Sep 212018
 

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.

While reorganizing my PaperBackSwap bookshelf I came across this little book and a few others I had entirely forgotten about. This book landed on the top of my Flashback Friday stack because it is set in North Dakota. A state I needed for my Literary Escapes Challenge. While reading it, the characters seemed familiar. When I went to add it to my GoodReads account I realized I had read it before in 2012. I found the rest of the series too. So I have North Dakota covered for my challenge for a few more years, if I can wait that long to read the rest. 

Dakota Dawn: The Dakota Plains Series
1st in Series
Historical Christian Fiction
Setting – North Dakota
Barbour Publishing, Inc (March 1994)
Mass Market Paperback: 186 pages
ISBN-10: 1557484007
ISBN-13: 978-1557484000
Mission Books; Reissue edition (September 1, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1618431781
ISBN-13: 978-1618431783

”Soldahl! Next stop, Soldahl!”

When Nora Johanson heard the conductor’s words, her heart began to race. At last she would be in the arms of the man she had promised to marry – Hans Larson. At fifteen she was so sure of their love. Now, three years later and far from the mountains and fjords of her beloved homeland, Norway, she wondered. . . .

She stepped off the train, found her trunk full of quilts, hand-embroidered linens, and household treasures painted with rosemaling designs, and looked anxiously for Hans. The pelting March snow stung her cheeks.”Where is he? Dear God, what will I do?” When Hans failed to arrive at the train station that night, Nora found herself thrown into a life she never expected– Reverend and Mrs. Moen and Carl Detschman, a grieving German immigrant. Was this really what God had planned for her?

Dakota Dawn is the first book of the Dakota Series that features the intertwining lives of five inspiring women, all who live in the early 1900s in the farming community of Soldahl, North Dakota.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This was a nice escape from the mysteries I usually read.

Nora Johanson has had quite a journey, Norway to Soldahl, North Dakota. She is excited to start her new life in America with Hans Larson. She had pledged to marry him just before he left Norway 3 years ago when she was just 15. After a trip by ship and train, she arrives in Soldahl to find Hans had died just a few days earlier. Worried about where she will live or how she will get back home, Nora turns to God to light her path. The Reverend and Mrs. Moen take Nora into their home and an opportunity presents itself, but is it really what God wants her to do?

I have read other books by this author several years ago and knew I would enjoy this story before I even started reading. She is very talented at bringing this time in North Dakota to life. Her words created full-color images in mind. We get to know Nora and the Moen’s pretty well. It was heartbreaking to read about Carl Detschman’s grief, the death of a loved one can overtake anyone whether it be in 1910 or 2018. Lauraine Snelling captures his life and all he meets perfectly.

I am excited this is part of a series. I look forward to reading the next 3 books.

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About the Author



Unfortunately, my copy is not in giveaway condition and
this book is only available used or as a very pricey paperback at Amazon.
So the giveaway on this #FlashbackFriday will be for a $5 Amazon Gift Card!
Easy Entry too!

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*This book was from my private collection.

 

Sep 072018
 

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.


One Potion in the Grave (A Magic Potion Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Alabama
Berkley – Obsidian (October 7, 2014)
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 0451416317
ISBN-13: 978-0451416315
Kindle ASIN: B00ISEF62C

Carly Bell Hartwell’s love potions are always in demand in Hitching Post, Alabama, the wedding capital of the South.…

When Katie Sue Perrywinkle walks into the Little Shop of Potions, Carly is surprised and delighted to see her old childhood friend. Katie Sue fled her hometown and a troubled family over a decade ago. But she’s not back for a social visit. She’s come to settle a score with Senator Warren Calhoun, who is in town for his son’s high-profile wedding.

But before Katie Sue has a chance to voice any objections, she’s forced to forever hold her peace. After finding her friend dead, Carly vows to find her murderer. Were the corrupt Calhouns willing to go to any lengths to avoid a scandal? Did Katie Sue’s family take the term “bad blood” to a whole new level? And why did the bride-to-be come to Carly for a love potion? As Carly gets closer to the truth, a killer is planning a very chilly reception.…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Carly’s mom is getting ready for a high society wedding at her chapel. The son of Senator Warren Calhoun and his bride are prepared to tie the knot. But Katie Sue Perrywinkle has come back to town and she has issues with the Senator that need to be addressed. Before she can do anything she is found dead. Could the Calhouns have killed her or could it have been someone in the family she left behind when she moved away? Carly finds a way to get to get close to both families so she can try to figure out who got rid of her friend, Katie Sue. She also puts herself right in the killer’s sights.

