s charm just lit up my day. This is one mystery you shouldn’t miss this holiday season.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about Vicki Delany 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 January 1, 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

Sorry that this contest ends after the holiday but it is on sale on Amazon and can arrive just in time for Christmas. 

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.”

Dec 102015
 

dorothy parker drank hereDorothy Parker Drank Here
Contemporary Women’s Fiction
Setting – New York
The Berkley Publishing Group – December 1, 2015
An Imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC
Trade Paperback: 384 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425278093
E-Book – ASIN: B00L9AXSUE
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The acid-tongued Dorothy Parker is back and haunting the halls of the Algonquin with her piercing wit, audacious voice, and unexpectedly tender wisdom.

Heavenly peace? No, thank you. Dorothy Parker would rather wander the famous halls of the Algonquin Hotel, drink in hand, searching for someone, anyone, who will keep her company on this side of eternity.

After forty years she thinks she’s found the perfect candidate in Ted Shriver, a brilliant literary voice of the 1970s, silenced early in a promising career by a devastating plagiarism scandal. Now a prickly recluse, he hides away in the old hotel slowly dying of cancer, which he refuses to treat. If she can just convince him to sign the infamous guestbook of Percy Coates, Dorothy Parker might be able to persuade the jaded writer to spurn the white light with her. Ted, however, might be the only person living or dead who’s more stubborn than Parker, and he rejects her proposal outright.

When a young, ambitious TV producer, Norah Wolfe, enters the hotel in search of Ted Shriver, Parker sees another opportunity to get what she wants. Instead, she and Norah manage to uncover such startling secrets about Ted’s past that the future changes for all of them.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

All of Dorothy Parker’s friends and enemies see the white light and follow it quite quickly to the great beyond. Not Dorothy, she plans to stick around as long as she can but she does get lonely. Enter Ted Shriver who has come to the Algonquin Hotel to meet his maker. His writing career ended years ago when he was accused of plagiarism. He has nobody to stick around for, he just wants to be left alone to die, but Dorothy has other ideas.

This is the second book Ellen Meister has wrote featuring the one of a kind Dorothy Parker. Each book stands on its own and are fantastic reads. She has captured the woman to a tee and throw in plenty of Dorothy’s zingers that I just loved.

Dorothy Parker was a formidable woman in her time and the perfect leading lady/ghost. If you happen tosee her across the room or walking down the street you would never know she was a spirit. Her clothes have come around and are back in style. She does have a few limits as to where she can go and when but you have to read the book to find out those details.

As in the first book, Dorothy’s appearance does alter the world around her and the people she meets. Meister fills the story with twists, turns, humor and a lot of heart.  Parker’s fearlessness shines in these pages. The secondary character of Ted Shriver and TV producer, Norah Wolfe are both strong characters too. Dorothy brings everyone together as only she can. Things are not easy but Dorothy doesn’t give up.

Caution – have a tissue handy for the ending.

This was a really quick read for me. I was totally engaged the whole entire way.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

You can find out all about Ellen and her books on her webpage here.

Find More Ellen Meister books here.

GIVEAWAY
Thanks to the people at Penguin I have Paperback 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.

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 December 25, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Dec 022015
 

special guest blue

I am so happy to welcome Karoline Barrett to Escape With Dollycas as part of her Great Escapes Tour today.

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Making Characters Interesting
by Karoline Barrett

Hi everyone! Excited to be here today to talk about writing. Recently, on a Facebook author event I participated in, I was asked how I keep the characters in my Bread & Batter cozy mystery series interesting and unique. That’s a good question, because writers want their characters to be interesting. If they aren’t, then chances are readers aren’t going to stick with your books, no matter how riveting the mystery part is. For me, the charactes are at least as important as the mystery. That’s especially true in a series where you have many of the same people coming back.

I’ll share with you a few ways that I try and make my characters people you’d want as your best friends, not to mention people you’d want beside you if a dead body popped up!

1. I don’t read other cozy mystery writers’ books (despite how much I love them) while I’m writing. I don’t want my writing voice, or my characters voices, suddenly sounding like someone else’s! I also don’t want my plot sounding like someoneone else’s. I know there are only so many ideas out there, but why tempt fate. One of my favorite quotes, and I wish I remembered where I heard this, is, “The only person who had an original idea was Adam.” So, while I do love reading, I wait until I’m between books to do so, that way I can give my brain a chance to clear before I resume writing.

BUN FOR YOUR LIFE2. I get to know my characters before I begin writing. By the time I start writing Chapter One, I’m familiar with them. I don’t need to wonder what their favorite color might be, or what their hobbies are, of whether or not they’re shy, or afraid of spiders, or commitment, etcetera. This includes secondary characters, too. If it’s a character who is only appearing in one book, I may not do an in-depth character analysis, but I do have some idea who they are, and why they act they way they do.

3. I throw problems at them. They’re in the book for a reason, so they need to do something other than stand around looking pretty.

4. I write subplots involving my secondary characters. I find subplots add an extra layer to the story.

5. I let my characters change their minds. Just because my protagonist, Molly Tyler, is a vegetarian doesn’t meant that someday she won’t nibble on a drumstick.

6. I make sure my characters grow and change. One of my favorite authors writes a wonderful series (I won’t name names, but think numbers) and her main character (again, no names, but her last name rhymes with thumb), has been trying to decide between the two men in her life for I don’t know how long. Very frustrating not to have this character grow and change in some way re. these men. (Personally, I vote for Morelli). By the way, if you’re wondering who he is you don’t know what you’re missing, contact me, and I’ll tell you all about it!

