Nov 032017
 

On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.
Another book that was waiting on my Kindle.


Working Stiff (Mattie Winston Mysteries)
Cozy Mysteries
1st in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Kensington (August 1, 2010)
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0758234537
Kindle ASIN: B003IYI84K

 

 

When Mattie Winston catches her husband Dr. David Winston receiving some very special loving care from R.N. Karen Owenby, she quits her job and moves out. Mattie’s best friend Izzy offers her a place to stay and suggests she’d be a natural as deputy coroner. Now, instead of taking patients’ pulses, Mattie’s weighing their hearts and livers.

But Mattie’s first homicide call turns out to be for none other than Nurse Karen, and even though she saw her ex in a heated argument with the newly deceased the night before, she refuses to believe David could be a killer. Keeping mum about what she saw, Mattie is also left speechless by the sight of hunky Detective Steve Hurley. . .

From learning the ropes on her new job to sorting out her feelings about her ex and dealing with her growing attraction to Detective Hurley, Mattie’s in deep water and in danger of sinking quickly, especially when she places herself dead center in the path of a desperate–yet determined–killer. . .

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I am late to the party on this series and am kicking myself.

Dr. David Winston cheated on his wife R.N. Mattie Winston and she has moved out of their house and quit her job. She caught him and R.N. Karen Owenby getting very cozy with each other in an operating room. An operating room she worked in with her husband. Her friend Izzy offers her a roof over her head and a job as his new deputy coroner. It will take some getting used to, dead patients instead live ones, but she is determined to make it on her own.

Nervous about her first homicide, which Izzy pulled her out of bed for, she is positively floored when the body is none other than R.N. Karen Owenby. The woman messing around with her husband and the woman she saw him have an argument with not too many hours ago. She also meets Detective Steve Hurley, who is a definite distraction for Mattie.

So she has 2 men on her mind, David couldn’t have killed Karen, could he? and the handsome detective she would like to get to know better. She also is meeting her new coworkers and her new job. She may be in the killer’s sights too, hopefully she won’t end up being the next stiff in the morgue.

I loved this story and I loved Mattie. Her life gets turned upside down, but she picks herself up, dusts herself off and gets on with her life. With a little help from her friends she carries on, even overstepping the requirements of her new job to do a little sleuthing on her own. Izzy and his partner play key roles and they are wonderfully written. I could almost feel the heat between Mattie and Steve burning up the pages. This is going to be an interesting relationship.

The plot was complex with clever twists. I followed each clue right along with Mattie and figured it out mere moments before she did.

The dialogue between the characters was so realistic and the situations were as well. I enjoy that this series is set not too far from where I reside. The local references warmed by heart.

What I did not expect were the laugh out loud funny moments, there were quite a few. I even had my own “spit – take”. Do not read this story and drink at the same time. Luckily my Kindle survived the experience.

I may have come late to this series but I hope to catch up quickly. I can’t wait to dive into Scared Stiff. It is set at Halloween, so I should have read it last month, but I sure am not going to wait for next year 🙂 You may be seeing my review next week.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Annelise Ryan is the USA Today bestselling author of the popular Mattie Winston mystery series and a pseudonym for Beth Amos, who also writes the Mack’s Bar Mystery series under the pseudonym Allyson K. Abbott. Beth is a real life emergency room RN living in Wisconsin. She believes laughter is the best medicine, and with the Mattie Winston series she is hoping to “medicate” the masses.

For more Mattie Winston fun and to keep up with the latest news, visit www.mattiewinston.com


I am giving away 1 Kindle copy of Working Stiff.
It will be sent to the winner directly from Amazon.

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*This was from my personal collection.

Oct 202017
 

On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.
Another book that was waiting on my Kindle.


Spiced and Iced (A Callie’s Kitchen Cozy Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Self Published (December 5, 2016)
Paperback: 237 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1520481555
Kindle ASIN: B01N8UXIWC

 

 

The holidays can be murder! Greek-American restaurateur Callie Costas finds herself on thin ice when a colleague is killed. Recipes included!

The season is bright when Calliope “Callie” Costas agrees to contribute her Greek snowball cookies to a December bridal shower at The English Country Inn in the scenic waterfront town of Crystal Bay, WI. But when Callie finds a colleague dead, she’s sucked into another murder investigation — all while juggling her growing business and staggering holiday workload.

