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.
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Leave a comment for Miranda for 5 Bonus Entries.

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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
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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
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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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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.

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 Melissa for 5 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 April 16, 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

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


bookworld

Click the Book World Button to order
Grapes of Death

Thanks to the people at Book World  I have 1 copy to give away!

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Contest Will End March 14, 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

*Review Book Provided by Book World.

Feb 192014
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am excited to welcome author Elizabeth Lee here  today!

Elizabeth Lee author pic

A TOUGH NUT TO KILL
by Elizabeth Lee

 

When I began writing A Tough Nut to Kill I wasn’t sure a pair of grandmother and granddaughter protagonists was going to work as my investigators.  At first I thought: Lindy’s in her twenties, Miss Amelia’s seventy-seven.  A couple of generations apart.  I told myself: no interests in common—one’s an educated botanist, the other an elderly southern woman whose days consist of baking pecan pies for The Nut House, the family outlet for the pecans grown on their ranch near Riverville, Texas.

Lindy spends the warming spring days with her head in a botany book or tending the new species of pecan tree she’s developing out in her greenhouse, while Miss Amelia gossips and hands out advice left and right to the townsfolk.

I had to find where the women came together, were similar, shared interests, shared common goals.

a tough nut to killAnd it was right there in front of my nose.  Of course they shared the best of things, like most grandmothers and granddaughters do.  I found things that went so far beyond daily events, beyond education, beyond interests, the music they listened to, the friends they had.  Two women.  Related.  Tied by blood, by love of family, deep love and respect for each other, for friends and family.  Two women who shared a thirst for justice coming from past injustices they both had suffered.

It was going to be all right.  When Lindy found Uncle Amos, the black sheep of the Blanchard family who had disappeared over a year ago, dead on the cement floor of her greenhouse and then a family member was charged with the murder, it was no giant guess that this pair of southern women would get out there and chase down old lies and old enemies, hide evidence when they needed to, or do a line dance or two at the Barking Coyote Saloon if it will get them information from a bar maid.  From Riverville to a rehab facility in Houston to the offices of a Columbus, Texas, private detective, they dig up old murders, ferret out old injustices, and face down a killer.

Granddaughter and grandmother—southern womanhood at its best.

 ~Elizabeth

Thank you for stopping by  today Elizabeth!!

a tough nut to kill
A Tough Nut to Kill (Nut House Mystery Series)
A Brand New Cozy Mystery Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (February 4, 2014)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Robert Crawford
Cover Design by Diane Kolsky
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425261408
E-Book File Size: 2589 KB
ASIN: B00DYX9KII
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

 

Lindy Blanchard has devoted five years of her life to saving the pecan trees on her family’s farm—but someone is going to deadly lengths to see that she fails……

Welcome to Riverville, Texas, the heart of PECAN country. The Blanchard family farm is well known for its acres of pecan trees and also for their store, The Nut House, where they sell all kinds of yummy pecan treats including special pecan pies made daily by Miss Amelia. Miss Amelia’s granddaughter, Lindy, has been using her college education as a plant biologist to try to cultivate a pecan tree that is more resistant to drought to not only help her family but all pecan ranchers. But someone doesn’t want her to succeed and has even committed murder to try to put the Blanchard family out of business. The local sheriff is stumped and Lindy and Miss Amelia find themselves trekking all over the countryside trying to catch a killer.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This is a fine debut to this new nutty series. The author has given us the most important ingredient of a cozy mystery – Quirky Characters! She has created some real treasures. In addition to the Blanchard family we have the Chauncey twins and Miss Ethelred Tomroy. There is also Deputy Hunter Austen, more hunky than quirky, he has been friends with Lindy since they were kids and its hard for them to keep secrets from each other. This comes in handy while trying to solve a murder but there is also room for this to grow into a more romantic relationship.

Lee has also put together a well thought out whodunit. Plenty of suspects and red herrings to keep the readers guessing. There is also a great deal of humor and Southern charm spread throughout the entire story.

The reader is also treated to a look behind the scenes of a pecan ranch and several recipes.

I really liked this story and am looking forward to more adventures with Lindy and Miss Amelia.

just you and a friend4 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 2 copies to give away!

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

Leave a comment for Elizabeth for 5 Bonus Entries !

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

Contest Will End March 5, 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

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 182013
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!!

