Dec 092016
 

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On Flashback Fridays I will share with you the books I was not able to review when they were first released that have been screaming at me from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.
I grabbed this book at the end of last year on Amazon and reading it helps me finally finish this year’s Alphabet Soup Challenge.

The Yellow Rose Beauty Shop
The Cadillac Series

Romantic Comedy/Women’s Fiction
3rd in Series
Setting – Texas
Montlake Romance (July 14, 2015)
Paperback: 313 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1477830604
E-Book ASIN: B00S6Z3S8C

 

 

Stella’s mama never should’ve put Stella on the church prayer list. With Stella’s twenty-seventh birthday coming up fast, Nancy desperately wants to see her daughter married and giving her grandbabies. Petitioning heaven seems like a surefire way to get it done. But in Cadillac, Texas, where the gossip’s hotter than the city’s famous jalapeño peppers, it isn’t long before all hell breaks loose.

Heather, the bossy leader of the church’s Prayer Angels, thinks a summer ball will get Stella and the town’s other single gals paired off. But nobody can tell redheaded spitfire Stella what to do—not her mama, not Heather, and not even the sexy beau Stella’s been seeing in secret. Together, Stella, her best friends Charlotte and Piper, and the loyal customers of the Yellow Rose Beauty Shop hatch a good old-fashioned scheme to sabotage the ball. But will it wreck Stella’s relationship with her mama forever? And what will the church folk think when Stella reveals the identity of her mystery man?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I did not know this was a series when I purchased it but I had no trouble following the characters or the story.

Welcome to Cadillac Texas, where everyone knows your business and gossip runs rampant. Nancy wants her daughter to get married and start giving her grandchildren. So at the weekly meeting of the “prayer angels” at her church she asks them to “prayer for my daughter, she needs a husband”. No one was more surprised that Stella when her mother’s request was posted for all the world to see on a the sign in front of the church.  Add the that, the head of the group thinks the way to help Stella is to have a gala ball and maybe she can help other singles as well. Stella and her friends Charlotte and Piper run The Yellow Rose Beauty Shop so Stella has to face the public every day. Why in the world did her mother put in this predicament? There is no way she is going along with this. She already has a man in her life, but she is not ready to make her relationship public just yet. So, she and her friends are going to do anything they can to sabotage this ball/barn dance.

This story is a HILARIOUS HOOT!

Set in a small southern town all the characters are very realistic. They could be in a small town anywhere with the exception of the dialogue that I read hearing a bit of southern twang. There is a bit of swearing, the sh*t word is used frequently but it fits with the characters and the story.

Heather, the head of the “prayer angels” really doesn’t like Nancy or Stella. She has dreams way beyond Cadillac and she will use just about anyone and anything to make her dream come true. Stella and  Nancy are the typical mother and daughter, but Stella is not ready to forgive and forget the position her mother has put her in. Agnes Flynn, is a redhead like Stella, and at 80 years old she still likes to be right in the mix of all the drama especially if she is the one creating it. Some of her one-liners had me laughing out loud. Stella, Charlotte, Piper, Nancy and Agnes compare themselves to the characters in Steel Magnolias and that hits the nail right on the head.

At the heart this is a story of friendship and the friend’s romances and family life. A funny and heartwarming story with some fun and sassy characters set in the hotter than hot Cadillac Texas right in the middle of the summer. With the temp getting lower and lower here in Wisconsin, I enjoyed the virtual heat and always love a happy ending.

This is my first Carolyn Brown story but it definitely will not be my last. I have already ordered The Blue-Ribbon Jalapeño Society Jubilee, book 1 in this series. 

 

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

You can find out more about Carolyn Brown and her books on her webpage here.

You can find more of Carolyn Brown’s books on Amazon here.

I had planned to offer a giveaway of this book, but the paperback copy I ordered has not yet arrived. I will try to give a copy away at the end of the month during my Blogoversary Celebration.

This book was from my private collection.

Dec 082016
 

fatal-fiction-large-banner640

51owmzhb7rl-_sx322_bo1204203200_
Fatal Fiction
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Texas
Lyrical Underground (December 6, 2016)
Paperback: 224 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1601837325
E-Book ASIN: B01CWYTJVC
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Synopsis

When kindergarten teacher Charli Rae Warren hightailed it out of Hazel Rock, Texas, as a teen, she vowed to leave her hometown in the dust. A decade later, she’s braving the frontier of big hair and bigger gossip once again . . . but this time, she’s saddled with murder!

Charli agrees to sell off the family bookstore, housed in a barn, and settle her estranged dad’s debt—if only so she can ride into the sunset and cut ties with Hazel Rock forever. But the trip is extended when Charli finds her realtor dead in the store, strangled by a bedazzled belt. And with daddy suspiciously MIA, father and daughter are topping the most wanted list . . .

Forging an unlikely alliance with the town beauty queen, the old beau who tore her family apart, and one ugly armadillo, Charli’s intent on protecting what’s left of her past . . . and wrangling the lone killer who’s fixin’ to destroy her future . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Just a quick trip from Colorado to Texas, sign some papers, get out of town and get back to teaching those kindergartners. Big problem, Charli Rae Warren is only in town a few minutes and she finds a dead body. The woman she was meeting to put Hazel Rock in her rear view mirror permanently is deader than a door nail and the cops think she did it. When they find Charli’s dad is missing too, they both share the top a very short list of suspects. To get out of this mess she needs the help of the people she left behind. She also needs to make some money so she can afford her trip back to the new life she has made for herself.  

Oh, I almost forgot to mention, her father has a pet armadillo named Princess, and that is what he used to call Charli. He has renamed The Book Barn by adding the name Princess at the end. The inside may look like what she envisioned before she left town but the sign outside has that darn armadillo picture right on it.

The story was so funny and unique and has a great mystery too.

Kym Roberts takes on this small Texas town and gives us such rich characters. In this first installment she needs to reunite our main character with the people in her past. Some she barely recognizes and others she remembers way too well. She gives us enough back story to understand how much has changed and how much has stayed the same since Charli left town. She also creates a clever mystery that brings all the characters together. She fills the story with southern charm too. I mean seriously, a pet armadillo, maybe only in Texas.

I enjoyed the way that even with the years the characters have been apart they rally together to help not only find a killer but reinvent the Book Barn so Charli can make money to go home but also help her dad out so that when he returns he may not have to sell the place. They bought out a real sense of community that small towns are famous for. My favorite character was Scarlett, a high school classmate of Charli’s, who stepped right up to help Charli from the moment she arrived in town.

The pace was perfect, the twists are sharp, the hint of romance was just right and the humor was blended throughout the entire story with skilled precision. This is an absolutely delightful start for this new mystery series. I am excited to see what the author has up her sleeve for us and these characters next.

enjoyable 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

kym-robertsAbout The Author

Three career paths resonated for Kym Roberts during her early childhood: detective, investigative reporter, and . . .nun. Being a nun, however, dropped by the wayside when she became aware of boys—they were the spice of life she couldn’t deny. In high school her path was forged when she took her first job at a dry cleaners and met every cop in town, especially the lone female police officer in patrol. From that point on there was no stopping Kym’s pursuit of a career in law enforcement. Kym followed her dream and became a detective who fulfilled her desire to be an investigative reporter, with one extra perk—a badge. Promoted to sergeant, Kym spent the majority of her career in SVU. She retired from the job reluctantly when her husband dragged her kicking and screaming to another state, but writing continued to call her name, at least in her head. Visit her on the web at kymroberts.com. Find her on Twitter and at Kensington  too.

