Posted in Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Guest Posts Literary Escapes Reviews 2015

Not So Cozy Wednesday with Bette Lee Crosby – Author of Passing Through Perfect – Giveaway too!

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

This week our Wednesday is not so cozy! but I think you may enjoy this author!

Bette Lee Crosby writes The Wyattsville Series. I reviewed the first book, Spare Change, back in February 2013. I read the second book,Jubilee’s Journey last month as my Just For Fun book and I hope to writing that review soon. The third book Passing through Perfect comes out today and Bette wanted to visit today so I decided to have a Not So Cozy Wednesday. I would classify these books at Historical Fiction. I have loved all 3 of these books and look forward to reading many more of her books.

Please help me welcome Bette to Escape With Dollycas!

bette2

WHAT’S IN A NAME?
by Bette Lee Crosby

Some books start with a title, some start with a story. I’ve written both kinds and I can honestly say there is no right or wrong way. Neither assures you that the book will be wonderful. The only way a writer can do that is by letting their heart loose to find purchase in words.

CONTEST ENDS FEBRUARY 22 AT 12:01 A.M. EST
CONTEST ENDS FEBRUARY 22 AT 12:01 A.M. EST

Spare Change began with the title. I had part of the story in mind, but I knew that would be the title of the book; so I developed a scene to give meaning to the title. In that scene, Olivia has lost her husband and is trying to find her place in life. Canasta is the wise old woman she meets up with… now here is a small snippet of that scene:

* * *

See, sugar,” Canasta took Olivia’s hand in hers, “having a man crazy in love with you is like having your pocket full of money. When you got it you feel like a rich woman, but when you ain’t got it you start feeling poor as a church mouse.”
“That’s surely true,” Olivia nodded.
“Thing is, you ain’t.”
“I’m not?”
“Shoot, no. Making people think they can’t scrape up enough to buy a dime’s worth of happiness is the Devil’s doing. It’s his way of handing out heartaches. The Good Lord don’t do things that way. When he sees a person’s flat out of hope and feeling dead broke, He slips a bit of spare change into the bottom of their pocket. Not a lot maybe, but enough for them to get by.”

* * *
Passing_Through_Perfect_-_EbookWith Passing through Perfect, I didn’t have the title until the very end of the story and while I won’t spoil the book by sharing that scene here, I will tell you that we all pass through times of our life that are so absolutely perfect, we wish we could stay in the moment forever…unfortunately we can’t. But, you never know when the next “Perfect” is just around the corner.

About Bette Lee Crosby

Award-winning novelist Bette Lee Crosby brings the wit and wisdom of her Southern Mama to works of fiction—the result is a delightful blend of humor, mystery and romance along with a cast of quirky charters who will steal your heart away.

“Storytelling is in my blood,” Crosby laughingly admits, “My mom was not a writer, but she was a captivating storyteller, so I find myself using bits and pieces of her voice in most everything I write.”

Crosby’s work was first recognized in 2006 when she received The National League of American Pen Women Award for a then unpublished manuscript. Since then, she has gone on to win numerous other awards, including The Reviewer’s Choice Award, FPA President’s Book Award Gold Medal and The Royal Palm Literary Award.

Her published novels to date are: Cracks in the Sidewalk (2009), Spare Change (2011), The Twelfth Child (2012), What Matters Most (2013), Jubilee’s Journey (2013), Previously Loved Treasures (2014) and Wishing for Wonderful (2014). She also authored “Life in the Land of IS” a memoir of Lani Deauville, a woman the Guinness Book of Records lists as the world’s longest living quadriplegic.

Crosby originally studied art and began her career as a packaging designer. When asked to write a few lines of copy for the back of a pantyhose package, she discovered a love for words that was irrepressible. After years of writing for business, she turned to works of fiction and never looked back.

Author Links:

Blog:   http://betteleecrosby.com

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3222582.Bette_Lee_Crosby

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Bette-Lee-Crosby/e/B005TLT1PK/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

iBooks:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/bette-lee-crosby/id662962062?mt=11

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BetteLeeCrosby  @BetteLeeCrosby

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Bette-Lee-Crosby/284499021568642

Passing_Through_Perfect_-_Ebook
Passing through Perfect
(The Wyattsville Series) (Volume 3)

Historical Fiction
Setting: Alabama
Bent Pine Publishing – January 14, 2015
Paperback: 252 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0996080347
E-Book ASIN: B00OPBFV68
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

 

It’s 1946. The war is over. Millions of American soldiers are coming home and Benjamin Church is one of them. After four years of being away he thought things in Alabama would have changed, but they haven’t. Grinder’s Corner is as it’s always been—a hardscrabble burp in the road. It’s not much, but it’s home.

