Posted in E-Book Challenge Guest Posts Literary Escapes Reviews 2012 Virtual Book Tour

Doxology by Brian Holers Virtual Blog Tour – Check Out The Prizes

This post was actually supposed to go on Friday, the last day of a whirlwind tour for this book, but I didn’t want any of you to miss out on any of the available prizes. They are a variety of prizes for both readers and bloggers. You can enter by clicking the banner on the left. I also hope you will take a moment to vote for Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book in the Blogger Traffic Breaker Poll.

Doxology

After a lifetime of abuse and loss–from fights with other boys staged for his father’s entertainment, to the death of his only son– sixty one year old Vernon Davidson is angry. He’s ready to get back at God, his paper mill coworkers, and everyone else in his north Louisiana town. Constantly drunk to numb his pain, the normally cautious Vernon spirals into recklessness; drinking on the job, facing down a younger man at work over a parking spot, scandalizing his former fellow Baptists with displays of his nakedness. Meanwhile Jody Davidson, Vernon’s estranged nephew, struggles to survive a similarly tragic past by self-imposed exile, inserting himself into a new, seemingly different family a thousand miles away. The two men are reunited when Vernon agrees to retrieve Jody for his dying brother so they can say goodbye-and that’s when they each embark on a journey that will ultimately change their lives.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
A true study of family dynamics as a family that has drifted apart and works to come back together after so many struggles. This is one of those stories that will stick with you long after you have read the last page. Loss of a person’s faith is never a good thing and we see that while we may give up on God, He never gives up on us. This characters will tug at your heart, make you laugh and maybe shed a tear or two. Holers has written a wonderful story, one that make you stop and think and pray as well.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him, all creatures here below;
Praise him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

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Please enjoy this interview with Brian Holers, author of the literary novel, Doxology. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including $450 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

 

1. Why did you choose to write about characters who set out to rediscover their faiths?

The characters in Doxology don’t really set out to rediscover their faiths—they simply rediscover them when everything else is lost. My two central characters, Vernon and Jody, uncle and nephew, are just living life as the story begins. Jody has a pretty good, interesting life, he has a stable job working for a nice family, he’s in love with the daughter of that family and works for the son and father. He has totally inserted himself into this family, and his life has promise. Only when he learns that his father is dying does he decide to return home, deal with things he has successfully avoided, and discover the great role faith has played in making him who he is. Vernon, conversely, is making his way through life, but just barely; the tragic loss of his son has made him a mere shell of the man he once was, and the greatest joy of his current life is his ongoing endeavor to show his disdain for God. Only when he fails in the one pitiful thing he has left, when he is broken down to absolutely nothing, is a return to faith possible. The story is entirely fabricated, without really a shred of reality, though I can recognize parts of myself in many of the characters. Particularly Jody’s girlfriend.

2. What was the inspiration for this book?

The inspiration for Doxology was the longstanding concept of “my brother’s keeper,” superimposed on the Jewish concept of “dayeinu”. Dayeinu is what Jews say during the Passover seder in contemplation of the many things God has done for us—the concept of “it would have been enough.” “If only God had led us out of the desert, dayeinu, it would have been enough. But no, God did something more.” In 2005, when I finally started writing, I worked on short stories and met twice a month with a group of other writers. When my wife and I decided to leave the country for a year, I figured, well I won’t be meeting with a writers’ group anymore, maybe I’ll just write a book. And I wrote the first several drafts of that book while we were traveling, from a smelly dive-shop hotel in Zanzibar, where I had to drag a rickety wooden table into our room and kick my wife and son out for the afternoon, to a beachfront room in Phuket, to the lobby of a YMCA hotel in Jerusalem, to a coffee shop with stale cookies in Malaysia, where my family and I helped build a Habitat for Humanity house during the day. And really that trip cemented for me the idea that anywhere you go, the stories are the same. We all care most about our families. There are so many good things God does for us.

3. What surprises did you encounter in writing Doxology?

The greatest surprise I encountered when writing Doxology was the way Vernon kept trying to take over. When the story began, it was all about Jody. The problem was, Vernon’s conflict was more immediate right from the beginning—dealing with the death of his only son, his constant drinking and self-destructive behavior. He just kept taking over—maybe Jody’s struggle was so much harder to portray, since he seems to be doing pretty well in his current life, unlike Vernon. I overcame this problem by letting go—I stopped fighting it. I let Vernon take over, and then struggled to really work my way inside Jody, which took a long time. I overcame the problem by deciding the book was going to be done when it was done, and I couldn’t rush it.