 

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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.”

Nov 102016
 

good bad guacamole_layouts.indd

The Good, the Bad and the Guacamole
(A Taste of Texas Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Texas
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (November 1, 2016)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC

Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425275948
E-Book ASIN: B01BK0SQ72
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Synopsis

Tex-Mex waitress and part-time reporter Josie Callahan is about to serve up some Lone Star justice in this spicy Taste of Texas Mystery from the author of Here Today, Gone Tamale.

Tourists are pouring into the town of Broken Boot for the annual Homestead Days Music Festival. Opening the celebration at Two Boots dance hall is smooth-talking country singer Jeff Clark, the ex-boyfriend of Josie’s best friend, Patti Perez. When the charming Clark woos Patti onstage in an attempt to rekindle some sparks with his old flame, Josie fears her friend will end up as just one more notch on the singer’s guitar strap.

To impress her editor at the Broken Boot Bugle, Josie and her Chihuahua, Lenny, pursue the singer to Patti’s house, hoping for an interview. Instead, they discover Clark facedown in a bowl of guacamole with a bloodied guitar at his side. With Patti suddenly a murder suspect, Josie must use her reporter skills to find out who had a chip on their shoulder—before the killer double dips….

INCLUDES TEX-MEX RECIPES!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

We arrive in Broken Boot, Texas, just in time for the Homestead Days Music Festival and this year it is personal for Patti Perez. Her ex-boyfriend is the star of the show. He seems to be winning her back and that has Josie worried. Josie has been trying to interview the country singer and when she finds out he is at Patty’s house she rushes right over. But no interview for Josie. Instead she finds the man face first into a bowl of guacamole and the murder weapon right next to him. This makes Patti the prime suspect and Josie on the  trail to find the real killer.

This was a fun story. I love Josie’s Chihuahua, Lenny. He has his own blog and that is something I can relate to. The blog is Josie’s way to share with others her opinions and viewpoints all from Lenny’s point of view. Maybe one of my dogs need a blog 🙂

While I enjoyed the book very much there were a few places at the beginning that I felt were a little muddled and that interrupted the flow for me. The story was strong and had all the right elements, but found myself not with a complete picture of what was happening a time of two. After the story got rolling everything fell into place.

The plot was full of some really nice twists and turns. The characters were very well written, unique and realistic. There may be a romance budding but Josie’s true companion is the lovable Lenny.

All in all, this was a very entertaining read and I am looking forward to book #3.

enjoyable 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

gina-lee-nelsonAbout The Author 

Rebecca Adler grew up on the sugar beaches of the Florida Gulf Coast. Drawn to the Big Apple by the sweet smell of wishful thinking, she studied acting on Broadway until a dark-eyed cowboy flung her over his saddle and hightailed it to the Southwest.

Prior to writing women’s fiction, Gina always found a way to add a touch of the dramatic to her life: dinner theatre in Mississippi, can-can club in Florida, and playing a giant Furskin in the New York Toy Fair, plus the occasional play and musical.

She’s currently content to pour her melodramatic tendencies into writing her Taste of Texas culinary mystery series. Set in far West Texas, her humorous stories are filled with delicious suspense and scrumptious Tex-Mex recipes. Her alter ego, Gina Lee Nelson, writes sweet contemporary romances with a sweet, Southern-fried flavor.

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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.”

 

Nov 052016
 

I am pleased to introduce you to this
new author, Stacy Cotter.
Her debut novel was just released this week.

harris-estate

Harris Estate: Some Secrets Can’t be Buried
Fiction/Mystery/Drama/Romance
3L Publishing (November 1, 2016)
Paperback: 217 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0996677639
E-Book ASIN: B01M3VZ2UL
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About the Book

A family mystery unfolds deep in the heart of Texas as a grisly discovery is made in the farmhouse that a young woman has inherited. As the truth unravels so does the woman’s sense of identity and self.

Leah Murphy arrives in the small town of Oakdale, Texas with the intention of selling the Harris Estate, a property left to her by her Uncle Kent Harris. She soon learns about hidden family secrets buried in the dark reaches of the decaying old farmhouse. A grisly discovery on the property sparks an investigation with local authorities, which opens up Pandora’s box. Leah’s entire identity falls apart as her family becomes a jigsaw puzzle of new pieces rearranged and fit back together. During these trials and tribulations, her marriage is tested, her desires are amplified, and she has decisions to make that will affect everyone she loves.

Harris Estate is a cryptic and intriguing story of betrayal, buried secrets, and a woman’s life come undone.

Frequent Asked Questions

What is the Harris Estate about?
Harris Estate is an alluring mystery that takes our protagonist, Leah Murphy, from San Francisco, California to Oakdale, Texas when she inherits a long abandoned ranch estate. A grisly discovery on the property sparks an investigation with local authorities, which opens up Pandora’s box and everything Leah knew about her life is changed forever. During the trials and
tribulations, her marriage is tested, her desires are amplified, and she has
decisions to make that will affect everyone she loves.

Why did you write the book?

In January, my grandmother passed away at the age of 96. We celebrated her life and the love that she gave to all of us. Like many people after losing someone special, I found myself analyzing my life, past, present and future. A week after the service, I was on a several-days-long road trip for work when I drove past an abandoned farmhouse. My mind and imagination went into overdrive as I was curious what had taken place there over the past decades. By the time I finished work and was checked into my hotel, I had a blank Word document in front of me begging for words. That night I wrote the first chapter of Harris Estate and had the entire novel written within just a few weeks. The story and words just poured out of me, sometimes faster than I could fathom. Writing a novel was something that I had always wanted to do, but there was always an excuse or reason not to do it.

Who is your favorite character in the Harris Estate and why?
The story is centered around our lead character, Leah Murphy, who I would deem as my favorite character in Harris Estate. Being a wife, mother and associate of a family-run IT Firm makes Leah a very busy, yet relatable character. So many of us are constantly juggling various activities in our daily life, I felt that it was vital for our main character to be someone that we could all relate to.

What theme in the book do you hope readers understand and take away from it?

I’m in hopes that the reader enjoys taking a wild ride that makes them question what they might do in the various scenarios that our characters are thrown into. My goal is for them to experience the same range of emotions: shock, fear, humor, passion and vengeance. Harris Estate, is the type of book that allows you to escape the day-to-day stresses of life, and take you into another person’s life of challenges and personal strife.

This book is your first novel. What are your plans for the future?
Writing Harris Estate has opened up a door that I had always kept securely closed. Taking the risk and finally jumping in with both feet, has freed my imagination and put it into overdrive. Since the decision was made to publish, I have gone ahead and written several more stories. Harris Estate, The Aftermath, is the sequel and the conclusion to Harris Estate. That novel has already been written and it is in the final editing phase. Closure, a heart-wrenching novel of mystery and revenge, has been written and I am optimistic for release in 2017. Finally, The Faithful One, is an in-depth philosophical novel that takes symbolism to another level and offers the reader a way to analyze their lives and how they live it. That is currently in the works and more are coming to mind each and every day.

stacy-cotterABOUT THE AUTHOR – STACEY COTTER

Stacey Cotter has a degree in psychology and business administration, which led her to a career path in long-term care. With a passion for literature, several stories had been in her mind for years, but weren’t ready to come out until now. Harris Estate was worth the wait, as it is her first published novel. The sequel, Harris Estate, The Aftermath, will be forthcoming in late 2016. Closure, a new fictional mystery, will follow in 2017. Stacey lives with her husband and two children.

