Posted in Cloak and Dagger Challenge E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Literary Escapes Reviews 2016 TBR Pile Challenge

Flashback Friday – Mexican Booty by J.J. Henderson – #Review

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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.

I had purchased the 2nd book in this series X-Dames, for my Alphabet Soup Challenge. Since I recently read a series starting with the 2nd book and regretted it I decided to purchase this one to read first. There was another book listed as 1st in the series on Amazon and GoodReads from several years ago but that title has been taken down.

mexican-booty

Mexican Booty: A Lucy Ripken Mystery
1st in Series
International Mystery & Crime
Explicit Language
Setting – New York/New Mexico/Mexico
Self Published (September 10, 2015)
Paperback: 156 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1533562760
E-Book ASIN: B0157QLY06
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Lucy Ripken is 30-something, single, and struggling to make it as a photographer in New York City.

Desperate to keep the roof over her head and caffeine in her cup, she takes a job on the Upper East Side, photographing some mind-bogglingly expensive pre-Colombian sculptures. But something is off about the woman she’s working for, and something is off with the pieces she’s photographing.

Overpaid and under stimulated, Lucy decides to bite the suspicious hand that feeds, travelling first to Santa Fe, and then to Mexico to unravel the mystery. Her part time paramour Harold Ipswich might have been able to help, but he’s fallen off the wagon and into a bottle, and much like his drink of choice, he and Lucy are on the rocks.

No man, no problem, though, as Lucy relies on her best friend, the recently engaged (but always up for adventure) Rosa. They’ve got spunk, and they’ve got style, but spunk and style only take you so far when you’re neck deep in shark infested waters, metaphorically… and literally, too. Can Lucy and Rosa make it through the choppy seas of conspiracy, betrayal, and apex aquatic predators?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I like Lucy Ripken, she is down but she is not out when she gets the call to photograph some Pre-Colombian pieces for a gallery catalog. When a friend she brings along to the shoot tells her the pieces are fake and the gallery owner assures her they are not she feels there is a story there. She pitches the story and gets funding to research the pieces. She jets off to Santa Fe and Mexico to find the truth never realizing the danger she has put herself in.

The author gives in depth and colorful descriptions of every place Lucy travels. It was so easy to picture them vividly. From beauty to ruins, each was crystal clear.

Lucy does have a friend in Santa Fe, Rosa, in fact Rosa’s fiancee recommended Lucy for the job at the gallery. Rosa along with a pre-Columbian collector go with Lucy to Mexico where we are introduced to more interesting characters. All these characters seem to be portrayed realistically, or at least realistic enough for fiction or television. The dialog between the characters is very well written.

This is a novella at 156 pages and an extremely fast read. The plot is intense but but there is a bit of humor in places too. The pages were turning very rapidly and I was surprised at how quickly we reached the end. I am ready for another Lucy Ripken adventure and I already have the next book ready to go on my Kindle.

enjoyable 2016

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

You can find out more about author J.J. Henderson on his webpage here.

Watch for a giveaway next week when I review book #2.

*The book was from my private collection.

Posted in Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Guest Posts Reviews 2016 Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Kathleen Ernst – Author of A Memory of Muskets – #Review #GuestPost #Giveaway @midnightinkbook

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I anxiously await each book in this series.
I am thrilled to have Kathleen stop here as part of her Great Escapes Book Tour!

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Kathleen Ernst

Keeping It Real
By Kathleen Ernst

 

I used to work as a curator at a large living history site called Old World Wisconsin. Over fifty historic structures from all over the state have been restored on a sprawling 576-acre site. Many are rare examples of ethnic architecture constructed by some of the early immigrants who settled the state.

After a twelve-year stint at Old World Wisconsin I moved on, but I soon discovered that I missed the site. To me, the obvious answer was to write a book set there. Better yet, why not write a series? I missed the whole historic sites world, actually, and a series would let me visit many special places. Thus the Chloe Ellefson Historic Sites Mysteries were born.

MEMORY OF MUSKETSChloe is a curator at Old World Wisconsin. When I began writing the first book, Old World Murder, some of my writer-friends urged me to consider setting the book at a fictional historic site. My writer-friends often have very good advice, so I did consider it. But honestly, not for long. How could I make up a big historic site when I had a real place fixed so firmly in my brain?

One of my goals for the series was to introduce readers to wonderful historic sites and museums. As the series has progressed, Chloe has traveled to an old lighthouse, all of the Laura Ingalls Wilder homesites, an abandoned flour mill (now the Mill City Museum in Minneapolis) and more—all real places, open to the public.

To my delight, many readers who live within traveling distance of the Upper Midwest have visited one or more of the sites featured in the Chloe mysteries. Some have visited all of them. Nothing makes me happier than hearing from readers who have read one of the books and then gone exploring. I’ve added maps, photos, and other resources to my website to enable armchair or actual travel to the locations featured in the books.

The 7th Chloe Ellefson Mystery, A Memory of Muskets, is largely set back at Old World Wisconsin. I had a great time visiting my own memories of my years at the historic site, and I know I wouldn’t have been able to conjure up a fictional setting in such vivid detail.

If you give the series a try, I hope you enjoy visiting the setting locations vicariously within the pages. Or maybe, if you’re ever in the area, you can explore them first-hand.

~Kathleen

MEMORY OF MUSKETS

A Memory of Muskets (A Chloe Ellefson Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Midnight Ink (October 8, 2016)
Paperback: 408 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738745152
E-Book ASIN: B01APSYQ1A
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Synopsis

Curator Chloe Ellefson is happily planning to spotlight home-front challenges and German immigrants at Old World Wisconsin’s first Civil War reenactment―but her overbearing boss scorns her ideas and proposes staging a mock battle. And when a reenactor is found dead at one of the historic site’s German farms, Chloe’s boyfriend, cop Roelke McKenna, suspects murder.

