Posted in Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Flashback Friday Giveaways Reviews 2016 TBR Pile Challenge What An Animal Reading Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Flashback Friday – Review – One Foot in the Grape by Carlene O’Neil – #Giveaway

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.

one foot in the grapeOne Foot in the Grape
(A Cypress Cove Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
1st Book in Series
Setting – California
Release Date – May 5, 2015
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Robert Crawford
Cover Design by Danielle Abbiate
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425274019
E-Book ASIN: B00O2BS55U
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

 

In California wine country, the town of Cypress Cove may seem peaceful. But someone’s about to pop their cork…

After losing her job as a photojournalist, Penny Lively is trying to get her life back in focus. Inheriting the family winery from her late aunt may be the fresh start she needs. Thankfully she’s got her niece Hayley and her handsome winery manager Connor to help. But the person in need of more urgent assistance is Antonia Martinelli, the owner of the neighboring winery, who has her own barrel full of problems. Someone’s spoiling her wine, and with the upcoming Autumn Festival, she needs Penny’s nose for clues to sniff out the culprit.

But Penny’s search for answers sours after the body of a staff member is found in a grape crusher. Since Hayley was the last to see him alive, she’s the prime suspect in the case. Now Penny must hurry to find the real killer before Hayley withers on the vine…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Penelope (Penny) Lively has inherited the family winery and after a little dust-up at her last job it is perfect timing. Her cousin Hayley has the degree in Viticulture and Connor manages the day to day tasks of the vineyard. Penny focuses on the business side of things. As a photojournalist she has a keen eye and takes some wonderful pictures that she sells as prints as postcards. Her keen eye is just what is needed to help Antonia Martinelli. The Martinelli winery and Penny’s winery border each other. Antonia asks Penny to help her find out who is sabotaging their wine. With the Autumn Festival just days away, she desperately needs to cork up that issue right way.  Penny agrees to help but before she has a chance to do anything one of the Martineeli staff is literally crushed and her cousin Hayley is the prime suspect.

This was an impressive debut for this series. I would have thought competing wineries would be more cutthroat but in this story the neighboring wineries work closely together. Not only does Penny try to help Antonia, they work together planning the festival and even seem to share temporary help. The victim was someone very well liked with a bright future. Penny was not only investigating to save her cousin but to find the killer of someone she respected.

The characters in this story were very interesting. Penny, Hayley and Connor are solid, relatable characters that will allow the series to succeed. The Martinelli family is quite a bunch. Antonia is ready to pass the winery on to her family, specifically to her son, but she isn’t sure he is ready. Her oldest daughter, a lawyer, has a huge chip on her shoulder and thinks the winery should be hers. The youngest daughter has a set of problems all her own. This was a great supporting cast. I hope we see them again in future stories.

The plot of the story is a unique one with some clever and surprising twists, although it did go a little bit awry at that start. It was the little clues that I almost wrote off that pulled this whole mystery together.  I was on the right track but it turned out to be much more than I ever imagined.

The author has left Penny holding back a very important tidbit and I wonder how long it will be before it is revealed to everyone.  This has me anxious to read the next installment, Ripe For Murder, out on March 1. I was late to the party for this book. That won’t be the case with the next one.

enjoyable 2016

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

Find out more about Carlene O’Neil on her webpage here.  Like her on Facebook. Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.


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 March 4, 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 Giveaways Guest Posts Literary Escapes Reviews 2016 What An Animal Reading Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Delia James – Author of A Familiar Tail – #Giveaway too!

cozy wednesday 2013 640

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am pleased to welcome Delia James to Escape With Dollycas today! 

1915430_994397917273274_6571694808504464052_n

Hello. My name is Delia James, and I write mysteries. Specifically, I write mysteries with magic and cats with plenty of attitude. This is no surprise to anybody who knows me.

I grew up on mysteries. Summers at my grandmother’s in the country, I discovered her Agatha Christie books and was immediately fascinated by Hercule Poirot. TV was filled with mysteries and we never missed them, Colombo, MacMillan & Wife, McCloud, The Rockford Files, Quincy…and of course I was in love with the Hardy Boys as played by Shaun Cassidy and Parker Stevenson (for the record, I was a Parker Girl, all the way). Of course I could quote Sherlock Holmes, chapter and verse. In college, I got introduced to, and fell in love all over again with, Lord Peter Whimsey.

a familiar tailDespite this, when I started writing, mysteries were not my first choice. I was (confession time) also a major science fiction nerd and it was science fiction I gravitated to first. I don’t regret it at all. Science fiction is fun, and it teaches you a lot about how to build a fictional world along with the characters that fit into it, or don’t. This can be valuable training for a mystery writer who has to construct solid, interesting puzzles the size of small towns, or big bad cities. And of course, along with science fiction, I was also a fan of its sister genre, fantasy, with its elves and hobbits, and witches, and plenty of magic. I learned to read from The Wizard of Oz and had Alice in Wonderland practically memorized.

With all this swirling around in the background, when I got the chance to write a story featuring a witch and a magical cat in New England, you know I jumped at it. And I am having an absolute blast.

First of all, it’s given me an excuse to spend more time in New England, which is one of my very favorite places. I love the landscape, the coast and the rivers. I even love the weather, especially the autumn. I love the old cities and towns and all the history tucked up in their streets and odd (some of them very odd) corners. Of course there are mysteries here. Lots of them, some of them old, some of them brand new.

Cats were another natural for me. I’ve been owned by one cat or another since I was born. From our grumpy old indoor-outdoor tortoiseshell Buttercup, to Isis the Siamese, to our current long-haired gray Buffy the Vermin Slayer, they all at one time or another shared my home, sat on my lap, or curled up on my shoulders, or gotten in between me and…whatever I was doing at the moment. I swear, some of them have in fact been able to vanish and reappear at will, just like Alistair in A Familiar Tail. Of course they couldn’t be kept out of anyplace they really wanted to get into, including the bedroom, the closet, and once, much to everybody’s surprise and embarrassment, the fridge. Again, just like Alistair.

So, like I said at the beginning, I’m Delia James. Welcome to my world!

~Delia

Thank you Delia for dropping by today!

a familiar tailA Familiar Tail:
A Witch’s Cat Mystery

Brand New Cozy Mystery Series
Setting – New Hampshire
An Obsidian Mystery (February 2, 2016)
Published by New American Library
An Imprint of Penguin Random House
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451476579
E-Book ASIN: B00X593A46
goodreads-badge-add-plusShop Indie Bookstores

Magic and meows meet in the first enchanting Witch’s Cat mystery!
 
Unlucky-in-love artist Annabelle Britton decides that a visit to the seaside town of  Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is the perfect way to get over her problems. But when she stumbles upon a smoky gray cat named Alastair, and follows him into a charming cottage, Annabelle finds herself in a whole spell-book full of trouble.

Suddenly saddled with a witch’s wand and a furry familiar, Annabelle soon meets a friendly group of women who use their spells, charms, and potions to keep the people of Portsmouth safe. But despite their gifts, the witches can’t prevent every wicked deed in town….