When Benjamin attends a harvest festival in Twin Pines, he catches sight of Delia. Before their first dance ends, he knows for certain she’s the one. They fall madly in love; happily, impatiently, imprudently, in love. It doesn’t matter that her daddy is staunchly opposed to the thought of his daughter marrying a cotton farmer, never mind a poor one.

It’s true Benjamin has little to offer; he’s a sharecropper who will spend his whole life sweating and slaving to do little more than put food on the table. But that’s how things are in Alabama. Benjamin is better off than most; he has a wife, a boy he adores, and a house that doesn’t leak rain. Yes, Benjamin considers himself a lucky man until the fateful night that changes everything.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I read this book last week and then watched The Golden Globes Sunday night and though I have not seen the movie Selma yet, I thought all three of these things tied together nicely. With what has been happening around the country civil rights are still a huge issue even after all these years since that march from Selma to Montgomery. Rap singer Common said this in his speech as the Golden Globes when he won the award for Best Musical Score,

The first day I stepped on the set of Selma, I began to think this was bigger than a movie. As I got to know people of the civil rights movement, I realized: I am the hopeful black woman who was denied her right to vote; I am the caring white supporter, killed on the front lines of freedom; I am the unarmed black kid who maybe needed a hand but was instead given a bullet; I am the two fallen police officers murdered in the line of duty. Selma has awakened my humanity.

 Bette Lee Crosby’s Passing through Perfect takes us to Alabama when people of color entered only through the back door of white people’s houses and had separate bathrooms and water fountains. A time when colored people were not allowed in most stores. We have come past those times or have we. We have elected an African American President, but a portion of the country, including some members of Congress that do not support him because his father was a black man. We still have people who are being judged by the color of their skin by the police, by employers, by their neighbors. They are also judged by their economic status no matter what color their skin is. People living in poverty are considered lazy and living for government handouts.

All these things are in Crosby’s book. Benjamin and Delia are both black. Benjamin is a farmer and a veteran. Delia’s father is a preacher. He believes Benjamin is not good enough from his daughter. Love doesn’t matter. Delia has to make a huge sacrifice to be with the man she loves. Then she sees the other side of life for people of color. Not every town in like her home town of Twin Pines. Grinder’s Corner is so small that they need to go to a bigger city for supplies and there are only a few places she and Benjamin are even allowed to enter. Even when Benjamin heads North and reaches Wyattsville everyone is not thrilled by his arrival. It even pits neighbor against neighbor.

Crosby has written a powerful and moving story. Every story I have read by this author has stayed with long past  the final word. There are spots that bring a smile and several that may cause you to shed a tear. Her characters are so engaging you immediately feel invested in their lives and you hope and pray they have better days ahead.

I also hope and pray that people today that are being judged and held back have better days ahead. That there will be income equality, a stronger middle class, less people living in poverty, great education everyone can afford and that we all have equal rights. We have come so far in so many ways but have taken great steps backward in others. I wonder what historical novels written about 2014 will say about equality. This book has really made me think about what future generations may have to say. What stories will a future Bette Lee Crosby write?

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

GIVEAWAY

I am giving my Advance Review Copy away!

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Leave a comment for Bette for 5 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End January 28, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

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

Posted in Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Guest Posts Literary Escapes Reviews 2015 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Special Guest – Julie Hyzy – Author of All The President’s Menus – Giveaway too!

special guest blueI am so excited to have Julie Hyzy visit today!!

When her books arrive they are read almost immediately!

julie hyzy

The White House Chef Mystery Series
Ten Tidbits
Julie Hyzy

1. If you’re a regular reader of the White House Chef mystery series, you already know that the First Family is required to cover all expenses for personal meals, but that fact still amazes me and I feel the need to include it here. State dinners and official events are covered by the White House budget, but the family must cover its own expenses when it comes to food. And, because there are extra steps and higher costs involved in procuring ingredients, those bills can be pretty high.