The more Roelke learns about reenacting, the more he fears that a killer will join the ranks at Chloe’s special event. Then Chloe discovers a disturbing secret about Roelke’s Civil War-era ancestors. Together they struggle to solve crimes past and present . . . before Chloe loses her job and another reenactor loses his life.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

My first experience at Old World Wisconsin was back in 5th grade for a school field trip and have visited several times since but not lately, at least in person. Through this series I have been able to visit there and some other wonderful places in the Midwest.

Our protagonist, Chloe Ellefson together with Byron Cooke, curator of interpretation, are planning a Civil War program. Thanks to their boss it turns into a Civil War Reenactment. While doing research for the event she discovers some ties to Roelke’s ancestors and the family home she is planning to move into with him. It may explain the disturbing feelings she has about the place. They both get distracted away from their move when a man is found dead at Old World Wisconsin. Dressed as a reenactor, the man has no identification, and this leads the case in several different directions.

Kathleen Ernst always writes a great story with a captivating mystery and the perfect amount of history too. She gives us very detailed descriptions that make the story come alive and easy to visualize. I enjoyed the way she skips back to the past, the 1860’s, and back to present time in this case, is the early 1980’s. As always you can see she has deeply researched the subject matter and I like that I actually learn something while reading every story.

I found Rosina’s story to be very interesting. Her traveling to the New World and making her way to Wisconsin and her life there.

Chloe and Roelke have gotten even closer but they are still building trust as their lives together starts a new chapter.

All the characters are written so well. Chloe’s boss, Petty, not only pushed her buttons but mine. You know the type, my way or the highway, moving deadlines just because he can. and adding things to programs some times just to get her on the defensive. At times you could cut the tension with a knife.

The mystery itself tangled around itself at times and the clues did not always more the investigation forward but took us back to review things that were missed. I was again caught by surprise as we reached the end for that revealing moment when all the clues fell into place.

Ernst is a strong storyteller. At times I could picture all of us gathered around her listening to her tell us Rosina’s story and catching us up with Chloe and all the people in her life. Kind of like the interpreters at Old World Wisconsin. Something she actually used to do. Her love for the place and the history shines bright in every one of her stories.

perfect 2016

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Kathleen Ernst

About The Author –

Kathleen Ernst is a former museum curator who remains passionate about history!  In addition to the Chloe Ellefson Historic Sites series, she has written many books for American Girl, including nine about the historical character she created, Caroline Abbott. Over 1.5 million copies of Kathleen’s 33 titles have been sold. The Chloe series has earned a LOVEY Award for Best Traditional Mystery, and several of her mysteries for young readers have been finalists for Edgar or Agatha awards.

Author Links:

Webpage      Blog     Facebook
Purchase Links:

Amazon – B&N Indie Bound 

GIVEAWAY
Leave a comment below and you’ll be entered to win a signed and personalized print copy of
A Memory of Muskets: A Chloe Ellefson Mystery.
The giveaway ends at midnight October 14, 2016.
Please include your email (ex., janedoe –at – janedoe.com) to facilitate winner notification.
Good luck!

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

October 6 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST
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October 9 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW
October 10 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW
October 11 – View from the Birdhouse – INTERVIEW
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October 14 – The Power of Words – REVIEW
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October 19 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

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Posted in Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Reviews 2016 You Read How Many Books Challenge

#Review – If Words Could Kill by Barbara Schlichting

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If Words Could Kill: A First Ladies Mystery
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Minnesota
Publisher: Darkhouse Books (September 24, 2016)
Print Length: 220 pages
ASIN: B01LZXHEOJ
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Liv owns the First Lady White House Dollhouse store in Minneapolis, and has a doctorate in American history, specializing in the First Ladies. Liv is the last person to see a Mary Lincoln impersonator who is found dead right outside of her store. The impersonator presented clues as to where the fiery speech gave by former President Lincoln, the Lost Speech, may be located. As Liv investigates, she is trailed by someone who makes a habit of murdering people once a new clue is deciphered. The whereabouts of the only copy of Abraham Lincoln’s Lost Speech, a fiery speech on abolitionism delivered in 1856, propels Liv into beating the killer to the pricey speech. Who will locate it first?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I broke my rule and accepted the offer from the author to review this book without reading the first book in the series and this time that really hurt. It made it hard for me to get a grasp on these characters and things that happened in the previous book are mentioned frequently without enough of the  backstory for me to sink my teeth into. I almost stopped reading this one to go back and read the first book but my reading schedule was just too full to do that.

Liv has a shop dedicated to First Lady White House Dollhouses, complete with the proper furnishings, rugs and even dishes. She is somehow related to Dolley Madison. This second book in the series has a Lincoln theme. An Mary Todd Lincoln impersonator comes to town to talk about clues she has uncovered regarding a lost Abraham Lincoln speech. Before she can give her presentation she is found dead outside Liv’s store. Liv gets right into the middle of the investigation assisting the police with clues she finds in the deceased belongings.

Liv’s family is all very supportive of her store and they help her out there often. She seems to get several customers for what to me is quite a specialty store. In this story she held an event where she sold many dollhouses in one day. That was good because she also picked up a couple of pricey Lincoln pieces online during the same time period.

The premise of the mystery is a good one, and maybe because I was trying so desperately to get a handle on all the characters I had an idea of whodunit quite early in the book. I will say I was surprised to find out I was actually right.

I have read a few books about Mary Todd and Abraham Lincoln but didn’t know anything about a lost speech. With a little internet search I learned that the speech was indeed lost but that is where the rest of this story becomes fiction. It seems his friend H.C. Whitney did take notes of the speech, which were later published. I enjoyed this author’s little twist on history and it brought the speech to my attention. I can tell the author did a great deal of research not only into the speech but Mrs. Lincoln and several other first ladies. Her character Liv is very knowledgeable about the first ladies and through her the author was able to share many little tidbits.

In this case I highly recommend reading The Blood Spangled Banner before reading this one. I am sure I would have enjoyed this one much more had I stuck to my rule and done just that.

satisfactory 2016

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

barbAbout The Author

Barbara Schlichting was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota where her First Ladies Mystery Series is set. Dolley Madison: The Blood Spangled Banner. Barbara graduated from Theodore Roosevelt High School in 1970. Later, she and her husband moved their family to Bemidji. She attended Bemidji State University where she earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees in elementary education and special education.