My friend, Liz Lipperman, has a new Clueless Cook Mystery out
and you are going to love it!!

I am so happy she could squeeze in time to visit tight before the holidays!!!

DIFFERENT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT FOLKS
By Liz Lipperman

 

liz lippermanFirst of all, I want to thank Dollycas for having me on her blog today. She’s such a diversified reader, and I love her reviews. Now onto the post.

Last week we had an arctic storm blow into the Dallas area that crippled the entire Metroplex for three days. I posted this picture on my Facebook page because it is so funny — and true about Texans and snow. But in our defense, we don’t see many snow/ice storms, and consequently, DOT has a limited number of snowplows to routinely clean up the roads the way you northerners have.

pic for 12182013

Plus we can go from sleeveless one day to ski clothes the next — which is exactly what happened here. It was 80° on Wednesday and 28° on Thursday after the storm arrived.

I tell you this because I had a rude awakening when I went into the grocery store Thursday morning intending to buy the food for our weather-related house arrest.

chickenThe grocery store I use didn’t look as bad as the one above, but it was severely depleted. They didn’t even have green peppers, for heaven’s sake. No red, orange, or yellow either. It made me wonder what people were eating while they were stuck in their houses. Since I live in Texas where we have a large Hispanic population and I was planning on making chicken fajitas and figured everyone else was, too, that explained the no peppers.

All this got me thinking about what stores in different areas around the country would look like in this situation. Would there be no oranges in Florida? No pizza in Chicago? No Kolaches  in West, Texas, where there’s a big Czech population? No hot dogs in New York?

Again this got me thinking — which is dangerous all by itself. Here in the United States, we have so many different cultural groups that influence what is marketed in different areas of the country.

So I did some more thinking about how this might relate to reading books— geez! (It’s a wonder I didn’t blow a brain fuse.) What if everyone only liked to read literary fiction? Or biographies? Or how-to books?

First of all, I would be dead meat, since I write mystery/suspense. But wouldn’t the world be a dull place if you walked into a Barnes & Noble with only those types of books. No Clive Custer, Janet Evanovich, or Nora Roberts. I, for one, would be devastated. Although my TBR pile is composed mostly of mysteries and thrillers, occasionally I venture out into other genres, especially those written by my friends.

Thank heavens we have so many choices, and the world is filled with people like you guys who read a book just because it’s good. Who get invested in the story because you fall in love with the characters and not because it’s a certain genre.

In the New Age of publishing there is so much more out there in all genres. Sometimes it’s even free. And prices have come down on a lot of books, especially digital downloads, all of which is conducive to trying new stuff and new authors.  I love that. It’s really all about good characters and good writing, anyway. The only difference between a paranormal mystery and a regular mystery, for example, is the way the story is presented. A killer is a killer even though he may be a dragon or have supernatural powers. Am I making my point or just confusing you?

I’ll close with a little story about my six-year-old grandson, who always gives me lots of material to work with. We were on a family vacation last summer, and I had popped a bag of popcorn that had been on the shelf for a long time. I followed the microwave directions to a T, but somehow, I ended up with burnt popcorn — and you know how bad that can smell. Anyway here’s the conversation between my grandson and me.

Him: “Nana, why’d you burn the popcorn?”

Me: “I did exactly what they told me to do.”

He crinkled his brow and asked, “Someone told you to burn the popcorn?”

See how words can be interpreted differently? And with that, I’ll end with a question. Are you eclectic with your reading preferences, or do you stick to one or two genres only? One lucky commenter will receive a copy of CHICKEN CACCIA-KILLER, my latest cozy release.

~Liz

Liz is one busy author with several books coming in 2014 too!! Check out her webpage here to find out more about Liz and all her books.

chicken
Chicken Caccia-Killer
(A Clueless Cook Mystery) (Volume 4)

4th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Self Publshed (December 5, 2013)
Paperback: 236 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1494286064
E-Book File Size: 498 KB
ASIN: B00H2DZLHA
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

 

Forced to fight to keep her job as the culinary reporter at the Ranchero Globe, Jordan must cover the International Italian Festival coming to town. But along with the festivities and great Italian food, she has to deal with meeting her boyfriend Alex’s mother and sister for the first time.

