Sep 152017
 


Hair Brained (The Bad Hair Day Mysteries)

Cozy Mystery
14th in Series
Setting – Florida
Orange Grove Press (September 12, 2017)
Paperback: 278 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0997003888

E-Book ASIN: B072XVHPPH

 

 

Was the car crash an accident or a deliberate attempt to run Marla’s friends off the road?

When hairstylist Marla Vail’s best friend is hurt in a suspicious car accident, Marla assumes guardianship of her infant son. No sooner does Marla say, “Baby want a bottle?” than she’s embroiled in another murder investigation. Her husband, Detective Dalton Vail, determines the crash may not have been an accident after all. But then, who would want Tally–or Ken in the car with her–out of the way? As Marla digs deeper into her friends’ lives, she realizes she didn’t know them as well as she’d thought. Nonetheless, it’s her duty as their son’s guardian to ensure his safety, even if it means putting her own life at risk. Can she protect the baby and find the culprit before someone else ends up as roadkill?

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Talk about a whirlwind of emotions, I had to get a box of Kleenex for this amazing cozy story. I read this story while Hurricane Irma was hitting Florida too. I am keeping everyone affected  by the storms in my prayers.

The story begins with Dalton and Marla learning that their friends Tally and Ken are missing when they receive a call from the babysitter. They quickly go to pick up the baby and Dalton reports the parents as missing. Then Marla receives a call from the hospital. Ken and Tally were in a car accident. Marla takes over care off their young son, Luke, and Dalton determines the crash may have been intentional. Marla starts to help Dalton with the investigation and finds she may not have know her BFF as well as she thought. But Tally legally designated Marla as the baby’s guardian if anything should happen to her so while not wanting a child of her own she will do anything to keep that little boy safe until his mom comes home.

Back in 2001 I was in an automobile accident so similar to the one in this story, but I was by myself. Like Tally my injuries keep me in the hospital, unconscious or sedated for a long time. It was so easy to visualize Tally in that hospital bed with Marla reading and talking to her. Letting her know her son was o.k. It mirrors exactly what happened to me. Tally has been a key character in this series and her being hurt in a situation like mine really rocked my emotions.

The way Marla took on not only the care of Tally’s child but trying to handle both Ken and Tally’s businesses as well as her own, and helped with the investigation also tugged at my heart.  Her entire family stepped to help and it gave a little picture of what life would be like if she did decide to have a child of her own.

All of this would have made great women’s fiction but it’s a mystery and the author has plotted out a great one. There are suspects galore and motive for days. It is all about clipping all the clues together while trying not to tip the wrong person off. Cohen has written a very complex mystery that could have ended up several ways. I had a lot of fun following along trying to solve it myself but another murder late in the story really turned the whole thing on its ear for me.  There were so many unexpected twists and the final one was excellent.

This is the 14th book in this series. It is the absolute best one so far, and they are all pretty darn good. It is fresh, believable and timely. I enjoyed going beyond the hair salon and seeing Marl’s evolution over the story. Nancy J. Cohen has brought together family and friendship and paired it with murder, insurance fraud, and false identities.  I stayed up late, well early into the morning, to finish this one. This book is a must read for cozy lovers whether you are already a fan of this series or not. The book can stand on its own, you can catch up on previous titles later 🙂

I have read so many top notch books the past couple of weeks and Hair Brained will be joining them on my Best Reads list for 2017! I am beyond excited for the next installment in this series!

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent


About The Author

Nancy J. Cohen writes the Bad Hair Day Mysteries featuring South Florida hairstylist Marla Vail. Titles in this series have made the IMBA bestseller list and been selected by Suspense Magazine as best cozy mystery. Nancy has also written the instructional guide, Writing the Cozy Mystery. Her imaginative romances, including the Drift Lords series, have proven popular with fans as well. A featured speaker at libraries, conferences, and community events, Nancy is listed in Contemporary Authors, Poets & Writers, and Who’s Who in U.S. Writers, Editors, & Poets. When not busy writing, she enjoys fine dining, cruising, visiting Disney World, and shopping.

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Sep 142017
 

Protocol (A Maggie O’Malley Mystery)
Medical Thriller/Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Midwest U.S.
Henery Press (September 5, 2017)
Paperback: 276 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1635112399
E-Book ASIN: B072JZK43D

 

 

Freshly minted college graduate Maggie O’Malley embarks on a career fueled by professional ambition and a desire to escape the past. As a pharmaceutical researcher, she’s determined to save lives from the shelter of her lab. But on her very first day she’s pulled into a world of uncertainty. Reminders appear on her phone for meetings she’s never scheduled with people she’s never met. People who end up dead.

With help from her best friend, Maggie discovers the victims on her phone are connected to each other and her new employer. She soon unearths a treacherous plot that threatens her mission—and her life. Maggie must unlock deadly secrets to stop horrific abuses of power before death comes calling for her.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This is one of those stories that sucks you right in and holds on tight.