Barbara also likes to write in other genres. Whispers From The Wind is her first poetry book which has poems for all ages.

Barbara has been known to travel too much, and read while not paying attention to her husband. However she has had an English penpal for over fifty years.

Author Links:

WEBSITE   FACEBOOK   AMAZON

GOODREADS    TWITTER   FIRST LADY BLOG

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 Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Flashback Friday Giveaways Reviews 2016 TBR Pile Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Flashback Friday – The Chocolate Falcon Fraud by JoAnna Carl – #Review / #Giveaway @BerkleyMystery

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.

Thought this one would be a good one to review today. The mass market paperback edition hits bookstores November 1, 2016.

the-chocolate-falcon-fraud
The Chocolate Falcon Fraud
(Chocoholic Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
15th in Series
Setting – Michigan
An Obsidian Mystery (November 3, 2015)
An Imprint of New American Library
Published by Penguin Ransom House
Hardcover: 240 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451473806
E-Book ASIN: B00SI025Y8
Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Berkley (November 1, 2016)
ISBN-13: 978-0451473813
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From the national bestselling author of The Chocolate Clown Corpse, it’s murder, my sweet, for a chocolatier whose love of old crime films plunges her into a real-life murder in which the motives aren’t so black-and-white.

The Warner Pier tourism board is kicking off its Tough Guys and Private Eyes film festival with The Maltese Falcon, and Lee Woodyard and her aunt Nettie are preparing a delicious chocolat noir tie-in at TenHuis Chocolade. What Lee isn’t prepared for is a face from the past: Jeff Godfrey, her former stepson. The last time Jeff showed up in town, he wound up being accused of murder. He says he’s in Warner Pier only to see Bogart on the big screen. Honest.

Then Jeff goes missing, the Falcon theme is haunting everyone, and a body falls at Lee’s feet when she opens the front door—just like in the movie. Now Lee is under deadline to rewrite the ending of a cunning killer’s increasingly convincing murder plot….

Includes Tasty Chocolate Trivia!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Movies and chocolate always go good together. The Tough Guys and Private Eyes film festival featuring The Maltese Falcon is getting reading to start in Warner Pier and Lee’s stepson (former) surprises her by showing up for the festivities. But when he fails to show up for a family dinner and she can’t find him anywhere she gets worried. Then just like in The Maltese Falcon Lee has a late night visitor who just happens to drop dead at her feet as she she opens the door. Thankfully not her stepson, but things start to be curious as more and more things play out just like the movie. Lee and husband Joe, Aunt Nettie and her husband Police Chief Hogan Jones have their hands full this time.

I love this series, they are fun, fast reads. Lee always goes the extra mile and usually ends up in the wrong place and the wrong time. There is always a catchy theme in addition to the chocolate as if chocolate isn’t enough to reel me in.

This time the Maltese Falcon theme/movie festival sounds like a good time. When real life in Warner Pier starts to mimic the film things get even more interesting. I haven’t watched the movie in years. This story makes me want to find that DVD for my own mini film festival.

This long running series continues because of the author is a master storyteller. She blends great plots, fantastic characters along with plenty of humor. They are light and entertaining and a perfect pick me up. They are concise and fast paced. Through each one we get to know the main characters better and each installment quickly becomes my favorite.

Oh and then there is the chocolate. The chocolate trivia this time is all about fudge and includes some arm numbing recipes along with a quick easy one my family usually whips up during the holidays, but really any day can become a holiday if you have fudge and chocolate 🙂

perfect 2016

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

To find out more about JoAnna Carl visit her webpage here.

GIVEAWAY
This series usually goes on my keeper shelf but my shelves are overflowing so I am giving away my hardcover 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.

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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.

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

Contest Will End October 21, 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 Crafty Cozy Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Reviews 2016 You Read How Many Books Challenge

#Review / #Giveaway – Putting on the Witch by Joyce and Jim Lavene – Great Escapes Book Tour @BerkleyMystery

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Putting on the Witch
by Joyce and Jim Lavene

I have been awaiting this book with a little trepidation. These were some of the last words written by these amazing authors. We lost Joyce almost a year ago and then Jim back in May, but a single day does not pass that I don’t think of them. At first I was unsure about these paranormal stories they were writing. Ghosts and zombies were just not my thing, but Joyce convinced to give her Ren Faire Mysteries a try and I loved them. Soon she had me head over heels for a ghostly fire chief in the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mysteries, and she almost had me convinced to try their Purple Door Detective Agency books, which I will probably still do because I have loved everything they have written.  I am so thankful that we have all these fantastic stories to read because that way they will always live on and when I need my Lavene book fix they will always be nearby. Also with all these paranormal things I am thinking maybe there are a couple of ghostly mystery writers floating among us with just a little mischief in their eyes. 

PUTTING ON THE WITCHPutting on the Witch (Retired Witches Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – North Carolina
Berkley (October 4, 2016)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425268278
E-Book – ASIN: B01AHKXHTS
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Synopsis

With their coven’s spell book still missing, Molly and Elsie—along with their ghostly friend Olivia, her daughter Dorothy, and her boyfriend Brian—are all on edge, especially now that Dorothy’s infamously wicked father is back in the picture. So when they receive an invitation to an exclusive Witches Ball, the ladies jump at the chance to dress up and have some fun.

The castle locale is spectacular and the party is hopping, but the festivities come to a swift end when a member of the Grand Council of Witches is murdered. With the whole place on lock down, the coven is determined to find the cunning killer, even with an angry council and a real Spanish Inquisitor breathing down their necks…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Joyce and Jim Lavene had imaginations that were truly out of this world and it was in full force in this 3rd installment of the Retired Witch Mysteries.

Molly, Elsie, Dorothy, Brian and Olivia are all back and we meet Drago, Dorothy’s father. The coven is invited to Brian’s birthday party, a party even Brian doesn’t usually attend but the other witches all convince him to go. They all need a little fun especially with the wicked Drago lurking around. The event is at a very special castle and the whole Grand Council of Witches are in attendance. In fact, one of the council ends up dead and it gets crazy…

This was a book I truly escaped right into, a world of make believe had me leave reality in the dust within seconds after opening the cover.

