Jul 192019
 

Gore in the Garden
(A Washington Whodunit)
by Colleen Shogan

I am very excited to have Colleen Shogan visit today!! 

Hi Colleen, 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a political scientist and senior executive at the Library of Congress. I live outside Washington, D.C. with my husband and beagle mutt, Conan. My favorite pastime is reading by the pool.

What are three things most people don’t know about you?

  1. Most people think I’m an extrovert, but I also like spending time by myself.
  2. I’m a morning person and do my best work then.
  3.  I was the valedictorian of my high school.

What is the first book you remember reading?

An Encyclopedia Brown book.

What are you reading now?

There Will Be No Miracles Here” by Casey Gerald

What books have most inspired you?

Walter Isaacson’s “Steve Jobs” inspired me so much, I read it twice.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?

I’ve always read mysteries for leisure and relaxation. One day, I took a walk in my neighborhood and came up with the plot for “Stabbing in the Senate,” the first book in my series. I decided to take a shot at writing my own mystery novel, and I haven’t stopped since.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

In the spring, summer, and fall, I write outside in my backyard on our deck next to our pool.

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

I work on Capitol Hill and there’s no shortage of intrigue. I’m observant and I pay attention to conflict, adversity, and behavior. Paying attention ensures that I have an unlimited supply of ideas for future books.

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

It can be difficult finding the time to write. Since I have a full-time job that sometimes extends into the evening hours, it’s hard to squeeze in time each day for writing.

What do you think makes a good story?

I start with the characters and the setting. Once I have those ingredients, the plot comes together in support of them.

Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

Most people assume that my main character, Kit Marshall, is based on me. She’s really not. There may be similarities, but I would likely never take the risks that Kit does. In some ways, Kit is aspirational for me.

What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

Most cozies are set in a small town, and my series takes place in Washington, D.C., an urban setting. My books aren’t about politics, but they do reveal some of the inner workings of our nation’s capital. That affords them a slightly higher level of seriousness than other amateur sleuth mysteries. I also think my characters are more modern in their mannerisms, conduct, and behavior than most other books in the genre.

What’s next on the horizon for you?

I’m currently writing the sixth book in the series, tentatively titled “Larceny at the Library.”  I think it will be a real fan favorite in 2020.

Thank you, Colleen, for dropping by today!

Keep reading for my thoughts about Colleen’s new book, Gore in the Garden.

About Gore in the Garden

Gore in the Garden (A Washington Whodunit)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Camel Press (July 16, 2019)
Paperback: 224 pages
ISBN-10: 1603817239
ISBN-13: 978-1603817233
ASIN: B07S4F8XZZ

After her boss narrowly escaped political defeat, Kit Marshall is settling into life as a busy congressional staffer. While attending an evening reception at the United States Botanic Garden, Kit’s best friend stumbles upon the body of a high-ranking government official. The chairwoman of a congressional committee asks Kit to investigate, and she finds herself once again in the thick of a murder investigation. The complications keep coming with the unexpected arrival of Kit’s younger brother Sebastian, a hippie protestor who seems more concerned about corporate greed than the professional problems he causes for his sister. To make matters even worse, the romantic lives of Kit’s closest friends are driving her crazy, diverting her attention from the mystery she’s been tasked to solve. The search for the killer requires her to tussle with an investigative journalist right out of a noir novel, a congresswoman fixated on getting a statue of James Madison installed on the Capitol grounds and a bossy botanist who would do anything to protect the plants he loves. When the murderer sends a threatening message to Kit via a highly unusual delivery mechanism, Kit knows she must find the killer or risk the lives of her friends and loved ones.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Kit Marshall attends a reception with her boss, Congresswoman Maeve Dixon, best friend Meg, hubby Doug, and her brother Sebastian, at the United States Botanic Garden, just in time to witness the corpse flower bloom. As the group leaves the Garden Meg makes a quick stop to the bathroom. Her screams alert them back into the building where they find the Architect of the Capitol dead. Kit is quickly pegged to be the liaison between the police and Congress and conduct her own investigation. She also has to run interference when her brother becomes part of protests on the hill, reduce conflicts between her staff, and keep on top of her real job as Chief of Staff Dixon. All this plus she has to stay one step ahead of the killer or she will be their next victim.

________________________

This is another fabulous addition to this series. I loved the way the corpse flower played into the story. The University of Wisconsin had one and whenever it bloomed it was big news around here.

All the characters I have come to love return, including Kit’s pepperoni loving pup. We also meet Kit’s brother that was too busy along with her parents to attend Kit and Doug’s wedding. I have to say Kit is more forgiving than I would be but then again there is a murderer on the loose. I enjoyed that Doug is now working close enough that he can assist her in her investigation.

Because of Ms. Shogan’s experience, she gives what feels like a believable picture of life behind the scenes in a Congressperson’s office. With the current climate in Washington politics, a book like this is very current but not as divisive. The murder is Kit’s main focus and other things on her plate are the staff’s summer picnic, their love lives and trying to keep her brother out of trouble and may even stay in D.C. Shogan brings all the subplots together seamlessly and the story maintains a great flow until we get near the end, then the pace spikes as the killer is revealed. I was holding my breath for more than a few moments.

The author did an excellent job of describing Kit’s surroundings. It has been a long time since I have been to Washington and she introduced a few new sites I didn’t know existed but her words took me right where I needed to be.

While taking place in a big town, Colleen keeps things pretty cozy. Engaging characters, a captivating story, set in an awesome place, will have readers rapidly flipping the pages. The twists are exquisite and our protag has guts, knows how to think on her feet and doesn’t back down.

I highly recommend this entire series, but each book can be read on its own.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Colleen J. Shogan

Colleen J. Shogan has been reading mysteries since the age of six. She conceived of the plot of her first mystery, “Stabbing in the Senate,” one morning while taking a walk in her suburban Washington, D.C. neighborhood. A political scientist by training, Colleen has taught American politics at Yale, George Mason University, Georgetown, and Penn. She previously worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative staffer in the United States Senate and as the Deputy Director of the Congressional Research Service. She is currently a senior executive at the Library of Congress who works on great initiatives such as the National Book Festival. Colleen lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband Rob and their beagle mutt Conan. Colleen’s first book won the Next Generation Indie Prize for Best Mystery. Her books have been RONE and Killer Nashville finalists in the mystery category.

Author Links – Webpage – Facebook – Twitter –  GoodReads 

Purchase Links
Amazon Paperback     Kindle   B&N         Kobo      Smashwords

More Books In This Series

 

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS
July 16 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT 
July 16 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT
July 17 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
July 18 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST
July 18 – The Book Diva’s Reads – SPOTLIGHT
July 19 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
July 20 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
July 21 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW
July 21 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
July 22 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
July 23 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
July 24 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
July 24 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
July 25 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
July 26 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
July 27 – Here’s How It Happened – REVIEW
July 28 – Cozy Up With Kathy – GUEST POST
July 29 – The Book Decoder  REVIEW

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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.”

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Jul 172019
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am pleased to feature Devon Delany’s Guilty as Charred today! 

Guilty as Charred
(A Cook-Off Mystery)
by Devon Delaney

 

About the Book 


Guilty as Charred (A Cook-Off Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Connecticut
Kensington (June 25, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496714474
ISBN-13: 978-1496714473
Digital ASIN: B07HVYY7KN

Sherry Oliveri has attained celebrity status after winning the America’s Good Taste Recipe Contest with her delectable New England Crab Cake Sliders. But now that she’s back home in Connecticut, she’s got to deal with something else fishy . . .

Sherry’s making a guest appearance on a local radio show when the news comes in: Poppy Robinson has been found dead in the town’s community garden. Sherry was supposed to be taking questions about her win in the national cooking competition, but instead the callers start dishing dirt.

