Mar 092017
 

Purr M For Murder
by T.C. LoTempio

Starting Out as a Writer – Five Things You Should Know
by Toni LoTempio

One thing I hear a lot from new writers is what to expect, particularly if they are lucky enough to land an agent and even luckier to get offered a publishing contract.  Here are some points every writer should know:

#1: Writing is a job, like anything else, and requires commitment.  Whether you’re lucky enough to do it full time, or juggle it with a day job, you’re going to be at that computer at odd hours,on weekends,holidays, etc,  what with deadlines, edits, etc.  Your family and friends won’t understand deadlines or edits or why you seem to be glued to that chair and can’t make Aunt Louise’s 45th wedding anniversary party, but if you want to be successful, it’s vital you invest the time to make it so.  Sadly, the books don’t write themselves – they require time, patience and commitment.

#2: Whether you are traditionally or self-published, I can’t stress enough the importance of online presence.  In order for people to want to buy your book, they’ve got to know who you are and what you have to offer.  Get on Facebook, Twitter,Pinterest, LinkedIn, anywhere you can. Start a blog and begin to grow an audience.  Establish yourself as a writer/author with a good, solid fanbase.  Sales are the bottom line in publishing, and the only way to get sales is to entrench yourself with a solid fanbase. (Kind of like Kirstie Alley on Dancing with the Stars) J

#3:   Also in conjunction with #2 – Promotion is a dirty word, but it’s got to be done.  There’s a fine line between promotion and overkill, so be careful.   Grow your presence, don’t use Facebook, Twitter or your blog solely to self-promote your books.  Make Promotion a part of your online presence, rather than the focal point, or you may lose followers. Readers want to know something about you – your likes,dislikes, etc. It makes you “real” to them.  Out of these online “friendships” grow loyal followers!

#4:   Think before you post. You have opinions, sure, but don’t post anything on any social network about topics that are sure to anger someone. You don’t want to lose readers because you support a different Presidential candidate or on opposite sides of a timely issue, like birth control.  It’s just simpler to keep your views out of the public eye and keep a low profile.

#5:  If you haven’t already, grow a thick skin.  When you put your work out there, it’s only natural some will love it and others will hate it,and still others wont’ care one way or the other.  You’ll get glowing reviews and you’ll get others so bad you’ll want to crawl in a hole and pull it in after you.  Just remember – you can please some of the people some of the time, but not all of them all the time. Different tastes are what make up a world – just live and let live and get concentrating on your next book!

~Toni

Purr M for Murder: A Cat Rescue Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – North Carolina
Crooked Lane Books (March 14, 2017)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683310921
Kindle ASIN: B01N6P3WYP

Sydney McCall left behind an ex-fiancé and a New York advertising job to return home to Deer Park, North Carolina and help her sister, Kat, run the local animal shelter, Friendly Paws. Determined to save the shelter from financial trouble, Sydney and Kat organize a cat café fundraising event at a local coffee shop. Things are looking up until their landlord, Trowbridge Littleton, threatens to shut down the event. When Sydney drops by his art gallery to make peace, she finds Kat–along with Littleton’s dead body.

Local homicide detective Will Worthington–who just happens to be Sydney’s old high school crush–is highly suspicious of the sisters’ involvement. Desperate to clear their names from the suspect list, Sydney pounces on the investigation. With the help of one of the shelter cats, a savvy orange tabby named Toby, Sydney begins poking her nose into other local businesses whose owners may have benefited from Littleton’s death–until the killer notices she’s pawing a little too closely at the truth.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Purr M for Murder is a marvelous start for this new series!

Sydney McCall has come back to Deer Park to help her sister Kat do some major fundraising and promotion for the local animal shelter. Almost everyone is happy about their first scheduled fundraising event. Trowbridge Littleton is making a major fuss and wants the whole thing shutdown. You would think since he is their landlord he would be supportive. The girls make a plan to meet with him and try to convince him the project is a great idea. When Syd arrives at his gallery the next morning she finds Kat already there. She also finds their landlord dead.

Syd gets another surprise when the police show up. One of the detectives is Will Worthington, is her old high school crush. She is not sure if this is a good or a bad thing because his partner clearly thinks the sisters, specifically Kat, is the prime suspect. So with a little assistance of that darling cat on the cover Sydney is pawing around trying to find plenty of alternative suspects and save her sister but she is also putting herself in danger.