As she reluctantly agrees to help the Inn’s owner track the killer, Callie is soon up to her spiced Greek biscotti in difficulties. For one thing, the hotel staff is freezing her out as she tries to uncover information, helped by her feisty Grandma Viv and her sweet but nosy aunt who’s visiting from Greece. And then there’s her deepening relationship with the suave and mysterious Detective Sands, a British expat now living in Wisconsin, who seems to have a few secrets of his own.

The icing on the cake is a host of simultaneous family mayhem including her father’s surprising fixation on a real estate agent and her ex’s plans to move back to Crystal Bay. As the Inn’s annual Christmas Tea approaches, things are heating up in Callie’s Kitchen, but she’s on thin ice! Will Christmas be a festive celebration this year – or will it be murder?

Turn to the end of the book for six delicious recipes, including Greek cookies and savories, plus traditional Midwestern holiday favorites!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

It’s December in Crystal Bay, Wisconsin. The snow if falling, frigid temps are setting in and Callie’s Kitchen is busy baking and making delicious things for the holiday season. She has agreed to provide her Greek snowball cookies for a bridal shower at The English Country Inn but before the shower begins Callie finds the party planner dead in the water. Her relationship with Detective Sands may hit the skids because she just can’t help investigating the death. Her aunt and grandma even get involved. As if she doesn’t have enough on her plate, her ex may be moving back to Crystal Bay and her father appears to be dating. Christmas may be drawing near but Callie is determined to ice the killer just like he iced his victim.

I started reading this story and it felt like home. The author really describes everything about Wisconsin perfectly. The weather, the people, the food, the little language quirks, it warmed by heart.

Callie is a lovable character, she has a huge heart and is a hard worker determined to make her business a success. Her friendship with Samantha struggled a bit in this installment and their interactions were spot on. Her relationship with Detective Sands struggles as well but we learn more about this character as they work to turn things around.  Max and Callie work together in the kitchen like a well oiled machine and he is a great friend to her. Callie’s aunt, “Sweetie” is visiting from Greece and she teams up with Grandma Viv for some laugh out loud moments.  Her father’s life is in a period of change too.  Callie is unsure if it is the situation or the woman that he is seeing that gives her concern. All these characters are well crafted, engaging and true to life.

The murder mystery itself was complicated. There were more suspects that I imagined at first and I was totally wrong about the murderer. Things got really exciting as Callie thought she too had it all figured out. We were both surprised, she actually found herself in what could have been a life or death situation. She was livid by the time she was able to literally track the culprit down. Wow Callie! You Go Girl!

I can’t finish this review without talking about the food. Good gracious, I was practically drooling every time Callie or Max were in the kitchen. I could almost smell the food cooking. I can’t wait to try the recipes in the back of the book.

Christmas in Wisconsin is delightful, (sans murders, of course), the temperatures may be dropping and the snow may be falling, but the food and friendships will warm you right up. Thank you Jenny Kales for this wonderful story.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Watch for my review of Secrets and Pies, the 3rd book in this series coming soon! 

About the Author
Award-winning writer Jenny Kales is the author of ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK, the first in The Callie’s Kitchen Mystery Series. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in English and spent several years working as a copywriter and corporate communications marketing writer for many top companies. Her freelance writing about parenting has appeared in many venues including The TODAY Show Parents site. Her award-winning blog, The Nut-Free Mom, has been featured in newspapers and websites around the world.

Fiction writing is her first love and her marriage into a Greek-American Midwestern family inspired The Callie’s Kitchen mysteries, featuring Calliope Costas, food business owner and amateur sleuth. The setting of the story, “Crystal Bay,” is inspired by a favorite family vacation spot – Wisconsin’s beautiful Geneva Lakes.

Jenny is an avid reader, cook and baker and she’s addicted to mystery TV, especially anything on Masterpiece Mystery or BBC America. She lives just outside of Chicago with her husband, two daughters and one cute but demanding Yorkshire terrier.

Author Links

Webpage     Facebook      Twitter     GoodReads      Instagram


I will give away 1 Kindle set of All 3 Books to 1 Winner
Books will be sent directly from Amazon

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

*This book was from my personal collection.