The castle setting was both enchanting and eerie – an immense space where stairs and hallways appear and disappear, filled with hidden rooms and spaces, a wonderful library and more. The drinks were flowing and there was fine food to eat. The place was packed with witches of all kinds, water witches, fire witches, air and earth witches. It would have been a fabulous party if that darn murder hadn’t occurred.

I have loved the main characters from the moment we met, just 3 witches wanting to retire and hand their spellbook off to a new set of witches and since then so much has happened. Retiring is always a huge change but for these witches it is no simple feat and we were allowed to travel with them all along the way.

This story is so much more than a cozy mystery. It is about friendship and family and all the dedication and devotion that goes along with that. Each character is unique. Every place from their shop, Smuggler’s Arcane, to the enormous castle is vividly described.  The plots and subplots are more than well written, they are MAGICAL times infinity.

I believe Jim finished this story on his own, something he hadn’t done since they started writing together. He dedicates the book to Joyce and you can tell he worked hard to get everything just right. I could feel his heart beating in these words, he may have had a little spiritual assistance too, but I know it was probably one of the hardest things to do after she passed away. The cozy community was truly blessed by their presence and they will always live on through their stories. I hope they are looking down upon us and see the joy their writing has brought to so many.

paradise 2016

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent
I just love this picture of Joyce and Jim
I just love this picture of Joyce and Jim

 

About The Authors

Joyce and Jim Lavene wrote award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. They had written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon, and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. Joyce passed away October 20, 2015 and Jim passed on May 5, 2016. They are missed by family, friends and their many fans.

 


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Tour Participants

October 3 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW
October 3 – Queen of All She Reads – SPOTLIGHT
October 3 – Blogger Nicole – SPOTLIGHT
October 4 – Sleuth Cafe – REVIEW, SPOTLIGHT
October 4 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW
October 4 – The Angry Grey Cat Reads – REVIEW
October 5 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW
October 5 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW (Interview)
October 6 – Book Babble – REVIEW
October 6 – Cozy Up With Kathy – SPOTLIGHT
October 6 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
October 7 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW, SPOTLIGHT
October 7 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW
October 8 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW
October 8 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW
October 9 – Shelley’s Book Case – REVIEW
October 9 – fuonlyknew – REVIEW
October 10 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
October 10 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – REVIEW
October 10 – Cassidy Salem Reads & Writes – SPOTLIGHT
October 11 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW, SPOTLIGHT
October 11 – Deal Sharing Aunt – REVIEW
October 12 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW
October 12 – A Blue Million Books – SPOTLIGHT
October 13 – Booth Talks Books – REVIEW
October 13 – The Cozy Mystery Journal – REVIEW
October 14 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW, SPOTLIGHT
October 15 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
October 16 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW  
October 16 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
October 17 – LibriAmoriMiei – REVIEW
October 17 – MysteriesEtc – REVIEW
October 18 – Kathy Loves 2 Read – REVIEW
October 19 – ChristyMystery – REVIEW
October 20 – My Interdimensional Chaos – REVIEW
October 21 – Murder, Mystery & More… – REVIEW
October 22 – centraleast2 – REVIEW
October 23 – Lori’s Reading Corner – SPOTLIGHT
October 24 – The Girl with Book Lungs – SPOTLIGHT
October 24 – Polished Nails and Puppy Dog Tales – REVIEW

Joining us with Reviews/Spotlights
Nicole G.
Linda L.
Kendrea P.
Robin C.
Daniele K.
Lisa C.
Stacie A.
Karen K.
Brittany A.
Kathy D.

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 Cozy Wednesday Crafty Cozy Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Guest Posts Reviews 2016 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Joyce Tremel – Author of Tangled Up in Brew – #GuestPost / #Review / #Giveaway @PenguinRandom

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Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!! 

I am so excited to welcome Joyce back to Escape With Dollycas! 

JOYCE TREMEL

 

THE TOP FIVE THINGS I’VE LEARNED WRITING A COZY SERIES

5. It’s not as easy as it looks. Believe it or not, there are readers out there who think that cozy mysteries are inferior to other mysteries. Obviously, they’ve never tried to write one. I’ve found it takes quite a bit of skill to kill someone and not gross out the reader. The cozy writer has to get the horror of the murder across without showing much in the way of blood, guts, and the like. You have to describe what happened without actually describing what happened. This also applies to any sexy scenes. I’m perfectly content with not having to write those kinds of scenes. Banter, innuendo, and an occasional kiss that leaves the character’s knees weak is enough for me. I like to leave the rest up to imagination.

TANGLED UP IN BREW4. It’s sometimes hard to find adequate substitutes for swear words. I worked as a police secretary for ten years. Believe me, cops swear. I learned a whole new vocabulary when I worked for the police department. When you have officers talking in a cozy, you can’t very well have them use what must be their favorite word in the whole world because they say it three times in every sentence. And you can’t have them say gosh, darn, or golly either. Andy Griffith could get away with it, but that’s about it. My protagonist’s dad is a homicide detective and in one scene I have Max say something like, “My dad rarely swore but I could tell he held back a string of words that would have turned the air blue.” I do throw in an occasional damn and have used the letters S.O.B. Sometimes I’ll interrupt the dialogue just before the swear word would be uttered. So far, it works. I think.

3. There’s a fine line between educating the reader on the character’s craft or occupation and boring them to death. No one wants to read page after page of how your character does something. My protagonist Max is a craft brewer and there’s a lot of chemistry involved in brewing beer. If I started rambling on about how to calculate the specific gravity of a certain brew in order to calculate the alcohol by volume, I don’ t think readers would be too happy. In the best case scenario, they’d skip those pages; in the worst case, they’d throw the book against the wall. It’s a mystery novel, not a textbook. Information like that must be sprinkled in lightly.

to brew or not to brew

2. Recipes are hard to come up with. I’m usually thinking more about the plot and what the characters are doing than about what they’re eating or cooking. I’ve had to train myself to actually stop and describe certain foods and then search for a recipe to include. That’s probably why the first book, To Brew or Not to Brew only had two recipes. I did a little better with books two and three. Tangled Up in Brew has four, and next year’s A Room With a Brew will have five.