4. Why did you decide to become a writer?

I discovered my passion for stories at a young age—I have always been filled with stories. It took me awhile to begin to try and write them down. It also took me a few years to discover that trying to tell people the stories I imagined just made everyone think I was weird (which is a fair assessment) and that I talked too much. I’m glad it worked out this way though—if I had discovered my passion for writing at a young age, I would probably have struggled in a losing battle to make my living that way, and I’d be discouraged and burned out by now. What I discovered instead, in my twenties, is that for a guy so animated by imaginary stories, I’m surprising adept at negotiating the physical world. A dozen or so years of self employment allowed me to strip away a lot of detritus, have a lot of time alone to think. Once, a consultant I hired to help me manage my tree service told me that the world inside my head was more vivid to me than the world outside, and that’s when I decided I had to get serious about my writing.

5. What is the most effective resource you have found for writing?

The only effective resource I have come across to hone my craft is time. And the best advice I received is not to rush. Even when you think you’re done the first or the first several times, put the book away for awhile and come back to it. Don’t rush. I wish I had kept track of how much time I spent on this book—I would guess between 3,000 and 4,000 hours. For one little book! But the advice goes deeper—don’t rush, make a schedule and sit there and write. Give yourself the time and then sit there and do it. If you’re like most of us and have a job, don’t try to commit too much of your day to it. Give it an hour a day, two hours, whatever. Just commit to it. It’s so much easier to come home from work, have a few drinks, go to the bar, and sit and stare at the stories in your head and say “I’m a writer.” You’re only a writer if you’re writing. As for bad advice, I am totally self taught in this craft—the only bad advice I have received is regarding publishing. A lot of people told me even a year ago not to self-publish. However, I have one thing now I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t decided to self-publish, and that is a book.

6. What is your favorite writing ritual?

My favorite writing ritual is to go to my desk at night after my son goes to bed, have my wife put on her headset if she wants to watch TV or listen to music or whatever, just make it very quiet, and sit there until I really need to go to bed.

7. What do you like about writing?

My favorite part of the writing process is the feeling I get each step of the way, which comes from deciding what I can do that day is good enough. Lately I’ve been writing essays. I start with jotting down notes—I write a lot by hand, I think better that way. I’ll write down in my sloppy scratch all the ideas that come to mind on a subject. Then the next session, I’ll organize all those notes, expand a bit, put them all in order. Again, all on paper. Next time I’ll write a draft, and even as I’m writing I know there will be a lot I want to change. Then I’ll print it, make changes, and write again. But I decide each step, and each draft, is good enough for what it is. My least favorite part of writing is that it’s always late and I’m always tired and have to get through it, which I do by setting short-term goals. The greatest of which is brushing my teeth and going to sleep.

8. Why did you decide to self-publish Doxology?

The traditional, old-school publishing world is in total disarray, which is why writers like me have to take things into their own hands. For a lot of us, especially first time or unpublished writers, our hope to be published is simply that, hope. We look at getting a publishing contract as our best chance of being somebody. Now that I’m out here, I have a better sense of how books are sold, and I am here to tell you it is not easy. Possible, yes, but not easy. There are a zillion other forms of entertainment that require much less effort. A publisher really has to sell several thousand copies of your book before beginning to break even. And if you’re just a regular Joe like I am, and nobody’s heard of you, that’s a tall order. Then the other piece is, even if you do get published, you have to do all the work to sell the book anyway. There’s just not enough money in this equation for a publisher to do any real work for you, not until you’ve begun to prove yourself. Personally, as one with good business sense, I like this new model—there is no one between me and all my potential customers—no one saying it’s not good enough, no one saying we can release your book in 18 months.

