Apr 172015
 

bittersweet spotlightBittersweet
(China Bayles Mystery Series)

23rd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Texas
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Company (April 7, 2015)
Published by The Penguin Group
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425255629
E-Book ASIN: B00LMGLZJ6
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New from the author of Death Come Quickly and Widow’s Tears
This Thanksgiving, be grateful for China Bayles—who teams up with an old friend to solve a complex case of theft and murder in a South Texas ranching community…

It’s Thanksgiving in Pecan Springs, and China is planning to visit her mother, Leatha, and her mother’s husband, Sam, who are enthusiastically embarking on a new enterprise—turning their former game ranch into a vacation retreat for birders. She’s also looking forward to catching up with her friend, game warden Mackenzie “Mack” Chambers, who was recently transferred to the area. But Leatha calls with bad news: Sam has had a heart attack.

How will Leatha manage if Sam can’t carry his share? She does have a helper, Sue Ellen Krause. But China discovers that Sue Ellen, who is in the process of leaving her marriage to the assistant foreman at a large trophy game ranch, is in some serious trouble. Before Sue Ellen can tell China the full story, her car veers off a deserted road and she is killed.

Meanwhile, when a local veterinarian is shot in what appears to be a burglary at his clinic, Mack Chambers believes his murder could be related to fawns stolen from a nearby ranch. As Mack follows the trail, China begins to wonder if Sue Ellen’s death may not have been an accident, and if there’s a connection to the stolen animals. But their search for the truth may put their own lives in danger…

Find out more about Susan Wittig Albert and her books on her webpage here.

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 1 Hardcover Copy to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Contest Will End May 1, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Feb 262015
 

dang near dead large banner640It’s my turn today on the Dang Near Dead tour!

DANG NEAR DEAD
Dang Near Dead
Series: An Aggie Mundeen Mystery
Publisher: Henery Press (September 30, 2014)
Hardcover: 238 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1941962169
Paperback: 280 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1940976402
E-Book ASIN: B00N12RJLC
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Aggie vacations with Sam and Meredith at a Texas Hill Country dude ranch with plans to advise her column readers how to stay young and fresh in summer. Except for wranglers, dudes, heat, snakes and poison ivy, what could go wrong?

When an expert rider is thrown from a horse and lies in a coma, Aggie is convinced somebody caused the fall. Despite Sam’s warnings, Aggie is determined to expose the assailant. She concocts ingenious sleuthing methods that strain their dicey relationship as she probes secrets of the ranch and its inhabitants. After she scatters a hornet’s nest of cowboys, she discovers more than one hombre in the bunch would like to slit her throat.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Aggie, Meredith and Sam arrive at the BVS Dude Ranch and are immediately underwhelmed by the place but after meeting the owners and other visitors they decide to stick it out and try to enjoy themselves. When one of the employees of the ranch is thrown from her horse Aggie’s itchy feet tell her something is not right. When she learns the previous owners of the ranch died of unusual circumstances and their will contained some strange contingencies Aggie gets even more curious.

Unlike the first story of this series, Fit To Be Dead Aggie listens to Sam and they work together to piece together the evidence and clues to try to find out what really happened. Being a detective he can get information Aggie could never get on her own. They are also working on their relationship although she still has a big secret. To get the most out of this story you need to have read the first book in this series to understand Aggie and Sam’s relationship. This book builds from the foundation set up there and continues.

The mystery is pretty complex as it ties to the past history of the dude ranch and the lengths some people will go to get something they want. There are a variety of suspects and the setting itself adds to the adventure. 1800 acres is a lot of ground to cover and it is full of trails that can divert from the truth or lead you to it.

Being from Wisconsin I enjoyed the references to my state and was surprised how many of the characters moved from here or close by.

Nancy G. West has taken us to a fun place for this installment and while there is plenty of drama there is also plenty of humor. I really enjoyed Dang Near Dead and can’t wait to see where Aggie and her friends go next.

 

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

6442929

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.

Links:

Chat with Aggie and Nancy on their blog: www.stayyoungwithaggie.wordress.com.