Maggie O’Malley has landed a dream job as a pharmaceutical researcher. She wants to save lives and work on a team that could cure cancer or any of the other diseases the world faces. Her first day starts off well until she receives an alert on her cell phone about a meeting she didn’t set up with a person she doesn’t know. She later learns the person was killed at the time she was supposed to meet them. The alerts keep coming and people keep dying. The friend who gave her the phone tries to help her find out why she is receiving the messages but what they find puts them both in danger.

As if Big Pharma isn’t scary enough this book turns it inside out. Full of twists and turns our protagonist, Maggie O’Malley, has no idea who she can trust. Excited about her job and the fine salary she is thrilled to be able to subsidize her father’s business keeping him from filing bankruptcy. When the messages keep coming and her job starts to fall apart her close friend, Constantine tries to help. Neither one knew the enormity of the situation.  We also see that Gus (Constantine) has feelings for Maggie that are more than just friendship. If they live to the end of this maybe he will share those feelings.

The plot is full of drama and suspense. As the book continues we see the PROTOCOL appears to be murder but how is it connected to Maggie and her job at Rxcellance. The pages keep flying at an extreme pace to an ending that totally caught me by off-guard, surprised, and chilled to the bone.

I read this book all in one sitting. It was absolutely impossible to put down. It will be a long time before I will look at a cell phone alert and not think of this about this story.

Kathleen Valenti has written an excellent suspense novel combining greed and medicine and the lengths people will go to for that almighty dollar.  I am shocked this is her debut effort in the mystery realm. She hit it out of the park!

Just one question Ms. Valenti, where in the Midwest is Rxcellance? Hopefully not in my home state of Wisconsin……

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent


About the Author

When Kathleen Valenti isn’t writing page-turning mysteries that combine humor and suspense, she works as a nationally award-winning advertising copywriter. Protocol is her debut novel and the first of the Maggie O’Malley mystery series. Kathleen lives in Oregon with her family where she pretends to enjoy running.

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Praise for Protocol (A Maggie O’Malley Mystery)
by Kathleen Valenti

The plot was intriguing and twisty turny …You’ll be on the edge of your seat while your wondering who is behind all the mayhem.
~My Reading Journeys

Protocol by Kathleen Valenti will keep your pulse racing and keep you on the edge of your seat.
~Reading is my SuperPower

Protocol by Kathleen Valenti is definitely not a cozy, but a gripping medical thriller and suspense/thriller. Protocol is a fast-moving page-turner, with a complex, intriguing, and exciting plot.
~Jane Reads

 

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Sep 082017
 


Death Distilled: A Whisky Business Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Scotland
Alibi (September 5, 2017)
Print Length 240 pages
E-Book ASIN: B01N6FSSUX

Photojournalist by trade, distillery owner by blood, and amateur sleuth by necessity, Abigail Logan learns that murder can’t stay bottled up forever in this charming Whisky Business Mystery.

It’s been three months since Abi Logan last checked in on Abbey Glen, the celebrated whisky distillery she inherited. With her oversize wheaten terrier, Liam, by her side, Abi returns to the quaint Scottish village of Balfour. But her relaxing Highland homecoming takes a stressful turn when she unearths an unseemly bit of village history, welcomes a group of Japanese whisky enthusiasts, and becomes shepherdess to an unexpected flock of sheep—all within the first twenty-four hours. Still, nothing’s more stressful than murder. . . .

Local celebrity Rory Hendricks is the hotheaded, hard-rocking former frontman of the Rebels—and Abi’s girlhood crush. After meeting him in person, Abi can’t say no to anything he asks, like photographing his upcoming show . . . or figuring out who’s trying to kill him. Turns out someone’s been bumping off his old bandmates, with the drummer dead under mysterious circumstances and the keyboardist in a coma following a hit-and-run. Now a series of threatening messages leads Rory to think he’s next on the chopping block. And the band has a devil’s share of broken hearts and bitter disputes in their past, leaving Abi a huge batch of suspects to sift through—all before the killer takes another shot.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

The first book in this series, Single Malt Murder, had already made my list of Best Reads 2017 so I have been anxiously waiting this one. At the end of the first story Abi took off on another photo assignment, this one picks up with her returning to Abbey Glen with her lovable canine companion, Liam. She isn’t back for long when Liam makes a grim discovery, Patrick sets up an event at the Glen without receiving permission from her or her manager Grant, and she finds herself caretaker of a flock of sheep. Plus when she left her romantic relationship with Grant was up in the air and now she has met her teenage crush, rocker Rory Hendricks, so who knows what that means for the two of them. She then learns that the members of his old group the Rebels have been targeted and one killed and he wants her help before he is next. Grant is not pleased when she agrees to follow him to a concert that could be putting them both in danger. Abi has her hands full in this story, definitely not the relaxing homecoming she expected.

Abi Logan is a strong woman. Her career as a photojournalist has taken her to some dark and dangerous places. She jumps right in to help her new “friend” Rory Hendricks knowing the dire circumstances that could arise. But she doesn’t trust her heart, every time she and Grant start to get close she runs away. Abi is a complex character and a great protagonist.