9. What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

Advice to aspiring authors—writing may well be the hardest thing you will ever do. At one time I had tons and tons of business debt, customers calling me daily, six highly-paid guys showing up at work every day looking at me for their instructions. I paid through the nose for liability insurance, workers’ comp, and every tool imaginable. Then I waited for the guys to start calling me to say why the jobs couldn’t be done, while I drove around scrambling for more work. All of that was downright easy compared to writing books. But there’s no joy like it. And while I am normal person who has made a lot of mistakes in life, I have found that the more my life is straight, the better my art. The old concept of the tortured writer or tortured artist with various addictions only goes so far. If you want to write clear, clean prose, make yourself as good a person as you can be, and the words will flow. Keep your head up. Be entertained by your writing. Rejoice in the little things. Ultimately writing should be something you enjoy, that gives you passion. I have read that 10,000 hours pursuant to any activity is required to make one an expert, and writing is no exception.

10. What can you say about this book that we wouldn’t learn from the synopsis?

I am grateful to say, Doxology is a beautifully written book, filled with symbols and layers of meaning. It is so much more than I set out to write, and I am proud to say it is so much better than even I thought it would be. It’s not Dostoevsky or the Holy Bible, no, but it is a sweet, moving, inspiring little story of love, loss, and redemption. All told in a Southern accent so thick it just oozes out of the pages.

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As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Doxology eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include $450 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:

  1. Purchase your copy of Doxology for just 99 cents
  2. Fill-out the simple form on Novel Publicity
  3. Visit today’s featured social media event

Help my blog win:

The tour blogger who receives the most votes in the traffic-breaker poll will win a $100 gift card. When you visit Novel Publicity’s site to fill-out the contest entry form, don’t forget to VOTE FOR ME.

About the author: An arborist by day and a novelist in every moment he can steal, Brian makes up stories from the treetops. Visit Brian on his website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

 

Check out the plans for each day!!

 

 MONDAY
Blogaganza on Novel Publicity. We’re kicking-off on the Novel Publicity Free Advice blog. We’ll ask Brian 5 fun and random questions to get everyone talking. Leave a comment or question in response to the post, and you may win an autographed copy of Doxology.
 TUESDAY
Twitterview. A tweet is tiny, only 140 characters, and we all know writers loooove to talk. Come join us for a live interview via Twitter as we ask Brian to sum up his book, writing habits, and personality in teensy tiny tweets. We’ll open to questions from the audience at the end of the interview. One question-asker will win an autographed copy of Doxology! Join us on Twitter at 4 PM EST by searching #emlyn.
 WEDNESDAY
Google+ Sharing Contest. Here’s an awesome opportunity to win a $50 Amazon gift card, and this time it just takes a single click! Visit Google+ andshare Emlyn Chand’s most recent post (you’ll see Doxology’s book cover included with it). On Thursday morning, one lucky sharer will be $50 richer. An autographed copy of Doxology is also up for grabs.
 THURSDAY
Facebook Sharing Contest. Stop by Novel Publicity’s Facebook page and share their latest post (you’ll see Doxology’s book cover included with it). On Friday morning, one lucky sharer will be $50 richer. An autographed copy of Doxology is also up for grabs. Sharing is caring, people.
 FRIDAY
Super Big Finale Contest. TGIF just got a whole lot sweeter! On Friday, hop on over to Brian Holers’s most recent blog post to find out how you can win a $100 Amazon gift card to or… wait for it… a brand new Kindle FIRE! That’s right, this is the biggie. Two lucky winners, two HUGE prizes! And all it takes is a comment—but not just any comment. There are rules—so check it out, read the post, and enter to win!

There are over 80 blogs taking part in this blog tour.  I hope you enjoyed by post. I know you will enjoy the book!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent


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

Posted in Literary Escapes Reviews 2012

Bent Road by Lori Roy

Bent Road: A Novel
Plume
Published by The Penguin Group
Set in 1967. The Detroit riots push Arthur Scott to move his family back to his hometown in Kansas. He has not lived there for more than 20 years. His wife, Celia, knows he has secrets. Secrets that have burdened him for years. She fears moving back will be too much for her family. Celia knows his sister Eve died all those years ago but doesn’t know the details. She acquiesces to her husband’s wishes and packs up her family to return to Bent Road.