9780425262399_medium_All_the_President's_Menus2. The White House doesn’t respond well to direct questions about the residence. Before I even began writing the first book, State of the Onion, I called the White House to ask some questions about staff hours, kitchen layout, colors on the floor and walls, etc. I was looking for details not usually found in books. This would have been in 2006, I think. They were uneasy, but asked me to fax them a list of questions. I did. Never heard back. I followed up. Still never heard back.

3. Later, in 2010 or so, I was able to give a couple of books to a friend who knew a friend who was related to a White House kitchen staff member. I’d hoped the staff member would either read the books, or pass them to someone else in the kitchen – or … dreaming now… the First Lady – who would enjoy them and say something positive in the media. Nope. The lesson here: The White House is a hard nut to crack. (Unless you’re racing past the Secret Service that is… 🙂

4. Although Hollywood loves the idea of a White House Chef solving mysteries, the Powers That Be don’t love it enough.

5. Ollie has a mind of her own. I have often set her up to walk into a trap, or to do something sketchy, and she refuses. Not kidding. She puts her foot down and says “No.” It isn’t until I revise, change the circumstances, increase her motivation, or reset the stage that she complies.

6. Speaking of Ollie’s strong-mindedness, whenever I’m uncomfortable or awkward (usually social situations where I know no one) I pretend I’m Ollie. Asking myself “What Would Ollie Do?” helps me banish my nervousness.

7. My friends tell me they see me in Ollie’s role when they’re reading the books. I see America Ferrera.

8. I’ve had a couple of different “ghost chefs” assist me by coming up with the fabulous recipes for the books. My favorites include the stuffed cherry tomatoes, the bacon-wrapped green beans, the brownie bites, the cucumber slices with pine nuts (I substitute goat cheese for feta), and the hummus.

9. There are a couple of “oops” moments in the stories. A misnamed monument, a mis-identified landmark, a cell phone that mysteriously reappeared—and more. I appreciate readers letting me know when they spot these mistakes, and I generally thank the first to let me know by sending him or her a signed copy of a book from my other series. Unfortunately, I’m unable to do so for every sharp-eyed reader, but please know that I’m delighted that you care enough to point these things out.

10. I would LOVE a personal tour of the White House. They don’t have to feed me (though I wouldn’t turn down a dinner invitation), just let me roam a little. Secret Service can accompany me if that makes them feel better. All I want is to explore every inch of the building, from the bottom-est basement to the snipers on the roof. And take pictures – lots of pictures – to refer to as I write the next book. Can you imagine how much fun that would be?

~Julie

About Julie Hyzy

Julie Hyzy is the New York Times bestselling author of the White House Chef Mysteries and the Manor House Mysteries. She’s won the Anthony, Barry, Derringer, and Lovey Awards for her novels and short stories. Her first Manor House Mystery, Grace Under Pressure, earned a Starred Review from Publishers Weekly. Find out more about Julie Hyzy and her books on her webpage here.

9780425262399_medium_All_the_President's_MenusAll the President’s Menus
(A White House Chef Mystery)

8th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting: Washington D.C.
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (January 6, 2015)
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425262399
E-Book ASIN: B00KWFZ74M

goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

It’s an old adage that too many cooks spoil the broth. But when a tour of the White House kitchen by a group of foreign chefs ends in murder, it’s Olivia Paras who finds herself in the soup…

Due to a government sequester, entertaining at the White House has been severely curtailed. So executive chef Olivia Paras is delighted to hear that plans are still on to welcome a presidential candidate from the country of Saardisca—the first woman to run for office—and four of that nation’s top chefs.

But while leading the chefs on a kitchen tour, pastry chef Marcel passes out suddenly—and later claims he was drugged. When one of the visiting chefs collapses and dies, it’s clear someone has infiltrated the White House with ill intent. Could it be an anti-Saardiscan zealot? Is the candidate a target? Are the foreign chefs keeping more than their recipes a secret? Once again, Olivia must make sleuthing the special of the day…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I absolutely devoured this book!

We all learned about the word sequester not too long ago so it is perfect that Julie Hyzy takes us inside the White House to see how it effects Ollie’s kitchen. Most events were cancelled but their commitment to Saardisca could not be delayed or cancelled. Soon Ollie’s kitchen is boiling over with visiting chefs from there and trying to plan a dinner for woman trying to become its President. Things do not go smoothly as pastry chef Marcel is out of commission and one of the visiting chefs dies. Ollie can’t understand a word of Saardiscan but she knows that is the key to catching the killer and getting her kitchen back to normal.