1. Write everything down. When I was about halfway through writing the first book, I realized I was NOT going to remember which character had blue eyes, who had brown eyes, how tall a certain someone was, etc. I started what we call a Character Bible. I jotted down each character, what they looked like, and anything else I thought might be important. I did the same with each shop and location in the series. I even drew a little map so I’d remember which store/shop/restaurant was where. And thank goodness I did. I refer to it constantly. Between that and the style sheet (which has even more detailed info on it) from my copy editor, I’ve saved hours that would have been spent searching through previous manuscripts for one tiny tidbit of information. All because I couldn’t remember something I thought I would.

These are the top five things I’ve learned writing a cozy series. Readers, what have you learned reading one?

~Joyce

About The Author

Joyce Tremel was a police secretary for ten years and more than once envisioned the demise of certain co-workers, but settled on writing as a way to keep herself out of jail. She is a native Pittsburgher and lives in a suburb of the city with her husband and a spoiled cat.

Her debut mystery, To Brew Or Not To Brew has been nominated for the 2015 Reviewers’ Choice award for best amateur sleuth by RT Book Reviews. The second book in the series, Tangled Up In Brew has just been released.

Author Links

Webpage Facebook Twitter GoodReads 

TANGLED UP IN BREWTangled Up in Brew (A Brewing Trouble Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Pennsylvania
Berkley (October 4, 2016)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425277706
E-Book ASIN: B01AHKXIAQ
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Synopsis

Another intoxicating mystery featuring brew pub owner Maxine “Max” O’Hara—from the author of To Brew or Not to Brew.

BEER TODAY, GONE TOMORROW…

Brew pub owner Maxine “Max” O’Hara and her chef/boyfriend, Jake Lambert, are excited to be participating in the Three Rivers Brews and Burgers Festival. Max hopes to win the coveted Golden Stein for best craft beer—but even if she doesn’t, the festival will be great publicity for her Allegheny Brew House.

Or will it? When notoriously nasty food and beverage critic Reginald Mobley is drafted as a last-minute replacement judge, Max dreads a punishing review. Her fears are confirmed when Mobley literally spits out her beer, but things get even worse when the cranky critic drops dead right after trying one of Jake’s burgers. Now an ambitious new police detective is determined to pin Mobley’s murder on Max and Jake, who must pore over the clues to protect their freedom and reputations—and to find the self-appointed judge, jury, and executioner.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Belly up to the bar and try one of Max’s new brews.

Brew pub owner Maxine “Max” O’Hara and her chef/boyfriend, Jake Lambert, are 2 awesome characters. Working with your significant other can be tough but these two compliment each other nicely and each have their own strengths. Max knows beer and Jake knows food and the Three Rivers Brews and Burgers Festival is the perfect place so show everyone their talents. But cranky critic Reginald Mobley is not a fan of the Allegheny Brew House fare and delvers a scathing review. It puts them in the police’s cross hairs when he dies in front of a crowd of people while eating Jake’s burger. Max’s dad is also on the case but his partner has his mind made up. It may be time to call on a higher being, Max’s brother is a priest so he will be praying but Max is determined to save Jake, herself, and their pub any way she can.

The characters in this series are very interesting. Setting the story at a festival draws an eclectic group of people too. They are also very well crafted. The lead characters are both strong and independent, equals and very supportive of each other. They lean on each other but are not dependent on each other. They have known each other most of their lives and that gave them a strong bond before they even started dating.

The author also gives us a very strong plot with plenty twists. Reading the first book in this series, I figured out the culprit before Max, this time I was right there with her and figured it out at the same time. My early suspicions were totally wrong. She also gives us enough depth into the world of micro-brews with overwhelming the reader. I love learning new things.

I enjoyed the setting of the festival and could easily picture the booths and their layout. Ms. Tremel’s descriptions were so rich I could almost taste the beer and those burgers,

This is a fantastic addition to this series and I am really looking forward to the next installment, A Room With A Brew.  Now if I could just have a glass or two of Max’s citrus ale to hold me over until then…

perfect 2016

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

GIVEAWAY

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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 Joyce for 5 Bonus Entries.

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

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

Contest Will End October 19, 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 Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Finish The Series Challenge Giveaways Guest Posts Reviews 2016 What An Animal Reading Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Special Guest – Sofie Kelly – Author of Paws and Effect – #Review / #Giveaway too!

special guest blue
I caught up on this series looking forward to Sofie’s visit today!
I am thrilled she is here today and thrilled to catch up Owen and Hercules!

100_0457sofie kelly

Lessons from a Cat by Sofie Kelly:

paws-and-effectKC was a little calico cat that lived three houses away from me. Our friendship was cemented when we both had surgery at the same time several years ago, me to repair my right leg and her to remove a small growth on her neck. The general consensus was that KC was definitely the better patient. These are some of the lessons she taught me:

You can’t make people like you.

I’d tried for years to make friends with KC. All my efforts were met with less than indifference. As far as the cat was concerned I didn’t exist. It wasn’t until I stopped trying to befriend her that she decided I might be worth knowing.

Don’t be afraid to look a little silly.

After surgery I had a massive cast on my leg from toes to mid-thigh and saying I was ungainly on crutches is an understatement. I didn’t want people to see how awkward I was. KC was wearing a big plastic cone. That didn’t stop her from being out and around, even though she had to go through the door with her head at an angle.

When in doubt take a nap.

Preferably in the sunshine, on a nice warm lap, although blankets fresh out of the dryer are good, too.

faux paw

Show your appreciation.

Being in that collar meant it was impossible for KC to scratch behind her own ears. So I’d do that for her. And I was rewarded with lots of purring, a reminder that everyone needs to hear more than whining at least once in a while.

Guilt is a waste of time.