Poppy and Sherry were both involved in the vegetable garden, and while Poppy may have been a bit priggish, it wasn’t anything that called for a shovel to the back of the head. There was already trouble brewing, with the owner of the land threatening to renege on their agreement, and this murder has taken tensions to a new level. Now while Sherry’s organizing a Fourth of July cook-off event, she’s also got a murder investigation on her plate . . .

Includes Recipes from Sherry’s Kitchen!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Sherry Oliveri is back with a major win under her belt and another murder to solve. She won the America’s Good Taste Recipe Contest beating out cooks from the other 49 states. While talking about her win for a local radio station breaking news informs listeners that Poppy Robinson has been killed and that her body was found at Augustin’s community garden. Poppy and her family owned the land the community garden was on, she was on its board and ruled with an iron fist. She was also running for mayor.

The current mayor thought a 4th of July cookoff would be a great way to bring tourists to town and thought Sherry would be the perfect person to organize it.  He also wants the murder case wrapped up asap! So Sherri is planning a cookoff, preparing for her next cooking contest, working with her dad at the Ruggery and has now added catching a killer to her already long to-do-list. She is going to need the perfect recipe to solve the murder and get on with her life. Hopefully, she can save the community garden too.

_____________

Protag Sherry Oliveri continues to grow and evolve as do all her relationships with a great cast of core characters. I continue to admire her relationship with her father. Detective Ray Bease also returns and tries to keep her out of his investigation but we all know that is not going to happen. I love when her sister comes to visit and the friendship she has built with Amber.

Ms. Delaney has cooked up quite a mystery this time complete with the red herrings cozy readers love. Twists, turns, surprises fill the pages. Sherri now has a reputation for solving murder mysteries and so many people were pressing her for answers. The deceased had an off-putting demeanor but was that enough for someone to want her dead?

I enjoyed the way Sherri handled her investigation, she really didn’t know Poppy well, but the killer is on her tail so she must be on the right track. Her current challenge is to live through her investigation. I must have totally missed a major clue because the killer reveal caught me off-guard.

I was very entertained by this great story. It was well-written and plotted which was key because there were several subplots that all needed to come together at the end. I will say all of Sherry’s activity exhausted me.  But her recipes though delighted me. I hope she gets a few months off before the next case comes along. She needs to recharge her batteries and have time for doing what she loves, finding the perfect recipe to win another challenge.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Devon Delaney is a wife, mother of three, accomplished cooking contester, recent empty nester, and lifelong resident of the Northeast. She has been handsomely rewarded for her recipe innovation over the last twenty-plus years, including a full kitchen of major appliances, top cash prizes, and four trips to Disney World. She has also won the Grand Prize in a national writing contest for her “foodie” poem “Ode to Pork Passion.”

Check out Devon’s Website and find her on Instagram 

Praise for Guilty as Charred (A Cook-Off Mystery)
by Devon Delaney

Guilty as Charred has appetizing cuisine, a technologically challenged detective, a panicked populace, toxic threats, a canine named Chutney, and one prying protagonist.
~The Avid Reader

This book has well-written characters. I love how the author’s writing just flows through the pages. This is a cute cozy mystery.
~Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting

A great mystery full of quirky characters and mouth-watering food that will keep you hooked until the very end. Perfect for fans of culinary-themed cozies.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

Cook-off competitions can be crazy, engaging and engrossing but small time life can be hectic and homicidal!
~A Wytch’s Book Review Blog

Guilty as Charred by Devon Delaney is a delightful mystery with wonderful characters and a lovely small town setting. It has food, murder, and everything that leads us to a great whodunit.
~Baroness’ Book Trove

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKoboGoogle PlayIndieBound

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS
July 8 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW, EXCERPT
July 8 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
July 9 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
July 9 – Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting – REVIEW
July 9 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
July 10 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
July 10 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
July 10 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST
July 11 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
July 11 – Baroness Book Trove – REVIEW, EXCERPT
July 11 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER GUEST POST
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July 12 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT
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July 15 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
July 16 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
July 16 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW, RECIPE
July 16 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
July 17 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
July 17 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

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

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Jul 162019
 

Left Fur Dead
(A Jules & Bun Mystery)
by J.M. Griffin

 

About Left Fur Dead


Left Fur Dead (A Jules & Bun Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – New Hampshire
Kensington (June 25, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496720571
ISBN-13: 978-1496720573
Digital ASIN: B07HVS38YB

On Fur Bridge Farm, Jules cares for rescued rabbits. But when a killer strikes, she’ll need a rabbit to rescue her . . .

Juliette “Jules” Bridge prides herself on the tender rehabilitation she provides for injured or abused rabbits on her New Hampshire rescue farm, but she has a very special relationship with one bunny in particular. Bun is a black-and-white rabbit who happens to have the ability to communicate through mental telepathy. Once she got over the shock, Jules found her furry friend had a lot to say.

One frigid March morning on their walk together, Bun spots a body. The police identify the frozen stiff as Arthur Freeman, aka Arty the Mime. Jules and Arty knew each other on the children’s party circuit, where he’d perform magic tricks and she had an educational rabbit petting pen. With Bun egging her on, Jules decides it’s time they hop to it and put their heads together to discover who silenced the mime. But their investigation leads them down a rabbit hole of more suspects and lies, while a killer sets a trap for them . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

A rabbit is an unusual character to find in a cozy mystery. The only series I can think of that included a bunny was The Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries by Elizabeth Lynn Casey. The bunny, Paris, in those stories, added a lot of humor but wasn’t one of the leading characters like Bun, the bunny is in Left Fur Dead.

We meet Jules Bridge, owner of the Fur Bridge Farm where she cares for Bun and several other rescued rabbits. Bun is a very special bunny, he can communicate with Jules, using mental telepathy. He is one opinionated rabbit who rarely takes a break. This makes their relationship very interesting. Jules has to be careful because people would never understand the way the two of them “talk” but she does value his intuitive input. Together they work children’s parties and other events to raise awareness about rabbits and what Jules does on her farm. The farm also has a wonderful yarn shop I would love to visit!

On one of their morning walks Bun discovers the body of Author Freeman/Arty the Mime. Jules and Arty sometimes worked the same events. With Bun giving her a big push she decides maybe they can pull a rabbit out of a hat and catch the killer, but chances are they just may find themselves ensnared in the murderer’s trap.

After I got into the rhythm of Bun and Jules dialogues this was a very entertaining read. The author took time to introduce not only Bun and Jules but Jess Plain, a veterinary student almost ready to take the exam for her license. When Jess learns that Jules and the rabbits could be in danger due to her snooping, she moves right into Jules farmhouse. I really like the bond that has formed between these very independent women.

The murder mystery drew out over a longer period of time than the usual form for books in this genre, but in addition to a killer, we were also trying to catch an intruder that was created havoc on the Fur Bridge Farm and trying to ascertain whether both were connected. We also meet a mystery man that unexpectedly shows up, he may help answer some of Jules questions. I did feel Bun and Jules did not give Sheriff Jack Carver much of a chance but he was a patient man while still telling Jules to stay out of his investigation. His wife is a real peach too. I think we could be fast friends.

I feel this series is off to a grand start. I was totally surprised by the ending. The characters are very appealing and the setting is superb.  I do love rabbits, we have wild rabbits often hopping through our yard even here in town. In fact, I can see one out my window right now.

I am looking forward to the next Jules & Bun Mystery!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About the Author

J. M. Griffin is the bestselling cozy mystery author of sixteen novels, including the Vinnie Esposito series. She lives in rural Rhode Island with her husband and two very mysterious cats. Visit her at jm-griffin.com.