7. Nothing more boring than perfect characters. I like quirks and imperfections readers can identify with.

And that’s how I try and make my characters interesting and unique!

~Karoline

bun for your life large banner640

BUN FOR YOUR LIFEBun for Your Life
(A Bread and Batter Mystery)

Publisher: InterMix (November 17, 2015)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Cozy Mystery
Setting – New York
Print Length: 245 pages
ASIN: B00PHV81DK
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Two bakery owners get mixed up with murder in the first adventure in the all-new Bread and Batter Mystery series…
 
As the co-owners of Bread and Batter Bakery in Destiny, New York, Molly Tyler and Olivia Williams have plenty on their plates. Molly is recently divorced and looking for a place to live, but they’re also both preparing for Destiny’s annual Apple Harvest Fair. The bakery has a booth where they’ll be selling not only delicious cupcakes and cider doughnuts, but also tote bags and t-shirts emblazoned with the bakery’s logo.

Tensions rise at the fair when local orchard owner Calista Danforth discovers organizers have assigned her usual booth to Bread and Batter. Although a heated argument ensues between her and Molly, the bakery manages to rake in lots of dough. But when Calista is found strangled to death with one of their t-shirts, Molly is named the prime suspect. Now these two friends must whip up some answers quickly before the future of their business crumbles…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This series is off to a spectacular start!

Molly Tyler and Olivia Williams own and operate the Bread and Batter Bakery. It is time for Destiny, New York’s, Apple Harvest Fair and the girls are excited to have a prime spot for their booth. They had no idea the spot had always belonged to Calista Danforth. Calista was in quite a tizzy when she learned she would not be premiering her new Calista Sugar Pink apple in her usual space. She and Molly have quite an argument that happens to be witnessed by the wrong person. It isn’t until after Calista’s body is found strangled by a Bread and Batter t-shirt that Molly learns he is Detective Sean Corsino and he has just been hired by the Destiny Police Department, She also learns she is his prime  suspect.

The characters are fleshed out and real. Molly and her ex are still friends, in fact they have moments when they still love each other except not at the same time, and he already has a new girlfriend. Molly is still close with his family. Olivia holds things together at the Bakery while Molly blazes a trail to find the killer. Detective Sean Corsino knows she’s investigating and tries to keep her out of trouble but when he needs to leave town for a few days things go to hell in a hand basket and a very unsuspected person saves the day.  Sean also has an adorable basset hound named Beau.

This story was action from start to finish. I easily read it all in one sitting. There were many suspects, not just Molly, which the good detective soon realized. The final twist was so great. Love, Love, Loved it! A perfect recipe for a cozy mystery –  picturesque small town, entertaining characters, and doughnuts!

Bun for Your Life was truly a fun read.  A “dramedy” with just a little romantic tension. I can’t wait for book #2.

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About The Author –

After having several short stories published, I decided to tackle novel writing a few years ago. My first book, The Art of Being Rebekkah, is women’s fiction. Since the genre I love is mystery, my agent suggested I write one. I’m so glad she did! I recently signed with Penguin/Intermix for my Bread and Batter cozy mystery series. The first two books, Bun For Your Life and Raisin The Dead, coming soon!

I’ve live in lots of different places during my life. At the moment, I’m in a small Connecticut town with my husband. When I’m not writing, I’m either reading, spending time by the water, traveling, indulging in social media, accompanying above-mentioned husband to New York Yankees games, or doing anything that does not involve math.

Author Links

Webpage      Blog       Facebook      Twitter      Goodreads   

Purchase Links

Amazon     Barnes & Noble   KOBO   iTunes     Google Play Store

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

Nov 142015
 

special guest blue

I am happy to welcome Victoria Thompson/Maeve to Escape With Dollycas today! 

victoria thompson

MURDER ON ST. NICHOLAS AVENUE
by Victoria Thompson

While the cat’s away…

Sarah Brandt and Frank Malloy are enjoying their honeymoon, and while they’re away, their family and friends solve a mystery in MURDER ON ST. NICHOLAS AVENUE.  But let’s let one of them tell you all about it:

Hello!  I’m Maeve, Mrs. Brandt’s nanny, and the reason you’re hearing from me is that Mrs. Brandt and Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy have gotten married and are in Europe on their honeymoon.  They left me in charge of the house and the children while they’re gone, so naturally when a lady came to our door just before Christmas looking for help, I couldn’t refuse.

A young bride had been accused of murdering her husband, but her mother was sure she was innocent.  I knew I couldn’t do this alone, so I asked Gino Donatelli for advice.  Gino is back with the New York City Police Department now that he’s home from the war in Cuba, and he’s kind of sweet on me, so he was glad to help. Then Mrs. Brandt’s mother got involved, although I’m still not sure how.  Mrs. Decker somehow always manages to get her way, though.  Then the next thing I know, Mr. Decker was involved, too. We started out just asking him for some advice, but he couldn’t let some young girl and an inexperienced policeman solve a murder on their own.  Even Mr. Malloy’s mother lent us a hand now and then.  It wasn’t easy, and a few times it was downright scary, but we managed to figure out who the real killer was.  When we were done, everything had changed, too.  When Mr. and Mrs. Malloy (Mrs. Brandt is Mrs. Malloy now) got home from Europe, they were really surprised and… Well, I don’t want to give anything away.  You’ll have to read Murder on St. Nicholas Avenue to find out.