I liked her friend Patrick a lot in the first story but not so much this time. For me, he overstepped his bounds by involving Abi, Grant, and Abbey Glen in his latest scheme to better himself. He really was taking advantage of his friendship with Abi.

Grant stole my heart in the first book and my love for him is still strong. I feel bad that Abi can’t give him what he wants. He remains at Abbey Glen, doing his job and making the distillery thrive. I hope with time Abi will return his love without fear of messing up both their lives.

I absolutely love the setting for this series. The Scottish Village of Balfour is rich in history and that history is part of this story. The village, distillery and the home she inherited are so wonderfully described. I could even visualize the sheep in their new pen. I enjoyed how quickly Liam became a canine shepherd.

The plot to the mystery was again complex, lots of moving parts and pieces. Many suspects but their motives were a bit murky. The way an old mystery was blended with the new gave the story a depth I wasn’t expecting. As more clues drop into place the suspense starts to build. I had my “aha moment” right along with the characters as they climax was playing right out for me to read. I was totally surprised.

Ms. Mullet packs so much into 240 pages. Murder, dysfunctional families, romance, a rock concert, drama, suspense, whisky, Japanese businessmen, and even a flock of sheep. This book will join the first as one of my Best Reads this year. I can’t wait for book #3.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Melinda Mullet was born in Dallas and attended school in Texas, Washington D.C., England, and Austria. She spent many years as a practicing attorney before pursuing a career as a writer. Author of the Whisky Business Mystery series, Mullet is a passionate supporter of childhood literacy. She works with numerous domestic and international charities striving to promote functional literacy for all children. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her family.

Author Links – Webpage – Facebook – Twitter 

 

Purchase Links

Melinda Mullet’s delightful Whisky Business mysteries can be read together or separately. Enjoy responsibly:
SINGLE MALT MURDER | DEATH DISTILLED

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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 242017
 

Deadly Choices
by Karen Randau

Deadly Choices (Rim Country Mysteries)
3rd in Series
Setting – Arizona
Suspense Thriller
3rd in Series
Short on Time Books (July 17, 2017)
Kindle – ASIN: B074187YT7

 

An elderly woman with an arrow in her chest. A murdered journalist. A decades-old cover-up. In Deadly Choices (Rim Country Mysteries Volume 3), Rita and Cliff Avery team up again to solve a spate of murders in their picturesque Arizona mountain town of Rim Vista. Rita’s mother Willow delivers gun-wrenching news while falling for the man who could be responsible for four deaths. And Rita must escape a string of life-threatening predicaments thrown at her by an assailant willing to do anything to scare Cliff off the case.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Karen Rabdau is a new author to me but with stories like this one we are going to become fast friends. I was skeptical about jumping into this series with book three but by the end of the first chapter I was totally tuned in and reading at a rapid pace. The mentions of things that happened in previous books only made me realize that I needed to add both books to my wish list right away.

Deadly Choices starts out with Rita and Cliff camping with her mother, Willow, a woman Rita has not seen for 25 years, when they hear a shot and soon after a woman they had met earlier stumbles into their campsite with an arrow in her chest. She was teaching a student and he is missing. Had he been shot? Rita and her detective husband Cliff are quickly brought into the case. As more deaths occur, a man they have known for years becomes a prime suspect. As they investigate surprising things are uncovered tying back into the past.

This story is a wild adventure for Cliff and Rita. There were so many edge of the seat moments I lost count. Explosions, kidnapping, and twists and turns galore.

Ms. Randau is a wonderful storyteller. She packs as much punch into these pages as humanly possible and makes it impossible to put this book down. I love the way she describes a scene. I felt like I was right there whether it be a dangerous situation or if she was just describing the beauty of Rim County.  The dialogue was on point and I was totally invested in these characters. The plot was complex and so well written.

Drama, danger, mystery and suspense with well crafted characters, this story has them all. I am excited for the next adventure.

The story deserves more than 5 stars! Paradise Rating.

 

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About the Author

Karen Randau is the author of the Rim Country Mystery series. Her fast-paced novels include Deadly Deceit, Deadly Inheritance, and Deadly Choices, each with intricate plots and lots of action and told from the point of view of protagonist Rita Avery.

 

Author Links

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Purchase Link – Amazon

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Jul 192017
 


Kate Parker is touring with Great Escapes right now and is visiting several blogs with guest posts. Check out the schedule below my review to visit them.

The Detecting Duchess (Victorian Bookshop Mystery)
Historical Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – London, England
JDP Press (May 18, 2017)
Paperback: 312 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0996483162
E-Book ASIN: B071J129MG

 

 

The only thing standing between Georgia and her fairy-tale wedding is a murder. Or two.

When a young woman pleads for help from Georgia Fenchurch in locating a missing Crown investigator, Georgia resists. Her wedding is only a week away. Before she can say no, she’s knocked to the ground by an assailant attempting to kill the young woman.

Georgia now feels she must help. She soon finds herself up to her wedding veil in stolen treasure and coded letters. With the Duke of Blackford’s help, Georgia follows a trail of missing men and dead bodies. Every victim had one thing in common – a desire to possess a fortune in gold.

