Nov 172017
 

The Mayor’s Son
Mystery/Crime/Suspense
Setting – Wisconsin
Self Published (August 29, 2017)
Paperback: 254 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0996619578
Kindle ASIN: B0758JN3FT

 

 

 

It’s summer time, 1957. Early on a Sunday morning, a young woman is found dead in the street. She’s been murdered and thrown away like a sack of garbage. Hours later, a second woman is pulled out of the Crawfish River, another victim of a brutal killing.

Chief Augie Austin, Columbus’ top cop, suspects that he may be dealing with a serial killer. But, when the clues send him in two different directions, he realizes that is dealing with two murderers, not one.

Austin’s peaceful world is turned upside down, as he realizes that Columbus is not the unspoiled, perfect little town he thought it was. As he interviews witnesses and friends of the deceased, he finds himself up against one road block after another. People aren’t talking and he wants to know why.

As the evidence builds, Austin recognizes that it is pointing to one of his own officers. Already suspicious that this cop has been bending the rules for personal gain, Austin realizes that he may have a murderer patrolling his streets.

Knowing he must tread carefully, Austin sets out to build a rock solid case against Officer Drollstrom – the Mayor’s son.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

A mystery set in your small home town can be unnerving. This story takes place almost exactly 4 years before I was born. With all the real places, businesses, streets, homes and character names similar to their real ones or descriptions clear enough to recognize who they were based on had me thinking parts of the story could come from actual events, I mean I wasn’t around . . . but the real mayor’s son at the time has assured everyone it is purely fiction.

When a young woman is found dead near the town’s only set of stop and go lights “the four corners” and a second woman is pulled from the river Police Chief Augie Austin fears Columbus may have a serial killer. Trying to find a link between the women is tough because no one will answer his questions. Like him, most residents of this small Columbia County town can’t believe this happened in their close knit community. The investigation starts to move forward when the results on evidence from the crime lab start to come in and they are pointing to one of his own officers. The guy is lazy as they come and doesn’t respect Austin’s authority, but a murderer. . .

This is my first book by this author and clearly it will not be the last. She knows how to set a scene and has created unique characters. I love that in 1957 she has a capable and well trained woman on the police force. All the characters are realistic and their dialogues are believable. Her descriptions make it so easy to picture everything clearly even if you have never set foot in the city.

Murder, prostitution, and small town politics, all come together in a suspenseful mystery with amazing twists and an ending you will never see coming. There is also a fair amount of humor woven throughout the story.

I love my home town.  Taking a step back in time was a pleasure. From the city hall, to Earl’s Cafe (where both my mother and sister worked), to the Fireman’s Tavern, the Stokely canning factory, the popcorn wagon, the Crawfish River and more brought back so many memories. I grew up there and still don’t live too far away. My dad was a milkman, a school bus driver and later the Fire Chief. My mom worked not only at Earl’s Cafe but at the garment factory and later owned a tavern with my dad. Heck, I was runner up to Miss Columbus in 1979. Life there wasn’t perfect but I wouldn’t change a thing.

I admire the author’s imagination and the drama she brought to life in her book. The characters are well crafted and the story really flowed well. I look forward to reading another of her books that hopefully don’t hit quite so close to home 🙂

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

You can find out about Susan and her webpage here.

More Books by Susan Pare’


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Photo of a painting by Columbus resident Susan Stare

*This book was from my private collection.

Nov 102017
 

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.


Last week I reviewed the 1st book in this series Working Stiff,
you can still enter to win a copy
.
I enjoyed it so much I found the next one on my
To-Be-Read shelf for this week.

Scared Stiff
(Mattie Winston Mysteries)

Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Kensington (September 1, 2010)
Hardcover: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0758234544
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0758234551
Kindle ASIN: B005B0I2ZY

 

 

When Deputy Coroner Mattie Winston and her boss/best friend, Izzy, are called to the home of waitress and part-time model Shannon Tolliver, they find the ghoulish Halloween decorations a bit too authentic. Among the fake blood and skeletons is the corpse of Shannon herself. Since the whole town knows Shannon recently had a very public spat with her estranged husband, Erik, he’s suspect #1. But Mattie happens to know Erik truly loved his wife, and is simply incapable of the brutal act-even if he owns the exact same caliber handgun as the murder weapon. . .

Determined to unearth the truth, Mattie puts her scalpel-sharp medical skills to work, and digs a little deeper. What she uncovers is stranger than anyone could have imagined. . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I now have another author in addition to Julie Mulhern that makes me laugh out loud so much my family thinks I am losing it. The first book in this series,
Working Stiff, made me laugh a lot but this one had me laughing from start to finish.