Author’s Webpage: http://www.nancygwest.com/

Author Page at Henery Press: http://henerypress.com/authors-humorous-mystery-series-authors/nancy-g-west/

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6442929.Nancy_G_West

Purchase – | B&N Nook | Kobo | iTunes | Google Play | B&N Paperback

Tour Participants – Check out all the stops!

February 18 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – Review
February 19 – Omnimystery News – Interview
February 20 – Christa Reads and Writes – Review
February 23 – Babs Book Bistro – Interview
February 24 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review
February 25 – deal sharing aunt – Guest Post
February 26 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Review
February 27 – A Blue Million Books – Interview
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Jan 272015
 

special guest blue

Melissa-Bourbon-Ramirez-_2

Aprons!
by Melissa Bourbon

I’ve learned so much about aprons in the past year. They are the central sewing theme in A Seamless Murder, and I loved finding out more about this fantastic American tradition.

I’ve become fascinated with aprons, in fact. I have about 4 hanging from hooks in my kitchen now, my daughter almost always wears one when she helps me cook, my sons love to don them and joke around in the kitchen, and I have my favorites that I wear—for special occasions and for everyday use.

SEAMLESS MURDERThere’s something about wearing an apron that changes the way I feel at that moment. I think it’s the same for a great piece of clothing, but with an apron, you can easily change your mood or a facet of your personality for a period of time. Wearing certain aprons in my collection make me smile. Others make me feel like a more serious cook. And still others can take the fun out of cooking and make it feel like more of a chore.

One thing I love about writing is that I get to explore subjects that are interesting to me. I get to immerse myself in new topics. And my interests often guide the direction or themes of my books. This time around it was aprons.

I’d love to hear about your relationship with aprons. Do you wear them? Love them? Have no use for them? As I said, I love them, so I’m really curious to hear what others think of them.

**

On another note, my mom, a masterful sewist, made a bunch of aprons for me as I wrote A Seamless Murder. They don’t all correspond to the book’s aprons, but a few are pretty close. And I’m giving some of them away via my newsletter! I’m so excited, because I know there are other apron lovers out there.

If you’re an apron-lover… or if you don’t know your personal thoughts about aprons but are curious to find out, join my newsletter and you can enter to win!

Happy reading!

Melissa

Sign up for Melissa’s newsletter

To find out more about Melissa Bourbon and her books visit her webpage here.

SEAMLESS MURDERA Seamless Murder:
A Magical Dressmaking Mystery

Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Setting: Texas
An Obsidian Mystery (January 6, 2015)
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451417213
E-Book ASIN: B00KWG9JP4
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With a needle and thread, Harlow Jane Cassidy is capable of magic. Her neighbors in Bliss, Texas, on the other hand, are capable of murder….

Any garment Harlow stitches together has the power to grant the deepest desire of whomever wears it. So when she’s asked to sew aprons for a local women’s group, Harlow must get to know each member. First up is Delta Lee Mobley, who doesn’t care much for Harlow’s family—or anyone else in Bliss, for that matter. Granting Delta’s greatest wish could only lead to trouble….

But trouble finds Delta all the same. The day after Harlow delivers her apron, Delta’s body is discovered in the cemetery. It seems one of the townsfolk harbored ill will toward one of their own. Harlow’s sleuthing skills are a cut above the rest, and with a few magical tricks up her sleeve, she is determined to cuff this killer once and for all.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Making aprons for a woman’s group should be an easy task for most seamstresses but because of Harlow Jane Cassidy’s magical gift of granting the wearer’s deepest desire she needs to really get to know her customers. Delta Mobley is the head of the group and also Harlow’s next door neighbor but sharing a property line doesn’t mean you know or even like the people next door. There has been a little feud going on between the Cassidy and Mobley families for years, maybe making Delta an apron will be the first step to the families being more neighborly.

