Jan 102017
 

My First Book Read in 2017

The Mutual Admiration Society: A Novel
by Lesley Kagen
Fiction/Family Life
Setting – Wisconsin
Lake Union Publishing (February 1, 2017)
Paperback: 282 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1503941038
Kindle ASIN: B01G50QX2C

 

 

 

From the New York Times bestselling author of Whistling in the Dark comes an unforgettable novel that illuminates the sweet and brittle bonds of family, the tenderness of growing up, the heartbreak of longing for what we’ve lost, and the poignancy of finding love.

FACT: Unbeknownst to eleven-year-old Theresa “Tessie” Finley, she’s in over her head.

PROOF: After hearing a scream and catching a glimpse of a mysterious man carrying a body beneath the flickering streetlights in the cemetery behind her house, Tessie adds solving a murder case to her already quite full to-do list.

Tessie has elected herself president of the crime-stopping Mutual Admiration Society—as if dealing with her “sad madness” over the tragic drowning of her beloved father; showering tender loving care on her “sweet but weird” younger sister, Birdie; and staying on the good side of their hard-edged mother weren’t enough. With partner in crime Charlie “Cue Ball” Garfield, Tessie and Birdie will need to dodge the gossips in their 1950s blue-collar neighborhood—particularly their evil next-door neighbor, Gert Klement, who’d like nothing better than to send the sisters to “homes.” And, of course, there’s the problem of steering clear of the kidnapping murderer if they have any hope of solving the mystery of all mysteries: the mystery of life.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

FACT: Lesley Kagen captures the voices of children in a profound way.

PROOF: This story!

Set in Milwaukee Wisconsin, we meet 11 year old Theresa “Tessie” Finley, her younger sister, Birdie, and her “fiancee”, Charlie “Cue Ball” Garfield. They make up the Mutual Admiration Society. Tessie is sure she saw a crime committed and the society needs to start its investigation right away. They just need to get around some house rules and Gert Klement, their next door neighbor, who is not their biggest fan. In fact, she believes they need to be sent away.

These characters were first introduced to readers in The Undertaking of Tess, released in 2014. While the author does give plenty of details so that this book can be read on its own, you may want to read the prior story first for more background on the Finley’s. 

As a mystery lover I enjoyed Tessie and her lists and methodical investigation and that Birdie found a key clue and really helped Tessie figure out the suspected murder. Through the eyes of children in the late 1950’s I was able to see things in a different way. It was quite an adventure. Tessie has already dealt with so much in her young life and is responsible for watching over Birdie every day. Her lists do get a little repetitive but through them readers clearly see the way her mind works.

Kagen has crafted a heartwarming story but at times it is heartbreaking too. Her characters are so unique and the dialogue is true to a child’s voice and sprinkled liberally with humor. The world has changed since 1959. It was wonderful to escape back in time and tag along on this adventure with the Mutual Admiration Society.

I have enjoyed everything I have read by this author. She is an extremely talented storyteller.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about Lesley Kagen and her books on 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.”

Nov 182016
 

9WbGnJTR
On Flashback Fridays I will share with you the books I missed when they were first
released that have been screaming at me from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.
Did a little rearranging on my bookshelves last week and was so excited I found this book I read it before I read the book for yesterday’s post. 🙂

dead-insider
Dead Insider (Loon Lake Mystery)
13th in Series
Mystery
Setting – Wisconsin
Tyrus Books (June 18, 2013)
Paperback: 208 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1440533563
E-Book ASIN: B00CA9DKE2
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

 

In the midst of a catastrophic August rainstorm, a grisly discovery shatters the serenity of a summer evening in northern Wisconsin. Moving quickly to prevent a panic among tourists, Loon Lake Police Chief Lewellyn Ferris enlists the forensic and interrogation skills of her close friend and fellow fly fisherman, the retired dentist “Doc” Osborne. Within hours of launching their investigation, they find themselves faced with a national media circus as Loon Lake becomes the focus of a murderous scenario that links the murder to the race for the U.S. Senate by a woman who is heir to a Northwoods fortune and other, less savory, family traditions.