This story picks up with Ollie and Gav settling into married life and him returning to work at The White House. They also have an opportunity presented to them that may be too good to refuse.

I love the entire cast of characters in this series! Ollie has grown comfortable in her position as executive chef but she still jumps when Chief Usher, Peter Sergeant, shows up in her kitchen. His arrival usually means trouble for her and her staff. Gav is finally back to work. Virgil is missing from the kitchen, but an angry Saardiscan chef takes his place. In fact all the Saardiscan visitors are interesting, each in a different way. Saardisca is a fictional country but it seems to be on the verge of some big changes especially if a woman is elected to be their new President.

I also enjoyed that we visited Blair House on our trip to Washington D.C. We can only see pictures of the extraordinary place so many dignitaries stay. Hyzy brings it to life for all of us from the kitchen to the myriad of stairways and hallways that connect all the beautiful rooms.

This is one of the best cozy mystery series available today. I have loved each and every story and am always anxious for the arrival of the next book. It will be the first book I read in 2016!!!

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Leave a comment for Julie for 5 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End January 27, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

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

Share:
Posted in Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Guest Posts Literary Escapes Reviews 2015

Special Guest – Susannah Hardy – Author of Feta Attraction – Giveaway too!

special guest blueI am excited to welcome Susannah Hardy to Escape With Dollycas!
Her new A Greek to Me Mystery Series is off to an excellent start!
You can read my review below her post.

Susannah

I love mysteries! You’re here visiting this blog because you do too. Did you ever solve a real mystery? Not ones like what that smell is emanating from your teenager’s bedroom, or who put the toilet paper on the roll backwards. Not that those aren’t important or that you shouldn’t get credit for your detective skills, LOL! But I’ve solved a couple of family mysteries, and I’ll tell you about one here today.

feta attractionGenealogy is one of my hobbies, and there is a genealogical element to Feta Attraction, one that will become more important in Book Two (sorry, I don’t have an official title or a release date on that yet!). My heroine, Georgie, will find out some very interesting things about who she is and where she came from and why murders keep happening around her in Bonaparte Bay.

My real-life family, and I suspect just about everyone else’s too, has its own mystery. Family legend says that my great-great grandfather was a Native American (Mohawk), that he and my white great-great grandmother had an affair, then he ran off when she found out she was pregnant. She left the baby with her widowed mother, and ran off herself. I’ve always taken that story with a grain of salt.

Now, thanks to the Internet and some digitized old newspapers, it turns out I was right to be skeptical.

The real story, which I pieced together from old newspaper articles and online census records—did I mention, I LOVE research?—is rather more Downton Abbey or Upstairs, Downstairs. Not nearly as romantic or interesting as having a Mohawk ancestor! The documentation proves that Great-Great-Grandma was a servant in the home of a wealthy shopkeeper, and they had a relationship, which resulted in a baby, my Great-Grandfather. A lawsuit was brought by the girl’s mother for loss of the girl’s services due to the pregnancy, and damages were awarded against the shopkeeper. My Great-Grandfather either never knew the real story, or deliberately lied about who his parents were on his marriage certificate, which other members of my family have taken as truth. Even though I’ve presented my proof, most still cling to the legend rather than the reality.

Not that I can blame them. Stories are often so much better than real life, aren’t they? Which is why we keep reading novels, and especially cozy mysteries with their familiar characters and satisfying endings. I hope you enjoy Feta Attraction!

Wishing each and every one of you peace and prosperity in the New Year,

~Susannah

About This Author

Susannah Hardy thinks she has the best job in the world: making up stories and inventing recipes to go along with them. A native of northern New York, where she attended St. Lawrence University, Susannah now lives in Connecticut with her husband, teenaged son, and Elvira the Wonder Cat.

Author Links

Webpage: www.susannahhardy.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Susannah-Hardy/111056935644467
Twitter: @susannahhardy1

feta attractionFeta Attraction
(A Greek to Me Mystery)

New Cozy Series
Setting: New York
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (January 6, 2015)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Bill Bruning
Cover Design by Diane Kolsky
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425271650
E-Book ASIN: B00KWG5W1Y
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

Georgie Nikolopatos manages the Bonaparte House, a Greek restaurant and historic landmark in beautiful upstate New York rumored to possess ghosts and hidden treasure. But when her husband disappears and her main competitor is found dead, it’s up to Georgie to solve a big fat Greek murder.