So you got cat hair all over the clean clothes because you decided to take a nap in the laundry basket. Or you destroyed someone’s favourite coffee cup because crutches are a lot harder to use than they look. Wallowing in guilt for the rest of the day isn’t going to change anything.

Looking good takes work.

Especially if you’re in a five pound cast or a plastic cone. However neither is an excuse to let yourself go even if you can’t wash your own hair or get dust bunnies off your own ears.

Curiosity did not kill the cat but it can kill an afternoon.

For instance, how many things can you knock off the table with a crutch or a tail before someone gets mad?

And lastly,

If you’re cute you can get away with almost anything.

~Sofie

 

Find out more about Sofie Kelly and her books here.

Written as Sofie Ryan

paws-and-effect

Paws and Effect
(A Magical Cats Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
8th in Series
Setting – Minnesota
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (October 4, 2016)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451472168
E-Book ASIN: B01AHKXJ78
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Magical cats Owen and Hercules and resourceful librarian Kathleen Paulson are back in the latest from the New York Times bestselling author of Faux Paw

Kathleen is excited to meet three old pals of her beau, Detective Marcus Gordon, while they visit charming Mayville Heights on business. But the reunion is cut short when one of the friends is killed—and the evidence points toward Marcus as the murderer.

Though it seems she doesn’t know all of Marcus’s secrets, Kathleen is sure he’s no killer. With his suspect status sidelining him from investigating the case, it’s up to Kathleen and her feline partners-in-crime to find whoever is framing Marcus—and make sure the good detective hasn’t found his last clue.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

In this 8th installment of this very popular series, Kathleen is fighting to show her boyfriend, Detective Marcus Gordon, had nothing to do with the death of his friend. Again Owen and Hercules offer their assistance along with Marcus’ partner to find the real killer.

Sofie Kelly has given us another dynamite mystery with plenty of clues for the characters and readers to follow, but the feline tenacity plays a major part in the solution. I don’t want to spoil anything but one of the cats plays a hero at the end and it is much more than magical.

The characters in this series really resonate with me. Kathleen loves living in Mayville Heights and her job at the library. Her relationship with Marcus is moving at a nice pace. She has made some great friends in her short time in town. Marcus takes his job seriously and does his best to keep Kathleen out of his investigations but realizes she has great insight. And I love the way they volunteer to take care of the feral cat population at Wisteria Hill. Since he has been taken off this case along with his partner, Kathleen tries to keep him in the dark until she needs answers to questions only he can answer.

Owen and Hercules have much more to their story. They are magical in certain physical abilities but they are intuitive as well and truly seem to understand the English language very well. Being feral brings in another element. Not just anyone can scratch them behind the ears or just reach out and pet them. They have their people who they will protect and comfort. Treats like bacon and toys like Fred the chicken give certain people just a little advantage. I love these cats and it makes me miss mine every time I read one of this stories.

The author all balances the drama with the fun “purrfectly”! Paws and Effect is a wonderful addition to this series.

I should note you can read this book without reading any of the others as the author includes plenty of background while still leaving plots of previous books a mystery.

perfect 2016

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

GIVEAWAY

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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.

Leave a Comment for Sofie for 5 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 October 13, 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 Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Guest Posts Reviews 2016 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with LynDee Walker – Author of Lethal Lifestyles – #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

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LETHAL LIFESTYLES large banner640
Lethal Lifestyles
by LynDee Walker

I always get excited when a new Headlines in High Heels Mystery is released
and even more excited when LynDee Walker drops by for a visit!

LynDee headshotAnatomy of a fictional murder:
from inspiration to the bookshelf

by LynDee Walker

It all started with a polo mallet.

I think I can speak for most mystery authors when I say inspiration for murder often comes out of nowhere—and sometimes it has less than ideal timing.

In the spring of 2014, my darling and I were at a gorgeous vineyard nestled against the backdrop of the Blue Ridge mountains in central Virginia, excited to celebrate the wedding of our friends Kyle and Mandy. After the ceremony (it was fantastic: so to the point we all stood for the whole thing), we wandered out to the wide porch behind the property’s main building, enjoying a cocktail reception while the photographer had the happy couple (and their golden retriever, how cute is that?) occupied.

I nodded to the stables in the distance. “They have horses?” I asked a friend more familiar with the vineyard.

“They have a polo match every Sunday afternoon. Y’all should come watch tomorrow, it’s a big event,” he said.

My writer brain clicked into high gear.

“Polo? Like Prince William, sport of kings, actual POLO? In Virginia?” I asked.

lethal lifestylesOur friend nodded.

“How great of a murder weapon would a polo mallet be?” I mused (this isn’t a spoiler, because the story ended up taking a different turn. But it was the catalyst for this whole thing), excusing myself to prowl around the property looking for places to hide a body. Which prompted poor darling to begin an hour long refrain of “she’s not crazy, she writes mysteries,” since we didn’t know everyone there and I was laser-focused on the story developing in my head, chattering to myself about decomposition, smells and physical limitations as I roamed.

By the end of the evening, I was pretty darned excited about a quasi-destination wedding for the Telegraph gang.

COVER SHOTSince this whole thing happened before I’d even written 5,000 words of COVER SHOT, I had a mission pretty early on in that one: one way or another, by the end of the book, somebody was getting engaged.

Parker and Mel turned out to be the perfect choice. We’d reached a point in the story where they’d been serious for about a year, and we knew he was completely gone over her. Of course, Nichelle would get to be maid of honor, because she set them up on their first date way back before BURIED LEADS.

buriedOnce I had that pegged, the whole story fell so neatly into place it was a little scary. I was so excited to dig into this wedding, I didn’t even take much of a break between these books.

Nichelle must always have someone to help, and this time she’s helping her friends out of a mess with stakes higher than the peaks in the Blue Ridge. Plus, I got to bring back some favorite characters from earlier books. As a reader, I love few things more in a series than catching up with old friends, and this was a perfect venue for that. Words poured onto the page.