Life there is difficult, a local girl disappears and many believe that the same man took her that killed Arthur’s sister all those years ago. The man who is now married to his other sister Ruth is suspected of both crimes. Arthur’s daughter Evie looks remarkably like her deceased aunt and becomes fascinated by the clothes left behind in her aunt’s closet. Their son is unsure where he fits within the family. Arthur’s mother wants the past to stay in the past. Celia is just getting to know her in-laws and doing her best to keep her family together and safe. Life on Bent Road is just as unsettling as she suspected.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
I know why the was nominated for an Edgar Award. It is a fascinating debut and not your typical mystery. It is really a story of family relationships and struggles during a critical time in American history with mystery and suspense woven throughout the story. The characters are captivating and genuine. The family itself is very dysfunctional but so is the entire community. The drama is very real and intense in places, laid back in others. The story ebbs and flows at a comfortable pace, but on the whole is very dark. The author has a gift of drawing you in to the murky waters of this Kansas town. This book was not what I had expected at first but I am very glad I took the journey down Bent Road.


Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent


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

Posted in Literary Escapes Reviews 2012

The Royal Wulff Murders by Keith McCafferty

The Royal Wulff Murders: A Novel
Viking
Published by The Penguin Group
Jacket Design and Illustration by Jim Tierney
Available Now

The “Holy Grail” of trout rivers in Montana is the Madison River. It is here that a fishing guide reels in quite a catch. A dead body with a Royal Wulff trout fly through his lower lip and a stick in his eye. Obviously an easily explained drowning. Not so fast, Sheriff Martha Ettinger thinks there is more to the story. While questioning other fishermen she meets Sean Stranahan, a former private detective, painter and fly fisherman would has moved to Montana to escape his life back East and pursue his passion of painting.

Stranahan is still representing himself as a P.I. because his landlord likes to have the tenants represent a variety of occupations. He is totally surprised when Velvet Lafayette shows up at his door to hire him to find her missing brother. Are these cases related? Will Sean and Martha need to team up to find their answers? Just what is happening in and around Bridger, Montana? It is definitely more than meets the fly!

Dollycas’s Thoughts
You do not have to fish to enjoy this well written mystery. The first novel by Field & Stream Magazine Editor McCafferty is a very well crafted and complex whodunit. His love of nature shines as brightly as the sun through his detailed descriptions of everything from landscapes to ponds to fish and birds. Big Sky Country leaps right off the pages.

His characters are also well developed and so sharp that you clearly picture them in their waders casting out to reel in a great big trout or belting out a song or tracking down clues to catch a killer. My grandfather was quite a fisherman and somehow I could see him out there in that beautiful setting casting time and time again with a huge smile on his face. He would have loved this scenic locale.

The story has ebbs and flows, ripples and rapids, channels and cascades, unveiled at a pace to be savored not hurried, although by the last few chapters I was devouring the pages at a pretty rapid pace. There are a few red herrings swimming with all those trout.

If you are a nature lover who likes a fine mystery you will really enjoy this book.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Check back tomorrow. This book will be one of my books in the Leap Into Book Giveaway Hop!

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

Posted in Finish The Series Challenge Literary Escapes Reviews 2012 Wisconsin Author

Sonoma Rose by Jennifer Chiaverini

Sonoma Rose (Elm Creek Quilts)
Dutton
Published by The Penguin Group
An Elm Creek Quilts Novel
18th in the Series
Available Today!

What a Beautiful Cover!

In previous editions we were reminded that some of Sylvia Berstrom’s relatives had migrated to California. Sonoma Rose starts with a little of that history, picking up where The Quilter’s Homecoming, that was published in 2007 left off.

We meet Elizabeth Bergstrom Nelson’s  friend, Rosa Diaz as the country is coping with all the restrictions of Prohibition. Mother to eight children, Rosa mourns the loss of four who succumbed to the mysterious wasting disease currently afflicting young Ana and Miguel. Her abusive husband refuses to take them into the city so the children can see a doctor. His mind is clearly on other things, like his fancy car and keeping secrets about his business dealings from his wife. When an act of violence shatters Rosa’s resolve to maintain her increasingly dangerous existence, she flees with the children and her precious heirloom quilts to the mesa where she last saw her beloved mother alive.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
This is the Jennifer Chiaverini I love to read. I think she lost her way a little bit wrapping up the current characters in The Wedding Quilt.This story shines a brilliant light on her masterful storytelling talent.

This is Rosa’s story. She is yet another strong female heroine created by Chiaverini that has you engaged from the moment we step back into her life. You will feel a wide range of emotions during her story, anger, fear, hope and joy. The bonds of friendship are as strong as all the other books in this series. The power of love from a mother’s love for her children to the enduring love between a man and a woman are woven wondrously through these pages. This story was absolutely amazing. I couldn’t put it down.