When an arrogant Italian playboy falls to his death from a suite at a swanky hotel during a pre-festivities party and Alex’s sister Kate is charged with his murder, Jordan springs into action to find clues that could prove her innocence. But the real killer doesn’t appreciate that she getting too close. Can Jordan and her motley crew of friends thwart his efforts and catch the killer before he succeeds?

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Liz Lipperman writes some of the funniest stories I have ever read and this one is no exemption. She puts Jordan is some of the craziest predicaments, dangerous and hilarious. Jordan is always right in the middle of the trouble, even when she doesn’t even have to cook.

Meeting Alex’s mother and sister had her nervous to begin with but then his sister just happens to have a fight with a guy right before he topples to his death. Jordan knows there has to be more to the story so she has to get involved in the investigation. She just can’t help herself. She also has a sidekick to help her investigate, Alex’s mother, which both hastens and hampers her efforts. Natalie is a hoot!!

This whodunit has plenty of twists and turns. Secrets are revealed and there are plenty more suspects that just poor Kate. It seems the dead guy’s playboy status more than rivals Hugh Hefner’s. He was one busy fella!  Although some of enemies were also male! 

Chase away those winter blues with this wonderful cozy. Be sure to try out recipes too!! Carlita’s Italian Cake Balls sound scrumptious. There is also one for Ginny’s Braided Spaghetti Bread made with Rhodes Dinner Rolls. This put quite a smile on my face as this reviewer worked for Rhodes for almost 15 years :)

a perfect escape
5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Thanks to the author I have 1 copy to give away!

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

Answer Liz’s Question!

Are you eclectic with your reading preferences,
or do you stick to one or two genres only?

One lucky commenter will receive a copy of CHICKEN CACCIA-KILLER, my latest cozy release.

Contest Will End January 1, 2013 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.

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 022013
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

Today I am thrilled to welcome back Kylie Logan
to Escape With Dollycas with another brand new series!

Where do you get your ideas?

By Kylie Logan

Casey for LibraryIt’s a question authors get asked all the time, and every time someone asks me, I give the same answer: ideas come from everywhere. Sometimes I find them on TV, or in something I read. Sometimes they pop out of conversations I overhear, or talks I’ve had with my kids, or something I see in the grocery story. What it comes down to is every book is different, and each one starts in a different place.

But what about when it comes to a series? Where do ideas comes from for new series and how does an author know that an idea that might sustain one book can be carried over from book to book, made interesting and most important of all, kept fresh?

ChiliConCarnageSince I’ve been working on a couple new mystery series, these are questions I’ve been pondering. For my newest series, The A Chili Cook-Off Mysteries the simplest answer is easy enough–I was chatting with my agent one day and mentioned that my husband had won a chili cook-off.

“Hmmm . . . chili.” Even over the phone, I could hear the gears turning in her brain. “Chili would make an interesting mystery series,” she said. “Work something up.”

Chili? Really? As much as I enjoy eating it (and my husband makes the best!), I’d never really thought about turning the hot and spicy bowls of deliciousness into the centerpiece of a series. But the more I thought about it . . . yeah, chili cook-offs, I decided, would be fun to write about.

Of course, the planning process doesn’t stop there. With the basic idea in mind, the next thing I had to do was decide who was going to inhabit my chili universe. Again, I had a discussion with my agent, and one of the things she mentioned is how much mystery readers like to read about families.

Warm and fuzzy is so not my thing. So instead of choosing a family that works together at the chili cook-off, I decided to turn things around. I chose a heroine named Maxie who is edgy and sassy and a whole lot of fun and works at the cook-off dressed in a giant chili costume, dancing out front to draw in customers. I gave her a stuck-up, uptight half-sister named Sylvia who has spent her life being mad at Maxie for the simple fact that Maxie’s mother stole Jack (both the girls’ father) from Sylvia’s mother.

Oh, conflict! The stuff fun books are made out of, especially when the girls have to work together, live together in Jack’s tattered RV, and when they both have their eyes on Nick Falcone, the hunky ex-cop who now runs security for the Chili Showdown.

And as far as their father, Texas Jack Pierce? More decisions to make and more consideration of how those decisions would affect not just one book, but an entire series. How did Jack play into my plans? And how would what I did with him in this first book ripple through more stories? Because I needed Maxie and Sylvia to have to reluctantly work together, I decided that Jack would be missing and the girls have to take over his Hot Cha Chili Seasoning Palace as it travels from cook-off to cook-off until he’s found.