I loved everything about this story.  Friendly Paws Animal Shelter , a no-kill shelter, not only has friendly animals but friendly owners and volunteers. Their idea of bringing adoptable cats to a friend’s coffee shop for a pop up event sounds like so much fun. The entire town with the exception of Trowbridge Littleton seems to embrace the idea. But we find he is not a favorite with the community. There are many that are not too upset or surprised that the man is dead. The author gives us an abundance of suspects including his wife, his business partner and all of his tenants. Each character is unique and very enjoyable. They are all believable and the dialogue is spot on.

Now let me tell you about Toby. A handsome orange tabby who is a bit of a wanderer. Kat believes he is searching for his purrfect human companion and she thinks that may be Sydney. His wandering is a bit mysterious as he shows up in some unusual places. By the end of the story we see what a truly fantastic feline he is and if he does find his furr-ever home.

The pace of this book is quick. The mystery is well written and has several surprising twists taking us to a very exciting ending. There are some romantic sparks and funny scenes too. Add in the frisky felines and cuddly canines and you have a cozy mystery the will have you meowing for more. I can’t wait for the next book in this series!

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author…..

While Toni Lotempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic.  She (and ROCCO, albeit he’s uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime – the first volume, MEOW IF ITS MURDER, debuted Dec. 2, 2014. Followed by #2, CLAWS FOR ALARM.   #3, CRIME AND CATNIP, was released in December. She, Rocco and Maxx make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York. Catch up with them at www.tclotempio.net and www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com

Where to find them:

ROCCO’s blog      Website     Facebook 

Twitter: @RoccoBlogger

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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.”

Oct 062016
 

putting on the witch extra large banner
Putting on the Witch
by Joyce and Jim Lavene

I have been awaiting this book with a little trepidation. These were some of the last words written by these amazing authors. We lost Joyce almost a year ago and then Jim back in May, but a single day does not pass that I don’t think of them. At first I was unsure about these paranormal stories they were writing. Ghosts and zombies were just not my thing, but Joyce convinced to give her Ren Faire Mysteries a try and I loved them. Soon she had me head over heels for a ghostly fire chief in the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mysteries, and she almost had me convinced to try their Purple Door Detective Agency books, which I will probably still do because I have loved everything they have written.  I am so thankful that we have all these fantastic stories to read because that way they will always live on and when I need my Lavene book fix they will always be nearby. Also with all these paranormal things I am thinking maybe there are a couple of ghostly mystery writers floating among us with just a little mischief in their eyes. 

PUTTING ON THE WITCHPutting on the Witch (Retired Witches Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – North Carolina
Berkley (October 4, 2016)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425268278
E-Book – ASIN: B01AHKXHTS
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Synopsis

With their coven’s spell book still missing, Molly and Elsie—along with their ghostly friend Olivia, her daughter Dorothy, and her boyfriend Brian—are all on edge, especially now that Dorothy’s infamously wicked father is back in the picture. So when they receive an invitation to an exclusive Witches Ball, the ladies jump at the chance to dress up and have some fun.

The castle locale is spectacular and the party is hopping, but the festivities come to a swift end when a member of the Grand Council of Witches is murdered. With the whole place on lock down, the coven is determined to find the cunning killer, even with an angry council and a real Spanish Inquisitor breathing down their necks…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Joyce and Jim Lavene had imaginations that were truly out of this world and it was in full force in this 3rd installment of the Retired Witch Mysteries.

Molly, Elsie, Dorothy, Brian and Olivia are all back and we meet Drago, Dorothy’s father. The coven is invited to Brian’s birthday party, a party even Brian doesn’t usually attend but the other witches all convince him to go. They all need a little fun especially with the wicked Drago lurking around. The event is at a very special castle and the whole Grand Council of Witches are in attendance. In fact, one of the council ends up dead and it gets crazy…

This was a book I truly escaped right into, a world of make believe had me leave reality in the dust within seconds after opening the cover.

The castle setting was both enchanting and eerie – an immense space where stairs and hallways appear and disappear, filled with hidden rooms and spaces, a wonderful library and more. The drinks were flowing and there was fine food to eat. The place was packed with witches of all kinds, water witches, fire witches, air and earth witches. It would have been a fabulous party if that darn murder hadn’t occurred.

I have loved the main characters from the moment we met, just 3 witches wanting to retire and hand their spellbook off to a new set of witches and since then so much has happened. Retiring is always a huge change but for these witches it is no simple feat and we were allowed to travel with them all along the way.

