Posted in Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Literary Escapes Reviews 2016 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Review/ #Giveaway – Murder Most Malicious by Alyssa Maxwell – Great Escapes Book Tour

New Year – New Series!!! MURDER MOST MALICIOUS large banner640

Murder Most Malicious
by Alyssa Maxwell

 

MURDER MOST MALIOUS
Murder Most Malicious
(A Lady and Lady’s Maid Mystery Book 1)

New Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – England

Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Kensington (December 29, 2015)
ISBN-13: 978-1617738302
E-Book ASIN: B00VQFKHPQ
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In post–World War I England, Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her lady’s maid, Eva Huntford, step outside of their social roles and put their lives at risk to apprehend a vicious killer…
 
December 1918: As a difficult year draws to a close, there is much to celebrate for nineteen-year-old Phoebe Renshaw and her three siblings at their beloved family estate of Foxwood Hall. The dreadful war is finally over; eldest daughter Julia’s engagement to their houseguest, the Marquis of Allerton, appears imminent; and all have gathered to enjoy peace on earth, good will toward men.

But the peace of Foxwood Hall is shattered on the morning of Boxing Day, when the Marquis goes missing. Not entirely missing, however, as macabre evidence of foul play turns up in gift boxes given to lady’s maid Eva Huntford and a handful of others. Having overheard her sister and the Marquis in a heated exchange the night before, Lady Phoebe takes a personal interest in solving the mystery.

As the local constable suspects a footman at Foxwood Hall, Phoebe and Eva follow the clues to a different conclusion. But both young women will need to think outside the box to wrap up this case—before a cornered killer lashes out with ill will toward them…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Alyssa Maxwell has brought us a new team of sleuths, Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her maid, Eva Huntford. Christmas at Foxwood Hall has brought several guests to the hall including the Marquis of Allerton and his family. He has asked Lady Phoebe’s sister, Julia to be his wife. Phoebe happens to hear the argument that ensues when he gets a very unexpected answer. The next morning the Marquis is missing and foul play is suspected. Phoebe enlists Eva’s help when she notices the police go after an easy suspect, not necessarily the right suspect.

In this story we are given fantastic characters to love and fantastic characters to hate.

Inspector Perkins is an incompetent twit.  A man with a small mind who drove me crazy. Thank goodness for Constable Brannock. He was not so sure of the inspector’s findings and was open to listen to other theories. Henry Leighton, Marquess of Allenton, was a really gem, I say that very sarcastically. He has quite a checkered past that visited his present and could be the reason he ended up dead.

I really enjoyed the other characters, both those upstairs and down. Lady Phoebe is strong willed and a great protagonist. Her lady’s maid Eva, treads lightly when necessary but she has the trust of Phoebe and the rest of the family. Phoebe, her sisters, Julia and Amelia and their brother Fox, have been raised by their grandparents, the Earl and Countess of Wroxly. Grams and Grampapa are devoted to these children/young adults and want the very best for them. There are quite a bit of staff, shopkeepers, Eva’s family and the Allenton family as well. A big number of characters to keep straight but the author makes it easy because they all bring important qualities to the story as a whole.

The story itself is created with immense precision and flowed so perfectly. I was surprised at how quickly I reached the end. It has the expected twists and turns but that final one just caught me by total surprise.

The grounds of Foxwood Hall sounded so beautiful all covered in snow. I bet the place is gorgeous in the spring, summer and fall too. The hall seemed to be a complex place with so many rooms and hallways. Plenty of places to hide for a bit a eavesdropping. I would enjoy actually visiting a place like that.

 I have loved this author’s Gilded Newport Mysteries. She takes us back in time so effortlessly. I know it takes so much time for her to research each story, and it clearly shows in her writing. I am so pleased she has traveled across the pond to bring us a new captivating series.

perfect 2016

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Alyssa outside (2)

About The Author

 Alyssa Maxwell has worked in publishing as an assistant editor and a ghost writer, but knew from an early age that being a novelist was what she wanted most. Growing up in New England and traveling to Great Britain fueled a passion for history, while a love of puzzles of all kinds drew her to the mystery genre. She lives in South Florida in the current year, but confesses to spending most of her time in the Victorian, Edwardian, and post WWI eras. In addition to fantasizing about wearing Worth gowns while strolling manor house gardens, she loves to watch BBC and other period productions and sip tea in the afternoons.