Soon, the mystery surrounding Alistair’s former owner, who died under unusual circumstances, grows when another local turns up dead. Armed with magic, friends, and the charmed cat who adopted her more than the other way around, Annabelle sets out to paw through the evidence and uncover a killer.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Annabelle Amelia Blessingsound Britton comes to Portsmouth to visit her friend Martine Devereux. Martine is the chef at the Pale Ale Inn. But a weekend trip turns into a much longer stay as she realizes her family has many more ties to the town than she knew. Of course, meeting a certain cat named Alastair had a bit to do with her sticking around too. This cat is a mystery and how his former person died is a mystery too. Another death makes Annabelle start to stick her nose in other people’s business and that can be pawsitively dangerous.

Annabelle is an artist and a free spirit. From a very early age she would get a “vibe” from her surroundings. Good “vibes”, bad “vibes”, sometimes no “vibes”. She never understood why this happened to her but the picture becomes much clearer now that she is in New Hampshire and meets a very interesting group of woman. Since the synopsis on the back of the book tells you this already, yes, they are witches. A very eclectic group of witches. Yes, we know this before even starting the book but Annabelle didn’t. I really enjoyed her making this discovery and trying to wrap her head about how her life takes a very dramatic turn. I also enjoyed getting to know the supporting cast. I feel we have barely scratched the surface of their depth.

This entire story is very well written with snappy dialogue and curly Q twists. I absolutely fell in love with Alistair as every cat lover will.

Now as for the setting and I don’t mean Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I mean that beautiful cottage shown on the cover. Glorious inside and out, gardens galore and a true home. I would pack my bags and move there in an instant, witches or no witches, I would adapt 🙂

Delia James has given a strong woman protagonist who is comfortable with herself and has an open mind. She is also a pretty good sleuth. The story is told in first person and I like when we read her thoughts or when she is talking to herself. It makes her more real and believable to me.

This was a fine debut and shows much promise for what I hope will be a long running series.

enjoyable 2016

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

You can Like Delia James on Facebook here.

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 Delia 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 March 2, 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

*Guest Post received from publisher.
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 Guest Posts Reviews 2016 What An Animal Reading Challenge Wisconsin Author You Read How Many Books Challenge

Special Guest – Mary Ellen Hughes – Author of Scene of the Brine #Giveaway too!

special guest blue
I am so happy Mary Ellen Hughes could stop by for a visit today!
Let’s give her a great welcome!

Mary Ellen Hughes author pic

Hi Everyone,

WHAT’S IN A NAME?
by Mary Ellen Hughes

When I talk to people about my books, there’s one question I can count on being asked, “Where do you get your ideas?” But a question I rarely hear is, “How do you come up with names for your characters?”

I suppose that’s because most people take character names for granted. A reader makes note of them in order to keep everybody in the story straight but mostly doesn’t think much about them. For me, though, and I suspect most authors, character names are very important. Margaret Mitchell, for example, changed Scarlett O’Hara’s first name several times before settling on one, calling her star character Pansy for a while. I think we can all be glad Ms. Mitchell moved on from that one.

pickled piper

When I started putting ideas together for THE PICKLED PIPER, the first book of my Pickled and Preserved mystery series, I had no problem coming up with a name for my main character. Since she was a young woman who would be making and selling all things pickle-related, what could be better than Piper?

But Piper wasn’t the only character in the book. She has an aunt and uncle living nearby, a shop assistant, neighboring store owners and other townspeople, along with, of course, the victim and murderer. All these characters needed names, and ones that fit. I wouldn’t, for example, name Piper’s aunt, who is around sixty years old, Britny. And for Piper’s twenty year-old helper, Gladys would be all wrong but Amy was right.

A novelist has to come with more names than you might realize, sometimes just for walk-on characters who need a name simply to avoid being continually referred to as “elderly gentleman,” or “her.” Where do we get them all? When I first started writing and needed a name for an older person, I’d flip through the obituary section of my newspaper. If the obituaries had photos attached, all the better. Mixing and matching first and last names kept me out of lawsuit territory.

Younger characters were a little tougher. A copy of a baby-naming book helped there—though it did startle my family at first until I explained why I needed it. Then I discovered the Social Security website, which lists baby names that were popular in each decade. That was—and is–so helpful! I also found a few random name generator websites, which come up with combinations of first and last names, sorted by gender or ethnicity, as well as “common” or “rare.” A great time saver!

Until I settle on a character’s name, I often can’t completely picture him or her. Martin will look and act differently from Matt, and, though close, Patsy won’t be quite the same as Patty, at least to my mind. If, farther down the road, I see the need to change a character’s name, I’ll often go back and tweak their description to go with the new moniker.

scene of the brineIn SCENE OF THE BRINE, my latest and third Pickled and Preserved Mystery book, I needed a name for a character new to the series, a forty-something, female caterer. “Sugar” popped into my head, and with it I immediately knew what she looked like: attractive, silver-blond, and with a Rubenesque figure. Her personality grew from that, and I was soon good to go.

Sugar had a college-aged son, and it didn’t take me long to name him Zach, a popular name of his generation. Zach majored in botany and, while bright, also had a bit of a temper. It was that last thing that got him into a pile of trouble in my story. Would that have happened if I’d named him Nigel or Preston? Doubtful. But we’ll never know because a mother called Sugar would never give her son either of those names, would she?

Family names, for me, at least, are off-limits, as are close friends, since the image that comes with them is too strong to shape into the character I want to write. Also in that “don’t touch” category are one-of-a-kind celebrity monikers and names already famous in fiction such as Scarlett, Kinsey, or Reacher.

It tends to narrow the choices, which makes me sometimes envy science fiction and fantasy writers. If they need a name, they can just scramble a few letters or make it vaguely middle-earth-ish. So much simpler. And they don’t have to worry about age, either.

But then, I’d have a hard time picturing a Ruavu Flagmatag.

Wouldn’t you?
~Mary Ellen

Thank you so much for visiting today Mary Ellen! Feel free to add a Lori or a Dolly to your stories anytime 🙂

scene of the brineScene of the Brine:
Pickled and Preserved Mystery

3rd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – New York
Release Date: February 2, 2016
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Chris O’Leary
Cover Design by Karen Oberrender
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425262474
E-Book ASIN: B00W2ZKQ9Q
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

 

The national bestselling author of License to Dill returns with a dilly of a pickle.

Piper Lamb has to take a break from jarring her delicious pickles and preserves to blow the lid off a poisoner….

Business is booming at Piper’s Picklings in Cloverdale, New York. But not all is sweet in the life of Piper’s number one customer and friend, local caterer Sugar Heywood. Sugar is dating wealthy realtor Jeremy Porter, but his family doesn’t approve. After their unscrupulous accountant finds some dirt on Sugar, the family quickly urges Jeremy to throw her out like rotten fruit.

Things are further spoiled after the accountant is found poisoned, and all evidence points to Sugar’s son, Zach. With the Porter family determined to avoid scandal, it won’t be easy for Piper to preserve Zach’s innocence. And after someone falls victim to a poisoned jar of some of her brandied cherries, Piper’s got a peck of trouble to deal with herself…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Check out that cover and the new door to Piper’s Picklings! Handcrafted and a true work of art. Piper has a party to celebrate her new entrance and it seems almost everyone from Cloverdale attends. Thankfully new resident, Jeremy Porter and his right hand man,  Dirk Unger skipped the festivities. Unger has been making life difficult for some people in town, like Piper’s friend, Sugar Heywood. Dirk, the jerk, dug up some dirt and Sugar was terribly hurt. She lost her boyfriend and a huge catering gig. When “the jerk” is murdered, Sugar’s son becomes the prime suspect but before the murder is solved, others are hurt and Piper finds herself in hot water.