You can find Victoria at www.victoriathompson.com. Follow her on Facebook or on Twitter @gaslightvt.

murder st nicholasMurder on St. Nicholas Avenue:
Gaslight Mystery

Historical Cozy Mystery
Setting – New York
18th in Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (November 3, 2015)
An Imprint of Penguin Ransom House LLC
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425278970
E-Book ASIN: B00SI02ABQ
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The author of Murder on Amsterdam Avenue returns to nineteenth-century New York City to find Christmas in the air, a police detective and a midwife with love in their hearts, and a wealthy newlywed with blood on her hands…

Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy and Sarah Brandt are not the only ones who have recently tied the knot. Family friend Mrs. O’Neill was delighted when her daughter Una wed the seemingly wealthy and charming Randolph Pollock. She didn’t wonder why such an affluent man would want to marry a poor Irish girl, no matter how pretty she was. But now Mrs. O’Neill has a problem.

Pollock’s servants have found their employer bludgeoned to death with Una cradling his body. Rendered mute by the horror of her husband’s death, Una cannot explain what happened, so the police have charged her with murder and locked her away in the Tombs to await trial.

Mrs. O’Neill would like Frank to investigate the case and save Una, yet with Frank and Sarah still on their honeymoon, it’s up to the other members of their newly formed household to do some detective work. But solving the mystery behind Pollock’s death means first discovering the truth about who he really is…

 

About The Author

Victoria Thompson writes the Agatha and Edgar® Nominated Gaslight Mystery Series, set in turn-of-the-century New York City featuring midwife Sarah Brandt.  The 18th book in the series is set in turn-of-the-century New York City featuring midwife Sarah Brandt.   She also contributed to the award winning MANY GENRES/ONE CRAFT. Victoria teaches in the Seton Hill University MFA program in writing popular fiction. She lives in Central PA with her husband and a very spoiled little dog. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and Novelists, Inc.

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

Leave a comment for Victoria for 5 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End November 28, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Dollycas

Nov 052015
 

OLIVE AND LET DIE
Olive and Let Die
(A Greek to Me Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – New York
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley (November 3, 2015)
ISBN-13: 978-0425271667
ASIN: B00SI027QY
goodreads-badge-add-plusShop Indie Bookstores

 

 

 

The second Greek to Me Mystery from the author of Feta Attraction

As manager of the Bonaparte House, a historic landmark and Greek restaurant in upstate New York, Georgie Nikolopatos knows her local legends—and her traditional Greek recipes are to die for.

Between her soon-to-be ex-husband Spiro coming out of the closet and her budding romance with Captain Jack Conway, Georgie’s life is beginning to feel like a soap opera. And that’s before a surprise visit from her estranged mother Shirley, better known as soap star Melanie Ashley. But the dramatic family reunion takes a chilling turn when another long-lost relative turns up dead.

Just outside Spiro’s new restaurant, Georgie and Melanie find the body of Doreen Webber—a cousin Georgie never knew she had. With Spiro’s partner Inky on the list of suspects, Georgie begins to wonder what else her mother may be hiding. Is the dead-broke diva capable of murder? She’d better find out before someone adds a new twist to the family plot.

Includes delicious Greek recipes!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Susannah has cooked up quite a sequel to her Feta Attraction.

Georgie Nikolopatos manages a Greek restaurant with her mother-in-law. Her soon to be ex-husband is renovating a place for him and his partner to run. Soon Georgie will be able to let her new romance go public.  But all that fades to the background when a soap opera star, Melanie Ashley, shows up in town. Georgie recognizes her as the mother she hasn’t seen in years. When another family member is found dead on the docks Georgie thinks her mother may be a murderer.

The story had a bit of a slow beginning for me but once it picked up it was impossible to put this book down. This was the latest book to leave me with a “book hangover”. I stayed up late to finish the whole thing! Like Feta Attraction Hardy packs this story full of drama.

An intricate plot with ancestral secrets galore. Georgie had no idea about her family history on her mother’s side. Will the truth set her free or put her in danger as well?

The characters are richly written and continue to grow. The introduction of a complex woman like Shirley/Melanie gave the story depth. I enjoyed learning more of Georgie’s past and how it reflects in the woman she is today and her relationship with her mother-in-law.

A wonderful cozy mystery. It can be read as a stand alone but recommend reading Feta Attraction first.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Susannah

About This Author

Susannah Hardy thinks she has the best job in the world: making up stories and inventing recipes to go along with them. A native of northern New York, where she attended St. Lawrence University, Susannah now lives in Connecticut with her husband, teenaged son, and Elvira the Wonder Cat.

Author Links

www.susannahhardy.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Susannah-Hardy/111056935644467

@susannahhardy1

GIVEAWAY

I am giving my review copy away!

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End November 19, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Susannah Hardy is also touring Olive and Let Die with Great Escapes Book Tours.
Visit each stop for more chances to win a copy!

Tour Participants

November 3 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – Review
November 4 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review, Guest Post
November 5 – Community Bookstop – Review
November 6 – Back Porchervations – Review
November 7 – Griperang’s Bookmarks – Review, Interview
November 8 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy,  &, Sissy, Too ! – Review
November 9 – A Chick Who Reads – Review
November 10 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Review, Guest Post
November 11 – fuonlyknew – Review
November 12 – Books Are Life – Vita Libri – Review

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 302015
 

just for fun 2015

Earlier this month I received an invite to review Ellen Meister’s new book, Dorothy Parker Drank Here. I read the synopsis and thought it sounded like one I would enjoy. Later that evening I was straightening my jam packed  To Be Read bookshelf and I found a hard cover copy of Meister’s Farewell Dorothy Parker with a Post-it note on the cover saying MUST READ ASAP. The only thing I can think of is it was put on the wrong shelf and then buried by books that arrived after.