Former nurse now assistant medical examiner Mattie Winston is a hoot and a half. In this story Mattie gets called away from a blind date to a residence that has taken their Halloween decorations very seriously. Unfortunately one of the dead bodies in the yard is real, part-time model and waitress Shannon Tolliver has died surrounded by her fake tombstones and skeletons. Separated from her husband, he becomes the prime suspect. Maddie’s gut tells her he didn’t do it. She is going to use her new job to dig into the case on her own. Maddie is also called to the site of a car accident in this book.  Her arrival is one of the hysterical moments I mentioned above.

The story picks up almost where the last one leaves off. Maddie has left her husband, the doctor and has taken up residence in her boss/best friend’s guest house. She gets into an accident with her car and not wanting to ask her husband for help getting a new vehicle she ends up making a very interesting choice in her mode of transportation. There is still a growing romantic tension between Maddie and Detective Steve Hurley. Their dialogues are priceless. Maddie reminds me of Lucille Ball/Ricardo (I Love Lucy). You know how Lucy would just get herself in situations where she had the best intentions where everything went wrong and that were sidesplitting funny. Maddie is just like that.

Along with all the humor there is a very well plotted mystery they brings in all kinds of secondary characters. They are all very fleshed out and unique and run the gambit of nice to crazy. The story twists and turns with odd connections that have to mean something. This was a tough one to solve and I was totally wrong. The secondary plot line almost overtakes the main one due to the characters involved and I loved the way that part of the story was wrapped up.

Murder, mayhem, romance, a Wisconsin setting, and a huge dose of humor have got me addicted to this series. I have already placed my order for book #3, Frozen Stiff, and will be getting the rest of the series too.

I loved this story but it does cross over some cozy norms by containing explicit language and some coarse and a little gross moments, but dead bodies being found and examined it not all wine and roses. So this book may not be everyone’s cup of tea. If you are a fan of Lucille Ball and Stephanie Plum these books are right up your alley.

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 my hardcover copy of Scared Stiff.

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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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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5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End November 24, 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 was from my personal collection.

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.

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 17, 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 was from my personal collection.

Oct 212017
 


Secrets and Pies (A Callie’s Kitchen Cozy Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Self Published
Release Date – October 19, 2017
Paperback: 245 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1549933912
Kindle ASIN: B075R47R7B

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of Callie’s Kitchen! Greek-American restaurateur Callie Costas faces down another killer in the small waterfront town of Crystal Bay, Wisconsin. Recipes included!

Summertime in Crystal Bay means tourist season for Calliope “Callie” Costas, owner of Callie’s Kitchen, a Greek-meets-Midwest from-scratch eatery. Business is booming but so is the stress. Callie can barely keep up with the demand for her famous summer fruit pies and savory Greek delicacies, plus she’s agreed to bake dozens of “pitas” for the annual Greek Fest.

When Callie is asked to deliver cast party treats for a Murder Mystery Night at the historic Harris House, it seems like a welcome break from her hot stove. That is, until she finds herself an unwilling player in yet another suspicious death. Worse yet, the victim is a family friend and graduate student working on a project involving Crystal Bay’s colorful past.

Before long, a motley crew of suspects makes things as juicy as the succulent berries strewn around Callie’s Kitchen. And that’s not all Callie’s got on her plate. Add family obligations, a deepening romance with a local detective and unexpected personnel problems to the mix. One thing’s for sure: Callie’s got the recipe for a long, hot summer!

SECRETS AND PIES is the third installment in the Callie’s Kitchen Mystery series.


About the Author

Award-winning writer Jenny Kales is the author of The Callie’s Kitchen Mystery series. Though she’s worked as a writer and journalist for years, 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. Kales 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.

Website    Twitter    Goodreads    Instagram 


Click on covers to order from Amazon.


Thanks to the author I have 1 copy to give away!
Winner’s Choice – Print or E-Book (Print U.S. Only)
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Leave a comment for the author for 5 Bonus Entries.

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 4, 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

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

October 19 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW
October 19 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
October 19 – Blogger Nicole Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
October 20 – The Power of Words – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY
October 20 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY
October 20 – 3 Partners in Shopping Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
October 21 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY
October 21 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
October 21 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
October 22 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
October 22 – Cozy Up With Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST
October 23 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW
October 23 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY
October 23 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
October 24 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, INTERVIEW, GIVEAWAY
October 24 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
October 24 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
October 25 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY
October 25 – Readsalot – SPOTLIGHT
October 25 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW
October 26 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
October 26 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW
October 26 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
October 27 – Sleuth Cafe – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
October 27 – Jane Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY

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Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!

 

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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.

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.

Sign up for the Author’s Newsletter for 5 Bonus Entries. Click Here.