Trips to Cloverdale are never dull, that is for sure. Hughes introduces us to the Porter family. I hated the whole snobby bunch and that was just awesome. These characters like all my favorites were wonderfully written and totally believable. I wasn’t surprised when Dirk Unger was killed. He was a nasty man. What surprised me was the twists and turns we took to find the murderer. Just when I thought “I know who it is!”, something happened to prove me wrong. It sure was a fun as I kept trying.

There is a bit of romance as Will remains patient while Scott still tries to worm his way back into Piper’s life. The man has been trouble since he showed up in Cloverdale. I think Piper may be on the verge of making a decision.

Mary Ellen Hughes has written a really smart mystery delightfully flavored with some of the best cozy characters. I have liked each of these stories more than the last. The characters continue to evolve and even the mysteries get better and better and each were great already.

For someone that doesn’t like pickles I sure do love these pickled and preserved mysteries.

perfect 2016

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 About This Author

Mary Ellen Hughes may live in Maryland today but she started out right here in Wisconsin!!! Find out more about Mary Ellen and her books here on her webpage.



Just click on book covers for more information or to order.

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 Mary Ellen 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 March 1, 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 Flashback Friday Giveaways Reviews 2016 TBR Pile Challenge What An Animal Reading Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Flashback Friday – Review – Macaroni and Freeze by Christine Wenger #Giveaway

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.

MACARONI AND FREEZE
Macaroni and Freeze:
A Comfort Food Mystery

4th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – New York
An Obsidian Mystery (July 7, 2015)
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451474087
E-Book ASIN: B00PT4J1UW
goodreads-badge-add-plusShop Indie Bookstores

When the library roof collapses from the harsh winter weather, diner owner and comfort food chef Trixie Matkowski decides to organize a mac-and-cheese cook-off to raise funds for repairs. Priscilla Finch-Smythe, famous TV chef and former Sandy Harbor resident, is not only available to judge the contest—she’s offering an appearance on her show as the grand prize.

Trixie hopes that winning first place in the cook-off will help boost publicity for her Silver Bullet Diner. But when another winner is announced, and Priscilla is later found frozen in a snowbank, Trixie starts getting attention from the police instead. Now she’ll have to noodle over this mystery before everything really goes to pot….

Includes Delicious Home-Style Recipes

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Never a dull moment when Trixie is around. That woman get herself into all kinds of predicaments. This time too much snow collapses the roof of the local library. Everyone got out safe but it is going to take a lot of money to repair the building and replace the damaged books and equipment. Trixie’s mouth gets ahead of her brain and before she knows it she is planning a Macaroni and Cheese cook-off fundraiser. Things snowball and soon famous chef, Priscilla Finch-Smythe is on her way to Sandy Harbor to judge the competition and offering the winner a guest spot on her tv show. Trixie had no idea the woman was from Sandy Harbor. The woman has all kinds of demands and a big motor home. She also has her staff of two, one is her stepson, along for the ride and they sure don’t see eye to eye on anything. Trixie just hopes they can make enough money for the library and get a little bit of publicity for the diner.

The contest brings a slew of cooks to town including a couple of professional chefs looking to win and gain or regain a little fame with the grand prize. Soon after the winner is named, a stiff is found in the parking lot. Priscilla Finch-Smythe’s life has come to a chilly end and there are plenty of suspects. Who killed the tv cook and left her out in the cold? Trixie plans to find out but she may end up getting a deep freeze herself.

Reading this book during a cold snap here in Wisconsin I was literary feeling the “freeze” in this story and it was funny, my hubby had whipped up a batch of his homemade mac and cheese for supper. He saw the cover of the book and we had a little chuckle.

The cover of the book is wonderful but the Sandy Harbor Library sounds like it was a truly beautiful place, complete with some stained glass. I loved the way the town rallied together to make this fundraiser happen even when it was snowing and blowing and travel was a bit treacherous at times.

This time Trixie is one of the suspects, of course, hunky Sheriff Ty Briscoe doesn’t think she had anything to do with it but he basically puts her under house/diner arrest with Antoinette Chloe Brown (ACB) as her gatekeeper. He really just wants to keep Trixie safe and out of his investigation, like that is going to happen.

Christine Wenger has the perfect recipe for an absolutely delightful cozy mystery. The residents of Sandy Harbor are like old friends and the welcome us in with open arms and delicious food. The new characters make a nice offset to the gang we have come to love. The plot is tight and the twists are plentiful. The romantic tension is palpable. I can’t be the only one that wants to see Trixie grab Ty and just kiss him already 🙂 I also want to get ACB a pair of boots with flips flops painted on them. Flip flops in the snow?? Girl you are going to lose some toes!!

This was a fun read from start to finish. I am glad I had some Mac & Cheese to snack because damn, a girl can get hungry when reading these stories!

perfect 2016

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent
Find out more about Christine and her books on her webpage here.

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 February 26, 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 E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Reviews 2016 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Review/ #Giveaway – Drawing Blood by Deirdre Verne – Great Escapes Book Tour

DRAWING BLOOD large banner640

Drawing Blood
by Deirdre Verne

drawing blood
Drawing Blood
(A Sketch in Crime Mystery)

2nd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – New York
Publisher: Midnight Ink (February 8, 2016)
Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738742281
E-Book ASIN: B019KKTX0I
goodreads-badge-add-plus

Shop Indie Bookstores

Synopsis

CeCe Prentice returns with her band of Dumpster-diving pals in this fast-paced mystery that puts the eco-friendly heroine back on top—of a pile of trash.

When Big Bob, manager of the town dump, goes missing, CeCe is worried about more than where she’ll score her next salvaged car. First at the scene when Bob’s body is recovered from under the weekly recycling haul, CeCe is quick to identify potential witnesses and provide crucial scene sketches. But when CeCe is uncharacteristically startled by an unidentified woman at Bob’s abandoned house, her artistic talents are challenged, and her drawings, much to her frustration, come up short.

With CeCe’s observational talents on the fritz, Detective Frank DeRosa, CeCe, and her network of Freegans are forced to recreate Big Bob’s life from the garbage up. The team is soon thrust into the underworld of recycling where what appears to be junk could actually be the clue that saves a life.


Dollycas’s Thoughts

As I ended my review of Drawing Conclusions, the first book in this series, I was wondering how this author was going to keep up to the excellence she reached in that story. I just finished Drawing Blood and let me tell you she a drawn up another story that will keep you totally entertained.

Cece and her friends are “freegans“, a unique lifestyle. They dumpster dive for food, have a huge garden, and visit the local recycling center and thrift stores for most of their needs. In this installment Cece’s friend and housemate Katrina is due to have her baby any day, her friend, Big Bob, manager of the local recycling center in missing, and Cece is looking for a child that could be hers that would have been carried by a surrogate. And that is just how the story starts, there is so much more. The synopsis tells you Big Bob’s body is found under a pile of garbage and that Detective Frank DeRosa in on the case but when Cece and her friends join the investigation it all leads to something you have just have to read for yourself. I really enjoyed that Frank knows he can ask for and get help from Cece and the others.