Visit Stacey on Facebook and on Twitter @StaceyCotter5

You can purchase Harris Estate at Amazon and B&N

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Apr 072016
 

Excited for my stop on this tour!

who invited the ghost large banner640

Who Invited the Ghost to Dinner?
by Teresa Watson

Who invited the ghost - Teresa WatsonWho Invited the Ghost to Dinner:
A Ghost Writer Mystery

Cozy Mystery
Setting – Texas
Print Length: 393 pages
Publication Date: February 1, 2016
ASIN: B01BDX4UHQ
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Synopsis

Cam Shaw is hoping that her life will be ghost-free from now on. But that hope dies with the appearance of Mac “the Faker” Green, a wise-cracking ghost from Vegas who has followed her grandmother home. And during the opening night of Blithe Spirit, someone has sent Susan Ingram to her ghostly afterlife. What does her death have to do with the death of her mother-in-law fifty years ago? Who is trying to wipe out the Ingram family one person at a time? And when will that Vegas ghost stop sticking his nose into Cam’s business?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

When the book started out with a disappearance of “two old people” I wasn’t sure where we were headed, but we quickly learn the “old people” have gone to Las Vegas to get married, and one has been banned from 1 casino, I knew the fun was just beginning.

Cam Shaw and her dad travel to Vegas to bring the “old people” home but they also bring home Mac “the Faker” Green.  Mac happens to be a ghost. Cam seems to have a way with ghosts and this one is going to really test her patience.

Shortly after they return Cam is helping her mother set up for the opening night of a dinner production of Blithe Spirit. There she meets another ghost who helps her with the table settings. Trying her best to handle 2 ghosts, Cam is happy to just enjoy the play but before Act II begins a scream rocks the place. You got it, murder and ghost number 3, and she is related to ghost #2 who also happened to be murdered. What in the world is going on in Texas? I forgot to mention Cam’s boyfriend, Mike, is the chief of police, and he can’t see or hear the ghosts. They are going to have to work together to solve these murders.

Teresa Watson has scored high marks with me for this story. She has created some fine characters and constructed a story that held on and didn’t let go.

There is a big cast of characters, but she gives us a list to refer to before the story even starts. I missed the first story in this series so I appreciated that very much. After the first couple of chapters I knew who was who and what was what. They are all very unique and their personalities come through quickly. The ghosts were so well written and truly reflected the way they were before their lives were cut short.

Cam, short for Camille, is a ghostwriter, and is a great protagonist. She presses hard for answers, sometimes a little too hard, but really is just trying to help. She bangs heads with Mike a few times when she thinks he is withholding information. They are taking their romance slow and that is probably a good thing.

I really liked her grandmother Alma, one of the “old people”. She is 84, feisty, opinionated, and a card shark. She is also softhearted and thinks the world of her granddaughter. I did enjoy the whole family dynamic.

Now this mystery has so many twists and so many turns and without the help from the ghosts Mike would probably still be scratching his head. The criminal/s covered their tracks very well now and in the past.

The author left some things unfinished so I can’t wait to see where she takes us next. I know I want to see what happens between Cam and Mike and how Alma adjusts to married life.  I am also curious about the ghosts that may visit. I know there are plenty more good stories coming soon.

perfect 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

author photo1

About The Author –

I’m the daughter of a semi-retired Methodist minister, and have spent most of my life living in Texas and New Mexico (no, I am not a native Texan; I was born in the state of Washington). I graduated from West Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in 2000. I taught school for a couple of years before realizing that I really wanted to spend my time writing.

I’m a daughter, mother, wife, sister. Currently, I live in North Texas with my husband (still getting used to being an empty nester!). I love sports, and spend my free time harassing my husband about his Cowboys losing to my Redskins (and Steelers). Who Invited the Ghost to Dinner? is my tenth book (second book for the Ghostwriter series). I also write the Lizzie Crenshaw Mysteries (next book for this series is Death Drives a Zamboni).

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The author is giving 1 e-copy of Who Invited The Ghost to Dinner? away!

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

Dec 242015
 

candy cane cupcake killerThe Candy Cane Cupcake Killer:
A Fresh-Baked Mystery

Cozy Mystery
10th in Series
Setting – Texas
An Obsidian Mystery (November 3, 2015)
Published by New American Library
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Trade Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451416711
E-Book ASIN: B00SI028H2
goodreads-badge-add-plusShop Indie Bookstores

 

In the latest from the national bestselling author of Trick or Deadly Treat, Phyllis Newsom returns with a festive Christmas recipe that’s to die for…

‘Tis the season in Weatherford, Texas, and everyone in town is gearing up for the annual holiday parade and tree-lighting ceremony in the town square, where Phyllis Newsom will be serving her much-anticipated candy cane cupcakes. Local rancher Barney McCrory manages to charm one away from her before the ceremony begins. But unfortunately, when the minty confection is finished, so is he.

This isn’t the first time someone has dropped dead after eating one of Phyllis’s treats. But when the paramedics determine the rancher was shot, suspicion swiftly falls on McCrory’s daughter and her husband—who both stand to reap some sweet rewards from his death. Though Phyllis doesn’t want to get mixed up in another murder investigation, something about this case doesn’t sit right with her. With a little help from a tabloid TV news crew, Phyllis must unwrap the truth and restore good cheer to Weatherford before it’s too late…

Includes recipes!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

It’s Christmastime in Weatherford and it starts with the annual holiday parade. The crowd has turned out but a Grinch destroys the day. Barney McCrory, a local rancher, whose horse team is pulling Santa’s sleigh drops dead after the parade just gets started and Phyllis panics, Barney has just eaten one of her cupcakes. When the chaos clears it is determined Barney was shot. Who would benefit with the rancher out of the picture?  His daughter and her husband seem to gain the most landing them in the hot seat. Phyllis soon finds herself in the middle of another investigation. This time she gets help from a very surprising group but can they save Christmas and save Barney’s family?

I purposely saved this book to read closer to Christmas because a trip to Weatherford always puts a smile on my face.

After 10 stories these characters feel like old friends. Phyllis, Eve, Carolyn and Sam live together in a good size home and it seems the door is always open. Not only do visitors get a nice meal or a cupcake, they also get a shoulder to cry on, or a hug, but they also get an amateur sleuth in Phyllis or as the tabloids call her “Texas’s Elderly Angel of Death”. But calling her that will get the door slammed in your face, as Felicity Prosper from Inside Beat quickly found out. I would love to visit them myself without anyone having to be dead.  They may be retired but they definitely aren’ t tired. They are always on the go doing something.

This story started out with a bang that no one heard and continued its quick pace right up to the last page. I thought I had the who of the whodunit figured out a time or two, but I was completely wrong. That is the way it is supposed to be, right. Phyllis had her own way of investigating and sometimes she has all the clues she just needs to think things through a few times to get them to all fall together. Sam makes a great sounding board and sometimes even goes off on his own to chase down a clue.

This author tells a great story with dialogue that rings true and the characters’ wit comes shining through. Weatherford is the perfect setting too for this wonderful mystery. This was an exciting  story and so much fun to read.

We are given just a hint of what is in store for this cast of characters and I am excited to see it play out.

Now I think I need to bake some Candy Cake Cupcakes. Our family truly believes in the saying “Eat Dessert First” and these cupcakes will do nicely.

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about Livia J. Washburn on her webpage here.

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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Click Here For Entry Form

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

Dec 162015
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!!

I am so delighted to welcome Rebecca to
Escape With Dollycas!!