Jennifer Chiaverini has created some very memorable fiction characters and has allowed us to go along with them on the journeys not only in current time but into the past and into the future. I am really wondering what is next in this series. I have loved all of these characters and will miss them if this is where the journey ends. I sincerely hope she has some more Elm Creek Quilts stories in that big sewing basket of hers.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent


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

Posted in Literary Escapes Reviews 2012 Virtual Book Tour

Honor Redeemed Virtual Blog Tour


From Press Release:
With more than 3,000,000 copies of her books in circulation, best-selling author Loree Lough’s titles earn 4- and 5-star reviews and industry/reader’s choice awards. She has received nearly 10,000 letters from fans who write to say she’s “a gifted writer whose stories touch hearts and change lives.” Her 9/11 series, First Responders (From Ashes to Honor, Honor Redeemed, A Man of Honor) is no exception, and it’s raising awareness and funds for organizations that assist soldiers and first responders, and their families. (For more information about these worthy groups, visit http://www.loreelough.com)


Honor Redeemed: First Responders Book #2
Abingdon Press
First Responders Series
2nd Book in the Series

I feel the book synopsis on the back of the book and web sites tells you the whole story. I like a synopsis to tempt me and make me anxious to read the book, so here is the synopsis I would have written.

Honor Mackenzie trains search and rescue dogs and participates in several Search and Rescue missions. Honor meets Matt, a journalist at the site of a plane crash. After that their lives change, making them face their pasts and think about their futures. Can they have a life together?

Dollycas’s Thoughts
I was so excited when I received this book. I grew up around firemen, the first group of search and rescue teams before the specialized teams of today. My dad was the fire chief, my husband was a volunteer fireman as were most of his friends. It was kind of the family business, and they took part in many search and rescues and I even took part in one. Maybe my hopes were just too high. At first I thought it was because I had not read book one of the series. I am usually quite rigid about reading books in order but then decided the problem wasn’t that I missed something brought to light in the first book, other reviewers that had read both books had the same issues I had.

I thought the theme of this series was Search and Rescue so most of the book would be about searching and finding people using the wonderfully trained dogs. That was not the case. The searches really took a backseat. Instead it was a story about the relationship between Matt and Honor or the non-relationship.  Within the last few pages there is a major development that gave me hope about the whole story,  then the story abruptly ends and a page and a half epilogue tries to bind up the loose ends. I wish the author would have left off the epilogue and left the ending to the reader’s imagination because I hated the ending.

I understand from press releases that Loree Lough has several bestsellers and this is my first experience with her books. The subject matter, Search and Rescue, is a wonderful theme and I have read the press release material that says her books are raising awareness, but I just didn’t get it from this book.  I do commend her for trying to honor the first responders and giving us a glimpse into their lives but at the end I felt cheated. Too many things glossed over and left unresolved. Maybe they will be addressed in Book 3 of the series. I hope so. Maybe this is her writing style and her idea of a cliffhanger. I just didn’t like it.



Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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

Posted in Cozy Wednesday Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Guest Posts Literary Escapes Reviews 2012

Cozy Wednesday with Author Lorraine Bartlett (Giveaway too!)


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

Today’s guest is a Shining Star among cozy authors with her Victoria Square Mysteries, The Jeff Resnick Mysteries written as L.L. Bartlett and The Booktown Mysteries written as Lorna Barrett. I am so happy she could take time out of her busy days to write her guest post for me, but today she is off on vacation so she can’t answer your comments or questions, she may have one of the other Cozy Chicks stop by.  She certainly deserves a vacation and I hope she is having a wonderful time. I am sure she will check out the comments when she returns.

Wedding Bell Blues

“Always a bridesmaid … never a bride.”

Well, I can’t say that phrase describes me. I was a bridesmaid twice before I took the big step myself.

The first time I was 19 and “stood up” at my older brother’s wedding, one of five or six bridesmaids with a Butterick pattern dress. (It was a “rainbow” wedding. Every bridesmaid had a different color dress. Mine was green. Ick.) The second time, I was 24 and stood up for a friend (at first she’d tried to foist the guy on me because he read lots of books and so did I. That didn’t work and they’re still happily married today.) It was a small bridal party (a maid of honor and me), but the dress was much nicer.