Moral of the story: It’s not such a bad thing for your grandkids to rearrange your books so that you need to put things back in order after they go home.

I found several books I forgot I even had and my TBR spreadsheet is all updated! This book was an easy choice to read JUST FOR FUN!

FAREWELL DOROTHY PARKER

Hardcover Edition

Farewell, Dorothy Parker
G.P. Putnam’s Sons (February 21, 2013)
Contemporary Women’s Fiction
Setting – New York
Published by The Penguin Group
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0399159077
Paperback: 356 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425264713
E-Book ASIN: B008ON45LA
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

 

 

What if inspiration came to visit…and wouldn’t leave?

When it comes to movie reviews, critic Violet Epps is a powerhouse voice. But that’s only because she’s learned to channel her literary hero, Dorothy Parker, the most celebrated and scathing wit of the 20th century.

If only Violet could summon that kind of courage in her personal life.

Determined to defeat her social anxiety, Violet visits the Algonquin Hotel to pull strength from the hallowed dining room, where Dorothy Parker and so many other famous writers of the 1920s traded barbs. But she gets more than she bargained for when Dorothy Parker’s feisty spirit rematerializes from an ancient guestbook and hitches a ride onto her life.

Violet is shocked and thrilled to be face-to-face with her idol, but when the gin-swilling writer takes up residence in her home and grows pricklier and more outspoken by the day, the timid movie critic is pushed to her limit. With her job threatened, her new relationship in tatters, and the custody fight for her orphaned niece in jeopardy, Violet is forced to face her fears …and she makes sure Mrs. Parker does the same.

Wickedly funny and surprisingly poignant, Farewell, Dorothy Parker perfectly re-imagines one of America’s most iconic voices in a captivating and unforgettable tale.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Algonquin Round Table Mysteries by J.J. Murphy published a few years ago rekindled my love for Dorothy Parker so I knew this would be a perfect read for me. 

Violet Epps has no problem voicing her opinions in print but she is much more timid face to face. Very unlike her hero Dorthy Parker. Violet wishes she could be as feisty and brash as dear Dorothy. Hoping a little Dorothy Parker will rub off on her she visits Algonquin Hotel, the place Parker and the Vicious Circle used to meet daily.  While there the manager shares an treasured guest book with her. Inside were the signatures like Robert BenchleyGeorge S. KaufmanDorothy Parker and more.  Violet unintentionally ends up leaving with the guest book in her purse. Little did she know she had Dorothy’s spirit as well.

This truly was a fun and entertaining read but it had some sobering moments as well. Violet’s sister and her husband were killed in a car accident and she is fighting to gain custody of her niece. Violet needs to be on her very best behavior and follow the judges orders and that isn’t always easy but having an outspoken and sometimes overly friendly ghost nearby makes things even more difficult. It also creates havoc at work and in Violet’s romantic life.

Ellen Meister has brought the Vanity Fair writer to life in a very interesting way. I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next and cringing when Dorothy really crossed the line. The relationship between these two ladies had me laughing out loud and crying a little too, forgetting that while she could be seen by others, Dorothy was just a spirit and they couldn’t stay together forever. A spirit the helped Violet find her own voice and exceed her own expectations.

Farewell Dorothy Parker is a well researched fiction story and the author admits she has taken some liberties to write the book she had been dreaming of writing. Meister has captured Parker’s wit and sense of humor perfectly.

I don’t care what is written about me so long as it isn’t true.

~Dorothy Parker

I think she would love this book!!

 

a perfect escape5 STARFISHDollycas

You can find out all about Ellen and her books on her webpage here.

GIVEAWAY

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End November 13, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

~This book was from my personal collection.

Sep 222015
 
My turn today on The Brooklyn Drop Great Escapes Book Tour!

BROOKLYN DROP large banner 640

The Brooklyn Drop
by Susan Russo Anderson

COVER BROOKLYN DROPThe Brooklyn Drop
(A Fina Fitzgibbons Brooklyn Mystery)

Suspense Mystery
4th Book in Series
Mystery/Suspense
Setting – New York
File Size: 422 KB
Print Length: 267 pages
Publication Date: August 15, 2015
ASIN: B00Z8N2WCI
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Synopsis

In the middle of a wintry night, private investigator Fina Fitzgibbons finds Lorraine’s friend, Phyllida Oxley, slumped over her dining room table, the victim of memory-impairing date rape drugs. When her condition goes from poor to comatose, her distraught fifteen-year-old granddaughter, Kat Oxley disappears. Meanwhile, Fina’s agency is busy surveilling a  in Bensonhurst suspected of human trafficking, and Fina’s father reappears to throw a wrench into her relationship with NYPD Patrol Officer Denny McDuffy. As Fina frantically searches for the missing teen, she uncovers the truth behind the traffickers, but they have a surprise waiting for her in the not-so-friendly skies.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Fina Fitzgibbons in one busy lady, she runs a cleaning business and is a private investigator. In this installment Lorraine calls her for help when she finds that one of her friends, Phyllida Oxley, has been violated. She is still alive but soon after arriving at the hospital she falls into a coma. Phyllida has custody of her fifteen-year-old granddaughter, Kat, who disappears after her grandmother’s attack. Fina is on the case to find both Kat and the person responsible for Phyllida’s condition. Fina’s agency also has a case watching a Bensonhurst massage parlor who may be involved in human trafficking. If that isn’t enough Fina’s father has returned and it is driving a wedge between Fina and Denny.