Author Links:

Webpage      Twitter

GoodReads     Facebook


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Tour Participants

January 4 – Back Porchervations – Review
January 5 – Babs Book Bistro – Review
January 6 – A Chick Who Reads – Review
January 7 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Review
January 8 – Cozy Up With Kathy  – Review, Interview
January 9 – View from the Birdhouse– Review
January 10 – Mallory Heart Reviews – Review
January 11 – The Ninja Librarian – Review
January 12 – Jane Reads – Review
January 13 – The Girl with Book Lungs – Review
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January 16 – LibriAmoriMiei – Review
January 17 – StoreyBook Reviews – Spotlight

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

Posted in Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Guest Posts Literary Escapes Reviews 2016 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Paige Shelton – Author of To Helvetica and Back – Giveaway too!

cozy wednesday 2013 640

Welcome to the 1st Cozy Wednesday of 2016!

Today is also the last day to enter the Blogoversary Giveaways!

Blogoversary – Giveaway #1

Blogoversary – Giveaway #2 from PageSpring Publishing

Blogoversary – Giveaway #3

Blogoversary – Giveaway #4 – Big Box of Books!

I am so happy to welcome Paige Shelton back to Escape With Dollycas. She has a new cozy series. The first Dangerous Type Mystery, To Helvetica and Back, was released yesterday. This series is off to a great start. Read my review after Paige’s guest post. 

paige

Potato Stamps by Paige Shelton

 

In my new Dangerous Type Mystery Series, Clare Henry and her grandfather, Chester, run The Rescued Word, a shop that specializes in rescuing all sorts of words. They offer services like typewriter repair and book repair. They also sell every type of pen and paper under the sun. It’s a pretty amazing place.

to helvitica and backAs I was writing the first book, TO HELVETICA AND BACK, and things like fonts and typefaces were being discussed by the characters, I had a flashback to something I’d done when I was a kid. I remembered it being a fun project and a pretty simple way to personalize paper or notecards. I had to try it again.

My memory was correct; it was simple, and pretty fun too. Potato stamps.

Start with the supplies: Potatoes of course, a knife to cut the potatoes in half, an X-acto knife, and some clay tools if you happen to have them handy. My son likes to sculpt so I borrowed a couple of his scooping tools. You’ll need something to stamp on – I used a couple of notecards. And, finally, some paint – I had some bottles of cheap acrylic.

PIC 1A

First of all, write down the words you want to carve. Either write them backwards or on something see-though that you can turn over. You’ll need to carve everything backwards.
PIC2

Commence carving. Take your time, but don’t worry too much about being even. This is fun and it’s supposed to look handmade. Nothing wrong with uneven letters or spaces. It’s a little tedious, but doesn’t take a bunch of time.

 

PIC 1Once you’re carved, ink the potatoes and print. Really easy and fun. And I think the end result is unique and gives a nice touch to simple, plain paper.

 

PIC 4PIC 5It’s not quite printing press quality, but sometimes it’s the personal touch that matters.

Thanks for letting me post today, and see you all in the bookstores.

~Paige

I remember this from my childhood, going to try it with my grandchildren 🙂

to helvitica and backTo Helvetica and Back:
A Dangerous Type Mystery

Brand New Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Utah
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Cover Illustration by Sarah Oberrender
Cover Design by Anne Wertheim
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425277256
E-Book ASIN: B00W2ZKMB8
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The New York Times bestselling author of the Farmers’ Market Mysteries and the Country Cooking School Mysteries introduces readers to Star City, Utah, and a little shop called the Rescued Word…

Star City is known for its slopes and its powder. But nestled in the valley of this ski resort town is a side street full of shops that specialize in the simple charms of earlier eras. One of those shops is the Rescued Word, where Chester Henry and his adult granddaughter Clare lovingly repair old typewriters and restore old books. Who ever thought their quaint store would hold the key to some modern-day trouble?

When a stranger to town demands they turn over an antique Underwood typewriter they’re repairing for a customer, Clare fears she may need to be rescued. A call to the police scares the man off, but later Clare finds his dead body in the back alley. What about a dusty old typewriter could possibly be worth killing for?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This theme is a really unique twist for a cozy series. Chester Henry owns The Rescued Word and his granddaughter Clare has been truly learning at his knee her entire life. Today they fix old typewriters, restore old books, and sell every kind of paper and pen imaginable. Set in an area of Star City, Utah, called Bygone Alley, The Rescued Word and other shops bring back the days of yesteryear. The Rescued Word also has a resident cat named Baskerville. He is a pretty temperamental feline who watches from a shelf high above the wares for sale. If he likes you he may hop down to say “hello”.