Author Links

WebsiteFacebookBlog

Purchase Links – AmazonB&N  – KoboGoogle Play IndieBound

Coming February 25, 2020

Praise for Left Fur Dead (A Jules & Bun Mystery)
by J.M. Griffin

An excellent start to a new series, I love the fact that one of the protagonists is a rabbit! It is certainly a change from the usual cats and dogs 😀
~A Wytch’s Book Review Blog

This was a fun read, and as someone who supports various animal rescue groups, I enjoyed the discussion of the educational and rescue aspects.
~Christa Reads and Writes

I think the highest compliment I can give to this book is that after reading it I want to go out and adopt a rabbit!
~Melissa’s Mochas, Mysteries, and Meows

This was a new twist on the normal cat or dog partners you find in a lot of cozy mysteries . . . If you enjoy cozy mysteries with animal companions, you’ll definitely want to give this new series a try.
~The Book’s the Thing

This is a fun story, tender and emotional, with lots of light-hearted moments; impossible to read without smiling much of the time.
~The Power of Words

A fantastic start to an adorable new cozy mystery series . . . Well written mystery solved by an unlikely duo that will steal your heart as they keep you entertained. Perfect for cozy fans.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

Left Fur Dead was a delightful mystery with a likable heroine and a furry cast of characters.
~Moonlight Rendezvous

Bolstered by a charming rabbit LEFT FUR DEAD provides a unique mystery. With room to grow the first Jules and Bun Mystery is a promising start to a new series.
~Cozy Up With Kathy

I loved the premise of the telepathic talking bunny rabbit – that really put a new spin on things and made this story unique and stand out.
~eBook Addicts

Left Fur Dead is a cute cozy mystery featuring even cuter rabbits as part of the narrative and one special bunny as a lead detective.
~The Cozy Pages

The mystery in this book was four star for me. It was well thought out by author J. M. Griffin. I was close to solving it, but not until the reveal did it all really make sense.
~Lisa Ks Book Reviews

An entertaining story, Left Fur Dead is an easy read filled with wonderful characters. The world building is done well and I was able to visualize every scene and felt like I was there.
~Sapphyria’s Books

All of the characters created by the author, J. M. Griffin, were fascinating in themselves and I could see some opportunities for character progression.
~Brianne’s Book Reviews

Left Fur Dead is an upbeat cozy mystery with a dead mime, an inquisitive rabbit, a cunning killer, and a worried rabbit rescuer ready to hop to it to find the mime’s killer.
~The Avid Reader

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS
July 8 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
July 8 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
July 8 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW
July 8 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
July 9 – Mochas, Mysteries, and Meows – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
July 9 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
July 9 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW
July 9 – The Power of Words – REVIEW
July 10 – I’m All About Books – GUEST POST
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July 15 – Author Teresa Watson – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
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July 16 – Brooke Blogs – CHARACTER GUEST POST
July 16 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
July 17 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
July 17 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
July 17 – Eskimo Princess Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

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

 

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Jul 122019
 


On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.

This book takes care of the “X” on my Alphabet Soup – Author Edition Challenge!


On Her Own Two Wheels
Contemporary Literature & Fiction
Setting – Illinois
Independently Published (November 5, 2012)
Paperback: 160 pages
ISBN-10: 1478339780
ISBN-13: 978-1478339786
Kindle ASIN: B00AAQL97C

Just three years out of college and Cassie Wright has hit a dead end. Still living at home with her mom and dad and dating the same writer masked as a waiter, Devon, for just as long, she knows she wants more out of life. Motorcycle lessons seem like a fun idea and the perfect escape. Cassie soon finds herself breaking away from her dull life and starts on a journey to self-confidence as she learns how to make each day extraordinary.

While driving home from visiting her grandmother in Wisconsin, she drags a reluctant Devon to a local biker event at a motorcycle dealership. From there, she becomes inspired to take riding lessons for some much-needed fun and adventure. In time, she meets Marcus, the part-time riding instructor, and full-time college administrator. He is drawn to Cassie’s ambition and adventurous spirit, and a romance quickly blossoms, forcing Cassie to realize she deserves better than what Devon chooses to give.

Becoming more confident in her everyday life through her riding, Cassie quits the electronics shop to become the motorcycle dealership’s new marketing director, opening herself up to an entirely new set of professional and personal obstacles. Cassie must learn to approach her issues in a whole new way while striving to be the type of woman she herself would want to emulate.

An inspirational coming-of-age novel for any woman who has ever settled for less, romantically or professionally, On Her Own Two Wheels tells the moving tale of a young woman finding the courage to challenge herself, break the mold, seek adventure, and make the ordinary in her life extraordinary as she truly comes into her own.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Cassie Wright is trying to find her way in life and makes a spur of the moment decision to take a motorcycle riding lessons. Her parents are very supportive, her boyfriend not so much. Three years out of college she is realizing her relationship with Devon is going nowhere and her life is not heading where she wants.  She decides to have a fun escape that helps her grow more in one week than she has in years. There were bumps along the way and I know this is just a short snippet in her life. Who knows what happened after the last page.

This was a fun quick read! Part self-awareness and part romance this book is a feel-good novel for women young like Cassie and old like me. I enjoyed following Cassie on her short journey. I liked the way her confidence bloomed. The ending was as expected, but it as a nice little distraction from real life.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Stacy Xavier

I am an attorney living and working in Illinois. My great loves include God, books, my friends, my family, animals, good food, good drink, and motorcycles. I also love learning about how people achieve success, collecting inspirational quotes, and pretending I’ve won the lottery. I enjoy going to the gym; I enjoy not going to the gym even more. I believe in Ben Franklin’s words: “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
Facebook  – Blog – Twitter:

Available for Kindle for $0.99


Since I know this book isn’t a cozy I am giving away
1 Kindle Copy of a Cozy of your choice
priced at $2.99 or lower.
You can choose this book if you would like or need a “x” author too 😛 

It will be sent directly from Amazon.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Contest Will End July 26, 2019, 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.”

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Jul 112019
 

Murder’s No Votive Confidence
(Nantucket Candle Maker Mystery)
by Christin Brecher

I am pleased to welcome Christin Brecher to Escape With Dollycas Today!

Hi Christin,

Tell us a little bit about yourself

I’m a stay-at-home mom who is about to send her kids off to college over the next couple of years.  I’m excited for them, they’re ready to fly the coop.  On the other hand, a friend said she’s going to start a wine-fueled support group for those of us saying good-bye, and I plan to be the first to join.

Murder’s No Votive Confidence, the first of the Nantucket Candle Maker Mysteries, is my debut novel.

What are three things most people don’t know about you?

  • I conquered my fear of heights by learning how to belay down a cliff with a good friend from college during a spontaneous trip we took to Maine.
  • Years later, I had a relapse atop Mont St-Michel in France, and my kids had to walk me down from the medieval town’s peak. Both experiences were quite humbling.
  • I’m allergic to cats, but I do have a spunky dog named Bandit.

What is the first book you remember reading?

The first book that caused me to lose myself entirely to another world was Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott.  I was about ten or eleven, and I vividly remember feeling heartbroken when I realized I only had fifty pages to go before I’d have to say good-bye to the characters.  I actually cried when I finished the book.

What are you reading now?

The Nantucket Book Festival, in mid-June, was filled with many fantastic authors and panels.  My favorite was a mystery panel featuring Nantucket authors Blue Balliett, Steven Axelrod, and Cherie Burns – hosted by Nancy Thayer.  They were all so interesting and I enjoyed speaking with them briefly afterward.  I walked home with these four author’s latest books, which I’m enjoying immensely.

What books have most inspired you?

  • Agatha Christie’s Curtain – because of the plot twist
  • Rex Stout’s Fer-de-lance – because of the voice
  • Carolyn Keene’s The Hidden Staircase – because it was so liberating
  • Goscinny Sempe’s Nicolas – because of its subtle but spot-on wit
  • Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women – because I made four friends
  • Dante’s Inferno – because it left me with ideas I’d never had before
  • Jane Austin’s Pride & Prejudice – because I was seventeen and fell in love with Mr. Darcy
  • Shakespeare’s As You Like It – because I saw it performed in Stratford-Upon-Avon and my understanding of words changed forever.