Again I have trouble believing Fina to be in her early 20’s. She is definitely wise beyond her years. The police just drive me crazy.  Detective First Grade Jane Templeton wants Fina to be wrong so bad that it effects her own investigation. Denny, NYPD patrol officer, is caught in the middle of everything. The author also treats us to a dysfunctional family that you have to read to believe. All the characters are fleshed out and real.

This story reminds me of a television drama. The author has us completely tuned in and on the edge of our seats as the mystery plays out. Her descriptive way of writing paints pictures of people and places so vividly. There many layers that interconnect and mesh together throughout the book. The plot-lines build and soon reach a point where you will be unable to put it down so plan accordingly.

This is the fourth book in the series but the author supplies enough background for it to standalone. I still need to go back and read books 2 and 3 myself. I hope to be able to do that before Fina’s next investigation.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

susanAbout This Author

Susan Russo Anderson is a writer, a mother, a member of Sisters in Crime, a graduate of Marquette University. She’s taught language arts and creative writing, worked for a publisher, an airline, an opera company. Like Faulkner’s Dilsey, she’s seen the best and the worst, the first and the last. Through it all, and to understand it somewhat, she writes. Too Quiet in Brooklyn, the first book in the Fina Fitzgibbons Brooklyn mystery series, published December 2013. The second book in the series, Missing Brandy, about a missing teen, published September 2014, and Whiskey’s Gone, about the abduction of a single mom, completes a trilogy. The working title of the fourth is Dead in Brooklyn.

 

Author Links:

Website: http://susanrussoanderson.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Susan-Russo-Anderson/349374975075796
Twitter @SusanRussoAnder

GIVEAWAY

I am giving away 1 E-Copy of The Brooklyn Drop!

Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.
International Giveaway.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End October 6, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Aug 192015
 
cozy wednesday 2013 640It is always fun to welcome new authors to Escape With Dollycas.
My guest today is Kathleen Bridge. Her new Hampton Home & Garden Mystery Series debuted on August 4 with
Better Homes and Corpses.

 

KATHLEEN BRIDGEHow I got my Oceanfront Cottage in Montauk without Spending a Dime

The first time my husband, infant son, and I traipsed 120 miles due east from Manhattan to Montauk, it was love at first sight. As a transplanted Michigander, Montauk, on the easternmost tip of Long Island, became my touchstone. The town embodied all the things I loved about laid-back summers on the Great Lakes and as an added perk it was only sixteen miles away from glitzy East Hampton—summer home of the rich and famous.

Walking the beach toward the lighthouse, I would fantasize about which rickety steps might lead upward to my new cottage.

Then I found it.

Through a set of newly purchased binoculars, I saw that the cottage was modest. It had three-sided ocean views and an upstairs balcony the size of a ship’s crow’s nest. There were twenty seven wooden steps leading up from the secluded beach. I pictured myself reading mysteries on the screened porch or sipping a glass of local Long Island wine on the swing that gently swayed under the eaves.

BETTER HOMES AND CORPSESSold.

There was only one problem. The cottage wasn’t for sale. And even if it was, we couldn’t afford it. We lived in Manhattan in a wonderful apartment and we both had careers—but the price of an oceanfront cottage, even the small cozy one I fell in love with, would’ve been way beyond our means.

But that didn’t stop me.

On our weekend jaunts to Montauk, I would wake at sunrise and walk a mile east from our hotel toward the lighthouse, a beach chair strapped across my back, a thermos of coffee, and a book in my beach bag. Then, I’d set up camp at the bottom of the steps leading up to my cottage. The wonderful thing about Montauk’s beaches was the fact that they had public access. You could own a multimillion dollar cottage on a cliff, but the beach belonged to everyone.

I never saw anyone coming down those twenty-seven steps. No one sat on the swing or stood on the deck gazing out at the Atlantic. I fantasized that the cottage was uninhabited, the family fighting over whether or not to sell. (Sell, darn it!) My husband thought I was bordering on the obsessive but I was determined to have my cozy four-room cottage. (I knew it had four rooms because I’d stalked a local real estate agent until she showed me photos of the no frills cottage from when it’d been sold years before.) I had all the realtors in town on speed dial, they had me on their blocked list.

One day, I opened my laptop, typed: BETTER HOMES AND CORPSES—A Hamptons Home and Garden Mystery. A few pages later, I got the cottage of my dreams. It was everything I’d imagined, right down to the flagstone fireplace, wide-planked wood floors, and a vintage turquoise fridge…

I got my cottage in Montauk without spending a dime.

~Kathleen

About The Author

Kathleen Bridge started her writing career working at the Michigan State University News in East Lansing, Michigan. She is the author and photographer of an antique reference guide, Lithographed Paper Toys, Books, and Games, and the author of Revenge of the Sports Widows—How to Cope with a Sports Fanatic. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and has taught creative writing classes at the William Cullen Bryant Library in Roslyn, New York. Kathleen is also an antiques dealer in Long Island, New York, and has contributed to Country Living magazine.

Find out more on her webpage here.

BETTER HOMES AND CORPSESBetter Homes and Corpses
(Hamptons Home & Garden Mystery)

Brand New Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – New York
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (August 4, 2015)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Marjorie Muns
Cover Design by Diane Kolsky
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425276587
E-Book ASIN: B00QH831XM
goodreads-badge-add-plusShop Indie Bookstores

 

After Meg Barrett found her fiancé still had designs on his ex-wife, she decided it was time to refurbish her life. Leaving her glamorous job at a top home and garden magazine, she fled Manhattan for Montauk, only to find decorating can sometimes lead to detecting…

In between scouring estate sales for her new interior design business, Cottages by the Sea, Meg visits the swanky East Hampton home of her old college roommate, Jillian Spenser. But instead of seeing how the other half lives—she learns how the other half dies. Jillian’s mother, known as the Queen Mother of the Hamptons, has been murdered. Someone has staged a coup.