In between the society balls and social calls of late Victorian London, Georgia works on her last case before the big day. Will she stop a ruthless killer in time? Or will Georgia find getting to the altar on time is going to be murder?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

When I reviewed The Conspiring Woman at the end of 2015 I thought that was the final book in this fantastic series but author Kate Parker wasn’t quite done with these characters. As a reader I was thrilled to receive this book and visit these characters one last time.

Georgia Fenchurch should be concentrating on her wedding plans as it is just 8 days away but when a young woman is attacked right before her eyes she can’t say no to one last investigation before she says “I Do”.

Her friends are not happy but her groom, the Duke of Blackford, offers his assistance in hopes to wrap the investigation as quickly as possible. Instead people go missing and more bodies pile up.  A missing treasure trove of gold seems to be what all the victims have in common. Can Georgia stay safe and find the killer and gold and still make it to the church on time??

As expected the author has given us quite an intriguing mystery. It starts in Egypt with a trunk that was supposed to be filled with gold coins, payment owed by Egyptian government to various European banks, turns out to be filled with nails. The gold had been stolen, Eugenie Munroe’s uncle has been killed, the man she traveled to London with, Mr. Burke, has gone missing, and another man has been murdered. Eugenie wants the man who killed her uncle brought to justice and it seems all the suspects have left Egypt for the cooler Summer of England. So Georgia and The Archivist Society are on the case.

Ms. Parker takes us back in time as only she can. Her words paint wonderful pictures in your mind of Victorian England as we follow Georgia as she goes to society balls and social calls and investigates. I totally escaped into this one. I felt like I was on Georgia’s shoulder from the first page to the last.

In addition to the characters we have come to love from the previous stories we are introduced a whole new contingent that arrives from Egypt, all the suspects. Some are eliminated because they are killed and Georgia is warned to stop asking questions. She doesn’t give up and as the story continues the tension ramps up to a scary and surprising conclusion.

Do Georgia and Blackford tie the knot?? You are going to have to read the story yourself to find out.

I have loved every book in this series.  I recommend reading this series in order to follow the progression but they each can be read on their own. Kudos Kate, this is my favorite book in the series!

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author

Kate began reading Agatha Christie mysteries and the Nancy Drew books while her classmates were reading Dick and Jane. She particularly likes historical mysteries and the feeling of time travel a good historical book can give the reader. Combined with her love of late Victorian to World War II architecture and fashions, she found an outlet for the stories and characters that fill her head by writing The Victorian Bookshop Mysteries and The Deadly series, as well as taking part in the Christmas Revels anthologies.

 

Author Links:

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Also by Kate Parker


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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.”

Jun 092017
 

No Turning Back: A Novel
Women Sleuths/Suspense Thriller
Setting – United Kingdom
Crooked Lane Books (June 13, 2017)
Hardcover: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683311638
E-Book ASIN: B01N4FP1AR

 
 
 
 
 

Anna Graves’s whole life has recently been turned upside down. A new mother, she’s just gone back to her job as a radio presenter and is busy navigating a new schedule of late night feeding and early morning wake ups while also dealing with her newly separated husband. Then the worst happens. While Anna is walking on the beach with her daughter, she’s attacked by a crazed teenager. Terrified, Anna reacts instinctively to protect her baby.

But her life falls apart when the schoolboy dies from his injuries. The police believe Anna’s story, until the autopsy results reveal something more sinister. A frenzied media attack sends Anna into a spiral of self-doubt. Her precarious mental state is further threatened when she receives a chilling message from someone claiming to be the “Ophelia Killer,” a serial killer who preyed on the town twenty years ago—and who abruptly stopped when Anna’s father committed suicide.

Is Anna as innocent as she claims? And is murder forgivable, if committed to save your child’s life? Internationally bestselling author Tracy Buchanan takes readers on an emotional roller coaster ride filled with heart-stopping secrets and hairpin turns in No Turning Back, her US debut.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Can you say TWISTS? – This book is full of them.

Anna Graves’s finishes up her 8 month maternity leave to return to work as a radio talk show host. Separated from her husband she is trying to find the balance between work and home. While taking her daughter for a walk on the beach a young man attacks her with a knife. She does everything she can to protect her child and herself, fatally injuring her assailant. She is cleared by the police, it was clearly self defense. Until the autopsy shows there is more to the story. They bring her back in for more questions. The press hounds her everywhere she goes. She is forced to take another leave from work. Then she receives a terrifying email from the “Ophelia Killer”.  A serial killer that has been heard from for 20 years…since her father took his own life. Hang on tight this is just the start of the story…

The story is told alternatively between Anna and the killer making for a spine chilling read. When Anna receives emails from the killer she tries to stave off another killing but she ends up finding the body which makes her even more of a suspect. The police were mind blowing in the way they twisted logic to focus more on her and disregard any thing she tried to tell them. She puts herself at risk from the first page to almost the very last.