This second book is a great addition to this series. Like her Wishcraft Mysteries, the story has a paranormal witchy theme that doesn’t overtake the entire story. We know Carly has ways to make her special potions work, and she has an empathy power so she can feel what people are feeling. The empathy thing can be very helpful not only in her work but in finding the killer. Her special talents and knowledge aside she is pretty normal. She is always at her mother’s beck and call to help with the chapel. She is the go-to person for her Aunts. She is trying to work things out with her ex-fiance while he is helping to renovate her house.

All the recurring characters are wonderfully written, unique, funny and entertaining. The new characters are well fleshed out. The author lets us get to know them throughout the entire book. The jury was out for me on some of them for me until the very end, but there were a couple I knew were bad from the first mention, but by the end, I had attached “downright evil” to these people.

This mystery was very twisted up regarding Katie Sue. Plenty of suspects and plenty of opportunities. While trying to solve this mystery, Carly stumbles into another one. The second one was easy for me to solve, the first one I was stumped until the very end. Then I was mad at myself because I should have figured that one out too or at least had the person on my radar. Great diversion on the author’s part.

Heather Blake is a fantastic storyteller! She has created a story with a terrific mix of mystery, suspense, humor, magic, and romance. Everything in the proper proportions for a great cozy mystery. This was a delightful read!

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About the Author
Heather Blake is a pseudonym of Heather Webber, the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels, including the Nina Quinn Mysteries and the Lucy Valentine books. Blake has been nominated twice for an Agatha Award. She currently lives in the Cincinnati area with her family.

Follow Heather – www.heatherblakebooks.com
On Facebook     On Twitter


I am giving my review copy away!

The 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.

Sign Up for Heather Blake’s newsletter for 5 Bonus Entries.

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If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
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Contest Will End September 21, 2018, 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

You can find my review of Heather Blake’s To Catch A Witch here.

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

Sep 062018
 

The Cats Came Back (Magical Cats)
Cozy Mystery
10th in Series
Setting – Minnesota
Berkley (September 4, 2018)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 0399584595
ISBN-13: 978-0399584596
Kindle ASIN: B0782VC3Y6

Small-town librarian Kathleen Paulson often seems to gets mixed up in murder, but luckily, her very special cats always find a way to help her close a case . . .

The charming Minnesota town of Mayville Heights is hosting a music festival, and the whole place is bustling with musicians and tourists. Kathleen is looking forward to taking in some fabulous performances–and her two cats, Owen and Hercules, are looking forward to taking in some fabulous sardine crackers. But then the trio stumbles across a dead body by the river.

The victim is a close friend–who also happens to be a look-alike of a popular cabaret singer set to perform at the festival. Who could have wanted to harm this innocent girl? Was it a case of mistaken identity?

As accusations abound and suspicions swirl, Kathleen, Hercules and Owen will put their abilities–both mundane and magical–to the test, and lay down the paw.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This is one of my favorite cozy series. The cats remind me of my own, sans magical powers of course, but including their love of treats. In this story, Owen and Hercules are going to star in a new calendar promoting Mayville Heights. While getting ready for his close up, Hercules is distracted by something in the water. When their human counterparts investigate they find the body of a woman in town for a music festival. Because of the festival the town in full of performers and tourists opening up the suspect pool. Kathleen and the cats find themselves on the path of the killer. Her insight and the magical talents of Owen and Hercules may solve the case or put them all in danger.

With well-drawn characters, the mystery takes us on a great ride leading up to a very exciting ending. Kathleen doesn’t back down and her cat’s little powers come in handy and crack me up, even in dire situations. I love the way Kathleen handles her cats and the way Hercules and Owen handle her. Their interactions are priceless.

Kathleen and Marcus’ relationship continues to grow. She is getting close to having to tell him about the cat’s special abilities, but I think he already knows something is up. He is a detective after all. I enjoy the way he supports Kathleen’s sleuthing, they do make an awesome team.