As with the first story, this author’s distinct writing  style shines. The plots and subplots twist all together throughout the story and each twist has its own little “wow” factor.  Cece’s  unique ability to see people in her mind so clearly and pick up their nuances and put the images down on paper is key to solving the case. She has trouble with the facial details for one person that she knows is so important. She works so hard to try to grasp that image. The investigation seems to be turning up more questions than answers but Frank, Cece, Charlie and even a very pregnant Katrina each help to put things together and details start to fall into place. This sets up a very suspenseful and dramatic ending that had me sitting up straight in my chair.

Excellent from start to finish. A story that deserves more than 5 stars!

This story does build on the first book so I do recommend reading that one first. In fact a perfect winter weekend curled up with both books is something I recommend wholeheartedly.

I will not wonder about Verne’s next book because I just know if will be as amazing as the first two. I just hate that we will probably have to wait a year for it.

paradise 2016

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

deidre

About This Author

Deirdre Verne (Lower Westchester, NY) is a mystery writer, college professor, and an active college blogger. Deirdre’s interest in green living inspired her to create an off-the-grid character who Dumpster dives her way through the “Sketch in Crime” mystery series. Verne’s second book, Drawing Blood, is available in February 2016. “A dysfunctional functional family to die for…[CeCe Prentice’s] second case is every bit as twisty and surprising.”-Kirkus Reviews.

A member of Sisters in Crime, Deirdre’s short stories appear in all three New York chapter anthologies – Murder New York Style, Murder New York Style: Fresh Slices and Family Matters. Visit her online at DeirdreVerne.com.

 

Author Links

Webpage   Blog 

Twitter – @deirdreverne         GoodReads 

Purchase Links:

B&N 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to visit the rest of the stops!

Tour Participants

February 8 – Babs Book Bistro – Guest Post
February 9 – Island Confidential – Interview
February 9 – The Book’s the Thing – Spotlight
February 10 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – Review 
February 11 – Musings and Ramblings – Guest Post
February 12 – Celticlady’s Reviews – Spotlight
February 13 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – Guest Post
February 14 – A Holland Reads – Interview
February 15 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy,  &, Sissy, Too ! – Spotlight
February 15 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Guest Post
February 16 – LibriAmoriMiei – Review
February 16 – StoreyBook Reviews – Spotlight
February 17 – Reading Is My SuperPower – Review
February 17 – Brooke Blogs – Guest Post
February 18 – Back Porchervations – Review
February 18 – A Blue Million Books – Interview

Rafflecopter Giveaway

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!

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 Literary Escapes Reviews 2016 What An Animal Reading Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Diane Vallere – Author of A Disguise To Die For – #Giveaway too!

cozy wednesday 2013 640

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!!

Diane Vallere is my Special Guest today and she has a treat for us. When she offered me this guest post I was absolutely thrilled because I had always wished an author would write a guest post like this.   

DianeVallereAuthorPhoto_color_cropped

 

Hi Everyone,

Back in September of 2013, I had the fortunate opportunity to submit a proposal for a possible new cozy mystery series that featured a costume shop owner. Originally I was going to base the protagonist on a character in a shot story that I’d written, but it became too hard for me to stay true to the character traits that I’d established in that story while also building this new world. I changed her name from Mia Thomas to Margo Tamblyn (change is reflected below to keep things from being confusing), but otherwise, this is the series concept and individual book ideas that I submitted to Berkley Prime Crime. MYSTERY PARTY ended up being the basis for A DISGUISE TO DIE FOR, the first in the Costume Shop Mystery Series, that came out Feb 2!

Series Proposal:

A Disguise To Die ForSETTING:
Proper, Nevada. [fictional town] Census-designed town in southern Nevada near California state lines. Population has grown several hundred to several thousand in a decade. Long-time residents have fought the influx of transplants. Close proximity to early settlers of Nevada, lots of ghost stories and rumors of treasures in the caves on the outskirts of town. Residents consist of retired casino employees, 4th generation wealth from gold rush, and new families who have relocated here because of new schools and low cost of living.

The town holds an annual sagebrush festival in the summer, a Beaux Arts ball in the winter, and a mineral-themed festival in the summer. Proper, Nevada has a tight community that immediately takes notice of newcomers. The town prides itself on hosting a creative social calendar of parties and events, keeping the residents in a constant state of one-upmanship when it comes to planning birthdays, engagements, retirement parties, and anything else they can think of.

SHOP NAME: Disguise DeLimit

CHARACTERS:
Margo Tamblyn: owner of costume shop. Margo’s mom died during childbirth, so she was raised by her father. The owner of a costume shop, he fumbled through raising a girl by relying on costumes for Margo’s school clothes, thus instilling in her a lifelong love of playing dress up. Now an adult, Margo dresses in “themes,” incorporating props and toys as accessories to her outfits. When her father has a heart attack and is forced to retire, Margo moves to Proper to care for him and take over the costume shop.

Margo has a small gray cat that she rescued. His name is Jaws 2 (named after her Betta fish Jaws, who suffered an unfortunate fate.)

Margo suffers from feelings of inadequacy, which she is dealing with in therapy. Her psychiatrist has been encouraging her to take more risks and open up to people, metaphorically “dropping the mask” that she hides behind. [this will become a source of conflict for Margo]

Other regular characters:

Ebony Welles [friend/surrogate mother]: Owner of a local party planning business, thirty years older than Margo. She acted as a surrogate mother to Margo in her childhood and remains the most influential woman in Margo’s life. Ebony is a black woman who copies different cinematic icons as her “look” to match the parties that she is planning, but mostly dresses in a 70’s style. At different times she could be Foxy Brown, Grace Jones, Diana Ross, Tina Turner, Dorothy Dandridge.

Other regular characters will include Tak Hoshiyama, local cop/love interest, son of Japanese and American parents, and Margo’s dad, who is recovering from a heart attack.

CONCEPTS:
MYSTERY PARTY
The beginning of spring marks the beginning of outdoor birthday party season in Proper. When spoiled Blitz Manners hires Margo’s friend to plan a mystery-themed birthday party, Margo is brought on board to provide the perfect costume for the birthday boy. Even though Blitz’s Sherlock Holmes costume is spot-on, he’s openly disappointed that she went classic Holmes instead of pop-culture Holmes. He cancels his order, leaving Margo unpaid for her work. When an invitee offers to buy the costume, Margo considers it a stroke of luck, until he is found dead at the party. Did Blitz have second thoughts about the costume, or did someone kill the wrong Sherlock? All detectives on deck for this one!

FESTIVAL FATALITIES
The beginning of summer brings the annual sagebrush festival. Craft vendors, artists, and musicians celebrate Nevada’s state flower with booths where they showcase their talents, live performances by local actors, and a parade. Margo has been hired to outfit the Sagebrush Sallies, a group of retired go-go dancers who perform a modified version of their sixties dances at the festival. But when Margo discovers a pair of abandoned white boots by the Sallies’ dressing quarters days before the festival, she suspects the worst. She follows the heel marks in the dirt and finds the body of one of the dancers. With no suspects and no leads, Margo takes a place in the kick line, hoping to expose the murderer.