This story is so much more than a cozy mystery. It is about friendship and family and all the dedication and devotion that goes along with that. Each character is unique. Every place from their shop, Smuggler’s Arcane, to the enormous castle is vividly described.  The plots and subplots are more than well written, they are MAGICAL times infinity.

I believe Jim finished this story on his own, something he hadn’t done since they started writing together. He dedicates the book to Joyce and you can tell he worked hard to get everything just right. I could feel his heart beating in these words, he may have had a little spiritual assistance too, but I know it was probably one of the hardest things to do after she passed away. The cozy community was truly blessed by their presence and they will always live on through their stories. I hope they are looking down upon us and see the joy their writing has brought to so many.

paradise 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

I just love this picture of Joyce and Jim

I just love this picture of Joyce and Jim

 

About The Authors

Joyce and Jim Lavene wrote award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. They had written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon, and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. Joyce passed away October 20, 2015 and Jim passed on May 5, 2016. They are missed by family, friends and their many fans.

 


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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.”

Aug 232016
 

Wedding Bell Blues is Ruth Moose’s sequel to her winning debut, featuring her colorful array of characters and more laughs and hilarity.

wedding bell blues
Wedding Bell Blues: A Dixie Dew Mystery
(A Beth McKenzie Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – North Carolina
Minotaur Books (August 23, 2016)
Hardcover: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1250067418
E-Book ASIN: B00S59A1RK
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Beth McKenzie, owner of the Dixie Dew Bed and Breakfast, is enjoying an exciting affair with her new love, Scott. Meanwhile, the town of Littleboro, North Carolina is abuzz with gossip about Crazy Reba’s upcoming nuptials. Most brides go crazy at some point, but Littleboro’s resident homeless lady has had a head start: she’s beloved, indulged, and most of all, eccentric. But at almost 60―or thereabouts―her marriage seems a little peculiar. Sure, she’s sporting a diamond big enough to choke a horse, but no one can tell if it’s real, or just a Cracker Jack prize she pilfered from a yard sale.

Crazy Reba’s wedding plans go confirmedly awry when the bride-to-be is arrested for her fiancé’s murder. Beth, determined to clear Reba’s name, gets in over her head when a lady wrestler who threatened to kill her books a room at the Dixie Dew, and Robert Redford, her neighbor’s white rabbit, disappears.

Then Littleboro’s First Annual Green Bean Festival gets up and running, a famous food writer becomes deathly ill, and Beth must battle through madcap mayhem to apprehend the culprit and save the day.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I jumped right into this book after reading Doing It At The Dixie Dew, the first book in this series, so everything was fresh in my mind. We arrive in town just in time for the First Annual Green Bean Festival. Plus one of the quirkiest residents of Littleboro is a homeless woman named Reba. The call her Crazy Reba, I say peculiar is putting it mildly. Short of having her move in with one of them permanently they all watch out for her. Well it appears she thinks she is getting married and she has the bling on her finger to prove it. Beth and some of the other locals help her have a dress and veil and even a local minister is on board. They think before her big day arrives she will have moved on to something else, like she usually does. Instead Beth receives a frantic call that results in Reba being arrested for her betrothed murder. Beth has her hands full this time trying to get Reba out of jail, green beans, and so much more.

All the characters I wanted to get to know better are back but there is still so much more room to grow. Beth and Scott’s relationship has gone to another level but neither knows what to call it or where they are headed. We learn one of Beth neighbor’s has a huge problem but Beth with Scott’s assistance they just may be able to help her. We also meet some other characters who fit right into the fabric of life in Littleboro. A very eclectic bunch.

Ruth Moose has created a wonderful sequel with a very clever mystery filled with a heap of humor and Southern charm, but seriously, a GREEN BEAN FESTIVAL!! Oh my, I am definitely not a fan, but she makes it work. Who knew you could do so much with green beans? I know that bean and fried onions thing my mom used to make at Thanksgiving, but was surprised at the recipes these people came up with. The mystery took many turns and there were move than a few laugh out loud moments. Such an entertaining read

I really loved this story and I hope the author keeps the series going, this time books one and two were over 25 years apart, I hope we don’t have to wait that long again. Now that I have found you Ruth I can’t wait to see what you come up with next. I also need to know what happens to my fictional friends.

perfect 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Check out Ruth’s Webpage Here and on Facebook Here.