With her husband, Spiro, inexplicably gone for days, Georgie has her hands full running the restaurant and dealing with the crew of the TV show Ghost Squad, called in by Spiro to inspect the house for haunting. So when she has a chance to take a boating excursion on the St. Lawrence River with her friend Keith Morgan, she jumps on it. But their idyll is quickly ruined when they discover the body of rival restaurant owner Domenic “Big Dom” DiTomasso floating in the water.

When the police start asking questions, it doesn’t help that Spiro can’t be found—and with Georgie on their suspect list, it’s up to her to find her missing husband and find out who killed Big Dom before someone else’s order is up.

Includes delicious Greek recipes!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

As soon as I read that the Bonaparte House was an Octagon House I was so excited to keep reading. I was amazed by an Octagon House back in elementary school when we took a field trip to the Octagon House Museum in Watertown, Wisconsin. Many years later I learned of another Octagon House in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin and that one has been said to haunted! There is said to be another in Hudson, Wisconsin. These house were popular in the 1850’s thanks to amateur architect and lifestyle pundit Orson Squire Fowler*. Because of knowledge of these homes I had a very good idea about how this mystery may play out.

Georgie has an interesting life. She is married to a gay man and now that their daughter is grown it may be the right time for her to make some changes. The problem is that her mother-in-law  and her husband own the restaurant she manages and she can’t imagine doing anything else. She is also very close to her mother-in-law. They all live above the restaurant too.

Georgie is not really shocked her husband has disappeared, he’s done it before but always comes back within one one two days.  When he doesn’t return and she finds he left his cell phone behind she knows something is terribly wrong. She also starts receiving some strange messages. She doesn’t want to worry her mother-in-law so she starts to do a little investigating on her own.

Add to this a “Ghost Squad” looking for paranormal activity at Bonaparte House and a dead restaurant owner floating in the river and you have everything you need for a fantastic cozy mystery.

There is a lot going on in this first installment of the A Greek to Me Mystery series. I may have figured out part of the mystery early but the huge twist near the end was totally unexpected. To say more would give too much away.

I can say that Ms. Hardy has created some excellent characters. We really get to know Georgie and Sophie. Spiro not so much but I am confident he will be just as engaging. I believe the author has just scratched the surface of where she can take these characters. She has all the ingredients needed to whip up several tasty mysteries. I am really excited for book #2. “Opa!” pass the Ouzo!

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

GIVEAWAY

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Leave a comment for Susannah for 5 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End January 23, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

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

*Wikipedia Link

Posted in Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Reviews 2015 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Tales From Suburbia by Brandi Haas Great Escapes Book Tour – Review + Giveaway

great escape tour banner large tales from suburbia640

Tales from Suburbia
by Brandi Haas

Suburbia front coverTales from Suburbia: You Don’t Have to Be Crazy to Live Here, but It Helps
Humor – Parenting
Publisher: Cup of Tea Books, an imprint of PageSpring Publishing (December 1, 2014)
Paperback: 244 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1939403308
E-Book ASIN: B00OY1L3EI
goodreads-badge-add-plus

Synopsis

Brandi Haas is no domestic goddess . . . but she’ll tell you that motherhood is probably the hardest gig in the universe: “The pay is horrible, the wardrobe is pathetic, and your boss (although utterly adorable) is usually a tyrant.”

Brandi brings her trademark wit from the popular blog to this new collection, sharing stories of birthday party mayhem, mommy martyrdom, and snow shoveling majesty.

The setting is Anytown, USA, among barking dogs, picket fences, and eclectic neighbors.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I had never read Brandi’s Blog but it will be forever bookmarked. This book is a collection of Brandi’s blog posts. The first one, The Mystery Beeping had me laughing so hard I almost peed my pants. What she described has happened in this very house on several occasions. My husband heard me so I had to read the chapter out loud to him and soon we were passing the book back and forth reading much of it together. We were laughing with tears in our eyes through some and clearly relating to almost every story. Soon we were saying so and so should read this, most were our other children and our nieces and nephews who have young families. My daughter has two sons, ages 7 and 2. Our son has an almost 3 year old daughter. We were soon talking about things those children had done or caused us or their parents to do.