Sofie Kelly writes a story so easy to escape right into. Being #10 in the series it is like visiting old friends, but if you are new to the series, you will quickly feel at home. This is a fun and entertaining story. I anxiously await the next book! It’s going to be a long year  😀

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Sofie Kelly is a New York Times bestselling author and mixed-media artist who lives on the East Coast with her husband and daughter. She writes the New York Times bestselling Magical Cats Mysteries (Paws and Effect, Faux Paw, A Midwinter’s Tail) and, as Sofie Ryan, writes the New York Times bestselling Second Chance Cat Mysteries (Telling Tails, A Whisker of Trouble, Buy a Whisker). Find out more at www.sofiekelly.com



Written as Sofie Ryan

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!
The 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
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Contest Will End September 20, 2018, at 11:59 PM CST
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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.”

Aug 312018
 

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.

Passport to Murder (A Professor Prather Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – South Dakota/Minneapolis
Camel Press (September 15, 2017)
Paperback: 272 pages
ISBN-10: 1603816534
ISBN-13: 978-1603816533
Kindle – ASIN: B0746QGX9R

Start with an unlucky number. Throw in a romantic location. Include a dashing Frenchman and an uncompromising professor. And you have all the ingredients for a passport to murder. This semester, it seems that Professor Prather’s dreams are about to come true. Ever since she was a young girl, she’s imagined going to France, and her French colleague, André Duman, has finally made that trip possible. Over spring break, she and André are to lead a group of students and faculty to Paris to explore the City of Light. But before she can utter her first bonjour, a professor dies, and they are stuck is Minneapolis until they police allow them to go home. She returns to Copper Bluff with an unstamped passport and a mystery to solve. When André becomes the prime suspect, Emmeline puts her research skills to good use, determined to find out who really killed the professor and spoiled their spring break plans. With thirteen travelers assembled, the possibilities are varied and villainous. Luckily, her dear friend and sidekick, Lenny Jenkins, is close by. Together, they will sort through the conflicting clues even if it costs them time, trouble, or tenure.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

A trip to Paris sounds delightful. Professor Emmeline Prather is chaperoning the trip with her French colleague, André Duman, for students and other faculty members to the City of Light over Spring Break. After the 13 travelers bus trip to Minnesota, they board the plan for Paris. But they don’t get far before one of the other professors dies and the plane turns around. They have to stay in Minneapolis until the police can rule on the cause of death. Soon, it is declared murder and  André Duman is on the top of the suspect list. Emmeline returns to Copper Bluff determined to do everything she can to find the real killer. She may never get to Paris but she can save her friend.

This mystery starts out at a good clip and doesn’t let up. I read the whole thing in one evening. The mystery is like a closed room mystery a la Agatha Christie. Someone on that plane is the killer. Some of the suspects can be eliminated quickly, but others are hiding things and were sitting close enough to do the deed. The police and FBI zeroed in on one person and tried to make the evidence fit. Emmeline took the correct approach or following the evidence. When a second person dies the case really gets interesting.

Professor Emmeline Prather has a good level head on her shoulders. When she teams up with her friend Lenny, they are unstoppable. She follows the clues, does a little research and presents what she finds to Lenny and they talk it through. He is also around to ask questions she can’t. I enjoy how they work together and that they seem to be getting closer.

I liked the supporting cast, students, and faculty. They are a diverse group in age and backgrounds. They were believable and relatable.

I have read several cozy series set at a college and the author finds a way to make her setting unique. South Dakota is not a typical locale for a cozy mystery and having to travel to nearby Minneapolis opens up a bunch of new places to discover.

The author has given readers a well plotted and well-written story. She has created engaging characters that we can become invested in. I hope to visit Copper Bluff again soon!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

© Julie Prairie Photography 2016

 

About The Author

Like her protagonist in the Professor Prather mystery series, Mary Angela lives on the Great Plains and teaches college writing and literature. When she’s not grading papers (when is she not grading papers?), she enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her family. She and her husband have two amazing daughters, one adorable dog, and a cat who would rather not be limited by an adjective. For more information, go to www.maryangelabooks.com.

Author Links

Webpage     Blog     GoodReads      Facebook     Twitter

You can find my review of Book #1 – An Act of Murder here.