 

rebecca adler 2

Hi Everyone,

When I sat down to write Here Today, Gone Tamale, the first book in my Taste of Texas series, I pondered the best way to take hold of the story. Would it be the plot? The setting? The mystery? Sure the mystery was important. Who wants to read a book with a predictable plot? And though I loved Far West, Texas and the desert towns near the border, they didn’t reach out and grab me right away.

Head bowed and eyes closed, I prayed like a child, “Dear Lord, how the heck do I write a story that will make readers smile and feel at home?” Now, you may not pray, and the good Lord knows I don’t pray as often as I should; but the answer dropped into my soul.

It was all about the characters. I decided to write lovable, quirky people I wanted to spend time with. I had to start with a heroine with grit and a bit of an attitude. She couldn’t be svelte and perfect either. She had to love her tamales.

Once reporter Josie Callahan came onto the page, I needed a reason for her to leave the cool vibe and big city bustle of Austin—every Texan’s dream—only to land back in postage-sized Broken Boot with her aunt and uncle. Josie was down on her luck. Laid off and jilted at the altar, she had nowhere else to go.

Now that my amateur sleuth was back home where she belonged, working in her family’s Tex-Mex restaurant, who else was there for her to interact with?

HERE TODAY GONE TAMALEAh, a sidekick. That would be a Chihuahua named Lenny. Why Lenny? That’s what his previous owner named him, of course. Why a Chihuahua? The story is set in Far West Texas, right? Now let’s give that stereotype a twist. He’s a long-haired Chi which makes him extra cute and adorable.

Someone else was needed in the family, someone unpredictable and cantankerous—someone who could say all the things the other characters wished they could say. Senora Mari hit the page. This mighty matriarch, standing all of four feet, ten inches, oversaw everything that had to do with the menu at Milagro especially her famous traditional tamales. Much to my surprise, it turned out Senora Mari dreamt of dead people. Those poor souls murdered in Broken Boot came to her with clues about their murders. Unfortunately, Josie couldn’t make hide nor hair out of Senora Mari’s dreams.

Finally where would a smart, sassy amateur sleuth be without a hint of romance in her life? Enter from stage left Josie’s former college sweetheart, Coach Ryan Prentice. He’s not too busy coaching the West Texas University football team to help out at Milagro now and then and lend a sympathetic ear. Sneaking in from stage right is Deputy Quinton Lightfoot. He put the silent in the strong and silent type. Intelligent and skeptical of Josie’s investigative skills, he’s willing to overlook her mistakes as long as she doesn’t interfere with his investigation.

The stage was set. The dusty, artistic town of Broken Boot, Texas was the backdrop. Josie Callahan and the Martinez family were the leads. All I needed was a murder.

I hope you enjoy my first novel in this series, Here Today, Gone Tamale. If you crave your Tex-Mex the way I do, I know you’ll enjoy the recipes in the back as well.

Adiós,

Rebecca Adler

Thank you Rebecca for stopping by today! 

HERE TODAY GONE TAMALEHere Today, Gone Tamale:
A Taste of Texas Mystery

New Series
Setting – Texas
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (December 1, 2015)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Design by Judith Lagerman
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425275917
E-Book ASIN: B00SI0B89Q
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In this all-new culinary cozy mystery series, reporter turned Tex-Mex waitress Josie Callahan is about to go from serving queso to solving cases…

After losing her newspaper job in Austin and having her former fiancé unfriend her on Facebook, Josie Callahan scoops up her Chihuahua, Lenny, and slinks back to Broken Boot, Texas. Maybe working as head waitress at Milagro—her aunt and uncle’s Tex-Mex restaurant—isn’t exactly living the dream, but it is a fresh start.

And business is booming as tourists pour into Broken Boot for its famous Wild West Festival. But when a local jewelry designer is found strangled outside Milagro after a tamale-making party, Josie’s reporter instincts kick in. As suspects pile up and alibis crack faster than taco shells, Josie needs to wrap up this case tighter than her tía’s tortillas—before another victim calls for the check…

INCLUDES TEX-MEX RECIPES!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

We arrive in Broken Boot just in time for the Wild West Festival and so does Josie Callahan. She has been dumped by her fiancé and lost her newspaper job in Austin. She has come home to regroup. The festival and its preparations should keep her busy and her mind off things. Her family owns Milagro, a Tex-Mex restaurant.  The whole festival committee is coming together there to make the tamales for the tamale eating contest under the watchful of the tamale making queen,  Senora Mari. The night ends with one of the committee members dead and Josie using her investigative skills to catch a murderer.

Adler is off to a great start with this series. There are many unique characters, like Lenny, a lovable long haired chihuahua. Yes, human characters too, but he just stole my heart. We have Josie, a smart woman and a smart sleuth. Her aunt and uncle, the staff at the restaurant, and the head of the family Senora Mari. Note, she is not a woman to mess with for several reasons. There is the whole festival committee and they take unique to a whole new level. We also have Deputy Quinton Lightfoot and Ryan Prentice, Josie’s old boyfriend, added to the mix. There are a lot of characters but they all have a purpose and a place in the plot. They are all very believable characters too with plenty of room for growth.

Speaking of the plot, it is really good, it almost sizzles. I was surprised how everything fell into place. I always say a first book in a series is a heavy lift because we need to meet the characters and we still expect a quality mystery. Rebecca Adler delivers both aptly in this debut. She also mixes in humor and a spark of romance.

I can guarantee you will be hungry when you finish this book, but never fear, Senora Mari’s recipe for tamales is in the back of the book along with some others for you to try.

I am excited about this series, this one was fun to read. Fix yourself a margarita and enjoy this tasty mystery.

just you and a friend4 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Rebecca Adler is the pen name of author Gina Lee Nelson. Gina grew up on the sugar beaches of the Florida Gulf Coast. Drawn to the Big Apple by the sweet smell of wishful thinking, she studied acting on Broadway until a dark-eyed cowboy flung her over his saddle and high-tailed it to the Southwest.

Prior to writing women’s fiction, Rebecca always found a way to add a touch of the dramatic to her life: dinner theatre in Mississippi, can-can club in Florida, flower shop in Germany, acting school on Broadway, sweatshirt boutique on Madison Avenue, all night dive on the Lower East Side, video series in Jersey, and a giant Furskin at the New York Toy Fair, plus the occasional play and musical.

She’s currently content to pour her melodramatic tendencies into writing cozy mysteries with a hint of romance and a sweet, Southern-fried flavor.

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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.

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something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
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Leave a comment for Rebecca for 5 Bonus Entries.

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Contest Will End December 30, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
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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 272015
 

My turn on this wonderful tour today!

smart but dead large banner640

Smart, But Dead
by Nancy G. West

SMART BUT DEADSmart, But Dead
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Publisher: Henery Press (November 17, 2015)
Paperback: 272 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1943390250
E-Book ASIN: B0147MW9RS
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Synopsis:

Skirting forty and appalled by the prospect of descending into middle-age decrepitude, Aggie Mundeen blasts off to the local university to study the genetics of aging. In addition to providing youthful hints for readers of her column, “Stay Young with Aggie,” Aggie is doggedly determined to stay young.

Despite conflicts with her professor, she learns about the Human Genome Project and DNA. When she discovers a dead body, Detective Sam reminds her not to “help” with the investigation. But dangerously curious and programmed to prod, she races to solve the crime, winds up the prime suspect and is on target to become next campus corpse.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

 Set in 1997 – Aggie is excessively preoccupied with the idea of getting old. She writes a column  “Stay Young with Aggie,” where her fans write her letters like Dear Abby. She finds out about a class about the genetics of aging at the nearby university and quickly signs up.  The professor teaching it and Aggie have a past, she was kicked out of his last class, but she promises to behave herself this time. Unfortunately the professor dies shortly after the course begins.