The apron gets made but before any real change between the families can happen Delta’s body is found in an open grave in the local cemetery. Harlow quickly finds out her family is not the only one who had problems with Delta. The suspects soon become many including her own family and the ladies in the woman’s group. Harlow believes by using a little bit of magic and asking the right questions she may be able to stitch together the clues and catch the killer before anyone else life is cut short.

These characters never fail to draw me into their story and I always learn a little something too. In this installment a local woman’s group is planning a progressive dinner when each course is served at a different member’s home. I have been to a couple of these events and they were fun and very interesting. In my case I always met new people and some became good friends. In this case the ladies in the group and their husbands all know each other and split up into comfortable groups.  That left Harlow and Will as the outsiders of the group and they were focused more on finding a killer rather than making friends. They also planned to do a little snooping so one had to cover for the other.  Like I said these events can be interesting.

Meeting all these new characters was entertaining. I hope some of them return in future stories. But my favorites are still Harlow, her mother whose gift makes gardens bloom and grass grow, her goat whispering grandmother and my most favorite of all Meemaw, who has her own special gift of getting just what she wants. Meemaw sets us up with one heck of a cliffhanger!

The author was able to show us Delta was a very complex woman and a woman that had changed of late. She did have a unique way of communicating with her family. Some people hold things in and bottle them up, some vent things very well. Delta form of communicating was sweet sometimes but left me thinking that if she was a “venter” or a woman that voiced her opinions wrong or right she may not have died.

Melissa Bourbon sews together another wonderful mystery that keeps us on pins and needles until all the clues are pieced together. A little sewing mixed with a little sleuthing always makes for happy reading.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

GIVEAWAY

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Leave a comment for Melissa 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 February 10, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

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

Oct 312014
 

just for fun 2014
I made it, just by the skin of my teeth!
Thanks to Great Escapes Book Tours I found author Teresa Trent. This is a series I knew I had to read and A Dash of Murder (Pecan Bayou Series Book 1) takes place on Halloween so I knew it was the perfect book for today!


A Dash of Murder
(Pecan Bayou Series Book 1)

Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Tightwad Tess Press (September 14, 2011)
Paperback: 148 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1478113003
E-Book File Size: 349 KB
ASIN: B005NB1QSG
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A Mystery for Ghost Hunters!
When Betsy’s Aunt Maggie wants to drag her along on a ghost hunting excursion at the local abandoned tuberculosis hospital she isn’t sure if she quite believes in ghosts. When she comes upon a fresh spirit in the form of a body, she starts to rethink about what really is haunting the hospital.

Betsy must solve the murder in spite of her father, who is a lieutenant on the Pecan Bayou Police Force, town citizens worried about the effect of the occult on their children, and handsome stranger from Dallas. How do you get blood out of a silk blouse? Betsy Livingston can tell you in her newspaper column, “The Happy Hinter”. When she’s not writing, or taking care of her young son, she’s busy solving mysteries in the tiny Texas town of Pecan Bayou.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Being the first book in the series the author not only has to give us a mystery but also introduce us to the characters and give us a feel for the time and place. Teresa Trent does a great  job at this.

The place happens to be the abandoned Johnson Tuberculosis Hospital which would be a  spooky place to me no matter what time of year it is. The idea that there may be spirits lurking enough to bring ghost hunters to investigate adds to the haunted feeling. I was nervous about any hallway Betsy ventured into and one of the surprises she did find made me drop the book for just a moment. I don’t want a spoiler here but I am not talking about a ghost or even a dead body.  Something that would have made me run screaming to the nearest exit.

The characters are very engaging. I love Betsy, The Happy Hinter. She seems very down to earth and someone I could probably be friends with. Her father has his hands full with a certain person creating havoc about the ghost hunters, the Scout troop on an overnight camp out, the drama at the old hospital, a murder to solve and of course the normal Halloween hijinks. I like the way all the characters rally together and helped out however they could.

The mystery was a good one too. Plenty of the expected twists and turns. I was totally surprised by the ending.