The characters in this story are very unique. Anna and her grandmother are close because her mother had an emotional breakdown after her father’s suicide.  Her brother is strange in his behavior and manner. He and Anna are not close. We see the darker side of the area, the docks, and those who live in the area. The young man who attacked Anna lived there. Anna’s work at the radio station brings in some notable characters too.

The plot was very complex and full of red herrings. Each chapter seemed to have a new twist pointing at another person who could be the killer. It was impossible to put this book down. I stayed up late trying finish but my body shut me down at about 70%. I couldn’t wait to get back to it and rushed to it as soon as the work day was done. At the end I just said WOW! This book took my breathe away.

The only thing in the story that gave me pause was the implement Anna used to defend herself and kill the teenager. The story calls it a comb. I went to a British dictionary to see if it was different from what we Americans call a comb. I didn’t find any difference but I am thinking it was the type of comb used to hold hair in place not one used to get out snarls. I think had it been made of metal those tines could be quite sharp.

This book marks the author’s US debut and is an author to watch. No Turning Back is a compelling psychological thriller and I give it more than 5 stars! My Paradise Rating! It kept me up the first night reading it and the second night thinking about the story I read.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent



About The Author

Tracy Buchanan lives in the UK with her husband, their little girl and their one-eyed Jack Russell. Buchanan traveled extensively while working as a travel magazine editor and has always been drawn to the sea after spending her childhood holidays on the coast visiting family–a fascination that inspires her writing. She now dedicates her time to writing and procrastinating on Twitter.

Author Links

Webpage – Twitter – Facebook –  GoodReads 

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Amazon  B&N   IndieBound

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June 5 – Books Direct  – INTERVIEW
June 5 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
June 6 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW
June 6 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
June 7 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – REVIEW
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June 10 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW
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June 12 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW
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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.”

May 232017
 

The Simplicity of Cider: A Novel
Women’s Fiction
Setting – Wisconsin
Gallery Books (May 16, 2017)
Hardcover: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1501179723
Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1501154928
Kindle ASIN: B01HMXRVKO

 

 

Fall in love with The Simplicity of Cider, the charming new novel about a prickly but gifted cider-maker whose quiet life is interrupted by the arrival of a handsome man and his young son at her family’s careworn orchard by the author of The Coincidence of Coconut Cake and Luck, Love & Lemon Pie.

Focused and unassuming fifth generation cider-maker Sanna Lund has one desire: to live a simple, quiet life on her family’s apple orchard in Door County, Wisconsin. Although her business is struggling, Sanna remains fiercely devoted to the orchard, despite her brother’s attempts to convince their aging father to sell the land.

Single dad Isaac Banks has spent years trying to shield his son Sebastian from his troubled mother. Fleeing heartbreak at home, Isaac packed up their lives and the two headed out on an adventure, driving across the country. Chance—or fate—led them straight to Sanna’s orchard.

Isaac’s helping hands are much appreciated at the apple farm, even more when Sanna’s father is injured in an accident. As Sanna’s formerly simple life becomes increasingly complicated, she finds solace in unexpected places—friendship with young Sebastian and something more deliciously complex with Isaac—until an outside threat infiltrates the farm.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

After read Luck, Love & Lemon Pie last year I knew this was an author I would keep me eye on. When I heard about this new book I couldn’t wait to read it.

Isaac Banks and his son Bass, short for Sebastian, are on a cross country adventure. Isaac is trying to protect his son from the realities at home. They soon find themselves in Wisconsin’s Door County. A beautiful place full of cherries, a restaurant where goats graze on the roof, Green Bay (not the town where the Packers play), lighthouses and apple orchards. Isaac and Bass soon find themselves at Idun’s, an apple orchard that has been owned by the Lund family for five generations. Sanna Lund and her father now run the place and Sanna has a special talent for making cider. Her father has mortgaged the farm to purchase all the equipment she needs to produce on a large scale. Her brother has nothing to do with the orchard anymore but thinks it needs to be sold to take care of the debt because they have received a huge offer.

Issac and Bass agree to help with the chores. It is like fate brought them to this place. Sanna really doesn’t like kids but after a couple of days that changes as Bass finds a way into her heart. She and Isaac also feel a connection neither of them understand. When someone’s actions threaten Sanna’s precious trees and the entire orchard things get complicated.

This is such a beautiful story and so well written. The author has a way of writing that pictures of people, time, and place just come alive with such detailed imagery. Maybe it is because I have traveled to Door County several times that I had a crystal clear picture of everything she described but I truly believe it was her words that took me right along with Sanna, Issac and Bass.

She gives us a story of family, love, loss, and a little touch of something that “just is” and can only be explained by the belief that love carries through the generations and appears in unexpected ways.

These are such special characters. Their hearts are heavy with secrets and vulnerability that ebbs and flows through the entire series, even after some trust has been earned. The relationships built are so unique.