Oh, boy.  This is an unfair question.  This list is a betrayal of so many others which have inspired me, each for different reasons and at different points of my life.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?

From the moment I put pen to paper, I was writing a mystery, without really thinking about it consciously.  I think it might be because I love puzzles, and puzzling out motives, psychology, secrets.  There’s also something very satisfying about seeing the world put back to order at the end of a mystery.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

I’m in Nantucket right now, and I have a couple of favorite places to write when I’m here.  One, of course, is the island’s library, the Athenaeum.  There’s a quiet room on the second floor with tables and a nice view of the garden below.  I also frequent the Corner Table down the street from the library.  They are very generous about allowing people to work in their space, which is really great when I need to be around the energy of others.

Where do the ideas from your books come from?

They can come from anywhere.  The other day, for example, a friend told me about candle clocks.  I knew nothing about these ancient devices, which were candles with spaced markings to indicate timed intervals.  The moment I learned about them, however, I’ve been hell-bent on figuring out a way to use one in my Nantucket Candle Maker series.

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Chapter One!  There’s always so much I want to say.  And, at the same time, I’ve started a journey that I know will take me in directions I haven’t yet imagined.  It’s both a daunting and exciting moment.

What do you think makes a good story?

I’m really drawn to characters.  When I cried over Little Women, it was because I felt I had come to know Meg, Joe, Beth, and Amy as real people.  Each reached some part of me.

Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

This is a fun question.  I suppose there’s a little of me in all of my characters, but none of them is really “me.” As for my heroine, Stella, I relate to someone who has both a business and artistic brain since I worked for years in the corporate world before raising my kids and starting to write.  I connect with her appreciation of being a local girl, since I’ve lived in the same neighborhood in NYC for most of my life, and have always come back to Nantucket.  Like Stella, many of my friends have been in my life for decades, and I am close to and value family.

Unlike Stella, however, I like a map.  I need to make to-do lists to get through the day, rather than throw myself into the unknown and worry about the plan after.  I certainly don’t have her stamina, either.  That girl does more in a day than I sometimes do in a week!  I also envy her ability to eat so much cheese.

What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

The Nantucket Candle Maker Mysteries supply all of the fun of a cozy mystery:  An amateur sleuth, a small town, a clever cat, and a cast of supporting characters with whom it’s fun to spend time.  Plus, of course, a puzzle to solve at its core.  Somewhat different from others, however, the books are about a candle-maker and the many ways she’s developed her trade as a craftsman, business owner, and teacher.  The books also embrace the history of Nantucket, which is rich and vibrant and comes with many of its own mysteries.

What’s next on the horizon for you?

I’ve been collecting ideas for new characters.  Whether they will end up in Stella’s adventures or as stars of their own stories, I have yet to figure out.  We’re still at the “nice to meet you” stage.

Thank you, Christin, for stopping by today!

Keep reading for my thoughts on Murder’s No Votive Confidence.

 

About the Book 


Murder’s No Votive Confidence (Nantucket Candle Maker Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Massachusetts
Kensington (June 25, 2019)
ISBN-10: 149672139X
ISBN-13: 978-1496721396
Digital ASIN: B07HVYJNRD

Nantucket candle store owner Stella Wright specializes in creating unique candles for every occasion. But someone sets the stage for murder when a Memorial Day celebration becomes a wedding to die for . . .

Jessica Sterling’s candlelight-themed nuptials promises to be the perfect kick-off to the summer’s first official holiday weekend. Stella’s thrilled to have been chosen to provide the decorative centerpiece for the wedding ceremony: a two-foot-tall scented unity candle—a symbol of the happy couple’s love. But it looks like the bride-to-be’s uncle won’t be walking his niece down the aisle after he’s found dead. The murder weapon is Stella’s seemingly indestructible candle, now split in two.

When a beloved local bartender is arrested, Stella’s sure a visiting police captain running the case made a rush to justice. With superstitious brides-to-be canceling orders and sales waxing and waning at her store, the Wick & Flame owner decides to do some sleuthing of her own. Abetted by a charming reporter and challenged by the town’s sexiest cop, Stella’s determined to shine a light on the truth and uncover a killer who’s snuffing out her own flame.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Stella Wright owns Wick & Flame and has become the go-to person for wedding unity candles. She has created a two-foot-tall unity candle for Jessica Sterling and Joe Handler’s wedding, along with candles for the church, reception, and for the guests to take home all with an original scent approved by the bride. The family and bridal party have checked into the hotel including Simon Sterling, the bride’s uncle who has been asked to walk her down the aisle. New plans must be made when Simon body is found next to the broken unity candle.

A visiting police captain known for quickly solving cases makes a fast arrest. A bartender Stella has known for years. Also, brides are tying her to the murder and starting to cancel their orders. Deciding the only way to catch the real killer is by doing her own investigation. She is soon burning the candle at both ends when she searches out a murderer and works to replace the broken candle. She just needs to do it all without becoming the killer’s next target.

_______

I love the candlemaking theme of this series and am in awe of Stella Wright’s talent. Setting it on Nantucket is a wonderful bonus!

The author introduces us to a wonderful group of core characters. Stella, candlemaker extraordinaire, her female best friend wedding planner and very pregnant Emily, Nantucket Police Officer Andy, male best friend, which may turn into something more. . . or not, and Peter, a journalist who has come to town to report on the wedding. He could also be interested in Stella and wants to help her solve the murder, especially if he gets the scoop.  The author does an excellent job developing these characters, making them real and engaging. There is still much to learn but for the first book in a series, it was very well done.

Ms. Brecher also introduces a vast number of suspects, some with more motive than others and many with opportunity. The victim’s cat, Tinker also played a major role.

This cozy mystery is full of twists, turns, and surprises. I read this entire book in one day. I could not put it down. The pages just kept turning, raising new questions, bringing different suspects to the forefront. I enjoyed the way the story was laid out and the author’s clear descriptions. A romance is hinted at but the relationships are complicated. The mystery came to a very satisfying conclusion. A wedding has its own kind of drama, a dead body takes things to a whole new level.

The first book in a new cozy mystery series is hard to write. The author needs to find a balance between introducing the characters and giving readers an entertaining mystery. Christin Brecher excelled at both. She also left me wanting more. I can’t wait for my next trip to Nantucket and Wick & Flame. Murder Makes Scents is scheduled to release on February 25, 2020.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

More About Christin Brecher

Christin Brecher was born and raised in NYC, where her family and many childhood friends still reside. As such, she feels she is as much of a small-town girl as any. The idea to write the Nantucket Candle Maker series sprang from her life-long connection to the small island off the coast of Massachusetts. Spending summers there as a child, Christin read from her family’s library of mystery novels, after which she began to imagine stories inspired by the island’s whaling heyday, its notoriously foggy nights, and during long bike rides to the beach. After many years in marketing for the publishing industry, followed by years raising her children, Murder’s No Votive Confidence is Christin’s debut novel. Visit her at www.christinbrecher.com.
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Coming February 25, 2020

Praise for Murder’s No Votive Confidence
(Nantucket Candle Maker Mystery)
by Christin Brecher

What a hoot! Seriously! I absolutely adored the main character, Stella.
~The Book Decoder

Christin Brecher has created an entertaining and clean cozy mystery, steeped in small-island atmosphere. This is a fun traditional cozy read, a story that I can easily recommend.
~The Power of Words

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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.”

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Jul 102019
 


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am happy to welcome Anna Gerard to Escape With Dollycas today! 

Peach Clobbered:
A Georgia B&B Mystery
by Anna Gerard

Hi Anna, 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.  

I’m the NYT bestselling author of the Black Cat Bookshop Mystery series (written as Ali Brandon) and have published two other series…the Tarot Cats Mystery series from Midnight Ink and the Leonardo da Vinci Mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime. I’ve also published five historical romances under the names Alexa Smart and Anna Gerard. PEACH CLOBBERED, first book in my upcoming Georgia B&B Mystery series (written as Anna Gerard) will be my 16th published novel. I live in South Florida, though I was born and raised in Texas.