TEDDY BEAR TRAGEDY
When a wealthy resident hires Carolyn to plan a birthday party for her daughter’s teddy bear, she uses the book Bear Party as her jumping off point. Suddenly, Margo is booked creating costumes for the plush animals of Proper! But when priceless jewelry goes missing at the party, it seems the only suspects are made of fiberfill—until one of the maids is found murdered in the kitchen. The local police, under pressure to find the valuables, threaten to confiscate all of the children’s teddy bears in a search and seizure. Margo and Carolyn are on a race to find the missing jewels and unmask a murderer before the most innocent of residents are literally turned inside out.

SCI-FI SHOWDOWN
When a sci-fi convention comes to Proper, the whole population gears up to get their Trek on. Margo is hired to design costumes for an alien/intergalactic army opening number performed by Proper’s city council. But when one alien is found dead before the opening act, and the mayor’s toy gun is found to be a carefully disguised pistol with the same bullets that shot the alien/actor, Margo has to find out who substituted her costume props for deadly weapons and why.

BEAUX ARTS BUST
The annual Beaux Arts Ball is upon the city of Proper. The theme is Garden of Earthly Delights, and the city’s wealthiest residents intend to pull out all the stops when it comes to their costumes. Local resident Amelia Hartford, director of the museum where the party will be held, consults with Margo for an elaborate Lady Godiva-type costume guaranteed to put her in the spotlight. But when Amelia is found dead in the Hieronymus Bosch wing of the museum and the police find an empty hidden pocket in the lining of her costume, everyone is a suspect. Was it a board member? An ex-husband? Or a crazy art lover who blurred the lines between art and reality? Margo can’t help wonder if what Amelia had hidden in that pocket had gotten her killed.

MOB MENTALITY
When local homicide detective Tak Noh convinces his precinct to host a Guys and Dolls party as a fundraiser, Margo finds herself knee-deep in pinstripe and fedoras. Her friend the party planner arranges for casino-type rentals in a local party hall and invites the town’s population to join in for a night of fun that will help the boys in blue. When a real mobster on the run hears about the event, he knows it’s the perfect place to hide. He pretends to be part of the force, getting Margo to make him a costume too, but when the event is raided by the very men he’s hiding from, can he continue to lay low, or does he come out of hiding to get a piece of the action.

~Diane

I don’t know about you but I love seeing the way the books we love get started. We all hear the term “pitched” thrown around but to see the pitch is very exciting for me. We also get a preview of stories coming in out future. Thank you so much Diane!!

A Disguise To Die For A Disguise to Die For:
A Costume Shop Mystery

New Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Nevada
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (February 2, 2016)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House, LLLC
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425278284
E-Book ASIN: B00X5936W2
goodreads-badge-add-plusShop Indie Bookstores

Someone is dressed to kill in the debut Costume Shop Mystery from the national bestselling author of the Material Witness mysteries.

No sooner does former magician’s assistant Margo Tamblyn return home to Proper City, Nevada, to run Disguise DeLimit, her family’s costume shop, than she gets her first big order. Wealthy nuisance Blitz Manners needs forty costumes for a detective-themed birthday bash. As for Blitz himself, his Sherlock Holmes is to die for—literally—when, in the middle of the festivities, Margo’s friend and party planner Ebony Welles is caught brandishing a carving knife over a very dead Blitz.

For Margo, clearing Ebony’s name is anything but elementary, especially after Ebony flees town. Now Margo is left to play real-life detective in a town full of masked motives, cloaked secrets, and veiled vendettas. But as she soon learns, even a killer disguise can’t hide a murderer in plain sight for long.

INCLUDES RECIPES AND COSTUME IDEAS!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Disguise is the limit!! This is a soaring debut!

Margo Tamblyn had a very interesting upbringing. She lost her mother at birth and grew up with her father running their costume shop, Disguise DeLimit. From an early age and still today Margo wears costumes or parts of costumes as her everyday attire. She marches to her own drummer and is stronger than she knows. She has been working in Las Vegas as a magician’s assistant, but after her father suffers a heart attack she quickly finds a replacement and comes home. She wants to look after her father but knows she has to keep the store open. She is unsure about her father’s finances but is sure his recent trip to the hospital left him with some bills to pay. When Blitz Manners enters the store demanding she pull together 40 costumes for his birthday party as soon as possible she is thrilled to do so. It is a detective-themed party so she starts putting costumes together for Sherlock Holmes, Kojak, Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew and more. What she wasn’t expecting was the birthday boy to end up dead before the end of the party and her party planning friend Ebony to be accused of his murder. Margo decides she needs to actually become a detective, not just look like she plays one on t.v. Her friend needs her help and she is going to find the real killer.

What a great story!! I have been looking forward to this book since I first saw the cover. Disguise DeLimit is quite a store with every costume imaginable and if they don’t have what you want they will custom make it for you.  I really like Margo but her father is great person too. He has kept this shop going through thick and thin. His favorite part is traveling to find new costumes for the store. That part has taken a back seat since Margo moved away but he does take a very interesting trip in this book. Ebony, who has a dog named Ivory, that is him on the cover, helped raise Margo and is a mother figure to her. She is a very unique individual with a huge heart. We also meet Tak Hoshiyama but you have to read about him yourself, he starts out as a bit of a mystery and I don’t want to spoil that.

The plot and subplots are excellent. The mystery is kind of a closed room mystery but there are so many suspects and they are all in costume so figuring out the real culprit is no easy task. It came together for me after Margo figured it out. There were so many twists and diversions but it all came together perfectly. I was just not puzzling things out well at all 🙂

There is a Special Preview of the next book in the series, Masking For Trouble, coming in October and great costume ideas and recipes in the back of the book too!

If you are looking for something fun to read this is a perfect choice!

perfect 2016

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author

I’m a former fashion buyer turned mystery writer, trading fashion accessories for accessories to murder. I was bit by the mystery bug as a kid reading Trixie Belden, Connie Blair, and The Three Investigators. Now I’m writing three series: the Style & Error Mysteries, the Mad for Mod Mysteries, and the Material Witness Mysteries. Coming in Feb 2016: The new Costume Shop Cozy Mysteries!

The Material Witness mysteries feature Polyester Monroe, who inherits the fabric shop where she was born. Books include SUEDE TO REST and CRUSHED VELVET. The third, SILK STALKINGS, will be out in August 2016.

The Style & Error Series features former fashion buyer turned amateur sleuth Samantha Kidd. Books in that series include DESIGNER DIRTY LAUNDRY; BUYER, BEWARE; THE BRIM REAPER; and SOME LIKE IT HAUTE. (A short story, “Just Kidding,” tells the story of how Samantha first met shoe designer Nick Taylor). Book 5, GRAND THEFT RETRO, will be out in 2016.

The Madison Night Mysteries feature a modern day interior decorator who specializes in midcentury design (studying Doris Day movies to get the look right). Books are PILLOW STALK, THAT TOUCH OF INK, and WITH VICS YOU GET EGGROLL. A prequel novella, “Midnight Ice,” can be found in OTHER PEOPLE’S BAGGAGE.