The Simplicity of Cider flows at a nice and easy pace. It was a relaxing read. I usually read a book like this in one or two nights but I didn’t want the story to end. I took time to savor every page and word. This book will make my list of Best Reads for 2017.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about Amy and her books here

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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 272017
 

Of Books and Bagpipes: A Scottish Bookshop Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in the Series
Setting – Scotland
Minotaur Books (April 4, 2017)
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1250057495
Kindle ASIN: B01LZ3VIQ9

 

 

Delaney Nichols has settled so comfortably into her new life in Edinburgh that she truly feels it’s become more home than her once beloved Kansas. Her job at the Cracked Spine, a bookshop that specializes in rare manuscripts as well as other sundry valuable historical objects, is everything she had dreamed, with her new boss, Edwin MacAlister, entrusting her more and more with bigger jobs. Her latest task includes a trip to Castle Doune, a castle not far out of Edinburgh, to retrieve a hard-to-find edition of an old Scottish comic, an “Oor Wullie,” in a cloak and dagger transaction that Edwin has orchestrated.

While taking in the sights of the distant Highlands from the castle’s ramparts, Delaney is startled when she spots a sandal-clad foot at the other end of the roof. Unfortunately, the foot’s owner is very much dead and, based on the William Wallace costume he’s wearing, perfectly matches the description of the man who was supposed to bring the Oor Wullie. As Delaney rushes to call off some approaching tourists and find the police, she comes across the Oor Wullie, its pages torn and fluttering around a side wall of the castle. Instinct tells her to take the pages and hide them under her jacket. It’s not until she returns to the Cracked Spine that she realizes just how complicated this story is and endeavors to untangle the tricky plot of why someone wanted this man dead, all before getting herself booked for murder.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Paige Shelton has wrapped our protagonist, Delaney Nichols in quite an amazing tale in this follow up to The Cracked Spine.

Now that Delaney has become more at home in Edinburgh her new boss has asked her to visit a nearby castle to retrieve a rare old Scottish comic, an “Oor Wullie.” Her landlord, Elias agrees to take her in his taxi. She is looking forward to handling the task and doing a little sightseeing. When they arrive they appear to be the only ones there. But while she is taking in the view she sees a very unexpected sight, a human foot. She quickly finds out the owner of the foot is dead but sees no apparent cause for his death. While waiting for the police she does stumble across the old comic. She doesn’t know if it is evidence but hides under her coat and takes it with her when they are allowed to leave. She never imagined the web of secrets, lies, and half truths this book was going to uncover. Now if she can just find out the whole truth before she or anyone else ends up dead. Hopefully the bookish voices that speak to her will keep her safe and help her to quickly solve this very complex mystery.

I really do not know much Scottish history of folklore but I was all in as soon as I knew Delaney was headed to a castle. The drafty rooms, the narrow staircases, the battle ramparts, maybe a ghost or two. I was even excited about the dead body and the mystery of his death and finding out who he truly was.

Paige Shelton takes us on a true adventure. This is a complicated mystery that takes many tangents as we follow Delaney on her quest. We meet a bagpipe player, some reenactors putting on plays and a few fishmongers. We also met several people from Edwin MacAlister’s past. The rainy weather of winter played right into to a darker mystery feel. The detailed description of time and place were exquisite. The words invoked such vivid images in my mind.

After finding the body the pace of the story stays steady until some of the clues start to fall into place or are close to Delaney’s grasp. Then the story starts to build to the final exciting reveal that took me totally by surprise.

Another thing that I truly enjoyed was the way the core group of characters has accepted Delaney into their lives. Through her they have become family. Her landlords, the bookstore staff, pub owner/man of her affections, Tom, and his father. Yes, Delaney misses her real family back in Kansas but this new adopted family keeps her as safe as they can in a mystery novel and the relationships she has forged with them will last a lifetime.

This is not your typical cozy mystery, it is so much more. The bits of Scottish history, the Scottish and Gaelic accents, words, and phrases, and the landscapes added to a well plotted mystery make it more than Of Books and Bagpipes. I loved every minute of it and can’t wait to return to Edinburgh to continue Delaney’s journey. This book is headed directly to my “keeper shelf”. Be sure to read The Cracked Spine before you read this one for maximum enjoyment. 

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

paigeAbout The Author

Paige Shelton is the New York Times Bestselling author of the Farmers’ Market Mysteries and the Country Cooking School Mysteries. She’s lived lots of places but currently resides in Arizona. Find out more at www.paigeshelton.com


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

 

Apr 062017
 


Single Malt Murder: A Whisky Business Mystery Cozy Mystery
New Series
Setting – Scotland
Print Length – 300 Pages
Alibi (March 21, 2017)
E-Book ASIN: B01HL180QG

 

When Abi inherits her uncle’s quaint and storied single malt distillery, she finds herself immersed in a competitive high-stakes business that elicits deep passions and prejudices. An award-winning photojournalist, Abi has no trouble capturing the perfect shot—but making the perfect shot is another matter. When she starts to receive disturbing, anonymous threats, it’s clear that someone wants her out of the picture. But Abi’s never been one to back down from a fight.