Oct 122017
 


Mining for Justice (A Chloe Ellefson Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
8th in Series
Midnight Ink (October 8, 2017)
Paperback: 384 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738753348
E-Book ASIN: B01N7UGNZB

Chloe Ellefson is excited to be learning about Wisconsin’s Cornish immigrants and mining history while on temporary assignment at Pendarvis, a historic site in charming Mineral Point. But when her boyfriend, police officer Roelke McKenna, discovers long-buried human remains in the root cellar of an old Cornish cottage, Chloe reluctantly agrees to mine the historical record for answers.

She soon finds herself in the center of a heated and deadly controversy that threatens to close Pendarvis. While struggling to help the historic site, Chloe must unearth dark secrets, past and present . . . before a killer comes to bury her.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This time Chloe Ellefson takes us along on a trip to Mineral Point as she goes there to help out for a week. Roelke drives her there and plans to spend the weekend helping a friend update a family home. Chloe is hoping for a quiet week away from the drama brought on by her boss at Old World Wisconsin but when Roelke uncovers human bones in the root cellar Chloe knows her week in going to be far from quiet. She agrees to do some research to try to determine who the remains belong to and who buried them. This is all before she sets foot in Pendarvis, the historic location of her temporary assignment. A recent newspaper article has the employees there up in arms and Chloe finds herself the person to blame for a state funding problem. She also find another body.

I have lived in Wisconsin my whole life but I always learn something new when reading a Kathleen Ernst mystery. Pendarvis is one of 12 historic sites owned and operated by the Wisconsin Historical Society. “Tucked away in historic Mineral Point, Pendarvis celebrates the restoration and preservation efforts of Robert Neal and Edgar Hellum, who saved a significant part of Wisconsin’s past.”* Sadly, I have never visited there, but using the author’s descriptions I feel like I have. With all the main buildings, land and nearby cottages it makes a wonderful setting for a murder mystery or two. Roelke back in Eagle has a mystery to solve as well.

The  brilliance of this book is the way the author blends history with life in Wisconsin in the 1980’s. We get the story of a Cornish family coming to America and then to Wisconsin in search of a life provided by the mines. Pendarvis recreates and celebrates this time in history but has problems of the current day which for this series is the 1980’s.

Both time periods have very strong females. The woman in the story that immigrated in the 19th century had  to be strong to live among the men working the mines, she even worked at the mines herself before she came to America. She was a trailblazer is protecting children at a time when most were forced to work in the mines. Chloe is the strong woman of current time. She searches for the truth and doesn’t give up even when she is putting herself in danger. She has a resilience that I truly admire.

Many issues are faced within the story, an abusive husband, drug dealers, financial worries, and of course, murder. It is also a story with a nice romance. Chloe and Roelke relationship has grown at a very comfortable place over this series. Set before cell phones, I really enjoy their nightly calls to check-in with each other when they are apart. The way they work together is heartwarming.

Kathleen Ernst is a real treasure. She researches these stories intensely and creates fictional drama based on facts that keep the reader fascinated from the first page to the last. She is an excellent storyteller whose words come alive. Her love of Wisconsin history shines brightly in this and all of her books in this series.  The characters are believable with great dialogues.  The setting always plays a key part and she always leaves me wanting to visit the location as soon as possible.

Each of the books in this series can be read all on their own, but to enjoy the character development you really should read them all. Mining for Justice has become my favorite book in this series and will be included in my Bests Reads of 2017.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

*Quote from the Pendarvis website.



About The Author

Kathleen Ernst is a social historian, educator, and author. Her Chloe Ellefson mysteries reflect the decade she spent as a curator at a large outdoor museum, and feature historic sites in the Upper Midwest.  Library Journal says, “Ernst keeps getting better with each entry in this fascinating series.” Kathleen has also written many mysteries for young readers.  Honors for her work include a LOVEY Award and Agatha and Edgar nominations.  Kathleen lives and writes in Wisconsin.

Webpage Facebook – Blog 

Purchase Links
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Praise For Mining for Justice (A Chloe Ellefson Mystery)
by Kathleen Ernst

Have no fear as this author weaves a masterful tale. She never drops the ball. Being in Wisconsin I am naturally drawn to the series but anyone who appreciates history and a well written mystery will not want to miss Kathleen’s books.
~Laura’s Interests

This is one of my favorite cozy mystery series. I love that the author mixes history in her mysteries and that you can learn while reading a fun book.
~A. Holland Reads

Wow, this book grabbed my historian heart and held my sleuthing mind to the last page.
~Bibliophile Reviews

Mining for Justice is an outstanding story in an equally outstanding series, one that has quickly become a favorite of mine.
~The Power of Words

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October 5 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
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October 7 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Jul 072017
 


On Flashback Fridays I will share with you the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.