The alley is popular with both the locals and the tourists in town to hit the slopes. We meet Clare’s best friend, Jodie Wentworth, and her brother, Clare’s ex, CJ. Both are Star City police officers. We also meet local residents, Homer Mayfield, former newspaper editor and Mirabelle, typewriter owner and author. Seth Cassidy, who hales from my neck of the woods, is a geologist  and new to Star City. He wants to get to know Clare a lot better.

This story has a stranger rush into The Rescued Word where he makes quite a scene as he insists he must have a particular typewriter, not one like it but that exact one. Clare is shaken but calling the police sends the stranger on his way. Clare is relieved until she sees something suspicious outside the back door and discovers the stranger dead as a door-nail. Did someone kill him because she failed to give him the typewriter? The story of his life came to an abrupt end, Clare is going to find out why…

These characters virtually pulled me right into this story. They are so real and fleshed out. I was engaged immediately. Everyone was so nice, I felt right at home. Chester has a secret but it is a sweet secret. Clare takes so much pride in the shop and her work and she gets excited about each new project. I love the way her romance with Seth is just beginning. With friends in the police department things can get sticky or helpful depending on the situation. Clare and Jodie are still finding their way.

The setting drew me in as well. I had been to Utah a couple of times several years ago. The descriptions in the book brought back memories of how beautiful things are there. Imagine living so close to the slopes that you can watch skiers from your windows or just ski from your backyeard. It would be wonderful to wake up to that day after day.

Now, the mystery was excellent, just what I expect from this author. She lays out a great base and then clues are dropped like snowflakes, you just have to catch them. Tracking down this killer is no easy task and the final reveal had me on the edge of my virtual lift chair.  An epic read!

perfect 2016

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author

Paige Shelton is the New York Times Bestselling author of the Farmers’ Market Mysteries and the Country Cooking School Mysteries. She’s lived lots of places but currently resides in Arizona. Find out more at www.paigeshelton.com


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.

This year I am trying to build my Twitter following
so for this giveaway 4 Bonus Entries will be
awarded by following me on Twitter.
@dollycas

Leave a comment for Paige 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 20, 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.”

Posted in Nana's Nook Reviews 2016

Nana’s Nook – Review – Shh! Bears Sleeping by David Martin – Pictures by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher

Nana's Nook

I used to review children’s books when Kaden was younger and now Remi and Natalie are getting to that fun age where they love to read with me. Kaden is into chapter books and learning new words everyday. So I have decided to say “yes” when a children’s book crosses my path that I think they would enjoy.

shh bears sleeping

Shh! Bears Sleeping
Viking Books for Young Readers (January 5, 2016)
Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 2
Hardcover: 32 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0670017188
E-Book ASIN: B00W2ZKLE6
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In the fall
When leaves turn red
Bears know soon
It’s time for bed
Comes winter
Comes snow
Bears are ready
Bears go
In their cave
Warm and deep
Winter is time
For bears to sleep

A lilting read-aloud text and stunning pictures combine to make an irresistibly appealing picture book that follows these fascinating animal friends through the cycle of the year. A page of facts about bears will answer young readers’ questions as they begin to explore the wonders of the natural world.

Nana’s Thoughts

What an absolutely wonderful book!

The first thing I noticed and all readers will notice is the spectacular oil paintings that illustrate this book. They and the prose take us through an entire year of bears. The rhythmic writing is fun to read with children of any age. Most of the words are ones children learn early so it is great when they can pick out the words they know. The paintings are so well done you almost expect to touch the page and feel the bear’s fur.

In addition to the story, there are 2 pages of Bear Facts. Again written in easy to read and understand language for children. It is like a 2nd story. A few of the words like “lethargy” and “omnivores” will need a little explanation but this makes for some great learning moments.

A spectacular book to be read aloud to children. A great bedtime story or an anytime story. These bears are so cute. I am sure this will be a book that will be reread many times. My grandchildren love it.

5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author 

Readers of David Martin’s books won’t be surprised when they meet the author and find that he is just as entertaining as his books – he sings, plays the guitar or the kazoo, or even juggles during his school visits. As David Martin says, “I have never minded particularly making a fool of myself,” so he is never at a loss to illustrate his points or to make a connection with the kids. In his interactive sessions, he also works with students to create their own books or to produce oversized class books. The author’s ease in the classroom comes from his hands-on teaching experience: he’s an eighteen-year veteran of elementary and middle schools.