In the meantime, Doc Osborne’s eldest daughter, Mallory, enters into a relationship that may put her life at risk–unless her father and Chief Ferris can find the killer stalking the residents of Loon Lake.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Reading this after the crazy political season we just experienced seemed fitting.

It is raining cats and dogs in Look Lake. Roads and fields are flooding and while blocking vehicles from traveling through the water something awful is found floating now a new rainfall river. The findings lead to a woman running for the U.S. Senate. Loon Lake Police Chief Lewellyn Ferris has her hands full. Thankfully her friends and officers are there to help her pull all the pieces of this terrible murder investigation together.

Fly fisherwoman Lew Ferris has caught a huge case and relies on the resources available to her to solve it. I had my main suspect but the twisted plot made the conclusion and the motive totally surprising.  What followed was a tragic tale that left me almost visibly shaking. The pain felt by the killer’s mother just broke my heart.

Ms. Houston dug deep for this one. The laid back community of Loon Lake was not only rocked by the flooding but a terrible murder. People came together to help with the case and handle the media because tourism in the bread and butter of this community. I felt a plethora of emotions as the story continued. How could something so awful happen in this little town?

I enjoy these characters and admire the soothing calm they find standing in a lake or river casting their line time and time again. Sometimes never catching a thing. It’s in those places Lew and Doc can order their thoughts and break away from the stress and trauma of the case. I can see their faces so clearly. My grandfather was a fisherman and his perfect place to relax was in his little boat out on the water with a fishing pole in his hands. He never had the stress of a murder to solve but his life wasn’t easy. I loved going out in his boat with him. Some days we caught a lot of fish and some days we just caught some sun and had good conversation, me the youngster not even in my teens and him sharing his life’s stories with me. The look on his face was just peaceful out on the water. Times I will never forget. The stories in this series touch my heart because of my relationship with him. Doc Osbourne’s thinking and temperament remind me so much of the wonderful fisherman in my life. Lew is a strong woman in a top position and she takes her job seriously. Together they make a great team.

Sadly, these little vacations north to Loon Lake are way too short. I hope to return again soon. Not so much for the mysteries, although those are good, but for the serenity outside of the drama. Both grab a hold and don’t let go.

perfect 2016

 

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

To find out more bout Victoria Houston visit her webpage here.

GIVEAWAY
I am giving away my signed copy!
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.

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

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

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End December 2, 2016 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

This book was from my private collection.

Nov 042016
 

9WbGnJTR
On Flashback Fridays I will share with you the books I missed when they were first
released that have been screaming at me from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.
Set in Wisconsin, so close I wish I could visit today!!

five-alarm-fudge
Five-Alarm Fudge: A Fudge Shop Mystery
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
An Obsidian Mystery (April 7, 2015)
Published by New American Library
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451416490
E-Book ASIN: B00MNN7GEK
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

 

In the newest Fudge Shop Mystery from the national bestselling author of Hot Fudge Frame-Up, Ava Oosterling is after a recipe to kill for…

It’s autumn in Fishers’ Harbor, Wisconsin, and fudge shop owner Ava Oosterling is busy preparing for the harvest festival and a visit from some royal relatives who live in Belgium. According to Ava’s grandpa, a famous divinity fudge recipe from the 1860s is hidden somewhere in a local historical church—a treat fit for a prince.

But when a fire in the church reveals the body of a murdered man, it looks like someone is willing to go to any length to possess the valuable secret to the divinity fudge. As Ava searches for the killer—and the recipe—she could use a little divine intervention, because she may have bitten off more than she can chew…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

There is something to do in Door County, Wisconsin year round but the fall when the leaves are changing is one of my favorite times.

In the fictional Fishers’ Harbor everyone is getting  ready for the Harvest Festival and this year is extra special because some royal relatives are coming to town. Ava’S grandfather has promised the special guestS some Divinity Fudge made from a very old recipe. The problem is no one has the recipe but he believes it is hidden in an old church, so Ava and her friends are frantically searching every nook and cranny.  There search is thwarted when a dead body is found and the church becomes a crime scene.