I loved it. And I’m so proud of this book.

midnight-mysteriesNot long after I finished it, I got an invitation from my wonderful friend Ritter Ames to contribute a Nichelle story to a Halloween-themed anthology—what better way to tie COVER SHOT and LETHAL LIFESTYLES together? Frightening Features appears in the collection MIDNIGHT MYSTERIES, and follows Nichelle (trailed by Parker and Mel) on a trip to the Virginia countryside to write a puff piece on a ghost hunting TV show filming in an abandoned renaissance fairground. Things go sideways when a real corpse turns up on set, and Nichelle and her friends find themselves stuck in the woods with a killer.

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, so this added to what’s been a fun writing year for me—I so hope it translates into a fun reading getaway for y’all.

Thanks so much for having me, Lori!

~Lyndee

LynDee Walker’s award-winning journalistic work has appeared in newspapers and magazines across the nation.

Her debut novel, FRONT PAGE FATALITY, is an amazon and Barnes & Noble #1 bestseller, and was nominated for the Agatha Award for Best First Novel. DEVIL IN THE DEADLINE is the fourth in LynDee’s Headlines in High Heels mystery series. The fifth COVER SHOT is available now.

LynDee adores her family, her readers, and enchiladas. She often works out tricky plot points while walking off the enchiladas. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, where she is either playing with her children, working on her next novel, or admiring beautiful shoes she can’t wear.

 

Author Links

Webpage    Facebook      @LynDeeWalker

Books in the Headlines in High Heels Mystery Series:

front page fatalityburied leadsheartbeat hotel
small town spindevil in the deadlinecover shot

lethal lifestyles

Lethal Lifestyles (A Headlines in High Heels Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Setting – Virginia

Henery Press (September 27, 2016)
Paperback: 262 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1635110654
E-Book ASIN: B01HOS85XE
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Synopsis

Wedding bells are ringing at the Richmond Telegraph, and maid of honor Nichelle Clarke is determined to give her friends the perfect fairytale beginning to their happily ever after. So when a corpse crashes rehearsal weekend, Nichelle ditches her wedding coordinator shoes for her crime reporter ones, and a little poking around turns up a big problem: the victim and the groom have a history, and it’s not a pretty one.

Evidence against groom Grant Parker piles up, leaving Nichelle wishing a hostile bridesmaid was still her biggest worry as she tries to fend off Richmond’s favorite TV reporter—and her own scheming publisher. At odds with the cops, her beloved editor, and the ticking clock, Nichelle races to uncover the truth and save the day before this perfect wedding turns into a funeral.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Our star reporter has been bustin’ her tail to give Grant and Mel the wedding of their dreams. We are just one week from the big day when a dead guy in found at the wedding venue right before the rehearsal festivities are about to start, and the dead guy has a connection to the groom. HOLY MANOLOS!! Nicey’s heels hit the ground running as she tries save the wedding, keep Charlie, her arch nemesis, off the trail, keep her and her boss employed and pull off this wedding on time. Hold on tight, this is one story that will knock your high heels right off.

Why do I love this series so much? The author writes a fantastic mystery filled with drama but filled with humor too. She always tops herself and leaves me wanting more.

Nicey is an unforgettable heroine not only because she is independent, smart, and wears some of the best footwear in the world but because she is a true friend. She will fight for her friends until she gets to the whole truth and she refuses to publish anything sketchy even when the publisher is holding her beautiful feet to the fire. She also tries to hold her temper in the toughest of times. She has integrity and in today’s world it is sometimes hard to find reporters like her. She has the right connections and because of the woman she is they will step up to help her whenever they can. Even her ex. She also is learning to listen to her heart just a bit more in this installment too and they made this reader very happy.

LynDee Walker gives us a story the flows quickly with plenty of twists to keep us on our heels. The mystery is complex, the characters continue to evolve and the new characters are memorable and all seem to be hiding something.

This series is best if you start with Front Page Fatality and read the series in order to understand the characters and their history. Also for me each one is better than the last and becomes my new favorite in the series.

perfect 2016

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

GIVEAWAY
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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 Reviews 2016 You Read How Many Books Challenge

#Review – Girl Underwater by Claire Kells

girl-underwater

Girl Underwater: A Novel
Women’s Fiction/ Suspense/Romance
Setting – Colorado
Dutton – First Edition edition (March 31, 2015)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0525954934
Dutton; Reprint edition (August 16, 2016)
Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1101983980
E-Book ASIN: B00L9AXQEC
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An adventurous debut novel that cross cuts between a competitive college swimmer’s harrowing days in the Rocky Mountains after a major airline disaster and her recovery supported by the two men who love her—only one of whom knows what really happened in the wilderness.

Nineteen-year-old Avery Delacorte loves the water. Growing up in Brookline, Massachusetts, she took swim lessons at her community pool and captained the local team; in high school, she raced across bays and sprawling North American lakes. Now a sophomore on her university’s nationally ranked team, she struggles under the weight of new expectations but life is otherwise pretty good. Perfect, really.

That all changes when Avery’s red-eye home for Thanksgiving makes a ditch landing in a mountain lake in the Colorado Rockies. She is one of only five survivors, which includes three little boys and Colin Shea, who happens to be her teammate. Colin is also the only person in Avery’s college life who challenged her to swim her own events, to be her own person—something she refused to do. Instead she’s avoided him since the first day of freshman year. But now, faced with sub-zero temperatures, minimal supplies, and the dangers of a forbidding nowhere, Avery and Colin must rely on each other in ways they never could’ve imagined.

In the wilderness, the concept of survival is clear-cut. Simple. In the real world, it’s anything but.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This is a little different from what I usually read of late but when I saw the praise even from Oprah, I knew I needed to read this book. I have read several of her recommendations over the years.

Avery Delacorte and Colin Shea are on their college swim team, acquaintances not friends. They and one other team member are on a plane heading to Massachusetts from California for their holiday break. Shortly after takeoff the plane starts to malfunction and crash lands in a lake in the Rocky Mountains. Surviving the crash using their athleticism and swimming talents they are able to rescue a woman and 3 little boys. They know they are going to have to work together to survive until help can come.