Author Links

 Webpage           Facebook      Twitter          GoodReads

Purchase Links

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 Diane 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 February 24, 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 E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Reviews 2016 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Review/ #Giveaway – Death & The Brewmaster’s Widow by Loretta Ross – Great Escapes Book Tour

SHHH….I am barging in on this Great Escapes Tour…so read quietly 🙂

DEATH AND THE BREWMASTERS large banner640

Death & The Brewmaster’s Widow
by Loretta Ross

DEATH AND THE BREWMASTERS WIDOW
Death & the Brewmaster’s Widow
(An Auction Block Mystery)

2nd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Missouri
Publisher: Midnight Ink (February 8, 2016)
Paperback: 264 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738747057
E-Book ASIN: B019KKTWU4
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 
 
 

Synopsis

They call it “the Brewmaster’s Widow”; the abandoned brewery where Death Bogart’s brother died in an arson fire.

With his girlfriend, Wren Morgan, Death goes home to St. Louis to take on a deeply personal mystery. When Randy Bogart went into the Einstadt Brewery, he left his broken badge behind at the firehouse. So why did the coroner find one on his body? Every answer leads to more questions. Why did the phony badge have the wrong number? Who set the brewery fire? What is the connection between Randy’s death and the mysterious Cherokee Caves, where the opulent playground of 19th century beer barons falls into slow decay?

Not understanding how and why he lost his brother is breaking the ex-Marine’s heart. But the Brewmaster’s Widow is jealous of her secrets. Prying them loose could cost Death and Wren both their lives.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

The first book in this series made my Best Reads of 2015 list. I couldn’t wait for this book to be released because we were given a bit of a cliffhanger at the end of the last one.

Wren Morgan and Death (Dee-th) “it’s a family name” Bogart are in St. Louis to wrap up affairs after Death’s brother is killed in an arson fire. But there is a mystery surrounding his death because he was found wearing a badge with the wrong number. His correct badge had a broken clasp and was left back at the fire station. Could this badge mix up have something to do with the fire? Wren and Death take us deep into The Brewmaster’s Widow and her secrets to find out.

I am going to say this up front. This book can be read as a stand alone but you really need to read Death and the Redheaded Woman to get to know this amazing couple. Wren Morgan is an assistant auctioneer and Death is a a private eye/bounty hunter. They meet and their relationship just grows and grows. He is a vet with not only PTSD, but physical disabilities too. Her life hasn’t been easy and she needs someone to lean on. They are just better together. These character are written so beautifully.

In this story Death’s brother Randy died while Death was still deployed. Randy thought Death had been killed in the war. As Death tries to wrap up Randy’s life there seem to be more questions than  answers.  Before Death can move on he needs to know why his didn’t get out of that building alive. He and Wren go to great lengths to find the answers.

I read this book quickly in an afternoon. I had a little suspicion about where we were headed but it was a wild ride to get there. I am so impressed with this author’s writing. She builds the story with intrigue, romance, and humor in a way that deflects your mind from everything around you and holds your attention fully.  Both my dad and my husband were firefighters. I lived the fear of someone getting hurt at a scene. Dying at one would be unfathomable. Randy’s death effected not only his brother, but his chief, his fellow firefighters and so many others that knew him. Ross wrote this in an a way that we knew what everyone was feeling but it didn’t take away from the enjoyment of the story as a whole. All her characters and their reactions and demeanor in the story were very believable.

The setting in the old brewery was so interesting. I enjoyed learning the history of the structure closed down at the start of prohibition in the 1920’s. It was quite a place. A perfect place for a mystery.

I love where Loretta Ross has taken us and these characters, and the little teaser she gave us at the end of this story tells us we are headed on another mysterious adventure soon. Just like the last time, I can’t wait!

Just a little spoiler alert – We finally learn Death D. Bogart’s middle name and it’s a doozy.

perfect 2016

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

LORETTA

About The Author

Loretta Ross is a writer and historian who lives and works in rural Missouri. She is an alumna of Cottey College and holds a BA in archaeology from the University of Missouri – Columbia. She has loved mysteries since she first learned to read. Death and the Redheaded Woman will be her first published novel.

Website         Blog           Facebook        
GoodReads         Twitter

 
 

Purchase Links

     B&N

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Check out the real tour
🙂

Tour Participants

February 8 – Back Porchervations – Review
February 9 – Laura’s Interests – Review
February 10 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – Review
February 10 – Christa Reads and Writes – Guest Post
February 11 – The Bookwyrm’s Hoard  – Review
February 12 – Moonlight Rendezvous – Review
February 13 – Cassidy Salem Reads & Writes – Review
February 14 – Jane Reads – Review, Guest Post
February 15 – The Ninja Librarian – Review
February 16 – Island Confidential – Interview
February 17 – LibriAmoriMiei – Review
February 17 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy,  &, Sissy, Too ! – Spotlight

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!

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 – Review/ #Giveaway – Diners, Drive-ins and Death by Christine Wenger

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.
I have wanted to catch up on this series for awhile!

diners driveins and death
Diners, Drive-Ins, and Death:
A Comfort Food Mystery

Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – New York
An Obsidian Mystery (January 6, 2015)
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451415103
E-Book ASIN: B00KWFZ73S
goodreads-badge-add-plusShop Indie Bookstores

 

For Sandy Harbor’s tastiest comfort food, venture to the Silver Bullet Diner. But head next door to the new drive-in theater if you have an appetite for murder….

Trixie Matkowski has a tall order to fill this fall. Aside from dishing out delicious fare at the Silver Bullet during peak fishing season, she’s helping her friend—Antoinette Chloe Brown, or ACB for short—open a drive-in movie theater in the vacant lot beside her diner. It’s just the thing to take ACB’s mind off Nick, her missing biker beau.

But their plans are fried after Nick’s body is discovered during the groundbreaking for the drive-in. And when the police connect the murder weapon to ACB, she becomes the prime suspect in eighty-sixing Nick. With the fate of her innocent friend and her business on the line, Trixie must make the guilty party pay up before someone else gets stiffed….

Includes Delicious Home-Style Recipes!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Trixie Matkowski owns the Silver Bullet Diner and summer rental cottages. She also has a bit of land that came in handy when her friend’s significant other is found in a shallow grave. Antoinette Chloe Brown, or ACB for short, owns a restaurant in town and she wants to build a drive-in on land next to Trixie’s. Her biker boyfriend, Nick, has taken off without a word to anyone, her ex-husband, the boyfriend’s brother, is rotting in jail, and she is organizing a beauty pageant, so why not jump in with both feet to another venture. She is so worried about Nick she asks Trixie to help her find him but he turns up before they do much looking. His body is discovered during the groundbreaking for the drive-in and there is enough evidence at the scene to arrest ACB and haul her off to jail.

What follows next is a nifty mystery served up with a bowlful of humor. ACB and her colorful mumus and fascinations just crack me up. Seeing her in a motorcycle sidecar must be a hoot! She and Trixie are the best of friends. Trixie even put up the bail to get her out of jail. She also let her move right into her house. The antics of these two are absolutely hilarious but Trixie does keep them on track as they try to find the real killer.