This was another fun mystery from this author. As she describes places I have actually visited it just warms my heart. If you haven’t visited Door County, don’t worry her descriptions will paint vivid pictures in your mind. From Ava’s roadside stand to Oosterlings’ Live Bait, Bobbers & Belgian Fudge & Beer  to the restaurant in Sister’s Bay where goats graze on the roof from May through October you will be taken there and maybe will want to plan a vacation to really visit not only the places but the fudge and the cherries and all the other good things the area has to offer.

The fictional place has had several murders of late. The victim this time is a scientist doing research about chemicals being used in the fields that may be migrating to organic fields, gardens and into the water. He is found dead in a church and there are plenty of suspects. Was it someone searching for the recipe? or did someone else decide this man had to die? The author gives us a plethora of twists and turns that kept me guessing right up until the end. She also packed in some very scary scenes, including a fire that almost brought tears to my eyes.

I love the characters Ms. DeSmet has created. A family that pulls together not only in good times but in stressful times. Ava is a great protagonist, her grandparents help her run the fudge and bait shop with 1 other employee. Of course the ladies from the church are always ready to step in at a moment’s notice. Ava’s parents have a dairy farm so she has fresh ingredients for her fudge. The entire cast of characters are all unique and very engaging.

Just a word of warning, you will be craving fudge, fudge and more fudge while you are reading this story. Thankfully there are recipes in the back of the book including the newest Fairy Tale Fudge, Red Riding Hood Fairy Tale Fudge to be exact.

Christine DeSmet packs her mysteries full of wonderful characters, perfect amounts of humor and romance, all set in a fantastic place. The plot moves quickly and the end comes much too soon. These virtual escapes just make me want more. I hope there is another Fudge Shop Mystery headed my way soon, because you can never have too much fudge… and fudge is even more delectable wrapped with mystery and intrigue.

perfect 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Christine DeSmet author picAbout The Author
Christine DeSmet writes the Fudge Shop Mystery Series (Penguin Random House/NAL/Obsidian). She’s also an award-winning scriptwriter and teaches writing at University of Wisconsin-Madison Continuing Studies where she directs the annual June Write-by-the-Lake Writer’s Workshop & Retreat. You can find her on Facebook or at her website, www.ChristineDeSmet.com.

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

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

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

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

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Jul 222016
 
love luck and lemon pie
Luck, Love & Lemon Pie
Women’s Fiction
Setting – Wisconsin
Gallery Books (July 12, 2016)
Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1501121548
E-Book ASIN: B0176M3QSM
goodreads-badge-add-plusShop Indie Bookstores

When Milwaukee-area wife and mother MJ Boudreaux notices her husband Chris seems more interested in the casino than her, she’s more bothered that she isn’t upset than by her husband’s absence. She picks up poker as a way for them to spend more time together—and reignite their marital flame.

Although the game doesn’t give her the quality time with Chris that she’d hoped, MJ finds she has a knack for it. Increasingly unhappy at home, she turns to the felt top of the poker table for comfort. Intoxicated with newfound freedom, MJ begins spending more time at the gambling tables and less with her family, finally carving out for herself a place outside her role of wife and mother.

After a string of great wins, MJ finds herself in Vegas, attracting the attention of a certain magnetic poker star. But when she’s forced to choose between her family and her new exciting lifestyle, the stakes may be higher than she thought and MJ will have to play her hand carefully…or risk losing it all.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Marriage is work and when MJ Boudreaux sees her marriage starting to crumble she tries to bring them closer by learning more about her husband’s love of poker. Instead of bringing them together she becomes almost addicted spending less and less time with her family. She even enters a tournament and wins a trip to Vegas where her whole life could change completely, but is that what she really wants.

The cover caught my attention and then I saw it was set in Wisconsin and written by a Wisconsin author so I was quickly all in.

While poker was never my game I had things in common with MJ. My parents owned a tavern and several “gents” arrived daily for their euchre games and men and woman came a few nights a week for euchre tournaments. As it was my parent’s place I was tending bar and playing cards all through high school and college. MJ’s story rang true with me.