The story rotates back and forth in time, after the crash and after the rescue with Avery telling the story so readers know she does survive. It is an extraordinary story about what it took to survive, but recovering after they are rescued is much harder on Avery even though Colin was the one more physically injured. As the story continues we finally find out why.

This is an adventure novel in that is was adventure to survive the crash and persevere until they are rescued but it a gripping suspense novel and an emotional roller coaster read as well.  A life changing experience that will keep you up reading late into the night.

The characters are so realistic. Avery matures from a young college co-ed unsure of herself to a confident young woman when faced with a do or die situation and then reverts back to the young adult she truly is as she tries to understand and deal with the trauma. Her father was tough on her while growing up and the skills he taught her proved to be very valuable. After he needs to be tough with her again so she can find her way back to the life she was meant to live.

It is classified by some as a coming of age/young adult story, Kells has kept the romantic and traumatic situations age appropriate for that, but older adult readers like me will find this a compelling read as well. That is why I classify it more Women’s Fiction with Suspense/Romance as sub-genres.

I have to mention this is Claire Kells debut novel so she is an author to watch. This story was incredible and she has a clear voice. I hope she has another story coming out soon.

perfect 2016

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

 

 

About The Author

Claire Kells was born outside Philadelphia and has lived in Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco since graduating from Princeton University in 2005. An English major, she didn’t start writing fiction until her first year of medical school. Now a third-year resident physician in the Bay Area, she spends her free time writing stories about love, loss, and adventure.

Webpage


Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | Powell’s | Indiebound | Target | Walmart | iBooks

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 Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Literary Escapes Reviews 2016 TBR Pile Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Flashback Friday – Murder on Route 66 by Glenn Nilson – #Review / #Giveaway

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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.

This author was not on my radar until he contacted me earlier this year about a book tour for the sequel to it Murder on the Mother Road. After reading it I added this book which released back in July 2011 to my To Be Read list immediately.

murder-on-route-66

Murder on Route 66
Cozy Mystery/ Amateur Sleuths
Setting – New Mexico
Mainly Murder Press (July 1, 2011)
Paperback: 240 page
ISBN-13: 978-0982795293
E-Book ASIN: B006PGKBHK
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Bobby Navarro, bad-boy biker with a big heart, interrupts a cross-country trip on his Harley to help the cook of a New Mexico cattle ranch. New challenges, an “adoptive family”, even a new girlfriend—life seems perfect. Then, Bobby finds his boss robbed, beaten and stabbed to death.

Bobby lets himself be talked into staying on as cook for the ranch until a replacement can be found, and promises Tim, the victim’s son, he’ll find the killer. His attempt at sleuthing angers the detective in charge of the case, infuriates Ned, the ranch foreman, who resents Bobby’s friendship with the family, and raises major concerns on the part of Bobby’s girlfriend, Sally.

Police focus on the cook of a neighboring ranch, owner of the murder weapon, but who Bobby believes to be innocent, and on Bobby himself. Bobby looks for evidence against a pack of three bikers who admit to the savage beating preceding his boss’s murder, and a bum who has come into extra spending money following the murder/robbery.

Before Bobby solves the murder, Ned fires him, his girlfriend dumps him, and somebody rams into the back of his Harley, hurtling him off into the desert night—a bundle of cuts, bruises, and twisted steel wreckage. Worse, someone wants to kill Tim as well.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I read Mr. Nilson’s books in reverse order but that is not an issue because they are perfect as stand alones.

Our protagonist Bobby Navarro is on road trip along Route 66 when he decides to stop a while and work on a ranch in New Mexico as the cook’s assistant. He feels right at home and quickly becomes friends with the cook, his wife and son. Then Bobby find his new boss dead in a parking lot. He vows to the man’s family to find the killer. He also stays on at the ranch to cook until a new one can be hired. Police have set their sights on a cook from another ranch but after meeting the man Bobby thinks they’re wrong and delves into his own investigation. The detective in charge of the case and the ranch foreman are both upset about that. His investigation takes him into some scary situations and there is even an attempt on his life. But there is too much at stake for him to give up.

Bobby Navarro has a heart as big as all outdoors, not your typical bad-boy biker. He makes friends at the ranch and a new girlfriend in town. Both put him in precarious straights as the girlfriend’s ex is the detective on the case and there is more going on at the ranch than meets the eye.

As with the author’s other book, the reader is drawn in immediately by Navarro’s real down to earth personality. This is just a temporary stop along the highway for him. He has no real set plans and a job that he can go back to at any time. A job that he needed a break from because it is a dangerous one. Who knew a road trip could be more dangerous? I love this man’s persistence and his fight to right wrongs and get to the truth for people he basically has just met.

The author has laid out quite a plot with twists that turn the story upside down. I had an inkling but never expected the whole way the story actually wrapped up.

Nilson’s stories are unusual because there are not too many cozies out there with male leads and Bobby is edgier than the few I can think of off the top of my head, but his books take place in small towns, have its share of quirky characters and the murders take place without any gory details and the romance never gets explicit. There is also the necessary humor to life the reader away from the tragic situations from time to time. The author calls his work ” a man’s cozy”, but I have really enjoyed both books.

If you are in the mood for something a little different I encourage you to try either of this author’s books. I just hope we don’t have to wait another 5 years for his next one.

perfect 2016

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Author Photo

About The Author –

Glenn grew up on a farm in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California, hiking, hunting, even panning for gold.  After college, he served as an officer in the Navy, then earned a doctorate in sociology and taught at a branch of the State University in Connecticut. There, he developed, directed and taught a criminal justice program. Upon retirement, the West drew him back, this time to New Mexico, the setting for his first novel, Murder on Route 66. Currently, Glenn divides his time between living in rural Florida and up-state New York, writing and refurbishing an 1870’s-era, creek-side cottage.  Whenever possible, he enjoys cooking, riding his own motorcycle and camping.

Author Links

Webpage – Blog 

Purchase Links


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GIVEAWAY
I am giving away 1 e-copy – Winner’s Choice
– Murder on Route 66  OR Murder on the Mother Road
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*This book was from my private collection.