What are three things most people dont know about you?

I’ve never snow-skied, I’m allergic to apples (and peaches!), and I have three tattoos.

What is the first book you remember reading?

I know I read books long before this, but the first title I remember is THE BOBBSEY TWINS IN VOLCANO LAND.

What are you reading now?  I have a huge TBR stack that I need to delve into once I’m off deadline. But I most recently finished reading an ARC for Maggie Toussaint’s DREAMED IT paranormal mystery, which should be published later this year (go pre-order it!).

What books have most inspired you?  Throughout high school, I read nothing but romantic suspense and gothic romances, which I’m sure have a bearing on my writing style today.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries? Because, although I started out publishing historical romances, all my books had dead bodies lying around. It seemed a natural progression to move into the mystery genre.

Do you have a special place you like to write? Nothing fancy. Either my desk in my home office; or, if I need a change, I move my laptop onto my back screened-in porch and let the cats help me write.

Where do the ideas for your books come from? Anywhere and everywhere – it’s rare I can pinpoint an actual inspiration.

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging? Giving it priority over the 999 other things I need to do (especially when I’m on deadline).

What do you think makes a good story? I want to see a distinct beginning/middle/end to the tale. And, the main characters (even if not entirely likable) must be fully developed and relatable. And at the end of the book, I want to see a goal reached, a lesson learned…basically, a payoff for having spent those hours reading. It never hurts to have a cute dog or cat as part of the story, either.

Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?  Probably Nina Fleet, the B&B owner and amateur sleuth of my current Georgia B&B Mystery series. Although there is a lot of me in Darla Pettistone from my Black Cat Bookshop Mystery series.

What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?  Since there are so many great cozy mystery authors out there, I can’t claim to be a better writer or have more clever plots than anyone else. But I think my stories have heart as well as suspense and a bit of humor, plus I include felines and canines that aren’t just cozy window dressing but are fully realized characters. If you don’t cry at least once and laugh out loud at least twice when you read my books, then I’ve fallen down on the job.

Whats next on the horizon for you? I’m finishing up the manuscript for my next Georgia B&B Mystery, PEACHY SCREAM, and am waiting on word on hopefully reselling my Tarot Cats Mystery series to a new publisher.

Thank you, Anna, for visiting today!

Keep reading for my thoughts about Anna’s Peach Clobbered.

 

About the Book 


Peach Clobbered: A Georgia B&B Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Crooked Lane Books (July 9, 2019)
Hardcover
ISBN-10: 1643850067
ISBN-13: 978-1643850061
Digital ASIN: B07JMK2JRD

What’s black and white and dead all over? Georgia bed and breakfast proprietor Nina Fleet finds out when she comes across a corpse in a penguin costume.

Nina Fleet’s life ought to be as sweet as a Georgia peach. Awarded a tidy sum in her divorce, Nina retired at 41 to a historic Queen Anne house in quaint Cymbeline, GA. But Nina’s barely settled into her new B&B-to-be when a penguin shows up on her porch. Or, at least, a man wearing a penguin suit.

Harry Westcott is making ends meet as an ice cream shop’s mascot and has a letter from his great-aunt, pledging to leave him the house. Too bad that’s not what her will says. Meanwhile, the Sisters of Perpetual Poverty have lost their lease. Real estate developer Gregory Bainbridge intends to turn the convent into a golfing community, so Cymbeline’s mayor persuades Nina to take in the elderly nuns. And then Nina finds the “penguin” again, this time lying in an alley with a kitchen knife in his chest.

A peek under the beak tells Nina it’s not Harry inside the costume, but Bainbridge. What was he doing in Harry’s penguin suit? Was the developer really the intended victim, or did the culprit mean to kill Harry? Whoever is out to stop Harry from contesting the sale of his great-aunt’s house may also be after Nina, so she teams up with him to cage the killer before someone clips her wings in Peach Clobbered.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Welcome to Cymbeline Georgia. A place Nina Fleet and her Australian Sheepdog, Mattie now call home. She bought a historic Queen Anne house therwat the spur of the moment following her divorce and loves it.  Harry Wescott the great nephew of the previous owner believes the house should be his and shows up at her door to tell her so, dressed in a penguin suit. Seems he is working as a mascot for the local ice cream shop to make ends meet.

Nina had big hopes of opening it as a B&B but zoning regulations have held up her plans. That is until the Sisters of Perpetual Poverty were evicted from their convent when the landlord refused to renew their lease. The mayor came to Nina personally promising to cut through all the government’s red tape if she allows the sisters to stay with her until their new orders come through.

After the nuns are all settled they tell Nina of their plan to protest their former landlord’s business. Nina goes along hoping to keep the nuns out of trouble, but during a lunch break, she hears a scream. She rushes into an alley to find a man in a penguin suit has been stabbed. But it isn’t Harry Wescott in the suit this time, it is the sister’s landlord, Gregory Bainbridge! Could one of the nuns have done the deed or did the killer think it was Harry in the suit? Nina finds herself right in the middle of The Murder of the Man in the Penguin Suit! What a way to start her new life.

______________

Penguins, Nuns, and Murder, Oh My!

What a great start for this series! I loved Nina (Nine-ah) immediately. She is smart and savvy, ready to live life on her own terms. The nuns were fantastic, feisty, mostly elderly women who have been together for over 50 years. They become fast friends with Nina and enjoy checking out all the take-out meal options now available to them. Nina does her best to keep these vital and active women busy as they await to see what the future hold for them. Harry is a conundrum, an out of work actor who wants to take her house away who is not the most likable person. Nina’s dog Maddie is precious. She is empathetic when needed and a wonderful watch dog too.

Ms. Gerard has twisted together a terrific mystery plotline with very interesting subplots as we get to know our protagonist and the residents of Cymbeline. The pacing was perfect and each chapter drew me right into the next. I was engaged by the characters completely and was anxious to see how everything in this novel panned out. She brought in a surprise item that turned my thinking totally around but I was still taken aback by the big reveal.

The setting of the story was just peachy. A Georgia B&B is absolutely ripe for many more mysteries too. I am excited to see who checks in next!

This was a marvelous mystery and I highly recommend it for all cozy mystery fans!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

More About Anna Gerard

DIANE A.S. STUCKART is the New York Times bestselling author of the Black Cat Bookshop Mystery series (writing as Ali Brandon). She’s also the author of the award-winning Leonardo da Vinci historical mysteries, as well as several historical romances and numerous mystery, fantasy, and romance short stories. The first book in her Tarot Cats Mystery series is FOOL’S MOON, available in trade, large print, and Kindle versions. Her Georgia B&B Mystery series from Crooked Lane Books launched July 2019 with PEACH CLOBBERED, written as Anna Gerard.

Diane is a member of Mystery Writers of America and has served as the 2018 and 2019 Chapter President of the MWA Florida chapter. In addition to her mystery writing affiliations, she’s a member of the Cat Writers’ Association and belongs to the Palm Beach County Beekeepers Association. She’s a native Texan with a degree in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma, but has been living in the West Palm Beach FL area since 2006. She shares her “almost in the Everglades” home with her husband, dogs, cats, and a few beehives. Learn more about her books at www.dianestuckart.com

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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.”

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Jul 052019
 


Layover
Psychological Thrillers
Setting – Kentucky
Berkley (July 2, 2019)
Hardcover: 416 pages
ISBN-10: 0440000866
ISBN-13: 978-0440000860
Kindle ASIN: B07J47PGXN

Joshua Fields takes the same flights every week for work, his life a series of departures and arrivals, hotels and airports. During yet another layover, he meets Morgan, a beautiful stranger with whom he feels an immediate connection. When it’s time for their respective flights, Morgan kisses Joshua passionately, lamenting that they’ll never see each other again.