Arriving on the scene with her whisky-loving best friend, Patrick, and an oversized wheaten terrier named Liam, Abi seems to put everyone in the bucolic village on edge—especially her dour but disturbingly attractive head distiller. Acts of sabotage and increasingly personal threats against Abi make it clear that she is not welcome. When one of Abi’s new employees is found floating facedown in a vat of whisky, Abi is determined to use her skills as an investigative journalist to identify the cold-blooded killer and dispense a dram of justice before he strikes again. But distilling truth from lies is tricky, especially when everyone seems to have something to hide.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This series is off to a spectacular start!

Photojournalist Abi Logan lost her parents early in her life in an auto accident. She was then raised by her Uncle Ben. She has been traveling around the world to some pretty dangerous places while Uncle Ben retired to Scotland and opened a single malt distillery. Sadly Ben passes away and leaves his business to Abi. She and her friend Patrick, a wine and whiskey aficionado, travel to Scotland along with Liam, Ami’s Wheaten Terrier to look the place over and decide its future. No one seems happy to have Abi around. They expect her to sell the place and move on because the whiskey business is no place for a woman.

Before bids for purchase start to flow in Abi starts to receive threats and there are several mishaps at the plant, clearly sabotage. The threats become more blatant and then one of the employees is found floating in a vat of whiskey. That isn’t the last malicious act either. Abi knows it is up to her to find the killer and stop the madness. She hopes her keen sense of observation will help her solve the case quickly but she has too many suspects and they have too many secrets. Tightening the lid of this keg may be more than she can handle.

Whiskey is my alcoholic beverage of choice but I am not savvy in the way it is made and my sense for taste is far from refined. This story taught me quite a bit but the mystery is what kept me positively glued to these pages.

Abi is a fantastic protagonist. Strong and feisty and when she finds people’s biggest problem with her is her gender it really gets her dander up. She has something to prove. Patrick is a great friend. He has her back and is great sounding board. He notices things she misses and gives valuable advice. They make a great team. The author has created a great supporting cast too. They are all very real and believable. Liam is a great canine companion and is smart as a whip.

I would categorize the plot as very complex. More twists and turns that your average mystery. It seemed that each chapter introduced something new that sent things is a totally different direction. The author really keeps the reader on their toes. She immerses us right into the story giving us the feeling we are on the shoulders of these great characters. Stories like this are so much fun to read.

The setting is unique. Scotland is beautiful and Uncle Ben has built a distillery doing things the old fashion way. There are several buildings and a unique operation. The “cabin” has also been beautifully updated. It is a place I would love to visit.

I absolutely loved this story, beginning, middle and end. The suspense ratcheted up in all the right places but never crossed the line from cozy to thriller. The characters continued to evolve and romance just started to bloom. I was unable to put the book down. I read the whole thing in one day.

Melinda Mullett has set the bar extremely high for herself. This is going to be a story that is tough to top. Another Best Read for 2017. I cannot wait to our next trip to the Scottish Highlands and Abbey Glen.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Melinda Mullet was born in Dallas and attended school in Texas, Washington D.C., England, and Austria. She spent many years as a practicing attorney before pursuing a career as a writer. Author of the Whisky Business Mystery series, Mullet is a passionate supporter of childhood literacy. She works with numerous domestic and international charities striving to promote functional literacy for all children. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her family.

Webpage – Facebook – Twitter 


I received this book from NetGalley so I do not have a review copy to give away.
So I am going to give away 1 e-copy as a gift from Amazon.

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.

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

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and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

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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 232017
 


I am excited to be part of this tour!

Elementary, She Read: A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery
by Vicki Delany
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Massachusetts
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (March 14, 2017)
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683310969
Kindle ASIN: B01MT6H7O1

 
 
 

Gemma Doyle, a transplanted Englishwoman, has returned to the quaint town of West London on Cape Cod to manage her Great Uncle Arthur’s Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium. The shop–located at 222 Baker Street–specializes in the Holmes canon and pastiche, and is also the home of Moriarty the cat. When Gemma finds a rare and potentially valuable magazine containing the first Sherlock Homes story hidden in the bookshop, she and her friend Jayne (who runs the adjoining Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room) set off to find the owner, only to stumble upon a dead body.

The highly perceptive Gemma is the police’s first suspect, so she puts her consummate powers of deduction to work to clear her name, investigating a handsome rare books expert, the dead woman’s suspiciously unmoved son, and a whole family of greedy characters desperate to cash in on their inheritance. But when Gemma and Jayne accidentally place themselves at a second murder scene, it’s a race to uncover the truth before the detectives lock them up for good.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This series is off to an amazing start!

We meet Gemma Doyle, relative of Sir Authur Conan Doyle??? She says no, but her Uncle’s name is Arthur so you just never know. She and her uncle own the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium at 222 Baker Street. The also own half of the tea shop next door run by Gemma’s friend, Jayne. Both shops are very popular with the tourists. While setting the store to rights after a rush of customers, something Gemma is very particular about, she finds what appears to by a valuable magazine, said to contain Doyle’s first Sherlock Holmes story. In a way similar to the great sleuth, Gemma deduces who left the magazine and where the person is staying. But by the time she and Jayne arrive all the find is a dead body. Gemma has a little history with one of the detectives but the other detective seems to dislike her immediately and names Gemma the prime suspect. Gemma decides to use her own special skills to clear her name and find the real killer herself.