I am giving 1 Kindle Copy away!
Book will be sent directly from Amazon.

The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

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 the author for 5 Bonus Entries.

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 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 September 14, 2018, 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.”

 

Aug 212018
 

As a fan of Julie Mulhern’s Country Club Mystery Series, I knew I had to read this book. I slotted it as fast as I could into my reading schedule. I hate having to wait so long after the release date to share this book with you. 

Fields’ Guide to Abduction (A Poppy Fields Adventure)
Mystery/Suspense
1st Book in Series
Setting – Mexico
J&M Press (May 28, 2018)
Paperback: 248 pages
ISBN-10: 1720872201
ISBN-13: 978-1720872207
Kindle ASIN: B07D4R881K

Poppy Fields, Hollywood IT girl extraordinaire, agreed to a week at the newest, most luxurious resort in Cabo. After all, what’s better than the beach when a girl is feeling blue? When Poppy is abducted, she’ll need all her smarts, all her charm, and a killer Chihuahua, to save herself. 

Dead body #1 found in bed, with me. That was a shock.
Dead body #2 found in bed, not with me. That was a relief.
Dead body #3 died telling me I’m a lousy actress. I already knew that.
Dead body #4 died trying to kill me.
Dead body #5 died kidnapping me.
Dead body #6 died guarding me.
Dead body #7 was a really bad man.
Dead body #8 was an even worse man.

That’s a lot of dead bodies for a girl looking for a week’s relaxation in Cabo. And, I’m probably leaving a few out–math isn’t my thing. Unless I can escape the cartel, I might be the next dead body.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Wow, Wow, Wow! I sat down to start this book last Monday evening and I didn’t look away until I finished the whole thing.

This is not a cozy mystery. This is a wild ride of action and suspense.

Poppy Fields escapes to Mexico after enduring a harrowing event. She plans to lie on the beach, make one public appearance and relax. Well, that didn’t happen. The dead bodies start to pile up at a rapid pace and then she is abducted. And then there are even more dead bodies!

Full of crazy twists and turns poor Poppy finds herself in all kinds of dangerous situations. I love Poppy, that girl needs to think on her feet and she does for the most part, but there are some situations you just need to let happen and hope and pray there will be another way out.

Ms. Mulhern has topped herself and knocked this way out of the park! She partners suspense with humor in a way I believe only she can. She has created a fantastic protagonist. I was cheering for Poppy the whole way. The pace was fast, the plot was fabulous, and the dialogue was fluid. Such as exciting read!

This story has moved to the top of my Best Reads of 2018. I can’t wait for the next installment! Bring on more Poppy Fields as soon as possible!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Julie Mulhern is the USA Today bestselling author of The Country Club Murders and the Poppy Fields Adventures She is a Kansas City native who grew up on a steady diet of Agatha Christie. She spends her spare time whipping up gourmet meals for her family, working out at the gym and finding new ways to keep her house spotlessly clean–and she’s got an active imagination. Truth is–she’s an expert at calling for take-out, she grumbles about walking the dog and the dust bunnies under the bed have grown into dust lions.

 


*This book is in my private collection, purchased from Amazon.
Aug 172018
 

About the Book

To Bead or Not to Bead (Glass Bead Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Washington State
Vetrai Press (June 29, 2018)
Print Length: 187 pages
Digital ASIN: B07CZ4B5Q7

When a wealthy theater owner is killed by a falling art glass chandelier, glass beadmaker Jax O’Connell’s boyfriend, Detective Zachary Grant, quickly determines it was no accident. Jax and her friend Tessa try to carry on with a charity fashion gala at the theater, but with only a few days before the big event, they have to scramble to keep things from falling apart. The emcee quits, and to make matters worse, Tessa’s daughters are suspects in the murder. As the chaos unfolds, Jax discovers new suspects at every turn, including an edgy glass blower, an agoraphobic socialite, and a hunky former-cop-turned-actor. Can Jax piece together the clues to find the killer and uncover the dark secrets behind the victim’s family or will it be curtains for her?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Jax and Tessa have volunteered to help with a charity event at a local theater. A fashion show/auction to benefit an organization that helps the homeless. They are stunned by the beautiful glass chandelier donated for the auction, now hanging in the theater.  More stunning is learning that it fell on the theater owner and killed him. It was no accident either, Detective Zachary Grant has ruled the death a homicide and he has begged his girlfriend Jax to stay out of his investigation. When she learns that Tessa’s teenage daughters, models for the fashion show, are considered suspects there is no way she can sit idly by. Before long Jax has a “bead” on several more suspects, but her snooping may lead her right into the killer’s path.