When she helps a friend inventory the Spensers’ estate for the insurance company, Meg finds herself right in the thick of things. Cataloging valuable antiques and art loses its charm when Meg discovers that the Spenser family has been hiding dangerous secrets, which may have furnished a murderer with a motive. As Meg gets closer to the truth, the killer will do anything to paint her out of the picture…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I am really taken with this new protagonist. Meg Barrett has inherited a investigative gene from her dad, a retired police officer. And he may be retired but doesn’t mind using his connections to help her with her queries. She has left her job in Manhattan and is starting her own home decorating business in Montauk with the help of her friend Elle. A part of her past is in  Montauk  though. Her old college roommate, Jillian Spenser. It was only for one semester so when Jillian’s mother, the Queen Mother of the Hamptons, invites her to stop by their huge mansion she is quite surprised. When she arrives for her appointment she walks in to find Jillian on the floor cradling the Queen Mum’s very dead body. Jillian is a mess and making no sense. The police are called and an investigation is launched. At the same time the insurance company for the family hires Elle to inventory the home’s property to be sure nothing has been stolen. She asks Meg to help her and puts Meg in the perfect position to do a little investigating on her own.

This was a fun debut. The Spensers, their staff, and those that live on the property are quite an interesting bunch. Most are keeping something secret or hiding something. Just when I thought I figured out who had means, motive and opportunity there would be a twist that would knock my theory all out of whack. The ending turned out to be quite a surprise. I would say my speculations were about 10% right.

The Spenser home is quite a spectacular place. Four floors including an attic full of junk, a few treasures and a stuffed beast that would be gone so fast if I lived there. The living areas are beautifully furnished with the exception of Jillian’s room who had a rebellious streak and removed her antique furniture for things that were probably purchased at a discount store.

The author has a writing style that feel very familiar, a bit Christie – ish. She draws us in and holds us tight with a mystery that is ideally paced. She gives us detailed descriptions to set the time and the place and then she drops a clue here and a clue there as the reader follows along with Meg still trying to solve the mystery first.

This is a great start for the series. I am hoping to get to know Meg, her family and friends better in future installments. Meg is starting a new adventure and I can’t wait to see how it all turns out.

just you and a friend4 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

GIVEAWAY

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Leave a comment for Kathleen for 5 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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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.”

Jul 242015
 

trawling trouble large banner640

Trawling For Trouble
by Shelley Freydont

TRAWLINGTrawling for Trouble:
A Celebration Bay Mystery Novella

Cozy Mystery
Publisher: InterMix (July 21, 2015)
ASIN: B00NMPJ6XW
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Synopsis:

 

The author of Independence Slay is back as intrepid event planner Liv Montgomery discovers something fishy going on beneath Celebration Bay’s deceptively calm surface.

Liv Montgomery knew that asking Celebration Bay’s newspaper owner-slash-ne’er-do-well Chaz Bristow to teach her how to fish meant angling for more than a lesson in sinkers and chum. Like asking him to spearhead the fund raiser that’ll benefit the town’s community center. And there are worse ways to spend the afternoon than out on the town’s picturesque lake.

But it’s not long before Liv reels in a huge catch—already quite dead. It’s the body of an unknown man, and it was no accidental drowning. This floater was murdered. While local authorities investigate, it’s Liv and Chaz who stumble upon a shocking motive, and become live bait for a ruthless killer determined to keep his secrets down in the deep.

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Liv is taking a little break between celebrations and Chaz has decided to teach her how to fish. Well wouldn’t you know the only thing she catches is the pocket of a pair of jeans. A pocket still connected to the pants and still being worn by a very dead man.

Hold on tight because this mystery is very fast paced and pretty exciting. Chaz and Liv are chasing down clues as fast as they can and trying to protect the ones that they love at the same time. Whiskey does his best to help them both out. The author has packed these pages full with drama and action.

Freydont has given us a nice quick novella as we anxiously await the release of Trick or Deceit out September 1. She also includes preview of that and a preview of A Gilded Grave that will be out August 4.

just you and a friend

4 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

ShelleyNoble FinalV3 copyAbout the Author

 

Shelley Freydont is the author of the Liv Montgomery Celebration Bay Mysteries, Foul Play at the Fair, Silent Knife, Independence Slay as well as the Kate MacDonald Sudoku Mysteries and the Lindy Haggerty dance company mysteries, and the upcoming Newport Gilded Age Mysteries, beginning with A Gilded Grave (6/15)

As Shelley Noble, she is the NYTimes Best selling author of women’s fiction (Beach Colors, Stargazey Point, Breakwater Bay, and Whisper Beach as well as several novellas. A former professional dancer and choreographer, Shelley lives at the Jersey shore and loves puzzles, light houses and antique carousels. She also loves to hear from readers.

A former professional dancer and choreographer, she most recently worked on the films, Mona Lisa Smile and The Game Plan. Shelley is a member of Sisters-in-Crime, Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and Liberty States Fiction Writers.

For more about Shelley, please visit her website www.shelleyfreydont.com.