Trent does all this in less than 150 pages which I couldn’t believe. It was a very fast read and I really enjoyed it. She has left plenty of room for the characters to grow. I am late to this party though. The 6th book in the Pecan Bayou Series, Murder for a Rainy Day was just released so I have some catching up to do.

just you and a friend4 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About This Author

Teresa Trent writes her Pecan Bayou Mystery Series from Houston, Texas.  With a father in the army, her family moved often finally settling in Colorado.  Living in Texas for the last 19 years she loves the people and even the weather.  Murder for a Rainy Day includes a hurricane, and having endured Hurricane Ike and Hurricane Rita with her family, Teresa would much rather write about them than evacuate from them.   Teresa includes Danny, a character with Down Syndrome in her Pecan Bayou family and in real life is the mother of an adult son with Down Syndrome/PDD.  Creating the character of Danny and all of the other inhabitants of Pecan Bayou has been a joy for her.  This book is the last one in the Pecan Bayou Series taking Betsy from single mom to mother of three.  Teresa is now working on her next series that will take place in the Piney Woods of Texas.

Author Links:

Webpage

Facebook

GoodReads

Twitter

Teresa will be touring Murder For A Rainy Day with Great Escapes Book Tours starting November 24.
murder for a rainy day  large banner 640

*This book is from my private collection.

Oct 152014
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640
Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am so pleased to welcome author Teresa Trent to Escape with Dollycas!!

ttrent

Writing the Pecan Bayou Series-
A Little Texas,
Some Helpful Hints and Recipes, and Murder

by Teresa Trent

A few years ago, I started writing first book of my Pecan Bayou series, A Dash of Murder. I am a big fan of ghost hunting series on television, and so I wanted to tell a story about a ghost hunt. From that story emerged my amateur sleuth, her family and all of the wacky characters in the town of Pecan Bayou. Are any of these people real or at least patterned after real people? Not really. Many of the characters, like Danny, who has Down Syndrome are composites of many people real and fictional. Betsy is a little bit me, but there are risks she takes that I wouldn’t dream of trying. Aunt Maggie is a little me, a little of my mother and the all the aunts I’ve been blessed with in my life. Rocky the newspaper editor, is purely fictional. Although, if Hallmark ever calls me to tell me they want to use my books as a series, I would love to get Sam Shepherd to play him.

From the first book a romance developed between Betsy and Leo, and their story continued through five more mysteries. It was a slow simmering romance that wasn’t even consummated until the second book, but isn’t that the best kind of falling love?

In the series Betsy has to find killers in the library, in a Fourth of July parade, at her own wedding, and while she endures a terrible case of flu that won’t seem to go away. (Hmmm newly married with a terrible case of stomach flu–what could it be?)

My favorite scenes and characters to write were the fun ones like the exploding port-o-potty, the run through the haunted hospital, Miss Caroline chasing Betsy around with a baby quilt and Ruby Green, the beautician from the Best Little Hairhouse in Texas, stealing the megaphMURDERFORARAINYDAY_COVERone from the Pecan Bayou Police and shouting for the killer to “get her crazy-ass out”. I love Miss Ruby so much, sometimes I think she needs her own book.

Still though, I’m coming to the end of this series. We are on the final edits of my sixth novel for Pecan Bayou, Murder for a Rainy Day. I continue peeking into the lives of Betsy and her family as she is about to give birth to her second child…in a hurricane…with a mystery to solve. If you want to find out when this book will be available visit my website at teresatrent.com to sign up for my mailing list. If you have never read a book in the series, A Dash of Murder, a Halloween mystery, is on sale this month at Smashwords for 99 cents. Just use coupon code XW38Q when you check out. Smashwords has the book available in many ereader formats.

Even though I’m loading up the car and driving out of Pecan Bayou, not to worry. I’m working on my next series right now. We’re heading to the Piney Woods of Texas. Time for some gumbo, the smell of fresh pine and of course, murder.