As soon as Morgan disappears in the crowd, Joshua is shocked to see her face on a nearby TV. The reason: Morgan is a missing person.

What follows is a whirlwind, fast-paced journey filled with lies, deceit, and secrets as Joshua tries to discover why Morgan has vanished from her own life. Every time he thinks one mystery is solved, another rears its head—and his worst enemy might be his own assumptions about those around him.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

A chance meeting at an airport. Joshua feels an instant connection to Morgan. She gives him a killer kiss good-bye, but he can’t just let her go. He chucks his plan to meet his father to close a business deal and follows Morgan. He knows she is on the run and hiding something huge but he just can’t leave her behind. Joshua is soon mentally trapped into Morgan’s web and he could end up making the ultimate sacrifice all the be with a girl he met on a LAYOVER.

David Bell is one of my favorite authors but this one didn’t blow me away as others have.

Joshua Fields appears to be a very intelligent young man who may need a vacation from work but he keeps making bad decisions. I understand being in a rut and wanting change but I had a hard time believing the lengths he went to for a woman he just met and knew for all of a few minutes. He is a good guy but his first move was almost stalkerish. After that, though I realized Morgan was a master manipulator who knew just how to pull Joshua’s strings as soon as he continued to follow wherever she led.

I realize the premise of this book from an encounter the author actually witnessed but I just couldn’t get on board with it all. Maybe if the woman was a someone from his past, that he hadn’t seen in years I would have found it believable because they would have had a smidgen of history to build on.

Putting their meeting aside the story itself was complicated as Morgan’s story was revealed piece by piece from several viewpoints. The key was learning the true story and for that to come out there were several twists. Readers are treated to some suspenseful moments as the chase of Morgan and now Joshua continues. The author’s writing style of short chapters with mini-cliffhangers and alternate points of view worked very well. Those little teasers had me doing the just one more chapter thing over and over again. For me, the ending was unexpected and made me glad I had kept reading.

Aside from wanting to jump into the book several times to try to stop Joshua making stupid choices, this was a largely entertaining read.

Of course, I am looking forward to David Bell’s next thriller.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can find out more about David Bell and his books visit his webpage here



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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.”

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Jul 032019
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
Maddie Day is back with a new Country Store Mystery!
I am so happy she could drop by for a visit today!

Strangled Eggs and Ham
(A Country Store Mystery)
by Maddie Day

Hi Maddie,

Welcome to Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a native Californian transplanted to Massachusetts. I live on the New Hampshire border near the coast with a man who makes me laugh, am a long-time Quaker, and have two fabulous adult sons (and now a wonderful daughter-in-law). I love avocados, bourbon, dark chocolate, and ripe sun-warmed tomatoes. As someone who was always the youngest and shortest in her class, I know how to stand up for myself. I’ve had several careers, but writing crime fiction full time is my favorite.

What are three things most readers don’t know about you?

  • I worked as an auto mechanic in my early twenties.
  • I make gorgeous and yummy apple pies people clamor for, and darn tasty cheesecake, too.
  • I was an exchange student in southern Brazil for a year when I was a young seventeen year old.

What is the first book you remember reading?

That’s a hard question because it was a heck of a long time ago. First book I read on my own? Probably a Dick and Jane reader. The Cat and the Hat came out when I was five, so that might have been it. But to really remember, I’d have to say Ingalls Wilder’s Little House in the Big Woods. I read straight through the series and then read it again.

What are you reading now?

Barbara Ross’s series debut Jane Darrowfield Professional Busybody and Liz Mugavero’s Tell Tail Heart. They came out last week and I’m loving them both!

What books have most inspired you?

I am a huge fan of Julia Spencer-Fleming’s The Rev. Clare Fergusson & Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries. Her storytelling is compelling and her characters are deep and real.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?

It’s what I like to read! And if I’m going to spend much of every day at a job, I might as well be immersed in stories I love.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

I write best at my laptop in my second-floor office. It’s all mine and has a door that closes. The three windows to my right look out on our street so I can monitor the goings on, and behind me is an upholstered rocking chair for brainstorming with pen and notebook. To my left is a futon couch for emergency naps. All my reference books are an arm’s distance away, with pictures of my family in every direction and my framed Agatha Award nominations on one wall. It’s perfect.

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

Everywhere and nowhere. Tidbits of news stories, an odd character I might spy in a restaurant or a new murder weapon I’ve read about. Mostly from my hyperactive imagination.

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

I’ve written elsewhere about getting stuck in the middle in every single book. Honing that perfect first line is also a challenge and I haven’t always come up with one – but sometimes I do.

What do you think makes a good story?

Any good story needs compelling, richly drawn characters. It needs conflict and change. It needs a setting that enhances the tale. In addition, a good mystery needs a puzzle to be solved, misdirection, and a satisfying resolution. A cozy needs justice restored to the community in the end.

Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

None of them IS me, of course, and I’m now a lot older than the protagonists I write. In the Country Store Mysteries, Aunt Adele and I might have most in common. She’s practical, no-nonsense, caring, and loves dangly earrings – and bourbon. She pitches in to help when needed, but has a rich life of her own as a seventy-something. I seem to be aging faster than she is, so I’m catching up fast.

What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

I’ve only heard of one other mystery series set in Brown County, Indiana, and none that features a chef who is also a carpenter, bicyclist, and puzzle master.

What’s next on the horizon for you?

Country Store mystery #8 is due August 1, and “Christmas Cocoa and a Corpse,” my novella in Christmas Cocoa Murder, releases at the end of September. As Edith Maxwell I’ll be writing Quaker Midwife #6 next, and Judge Thee Not, #5, also comes out in September.

Thank you, Maddie, for visiting today!

Keep reading for my thoughts about Strangled Eggs and Ham.

About Strangled Eggs and Ham


Strangled Eggs and Ham (A Country Store Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Setting – Indiana
Kensington (June 25, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496711254
ISBN-13: 978-1496711250
Digital ASIN: B07HW1D15K

Robbie Jordan’s rustic country store is growing in popularity. But when a dead body appears, it turns out that Robbie’s home-style cooking attracts hungry customers—and murder!

While Robbie scrambles through breakfast orders for her expanding clientele at Pans ‘N Pancakes, tempers run as high as the sticky August heat in South Lick, Indiana. Real-estate developer Fiona Closs plans to build a towering luxury resort at one of the most scenic hilltops in Brown County, and not everyone can see the sunny side of the imposing proposition—including Robbie’s furious Aunt Adele, who doesn’t waste a minute concocting protests and road blockades. When tensions boil over and a vocal protester is silenced forever at the resort site, Robbie ditches the griddle to catch the killer. But if slashed tires are any indication, she’ll need to crack this case before her own aunt gets served something deadly next . . .

Includes Recipes for You to Try!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

We’re back in South Lick, Indiana where it isn’t just the weather that is making people HOT!

Fiona Closs is pressuring the South Lick relevant committees to approve her plans to build a luxury resort on a beloved scenic hilltop just outside of town. Robbie’s Aunt Adele is leading the charge to stop the project in its tracks. Robbie’s B&B lodgers even join the cause. When one of the protestors is killed at the site for the proposed resort Robbie gets fired up and is determined that killer will rot behind bars. She really turns up the gas when her aunt looks like the killer’s next target.

I have such a clear picture of Pans ‘N Pancakes in my mind that as soon as I open up a new book it feels like I am walking across the porch, through the front door and plopping myself at a corner table so I can just sit back and relax with a bird’s eye view of everything happening in South Lick. Robbie’s shop is a popular place and all the key players come through its doors at one time or another. The restaurant’s regulars are fonts of information too.

Ms. Day introduces the new characters and gives them substance before the crime takes place. She also gives a little background of the recurring characters for new readers of the series. She is truly an expert at character development.