Those are the basic building blocks the series is build from and so far, so good. Chili Con Carnage book #1 is out now and I’m currently working on the follow-up, “Death by Devil’s Breath.” Yeah, Jack’s still missing. And Sylvia and Maxie, they hate each other more than ever.

With any luck, they’ll keep it up for many, many more books!

~Casey

About Kylie Logan
Kylie Logan has loved mysteries since she was a kid. Her dad was a Cleveland Police detective and he introduced her to Sherlock Holmes stories and gave her investigating experience when on his days off, they’d pile into the car and hit the streets to look for stolen cars. When he retired from the force, Dad became head of security for the Cleveland Public Library.

Crooks and books! Kylie comes by her love of mysteries honestly.

Kylie began her career writing historical romance and her book, “Devil’s Diamond,” was nominated for a RITA award as historical romance of the year by Romance Writers of America. She’s also written contemporary romance (as Connie Lane), young adult horror (as Zoe Danielsand Connie Laux) and she writes the popular Pepper Martin Mysteries as Casey Daniels.

Kylie is currently writing three different mystery series: the Button Box Mysteries(newest book is “Panic Button”), the League of Literary Ladies mysteries (“Mayhem at the Orient Express “) and now, the Chili Cook-Off mysteries. She can’t pass up an antique shop…there might be buttons in there! She can’t put down a classic book . . . even if she already knows the story. And she can’t say no to a good bowl of chili. Luckily, her husband is the world’s greatest chili maker.

When she’s not writing, she’s usually with her family and their two dogs, Ernie, an adorable Airedale, and Oscar, a rescued Jack Russell who came for a short-term stay and ten years later, is still around. Kylie says that those of you who have ever met/lived with/had dealings with a Russell will certainly understand how knowing him has increased her propensity for murder.

Links:
Webpage: www.kylielogan.com Also, www.caseydaniels.com

 

ChiliConCarnage

Chili Con Carnage
(A Chili Cook-Off Mystery)

Brand New Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Mystery (October 1, 2013)
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Miles Hyman
Cover Design by Diane Kolsky
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425262412
E-Book File Size: 1151 KB
ASIN: B00BC21SH4
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

Bean there…done that…

Maxie Pierce and her half-sister Sylvia are back on the Chili Cook Off circuit. Their daddy, Texas Jack Pierce, king of the chili cook-off circuit, has been missing for weeks. He has a bit of a reputation for chasing the ladies but to go off and leave The Palace in the hands of others is something her just wouldn’t do. People come from far and wide to buy his unique chili seasonings. Maxie was ready to leave Chicago but working side by side with Sylvia in the small quarters of the Palace and living together in an RV wad not what she really had in mind. She needs to find Jack and get the heck back to her own life as soon as possible.

Then a dead body literally falls on top of her and her half sister is the prime suspect. She is also being watched because the dead guy happens to be a guy she had drinks with the night before and things didn’t end well. In fact they had a very public argument just a few hours before he died. She needs to turn up the heat and find the real killer before things get too hot and spicy to handle.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
First thing first, our family chili recipe includes beans and no hot peppers :) or pickles??

Now about this delightfully hot and spicy mystery, I loved it!

Maxine is a fabulous character and Sylvia is truly something else. She is a woman with an ulterior motive who needs to be put in her place and Maxie is just the person to put here there. Maxie’s heart is in the right place but right now her life is a bit of a mess. Going forward this family dynamic could get to be quite volatile and I can’t wait. As they travel the circuit and hopefully a certain handsome security guard tags along you never know what could happen next. Family conflict will be almost as hot as the chili.

There is quite a group of people that travel the circuit and we met a few in this installment. I am sure we will get to know them better and meet others as the series continues.

In addition to introducing us to these fantastic characters Kylie Logan has plotted quite an interesting mystery with plenty of viable suspects. So many had means, motive and opportunity. This reader was surprised.

Kylie you are off to a great start with this one! I am looking forward to the next stop on the Chili Cook Off Showdown tour. I know it will be another tasty treat!

a perfect escape
5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 2 copies to give away!

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

Leave a comment for Kylie for 5 Bonus Entries !

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

Contest Will End October 16, 2013 at 11:59 PM CST
WinnersWill 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.”