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I am giving away my Hardcover Review Copy!

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with a US or Canadian mailing address.
Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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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.”

Aug 192016
 

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 am so excited to be reviewing books again for Flashback Friday!
This book was actually on my wish list when the publicist contacting about reviewing the 2nd book in the series. She made my day when she offered to send me both. So be sure to come back next Tuesday for my review of Wedding Bell Blues!

doing it at the dixie dew
Doing It at the Dixie Dew:
(A Beth McKenzie Mystery)

1st in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – North Carolina
Minotaur Books (May 6, 2014)
ISBN-13: 978-1250046383
E-Book ASIN: B00GET8T8Q
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Who says you can’t go home again?

When Beth McKenzie returns to her hometown and attempts to turn an old Southern mansion into a bed and breakfast called The Dixie Dew, her first guest is murdered. Three days later a young priest who looks better in tennis whites than cleric black is found strangled in his chapel. The whole town of Littleboro is turned upside down, inside out, and Ossie Delbardo, the town cop whose job heretofore mainly involved controlling football traffic on Friday nights, is not cut out to solve the murders. Beth fears her newly opened B&B is in danger of failing. She’s even more worried that she is Ossie’s number one suspect. Aided by her friend from high school and trusty handyman, she sets out to discover the truth of the murders.

Littleboro has its share of characters, some of which are helpful and others misleading. There’s Crazy Reba who lives in a tree, bathes in any bathtub she finds empty, and Dumpster dives; Verna, the town know-it-all and affectionate owner of Robert Redford, a huge white rabbit; and Miss Tempie Merritt, music teacher and organist who always wears hat, gloves, and lace-trimmed white socks. When Beth herself is attacked, there’s no more time for baking muffins and stenciling pineapples on the porch. She’s in a race to uncover her neighbors’ secrets before her hometown becomes her burial ground.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Doing It at the Dixie Dew is a divine debut!

Our first home was right next to a PBP (Pepto Bismol Pink) house so the cover grabbed by attention right away. Then when I had the book in my hands and started reading about Beth McKenzie returning to Littleboro, North Carolina, because her grandmother was dying I was drawn right in. She made sure her “Mama Alice” had the best of care until she passed. That left Beth with an old Southern Mansion that needed a lot of work and not enough money to do it all. But she got enough done to open a B&B and The Dixie Dew became a reality.

Lavinia Lovingood arrived as the first guest but sadly she checked out early and permanently from this earth the next day. Three days later a young priest is murdered and we learn Lavinia’s death was murder too! Not a great start for The Dixie Dew. Enter Ossie Delbardo, cop without a clue. Littleboro has a very low crime rate and because Beth is newly back in town it has be all her fault. Well hold on tight, she is not taking is accusations ans insinuations lightly. She will find out whodunit x 2 all on her own.

Classic small town and some of the characters take quirky to an all time high. The basically normal folks include Beth, of course. Ida Plum had known Mama Alice for years and basically hires herself to help Beth with the B&B.  Beth’s contractor is in her corner and willing to help in any way he can. For me he sounds like one “McDreamy” of a guy who wears a tool belt. The rest I will leave for you to read about and classify.

This is a book full of Southern charm and funny moments. The plot ebbed and flowed naturally as Beth pondered and wandered to get the clues to fall in place.  But there were some places where I sat up straight and gripped the book tightly, almost holding my breath until things were resolved for those moments and then again as everything fell into place for Beth at a very scary time and place. My heart was actually racing and for just a second I thought there was going to be a horrible twist. Thankfully I was completely wrong.

I was so surprised to learn the author wrote this story 27 years ago. It had won the Malice Domestic St.Martin’s Press Award for first novel. Then in 2014, she updated it and it was released in the form available today. Next Tuesday, Wedding Bell Blues, will be released picking up where this story left off.  For those of you that have waited all those years to return to Littleboro, your wait is almost over. I am so lucky because I get to read them back to back.

perfect 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Check out Ruth’s Webpage Here and on Facebook Here.

GIVEAWAY

I am giving away my Hardcover 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.

New – Click the Like Button at the top of this post for a Bonus Entry.

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End September 2, 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.”