Robbie Jordan is an excellent protagonist. She has a huge heart and she often wears it on her sleeve. She is also smart and resolute. As in a previous book, she is shorthanded at the restaurant but that doesn’t keep her from asking questions or making her puzzles to find the killer. She has grown so much over the course of this series as have all the others in the regular cast. With her beau out of town, she had one less sounding board but I loved that Robbie caught herself before making one of those TSTL (too stupid to live) decisions and even commented on it.

Adele is another strong character with her fingers in almost everything going on around her. This time I was really impressed at the way she was open to listening to her opposition. It may not have changed her mind but she did give them a chance.

We are kept on our toes by the author too. She sets a very fast pace and she gives us a small heap of suspects. There was an abundance of twists and I always enjoy following Robbie’s lead and the way she organizes her thoughts. The story really builds to an exciting ending.

Robbie Jordan has become quite a home in her adopted community. I have enjoyed each of her adventures/investigations. I can’t wait for more.

You can’t go wrong with a book by Maddy Day or her other pseudonyms. She always pens a wonderful whodunit!

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More About Maddie Day

 

Maddie Day is a talented amateur chef and holds a Ph.D. in linguistics from Indiana University. An Agatha Award-nominated author, she is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America and also writes award-winning short crime fiction. She lives with her beau and three cats in Massachusetts.

As Edith Maxwell, she writes the Local Foods Mysteries (Kensington Publishing) and the Quaker Midwife Mysteries (Midnight Ink).

You can find all Maddie’s/Edith’s identities at www.edithmaxwell.com. She blogs every weekday with the other Wicked Cozy Authors at wickedcozyauthors.com. Look for her as Edith M. Maxwell and Maddie Day on Facebook and @edithmaxwell and @maddiedayauthor on Twitter.

Purchase Links

Amazon  B&N   Kobo Google Play IndieBound


Coming June 30, 2020

Exclusively at Barnes and Noble

Find books written as Edith Maxwell here.

Praise for Strangled Eggs and Ham (A Country Store Mystery)
by Maddie Day

This series is totally fantastic!!!
Robbie runs the cutest store and I really wish I could eat there.

~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

Strangled Eggs and Ham by Maddie Day is a wonderfully woven tale of politics, development, mystery, and murder in small-town Indiana.
~Baroness’ Book Trove

Exciting, fun, engrossing, surprising . . . I could go on and on with positive adjectives to describe just how much I loved STRANGLED EGGS AND HAM.
~Lisa Ks Book Reviews

Strangled Eggs and Ham is an enticing cozy mystery with the friendly town, quirky residents, tantalizing food, good gossip, and one nosy parker out to solve a perplexing puzzler of a whodunit.
~The Avid Reader

The plot is multi-dimensional and the “voice” progresses through the pages at a steady pace. Great weekend read!!
~Reading is My SuperPower

The author is very talented in her descriptive writing and these descriptions pulled me into the story right from the very start. South Lick, Indiana, seems like a fun place to visit, even with all of the murders.
~MJB Reviewers

I love this series, it is one of my favourite places and people to visit . . . this series is very character based, the mystery is well-written and woven into the story maintaining a great pace.
~Carla Loves To Read

One of my favorite cozy mystery series’, Country Store Mysteries consistently delivers engaging mysteries, multiple storylines, and wonderful characters.
~Sapphyria’s Books

Phew! Maddie Day has done an excellent job of raising the temperatures in South Lick and the tensions in her book! 8 out of 5!
~A Wytch’s Book Review Blog

 

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops.
June 24 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, EXCERPT
June 24 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
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June 25 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
June 25 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
June 25 – ❧Defining Ways❧ – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE
June 26 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
June 26 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
June 26 – Author Teresa Watson – CHARACTER INTERVIEW  
June 27 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW, EXCERPT
June 27 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
June 27 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW
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July 1 – Sapphyria’s Books – REVIEW
July 1 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW
July 1 – I’m All About Books – GUEST POST
July 2 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
July 2 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE
July 3 – Curling up by the Fire – REVIEW
July 3 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW  
July 3 – The Cozy Pages – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE

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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.”

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Jul 022019
 

Mistaken Identity Crisis
(Braxton Campus Mysteries)
by James J. Cudney

About the Book


Mistaken Identity Crisis (Braxton Campus Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Pennsylvania
Creativia (June 30, 2019)
Digital Edition, 260 pages
ASIN: B07Q6YSTPN

A clever thief with a sinister calling card has invaded Braxton campus. A string of jewelry thefts continues to puzzle the sheriff, given they’re remarkably similar to an unsolved eight-year-old case, back when Gabriel vanished one stormy night.

When a missing ruby, and a body, are discovered at the campus, Kellan must investigate the killer’s motive to protect his brother. As if the latest murder isn’t enough to keep him busy, Kellan partners with April to end the Castigliano and Vargas crime family feud. What really happened to Francesca while all those postcards showed up in Braxton?

The mafia world is more calculating than Kellan realized. If he wants to move forward, he’ll have to make a few ruthless sacrifices. And as the summer heat begins to settle in Wharton County, a couple more surprises are also in store.

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

What really happened to Francesca while all those postcards showed up in Braxton? I have been dying to find out!!

Also, Kellan finds a body in the college cable car and the death may be related to a rash of jewel thefts now and an old case from 8 years ago. Crazy, the thefts stopped at the same time his brother Gabriel left town and started up soon after his return.

A twisted, tangled, complex, snarled, intricate, complicated, story is what you find within the covers of this book. I am not going to lie, my main mission in reading this book was to get to the bottom of the Francesca mafia mob story. I have really grown to love Kellan and his daughter Emma and I really wanted to get the Francesca drama behind them. But I found myself hooked by every part of this story.

Mr. Cudney has blended together an amazing story that I just could not read fast enough. Kellan is teaching a summer class, Emma is going to a day camp, Nana D has won the mayoral race,  the sheriff is warming to Kellan, the mob has come to Braxton, Francesca may be nearby, Hollywood is calling, there is a thief robbing jewelry, and, oh yeah, there is that dead body in the cable car, and the killer left a big clue. So you see what I mean, there is a lot happening and the pace is pretty quick!

This author has really excelled since the first book in this series. He has gotten more comfortable with his characters and Braxton.  The characters continue to grow and he sets a scene in a way that it is easy to visualize. The dialogue is tight and the interactions between the characters are realistic. Nana D. continues to be my favorite character. The mysteries are real puzzlers and I didn’t slide in the last piece until everything was revealed.   The story has a few emotional moments too. I was so pleased with the ending and am excited to see what happened next.

Another Perfect Escape from James J. Cudney. While this book can be read on its own, you will enjoy it more if you start at the beginning of the series.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

James is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College. I spent fifteen years building a technology career in the retail, sports, media, and entertainment industries. I enjoyed my job, but a passion for books and stories had been missing for far too long. I’m a voracious reader in my favorite genres (thriller, suspense, contemporary, mystery, and historical fiction), as books transport me to a different world where I can immerse myself in so many fantastic cultures and places. I’m an avid genealogist who hopes to visit all the German, Scottish, Irish, and British villages my ancestors emigrated from in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, my mind, and my body. I decided to pursue my passion by dusting off the creativity inside my head and drafting outlines for several novels. I quickly realized I was back in my element growing happier and more excited with life each day. My goal in writing is to connect with readers who want to be part of great stories and who enjoy interacting with authors. To get a strong picture of who I am, check out my author website or my blog. It’s full of humor and eccentricity, sharing connections with everyone I follow—all in the hope of building a network of friends across the world.

When I completed the first book, Watching Glass Shatter, I knew I’d stumbled upon my passion again, suddenly dreaming up characters, plots, and settings all day long. I chose my second novel, Father Figure, through a poll on my blog where I let everyone vote for their favorite plot and character summaries. It is with my third book, Academic Curveball, the first in the Braxton Campus Mysteries, where I immersed myself in a college campus full of so much activity, I could hardly stop thinking about new murder scenes or character relationships to finish writing the current story. Come join in the fun!