Now the professor was a very intelligent man but he ends up dead. Aggie is a smart woman, but she sets herself on a brainless path and she may end up dead as well.

Aggie is an interesting character with what I think is a huge secret that has been batted about since the first book. She is also in love with a man that she hopes will fall in love with her. But this obsession of staying young is a bit over the top. If the man doesn’t love her for who she is inside and out the man is not worth her time.  Thankfully Sam is an extremely patient man and readers know he loves her as is, it is time Aggie knows it too.

Aggie goes off on quite a tangent trying to figure out who killed the professor and doing her lands her in even more hot water. I remember my mother telling me that sometimes the smart people have book sense but no common sense. That is Aggie. The rushes into things without thinking. This time she get just what she needs, a little time behind bars. Will that wake her up? Time will only tell.

I enjoyed the story but there were parts where it got a little bogged down with the technical aspect of DNA and aging. The mystery itself was very good. The story does have a message about jails and prisons that opened Aggie’s eyes to something tragic and true. I wish the reveal of Aggie’s secret would have played out a little differently but hopefully it will be talked about more in the next installment. I do like Aggie but being the woman’s friend would be absolutely exhausting. 🙂

just you and a friend4 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

Nancy West

About This Author

I’ve been writing since age seven: poems back and forth with my mom. I had a real poem published in the Library Journal, Pegasus, at age fifteen. At eighteen, I wanted to study journalism and English literature, but friends who chose that college route were making minimum wage or selling lingerie. Being practical, I earned a business degree. After marriage and two children, I decided I HAD to study literature and write. I wrote non-fiction articles, a biography, and a suspense novel in 2004. That’s when whimsical Aggie Mundeen cut through the suspense, popped into my head and demanded her own series. The Aggie Mundeen mystery capers were born. Aggie must have been right:
FIT TO BE DEAD is a LEFTY FINALIST 2013 for best humorous mystery, nominated by Left Coast Crime.

 

Chat with Aggie and Nancy on their blog here.

Author’s Webpage         Author Page at Henery Press           Author GoodReads

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Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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Be sure to check out the rest of the tour!

Tour Participants

November 17 – CLUB HEN HOUSE – Guest Post
November 18 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Spotlight
November 19 – Killer Hobbies – Guest Post   
November 20 – THE SELF-TAUGHT COOK – Spotlight
November 21 – Community Bookstop – Review
November 22 – Book Babble – Review
November 23 – Back Porchervations – Review
November 24- Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – Review
November 25 – Cassidy Salem Reads & Writes – Review
November 26 – U.S. THANKSGIVING
November 27 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Review
November 28 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy,  &, Sissy, Too ! – Spotlight
November 29 – A Blue Million Books – Interview
November 30 – Girl with Book Lungs – 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.”

Nov 122015
 

miss rufflesMiss Ruffles Inherits Everything: A Mystery
(Miss Ruffles Mysteries)

Cozy Mystery
Setting – Texas
Minotaur Books (November 3, 2015)
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0312573744
E-Book ASIN: B00W1E16WY
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Rich and flamboyant Honeybelle Hensley, the most colorful character in Mule Stop, Texas, dies a suspicious death and enrages the whole town by leaving her worldly fortune to the most undeserving recipient-her dog. The incorrigible Miss Ruffles is a Texas Cattle Cur, not a cuddly lapdog, and when Honeybelle was alive, Miss Ruffles liked nothing better than digging up Honeybelle’s famous rose garden after breakfast, chasing off the UPS man before lunch and terrorizing the many gentleman callers who came knocking at cocktail hour.

But now Miss Ruffles is in danger, and it’s up to Sunny McKillip, the unwilling dogsitter, to keep her safe. Sunny is new to Texas, and sometimes she feels as if she’s fallen into an alien world. If it isn’t the pistol-packing football fans and the sweet-talking, yet ruthless ladies of the garden club who confound her, it’s the rowdy rodeo hounds and the tobacco-spitting curmudgeon at Critter Control who have her buffaloed. With a killer on the loose and a cowboy lawyer keeping a suspicious eye on her every move, Sunny needs all the help she can get understanding how Texans think. There’s more to Honeybelle’s death than meets this Yankee’s eye, and Sunny has Miss Ruffles to protect, too. It’s a bucking bull ride of an adventure for Sunny, and if she’s not careful she might just get killed . . . or her heart lassoed.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I absolutely loved this story!

Welcome to Mule Stop where football is king and Honeybelle Hensley is queen. She is a very rich lady that is very generous with her money. She also has the most wonderful dog, a Texas Cattle Cur, named Miss Ruffles. Miss Ruffles can be a handful so Honeybelle has hired Sunny McKillip to be her assistant/dogsitter. Sunny hails from Ohio and is still learning the ways of Texas. When Honeybell dies suddenly Sunny is the only one who thinks it is suspicious. Is it a Southern thing? When the will is read and the terms are revealed Sunny has even more on the line and she needs to know if there if Honeybelle was killed for her money because if she was there is so much more at stake.

Nancy Martin has scored a touchdown with Miss Ruffles Inherits Everything! I love Honeybelle, Sunny, Ten, and even curmudgeonly Mae Mae and Mr. Carver, but I adore Miss Ruffles most of all. These characters jumped right out of the pages and into my heart.

I was so sad when Homeybelle died but that set up all the high jinx that would soon follow. In addition to trying to find the killer Sunny has to deal with two guys following her trying to collect a debt of her dead mother’s, deal with the crazy people at the university because Miss Ruffles is the team mascot, and deal with Honeybelle’s family who are upset about her will and much, much more. The pace throughout the entire book is pretty brisk and so entertaining. The final twist is spectacular!

I have to just say Honeybelle’s home and garden sounds just amazing. I had a very clear picture in my mind. I could even smell the roses.

Nancy Martin written almost 50 novels so she know how to tell a story.  Things may be big in Texas but I am a pretty big fan up here in Wisconsin. This is one I am shouting from the rooftops about!!

 paradise

5 STARFISH

5 STARFISH

Dollycas

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to the people at Minotaur I have 3 copies to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End November 26, 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

You can find out all about Nancy on her Webpage Here.

Find More of Nancy’s Books Here!

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

Oct 232015
 

trick or deadly treatTrick or Deadly Treat:
A Fresh-Baked Mystery

Cozy Mystery
Setting – Texas
9th in Series
An Obsidian Mystery (Reprint Edition) (October 6, 2015)
Published by New American Library
An Imprint of Penguin Random House
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451416704
Trade Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451416698
E-Book ASIN: B00INIXQRA
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It’s Halloween in Weatherford, Texas—which means Phyllis Newsom is baking up a storm of yummy seasonal treats…but she’s about to get even busier unmasking a killer…

While Phyllis and her friend Carolyn are preparing for a baking contest, her housemate Sam adopts Buck, an adorable Dalmatian who was hit by a car. To thank local veterinarian Hank Baxter for helping the dog, Phyllis and Carolyn bake a batch of doggie treats for his other four-legged patients.

But when they arrive at the clinic, the vet is in the process of being arrested—for the murder of his wife! Convinced that the police are barking up the wrong tree and that someone’s been burying evidence, Sam begs Phyllis to help find the real killer. Joined by Buck, the friends engage in a dogged pursuit of the murderer, who will stop at nothing to muzzle them…permanently.