The characters in this series are so much fun. They are always busy with something. Jax and Tessa have their hands full trying to keep the charity event on track. Val is manless at the moment but a new character may help her out of her rut. Jax and Detective Grant are trying to move their relationship forward but a little jealousy could throw a wrench into those plans. The four-legged creatures are always entertaining and by the end of the story, there is a new one added to the mix. One who was very important to the plot.

The theater and all its unique places make it a great setting for the murder. People involved with an upcoming play also become involved in the murder mystery adding to the list of suspects. I enjoyed learning about different things related to the theater and the play. One thing I did already know and I loved how it was treated within this story.

The plot flowed very well. The murder weapon was different that what we don’t usually see in a cozy mystery and learning about the chandelier creator opened up a new direction for the mystery. I was very impressed with the several diversions the author put on our path to solving the mystery.  There were so many secrets. I was totally surprised when the killer was revealed.

Well-written and well-plotted I read the entire book in one sitting. A fine who-dun-it!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Janice Peacock decided to write her first mystery novel after working in a glass studio full of colorful artists who didn’t always get along. They reminded her of the odd, and often humorous, characters in the murder mystery books she loved to read. Inspired by that experience, she combined her two passions and wrote High Strung: A Glass Bead Mystery, the first book in a new cozy mystery series featuring glass beadmaker Jax O’Connell.

When Janice Peacock isn’t writing about glass artists who are amateur detectives, she makes glass beads using a torch, designs one-of-a-kind jewelry and makes sculptures using hot glass. An award-winning artist, her work has been exhibited internationally and is in the permanent collections of several museums. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, two cats, and seven chickens. She has a studio full of beads…lots and lots of beads.

Author Links – Webpage    Facebook      GoodReads      @JanPeac on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest

Purchase Links


Amazon   B&N 

Praise for To Bead or Not to Bead (Glass Bead Mystery Series)
by Janice Peacock

Jax and Tessa always have memorable adventures, and this is no exception . . . I was totally surprised at the identity of the killer, for sure.
~Book Babble

The book has a wonderful combination of humor and romance and danger and above all, mystery.
~Laura’s Interests

Delightful cozy mystery full of crafty bead details, a cute kitty, and a murder that will keep you guessing.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

I loved the characters, Jax and Zachary. Janice Peacock continues to develop them with each book she writes. I love the relationships between the primary and secondary characters, and I especially love Gumdrop and Ginger.
~Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews

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Aug 022018
 

The Scent of Waikiki (Trouble in Paradise)
by Terry Ambrose

About the Book

The Scent of Waikiki (Trouble in Paradise)
Cozy Mystery
9th in Series
Satori (July 19, 2018)
Print Length: 330 pages
ASIN: B07CZ3B389

Honolulu landlord Wilson McKenna can smell a scam from across the room. So when one of his tenants loses everything in a work-at-home scam involving a new perfume, he’s shocked. With his wedding just weeks away, McKenna has to make a tough decision. Does he evict a woman who’s down on her luck? Or take time out from wedding planning to help his tenant?

Turning the case over to his PI-in-training friend Chance Logan seems like the perfect solution—until Chance tells McKenna he needs a wingman for a visit to fragrance entrepreneur Skye Pilkington-Winchester. McKenna’s sure he can keep everyone happy by helping Chance this one time. But nothing is ever as easy as it seems, and soon McKenna’s up to his board shorts in hot water. His tenant’s simple fragrance scam might involve industrial espionage, Skye’s assistant is murdered, and McKenna’s bride-to-be accuses him of having cold feet.

As McKenna and Chance dig deeper, it seems so much of what they’re being told doesn’t pass the sniff test. And the only way to get his life back is to find the dead girl’s missing boyfriend, unmask a killer, and finish up in time for the wedding. Other than that, it’s just another day in paradise.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Wilson McKenna and his friend Chance, a Private Investigator in Training are on the case to find out who scammed one of his tenants out of all her cash. The case turns out to be much bigger than McKenna imagined and that doesn’t make his bride to be very happy. He just wants to solve the case and survive to walk down the aisle.

Mr. Ambrose has written a mystery that goes from simple to complex in the blink of an eye. Each twist and each turn brings more people into this convoluted story of lies, half-truths, and deception.

I loved the way McKenna and Chance work together. They know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. They trust each other implicitly and they always have each other’s back. They banter back and forth is priceless.

My one downfall in this story was McKenna’s girlfriend Benni. She just came off very wishy-washy to me. First, she gets McKenna to give up a profession he clearly loves. Then when a tenant is scammed Benni encourages him to help. When the investigation gets a little dangerous he keeps the details to himself because he knows her fear of becoming a widow. When she finds out he “lied” to her she packs her bags and threatens to leave. Then literally, just minutes later she says she’ll stay but he must include her in the investigation and tell her everything, no matter how dangerous. She also wants to take an active part in the investigation. I have entered this series late by starting with this book so I may be missing some character dynamics between these two, but I don’t think he will ever be able to make this woman completely happy and still remain true to himself.

A trip to Hawaii has always been on my bucket list so a mystery set there always delights me. I love the descriptions this author gives about McKenna’s little piece of the place. I love the language snippets too. Every time I read the word Slippah (flip-flops), it made me smile. It really is a beautiful language and McKenna slipping words in here and there adds a natural feel to the story and shows the author’s love for the island.

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About the Author

Terry Ambrose is a former skip tracer who tracked down deadbeats for a living. He’s long since turned his talents to writing mysteries and thrillers. Several of his books have been award finalists and in 2014 his thriller, “Con Game,” won the San Diego Book Awards for Best Action-Thriller. He likes cool photography, funny mysteries, and finding the oddest things while walking on the beach.

Author Links:

Website: http://terryambrose.com

Facebook: http://facebook.com/suspense.writer

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6447968.Terry_Ambrose

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Jul 272018
 

On FlashbackFridays 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.
I snapped this book up last year when I saw it took place in Oklahoma. A hard state for me to fill on my Literary Escapes Challenge.

Gone with the Wings (Meera Patel Cozy Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting -Oklahoma
Self Published (June 7, 2017)
Paperback: 269 pages
ISBN-10: 1521448981
ISBN-13: 978-1521448984
Kindle ASIN: B071WHNM6K

Murder strikes a sleepy college town!

Meera Patel has not lived up to her potential. She’s back home after dropping out of grad school. She dishes up spicy food at the local diner and picks fights. Then her old nemesis Prudence Walker turns up dead in the school pond. Meera is accused of murder!

Things get worse for Meera when a new student goes missing. Can Meera convince the incompetent local cops that she is innocent?

Fall in Oklahoma has never been so exciting!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

In this story, we meet Meera Patel and her family. They are a very close family of Asian Indian descent and we see quickly how important their culture is to them. The story takes place in a small college town in Oklahoma. Meera works at the college library and her father is a professor there. His assistant is Prudence Walker, also a professor, and she has a huge crush on the man and that makes Meera positively livid. In fact, they have a huge argument in the stairway of her father’s building. So when Prudence ends up dead, Meera becomes the prime suspect. Then a student from India goes missing right after Meera has words with her and the police believe Meera is responsible for that as well. Meera wants to clear her name but her family believes she needs to leave things to the police. Of course, she does do a little investigating on her own, and that’s a good thing.

I like Meera, her family, and her friends and I really want to know more about them. But I think this book is a prime example of the 1st book in the series “itus” where you have to introduce all the characters, try to engage the reader and give us a great mystery too. This story reads more like Woman’s Fiction with a murder happening on the side. We meet the family and how they all connect, but there are a lot of details left for future books. One thing I quickly learned is this family loves to eat. All the food described sounds wonderful and there are recipes in the back of the book. However, the mystery definitely is playing second fiddle to the family part of the story.

As far as the missing person part of the mystery, Meera really does try to find the girl, which was not an easy task, but in the end, I was underwhelmed by this part of the plot. The conclusion, while plausible, doesn’t fit with the student we met in this story.

I didn’t like the way the murder part of the mystery evolved either. The police officer was a family friend, dating the deceased and decided Meera was guilty immediately.  His harassment of Meera was very uncomfortable and he should have been removed from the case. The way it wrapped up just didn’t feel right to me, it was a stretch to believe.

I did enjoy learning more about Indian culture and the food.

The authors writing style is unique, it really needs some editing to tighten it up. I hope I am right and that the mystery will be more primary in book 2 because I would like to visit this family again.

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Find out more about Leena Clover and her books HERE.

I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy.

Sent directly from Amazon,

The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

Easy Entry 

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

Contest Will End August 10, 2018, 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.”

Jul 062018
 

On FlashbackFridays 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.
Murder at Chateau sur Mer is now available in Paperback!

Murder at Chateau sur Mer (A Gilded Newport Mystery)
Historical Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – Rhode Island
Kensington (July 25, 2017)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496703324
ISBN-13: 978-1496703323
Paperback: 304 pages (June 26, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1496703308
ISBN-13: 978-1496703309
Kindle ASIN: B01M7W948P

A Gilded Newport Mystery – Late nineteenth-century Newport, Rhode Island, is home to some of America’s wealthiest citizens. For society reporter Emma Cross, a less well-heeled cousin to the illustrious Vanderbilts, trailing gossip and glamour will lead her straight into murder . . .

Covering a polo match for the Observer, Emma’s job is to take note of the real players off the field—Newport’s well-bred elite. But the fashionable façade is breached when a woman in gaudy clothing creates a scene demanding to speak to the wife of Senator George Wetmore—until she is escorted off the grounds by the police.

The next morning, police detective Jesse Whyte asks Emma to meet him at the Wetmores’ Bellevue Avenue home, Chateau sur Mer, where the senator’s wife, Edith, has mysteriously asked to see her. Upon entering the mansion, Emma is confronted with a crime scene—the intruder from the polo match lies dead at the foot of a grand staircase.

To avoid scandal, Edith Wetmore implores Emma to use her reporter skills and her discretion to investigate. When Emma learns the victim was a prostitute—and pregnant—she wonders if the senator was being blackmailed. As Emma peels back layers of deception and family secrets, she may have met her match in a desperate killer who will trample anyone who gets in the way . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Step back in time with Emma Cross in Newport, Rhode Island as a day reporting on a polo match leads to murder. A woman tried to make her way into the stands where the elite are watching the match to speak to Edith Wetmore, the wife of Senator George Wetmore. Security was escorted her off the grounds but it is not the last the Westmores will see of her. No, the good senator’s wife finds the woman dead in their home at the bottom of their grand stairway. Police detective Jess Whyte has summoned Emma to Chateau sur Mer. He knows Emma’s help on previous cases has been fruitful, but this time Edith Wetmore has requested her presence. She wants Emma to use her skills to investigate while at the same time keep any rising scandal out of the press. Trying to find a connection between the Wetmores and the dead woman Emma uncovers a web of secrets and lies that puts her own life in peril and others too. It could also cost her her job meaning she could lose her home.

Alyssa Maxwell knows Newport history and she uses that knowledge to create fictional stories that have enough real facts that readers may think the story is real and events may have actually happened. She does include some facts at the end of the story to keep the record straight.

Strong characters and a captivating mystery make it very easy to escape right into this story. Emma Cross is part of the not very well to do side of the Vanderbilt family. She has inherited her home with enough money to pay for basic upkeep but needs to work for necessities like food and clothing. She is the fashion and food reporter for the Observer newspaper but always keeps her ears open for information to get her byline on or close to the front page. She is a strong woman, unafraid to travel unaccompanied to the seedier areas of town, no matter how many times she is told how dangerous it is. Thankfully sometimes she listens. Other times she is just plain lucky.

Emma’s investigation this time to her down to the docks more than once, to a brothel more than once, and even to the scene of a fire. Ms. Maxwell puts our heroine in some precarious situations. I enjoy following Emma everywhere she goes. The author fully describes each place so perfectly, putting us readers right there on the scene.

The mystery is very complex. Suspects are unclear until Emma realizes an event from the past is affecting people’s lives in the present. Even then the suspects remain fluid until the final reveal. Usually when I read a mystery like this one my brain is always trying to be one step ahead of the story’s amateur sleuth. This time I was immersed into the culture and all the happenings that I just kept pace with her. I so enjoyed our tandem journey.

Like the other mansions in this series, Chateau Sur Mer is now owned by the Preservation Society of Newport County and is open to the public as a museum.

I have loved each book in this series. I do recommend they be read in order to understand the settings and the character development. I am so happy to catch on the series with this story because the next book in the series, Murder at Ochre Court is being released July 31, 2018. 

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Alyssa outside (2)

About the Author

Alyssa Maxwell is the author of the Gilded Newport Mysteries and A Lady and Lady’s Maid Mysteries. She lives in South Florida in the current year but confesses to spending most of her time in the Victorian and post WWI eras, as well as other periods of history. In addition to fantasizing about wearing Worth gowns and strolling the gardens of her manor house, she loves to watch BBC and other period productions and sip tea in the afternoons. And each year, she and her husband take a trip up to Newport to visit family, and so Alyssa can “shop” for the next mansion to be featured in her Newport series.

Author Links

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Also by Alyssa Maxwell

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to the publisher I have 1 paperback copy to give away!
The 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.
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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 July 20, 2018, 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.

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.”

Jun 222018
 

Hightail It to Kinsey Falls (Kinsey Falls Series)
Women’s Fiction
1st in Series
Setting – Tennessee
Grace Abraham Publishing (May 22, 2018)
Print Length: 139 pages
Kindle ASIN: B07C46H3WH

Hightail It to Kinsey Falls

All work and no play make Jade a dull girl.

Jade Burt can do without her grandmother’s meddling in her love life. But when Millie finds an abandoned baby possum, it leads her to Caleb Young. Caleb would be perfect for Jade! When Jade meets Caleb, it’s hard to argue with her grandmother’s choice. Still, Jade is determined to push Caleb away, but his friendship with Millie concerns her. What if he’s a slick con man trying to take advantage of a sweet old lady? Jade needs to figure Caleb out before he breaks her grandmother’s heart…and Jade’s too!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

If you need a break in your day from the stress and strife this is a perfect story for you.

An old shopping mall has been converted to a retail/residential facility. Stores on the lower floor with micro-apartments on the upper floor split into 2 sections. One side for senior citizens and the other side for young professionals. There is a community center were residents and shop owners can gather or hold events too.  Jade Burt owns Nothin’ But Knit, one of the retail shops and her grandmother, Millicent Fairchild, lives in one of the apartments upstairs.

Millie on her way to visit Jade notices an animal near her path. She quickly realizes it is a baby possum and scoops it into her now empty makeup bag and rushes into the pet store next to her granddaughter’s store. Hightail It Pet Supply and Grooming. There she meets Caleb, one of the young professional residents who is working at the store while he gets his graduate degree. Millie decides then and there that she needs to bring Jade and Caleb together. They are perfect for each other.

The characters in the story are fabulous. I love the whole idea of blending these two age groups together. The YPs are so welcoming and willing to help the seniors and the seniors feel the need to bake and cook for the YPs. Having them get together for a welcoming event was delightful. The Kinsey Falls Living and Retail Community Center is a great idea and something I would love to see everywhere. The animal that brought everyone together gave the author the opportunity to shine a light on Wynnwood Wildlife Rehabilitation, a non-profit taking care of animals in need. She also shines a light on an illness and it’s side effects that usually effects seniors.

This author usually writes cozy mysteries. I am so happy she has now brought her wonderful writing style to Women’s Fiction. I am excited about this series and am anxiously awaiting book #2.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

 

 

Gayle Leeson is a pseudonym for Gayle Trent. I also write as Amanda Lee. As Gayle Trent, I write the Daphne Martin Cake Mystery series and the Myrtle Crumb Mystery series. As Amanda Lee, I write the Embroidery Mystery series.

I live in Virginia with my family, which includes my own “Angus” who is not an Irish wolfhound but a Great Pyrenees who provides plenty of inspiration for the character of Mr. O’Ruff. I’m having a blast writing this new series! But, never fear, I’m also working on a new cozy mystery series as well.

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Writing as Gayle Trent



Writing as Amanda Lee


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.”

To Bead or Not to Bead (Glass Bead Mystery Series) by Janice Peacock$2.99 - Order Your Copy Today!
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