This book is perfect for parents and grandparents. It is nice to know these events happen to more than just us. You know how you look around when you do something totally stupid hoping no one else saw you. Well Brandi shares moments like that with the world. She is right, then happen in Anytown U.S.A. and it definitely helps to be crazy!

Thank you Brandi for a wonderful evening and a book I am thrilled to share with others. I should have read it before Christmas because everyone would have received a copy. I may have to gift a bunch of them without a holiday at all.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Brandi Haas author photo

 

About This Author

Brandi Haas is a former high school English teacher turned stay-at-home mom. Born and raised in California, she now lives in Missouri with her husband, daughter, and their dog, The WonderMutt. She is consistently inconsistent about her weight and age because, really, it’s no one’s business anyway. She sees humor in everything and began writing stories about her life as way to share her insanity with the world.

 

Author Links

Blog: www.talesfromsuburbia.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TalesfromSuburbia

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to check out the rest of the Tour Stops!
Tour Participants

January 2 – StoreyBook Reviews – Review

January 3 – Christa Reads and Writes – Review

January 4 – A Blue Million Books – Interview

January 5 – Lori’s Book Corner – Guest Post

January 6 – Community Bookstop – Review

January 7 – deal sharing aunt – Interview

January 8 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Review

January 9 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review, Guest Post

January 10 – Kelly P’s Blog – Guest Post

January 11 – Michele Lynn Seigfried’s blog – Interview

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

Share:
Posted in Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Cozy Wednesday Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Guest Posts Literary Escapes Reviews 2015 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with J.J. Cook – Author of In Hot Water (Giveaway too!)

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to the 1st Cozy Wednesday of 2015!!

Joyce Lavene, half of J.J. COOK, is back

I just love this picture of Joyce and Jim
I just love this picture of Joyce and Jim!

and I am hitting her with

20 quick questions1. Favorite Color – blue

2. Favorite Candy – chocolate

3. Favorite Snack – hush puppies

4. Favorite Soft Drink – root beer

5. Favorite Hard Drink – rum

captain-morgan-rum-435218

6. Favorite Ice Cream Flavor – chocolatechocolate-ice-cream-scoop

7. Favorite Movie – The Avengers

8. Favorite TV Show – Game of Thrones

9. Favorite Book – The Dark Hand of Magic by Barbara Hambly

10. Favorite Fictional Character – Dr. Strange

11. Favorite Super Hero – Dr. Strange

12. Favorite Singer/Group/Band – Enya

13. Favorite Carnival Ride – tilt-a-whirl

14. Favorite Spring Activity – gardening
GARDENING

15. Favorite Summer Activity – swimming
SWIMMING

16. Favorite Fall Activity – hiking
HIKING

17. Favorite Winter Activity – reading
READING

18. Favorite Place to Read – the library
LIBRARY

19. Favorite Place to Write – our office

2o. Dream Vacation Destination – Scotland

Find out more about Joyce and Jim and their books on their webpage here.

Like them on Facebook too!

hot waterIn Hot Water (A Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade)
3rd Book in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting: Tennessee
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (January 6, 2015)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Mary Ann Lasher
Cover Design by George Long
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425252628
E-Book ASIN: B00KWG5YNA
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

Sweet Pepper, Tennessee, has the world’s hottest and sweetest peppers—as well as a ghost that cooks and a fire chief who fights crime…

SPARK OF INTEREST

Stella Griffin should be bubbling over with joy now that she’s the full-time fire chief of Sweet Pepper, except trouble is brewing on her doorstep. An angry resident has purchased her cabin, and—with a bulldozer in tow—is ready to tear it down. But as Stella worries over the fate of her home and Eric, her ghostly roommate, there’s soon an even greater cause for alarm.

A suspicious house fire in the pricey Sunset Beach community at Sweet Pepper Lake claims the life of ex-state representative Barney Falk. The nature of the death has Stella feeling out of her depth, so she teams up with the state’s arson investigator. Moving full steam ahead with the case, they must smoke out a killer before the firebug strikes again…

INCLUDES RECIPES!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I have to start out by saying that Joyce and Jim Lavene are some of my absolute favorite storytellers but they did it again!! This story ends with another cliffhanger!! That last page was a killer!! Oh my stars!!