Website    Blog

Amazon    Twitter    Author Facebook    Series Facebook

Bookbub    Instagram    Goodreads    LinkedIn    Pinterest

Purchase Links – Amazon 

List of Books
Watching Glass Shatter (October 2017)
Father Figure (April 2018)
Braxton Campus Mysteries
Academic Curveball – #1 (October 2018)
Broken Heart Attack – #2 (November 2018)
Flower Power Trip – #3 (March 2019)
MistakenIdentity Crisis – #4 (June 2019)

Praise for Mistaken Identity Crisis
(Braxton Campus Mysteries)
by James J. Cudney

Both character evolution and character delineation well populate the Braxton Campus Mystery Series by James J. Cudney. In this installment, the atmosphere gains a strong twinge of Noir . . .
~Mallory Heart’s Cozies

I really love the style of this author, since the first pages he manages to completely involve you in the adventures of the protagonists and keeps you in suspense until you solve the case with them.
Highly recommended.
~LibriAmoriMiei

The well-plotted and complicated mystery keeps a steady pace and provides red herrings and twists, turning the focus on one then another of the many characters involved in the storyline.
~Rosepoint Publishing

The mysteries are resolved with some clever sleuthing and nosy snooping, which result in secrets revealed and red herrings cleared. All this makes Mistaken Identity Crisis an engaging page-turner, one that I didn’t want to put down.
~Jane Reads

 

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June 21 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW
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June 24 – Books Direct – MAP & CHARACTER LIST POST
June 25 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW
June 25 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT
June 26 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
June 27 – Jane Reads – REVIEW
June 28 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
June 29 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
June 30 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
July 1 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW
July 2 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
July 2 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
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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.”

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Jun 272019
 

 

About the Book


Death by Dissertation (Cassandra Sato)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Nebraska
Emerald Prairie Press (April 17, 2019)
Paperback: 355 pages
ISBN-10: 1733742409
ISBN-13: 978-1733742405
Digital ASIN: B07PKRD658

Ambitious Cassandra Sato traded her life in Hawai’i for a dream position as Student Affairs VP at Morton College in tiny Carson, Nebraska. She expected the Midwestern church casseroles, land-locked cornfields, and face-freezing winters would be her biggest challenges, but it’s her job that’s rapidly becoming a nightmare.

A deaf student is dead and the investigation reveals a complicated trail of connections between campus food service, a local farmer’s beef, and the science lab’s cancer research. Together with her few allies, Cassandra must protect the students caught up in the entanglement.

Dealing with homesickness, vandalism, and a stalker, Cassandra is trapped in a public relations disaster that could cost her job, or more. No one said college was easy.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

There are many cozy mystery series set on college campuses, so authors have to work hard to make their stories unique. In Death by Dissertation, our protagonist Cassandra Soto have left Hawai’i for a job in Carson, Nebraska. I know winter there is milder than in the Upper Midwest where I live, but come on Hawai’i!!! It was that hook that first caught my attention.

As Student Affairs VP at Morton College, I am sure Cassandra can handle the weather and cornfields instead of the ocean, but I bet she never imagined finding one of her students dead. A deaf student that was working in a science lab doing cancer research.

His death is suspicious and Cassandra finds herself in the middle of the investigation while trying to do her job and her boss’s job because he has traveled to China and stay on top of all the homecoming week festivities. Worried that she could lose her position she keeps pushing forward but is put to a real test as she tries to discover who killed her student and why.

Cassandra Sato waded through everything that was thrown at her like a rockstar. To take the job of Student Affairs VP it is a given that she is ambitious and smart, but she is having a hard time fitting in in small-town Nebraska. She looks different than anyone else in town and she dresses more formally. Her home is vandalized and she is threatened and told to go back where she came from. But she handles it because this is her dream job and if she is ever going to be a college president she needs to stay calm and deal with all types of people.

Meg O’Brien is Cassandra’s longtime friend and an ASL interpreter at Morton College. My daughter uses American Sign Language at work, in fact, my grandsons can sign and understand many words too, although it is not part of their daily lives. I have always been interested in it. The author is an ASL interpreter herself and I like the way she puts that part of herself into the story and the character of Meg while raising an understanding of what deaf students encounter in college and going into the workforce.

I did enjoy some of the unique phrases of speech used by Cassandra, some were easily translated but some left me scratching my head. The interactions between Meg and Cassandra were realistic and some were laugh out loud funny. Their shopping trip to get Cassandra proper clothing for Nebraska was full of humor.

Ms. Brakenhoff is a very detailed writer which I felt was very necessary for this story due to the scientific theme. Many parts of the college and community are connected and play into solving the mystery with a wide variety of suspects. Her details also helped me to get a clear picture of all the characters. The pace she sets is relaxed until it starts to ramp up as more and more clues start to fall into place,

This series is off to a marvelous start. I can’t believe this is Kelly Brankenhoff’s first novel. She is an author to watch.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About Kelly Brankenhoff

 

Kelly Brakenhoff is an American Sign Language Interpreter whose motivation for learning ASL began in high school when she wanted to converse with her deaf friends. As an American Sign Language Interpreter with more than twenty years of experience, Kelly’s worked in college classrooms for fifteen different majors. From traipsing across muddy farm fields to stomach-churning medical procedures, and stage interpreting for famous figures, Kelly’s community interpreting interactions number in the thousands. Unfortunately, once she’s stepped away from the job, she usually forgets 90% of what happened. Which helps her keep confidential information safe, but also makes it really hard to grocery shop for more than 5 items without a written list.

Kelly wants to live in a world filled with peace, love, and joy, where people who can hear learn enough sign language to include deaf people in everyday conversations and work. Where every deaf child has early access to language and books with characters like them, and dark chocolate is cheap and plentiful.

When she’s not interpreting or writing, you can find Kelly cheering for her favorite Husker teams or training for half-marathons because she really likes dessert.

Her first mystery, Death by Dissertation, released April 22, 2019.

Author Links

Website Amazon Twitter

Purchase Link – Amazon

Amazon  June 25 – 30 – Just $1.99!!

Praise forDeath by Dissertation (Cassandra Sato)
by Kelly Brakenhoff

Death by Dissertation is a great start for a debut author and I can’t wait to see what other adventures await Cassandra Sato.
~Only By Grace Reviews

Death by Dissertation was so great!!! I love cozies but I’m always looking for something different that stands out. Death by Dissertation didn’t disappoint in any sense.
~The Layaway Dragon

If you’ve ever struggled to fit in at a new job, or if you just enjoy a wry and compelling mystery, pick up Death By Dissertation. The academic personalities were so recognizable that I couldn’t help but laugh (and cringe). I can’t wait for the next installment!
~Island Confidential

Death by Dissertation has collegiate spirit, a complex crime, scientific exploration, an avaricious killer, and a gifted gumshoe.
~The Avid Reader

Death by Dissertation is an engaging mystery with puzzling clues that introduces readers to a plucky protagonist . . . Author Kelly Brakenhoff is to be commended for her insider observations and realistic portrayal of campus politics and life in a small college town.
~Book Club Librarian

Find yourself caught up in this heartwarming academic cozy mystery featuring a strong and determined female sleuth.
~Mallory Heart’s Cozies

This story is engaging and keeps you a bit on the edge of your seat as you watch for clues and try to figure out just what was up.
~My Reading Journeys

This book is very detailed and I thought the author did a good job on character development and providing just enough information to keep the reader engaged but not so much detail that a reader might lose interest.
~Storeybook Reviews

Wow! What a brilliant start to what I hope will be a long series! Kelly Brakenhoff pulled out the Cozy stops and wrote a page-turner and a half.
~A Wytch’s Book Review Blog

 

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June 17 – The Layaway Dragon – REVIEW
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June 25 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW
June 25 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
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June 27 – I’m All About Books – GUEST POST
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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.”

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Whiskers in the Dark: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery by Rita Mae BrownGet Your Copy Today!
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