A native of Queens, Martin has lived in northeast Vermont with his family since 1970.

About The Illustrators

Lou Fancher and Steve Johnson
Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher have collaborated on over 45 picture books, using an unusual approach wherein both artists conceive, draw, design and paint. Their work has appeared in annual reports, advertisements, magazines, and movies, including Toy Story and A Bug’s Life, for which they provided pre-production set and character designs.

No Star Nights was their first children’s book. Together, they have illustrated The Salamander Room, by Anne Mazer, Felix Salten’s Bambi, adapted by Janet Schulman, Cat, You Better Come Home, by Garrison Keillor, The New York Times best-selling My Many Colored Days, by Dr. Seuss, The Velveteen Rabbit, abridged by Lou Fancher, and Amazing Peace, by Maya Angelou. Their 2000 release, I Walk At Night, by Lois Duncan, was recognized as one of The New York Times Best Illustrated Books. They are the recipients of a gold medal from the Society of Illustrators and their work has appeared in Communication Arts, Print, and Graphics.

Find our more on their webpage here.

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

Posted in Giveaways Reviews 2016

Review/ #Giveaway – Angels Burning by Tawni O’Dell

angels burningAngels Burning
Trade Paperback Release – January 5, 2016
Suspense/Psychological Thriller
Setting – Pennsylvania
Gallery Books
An Imprint of Simon & Schuster Inc.
Trade Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1476755953
E-Book ASIN: B00UDCNJLC
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From the New York Times bestselling author of the Oprah Book Club pick Back Roads comes this fast-paced literary thriller about a small town police chief who’s forced to dig into her own shadowy past as she investigates the murder of a teenage girl.

On the surface, Chief Dove Carnahan is a true trailblazer who would do anything to protect the rural Pennsylvanian countryside where she has lived all fifty of her years. Traditional and proud of her blue-collar sensibilities, Dove is loved by her community. But beneath her badge lies a dark and self-destructive streak, fed by a secret she has kept since she was sixteen.

When a girl is beaten to death, her body tossed down a fiery sinkhole in an abandoned coal town, Dove is faced with solving the worst crime of her law enforcement career. She identifies the girl as a daughter of the Truly family, a notoriously irascible dynasty of rednecks and petty criminals.

During her investigation, the man convicted of killing Dove’s mother years earlier is released from prison. Still proclaiming his innocence, he approaches Dove with a startling accusation and a chilling threat that forces her to face the parallels between her own family’s trauma and that of the Trulys.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Told from Dove Carnahan’s point of view you quickly find out she is a complex individual. She has not had an easy life and her childhood has left her damaged. She has friends but walls up that prevent her from getting into a real relationship. Her mother was murdered when she was fifteen and the man convicted of the crime has just been released from jail. He is pushing Dove to admit she knows he didn’t do it and she lied when she accused him. Her sister Neely, a dog trainer, is also scarred from the death of her mother. Their brother left town as soon as he turned 18 and they rarely here from him. Dove is the police chief in their rural Pennsylvanian town. She watches over the town and the residents love her. But she has a secret that could change everything. The  death of young Camio Truly has stirred up memories and feelings she thought she left in the past.

Tawni O’Dell has created some amazing characters. Dysfunctional families with some huge secrets. From the children to the adults, they are all unique characters and so fleshed out. Derk Truly, Camio youngest brother, is a little boy with no fear and ability to traverse to surprising places. Camio’s mother seems to be in a trace most days, gazing at a television screen while life goes on around her. Even the death of her daughter can’t draw her out. Neely has several dogs herself, all very well behaved. She trains other dogs for many things and she rules her classes strictly, she is a perfectionist. Her way to bring order to at least one part of her life. Dove also needs order in her life so her life has become her job. She tries to keep her past in the past but it comes spilling out all over.

The death of Camio Truly was horrifying. Who would have done this? Who gains by having her dead? Each little twist and each big turn draw us deeper into the well written story. I was truly surprised by the final revelations and the way the past and the future interconnected.  I felt a myriad of emotions while reading this book, sadness, sympathy, empathy and more. This was a book that was hard to put down, I appreciated the small minutes of humor because this was a really heavy story. A story of life, lives I am sorry these characters had to endure, but that is what makes it a great read.

enjoyable 2016

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about author Tawni O’Dell on her webpage here.

Tawni O’Dell on Amazon


Click on covers to order from Amazon.

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.

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 14, 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