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 3, 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 personal collection.

Jul 242017
 

A Toast to Murder (Mack’s Bar Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Kensington (July 25, 2017)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496701725
Kindle ASIN: B01M6AOYKL

Mack Dalton has named plenty of murderers since she and her barstool detectives began cracking cold cases. But as a new year looms, time is ticking on the hunt for her craftiest villain yet . . .

As Milwaukee counts down to New Year’s Eve, bar owner Mackenzie “Mack” Dalton has but one resolution—unmask the dangerous mastermind who has been taunting her and killed bouncer Gary Gunderson. Mack and her fellow barflies have fleshed out a suspect and arranged an invite-only party to put a cork in the murderer’s game for good. But when the clock strikes midnight and their suspect is found cold and stiff on the basement stairs, it seems the celebration may have come too soon. Now Mack must rely on her special talents to find the real criminal among the crowd of revelers—or someone won’t survive until last call . . .

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.

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

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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 August 7, 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

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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.

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This book was from my private collection.

Dec 162016
 

9WbGnJTR
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.


Poison at the PTA
5th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Wisconsin
An Obsidian Mystery (February 4, 2014)
An Imprint of New American Library
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451415073
E-Book ASIN: B00DYX9K8I

 

 

Poison at the PTA by Laura Alden – As the Tarver Elementary School PTA president, Beth Kennedy is always on the go—especially when someone puts murder on the agenda.

Beth has been running nonstop to be the best PTA president, bookstore owner, and single parent ever, which is why her friend Marina is staging an intervention. Beth needs to take a break—and that means letting someone else organize the PTA’s upcoming eightieth-anniversary event.

But when Cookie Van Doorne, one of the event speakers, dies of suspicious causes, Beth decides to make an intervention of her own to find out what happened. When she discovers that Cookie was poisoned, the next order of business is catching a killer whose break is almost over.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Beth finds it hard to say no to anything. Running her bookstore, being a single parent,  and PTA president fills most of her time but now she has added organizing the anniversary event for the PTA. Her friends see she has taken on too much and stage an intervention. From taking over meals to organizing the PTA event, they are taking over to give her a much needed break. She has a hard time accepting it but finally agrees to their plans. She has a little extra time for herself until one of the event speakers dies a few days after the program. Beth then finds herself intervening in the suspicious death investigation. Poison is found to be the murder weapon and Beth hopes to break the case before her little break from her full life ends.

I knew when I started this book it was the final book in the series, something the author didn’t know when writing it. It is set in Wisconsin and I really enjoyed the other books in  the series and for the life of me I don’t know why I didn’t read it right when it came out. A recent To-Be-Read Shelf reorganization unearthed it along with a few others I will need to read soon.

In this installment the author uses a poison each of us probably has in our homes right now, Acetaminophen. I had no idea how easy it would be to overdose on this over the counter drug. In fact because the drug is so common, suicide is even debated before the death was classified as a murder. Yes, that trigger for me again, but I knew there had to be more to the story so I plunged right on. I was not disappointed and the prospect of using something so common meant anyone could be a suspect.

I love these characters because they are so real, they remind me of people I know. They have families and common struggles and shared joys. They don’t always get along. They have their ups and their downs. And they come together to help when a friend needs them most, like they did for Beth. True friendships, a real small town feeling. The story is set in Rynwood, Wisconsin, a small town outside the capital of Madison, very much like my hometown. Beth has two children and they both have typical things happening in their lives and Beth handles both in a very common sense way eventually. Parenting is hard work and the answers are not always glaring you write in the face. I knew exactly what she was feeling after raising 4 kids of my own with very similar issues.

I think the reason I loved this series so much as it reminded me of my own life, without the murders, of course. Until my accident, I worked full time, my husband had a job where his work hours shifted every two weeks, so I felt like a single parent much of the time. I was involved with everything going on at the school, again 4 kids, each doing their own thing, all in a town of about 1000 people.

It is sad that this is my last escape to Rynwood and it is hard to say goodbye to Beth, Marina, Jenna, Oliver, Lois, Flossie and Paoze, but I know the author has moved on to other stories. Stories that I have and will enjoy in the future. She did finish the series out with a PERFECT ESCAPE!

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Laura Alden is also Laurie Cass. She co-wrote Dead, Bath, and Beyond with Lorraine Bartlett.  It was just released this month. She also writes the Bookmobile Cat Mysteries. Check out her webpage here for more info. 

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

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Contest Will End December 30, 2016 at 11:59 PM CST
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Click Here For Entry Form

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

Nov 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.
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Contest Will End December 2, 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

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.”

The Drawing Game (A Sketch in Crime Mystery) by Deirdre Verne Get Your Copy Today!
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