Amy E. Reichert takes a very interesting look at love, luck, jealously and family life in this story. Any married couple will tell you keeping your marriage alive takes work and that there are ebbs and flows and how you handle those ebbs and flows makes all the difference. MJ and Chris were going through the motions but weren’t communicating. MJ tried but both parties have to be trying.

The author shows things mostly from MJ’s point of view of her family dynamics. A typical Midwest family with typical family problems. A daughter in her last year in high school in the college planning phase. A son involved in many extracurricular things and adjusting to his teenage years. Chris seemed to be absent a lot, leaving the household and kids to MJ. Although we learn he is the cook in the family. I really didn’t like Chris and felt MJ’s pain.

I enjoyed this book a great deal. It is a story many women will be able to relate to. It is not a romantic book, it is a story of family lives and making it work. There are obstacles along the way and we see how this family deals with them. It is a journey, an emotional journey.

enjoyable 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 Find out more about Amy and her books here


GIVEAWAY

Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

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 August 5, 2016 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Jan 222016
 

9WbGnJTR

Back in 2005, way before I started blogging, I joined Paperback Swap. I had hundreds of books gathering dust and with Paperback Swap, I could trade them for new books I wanted to read for just the cost of postage. I went a little crazy and soon had a huge To Be Read stack, o.k. stacks. I found today’s book there when I was searching for Wisconsin authors. I was just able to read it now thanks to Flashback Friday

driving sidewaysDriving Sideways: A Novel
Women’s Fiction
Setting – Wisconsin/Road Trip West
Ballantine Books (May 20, 2008)
Trade Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0345501103
E-Book ASIN: B00199B2XU
goodreads-badge-add-plusShop Indie Bookstores

Leigh Fielding wants a life. Seriously. Having spent the past five years on dialysis, she has one simple wish: to make it to her thirtieth birthday. Now, thanks to the generosity of the late Larry Resnick and his transplanted kidney, it looks like her wish may come true.

With her newfound vitality (and Larry’s kidney) in tow, Leigh hits the road for an excursion that will carry her from Wisconsin to California, with a few stops in between: Mount Rushmore, the Badlands, the Rockies, Las Vegas–and a memorable visit to thank Larry’s family for the second chance.

Yet Leigh’s itinerary takes a sudden detour when she picks up a seventeen-year-old hitchhiker, Denise, a runaway with a bunch of stories and a couple of secrets. Add a long-lost mother, a loaded gun, an RV full of swingers, and Hall and Oates’s Greatest Hits to the mix, and Driving Sideways becomes a hilarious and original journey of friendship, hope, and discovery.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Why did I wait so lone to read this book? Leigh Fielding lives with her brother and his wife about 30 minutes from where I am sitting. I loved all the local references. Also my mother was on dialysis for some time before she died so those references rang true as well.

Leigh was lucky to receive a kidney transplant and through a mix up the anonymous donation didn’t stay so anonymous. Leigh has planned quite a road trip and she has added a stop to visit one of her donor’s relatives. She wants to find out what he was like and to thank them for the gift they have given her. Against her brother’s wishes Leigh heads west in what turns into a very memorable trip. She gains a passenger along the way, they stop to see the sights, visit her best friend in Colorado, meet up with an old boyfriend, has an interesting stop at the donor’s mother’s house and then head to California to hopefully reconnect with her mother.

This was Jess Riley’s debut novel and it a heartwarming and sometimes a heartbreaking story.  It is also full of some laugh out loud and crazy moments. I found it to be very well written with a very balanced pace. Easy to picture all the events as they happened because of the author’s descriptive writing style. There was a twist that added just a little suspense too. It was almost a learning experience as Leigh has PKD, polycystic kidney disease. I had heard of this disease but didn’t know much about it.

The trip that Leigh calls her Unfinished Business Trip was quite a journey. I am honored to have been able to travel on it right along with her. I loved this story.

perfect 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author

Wisconsin native Jess Riley spent much of her childhood being punished for lying and/or passing notes during class, both of which qualified her for a possible future as a novelist.

Jess has been a waitress, a blue cheese packager, and a school grant writer. She worked at a toy store during the Tickle Me Elmo craze and lived to tell about it. She’s also worked at a medium-security men’s prison, which was much less stressful. Jess graduated from UW-Oshkosh in 1998 with degrees in English and History. She shares a drafty old house in Oshkosh, Wisconsin with her husband and a neurotic dog that despises public radio.