I have grown comfortable with these characters and I appreciate the comfort food served at the Silver Bullet. I don’t know how I got behind on this series but that will be remedied soon. I am so glad I started Flashback Friday to help me catch up on great series like this one. Macaroni and Freeze has moved to the top of the To-Be-Read stack and It’s A Wonderful Knife comes out February 2.

perfect 2016

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent
Find out more about Christine and her books on her webpage here.

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 February 12, 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 Giveaways Guest Posts Literary Escapes Reviews 2016 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Special Guest – Jacklyn Brady – Author of The Cakes of Monte Cristo – Review/ #Giveaway too!

special guest blue

I am absolutely delighted to welcome Jacklyn Brady to Escape With Dollycas today!

Jacklyn Brady 01

Thanks so much for inviting me to visit your blog today. I’m thrilled to be here.

One of the most frequent questions I get as a writer is where ideas for a book come from. There’s no one answer, of course. Sometimes an idea comes in a flash. I might see a character in my imagination or overhear a snippet of conversation, and my creative muse is off and running. Those times are great, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love when that happens.

cakes of monte cristoThere are other times, however, when the idea is more elusive, the thread of a plot harder to find, the characters more difficult to discover. Most writers like to talk about those flash-of-inspiration moments because they’re interesting and exciting. I think readers like to hear about them, too. I know I do. But I’m afraid that finding the plot and the characters for The Cakes of Monte Cristo wasn’t one of those lovely experiences.

I had the idea for signing Rita up to cater the Belle Lune Ball while writing Rebel Without a Cake. It seemed like a great idea, a chance for Rita and the crew to stretch and grow. Besides, the title for The Cakes of Monte Cristo had come to me in a flash, and I loved it. But when I sat down to write the book, that’s all I had–an obligation for Rita established in the previous novel and a title I adored. Nothing else.

Milk Explosion PubDomainI’d already created the Monte Cristo Hotel in Rebel so that locked me into holding the Belle Lune Ball there, but I didn’t worry. I was so excited about the title, I expected the ideas to pour forth like … well, like something wonderful and fluid.

Dried Mud Pub DomainInstead, the ideas were hidden under layers of thick, dried mud.

It took a while and a lot of brainstorming with my editor at the time to excavate the plot and find the treasure that had been hidden at Zydeco Cakes this whole time. I think we were both as surprised to find it as Rita is. It took a while longer to discover the characters. Rita hired no less than six assistants to fill in for Edie while she’s on maternity leave before Estelle finally suggested her niece, Zoey. But once Zoey showed up, I knew we had our gal.

As difficult as the story was to chip out of the rock, I grew to love it and the characters involved as I wrote. Every day brought something new and unexpected. Every conversation between Rita and her friends, family and co-workers was a revelation. Characters did and said things I wasn’t expecting, and I had no idea how the book was going to end until Rita and I got there together.

I don’t know about other writers, but for me, a hard-won book earns a very special place in my heart. The Cakes of Monte Cristo is going on that shelf, for sure. To make it even more special, the art department at Berkley Prime Crime did a terrific job with the cover. I love the dress cakes!

Thanks so much for having me. I hope you and your readers enjoy the book.

~Jacklyn

Thank you so much for visiting us today Jacklyn! 

cakes of monte cristoThe Cakes of Monte Cristo:
A Piece of Cake Mystery

Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Setting – Louisiana
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
Published by Penguin Random House, LLC.
Release Date: January 5, 2016
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425258286
E-Book ASIN: B01071RFUY
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

 

In the fresh new Piece of Cake Mystery from the national bestselling author of Rebel Without a Cake, a pastry chef becomes embroiled in a suspicious death as a mysterious curse casts a pall over an annual New Orleans ball.

Rita Lucero, co-owner of New Orleans’s Zydeco Cakes, is thrilled to be catering an annual ball held at the Monte Cristo Hotel. Designing the high-end desserts is her priority—until she stumbles upon a mystery long-buried at her shop. It’s an ornate ruby necklace, hidden underneath her staircase and rumored to be cursed.

After the gem’s appraiser suddenly drops dead and Rita herself is targeted by a menacing stranger, she’s no longer laughing at local superstition. Now with five cakes on order and an investigation into the necklace’s past revealing layers of unsettling clues, Rita has reason to keep looking over her shoulder while she’s frosting. Because any way you slice it, the next victim of the legendary curse could be her.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I am so glad we finally return to New Orleans and Zydeco Cakes. The author set us up in Rebel Without A Cake for The Cakes of Monte Cristo and Rita and her staff are taking on their biggest job ever, the Belle Lune Ball.  They needed to bake 5 gorgeous dress form cakes complete with the accessories and they are catering the affair too. When the Monte Cristo Hotel ballroom is flooded just days before the event Rita has to settle for a smaller venue, but at least it is still in the same hotel. As if she doesn’t have enough on her plate, Zydeco is short staffed because Edie is out on maternity leave and the temps to replace her have been nightmares. Rita finally hires Estelle’s niece, Zoey. Rita vows to make it work even after a freak accident that destroys part of the beautiful old home that houses the business. Especially when a very interesting discovery is made. A discovery that leaves one woman dead and Rita extra cautious as she tries to piece together all the clues before she gets herself frosted.

I love this series! These characters are some of the best ones around. They work together from early morning until sometimes late at night. They go out for drinks together and have fun. They are as close as family and genuinely care about each other. Like family they have their little spats too. They also bake the most amazing cakes! The cover is nice but the picture I have in my head from the descriptions is nothing like on the cover. Rita makes so many peacock like feathers out of fondant and paints them all to look so real. The image is crystal clear in my mind along with all the other beautiful dress creations that were made. Thank you Jacklyn for the amazing imagery brought forth from your words.

The author not only paints us beautiful pictures with her words, she crafts quite a plot as well. She gives us plenty of twists, surprises, and a few tense moments before we reach the end. She introduces some new characters and one quickly got on Rita’s nerves and mine too, well frankly everyone around her. No, she wasn’t killed but I would not have been surprised. There is always the next book. 🙂

I do hope there is a next book, or two or three and we don’t have to wait too long for a return. Each of these characters “slice” of life has been delightful. If you haven’t taken a bite out of this series yet, start at the beginning and enjoy! You can thank me later.

perfect 2016

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author

Jacklyn Brady lives on the Gulf Coast and writes the Piece of Cake Mystery series which is set in New Orleans and features cake artist and trained pastry chef, Rita Lucero. The Cakes of Monte Cristo, 6th in the Piece of Cake Mystery Series, is available at your favorite bookseller now!

Jacklyn loves to hear from readers. Connect with her on the web: Website   – Facebook   – Twitter       

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 1 copy to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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 Jacklyn 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 February 11, 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 Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Guest Posts Literary Escapes Reviews 2016 What An Animal Reading Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Avery Aames – Author of For Cheddar or Worse – #Giveaways too!

cozy wednesday 2013 640
Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am always excited when Avery Aames stops by for a visit!

Daryl Wood Gerber 0218 100dpi

I adore Mac ‘n Cheese
By Avery Aames aka Daryl Wood Gerber

My author pal Krista Davis tells me that everything tastes better with bacon. I believe her. I believe everything Krista says.

When I’m writing, I need mental support. And mac ‘n cheese is, quite simply, comfort food to the MAX. Each bite packs a punch. Each bite melts in your mouth. Add bacon and wow!