I will say at first I wasn’t a fan of Gemma. She is very Holmes-like in her manner and that can be off putting. But just like Holmes the more you get to know her the more she grows on you. She can be very driven by things that interest her, forgetful about things that are not her immediate concern, and just can’t help herself when her unique observation skills help her to read a situation and burst out with all the facts as she sees them or give her opinion whether wanted or not. We see through her friend Jayne that being Gemma’s friend is sometimes difficult but she is still a treasured friend.  Jayne is definitely Gemma’s Dr. Watson. The author has created these a great characters and a core of supporting cast that I am anxious to get to know even better.

I love the setting. The authors description of not only the wonderful bookshop but of the entire area sounded delightful. A place I would love to visit.

As for the mystery, that is excellent as well. Many viable suspects with motive and means. I thought I had the right person more than once but the plot kept twirling and proving me wrong. That final twist was one heck of a surprise. I never saw it coming.

I am a huge Sherlock Holmes fan. In fact we had our own Moriarty the cat, along with his brothers Sherlock and Watson. I have loved all the movies and most of the television shows. Because of that I know the author has to be a huge fan and/or has done her research diligently to bring this story to life. From the characters to the merchandise in the bookshop and the mystery itself, it is all a modern day tribute to the grand sleuth.

The first book in a new series always has a lot of expectations. Introduce the characters and make them engaging, give readers a great setting and a top-notch mystery too. Well Vicki Delany has done that and more with this book. She has exceeded all my expectations by far. She has given me a paradise worthy escape! You don’t want to miss this story!

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Read the first chapter here.


Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers. She is the author of twenty-three published crime novels, including standalone Gothic thrillers, the Constable Molly Smith series, and the Year Round Christmas Mysteries.  Under the pen name of Eva Gates she is the national bestselling author of the Lighthouse Library cozy series.

The first in Vicki’s Sherlock Holmes bookshop series, Elementary She Read, will be released in March 2017 from Crooked Lane Books.

Vicki lives and writes in Prince Edward County, Ontario. She is the past president of the Crime Writers of Canada.

www.vickidelany.com  Facebook:  Vicki Delany & Eva Gates  and twitter: @vickidelany and @evagatesauthor

Purchase Links


Written as Eva Gates

 

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More Praise for Elementary She Read
by Vicki Delany

I really enjoyed about the book is the continuing references not only to the original Doyle stories but to several of the adaptations and pastiches through the years…
~The Bookwyrm’s Hoard

A great escape read featuring best friends who will do whatever it takes for each other.
~Laura’s Interests

I found the read to be quick, fun and engaging. I highly recommend this to readers who enjoy Sherlock Holmes mysteries, enjoy attention to detail and like cozy mysteries.
~Reviews by Martha’s Bookshelf

The comparisons between Elementary, She Read, and Holmesian lore are many, varied, and each one is like a little gift to unwrap and enjoy.
~Back Porchervations

I’ve already fallen in love with the town of West London and its inhabitants. Gemma, Jayne, Ryan, Louise, and the rest are all well-developed, complex characters …
~VALERIE’S MUSINGS

The mystery is intriguing and the characters are engaging. I’m ready for the next book!
~Reading Is My SuperPower

A strong cast of characters with an eye for solving the case and a great story that will keep you engaged until the end.
~Shelley’s Book Case

What a great find for a Sherlock Holmes fan!
~The Book’s the Thing

This cozy mystery is going to please many Sherlock fans. The entire time I was reading this book, I felt like one if not all the televised Sherlocks were visiting my mind.
~Bibliophile Reviews

If you’re already a Sherlock Holmes aficionado this book will make you happier than a chocoholic in a Godiva factory; if you’re not, you will be by the time you finish reading.
~Melissa’s Mochas, Mysteries and Meows!

It was well written and the plot was excellent. Again, I was totally surprised by the ending of this book and who the killer was.
~Melina’s Book Blog

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
March 13 – The Bookwyrm’s Hoard – REVIEW
March 13 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT
March 13 – Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf – SPOTLIGHT
March 14 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
March 14 – Reviews by Martha’s Bookshelf – REVIEW
March 15 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW
March 15 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW
March 16 – Rainy Day Reviews – REVIEW
March 16 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST
March 17 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
March 17 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT
March 18 – Shelley’s Book Case – REVIEW
March 18 – Girl with Book Lungs – GUEST POST  
March 19 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW
March 20 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW  
March 20 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – REVIEW, INTERVIEW
March 21 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
March 21 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT
March 22 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW
March 22 – Carole’s Book Corner – REVIEW
March 22 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW
March 23 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
March 23 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT
March 23 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
March 24 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, INTERVIEW
March 24 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 25 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW
March 25 – Island Confidential – spotlight
March 26 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW
March 26 – Girl Lost In a Book – REVIEW

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

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