You can follow her on Facebook here.


GIVEAWAY
I would love to share my copy with you.
Remember this is a used book.

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 February 5, 2016 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

~This book was from by personal collection.~

Nov 142015
 

dead teaseDead Tease
(Loon Lake Mystery)

12th in Series
Mystery
Setting – Wisconsin
Tyrus Books (March 17, 2012)
Hardcover: 208 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1440533129
Trade Paperback ISBN-13: 978-1440533112
E-Book – ASIN: B007L7LNMO
goodreads-badge-add-plusShop Indie Bookstores

 

A hot August afternoon and Midwest Clinic CEO John McNeil has been working late. Working on his latest conquest, that is. Jen Williams is twenty-six, in charge of graphics for the hospital’s PR division—and quite attractive in a healthy, athletic kind of way. She is quick to laugh and a little too quick to fall for guys. She is no virgin. And she is one of three women—including his wife—intimately familiar with McNeil.

When Jen’s youthful body is found with a single stab wound through the heart, suspicion falls on both McNeil’s wife, who insists she is being stalked, and the striking hospital physician with whom he had just ended an affair. Pressure to find the killer falls on Loon Lake Police Chief Lewellyn “Lew” Ferris and Dr. Paul “Doc” Osborne, the retired dentist and forensic dental expert whom she has deputized to help with the investigation—when they are not taking a break for fishing and other personal pursuits. When the mayor demands Lew take early retirement—and Doc has to babysit his teenage granddaughter who won’t stop texting—the frustrations mount.

Desperate for a few hours off—and persuaded by Ray Pradt (a fishing guide who wears a stuffed trout on his head, so they should have known better)—to try fly fishing from kayaks, Doc and Lew find themselves in life-and-death straits on the river. This leads to an unexpected and macabre discovery that just may break the case.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Time to travel north and escape to Loon Lake. This time Loon Lake Police Chief Lewellyn “Lew” Ferris assisted by Dr. Paul “Doc” Osborne is investigating the death of a young woman. She was found stabbed through the heart outside her home. Lew and Doc start out at her work place and the CEO John McNeil. A man with secrets is always a good suspect.

I have enjoyed this series from the start. I love these characters. When the mayor started pushing about retirement Lew and the reason why he was doing it made me want to scream. But Lew took a little time to reflect and then she found a way to stop the mayor in his tracks and I had a huge smile on my face.

The mystery was good but not great. I did figure it out a little early but it was fun to follow Lew and Doc and their process.

As always the descriptions of the area, Northern Wisconsin, shined.

We were treated to a little humor as fishing guide Ray Pradt tries to make kayak fly fishing a realty. Oh my, Doc and Lew were his guinea pigs and it was so funny except it could have had dire consequences. Knowing they are the main characters I knew it would turn out alright.

just you and a friend4 STARFISH

Dollycas

This book was from my private collection. 

To find out more bout Victoria Houston visit her webpage here.

Jun 262015
 

This is a little different from what I usually review but Michael Perry is a Wisconsin author that writes about life in Wisconsin in a very fun way. This is his debut into fiction waters and I just had to share it with you.

JESUS COWThe Jesus Cow: A Novel
Fiction – Humor – Satire
Setting – Wisconsin
Harper Collins (May 19, 2015)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ASIN: B00N0W4ZT2
E-Book ASIN: B00N0W4ZT2
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

Life is suddenly full of drama for low-key Harley Jackson: A woman in a big red pickup has stolen his bachelor’s heart, a Hummer-driving predatory developer is threatening to pave the last vestiges of his family farm, and inside his barn is a calf bearing the image of Jesus Christ. His best friend, Billy, a giant of a man who shares his trailer house with a herd of cats and tries to pass off country music lyrics as philosophy, urges him to avoid the woman, fight the developer, and get rich off the calf. But Harley takes the opposite tack, hoping to avoid what his devout, dearly departed mother would have called “a scene.”