INCLUDES RECIPES!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

In this 9th Fresh Baked Mystery the tables are turned a bit as Sam is the one leading the investigation.  Sam met Dr. Hank Baxter when he rescued a wonderful dalmatian after it had been hit by a car. The vet takes such good car of the dog, who Sam has named Buck, that when Hank is arrested Sam feels the great need to help him. Sam seems to hit one brick wall after another so Phyllis agrees to help him out. Carolyn and Phyllis are trying to win another cooking contest for a national magazine. They have a personal competition to see who can make the best doggie treats too.   Eve is in the background of this story so all the roommates are accounted for. Let the fun begin!

Okay let’s get it out of the way. Hank Baxter’s wife was a first class snob and I instantly disliked her so when she ended up dead I was not surprised. What truly surprised was the way the mystery played out.  We know the spouse it always the first suspect and the police are usually wrong on that assumption. Ms. Washburn took us through many twists and turns on the highways through Texas and in finding the actual killer as well.

Phyllis, Carolyn, Eve and Sam are a very engaging group of characters. They all live together and muddle through day to day life but trouble just seems to follow them. They appear to be unflappable most of the time. Phyllis and Sam are smart and have a very methodical way of investigating. Sam was on the right track he just needed to be able to talk things through with Phyllis to go forward.  The dialogue between the characters is top-notch. I love that they have added a dog to their little family.

Livia J. Washburn has penned a delightful story. This is a perfect book to curl up on these cool Autumn nights especially with Halloween just a week away.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

This was a reprint of a story released last year. Livia has a brand new story coming November 3. The Candy Cane Cupcake Killer  finds everyone in town is gearing up for the annual holiday parade and tree-lighting ceremony in the town square and you know there will be trouble. You can find out more about Livia and her books on her webpage 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 November 7, 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.”

Sep 302015
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am thrilled to welcome Lizbeth Lipperman back to Escape With Dollycas! Her Dead Sister Talking Mysteries are a little edgier than her Jordan McAllister Mysteries. I call them Cozies with a kick 🙂

liz lipperman

 

GREAT FIRST LINES

Which one of you b–ches is my mother?

Wow! Is that a great line or what? It’s the first line of the Prologue for LACE by Shirley Conran. It’s been almost thirty years since I read the book, and it still has me in awe. My God! Who could stop reading after that? Here’s the blurb from Amazon.

Four elegant, successful, and sophisticated women in their forties are called to New York’s Pierre Hotel to meet Lili — a beautiful, young, and notoriously temperamental Hollywood movie star. None of the women knows exactly why she is there; each has a reason to hate Lili and each of them is astonished to see the others. They are old friends who share a guilty secret and who have for years been doing their best to keep that secret quiet. Their lives are changed forever, however, when Lili suddenly confronts them. When the women refuse to answer her, Lili proceeds to travel around the world through the playgrounds of the rich and famous, seeking to answer the question that has obsessed and almost destroyed her.

From Paris to London, from the boardroom to the bedroom, Lace takes the reader into the rarified world of five unforgettable women who are as beautiful, as complex and as strong as…lace.

I remember staying up half the night to find out the answer, but Ms. Conran didn’t make it easy. Chapter One began with the story of one of the women and moved on to each one as I hurried through the pages trying to find out which one had mothered this young woman. I wanted so desperately to cheat and skip ahead to the end, but I didn’t want to spoil it. The answer didn’t come until the last chapter. The book was made into a two-part miniseries in 1984, but it didn’t do it justice. The paperback is going for $29.42 right now on Amazon (Holy moly!) Although Ms. Conran wrote several more good books, none of them even came close to her genius in LACE, IMHO.

Why am I bringing up a thirty year old book, you ask?

Because every time I come up with a first line or a hook for my chapter endings, I think about this line. I ask myself, “Is mine as good as hers?” Sometimes, I surprise myself with a really good one, but most of the time I have to go back to the drawing board and rethink things.

mission to killSome of you may know I just released MISSION TO KILL, book #3 of A Dead Sister Talking/Garcia Girls Mystery, and I’m ready to start book #6 of The Clueless Cook/Jordan McAllister Mysteries. (All these are stand-alones and can be read without starting with the first one, BTW.) I’ve been lollygagging because I can’t come up with the perfect place to start this one. I believe an awesome first line is the hook of the entire book. You either grab the reader with it …or you don’t.

I’m hopelessly stuck. Where is Shirley when you need her? (Probably across the pond since she’s a Brit.)

Two of my better first lines are:

Before the night ends, I’m going to have sex with a total stranger. (Mortal Deception)

A pitcher of margaritas, a white sandy beach on the Pacific coast and a bunch of crazy women. Perfect for a killing. (Shattered)

So, I need a little inspiration. Tell me some of the great first lines or hooks that have stayed in your mind long after you read the book. Who knows? Maybe I’ll have an ‘ah ha!” moment and can get started on ENCHI-LOTTA BODIES before panic sets in.

“Which one of you b–ches is my mother?” won’t work in my cozy mystery!! Darn!

~Liz

About This Author

Liz Lipperman started writing many years ago, even before she retired from the medical field. Wasting many years thinking she was a romance writer but always having to deal with the pesky villains who kept popping up in all her stories, she finally gave up and decided since she read mysteries and obviously wrote them, why fight it? She’s currently working on two mystery series–the Jordan McAllister Mysteries (formerly the Clueless Cook Series) and The Garcia Girls Mysteries (formerly A Dead Sister Talking Series.) She wants readers to know that her G rated cozies are written as Liz Lipperman and her R rated, grittier mysteries as Lizbeth Lipperman.

She lives north of Dallas with her HS sweetheart hubby. When she’s not writing she spends her time doting on her four wonderful grandchildren.

mission to killMission To Kill
(A Garcia Girls Mystery)

3rd Book in Series
Mystery/Women Sleuths
Setting – Texas
Publisher: The Story Vault (September 11, 2015)
Paperback: 284 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1517289904
E-Book ASIN: B015AOY4XY
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Trouble follows the Garcia sisters, and this time a close family friend is in the hot seat. Once again they band together to come to his aid. But even with the trash-talking ghost of their dead sister, Tessa, making another appearance from the “other side,” they have their work cut out for them to keep their friend and sibling from wearing an orange jumpsuit.

After Emily Ruiz Santiago is killed in a shootout with police during a bank robbery in El Paso, Dr. Kate Garcia gets a call from a Houston lawyer. Seems the woman has left her sizable inheritance to Kate and family friend, Benny Yates, who runs the Mission of Hope, a soup kitchen for the down and out citizens of Vineyard. The problem is–the Emily they knew lived on the streets of Vineyard and died of a drug overdose three months before. Suspicion falls on Benny when another homeless person drops dead at the Mission, and he is listed as the beneficiary on the man’s recent life insurance policy.

The Garcia sisters go into sleuth mode once again to keep their friend out of jail, before they discover one of their own is also a suspect.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Lizbeth Lipperman had written yet another fantastic mystery!

I love Tessa and when she returns from “the great beyond” you know one of her sisters is in trouble. She drops in on Kate this time at a very inopportune moment, but Dr. Kate Garcia handles the surprise pretty well. That means Kate is the only one that can see or hear her. At that time they don’t know which of the sisters needs help but when Kate receives a call from a lawyer she knows it is her.  A woman has died and left her and her friend Benny an inheritance.  Kate and Benny are confused because the woman they knew was homeless, how could she have left the any money? The plot thickens when another homeless person dies and Benny seems to be the beneficiary of his life insurance policy. The Garcia girls have their work cut out for them as they try to sort through all the clues to keep Benny and Kate out of  a 10 x 10 jail cell.

This is such a great series. Kate, Lainey, Maddy, and Deena are quite a force to be reckoned with, together and separately. Even Lainey’s husband, the town sheriff, knows no matter what he says or how hard he tries the sisters are going to butt right into the middle of his investigation. This makes for some thrilling moments and some hairy situations. Tessa is hysterical, she adds the comic relief that keeps everything balanced and in the cozier realm. The dialogue between all the characters is fabulous, quick and real.

I have to say the mystery was pretty tricky even after we get the first big clue. It was a twisty, topsy, turvey ride from the start to the finish. There is a subplot too that has the beginnings of a romance. I enjoyed this part immensely.

In Heard It Through The Grapevine Lainey was the sister in trouble. In Jailhouse Glock it was Maddy. This time Kate was the one that needed help. Deena must be up next and I truly cannot wait for her story. All of these books can stand on their own but you should really start at the beginning because these sisters are such wonderful and unique characters. Tessa will surely have you laughing out loud in each, and every one of the mysteries is top-notch.

I have read everything Liz/LizBeth Lipperman has published and loved them all. She definitely is one of my favorite authors!

 a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

GIVEAWAY
The Author is giving 1 copy of Mission to Kill away!!!

Print Copy or E-Book – Winners Choice!
Print Copy – U.S. Only

Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Leave a comment for Liz  and help her find a great first line for 5 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End October 14, 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.”

Sep 092015
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am so happy Kay could drop by for a visit today!

 

Kay Finch

Kay Finch

Black Cat Crossing by Kay Finch

We all grew up hearing a variety of common superstitions. Walking under a ladder, breaking a mirror, Friday the 13th, opening an umbrella inside – all of these things are supposedly unlucky. I’m not superstitious. For one thing, superstitions are illogical. And they’re inconsistent. One says “to dream of a black cat is lucky,” while another states “dreaming of a cat is regarded as a sign of bad luck in the future.” I certainly don’t believe that a black cat crossing my path will cause me bad luck. Since I began writing the Bad Luck Cat series, though, I’ve learned that several acquaintances of mine would seriously turn around and go the opposite way if they saw a black cat in their path. Hearing this annoys me, but I don’t argue the point because their minds are already made up and everyone is entitled to an opinion.

black cat crossingIn Black Cat Crossing, aspiring mystery novelist Sabrina Tate faces a similar situation when residents of the fictional town of Lavender, Texas announce the legendary Bad Luck Cat is back. They’re on a mission to trap the cat so they can remove him from the area and keep the town safe. One of those people is Thomas, who works for Sabrina’s Aunt Rowe at her rental cottage business. Here’s a snippet from the book:

Thomas lifted his arm to check his watch, and I spotted a bloody cut on his forearm. Looked to me like he might need stitches.
“What happened to you?” I pulled a fresh napkin from the dispenser and handed it to him.

He accepted the napkin and dabbed at the wound. “El Gato Diablo is what. Gosh-darned cat crossed my path, next thing my toe caught on the curb, and I fell flat out. Arm caught the edge of one of them fancy metal planters in front of the wine shop. Better’n smacking my head, I guess.”

“A devil cat?” My forehead creased. “What are you talking about?”

“The black cat,” he said. “Big fella. Been around these parts since I was a kid.”

The coffee shop’s owner, Max Dieter, came up with a mug for Thomas in one hand and a steaming coffee pot in the other.

“Heard you talking about the bad luck cat,” he said. “Legend around town. I thought we’d seen the last of him when Wes Krane loaded him up and carted him off to Nolan County.”

From the start, Sabrina feels a kinship with the cat whom she sees as an ordinary, lovable stray black cat. Well, maybe not always ordinary, but still…Sabrina loves him. When he sits on the window sill of her cottage and watches as she works on her novel, her writing takes off and suspense flows effortlessly onto the page. Sabrina names him Hitchcock and declares that this cat is creating good luck for her.

Yes, Hitchcock leads Sabrina to discover a dead body in the river, but he also helps her solve the mystery. Believe what you will – Sabrina and I are sticking to our story – Hitchcock the cat brings us both good luck, and we intend to keep him around for a long time.

~Kay

You can find out more about Kay Finch on her webpage here.

black cat crossingBlack Cat Crossing
(Bad Luck Cat mystery, A)

Brand New Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Texas
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (September 1, 2015)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Brandon Dorman
Cover Design by George Long
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425275245
E-Book ASIN: B00SI0275K
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In the first in this cat-filled cozy series, aspiring mystery author Sabrina Tate is about to discover that when it comes to solving murders, her new feline friend Hitchcock is a master of sleuthing…

Sabrina has never been the superstitious type. Still, when she moves to Lavender, Texas, to write her first novel and help her Aunt Rowe manage her vacation rental business, Sabrina can’t avoid listening to the rumors that a local black cat is a jinx—especially after the stray in question leads her directly to the scene of a murder.

The deceased turns out to be none other than her Aunt Rowe’s awful cousin Bobby Joe Flowers, a known cheat and womanizer who had no shortage of enemies. The only problem is that Aunt Rowe and Bobby Joe had quarreled just before the cousin turned up dead, leaving Rowe at the top of the long list of suspects. Now it’s up to Sabrina to clear her aunt’s name. Luckily for her, she’s got a new sidekick, Hitchcock the Bad Luck Cat, to help her sniff out clues and stalk a killer before Aunt Rowe winds up the victim of even more misfortune…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Sabrina Tate, an aspiring author, comes to Lavender, Texas to help her Aunt Rowe take care of her rental cabins while her broken leg heals and to finally get the book out of head and down in print.  She quickly learns about a Bad Luck Cat in the area. She is surprised when a black cat is right outside her cabin door, it has to be the same cat. She can’t help but follow the feline and wishes she hadn’t when he leads her right to a dead body.  The body of  Bobby Joe Flowers, her Aunt Rowe’s conniving cousin who had just come back to town. The body of  a man her Aunt Rowe argued with earlier. She knows this is going to be bad, she knows her aunt his going to be the number one suspect. Since the cat led her to the body maybe he can lead her to the killer. How is she ever going to get her book written if she has to solve a murder case while the police have their sights set on Aunt Rowe?

I liked Sabrina right away. She does not believe there is any such thing as a Bad Luck Cat, in fact she is going to do everything she can to save him from the superstitious folks of Lavender.  As a true cat lover I was totally rooting for the kitty she quickly names Hitchcock.

The author sets a very fast pace from the first page. Sabrina has her hands full – saving Hitchcock, writing her book, helping with the cabins, solving a murder and maybe an old murder too. Her friend even sets her up with a meeting with an agent when she barely has written 3 chapters let alone a whole book.

Writing the first book in a series is hard because all the characters need to be introduced and they have to be fleshed out enough so the reader can engage with them. The author also has to give us a good credible mystery that we cozy readers can try to solve before the protagonist. Kay Finch does a good job with this, but at times is was just a little too much. Sabrina just had so much going on. At times I wanted to jump into the book and tell Sabrina’s friend, Tyanne, to slow down. Seriously I get Sabrina may need a nudge to get going on her book but after she found a body on her aunt’s property and her aunt being questioned by police it was time to back off and reschedule the meeting. I am surprised Sabrina held it all together, a normal person would have crumbled with all the weight upon their shoulders.

With that said the mystery was good and had great twists and was very entertaining. I was totally surprised by how things played out. Hitchcock and Sabrina make a great team and I am looking forward to seeing what drama they get themselves wrapped up in next.

just you and a friend4 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

GIVEAWAY

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Leave a comment for Kay for 5 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End September 23, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Aug 212015
 

revenge of the chili queensRevenge of the Chili Queens
(A Chili Cook-off Mystery)

3rd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Texas
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (August 4, 2015)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Miles Hyman
Cover Design by Diana Kolsky
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425262443
E-Book ASIN: B00QH8320Y
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The author of Death by Devil’s Breath takes the chili cook-off circuit to southern Texas to prove that revenge is a dish best served hot . . .

Everyone in San Antonio remembers the Alamo, but how many remember the Chili Queens? Back in the early twentieth century, these spicy señoras sold their lip-smacking chili in plazas all around the city. Now, as part of the Chili Showdown, Maxie and her half-sister, Sylvia, are dressing up as the Chili Queens to raise money for charity.

But someone wasn’t feeling too charitable toward a local troubadour, who is murdered at the fundraiser. When their friend Nick Falcone, head of security for the Showdown, actually becomes the prime suspect, it’s up to Maxie and Sylvia to turn the heat up on a killer, who’s planning a chili reception for them . . .

INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

The Chili Showdown rolls into Texas and pays tribute to the Chili Queens of San Antonio by serving chili at a fundraiser for a week at the Alamo in addition to their festivities at the fair grounds. You will only find the Chili Chick at the fairgrounds. For the charity event they dress a little more old fashioned. They are also serving a different type of chili each night and they are joined by several other groups serving their versions of the dish including a company that sells chili IN A CAN!! The girls just can’t believe it.

Of course where the Showdown goes trouble usually follows and soon Maxie finds a body. A strolling “hot” guitar player had strummed his last string. When the man is identified we learn the he and the Showdown’s head of security, Nick, have crossed paths. He may even be the police’s prime suspect. No beans about it Maxie is hot on the trail and she is burning up trying to find the real killer,

I love this series! Maxie is smart, savvy and her temperament is spicy. You never know where her little investigations are going to take her. Sylvia holds down the fort while Maxie is either dancing up a storm as the Chili Chick or dancing around the countryside following a lead. But she doesn’t do it out of the goodness of her heart, she is sure to have a snarky comment of two whenever Maxie returns. They are only half-sisters and running their dad’s business, Jack Pierce’s Hot-Cha Chili Seasoning Palace, together since he has disappeared without a trace, means they have to put up with each other.

Kylie Logan has served up yet another marvelous cozy mystery. She has given us plenty of unique characters, several who are viable suspects, and put them in a fantastic place.  She spices up the story with a dash of romance and a dollop of humor. This one moved right along and has a couple of surprising moments they will make the pages fly faster and faster. It is a hot, hot, hot one and I highly recommend you dish up a copy as soon as you can.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 You can find out more about Kylie and her book here on her webpage and her alter ego Casey Daniels here.

GIVEAWAY

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Jun 182015
 

summer's listSummer’s List
Contemporary Christian Fiction
Setting – Texas
Publisher: River North (June 1, 2015)
Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0802412324
E-Book ASIN: B00PI111LS
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A dying wish alters the course of a young woman’s life.

Life hadn’t been easy for Summer Snow. In acts of selflessness-caring for her ailing parents and running her grandmother’s bookstore-she had forfeited her youth and dreams for the needs of others. And the only tries she had at love… didn’t turn out. She had the bookstore, she had her beloved granny, but she was missing something-or someone.

Opportunity strikes when Granny sends Summer on an unexpected adventure with one Martin Langtree, a kind but gangly young man from Summer’s past. A childhood friendship is rekindled, a romance is sparked, and mysteries are solved in one magical Texas summer. Will Summer strike out on love again, or will things finally go her way?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This is a little different from what I have been reading lately but when I was offered a copy to review I jumped at it.

Summer has put everyone else first and she made some poor choices in the romance department. She breaks off her latest relationship and goes to visit her grandmother to give her the news but her grandmother has news of her own. She is very sick and has just a few months to live. As a woman who is very strong in her faith she is not really scared or upset about the news but Summer is devastated and doesn’t want to accept that her grandmother is dying. Her grandmother has a perfect solution to help Summer.  She gives her a list, sort of a bucket list, but more a list of things Summer missed out on while she was taking care of others. The top item on the list was finding her childhood friend and even includes taking a hot air balloon ride. Summer was hesitant but finally agrees.

This a wonderful story. I loved the characters and really appreciated the many messages sent throughout the story. The characters are all flawed and dealing with different things in their lives. A few are angry at God and believe me I am in the place several times each day. One of the supporting characters had suicidal thoughts, just like my son, and I thought I was not going to be able to finish. I don’t think this is too much of a spoiler, but the outcome in the story was different than in my life, and I was happy for that.

I have not read anything by this author before but hope to read more of her books in the future. She is a great storyteller and weaves the religious parts in excellently and doesn’t come off as preachy at all.  The romance parts are just what you would expect for this type of novel.

If Christian fiction is a genre you enjoy I highly recommend this story.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

To find out more about Anita Higman and her books visit her webpage here and Like her on Facebook here.

GIVEAWAY
I am giving my review copy away!!

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Leave a comment for Miranda for 5 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End July 2, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Review – Smothered, Covered & Dead by Liz Lipperman

 Cruisin Thru Cozies, E-Book Challenge  Comments Off on Review – Smothered, Covered & Dead by Liz Lipperman
Jun 122015
 

smotheredSmothered, Covered & Dead: (A Jordan McAllister Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Texas
Publisher: The Story Vault (May 27, 2015)
Print Length: 142 pages
ASIN: B00YEZLKR4
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Aspiring sportswriter Jordan McAllister never imagined she’d end up as a food critic for a small time newspaper. Writing the culinary column for the Ranchero Globe is a challenge, and even though she can’t make a grilled cheese sandwich without burning it, she has no trouble finding herself in hot water.

When Rosie LaRue finds her ex in the apartment with her ice pick in his chest, Jordan knows that she and the Empire Apartments gang must act quickly to keep their friend out of jail. Despite the fact that the deceased has a long list of people who wanted him dead, things aren’t always what they seem, and Jordan ends up in the hands of a crazed killer, desperately searching for a way to stay alive.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I really love this series. Jordan is a girl after my own heart but I can cook just a little bit better than she.

This little novella puts Jordan’s friend Rosie in the hot seat when her ex is found dead on her couch. Thankfully her friends have her back and find several more suspects for the police to pursue.

Liz Lipperman is one of my favorite authors. She creates delicious characters and puts them in dicey situations. She always adds a good scoop of humor to her cozy mysteries too. While this book was about half the size of her normal mystery nothing was left out or felt rushed. As a fan of this series I am familiar with the recurring characters so I had no trouble putting everyone in their place. She does give enough background to read it as a stand alone. I am thrilled the Liz has taken the self-published route to continue the Clueless Cook Series, with Chicken Caccia-Killer and now Smothered, Covered and Dead as the Jordan MacAllister Mysteries. If you like this one I encourage you to go back and read the rest.

Be sure to check out the recipes too!

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

To keep up with Liz and get information about all her book please visit her webpage here.

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

First Degree Mudder by Kate Dyer-SeeleyOrder Your Copy Today
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