~Teresa

About This Author

Teresa Trent writes her Pecan Bayou Mystery Series from Houston, Texas.  With a father in the army, her family moved often finally settling in Colorado.  Living in Texas for the last 19 years she loves the people and even the weather.  Murder for a Rainy Day includes a hurricane, and having endured Hurricane Ike and Hurricane Rita with her family, Teresa would much rather write about them than evacuate from them.   Teresa includes Danny, a character with Down Syndrome in her Pecan Bayou family and in real life is the mother of an adult son with Down Syndrome/PDD.  Creating the character of Danny and all of the other inhabitants of Pecan Bayou has been a joy for her.  This book is the last one in the Pecan Bayou Series taking Betsy from single mom to mother of three.  Teresa is now working on her next series.

 Author Links:

Webpage:  www.teresatrent.com

Facebook

GoodReads

Twitter: @ttrent_cozymys

I am playing catch up on this wonderful series. I was thrilled to meet Teresa through Great Escapes Book Tours. She will be touring with us again November 24 – December 5 with Murder For A Rainy Day. What for my review of A Dash of Murder on Halloween!

murder for a rainy day  large banner448Thanks to Teresa Trent I have 1 e-book to giveaway!
Winner’s Choice of any of her Pecan Bayou Mysteries!
The book will be gift through Amazon from the author!

Remember to use the Code above
to get the 1st book in the series for just 99 cents from Smashwords!

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.

Leave a comment for Miranda for 5 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End October 29, 2014 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

 

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Sep 162014
 

OF MURDER AND MERLOTOf Merlot & Murder
(A Tangled Vines Mystery)

2nd Book in Series
MIDNIGHT INK (September 8, 2014)
An Imprint of Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd.
Trade Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738740768
E-Book File Size: 2380 KB
ASIN: B00MMMCR4G
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

Foul play at the festival

When her family’s winery becomes one of the sponsors at the Lost Pines Food and Wine Festival, Elise Beckett’s spirits soar at the chance to help with their booth. But as the festival gets underway, her cheerful mood turns sour when rival vintner Divia Larson is found dead.

With all clues pointing to her grandmother as the prime suspect, Elise and her deputy sheriff boyfriend team up to clear her name. But Divia’s murder is as complex as a fine wine, with a strong bouquet of suspicion, bitter notes of betrayal, and more than a hint of danger. Will Elise and Jackson be able to untangle the mess before another victim is corked?

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Thank goodness Elise and Jax are a couple because any other law enforcement officer would lock her up for her investigating. Sometimes she crosses the line by a mile and it usually ends up with her needing him to come to her rescue. But it does make a great story for us readers to enjoy.

Elise Beckett is a very independent woman with a serious shoe shopping problem but with her grandmother at the top of the suspect list she is not going to sit idly by. She gets into trouble when she gets her family and friends involved in her inquires and they are not a subtle bunch plus they don’t have enough sense to realize the killer could come after them. I love the way they all band together to help but let’s face it they don’t know what they are doing. The dialogue is priceless and sometimes full of a humor but the predicaments they find themselves in may not end up being too funny.

Folger has created a wonderful cast full of great people readers will love and plenty of suspects who they will love to hate. I love the setting of the food and wine festival, it really uncorks a bottle full of people who could have reasons to want the woman dead. Divia did not have many friends but she had plenty of enemies. There is quite a tangled web of clues, secrets revealed and lies uncovered.

The author has blended a fine mystery that I really enjoyed. Like wine this series continues to get better with age. I liked book two even more than more one. I can’t wait to decant the next story in this series.

a perfect escape
5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

To find out more about Joni Folger and her books 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.”

Jul 252014
 

FIT-TO-BE-DEAD-set-webFit To Be Dead by Nancy G. West
(An Aggie Mundeen Mystery) (Volume 1)

Brand New Series
Cozy Mystery
Published by Henery Press (July 29, 2014)
Paperback: 280 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1940976372
E-Book will be available July 29
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

 

Aggie Mundeen, single and pushing forty, fears nothing but middle age. When she moves from Chicago to San Antonio, she decides she better shape up before anybody discovers she writes the column, “Stay Young with Aggie.” She takes Aspects of Aging at University of the Holy Trinity and plunges into exercise at Fit and Firm.