Jul 092016
 

grace sees red

Grace Sees Red
(A Manor House Mystery)

7th in Series
Cozy Mysteries
Setting – North Carolina
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (June 28, 2016)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425281628
E-Book ASIN: B016JPTLDQ
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Grace Wheaton, curator and manager of Marshfield Manor, and her benefactor, Bennett Marshfield, are discussing how to help her roommates Bruce and Scott with their wine shop troubles when Grace’s trusted—if testy—assistant, Frances, calls, saying she needs some assistance of her own. Arriving at the address Frances has given them, they find a coroner’s van and police cars parked outside an upscale assisted-living facility called Indwell.

One of the elderly residents has been found dead under suspicious circumstances, and Frances, seen arguing with the man earlier that day, is now a person of interest. It’s up to Grace to clear her assistant’s name and find the real killer—before another Indwell resident checks out early…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Oh this story was sooooooo goooooood!

In this installment the action takes place away from Marshfield Manor. Grace’s assistant, Frances needs help. We finally get a close look at Frances’ life away from work and it was quite surprising. Also Grace’s roommates, Bruce and Scott have a major problem and it could be the end of their business.

I love these characters. The relationship between Bennett and Grace always warms my heart and now that the news is out that they truly are related there are many new t’s to cross and i’s to dot. They are both amazing people. The world needs more people like them. I loved that Frances was front and center in this story and I always enjoy catching up with Scott and Bruce.

Hyzy introduces us to a great group of quirky characters as we venture to Indwell, an assisted living facility. We meet patients, their families, staff and even a couple of local detectives. The descriptions made it so easy to picture every one of them. They sure are an interesting bunch.

The mystery this time was quite puzzling. Several twists had me changing my mind on the real culprit too many times to count. As we neared the conclusion I could see I was completely wrong and I was totally surprised.

When you reach the 7th book in a series the characters have become comfortable. As a reader you are engaged from the start and totally invested into finding out what happens next. That is so true for this series. Frances may not be the easiest woman to get along with but I was thrilled to know more about her personal life. I am excited to see what the author has planned for my fictional friends in upcoming installments.

Each visit to Emberstowne passes too quickly. Of course that is because the story keeps those pages flying. As usual I read this one all in one sitting.

I highly recommend everything Julie Hyzy writes and this story is a prime example as to why.

perfect 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About Julie Hyzy

Julie Hyzy is the New York Times bestselling author of the White House Chef Mysteries and the Manor House Mysteries. She’s won the Anthony, Barry, Derringer, and Lovey Awards for her novels and short stories. Her first Manor House Mystery, Grace Under Pressure, earned a Starred Review from Publishers Weekly. Find out more about Julie Hyzy and her books on her webpage here.




GIVEAWAY
Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 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 JULY 23, 2016 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

May 062016
 

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.

My reading schedule was all messed up last year
and I was unable to read and review this book then.

played by the book
Played by the Book (A Novel Idea Mystery)
4th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – North Carolina
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (February 3, 2015)
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Art by Julia Green
Cover Design by Lesley Worrell
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425276631
E-Book ASIN: B00LMGK52O
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The owner of the Novel Idea Literary Agency is thrilled when former local boy and popular television show host Damian York returns to Inspiration Valley, North Carolina, to launch his new gardening book. But Lila is less than excited about the hubbub when she sees her mounting to-do list. Between planning York’s gala and sprucing up her yard for another event, she’s spread too thin—especially after she finds a skull buried in her flowerbeds.

As Lila’s macabre discovery leads to other secrets hidden in Inspiration Valley’s past, a member of the local garden club is found slumped over her prize roses—murdered. Now it’s up to Lila to dig through old mysteries and new clues to unearth a murderer before someone else is found pushing up daisies…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Lila Wilkens has my dream job.  I would even love to do a bit of sleuthing.

We return to Inspiration Valley for the 4th time and Lila is helping to organize a grand affair to help launch Damian York’s new gardening book. As part of the event Lila’s own garden is to be featured but when she is pulling out some old shrubs she makes a terrible discovery. A human skull, thought to be a young woman. As if that isn’t enough across town another woman is found dead/murdered in her garden. So in addition to her workload Lila now needs to get down and dirty to solve an old mystery and a new one.

The first three books in this series were written by a writing team of Ellery Adams and Sylvia May. Susan Furlong becomes Lucy Arlington for this story and I truthfully didn’t notice much of a change in writing style, which is good, but not an easy feat, so kudos to Ms. Furlong.

I really enjoyed the behind the scenes look at an book agent’s job and the joy Lily has when she can tell an author she has sold their book to a publisher. Then the way she helps their stories shine with some really good advice and nurturing. In a time when big publishers are cutting back on their cozy mystery contacts Lila gives us insight to the publishing process. I just hope this series continues to survive the cuts.