* Author Links

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Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/ShelleyFreydont

Amazonhttp://www.amazon.com/Shelley-Freydont/e/B001HCUVP4

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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.”

Apr 022015
 

garden of deathGarden of Death:
A Natural Remedies Mystery

3rd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – New York
Pocket Books (March 24, 2015)
A Division of Simon and Schuster, Inc.
Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1476748917
E-Book ISBN-13: 978-1476748917
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When a local doctor is found dead in Willow McQuade’s medicinal garden, she must find the killer to clear her boyfriend’s name in this third clever book in the Natural Remedies Mystery series.

Dr. Willow McQuade, owner of Nature’s Way Market & Café, has put the finishing touches on a new medicinal plant garden for Greenport’s annual Maritime Festival and is ready for the festivities to begin. But it’s not all flowers and sunshine at the grand opening, when Willow discovers the body of another contestant, Dr. Charles White, face down in her garden.

Willow’s hunky boyfriend, Jackson Spade, immediately becomes a suspect due to a recent fight with Dr. White. Willow knows she has to remedy the situation, but it won’t be easy with the other applicants’ vendettas and vandals wrecking her garden at every turn. And when she finds buried treasure in her garden that just might belong to the legendary Captain Kidd, the stakes become even higher. Was Dr. White searching for that treasure? Did someone kill him to get to it first? With the help of Jackson and her eccentric ex-boyfriend, Willow follows the clues to uncover the truth that someone wants buried…

But can she dig up enough evidence before she becomes the killer’s next victim?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Willow’s Market and Cafe sounds absolutely wonderful as does the new garden, sans the dead body, of course. She does spend a lot of time away though hunting down suspects and killers though. Thankfully most of her help is pretty dependable and she has her boyfriend, Jackson Spade, at her side, both at the shop and on the investigations. This time though he happens to be be the prime suspect.

I did enjoy the whole buried treasure and pirate theme. The Maritime Festival is an annual event in Greenport, hopefully there will be no one killed in the coming years but with a cozy set in a small town you just never know :)

An added treat is that each chapter tells us about a healing plant, like Aloe Vera, Evening Primose, and even Nettle.

Chrystle Fiedler has stepped things up with this installment. I felt the first 2 books were a little heavy on the homeopathic remedy education but she has really found a balance in her writing. While I liked those stories, I loved this one. Plenty of suspects and a very well developed plot made this a very fast read.

I disliked more than a few of the characters because of the way they treated Willow, you would have thought she had built some sort of eyesore instead of a beautiful garden. The characters rang true though as some people just stick together and act first before they have the facts and in this case it could land them in jail or worse.

I am anxious already for the next installment.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Chrystle-Fiedler-and-Wallander-her-Detective-Dachshund-11About This Author

I love natural remedies and I’ve been using them for as long as I can remember. When I was growing up, my mother practiced natural cures such as tea bag baths for sunburn, homeopathic remedies for colds and allergies, arnica oil for sprains and bruises and, of course, chicken soup with garlic was always a staple.

My interest in natural remedies continued after I graduated from Boston University with a degree in communications and subsequently dabbled in various vocations including advertising and television production in Hollywood. In 1998 I moved back to my hometown, Greenport, NY and set up my own writing business. I’d always wanted to be my own boss and write full-time.

My focus was, and is, health, and in particular alternative medicine which includes natural remedies. As a freelance journalist, I’ve written about natural cures for Natural Health, Mother Earth Living, Spirituality & Health, and Vegetarian Times, as for over five years I was the Good Nature columnist for Remedy magazine.

You can see my writing work here: https://chrystlefiedler.contently.com

Author Links

GIVEAWAYI am giving away my Advance Review Copy!!

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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.”

Mar 102015
 

flash and dazzle
Flash and Dazzle
 Contemporary Fiction
Setting: New York
Publisher: Story Plant, The; Reprint edition (November 5, 2013)
Trade Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1611880694
E-Book ASIN: B00CYNTXBS
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What happens when everything you thought was true changes all at once? What happens when each relationship that means anything to you suddenly becomes far more real than you ever thought it would be? What happens when every moment becomes invaluable as all of them pass far too quickly?

Flash and Dazzle is the story of two friends who have known the best of times who develop a true taste for life during the worst of times. It is the story of the friends and lovers who enter their orbit, some for a long time and some only for a moment. It is the story of legacies, burdens, and the kinds of secrets that are only revealed when there’s nothing left to tell.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

A friendship like one “Flash” and “Daz” have is rare.  They meet in college and basically inseparable. But they have their secrets. In the course of this story we earn those secrets and so much more.

Lou Aronica writes a really good story and has created characters a reader can genuinely care about. It makes me wonder if he had a friendship like this.

This book was not exactly what I expected it to be. It took bit a little bit to get into the story but once I did I was almost afraid for it to end because I knew what was coming. I understand the cover now after reading the story but it was a bit misleading. I also think that is just what the author intended.

I do not want to give anything away because I hate when people do that but there is a very serious issue and the way these friends deal with it is very moving. I would have liked a little more depth in a few places but this is a solid story. It may have you looking at your relationships with some of the people in your life a little differently.

just you and a friend4 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 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.

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

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

Contest Will End March 24, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

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

Feb 252015
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am so happy to have former Wisconsinite Mary Ellen Hughes drop by for a visit!