Then the secret gets out—right through the barn door, and Harley’s “miracle” goes viral. Within hours pilgrims, grifters, and the media have descended on his quiet patch of Swivel, Wisconsin, looking for a glimpse (and a percentage) of the calf. Does Harley hide the famous, possibly holy calf and risk a riot, or give the people what they want—and raise enough money to keep his land—and, just possibly, win the woman and her big red pickup truck?

Harley goes all in, cutting a deal with a major Hollywood agent that transforms his little farm into an international spiritual theme park—think Lourdes, only with cheese curds and t-shirts. Soon, Harley has lots of money . . . and more trouble than he ever dreamed.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This was a wonderful read. I love stories set in my own state. Michael Perry dips his unique writing style into the fiction well and I loved it.

In The Jesus Cow we visit Swivel, Wisconsin on Christmas Eve as Harley Jackson’s cow gives birth to a very special calf. Harley is unsure what to do until Hollywood comes to town and turns his life and the town of Swivel upside down.

Farming, religion, politics, housing recession, ecological concerns, romance, neighborly feuds, and even a bit of scandal come together in the very satirical portrait of small town life.  The people of Swivel are those you could find in any small town. They all have their causes and quirky behaviors. Harley Jackson hasn’t had much luck in the finding true love. He is happy working his job, tending his “beefers” and being part of the volunteer fire department.  I like Harley, he is different. He is introverted and was brought up in a very religious home but has lost his faith. When his calf is born with a clear picture of Jesus Christ on its side he truly wonders if it’s a sign. He remembers the teachings pf his mother. Good Christians do not draw attention. When his secret gets out he is really in a quandary about what to do.

Michael Perry is an incredible storyteller. He has created interesting characters and a town for them to come together and be observed in a way only he can. The story in funny and touching and does have a message.  Those that already loved Perry’s non-fiction works will love this. If he is a new author to you this is a great place to start.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about Michael Perry and his work on his webpage here.

GIVEAWAY

I am giving away my review copy!

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End July 10, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Dec 042014
 

Cash killsCash Kills:
An Angelina Bonaparte Mystery

2nd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Published by Cozy Cat Press (June 3, 2014)
Trade Paperback: 260 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1939816443
E-Book File Size: 488 KB
ASIN: B00OIG3BOY
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

When her office mate, accountant Susan Neh, brings Angelina Bonaparte a client named Adriana Johnson, the PI wonders how she can help this bedraggled young woman. Adriana’s parents, immigrants from the former Yugoslavia, were murdered only a week earlier, in a robbery at their small hardware store. Now she has discovered that, despite living like the working poor, they were actually quite wealthy––with numerous large bank accounts located around the world. Adriana is suspicious about her newfound status and hires Angie to discover the nature of her deceased parents’ wealth. When Angie arrives to interview with the parents’ attorney, Herman Petrovitch, he is missing, but his secretary Dragana is there––lying dead on the office floor, with her head blown off. Homicide detective––and Angie’s own boyfriend––Ted Wukowski, cautions her against getting involved in the murder investigation. Of course, Angie pays little heed to his warning.

I cut the synopsis down a bit because I think the longer version gives too much away.

Dollycas Thoughts

Angie Bo-nah-par-tay is back in the second installment to this mystery series set in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

I love this character.  She is a feisty, 50 something, private investigator with all the right connections. Her father has ties to the mob and her boyfriend is a police detective. She has friends in high and low places and she uses all those connections to help keep Adriana Johnson safe while she investigates her monetary windfall due to her parents death. Angie opens quite a can of worms. While following the clues she realizes there is much more there than she ever imagined. Could the money and her parent’s deaths be connected? Can this really go back to the Bosnian War?

Angie really starts to look at Adriana as more than a client. Her mothering instincts start to take over and that could mean trouble as she lets her guard down regarding her own safety. Adriana has led a very sheltered and meager life and can’t believe the way her parents had deceived her.

This is quite a story. Set at Thanksgiving time I read this at the perfect time. In addition to investigating Adriana’s case Angie has a lot going on in her personal life. Her relationship with Ted is flowing at a perfect pace. She finally meets Ted’s Polish mother and she invites both of them to her family’s Sicilian/American Thanksgiving so they can meet her very unique family. (You do know that Thanksgiving is the most stressful holiday don’t you?)