Okay well let’s talk about In Hot Water. Stella has decided to make Sweet Pepper her home but her actual home, Chief Eric Gamlyn’s cabin, has been purchased out from under her and the new owner plans to demolish the place. What will happen to Eric’s ghost if his home disappears? The bulldozer has been temporarily stopped but Stella has her hands full with a house fire that looks like arson and the ex-politician owner that was killed. The investigation goes awry and Stella finds herself “in hot water” as she tries to catch the killer before it’s too late.

These characters are fantastic. Eric reminds me so much of my dad, who was also a fire chief. I would have loved to follow in his footsteps but that just wasn’t meant to be. Eric’s and Stella’s relationship is complicated and the biggest obstacle is that he is a ghost. They have grown quite dependent on each other. I think it is so funny that he loves to cook but he can’t eat. Circumstances in the story create a huge change for Eric and it adds a whole new dimension to their relationship.

In addition to the two main characters there are several supporting characters and as the arson investigation starts and halts abruptly Stella starts to wonder who in the town she can actually trust. The fire brigade gets some new members too. I was thrilled to see another female, Nancy Bradford join the team. There are also a few members returning after leaving for family reasons and that causes a little dust up within the brigade as the people that filled in have grown comfortable with their assignments. All these little subplots fire up the story as the main plot becomes the combustible backdraft leading to the extrication of the arsonist/killer.

Each A Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mystery tops the last one. I can’t wait to don my virtual turnout gear and jump on the truck for the next fire and whatever else Stella gets herself into. All I can tell you is that that cliffhanger has me burning hot to get my hands on the installment.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 GIVEAWAY

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Leave a comment for Joyce for 5 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End January 21, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Posted in Reviews 2015

Review – Murder Strikes A Pose by Tracy Weber

Murder Strikes PoseMurder Strikes a Pose
(A Downward Dog Mystery Book 1)

First in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting: Washington State
Publisher: MIDNIGHT INK (January 8, 2014)
Trade Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738739687
E-Book ASIN: B00H3R53NM
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

When George and Bella—a homeless alcoholic and his intimidating German shepherd—disturb the peace outside her studio, yoga instructor Kate Davidson’s Zen-like calm is stretched to the breaking point. Kate tries to get rid of them before Bella scares the yoga pants off her students. Instead, the three form an unlikely friendship.

One night Kate finds George’s body behind her studio. The police dismiss his murder as a drug-related street crime, but she knows George wasn’t a dealer. So Kate starts digging into George’s past while also looking for someone to adopt Bella before she’s sent to the big dog park in the sky. With the murderer nipping at her heels, Kate has to work fast or her next Corpse Pose may be for real.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Several years ago I had a doctor tell me I should try yoga to help the aches and pains that come with my injury. I looked at her and told her she was crazy. Imagine a person like me doing yoga, I mean by right side in 98% paralyzed. I would spend most of my time flailing on the floor and waiting for someone to pick me up. I quickly switched doctors but it left me with terrible feeling regarding yoga. I put off reading this book because of that. But Tracy has a new book in this series touring with Great Escapes that starts next week and I signed up to review it so I had to get to know Yogi Kate a.s.a.p.

I am upset with myself that I waited so long. Kate is a fabulous character with a huge heart. She honestly tried to work things out for George and his scary companion. It was a shame George had to die just as friendship was just getting started. But she stood by her new friend. Not only trying to find out who killed him but taking in Bella, his German shepherd, with his cranky disposition and medical issues until she could find him a forever home. While doing so she meets Michael, the owner of Pete’s Pets and a tumultuous relationship starts between the two. Rene, Kate’s friend, think Thelma and Louise, couldn’t be happier for the couple.

Finding the murderer was not easy especially when the police have basically closed the case and are not interested in any of Kate’s theories but she doesn’t give up even when she puts herself in the line of fire.

Tracy Weber brings into focus some hot topics in this story and she does it without being preachy. George was a homeless person and Kate reaches out to others facing the same plight as she tries to find out who would kill her new friend. Bella is also a very special dog. He was abused by his previous owner and has a serious medical problem that is very expensive to treat. Finding him a new home is going to be very difficult.

As to the yoga part the I was so scared about. It is interspersed throughout the story but just becomes part of who Kate is and nothing I should have shied away from. I don’t know if I was just me being emotional while reading this story but I had tears in my eyes as I read the ending.

The A Killer Retreat Great Escapes Tour stops here January 16, the book hits stores January 8.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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.”