Mary Ellen Hughes author pic

My Ten Favorite Things about Writing License to Dill

Starting a new series is always exciting, but it’s also plenty of hard, intensive work. There’s so many decisions to make, such as where to set it, who your characters will be, their relationships, and so on, which is what I went through with The Pickled Piper, book #1 of my Pickled and Preserved mystery series. After careful thought, I chose upstate New York as my setting and named my fictional town Cloverdale. I sent my twenty-nine year old principal character, Piper Lamb, there from Albany after she ended her going-nowhere engagement. And I put Piper’s Aunt Judy and Uncle Frank on a nearby farm, gave Piper a great assistant for her pickling shop, and introduced Piper to Will, a handsome Christmas tree farmer. So all the important decisions were made with book #1.

Book #2, License to Dill, by comparison, turned out to be a breeze. Everything was set up and ready to go! All I needed to do was write the mystery (“all” she added, laughingly). But having already done the ground work, I could now relax and focus on the plot, which became the first of my…

Ten Favorite Things About Writing License to Dill :
1. My characters, after a couple of weeks of rest, were super-eager for action. They practically snatched the pages from me to get back to work.

2. Piper and her new boyfriend, Will, had progressed beyond the awkward getting-to-know-you stage and were pretty happy and comfortable with each other.

3. Of course, I couldn’t let that continue, so I brought Piper’s ex-fiancé, Scott, back from his travels, and he decided to settle in Cloverdale. (Uh-oh.)

4. I imported an entire soccer team of handsome young men from Italy to challenge Cloverdale’s All-Stars, which meant writing exciting soccer scenes. I now understand the game much better!

5. The Italian team’s coach and manager occasionally spoke Italian. With the help of a Italian-born friend, I learned several useful Italian phrases and sometimes found myself writing with an Italian accent!

6. Since a dill field figures importantly in the murder, I learned—and shared in the book—quite a bit about growing and using fresh dill. I could practically smell that wonderful weed as I typed.

7. Since Piper makes all the pickles and preserves for her shop herself (with the help of her assistant, Amy), I kept various pickles on hand, because writing pickling scenes was sure to bring on a craving.

8. Piper spends plenty of time with her Aunt Judy and Uncle Frank at their farm. Whenever Piper drove up, Jack, their mixed-breed dog went crazy with excitement. I, unfortunately, am allergic to dogs, but I could enjoy petting Jack vicariously through Piper—with no sneezes!

9. While looking into the murder, Piper meets several people in the Cloverdale area with new-to-me occupations. I particularly loved writing about the chainsaw sculptor and will have to seriously consider bringing him back some day.

10. After spending months with Piper and all the people of Cloverdale in The Pickled Piper, I became pretty fond of them. (Well, most of them. There was, after all, a murderer in the mix.) But writing License to Dill was like going to a reunion—lots of fun getting reacquainted with everyone. But I do hope they’ve forgiven me by now for what I’ve put them through…

~Mary Ellen

About The Author

Mary Ellen Hughes is the author of the Craft Corner mystery series – WREATH OF DECEPTION, STRING OF LIES, and PAPER-THIN ALIBI – as well as the Maggie Olenski mysteries – RESORT TO MURDER and A TASTE OF DEATH.

She has also authored several short stories, including THE WOMAN ON THE TRAIN, and short mysteries included in the Chesapeake Crimes and Tales from the Backlist anthologies.

A transplanted Wisconsinite, Mary Ellen now lives in Maryland where she is excited to be working on her new Pickled and Preserved mystery series beginning with THE PICKLED PIPER.

license to dillLicense to Dill
(Pickled and Preserved Mystery)

2nd Book in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – New York
Release Date: February 3, 2015
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Chris O’Leary
Cover Design by Karen Oberrender
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425262467
E-Book ASIN: B00NUMIDHC
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Piper Lamb knows how to make fruits and vegetables keep for months. Unfortunately, it’s the people around her who are expiring too soon…

After her fiancé left her, Piper came to Cloverdale to rebuild her life and open up her shop, Piper’s Picklings, to sell pickles and preserves. When her ex decides to drop in for a visit—just as things are heating up between her and a local Christmas tree farmer—Piper finds herself in a jam.

But there are other visitors to worry about…

An Italian soccer team is set to play the Cloverdale All-Stars in an exhibition game. Their manager, Raffaele Conti, was a bitter rival of Piper’s dill supplier, local farmer Gerald Standley. After Conti is found dead in Standley’s field, Piper must work to clear Gerald’s name and find out who relished killing Raffaele before the town is soured by another death.

INCLUDES RECIPES!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I knew that darn Scott was going to be trouble when he appeared in Cloverdale at the end of The Pickled Piper and he is sticking around too, renting an office just down the street from Piper’s store. Piper does her best to fully explain to him their relationship is over, but Scott does not give up. Thankfully Will is a patient man but Scott just keeps popping up everywhere, even at the exhibition soccer game where he wedges himself into the seat closest to Piper. When the manager of the Italian team is killed he even tries to help Piper catch the killer. Piper truly has herself in a pickle as she tries to clear her friend’s name and make it clear to Scott she has moved on.

I love Piper, she is really making herself at home in Cloverdale. She still visits her Uncle Frank and Aunt Judy often but is branching out making new friends and her relationship with Will was moving at a nice pace. She made me laugh out loud several times and caused me to worry about her too as she finds herself in more than a bit of trouble.

Mary Ellen Hughes has given readers a nice treat by adding a few hunky Italian soccer players to the story. The way she tied this into the whole plot is very interesting and gives us a barrel full of suspects.

The story has a wonderful mystery, fun characters, a nice romantic subplot and the perfect amount of humor. I am already looking forward to my next visit to Cloverdale!!

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

GIVEAWAY

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Leave a comment for Mary Ellen 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 March 11, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

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

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