The Russian and Serbian elements were very interesting as I usually think of Milwaukee and Wisconsin having a strong German and Polish population but it has truly become a melting pot for all nationalities. In fact I just learned the Bosnian population is growing in Milwaukee due to the recent migration after the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina and that ties right into this story. Thank you Wikipedia.

Nanci Rathbun has given us wonderful characters and they are real and down to earth. They are truly fleshed out with depth and it is so easy to become involved in their lives. From Spider, the bodyguard to Angie’s Aunt Terry, these are people I want to know more about.  This author’s story lines are tight with the main plot and subplots woven seamlessly together. Her setting is less than hour from my home and she shows us many sides to Milwaukee. It is fun to read about places you are familiar with. There is also humor spread throughout the story to balance out the edges of the mystery.

This is a great follow up to Truth Kills and I can’t wait to get my hands on Deception Kills when it comes out next year.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

author NanciAbout This Author

Nanci Rathbun is a lifelong reader of mysteries – historical, contemporary, futuristic, paranormal, hard-boiled, cozy … you can find them all on her bookshelves. She brings logic and planning to her writing from a background as an IT project manager, and attention to characters and dialog from her second career as a Congregationalist minister. Her first novel, Truth Kills: An Angelina Bonaparte Mystery, is out in both paperback and ebook formats. The first chapter is available free on her web site and on her Goodreads page. Cash Kills is the second book in the series. Number three has a working title of Deception Kills, with plans to publish in 2015.

Nanci is a longtime Wisconsin resident who relocated to Tennessee to be closer to her granddaughters – oh, and their parents – and is planning an upcoming move to the West Coast for the same reason. No matter where she lives, she will always be a Packers fan.

Author Links
Webpage: http://nancirathbun.com
Facebook: Author Nanci Rathbun
Twitter: @nancirathbun
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7199317.Nanci_Rathbun
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Nanci-Rathbun/e/B00E9E7QCI

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

Nov 292014
 

loose screwLoose Screw:
Dusty Deals Mystery Series: Book 1

Cozy Mystery
Self Published
E-Book File Size: 882 KB
Print Length: 284 pages
ASIN: B004T3AXEW
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

Lucy Mathews, crime reporter turned antiques dealer, avoids confrontation like a home perm. She even lets a cat shove her around.

When Lucy trips over the body of a buckskin-clad relics trader, her ex-boss asks her to cover the story. She tries to tell him no, but old habits die hard and soon she finds herself directly in the path of a killer and the exasperating, if attractive, detective in charge.

Can Lucy catch a killer or is this the last confrontation for her—period?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Lucy Mathews is a very flawed protagonist. She not only can’t say no to anyone but she is really hard on herself and the people she surrounds herself with do not help her one bit. I am hoping she gets stronger as the series continues especially if she is going to be hunting down killers. As a side note, she adds milk to her soda, yuck!! It must be on Montana thing. I know the author lives in Wisconsin and having lived here my whole life I know it is not a Wisconsin thing.

My favorite character without a doubt was Lucy’s malamute, Kiska. He was there for Lucy throughout all the drama she found herself in the the middle of. He happy woo, woo, woo sounded just my own canine companions.

The mystery itself was very good with plenty of suspects. It could have been a little tighter but it suffers the first book in a series syndrome. The author has a lot of work in the first book. They not only have to have a mystery for the reader to follow but they also have to introduce the setting and all the characters. This author is trying to do this in about 100 less pages than a typical cozy mystery as well.  I feel we get a good grasp on Helena, Montana and the basics of the characters were introduced. I am hoping in Cut Loose, book two in the series, we have characters that continue to evolve and a mystery that is a bit deeper. Davies has laid the groundwork, now she has to follow-up and build on what she has created. Lucy needs to stand up for herself and get some decent men in her life.

still at the beach but not as tranquil3 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 This story is available for free right now on Amazon.

About This Author

Rae Davies is the pen name of author Lori Devoti.