By the way, according to Wikipedia, which happens to be my go-to source for absolutely truthful information (LOL), I discovered the following.

Did you know that pasta and cheese casseroles have been recorded in cookbooks as early as the Liber de Coquina (which is one of the oldest medieval cookbooks)? Also, a pasta and cheese casserole known as makerouns was recorded in an English cookbook in the 14th century. The casserole was made with hand-cut pasta and sandwiched between a mixture of melted butter and cheese. Oh, yum!!! AND it was considered an upper class meal in Italy until around the 18th century.

So there. Raise a pinky and eat mac and cheese!

What’s your favorite guilty-pleasure food?

Mac & Bacon & Cheddar Cheese
(Gluten-free or regular)

4Ingredients:

2 cups dried macaroni, cooked to tender (about 4-5 cups cooked) (gluten-free or regular macaroni – I like the Bionatura brand of gluten-free elbow pasta)
4 tablespoons butter [1/2 cube]
1/2 tsp. white pepper
1 teaspoon garlic salt
2 tablespoons rice or potato flour (for regular, you may use regular white flour)
1 cup milk
1 cup grated cheese (equal parts white and orange Cheddar)
4 slices bacon, cooked crisp and broken into bites
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (for garnish)
Paprika (for garnish)

Directions:

Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain and set aside. This may be made a day ahead. NOTE: Do not forget to drain and set aside. You do not want the pasta to be “wet.”

In a large sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic salt & pepper and cook about 2 minutes. Add flour (gluten-free, if necessary) and stir. Cook 1 minute more, letting boil. It will thicken into a roux. Stir constantly.

Add milk, stir and let boil to thicken. About 1 minute.

Remove from heat and add white and orange Cheddars. Add bacon. Stir.

Pour sauce over drained macaroni. Toss well. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Dash with paprika.

cheddar or worse
For Cheddar or Worse:
A Cheese Shop Mystery

7th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Ohio
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Berkley (February 2, 2016)
ISBN-13: 978-0425273326
E-Book ASIN: B00X593CK8
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

In the new Cheese Shop Mystery from the Agatha Award-winning author of As Gouda as Dead, an extra-sharp tongued cheese critic is cut down during a summer cheese festival.

It’s time for the annual Cheese Festival in Providence, Ohio, and Charlotte Bessette’s cheese shop is packed with homemade specialties. Meanwhile, her friend Erin is prepping her dairy farm and inn for cheese makers, marketers, journalists, and one surprise guest—Lara Berry, pretentious cheese whiz, pompous bestselling author, and pungent critic whose extra sharp tongue can crumble a reputation.

Even though any love for Lara by her friends curdled long ago, Charlotte is surprised when the foodie is smothered to death in her room at Erin’s inn. Accusations start flying, but the one laying blame on Erin strikes Charlotte as a crock. Now, to clear her friend’s name, Charlotte has to sift through Lara’s ex-lovers, former business partners, and unforgiving enemies to find a killer before Lara’s past casts a tainted pall on the festival’s future.

RECIPES INCLUDED

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Say Cheese for one last time. Seriously, I had tears in my eyes when I learned that this would be our last visit to Fromagerie Bessette. I absolutely love these characters and I will miss them dearly. Avery Aames pulls out all the stops and gives us a fabulous mystery to bring the series to a close.

Providence, Ohio is hosting their annual cheese festival. Food, music, plays and a “brain trust” for cheese makers, distributors, and journalists. The “brain trust” is being held at the Emerald Pastures Farm owned by Erin Emerald. She also has an inn where several of the participants are staying. One special surprise guest has been added to the group, Lara Berry, best selling author and food critic. She is not well liked by those who know her, her reviews have done damage throughout the industry. When she is found murdered there is no shortage of suspects but the prime one is Charlotte’s friend, Erin Emerald. Charlotte butts right into the investigation to prove her friend’s innocence.

All our favorite characters are back.  Charlotte and Jordan are settling in to their married life and doing their best to mesh their very busy schedules. Charlotte’s grandmother, the mayor, is involved in almost every aspect of the festival. Her grandfather is helping out at the cheese shop while Charlotte attends the brain trust with her new hubby. Matthew and Meredith are expecting and she has been put on complete bed rest.  Not an easy task for an active woman with 2 young girls in the house or the man trying to keep everything as normal as possible. Delilah and the police chief, Urso, have rekindled their relationship.  And then we have all the crazy characters in town for the festival and the brain trust.

A fantastic plot full of surprises carries these characters through the pages. Interspersed between the main plots and subplots there is plenty of cheese, both tasting and food created with cheese. You will find yourself drooling. I found myself so entranced by the story I felt like I was searching out clues along with Charlotte and could almost taste the delectable treats sprinkled throughout the entire story.

I didn’t want the story to end. I slowed down my reading and tried to savor each and every interaction and step the characters took.  I knew when I reached the final page there would be no more. No more Charlotte and Rebecca working together at the shop, no more Matthew picking out the perfect wine, no more Pépère sneaking pieces of cheese, no more Grand-mère and her magnificent plans for the city or the playhouse, no more Charlotte trying to get Urso to tell her things he shouldn’t, no more cheese and those amazing recipes, no more of so many things I am going to miss. I am greedy. I wanted more! The only good thing is that I will still be able to read what Avery Aames writes because she does have another series written as herself, Daryl Wood Gerber. The Cookbook Nook Mysteries are fun and fabulous too! So if like me and are saying good-bye to Charlotte and her family and friends, I hope you are saying hello to Jenna and everyone in Crystal Cove. Of course, if both series are new to you I highly recommend them all.

perfect 2016

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author

Avery Aames is the Agatha Award–winning author of The Long Quiche Goodbye and six other titles in the Cheese Shop Mystery series. As Daryl Wood Gerber, she is the nationally bestselling author of  the Cookbook Nook Mysteries, including Fudging the Books, Stirring the Plot, Inherit the Word, and Final Sentence. Like her protagonist, Avery is an admitted foodie. Prior to writing, Avery (aka Daryl) acted on stage and television, including on Murder, She Wrote. Don’t forget to sign up for her fan club so you can be entered in all her contests! You’ll find that fan club on her website! Visit her website at www.darylwoodgerber.com.

Author Links

Blog: www.mysteryloverskitchen.com (Blog Wednesdays)

www.facebook.com/darylwoodgerber     www.pinterest/darylwoodgerber

www.twitter.com/darylwoodgerber     www.twitter.com/averyaames

www.goodreads/darylwoodgerber     www.goodreads/averyaames



GIVEAWAY

Penguin is giving away a copy of For Cheddar or Worse
and Avery is giving away copy of winner’s choice of CHEESE SHOP MYSTERY!!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

Leave a comment for Avery 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 February 10, 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

Avery is also touring with
Great Escapes Book Tours this week!
Visit every stop for more reviews, recipes and giveaways

for cheddar or worse large banner640

Tour Participants
January 25 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review, Giveaway
January 26 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post, Giveaway
January 27 – Brooke Blogs – Review, Guest Post, Giveaway
January 28 – Mallory Heart Reviews – Review
January 29 – Griperang’s Bookmarks – Review, Giveaway
January 30 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review, Guest Post, Giveaway
January 31 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Review, Guest Post, Giveaway

Including this Great Grand Prize!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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.”