I really treasure the relationship Lila has with her son Trey. I will not lie, it made me miss my son Kris a lot.

In addition to the mysteries there is some romance with Sean and Lila and Makayla and Jay. Sean may not be moving fast enough in the direction Lila would like but Jay has pulled out all the stops to move his relationship with Makayla forward.

The mysteries themselves are very interesting. Are the connected in some way? or is it just a coincidence that the skull/skeleton was found as another murder happened. Lila wants to get justice for the young girl buried on her property but she is also invested in finding the killer that left a garden club member smelling her roses for the last time.

I was completely captivated by this cozy. We are given just a little tease for the next what to expect for Lila in the next installment. The good thing about reviewing this book right now is that Off the Books was released this past February and it on my shelf calling me. I see some juggling in my reading schedule happening soon. 

perfect 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author

Lucy Arlington is the pen name of Susan Furlong. The concept for the Novel Idea Mysteries was originated by the New York Times bestselling author Ellery Adams and Sylvia May. Together, they penned the first three novels of the series. Susan continues their legacy with the new books in the series. Susan also writes the Georgia Peach Mysteries.


GIVEAWAYI 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 May 20, 2016 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

May 022016
 

I just love this picture of Joyce and Jim

This year Jim Lavene is re-releasing the first series he and Joyce wrote together.

In January, Last Dance, the first Sharyn Howard Mystery was released again.

When the prom queen is found brutally murdered, Sheriff Sharyn Howard recalls that a similar murder occurred on the night of her prom ten years ago. Her father was the sheriff of Diamond Springs, and the man he sent to prison for the murder now sits on death row awaiting his execution. But Sharyn’s convinced there are too many similarities between the two murders and that the true killer is still at large.

Her move to reopen the first case pits her against the community and her mother, who feels she’ll destroy her father’s reputation in the process. But Sharyn is determined to discover the truth and catch the real killer before he can strike again.

Last Month, Book 2 – One Last Goodbye – returned.
Sheriff Sharyn Howard has her hands full. The county commission wants to cut her staff. Colonel John Metzger wants his brother’s killer yesterday. And the Navy wants to be sure she comes up with the “right” answers to the town’s new mystery.

Add to that a lovesick deputy and her mother dating Senator Caison Talbot, one of Sharyn’s least favorite people.

But what really has her puzzled is the mystery everyone in town is talking about. Someone shot WWII Navy Captain William “Billy” Bost as he dipped his plane’s wings to his sweetheart. The secret’s been hidden for over half a century. Is it possible that the person who killed Billy Bost, Diamond Springs’ most famous hero, is also the same person who killed the Pulitzer prize-winning author looking for the truth?

Tomorrow Book 3 – The Last To Remember – Will land on e-readers everywhere.
On one of the stormiest, busiest night of the year, a prominent businessman stumbles into the sheriff’s office, confessing to a 40-year-old murder. Just a few hours later he’s found hanging from the ceiling of the conference room. The district attorney is soon on the warpath and all the clues point to one man.

Sheriff Sharyn Howard begins to search for the key to unlock a secret shared by three men for forty years. A district court judge, a prominent businessman, and her own deputy, Ernie Watkins, believe that they were responsible for a child’s death at the old Jefferson Training School for Boys when they were just teenagers.

But now someone is after all the men, and it’s up to Sheriff Howard to unravel 40 years of cover-ups, blackmail, lies, and guilt. But with so many suspects and such little time, can she find the real killer before an innocent man is convicted of murder or before the real killer can stalk and kill his prey?

joyceI was so honored to have Joyce Lavene as a friend. We never met in person but our lives met through the computer screens. It is a wonderful tribute to both her and Jim to have these stories released again. I know Joyce is smiling in heaven as we enjoy her stories. It brings her close to us that knew her and introduces her work to so many new fans. If you haven’t read this series, now is the perfect time to start. If you are like me you will be reading them again for pure enjoyment. Just click on the covers to order.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Mar 042016
 

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.

Going way back for this one off of my To-Be-Read shelf!

slice of murder
A Slice of Murder
(Pizza Lover’s Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – North Carolina
Kensington (August 1, 2009)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0758229489
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0758229496
E-Book ASIN: B003IYI7PU
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Not too much happens in the sleepy little town of Timber Ridge, North Carolina–which is fine with pizza-purveyor extraordinaire Eleanor Swift. The spunky owner of A Slice of Delight is trying to mend her broken heart and could use a little quiet time. But when a late night delivery customer turns up dead, she’s in for just the opposite in this delicious mystery series debut, featuring pizza as the prima character . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I have read several books by this author, under his many pseudonyms, (Tim Myers, Casey Mayes, Melissa Glazer) so I knew would like this story.

Eleanor Swift and her husband owned A Slice of Delight. He has passed away and she and her sister now run the pizza joint with the help of a few part-timers. Eleanor takes a late pizza order and delivers it on her way home. But when she arrives at the address the door is ajar and her customer is dead on the floor. She does the right thing and calls 911 but when the police arrive she becomes the prime suspect. Before she loses everything she and her husband worked so hard for she needs to catch the real killer and knock the pepperoni out of them.

I love pizza and I bet you do too. This tasty mystery will delight your mind and put your taste buds on high alert.  Ellie is a wonderful woman still trying to get used to life without her husband and several people think she needs to be out there dating. She has one admirer that practically begs to date her on a daily basis. Her sister, Maddy, is pushing her to accept but with a murder on her plate she doesn’t have time to think about dating. The police chief happens to be an old boyfriend from her younger days and she can’t believe he honestly thinks she could kill someone. His son even works for her or at least he did before this investigation when his dad made him quit. He was one angry teenager when that happened. So with some help from Maddy they start the own investigation and what they find is quite surprising. Now if they can just get her old flame to open his eyes to what really happened she can get back to serving some of the best pizzas in town.

Cavender has a great grasp on these characters. Ellie struggle to move on feels very real and her relationship with her sister is very believable. Police chief Kevin Hurley and the rest of the residents of Timber Ridge that actually thought Ellie was guilty really surprised me. I am glad she had some support and others came around to realize her true nature. But not the police chief.  For me the jury is still out on him. This being the first book in the series I am holding out hope that he is better at his job in the future.

We were given a good mystery to solve. Several twists but I figured this one out a bit before Ellie. I did enjoy the way it all played out.

I love this pizza theme for a series. Each time Ellie knuckled out that dough, loaded on the toppings and sending those pizzas through the oven my mouth was watering.

Will definitely be reading the next book in the series, Pepperoni Pizza Can Be Murder, soon.

enjoyable 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author

CHRIS CAVENDER is the pseudonym for an Agatha Award Nominated Author who has appeared on the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association national bestseller list multiple times.

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Contest Will End March 18, 2016 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Nov 202015
 

WRITING ALL WRONGSWriting All Wrongs
(A Books by the Bay Mystery)

7th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – North Carolina
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (November 3, 2015)
An Imprint of Penguin Ransom House LLC
Cover Illustration by Kimberly Schamber
Cover Design by Rita Frangie
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425270844
E-Book ASIN: B00SI026LU
goodreads-badge-add-plusShop Indie Bookstores

The New York Times bestselling author of Lethal Letters returns to the North Carolina Coast, where aspiring novelist and amateur sleuth Olivia Limoges discovers crime doesn’t take a vacation . . 
 
After Olivia and Chief Rawlings enjoy a brief honeymoon on Palmetto Island, they’re joined by the rest of the Bayside Book Writers for the Coastal Carolina Crime Festival. The festival’s highlight is Silas Black, celebrity screenwriter and television producer, who is currently working on a popular television show in North Carolina.

As the festival gets under way, a trickster seems to be bringing famous local ghost stories to life. But when the body of a woman close to Black is found on the beach, Olivia and her friends must deduce who on the island could resort to murder—before the sands of time run out for someone else…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Olivia and Chief Rawlings are finding the way in the marriage department. They were both used to their alone time and solitary space. Hard to learn how to live with a person day in and day out when you are pretty set in your ways, but I have faith they will work everything out. Taking a honeymoon on Palmetto Island seems like a good start. They are joined after a couple of days by their friends, the Bayside Book Writers, as the Coastal Carolina Crime Festival starts. Celebrity, Silas Black, is the main draw to the festival but when local ghost stories start to come to life and a woman is found dead on the beach the fun the group was having comes to an end. When the main suspect is someone they know it’s all hands on deck to find the real killer.