Lori Devoti worked for three different newspapers in two different states before deciding to stay home with her children and begin writing fiction. Lori has been a finalist for many awards including the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award and is a member of Novelists Inc., a prestigious group for professional writers. She lives near Madison, Wisconsin with her husband and children as well as two dogs.

Like Lucy, Rae/Lori loves antiques, Montana and malamutes.

http://raedavies.com/

https://www.facebook.com/RaeDaviesAuthor

http://pinterest.com/raedaviesauthor/

http://twitter.com/#!/LoriDevoti

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4731525.Rae_Davies



*From my personal collection.

Oct 182014
 

First I need to apologize to Christine DeSmet. I love featuring authors from my home state of Wisconsin. It definitely took me way too long to find this series!

FIRST DEGREE FUDGE
First-Degree Fudge:
A Fudge Shop Mystery

First in the Series
Cozy Mystery
An Obsidian Mystery (September 3, 2013)
An Imprint of New American Library
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451416476
E-Book File Size: 753 KB
ASIN: B00BDQ38V8
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

New candy store owner Ava Oosterling specializes in making heavenly homemade fudge and fresh starts. But she’s just found out that her newest flavor is to die for….

Between getting her store up and running and uneasily settling back into her charming Lake Michigan hometown, Ava Oosterling has her plate full. She hopes using local fresh dairy and her own flavorful imagination to cook up one-of-a-kind fudge will also create a brand-new start for her. And if she can tempt wealthy ex–film star Rainetta Johnson to try her newest creation, Cinderella Pink, at a local fund-raiser, maybe her road to big-time success will be short and sweet.

But when Rainetta chokes to death on a stolen diamond hidden in the fudge’s fluffy depths, Ava is pegged as the prime suspect. Now saving her business and reputation means investigating a batch of townspeople who had numerous reasons to hate disdainful, hard-bargaining Rainetta. With Ava’s best friend and her former flame in the suspect mix, she must figure out who the real culprit is fast or face a very bitter end.…

Includes Delicious Fudge Recipes and Fudge-Making Tips!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Oosterling’s Live Bait, Bobbers, & Belgian Fudge is where Ava Oosterling sells her fudge right across the store where her grandfather sells bait, bobbers, beer and other things a fisherman may need. Located on the pier in Fisher’s Harbor, Wisconsin, in the heart of Door County.

Door County is a place we have vacationed at several times over the years and Fisher’s Harbor depicts clearly the life of the towns along the peninsula protruding into Lake Michigan. I enjoyed all the local references included those outside of Door County. Heck the town we are living in now even gets a mention. Door County is known for its lighthouses, fish boils and cherry orchards.  Wisconsin is also home to the Green Bay Packers and fans just love their beer and brats. The author gives us a great overview of the entire area.

She introduces us to Ava who has returned to the area after short stints in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. One bad decision pulled her life off course and she has come back home to start over. Her parents own a farm that can supply some of the fudge ingredients and her grandfather (Gilpa) has some room in his store. Together they decided to add a few special things and make half of the shop a place for Eva to make and sell her fudge.  She has a chance to really get her product off to a good start at an event ex–film star Rainetta Johnson will be attending but things go awry when the actress is found dead with a piece of Ava’s fudge in her mouth.

An author faces an uphill battle when debuting a new cozy series. They not only need to introduce to the characters and the setting but they also have to wrap it all in a mystery that keeps readers engaged while at the same time leaving room for the characters to grow in future installments. I think Christine DeSmet did this very well. The premise of the mystery was a little bit out there but I could see the possibilities. One major clue helped me to  figure out who the killer was a bit before Ava but I did enjoy her following the breadcrumbs and catch the culprit.

The story has just the right amount of humor and romantic tension you could cut with a knife. The characters are charming and I want to know more about them.  DeSmet has laid a good foundation for the series. I hope to read Hot Fudge Frame-Up soon. Five-Alarm Fudge. the 3rd book in the story will be out April 7, 2015.

just you and a friend4 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about Christine DeSmet and her books on her web page 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.”

Get All 4 Aggie Mundeen Mysteries by Nancy G. WestBuy Now
%d bloggers like this: