Nov 072019
 

To Be Released Tuesday, November 9, 2019

A Woman of Two Minds
Medical Thriller/Suspense
Setting – Nevada
Black Opal Books (November 9, 2019)
Paperback: 300 pages
ISBN-10: 1644371677
ISBN-13: 978-1644371671
Kindle ASIN: B07WDD56PL

Kit Mackenzie, a brilliant young CEO of a Fortune 500 corporation, is on trial for the murder of her mother. Was it self-defense or homicide? After the prosecutor discovers a secret brain operation in her past, he believes Kit has a strong motive for murder. His discovery begins one of the most unusual trials in American history. Media from all over the world descend on the courtroom to cover a story they find too astonishing to believe. Mackenzie must depend on her renowned attorney and the insights of a skilled neuro-scientist in the fight to prove her innocence and gain the acceptance of a man she has always wanted.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This was a powerful read. I am going to try to write this review carefully not to give too much away because to enjoy this story you need to read and discover all the bits and pieces on your own.

Kit Mackenzie was in a dark place, dark enough that she tried to take her own life. She did survive but her life is dramatically changed forever. A change the prosecutor believes led her to kill her mother. Her fate plays out over the pages of this story.

When I accepted this book for review I was not aware of the suicide element to the story, but I became so engrossed in Kit’s story there was no way I was going to put this book down. For this gripping story, I pushed down the uncomfortable moments.

The trial takes place in 2018 but we travel back in time to follow Kit’s journey before she tried to take her life and then through the trial date to get her perspective and the perspective of those around her.

The medical aspect of this story was profound and very interesting. New medical discoveries are made every day but it takes some true bravery and sacrifice to submit to the operation in this story.

The author set a perfect pace. As it got later into the evening I was saying to myself, just one more chapter and continued to read two or three more and then repeated the process. I finally had to stop because my eyes just wouldn’t stay open. Speaking of eyes, I went to the optometrist the next morning and my Kindle went with me. Even after my eyes were dilated for the exam, I just increased the font size so I could keep reading while my husband had his exam. I quickly finished the book after we got home.

Ms. Morris does keep her readers on their toes too, right up until the very last page . . . what a moment!

Well-written and plotted, this story blew me away. If medical thrillers or bold thought-provoking stories are your thing you will enjoy A Woman of Two Minds.  This book has earned a place on my Best Reads of 2019 list!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

  Bourne Morris is also the author of the Red Solaris Mysteries. You can read my review of The Red Queen’s Run here, The Rise of the Red Queen here, and The Red Queen Rules here

Find out more about Bourne Morris and her books on her website here, Facebook and Twitter too.



I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy!
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.

Follow Bourne Morris on Twitter for 2 Bonus Entries!

LIKE Bourne Morris on Facebook for 2 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 share the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End November 21, 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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Oct 182019
 


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.


Malice in Maggody (The Arly Hanks Mysteries)
Humorous Mystery (Explicit Language)
1st in Series
Setting – Arkansas
Originally Released (February 5, 1991)
MysteriousPress.com/Open Road – Reprint edition (February 14, 2017)
Print Length: 260 pages
Kindle ASIN: B01N4RHNLC

After a crossbow killing at a cheap roadside motel, Ozarks police chief Arly Hanks finds herself investigating her first murder case.

Her marriage over and career gone bust, Arly Hanks flees Manhattan for her hometown: Maggody, Arkansas. In a town this size, nothing much ever happens, so Arly figures she’s safe as the town’s first female chief of police—until the husband of one of the local barmaids escapes from state prison and heads for town. And that’s not all. An EPA official with ties to polluting the local fishing hole has suddenly vanished off the face of the earth.

As if two manhunts aren’t enough to contend with, a body has been discovered at the pay-by-the-hour Flamingo Motel, shot clean through the neck with an arrow. For some reason, Maggody’s residents—all 755 of them—have gone tight-lipped, stonewalling Arly’s investigations, and Arly hasn’t a soul to trust but her half-wit deputy. Now, as Maggody’s finest, she’ll have to show a little muscle and a lot of cunning to curtail the inhospitable mountain malice that’s overtaken her town. And she’ll have to watch her own back every step of the way.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Arly Hanks returns to Maggody, Arkansas, population 755, after her career and marriage blows up and lands the job of Chief of Police. The crime in Maggody is virtually non-existent and writing traffic tickets is the major concern. But then a prison escape puts everyone on guard. The man who escaped is the husband of Jaylee Withers, a barmaid at Ruby Dee’s Bar and Grill. The residents of Maggody are also dealing with the EPA who has given the go-ahead for a sewage treatment plant that will feed into the beloved Boone Creek. The man sent to get all the I’s dotted and the T’s crossed made it to town but hasn’t been seen since.

So the crime rate in Maggody has taken a huge spike with two manhunts. But that’s not all … Arly now has to add a murder to her list when a body outside the pay-by-the-hour Flamingo Motel and she isn’t getting any help anyone in town, not even her mother. Thankfully Arly isn’t on her own and I don’t mean her Barney Fife deputy, she gets a much-needed assist from the State Police even though she isn’t happy to accept it.

___

This book is listed on many sites as a “cozy mystery” so I was completely caught off guard when the first line of the book is “It’s sh*t – pure and simple sh*t, no matter what they call it in those g*ddamn reports” (asterisks added by me.) While the language may be authentic and I have no problem with that language in almost any other genre, I just don’t believe it should be found in a cozy mystery.  I did keep reading and did enjoy the book but I refuse to classify it as a cozy mystery.

Joan Hess has created larger than life characters and placed them in a quirky small town. Almost everyone we meet is hiding something or keeping a secret or involved in nefarious activities and sometimes all three. While I found most of them to be pretty stereotypical and could be offensive to some readers I did find them entertaining.

The mystery plotlines were interesting even with readers knowing many things Arly didn’t. The story was well-plotted and the final reveal was surprising but made perfect sense. The author leans heavily on humor and some scenes were pretty hilarious.

Colorful characters in a Southern small-town, Malice in Maggody was an unusual and stirring mystery. I do plan to read more of this series.

One note: I think formatting this book for digital devices made transitions hard to follow at times. Storyline transitions were blurred due to the flow of the text. Spaces for setting changes or time changes within the chapters would be appreciated.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

I was sad to learn while researching this series that the author passed away in November 2017. Joan Hess was an American mystery writer, a member of Sisters in Crime, and a former president of the American Crime Writers League. She wrote two popular mystery series: The Claire Malloy Mysteries and The Maggody Mysteries (also called The Arly Hanks Mysteries), and has contributed to multiple anthologies and book series, including: Crosswinds, Deadly Allies, Malice Domestic, Sisters in Crime, and The Year’s 25 Finest Crime and Mystery Stories. She also wrote the Theo Bloomer mystery series, under the pseudonym Joan Hadley.


I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy!
It 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.

If you share the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
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Contest Will End November 1, 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

*This book was from my private collection.

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Oct 112019
 

When I grabbed this book to fill the Oklahoma spot on my Literary Escapes Challenge I thought it was released last year and eligible for Flashback Friday. On Sunday I realized that was not the case 😥 So I will be skipping Flashback Friday this week.


18 Redbud Lane: Six Generations Build a Legacy of Faith on the Oklahoma Prairie
by Kat Lewis, Vickie McDonough, Shannon Pearson, T.J. Radle, Alanna Rodriguez, Kathryn Spurgeon, and Darlene Franklin
Christian Historical Fiction
Setting – Oklahoma
Independently published (March 7, 2019)
Paperback: 162 pages
ISBN-10: 1798920751
ISBN-13: 978-1798920756
Kindle ASIN: B07PQVPG14

From the dusty chaos of the land run to the present day, these are the tales of loves and legends of people who lived in a small house in Guthrie, Oklahoma. Oh, the stories these walls can tell. . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

18 Redbud Lane takes readers to Guthrie, Oklahoma as we read about multiple generations of a family that made their home there starting in 1889.

Racing for His Dream by Vickie McDonough – tells the story of Reece Redding staking his claim on land for his home and hardware store. 1889 – 1907

The Mail Carrier by Kathryn Spurgeon  – The Redding family story continues with Alice and her dreams. 1935 – 1942

The Choice to Love by Shannon D. Pearson – Robin Redding cuts hair in her parent’s shop but is struggling with the loss of her true love in the war. This one really tugged at my heartstrings, 1946

Nebulous Affairs by Kat Lewis – Stella Redding’s exciting story. 1968 – 1975

Pins ‘n Nails by Shannon D. Pearson and Alanna Radle Rodriguez – Naomi Redding is in the family building with her historical sewing business and just when her dream is about to be realized a monkey wrench is thrown into the works. 1983 – 1985

New Beginnings by Alanna Radle Rodriguez – Naomi’s daughter Cassie gets horrific news that changes her life. This one tugged at my heartstrings too. 2004 – 2007

All the stories are Christian based and feature strong characters facing grueling times. I really enjoyed that one story built from the last and the connection the kept the stories grounded. That being said each author put their own twist on their story and their different styles are evident. Combined together the book is novella length which makes a nice little afternoon escape.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent


I am giving 1 Kindle Copy away!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
and 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.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End October 25, 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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Oct 032019
 

Two Bites Too Many
(A Sarah Blair Mystery)
by Debra H. Goldstein

I am so excited to welcome Debra Goldstein to Escape With Dollycas today!

My Favorite Shirt Has a Tear
by Debra H. Goldstein

 

My favorite shirt has a tear.

The minute the dryer buzzed, I stopped what I was doing and went to retrieve my shirt, so it wouldn’t wrinkle. I pulled it out, shook it, hung it, and saw the pinprick sized hole at the edge of the pocket. Perhaps it was a spot? No, a hole going all the way through the fabric at a location that makes patching or simply wearing it again in public impossible.

What will I do?

I wear that shirt when I don’t feel up to par, when I think the weather is going to be cold, when I write and things aren’t working, or when it is one of those days. It is my comfort shirt. Oversized, blue-green and white plaid, with sleeves that stay rolled up because it has little buttons and tabs to keep them in place, it would never be mistaken as high fashion. My shirt serves only two purposes:  it keeps me covered and makes me feel secure.

My writing is like my shirt. I write comfort books and short stories. Hopefully, readers feel embraced by the wealth of my words and for a moment forget whatever troubles them in the real world. Whether my tale is dark or light, the goal is for the plot, setting, and characters to wrap the reader in a manner that shuts out any other thoughts.

In One Taste Too Many and Two Bites Too Many, the first books in my new Sarah Blair cozy mystery series from Kensington, I address one of my biggest fears – being in the kitchen. As Sarah struggles to avoid making anything from scratch, I express her fears and actions in a fun way that readers can either identify with or laugh at. Whether a reader goes the extra step of making one of the recipes, like Jell-O in a Can, or is engaged by the charms of RahRah, Sarah’s Siamese cat, there should be a momentary sense of enjoyment. The language I use may not be highfaluting, but it always is understandable. Consequently, like my shirt, the purpose of this series is to provide comfort to readers.

Time changes everything. Hopefully, each of my written works has improved. It is an inevitable evolution, comparable to life. Tomorrow, I’ll mourn the loss of my shirt, but I’ll buy another. It will be different, but I bet in the long run it will be just as comfortable. My series won’t be the same as other ones you’ve tried and liked, but I’m hoping you discover, as I will with my new shirt, that different can entertain you and cover you with the security of joy.

Have you ever found giving up something old has led you to something you liked even better?

 

Thank you, Debra, for visiting today!

Okay folks, keep reading for my thoughts about Two Bites Too Many. 

About Two Bites Too Many


Two Bites Too Many (A Sarah Blair Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Alabama
Kensington (September 24, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-10: 1496719484
ISBN-13: 978-1496719485
Digital ASIN: B07MB4779P

Far from a domestic goddess, Sarah Blair would rather catch bad guys than slave over a hot stove. But when a dangerous murder boils over in Wheaton, Alabama, catching the killer means leaving her comfort zone . . .

Things are finally looking up for Sarah Blair following her unsavory divorce. Settled into a cozy carriage house with her sassy Siamese cat, RahRah, she has somehow managed to hang on to her modest law firm receptionist job and—if befriending flea-bitten strays at the local animal shelter counts—lead a thriving social life. For once, Sarah almost has it together more than her enterprising twin, Emily, a professional chef whose efforts to open a gourmet restaurant have hit a real dead end.

When the president of the town bank and city council is murdered after icing Emily’s business plans, all eyes are on the one person who left the scene with blood on her hands—the twins sharp-tongued mother, Maybelle. Determined to get her mom off the hook ASAP, Sarah must collect the ingredients of a deadly crime to bring the true culprit to justice. But as neighbors turn against her family, can she pare down the suspects before another victim lands on the chopping block?

Includes quick and easy recipes!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Sarah Blair doesn’t have to work but she enjoys her job at the law firm and is happy living in the carriage house with her cat RahRah. Her sister Emily along with Marcus have big plans for not just one restaurant but two! The one lost to a fire and one in the “big house” that Sarah inherited. When the bank turns down their loan request her the girl’s mother Maybelle drags Sarah to the bank to hash it out with the president of the bank. Apparently Sarah’s healthy bank account will remind the man who is dealing with.  Promising he’ll look over the paperwork, Sarah heads to a meeting but Maybelle has other plans. She waits a short time and then returns to the president’s office where instead of getting the answer she wanted she finds the man dead. She then finds herself the police’s prime suspect.

Sarah is surprised by how quickly people believe her mother is a murderer. Emily has her hands full working at a local hotel until she can get her restaurants open. Sarah is busy with a fundraiser too but knows she needs to help lawyer Harlan do everything she can to keep Maybelle out of jail.

___________

There is a lot happening in Wheaton, Alabama and Sarah Blair seems to be caught up in all of it. She can do many things now that she has received her inheritance but for right now she is content working for Harlan, helping her sister and staying involved with things around town, like the fundraiser. She and Emily are best friends, the yin to the other’s yang. Maybelle knows just how to push their buttons, but we see a different side of her this time. Emily is very driven and Sarah is still finding her way. The core characters are evolving at a realistic pace.  We learn more about Sarah’s neighbor George this time and because of that, we meet some new characters. Employees of the bank are also introduced. The author does an excellent job giving us characters to root for and those that could be villains/suspects. RahRah again stole my heart.

I did enjoy the way Ms. Goldstein sets the scene. The bank, the hotel, the carriage house and everything in between were all described so well. I could easily envision each place.

The mystery was murky for me but I latched onto the killer pretty early on. I just didn’t know the details of their motive until it was all laid out for me. There were several red herrings though that could have diverted my thinking but I held strong. Mini mysteries that eventually tied together to the murder were very interesting and pressed me to realize I was on the right track. The ending was pretty exciting.

Debra H. Goldstein has again given readers a fun and entertaining mystery filled with characters I wish I could know in person. Comfortable cozies, both books in this series so far have been Perfect Escapes. Once I started reading they were virtually impossible to put down.  Two Bites Too Many has whet my appetite for book #3. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of One Taste Too Many here.

About Debra H. Goldstein 

Judge Debra H. Goldstein is the author of Two Bites Too Many, as well as One Taste Too Many, the first of Kensington’s new Sarah Blair cozy mystery series. She also wrote Should Have Played Poker and IPPY Award-winning Maze in Blue. Her short stories, including Anthony and Agatha nominated “The Night They Burned Ms. Dixie’s Place,” have appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies including Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Black Cat Mystery Magazine, and Mystery Weekly. Debra serves on the national boards of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America and is president of the Southeast Chapter of MWA and past president of SinC’s Guppy Chapter.

Author Links

Website    Blog    Facebook    Linked In

Twitter @DebraHGoldstein    GoodReads

Purchase Links

Amazon  B&N  Kobo  Google Play 

Praise for Two Bites Too Many
(A Sarah Blair Mystery)
by Debra H. Goldstein

This was a good cozy mystery with all the things I enjoy about this genre: small town, great atmosphere, good food, animals, multi-age characters, a bit of romance, an interesting crime, and a great sleuth.
~Carla Loves To Read

Two Bites Too Many allows its readers to fall into a completely different, tightly-bound family for a few hours. And who doesn’t want to do that? Highly recommended for cozy fans.
~Diane Reviews Books

I have enjoyed this cozy series that is set in a small town and around the catering/restaurant that Sarah’s twin sister owns and operates.
~My Reading Journeys

What an adorable cozy this is! . . . Full of characters you can both hate and love mixed with surprises and good times. Makes for a great read that you won’t want to put down.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews


Thanks to the author 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
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.

Follow Kensington Books on Twitter for 2 Bonus Entries!

LIKE Kensington Publishing on Facebook for 2 Bonus Entries!

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

Contest Will End October 7, 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

 

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops! 

September 23 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY
September 24 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT – Reading Is My SuperPower
September 24 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY
September 25 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
September 25 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
September 26 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
September 26 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
September 27 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT
September 27 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, GUEST POST
September 28 – Laura’s Interests – CHARACTER GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY
September 29 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
September 30 – My Journey Back-The Journey Back – CHARACTER GUEST POST
October 1 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
October 1 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
October 2 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW, RECIPE
October 2 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
October 3 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY
October 3 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY  
October 4 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY
October 5 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
October 6 – Cozy Up With Kathy – 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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Sep 202019
 

A Night’s Tail (Magical Cats)
by Sofie Kelly

 

About A Night’s Tail

 

A Night’s Tail (Magical Cats)
Cozy Mystery
11th in Series
Setting – Minnesota
Berkley (September 3, 2019)
Hardcover: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 0440001137
ISBN-13: 978-0440001133
Digital ASIN: B07L7SSYYZ

Librarian Kathleen Paulson’s brother, Ethan, and his band, The Flaming Gerbils, are spending some time in Mayville Heights. Ethan and his band-mate Derek, are giving a song-writing workshop at the St. James Hotel when they stumble upon the body of Lewis Wallace. The former football player was considering the town for the site of his newest business venture. However, not everyone was a fan of the brash ex-athlete, who had a failed business, some disgruntled customers, and several lawsuits in his past. Did he make a new enemy, or did Lewis Wallace’s past finally catch up with him? It’s up to Kathleen—with some furry assistance from her talented cats, Owen and Hercules—to figure out who was trying to settle the score.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

We are back in Mayville Heights and librarian Kathleen Paulson is thrilled that her brother has come to visit. His band, The Flaming Gerbils, is playing some gigs nearby and have organized a song-writing workshop at the St. James Hotel.  When they and Kathleen arrive at the hotel to check out the space they find a man the had encountered the night before deader than a doornail. Lewis Wallace has been in town trying to work out a deal for a new business venture and it isn’t long before his true colors are exposed opening up a large variety of suspects. Because of the band members recent history with the man Kathleen, with a little assist from her magical felines, Owen and Hercules, strive to get the right person booked for the crime.

I love this series! Owen and Hercules are such amazing kitties and so is Micah! Marcus just doesn’t know it yet 😎 They are absolutely priceless. Owen with his catnip chickens, Hercules snaking off to have breakfast across the backyard with Everett and Rebecca, and Micah’s little antics just crack me up.

In this installment, we meet Kathleen’s brother Ethan. I was thrilled that she had a little piece of home with her but it leads her to realize that Mayville Heights is home too. Right now at the library, she is helping set up a quilt show. The organizer is a real micro-manager but Kathleen understands and they make a great team. The show sounded quite impressive. Her boyfriend Marcus would like her to stay out of his case but Kathleen always seems to find the right answers just before he does. Of course, he doesn’t have a set of magical cats helping him investigate.

Ms. Kelly continues to create great characters while letting established characters to grow. They are three-dimensional and the dialogue rings true. This time she not only had to give us a despicable victim, you will see what I mean early in the story, she also brings us The Flaming Gerbils! I love that name! She has to give them all enough depth so that readers become invested and keep those pages flipping. She does this so well. I love the little snarks between brother and sister. It sounded a lot like my house when the kids are together.

Sofie Kelly also pens a twisted mystery with plenty of clues pulling both Kathleen and readers in different directions. I thought I had it all figured out only to keep reading to find I was completely wrong. It turned out to be quite a puzzler until the final clue slid into place.

Readers will get a kick out of this well-plotted mystery with terrific characters, a great dose of humor, just a little bit of romance and cats that will absolutely, positively steal your heart. A Night’s Tail has it all and was truly A Perfect Escape!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

*This book can be read on its own but reading a couple of the early stories may be helpful to get to know the characters. 

About Sofie Kelly

Sofie Kelly writes the New York Times bestselling Magical Cats mysteries that feature librarian Kathleen Paulson and her two very special cats, Owen and Hercules, who have a magical knack for solving crime. As Sofie Ryan she is the author of the New York Times bestselling Second Chance Cat mystery series. She lives on the east coast with her husband and daughter.

Website: www.sofiekelly.com

Purchase Links – Amazon    –    Barnes and Noble     –       Indiebound

Praise for A Night’s Tail (Magical Cats)
by Sofie Kelly

A Night’s Tail is a spellbinding tale with a catnip chicken catastrophe, quilt show quandaries, a cookie calamity, and a busy brother with a bothersome bandmate.
~The Avid Reader

I quickly became immersed in this story and enjoyed every minute spent with Kathleen and her “special” cats, Hercules and Owen.
~The Power of Words

A Night’s Tail by Sofie Kelly is a terrific story about family, friends, lies, and judgment all with a side of murder.
~Baroness’ Book Trove

As with any Cozy, relationships are key and it is obvious that Kathleen and the residents of the town of Mayville Heights have developed strong bonds. There are surely more tails to come. I can see why it is a best selling series.
~I Read What You Write

This series seems to have all the elements cozy readers look for in a favorite series.
~Laura’s Interests

The book is fantastic at drawing you in with characters you can relate to both old and new . . . Total must-read for fans of cozies, kitties, and a touch of magic. I totally loved it so I give it 5/5 stars.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

 




Written as Sofie Ryan


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TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
September 11 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
September 11 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews -SPOTLIGHT
September 12 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST
September 12 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
September 13 – I’m All About Books – REVIEW
September 13 – The Power of Words – REVIEW
September 14 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
September 14 – Brooke Blogs – RECIPE POST
September 14 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW
September 15 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
September 16 – Cozy Up With Kathy – INTERVIEW
September 16 – Reading Is My SuperPower – SPOTLIGHT
September 17 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT
September 17 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews
September 18 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
September 18 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
September 19 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT
September 19 – Ascroft, eh? – GUEST POST
September 19 – Mysteries with Character – INTERVIEW
September 20 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
September 20 – 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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Sep 182019
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am thrilled to welcome Vivian Conroy to Escape With Dollycas! 

Hi Vivian! 

Escape to Tundish, Montana: The Town with a Heart of Gold!

So nice to be on Escape with Dollycas to tell a bit about my brand-new mystery, Last Pen Standing, first in the Stationery Shop Mysteries.

Don’t you just love to explore a new place and discover its historic buildings, great food, and friendly locals? Let me take you to Tundish, my very own wild west town! If there was a leaflet promoting it, it would say something much like this:

In the Bitterroot Valley, home to crystal clear lakes and snowcapped mountains, there’s a little town with a heart of gold, called Tundish.

Famous for its gold-mining history, today it caters to tourists coming to explore the historic buildings and the great outdoors, especially during the leaf-peeping season when the trees turn a stunning golden, orange and red. If you’re dropping by to snap a few shots of the fall glory, don’t miss these four highlights:

1) The former sheriff’s office on Mattock Street, containing many original elements such as old cells, the sheriff’s desk, and hitching posts! Now a stationery shop, aptly called WANTED, it provides wrapping paper, notebooks, calligraphy sets and washi tape for all your crafting needs. You can also take a workshop to develop your hand lettering or paper crafting skills.

2) The restaurant Mine Forever, where everything refers back to Tundish’s history: from the mining equipment on top of the building to the gold-lump shaped doorknob. Their coffee has won lots of prizes and the waitresses are always there for a friendly chat.

3) The Lodge Hotel, located on the edge of a beautiful lake. You can go boating, horse riding, mountain biking, or bird watching with experienced guides. They offer regular live entertainment on weekends and a high tea on Sunday afternoons. Special tip: the annual gold miners’ party in the Golden Age style is famous in the region.

4) The gold mining museum where volunteers dressed up in authentic 19th-century clothing tell-all about the pull of that sparkly metal, cheating with claims and family life on the goldfields. Bring home a cute souvenir in the shape of a tiny mining cart filled with nuggets of what looks a lot like the real thing.

Eager for more detail on these lovely places? Come along with Delta Douglas, her friends from the Paper Posse and retired K9 officer Spud as they navigate new beginnings, smalltown gossip, and murder in Last Pen Standing, the start to an exciting crafting-themed series set against a charming western backdrop.

Thank you, Vivian, for stopping by today and introducing us to Tundish.

Keep reading for my thoughts about Last Pen Standing. 

 

Last Pen Standing (Stationery Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Montana
Poisoned Pen Press (September 24, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 1492684031
ISBN-13: 978-1492684039
Kindle ASIN: B07PX3QYC9

Will this paper trail run cold?

As the new co-owner of Tundish Montana’s stationery shop WANTED, Delta Douglas knows how to organize a killer crafting event. Creativity and cardstock are all she needs to move one step closer to her ultimate dream: developing her own line of crafting products. But on the night of the workshop, at the swanky hotel venue, glitter isn’t the only thing found sprawled on the floor. A hotel guest is discovered dead in the bar, and amid the confusion, Delta’s best friend is suspected of the crime.

Enlisting the help of her Paper Posse and Spud, her canine sidekick, Delta dives into the investigation. But with many high-powered suspects on the line, Delta soon realizes her sleuthing may come with deadly consequences.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Delta Douglas has come to Tundish, Montana to follow her dreams. Her grandmother has gifted her inheritance early so she can go into business with her best friend Hazel as co-owner of a stationary store set up in an old sheriff’s office, complete with jail cells. Hazel has fittingly named the store WANTED. Delta’s plans include developing her own line of crafting supplies and products.

Delta arrives in town just in time to help Hazel host a workshop at The Lodge Hotel. The hotel is a busy place with a huge party in the ballroom while the WANTED workshop takes place in a large conference room. The hotel manager is adamant the two groups remain separate clearly favoring the well to do guests attending the party. One of the exclusive guests apparently didn’t get the memo because she wanders into the workshop clearly taken with the crafts especially some very special notebooks. She asks that they are set aside for her until she can return to pay for them.

The workshop ends without the woman returning so Delta and Hazel decide to leave the notebooks at the front desk. Before they can leave the building they learn someone has been murdered. Hazel and Delta find themselves wrapped up in the chaos and the crush of people as the police arrive. The police pay special attention to Hazel and her brother Finn, who is employed by the hotel and involved with the owner’s daughter. In fact, the siblings are quickly loaded into police cars and taken in for questioning.

Not sure what has really happened Delta enlists the help of the ladies from the workshop, also known as the Paper Posse. They are familiar with the town and its residents but she can get away with being the new girl in town to ask some pointed questions too. She knows she is on the right track when she receives her first threat.

___

Welcome to Tundish, Montana. The author introduces readers to a vast number of characters keeping each one unique and memorable. Delta Douglas in a talented artist ready to make her break into the world. She and Hazel were college roommates then quickly became best friends. Hazel was not fully truthful with Delta on a very important topic and that gave me pause. We also meet Jonas Nord, a retired Detective, and his dog Spud also retired from law enforcement. He seems to have a good head on his shoulders, the opposite of the police chief who just wants to arrest someone. There is a large number of supporting characters, mostly the owners, staff, and guests at the hotel. People with secrets make fabulous suspects.

I really didn’t have a favorite character in this story, they are just too new. But I am looking forward to the next book to get to know them better. I especially want to get to know that Paper Posse better, they seem to be a very interesting group.

I love where this story takes place. A wild-west town that tourists love to visit. I am not sure yet if I have a complete picture of the stationery store in my head yet. Hazel has tried to keep the sheriff’s office intact as much as possible while displaying some artifacts to show the town’s history while also displaying all the goods for sale in a way to draw her customer in and entice them to make a purchase. The hotel was easy for me to envision and I would love to visit the gold mining museum.

The mystery had its share of twists and turns to keep those pages turning. The flow dipped a few times though and some of the characters actions were a little out there, but the author pasted everything together for a satisfactory ending.

The first book in a series is always a heavy lift because readers need to meet the characters and learn their place, get to know the setting, and still demand a mystery we can tear apart and wrap back together all within a set number of pages. In my opinion, the author does a great job of that in this debut novel of this series.

Last Pen Standing gives this series a strong start. I am excited to see what Ms. Convoy comes up with next.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The Stationery Shop Mysteries are the latest addition to Vivian Conroy’s expanding mystery range. She also writes the contemporary Country Gift Shop Mysteries and the historical Murder Will Follow Mysteries, paying tribute to her favorite mystery author Agatha Christie. Away from the keyboard, Vivian loves to hike, craft, and hang out on Twitter where readers can connect with her via @VivWrites.


Also by this Author





Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!
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Winner Will Be Notified By Email
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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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Sep 132019
 


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.


Two to Mango (The Tiki Goddess Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Hawaii
Bell Bridge Books (June 20, 2012)
Hardcover: 218 pages
ISBN-10: 1611948096
ISBN-13: 978-1611948097
Paperback: 218 pages
ISBN-10: 1611941318
ISBN-13: 978-1611941319
Kindle ASIN: B007RQV6NK

Forget the grass skirts. Some of the Island’s top hula dancers are pushing up daisies.

Everyone at Em Johnson’s famous North Shore Kauai hang-out, The Tiki Goddess Bar, knows that the bar’s irrepressible Hula Maidens take their hula dancing seriously. So when famed hula instructors from a rival dance troop start dropping like over-ripe passion fruit, Em and the Hula Maidens go undercover at the Kukui Nut Festival Hula Competition to uncover the killer. Em is once again up to her okole in danger and mystery, not to mention the seductive challenge of working with hunky detective Roland Sharpe, who moonlights as one of the island’s sexiest fire dancers.

The hula is lively, the luau is smoking, the mai tais are delicious, and a killer is looking to get away with murder in paradise.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

The Hula Maidens are back and are as hilarious as ever. The senior ladies take their hula dancing very seriously and are afraid that after their latest incident at an old folks home their dancing days may be over. They get a reprieve when Em Johnson’s detective Roland asks for Em’s help. Heads of another local dance group have died suddenly. Roland doesn’t have any proof but he thinks their deaths were not from natural causes. He asks Em to convince the Hula Maidens to enter the Kukui Nut Festival Hula Competition so that she can go undercover and keep her eyes and ears open. He will be there too in his dual roles of law enforcement and fire dancer. Em just can’t say no.

First, I appreciated the author’s refresher on the Hawaiian language and the meaning of the Hawaiian words when they first appear as a comfortable part of the narrative.

Next, Ms. Landis has created the epitome of quirky characters that are what every great cozy mystery series needs. The Hula Maidens are a group of “not-so-talented-over-the-hill dancers”. They have recently lost one member to another group and gained a dancer who hails from Iowa. They dance at events and places for free but their “gigs” are rare because people expect “lovely young Polynesian dancers, not a bunch of wrinkled old haoles (not Native Hawaiian) with underarm bat wings.” In the first book in this series, they convinced Em Johnson to come to Kauai to save her uncle’s Tiki Goddess Bar that was going under mostly because her uncle loans anyone money and never gets repaid. The bar also has a taste testing parrot named David Letterman. Uncle Louie likes to come up with new exotic drink recipes that aren’t revealed to the public without the bird’s okay. And then there is bartender Sophie, who tries to help the maidens with their choreography and hunky fire dancer detective Roland Sharpe. Roland does have feelings for Em and she has feelings for him but they are taking things S .  . . L . . . O . . . W.

The author wraps these characters in a puzzling mystery. Who is killing the Kumu? and How? and Why? It is not easily apparent but Em has her suspects. What ensues is a wacky, wild and at times laugh out loud funny journey to find the truth.

I read the first book in this series because I needed to read a book set in Hawaii for a reading challenge. I came back for this one because there are very few authors that can make me laugh so much from the beginning to the end of a story. The bonus is the mystery is fun to follow and solve too.

If you like cozies with a generous dose of humor and larger than life characters, grab this book, flip to the back for Uncle Louie’s Booze Bible, mix yourself a drink or two, and sit back and enjoy Jill Marie Landis’ Two to Mango!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Mai Tai One On here.

Find out more about Jill Marie Landis on her webpage here.

I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy!

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.

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 27, 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

*This book was from my private collection. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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Sep 102019
 

A Curio Killing
(A Keepsake Cove Mystery)
by Mary Ellen Hughes

 

About A Curio Killing

A Curio Killing (A Keepsake Cove Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Maryland
Midnight Ink (September 8, 2019)
Paperback: 264 pages
ISBN-10: 0738752266
ISBN-13: 978-0738752266
Digital ASIN: B07KMX5QY4

Callie finds treble in Keepsake Cove when her ex-boyfriend is framed for murder . . . 

Callie Reed is looking forward to her first Keepsake Cove spring festival. But her excitement dims considerably when she learns that her ex-boyfriend, Hank, will be performing with one of the hired country-western bands. Callie vows to keep her distance, but that changes when the band’s manager, Bobby Linville, is found dead, killed with the music box Hank bought at Callie’s shop.

Hank is soon singing a sad tune in a detention center with Callie his only lifeline. Though thoroughly aware of his many faults, she knows violence and murder aren’t in his blood. But that means one of her fellow Keepsake Cove residents must be hiding a dark secret—something Callie desperately needs to uncover.

Dollycas’s  Thoughts

In this 3rd Keepsake Cove Mystery House of Melody owner Callie Reed is excited about the upcoming Spring Festival. She is totally caught off guard when her ex-boyfriend Hank walks into her shop and informs her his band will be headlining the entertainment for the festival. She is even more shocked when he purchases a pricey music box. She plans to enjoy the festival with new boyfriend Brian, keeping any contact with Hank to a minimum.

Then the band’s manager is murdered and the murder weapon happens to be the music box Hank purchased the day before. Like a familiar country song, Hank finds himself behind bars pleading his innocence and begging a woman (Callie) for her help. She believes he didn’t do it but she has no idea who would have killed the man. It could be someone who calls Keepsake Cove home.

__

The core characters in this series are an eclectic group and they are joined this time some great new characters, some who make very good suspects. Keepsake Cove residents, Hank and the members of his band. Delia’s costume photographer friend Jill, and Callie’s mom who is reaching out by phone for Callie’s help too. I am glad Brian is such a fantastic boyfriend. He was patient and didn’t get too freaked out by Callie’s determination to help her ex, but it was easy to see he was not happy. She also leaves the music box shop in her assistant’s hands a lot while she is “investigating”. She is blessed by the people in her life that stood by her side as she helped a man that had really hurt her in the past.

The mystery had its share of twists and turns. There turned out to be more suspects than originally perceived. Secrets revealed really took the case in a different direction. I was surprised by the way everything played out.

Keepsake Cove, a collector shopper’s dream come true, is an ideal place for cozy mysteries to take place. I would love to visit all the unique shops at any time of year. The author’s words also bring another area to life. She does an excellent job laying out the festival grounds too, making it very easy for readers to visualize.

There was something missing from this book that I loved about the others. That being Tabitha’s surprising over-the-top clothing and accessory choices that would surprise Callie and visitors to House of Melody, i.e. a new character each day. This time she was so focused on building her jewelry business and filling in for Callie, her uniqueness took a backseat. With a more serious Tabitha, some of the humor found in previous books was lost.

That being said A Curio Killing is a fine addition to this series. With the publisher closing its doors I hope the author finds a way to continue it because I sure would love to visit Keepsake Cove and these characters again soon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Read my review of A Fatal Collection here, and A Vintage Death here.

About Mary Ellen Hughes

Mary Ellen Hughes is the bestselling author of the Pickled and Preserved Mysteries, the Craft Corner Mysteries, and the Maggie Olenski Mysteries, along with several short stories. The Keepsake Cove series begins with A Fatal Collection and continues with A VINTAGE DEATH and A CURIO KILLING.

Visit her at www.MaryEllenHughes.com.

Author Links – Facebook – Pinterest – Twitter  – GoodReads

Purchase Links 

 
Amazon    B&N  Midnight Ink     Mystery Love Company Booksellers    BAM    IndieBound

Also by Mary Ellen Hughes



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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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Sep 062019
 


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.


The Final Arrangement: A Cozy Flower Shop Mystery
Amateur Sleuths (Adult Language)
1st in Series
Setting – Utah
Self Published
Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1482314487
ISBN-13: 978-1482314489
Kindle ASIN: B00AF2HXGC

The Vulture is dead.

The body of Quincy McKay’s nemesis and biggest competitor in the floral business has just been discovered in a casket at the mortuary, complete with flowers on the lid.

Derrick Gibbons, aka The Vulture, stole all of Quincy’s funeral business, and now she’s on a mission to get it back. But there’s a problem—Quincy is now the main suspect in The Vulture’s murder.

Armed with only her Zombie delivery van, good intentions, and the business card of a handsome cop named Alex, she must find the killer, save the flower shop, and keep from ending up in the next casket. If she can dodge burning bushes, the plague of a polygamist ex, and her mother’s Mormon Mafia Spy Network, her life with Alex and her shop could become the perfect arrangement.

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Quinella/Quincy McKay has taken over her aunt’s florist shop, Rosie’s Posies. Business was good until Derrick Gibbons, aka The Vulture, took over all funeral business in the area. It is only fitting he should meet his demise and be found laid out in a casket complete with flowers ready for his own funeral. Because of an altercation with the deceased right before he was killed Quincy lands firmly at the top of the suspect list.

She meets another police officer who tells her she has nothing to worry about. Andy is easy on the eyes and there are immediate vibes between them, but Quincy isn’t sure if she can trust him. She knows she needs to clear her name while avoiding her mother’s Mormon Mafia Spy Network all while dealing with the fallout of her polygamist ex, her sister’s abusive boyfriend, an employee that is getting on her last nerve, and another who she knows she needs to fire. She also needs to stay out of the killer’s way or she could be pushing up daisies next to the Vulture.

Set in Utah, Quincy’s mother wants her daughters to settle down with nice Mormon men, both tried but the men were not who they appeared to be. Qunicy gets out of her relationship and she is determined to help her sister get out of hers even with their mother putting up roadblocks.

We also meet a quirky group of supporting characters. Quincy’s employees, other florists, funeral home staff, and of course members of the local police department. The characters all have their own amount of baggage and the author does a good job fleshing them out. Quincy doesn’t always make the best moves but in her mind, they make sense. She is evolving and that is always a good thing.

Ms. Adams wraps these characters not only in a murder mystery but several subplots. She takes on some hot button issues but keeps them from getting too heavy with well-timed humor. The main mystery was a twisted up puzzle with a variety of suspects in addition to our protagonist. It was fun to follow all the clues to a suspenseful satisfying conclusion.

I love flowers so I loved the descriptions of the floral creations. It was easy to picture every one.

With the perfect amount of humor and romance, The Final Arrangement was an enjoyable mystery, with one caution, this story includes explicit language that for me takes it out of the cozy mystery genre. That being said I am excited to read the next book in the series.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author 

Annie Adams is the author of The Flower Shop Mystery Series and the Rosie McKay Mystery Series. She lives with her husband, two giant dogs, and two, too giant cats in Northern Utah at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains. When not writing she can be found arranging flowers or delivering them in her own Zombie Delivery Van.

Website  – FacebookTwitter  


You can get a copy of this book at Amazon for just 99 cents
but I am giving away 1 Kindle copy.
It 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.

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

Contest Will End September 20, 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

*This book was from my personal collection. 

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Sep 042019
 


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am delighted to welcome Kathleen Ernst back to Escape with Dollycas!

Reaching a Milestone

By Kathleen Ernst

 

As Chloe Ellefson walked from 1982 into 1870s Wisconsin, a white frame church emerged from the trees, prettily framed against a cloud-studded blue sky. The view alone was enough to make most visitors pause, appreciate the simple elegance of the restored church, perhaps even wonder about the lives of those women and men and children who had first worshiped within its walls. For Chloe, the historic site’s newest employee, the scene represented a fresh start.

I wrote those words seventeen years ago, hoping they might one day become the beginning of an adult mystery novel.

At the time I was busy writing historical fiction for young readers and working as a project director and scriptwriter for instructional videos broadcast on Wisconsin Public Television. I had little spare time.

Still, writing a series about an outdoor museum curator was something I truly wanted to do. I had once worked for a large historic site myself, and I missed that world. Writing “on spec,” with no promise of publication, I began work on the first Chloe Ellefson mystery, Old World Murder.

Because I had to fit writing Chloe’s story around contract work, it took me seven years to finish that first book. The delays actually served me well, I think, for they gave me lots of time to think about not only the first mystery, but my goals for the series.

Old World Murder was published by Midnight Ink in 2010. Astonishingly, I’m now celebrating publication of the 10th book in the series, Fiddling With Fate.

My goals for the series haven’t changed. First, I strive to give readers a satisfying armchair adventure and complex characters to root for. In addition, I want to feature real historic sites and museums in Wisconsin and the Upper Midwest. I want to celebrate this region’s diverse ethnic heritage by focusing on different groups. And I want to spotlight the stories that artifacts and old buildings can tell.

I’m writing about stories and places I feel passionately about, and I hope it shows. I love hearing that the mysteries have inspired readers to visit a museum, try a traditional craft, or delve deeper into their own family history.

The very best part of writing ten Chloe Ellefson mysteries? Making so many friends along the way—sites staff and volunteers, folk artists, reenactors, bloggers, and other authors, and most especially the many readers who care about Chloe (and her fiancé, Roelke McKenna) as much as I do.

To celebrate this milestone, Chloe and Roelke travel a bit farther afield in Fiddling With Fate. Chloe accepts a grant that sends them to Norway to research folk dance and fiddle music. While there, she hopes to unravel the mystery of her own ancestry. Of course, all does not go smoothly! Nonetheless, Chloe and Roelke manage to celebrate a milestone of their own.

Heartfelt thanks to Dollycas for her years of support, and to the wonderful readers who have made it possible for me to hold the 10th Chloe Ellefson Mystery in my hand. Happy reading!

Thank you, Kathleen, for visiting and writing such wonderful stories!

Keep reading for my thoughts on Fiddling with Fate.


Fiddling with Fate (A Chloe Ellefson Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
10th in Series
Setting – Wisconsin/Norway
Midnight Ink (September 8, 2019)
Paperback: 360 pages
ISBN-10: 0738760900
ISBN-13: 978-0738760902
Kindle ASIN: B07KN76WMH

Chloe has a devil of a time unraveling the mysteries of Norway’s fiddle and dance traditions

After her mother’s unexpected death, curator Chloe Ellefson discovers hidden antiques that hint at family secrets. Determined to find answers, Chloe accepts a consultant job in Norway, her ancestors’ homeland. She’s thrilled with the opportunity to explore Hardanger fiddle and dance traditions . . . and her own heritage.

Once their plane lands, however, Chloe and her fiancé, cop Roelke McKenna, encounter only disharmony. Chloe’s research reveals strong women and the importance of fiddle music in their lives. But folklore warns against “the devil’s instrument” and old evils may yet linger among the fjords and mountains. As Chloe fine-tunes her search for the truth, a killer’s desire to stop her builds to a deadly crescendo.

 Dollycas’s Thoughts

Chloe was dealing with some information she found out about her mother when her mother unexpectedly passed away. While going through her mother’s belongings she finds some unique heirlooms hidden away. These objects raise more questions than providing answers. Her mother was getting ready to travel to Norway to study Hardanger fiddle and dance traditions. With her death, Chloe is given the opportunity to take her place and her fiancé Roelke McKenna agrees to go along.

Their trip gets off to a rocky start when someone tries to steal the backpack Chloe is carrying at the airport soon after they landed. Able to hang on to her belongs, they try to concentrate on Chloe’s research with the added opportunity to research her mother’s background. The fiddle has a rich heritage, both good and bad and Chloe is anxious to learn all she can. But when a young woman is murdered Chloe enlists Roelke police instincts to help her solve all the mysteries. When they realize Chloe is the killer’s target things get really intense.

___

What I have loved about every book in this series is the way Kathleen Ernst melds her character’s lives with an extraordinary mystery while tying in a historic story too. This time she takes us to Norway to learn about immigrants that had migrated to Wisconsin in the 1920s. She takes her readers along with lead character Chloe on an adventure to learn about Norwegian history and the many facets like music and fiddling played in that history. The author’s research shines but it is all fictionalized in a way that is a pure joy to read.

Her words also permit readers to visualize clearly every place her characters travel. The outside museum, the trails, the hotel, the waterfalls, and to a spectacular place where Chloe learns so much. All the people they meet too are richly described and developed.

Chloe’s life takes place in the 1980s, no cell phones, no GPS, no Wikipedia, no internet, but she does have what I call “spidey sense”, certain places and things affect her physically. She learns much through her travels and experiences. I found myself fully immersed in this story wanting the learn right along with her. Both the present time and historic period had its own suspenseful mystery and some terrifying moments building to an unexpected ending.

Ms. Ernst is an amazing storyteller. Her imagination weaves a story filled with real history to take her readers on a delightful literary trip. The main characters are genuine, real and very engaging. It seems each book in this series becomes my new favorite because the author continues to top herself.

Fiddling with Fate takes two characters I care about on quite a journey. I loved every minute of it! Look for this book on my Best Reads List of 2019.

Each story is written to stand on its own but for maximum enjoyment, you should read them all.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About the Author

Kathleen Ernst is a social historian, educator, and author. Her Chloe Ellefson mysteries reflect the decade she spent as a curator at a large outdoor museum, and feature historic sites in the Upper Midwest. Library Journal says, “Ernst keeps getting better with each entry in this fascinating series.” Kathleen has also written many mysteries for young readers. Honors for her work include a LOVEY Award and Agatha and Edgar nominations. Kathleen lives and writes in Wisconsin.

 Author Links – Website    Blog       Facebook

Thanks to the author 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
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.

Sign up for Kathleen’s Mailing List 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 18, 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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