Ellery Adams takes her characters on a bit of vacation and where they go trouble seems to follow. Palmetto Island sounds like a beautiful place. I can understand the residents wanting to keep part of the island in its original state and the anger as another developer comes in to put up another hotel. The character of Jan is not afraid to protest or rile people up to protect the habitat. We also meet a man who lived his whole life, 90 years, on Palmetto Island. He is quite a storyteller too. Adams draws such dynamic characters, new and old and even dogs. They are all so engaging.

The mystery itself has many moving parts. The ghost stories being reenacted, the sale of a large piece of land, the festival, a book release, and more. They are all blended together with a very fine hand. The words and the images they formed were so captivating. It was quite an adventure.

Adams is an extraordinary storyteller. In this series she writes the main story but also because the cast are writers themselves she has to write pieces of their stories too. In this installment one of them actually has had a book published and while it probably isn’t my cup of tea I almost expect it to pop up on my Amazon feed. She adds even more stories this time as we hear the Palmetto Island ghost stories.

I have loved this series from the start and I want more, more, more!!

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

 To find out more about Ellery and all her books visit her webpage here.


Follow Ellery Adams on Amazon and find more of her books here.

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End December 4, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Oct 022015
 

looking for mr. good witchLooking for Mr. Good Witch
(Retired Witches Mysteries)

2nd in Series
Paranormal Cozy Mystery
Setting – North Carolina
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (October 6, 2015)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Mary Ann Lasher
Cover Design by Lesley Worrell
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425268261
E-Book ASIN: B00SI0279Q
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

 

Everyone’s favorite retired witches from Spell Booked have returned and are diving into troubled waters to find a sinister sea witch…

WITCHY WOMAN

A sea witch has been leaving bodies in her wake up and down the Carolina coast, baffling authorities who are finding drowning victims with no water in their lungs. The fin-icky female will continue to kill young male witches until she finds her perfect man—the one who survives her mating ritual—so she can live for another hundred years. And now coven hopeful Brian Fuller is about to be ensnared in her net.

Retired witches Molly and Elsie, along with the ghost of Olivia and her daughter Dorothy, need all the help they can get to stop the sea witch. Aided by a selkie and a crème puff–craving mermaid, they’re determined to keep Brian out of her murky clutches. But are they all about to get in over their heads?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Molly, Elise Olivia, and Dorothy are back and trouble is brewing. Their spell book is still missing, Olivia is not happy as a ghost, and young male witches are dying at the hands of a very feisty witch. Even their own Brian may not be immune. The elderly witches are still hoping to retire and were hoping that with Brian and Dorothy they only needed to recruit just one more witch to join their coven. They need to free the coast from this wet witch and hang her out to dry but they may seal their own fate in the process.

Fantasy has never been my genre and things like werewolves and selkies would usually have me running for the hills but Joyce and Jim Lavene eased me into their paranormal stories slow and easy, a ghost or two here, then a witch or two there, then Larry the werewolf in this series, how could you not like a werewolf named Larry.  The witches in this story are charming as well. They are like Samantha and Endora on the old Bewitched television show. Living and even working in the world among us mere mortals. There powers are to be kept secret but with a shop like Smuggler’s Arcane and all the events taking place it is easy to forget to keep their abilities on the Q.T.

This story was fun and entertaining. I must say my favorite character was a mermaid named Muriel who is quite fond of pastry, even her sharp little teeth didn’t scare me away. But Muriel is just one of many amazing characters the Lavene’s bring to life on these pages, even though a few of them are dead 🙂 or living their second or third or more lives in other bodies.

So much happens in this story but the pace isn’t rushed. I usually spread a book over 2 evenings but I couldn’t do that with this one. I kept thinking, just one more chapter, just one more and soon it was way past my bedtime but I couldn’t stop until I reached the end. To say I was totally engaged would be an understatement. This story had me spellbound.

Kudos to Joyce and Jim, they had me completely captivated!

paradise

5 STARFISH5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

I just love this picture of Joyce and Jim

I just love this picture of Joyce and Jim

About The Authors –

Joyce and Jim Lavene write award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. They have written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon, and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family.

Author Links

www.joyceandjimlavene.com 

www.facebook.com/joyceandjimlavene 

http://amazon.com/author/jlavene 

https://twitter.com/AuthorJLavene

GIVEAWAY
Our Fan of the Month receives a copy of this book
so I have one more 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.

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 16, 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.”

Facials Can Be Fatal (A Bad Hair Day Mystery) by Nancy J. CohenBuy Now
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