This is a series I have wanted to start for a long time.

Murder on the Rocks
(Mack’s Bar Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Kensington (August 6, 2013)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0758280152
Kindle ASIN: B00BPYGR0M

 

 

Mack’s Bar is one of those nice, friendly places where everybody knows your name. That’s great when someone’s buying you a round, but not so hot when you find yourself atop a list of murder suspects–with your fingerprints on the bloody knife!

Mackenzie “Mack” Dalton is a Milwaukee bar owner with a nose for trouble–literally. A neurological glitch has left her with extra perceptive senses. So when she stumbles upon a dead body in the alley behind the bar–the same spot where her own father was shot eight months earlier–she can tell right away there’s something fishy in the air. The lead detective thinks there’s a link between the two deaths, and he’ll need Mack’s help to sniff out the murderer amid the crowd of eccentric regulars. But when all the evidence points to her as the most likely culprit, it could be an early last call for Mack–and celebratory cocktails for a killer.

Includes drink recipes

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Growing up in Wisconsin my parents owned and operated a tavern, much like Mack’s Bar. Drinks, food, pool table, dart boards, regular patrons and visitors from out of town. Thankfully we never found a dead body in the back alley.

Mackenzie “Mack” Dalton has taken over her father’s bar after he was murdered. That case is still open but without any real clues as to the killer. When Mack finds another body in almost the exact same place and she is one of the suspects she tries to stay calm and cool. She knows she didn’t kill anyone. But since the murder weapon did belong to the bar the suspects could be anyone of her staff or customers. When she explains to the lead detective about a neurological issue she was born with he actually doesn’t think she is crazy. He thinks maybe her hyper senses may aid in the capture of the killer. A killer that he thinks took her dad’s life as well. When he wants to go undercover and work at the bar she just can’t say no.

These characters are so likable. Mack loves what she does and in a business like hers you have to. Days are quickly consumed by the work it takes to keep the place up and running. She does have a boyfriend who is a paramedic, but they don’t have much time to spend together. Detective Duncan Albright seems more Mack’s type and they do have chemistry. In fact, when they are together is sends quite a rush to Mack’s senses. Most of the regulars remind me of customers who became friends with my parents over the years. All their reactions and actions rang true to life. Even the part where they gathered together trying to solve the crime themselves with the facts available to the public.

Learning about Mack’s Synaesthesia was very engrossing. When Mack explains the condition to Duncan the author is explaining it to the readers as well. It is a rare  and complicated condition that at first thought must be awful but Mack has adjusted to it so well, it absolutely amazed me.

I really enjoyed that the author brought some Milwaukee history to the story. Yes, Al Capone once owned a bar in Milwaukee complete with some interesting basement activity. It is not much of a stretch of the imagination to think Mack’s Bar just might be the place. To spin the mystery to include part of this history was a fun plot line to follow with a twist that brings the whole story together.  A little different from a normal cozy, Mack works hand in hand with the police and they appreciate her input. The police also love the coffee she serves so they were stopping by often, even ones not involved in the case.

This is a well written story with characters I want to know more about. Murder with a Twist has moved way up on my To-Be-Read stack. I am excited about this series. 

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author

Allyson K. Abbott is a pseudonym used by suspense writer Beth Amos. Beth has enjoyed a varied writing career that included a stint as a book reviewer and several years of nonfiction freelancing. Now she writes only fiction, and in stark contrast to her “day job” as an ER nurse, where she gets to save lives, the one common factor in her fiction, no matter what name it’s written under, is that someone always dies. Allyson K. Abbott is my little insider joke at having to pick yet another pseudonym. It’s not coincidence the initials are what they are.  Check out her webpage here and on Facebook here.

My review copy is a retired library copy.
If the winner would rather have an e-copy of the book that is o.k. with me.

Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address for the print copy.
International if you choose an e-copy.

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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5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End July 21, 2017 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.

May 232017
 

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

Dollycas’s Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about Amy and her books here

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
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Contest Will End JUNE 6, 2017 at 11:59 PM CST
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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 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
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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.

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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
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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.

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I am giving away my review copy!
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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.

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Contest Will End November 18, 2016 at 11:59 PM CST
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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
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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
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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
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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.~

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