Rusty at flirting and mechanically inept, she irritates a slew of male exercisers, then stumbles into murder. She’d like to impress the attractive detective with her sleuthing skills. But when the killer comes after her, the health club evacuates semi-clad patrons, and the detective has to stall his investigation to save Aggie’s derriere.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This story takes place in 1997 as Angie has left behind the stressful banking life in Chicago and has moved to San Antonio. She has enrolled in Graduate School and writes the Staying Fit With Angie column. Sam Vanderhoven has also moved from Chicago to San Antonio where he is a detective with the SAPD. He moved there about a year before Angie after losing his wife and child in a terrible accident.

Angie Mundeen is a very engaging character who has had some heartache in her life and she has a secret. A secret that is trying to desperately keep from her friend Sam, who could become more than just a friend.

Angie is well past the age of 30 and her body is out of shape, not a good thing for someone writing about keeping fit. She decides to join a gym to lose some weight and gain some muscle tone and life just gets crazy from there. Within moments of entering the gym she finds an unconscious woman floating in the pool.

From there the author pens an entertaining mystery. Nancy G. West has a great sense of humor, this book is really funny. Angie’s interactions with the people at gym are hilarious as she learns to use the equipment at the gym. Blended with the humor are fantastic clues that help solve the mystery with some very interesting twists.

My only negative critique would be that more groundwork needs to be laid regarding Angie’s column. Readers see her receive the letters and write her advice but we need to know where and how they are published.

West has laid a foundation with these characters that can lead to a very enjoyable cozy mystery series. I hope she meets Mr. Pilates in the next installment.

just you and a friend4 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about Nancy G. West on her webpage here.

Watch for DANG NEAR DEAD (Aggie Mundeen #2) September 30, 2014

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 022014
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640

I am so happy to welcome Melissa here today! When her last book A Custom-Fit Crime back in July she was busy with a huge home remodel and couldn’t drop by. This time she is not only here for Cozy Wednesday she is also touring with Great Escapes Book Tours. You can check out the tour here.

Welcome Melissa!

Melissa-Bourbon-Ramirez-_2The Beauty of a Snow Flake

 

My two book series take place in hot states. The Lola Cruz mysteries take place in Sacramento, California, and A Magical Dressmaking mystery series takes place in the fictional town of Bliss, Texas. Both are cities where you can fry an egg on the sidewalk in the summer and freeze your toes off in the winter.

When we moved to Texas from the Sacramento valley nearly six years ago, we’d been here six months and it snowed!  On Christmas Eve, no less.  It was magical. We’d never lived where it snowed, and while North Texas isn’t known for its snow, we’ve gotten a good dusting almost every year. This year, we’ve had four or five snow days (some of them ice days) and we still love every single one of them.

killing_notionThat first Christmas Eve, we were awestruck by the storm, the falling snow, the breathtaking beauty of it all.  It was fabulous to see, and we fully appreciated the beauty of each snowflake that fell.

Recently, on a snow day and when I was procrastinating, I ended up looking up quotes about snow. “To appreciate the beauty of a snow flake, it is necessary to stand out in the cold.”  I have no idea who said this, or what inspired it.  At first glance I agreed with the statement. Yes, absolutely, you have to be outside catching snowflakes to really see their beauty.

 

But then I remembered a children’s book I have (a Caldecott winner) called Snowflake Bentley.  It is the true story of a man who spent his life photographing snowflakes.  It’s a fabulous book and one we read every holiday season (even now that my kids are older).

If I tried to turn this quote about snow into one about writing, it would read something like: To appreciate the beauty of a book, it is necessary to go through the (sometimes excruciating) process with the writer.

But I don’t agree with that at all!  As a reader, I can absolutely appreciate the beauty of a book without having personally struggled with the plot, the revisions, the character development, or any of the other myriad challenges faced in the book-writing process.  In fact, the best bsnowflakes-908726-mooks are like a gentle snow where the words and plot and characters flow together so seamlessly that before long the whole landscape is dusted in white and fairly sparkles.  I can curl up and enjoy a book like this, getting lost in the magic that an author created.  That’s an amazingly beautiful experience.

Isn’t it the same with a snowstorm?  Do I really have to stand out in the cold to know that no snowflake is identical, to realize that snowflakes are C.O.L.D., to take in the beauty of a flurry of snowflakes?  No!  I can stand at my window and know the truth about snowflakes, and appreciate their beauty (while staying warm).

Now, if I choose to go outside in the snow, my experience will be different (as it was when we all bundled up and went out to build tiny snow people and tried to sled that first year in North Texas–it wasn’t that much snow!).  I’d find a different kind of beauty.  It’s like being Snowflake Bentley and wanting MORE than the beauty of the storm.  He wanted to take the storm apart and look at the pieces.  That’s what writers do when they craft their books. We take one snowflake at a time and piece them together into a sparkling landscape of white.  Our hope is that readers will appreciate the beauty of the flurry and not be able to pick apart the plot, or see it as only pieces of a whole.  It’s my hope with every book I write that I’ve created a landscape that a reader can and will get lost in.

So, what do you think?  Do you have to be outside in the cold to really appreciate a snowflake?

~ Melissa

About Melissa Bourbon

Melissa Bourbon, who sometimes answers to her Latina-by-marriage name Misa Ramirez, gave up teaching middle and high school kids in Northern California to write full-time amidst horses and Longhorns in North Texas.  She fantasizes about spending summers writing in quaint, cozy locales, has a love/hate relationship with yoga and chocolate, is devoted to her family, and can’t believe she’s lucky enough to be living the life of her dreams.

She is the Marketing Director with Entangled Publishing, is the author of the Lola Cruz Mystery series with St. Martin’s Minotaur and Entangled Publishing, and A Magical Dressmaking Mystery series with NAL. She also has written two romantic suspense novels, a light paranormal romance, and is the co-author of The Tricked-out Toolbox, a practical marketing guide for authors.

Connect with Melissa

Website: MelissaBourbon.com

Facebook: Author Misa Ramirez/Melissa Bourbon

Twitter: @MelissaBourbon

Goodreads: Misa Ramirez / Melissa Bourbon

killing_notionA Killing Notion:
A Magical Dressmaking Mystery (Magical Dressmaking Mysteries)

5th in Series
Cozy Mystery
An Obsidian Mystery (April 1, 2014)
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451417206
E-Book File Size: 1819 KB
Amazon ASIN: B00F9EZBXS
B&N ISBN-13: 9781101602744
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It’s homecoming time in Bliss, Texas and the girls are working on their mums. Like everything in Texas these mums are big!! Harlow Jane Cassidy, owner of Buttons & Bows, is not only helping with the mums, she is making several homecoming dresses. Gracie has decided to make her own dress. Then when Gracie’s date for the dance is accused of murder Harlow realizes Gracie is going need much more than help with her dress. Harlow needs to patch together the clues and clear the boys name before the whole homecoming celebration is ruined.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

First things first I had to do a little investigating into the Texas size mums, we don’t have anything like it to my knowledge here in Wisconsin. I found some pictures of them on The Style Sisters blog. Why these girls would want to cover up these beautiful dresses or wear this kind of thing around their neck all day is beyond me but it seems to be quite the tradition.

Now Melissa has crafted quite a mystery while her characters were crafting their mums. Gracie has grown up so fast and this story really zones in on her character. Her boyfriend is not only struggling with his father’s death, he is also the cops prime suspect.

This story has a very interesting twist that I started to put together just a bit ahead of Harlow and then another huge twist at the end that took me completely by surprise.

This is one of my favorite series as I too come from a background full of seamstresses and before my accident sewing and crafting were the way I spent all of my free time. I love all the characters and the way all their charms work. MeeMaw continues to make her presence known and she just tickles my heart.

As soon as I finish a Melissa Bourbon story I always want more. These are characters I truly hate to leave behind as I wait for my next trip to Bliss. This is a wonderful series, start at the beginning and sit back and curl up with some great cozy mysteries.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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PLUS

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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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 072014
 

PILLOW STALK 2
Pillow Stalk
(A Mad for Mod Mystery)

First Book in Series
Cozy Mystery
Published by Henery Press (March 4, 2014)
Paperback: 270 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1940976068
E-Book File Size: 537 KB
ASIN: B00IPSZJP0
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Interior Decorator Madison Night has modeled her life after a character in a Doris Day movie, but when a killer targets women dressed like the bubbly actress, Madison’s signature sixties style places her in the middle of a homicide investigation.

The local detective connects the new crimes to a twenty-year old cold case, and Madison’s long-trusted contractor emerges as the leading suspect. As the body count piles up like a stack of plush pillows, Madison uncovers a Soviet spy, a campaign to destroy all Doris Day movies, and six minutes of film that will change her life forever.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

As a Doris Day fan myself I really enjoyed this story. My mom and I  loved watching her movies. There are many nods to the films throughout the book. The character names especially.

A classic cozy mystery with a protag that loves the 60’s era in everything from clothes to furniture and she she even looks a bit like Doris Day. She is an independent woman with a terrific sense of humor that shines throughout the story. I feel like we have just scratched the surface with this character.

The story starts out simply with Mod Interior Decorator Madison trying to acquire the estate of a recently deceased woman but from there the story is set on its ear as a new murder connects to a 20 year old cold case. The plot twists and turns until I was totally confused. The author then gets me back on track and the clues all come together at what seemed a very rapid pace.

I am very interested in the next book in this series,THAT TOUCH OF INK coming out next month.  I am glad Henery Press has acquired these books and is re-releasing them because I missed them the first time around.

just you and a friend4 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

Find out more about Diane Vallere and her 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.”

Feb 282014
 

grapes of deathGrapes of Death
(A Tangled Vines Mystery)

New Series!
Cozy Mystery
Midnight Ink (September 8, 2013)
An Imprint of Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd.
Cover Illustration by Ken Joudrey
Cover Design by Kevin Brown
Trade Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738737522
E-Book File Size: 859 KB
ASIN: B00EA117RK
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Elise Beckett’s family owns a vineyard in River Bend, Texas. Her boyfriend, Stuart, lives and works in Dallas. About a 5 hour drive apart. They had met through his work for the Texas Organic Garden and Research Foundation. Elise is trying to develop a grapevine that can tolerate the Texas heat and droughts. They have been doing the long distance relationship thing for about 6 months with Elise doing most of the traveling. He has offered her a dream job in organic horticulture research, but her family is really counting on her to stay working in the family business. Since her dad died they need her more than ever. Her Uncle Edmond is no help, he was really upset when his brother left the whole vineyard to his wife and cut Edmund out completely. Every day Edmund comes up with a new plan to provoke the family.

Then Uncle Edmond’s body is found dead on vineyard land. At first it is thought it was an accidental drowning but the cause soon points to murder and every Beckett, even Elise, is a suspect. In fact there appears to be a long tangled vine of suspects. Elise just can’t leave things to her friend since childhood, Deputy Jackson (Jax) Landry. Hopefully she won’t become the murderer’s next victim.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
When I think of vineyards in the United States I think California, not Texas. I was excited to uncork this one and I was not disappointed. In fact I read it from start to finish in one sitting.

The first book in a new series is a huge undertaking because the author needs to not only introduce the characters and the setting but give readers an interesting mystery with plenty of twists and turns. Folger did that and more. The mystery was complicated and kept me guessing almost to the very end. My “aha moment” was just a bit before Elise’s.

Folger has laid a great foundation for the series to go forward and she gave us characters that we care about and want to see what direction they take. Plus she described the setting beautifully and even explained how hard it is to grow grapes in Texas.

All that being said we have just scratched the surface of these characters. The have plenty of room to grow from Elise and Jax, the main characters, to all the supporting characters of Elise’s family. I think this is going to be a very interesting series.

Pour yourself a nice glass of wine and curl up with this cozy as soon as you can.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent


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Grapes of Death

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