In my latest novel, The Walled Flower (Victoria Square Mystery), my protagonist, Katie Bonner, is asked to be the maid of honor for one of the merchants on Victoria Square. Actually, she’s kind of coerced into the job and soon finds out she was second (or third, or maybe even fourth) choice–and mainly because (with just a littler alteration), she’s the right size for the (rather hideous) dress.

The timing couldn’t be worse. Katie has less than two weeks to find a new apartment before she ends up living in her car. She must referee on-going disputes with her vendors at Artisans Alley on Victoria Square, and, oh yes–solve two (or is it three?) murders, one of which occurred more than two decades before.

With so much on her plate, Katie must prioritize–and putting Jordon almonds in little net bags is not on the top of her list of things to do. Especially when the usually meek and mild bride becomes Bridezilla!

Will Katie find a new home?

Will she solve the murder(s)?

Will she actually let herself be seen in publish in that backless, purple bridesmaid dress?

I hope you’ll check out The Walled Flower to see.
———————————————
You can find Lorraine at her website(s–yes, she has three!)
http://lornabarrett.com/
http://www.LorraineBartlett.com
— or her blog http://www.LLBartlett.typepad.com — but she hopes you’ll find her at your favorite bookstore.

The Walled Flower (Victoria Square Mystery)
The Berkley Publishing Company
Published by The Penguin Group
A Victoria Square Mystery
2nd in the Series
Cover Illustration by Chris Beatrice
Cover Design by Annette Fiore Defex

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Lorraine gave a wonderful synopsis above of this fantastic story that has Katie running in circles and eating way too much pizza but by the time I finished reading the book I was craving cinnamon rolls. 

The characters in this series are so much fun, even if one or two of them may be murderers.  Katie has faced so much already losing her husband, then her business partner is murdered and she finds herself the sole owner of Artisans Alley putting here dreams of owning a B&B firmly out of reach. She has grown into the job wonderfully, handling the vendors with a caring touch but firmly enough so they know who’s is charge. Her relationship with Andy continues to evolve.  They just need to figure out to spend more time together.  We also get to know Edie, Rose and Vance better in this installment.  I love that Vance’s son has a part to play in this multifaceted story.

Bartlett is an expert at telling a cozy mystery. A true shining star!! She breathes life into every character and pens a mystery full of twists and turns in a beautiful setting that keeps us engrossed from the first word until the last. Definitely another bestseller!!!!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Thanks to the people at Penguin I have
2 copies of this awesome book to giveaway
so be sure to fill out the form below to enter!!

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

***Remember GFC is going away March 1, 2012
so be sure you are following in a different way if you want to
continue to follow Escape With Dollycas.

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

If you publicize the giveaway anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End February 29, 2012 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted 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.”

Posted in Literary Escapes Reviews 2012

Avalanche Pass by John A. Flanagan

 

Avalanche Pass (A Jesse Parker Mystery)
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
A Jesse Parker Mystery
2nd in the series
Available Now

Former Detective, Jesse Parker was injured in a ski accident and while his physical injuries have healed the emotional ones have not. He is afraid to ski on the difficult slopes where he was injured. He decides to head to Utah to a wonderful ski lodge to try to work through his issues without the pressure of all his friends standing by.

Jesse heads to the slopes one last time before he heads home. Unable to overcome his fears he returns to the lodge to find it has been turned into a war zone, complete with guns on the roof. The guests and staff have been taken hostage by about 20 heavily armed men.

Meanwhile the FBI determines one of the guests of the lodge is a United States Senator. They also find the ransom amount odd and they start to think there is more to the story than just wanting money. They also learn that they have a man that can help them on the inside, an ex-cop and part-time Sheriff’s Deputy. Jesse had checked out of the hotel before he went skiing so as long as he’s careful he may be able to help free the hostages and stay in contact with the FBI and stop the cold blooded captors in their tracks.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
One of the very first things I noticed about this book is that the author was from Australia which accounts for some of the terminology or wording to be a little unusual for a story that takes place in the United States. After I accepted that fact I was able to look beyond that flaw and enjoy the story. It is a really good suspenseful story. It has a hostages playing a part in their rescue, kind of a Flight 93 on 9/11 element that was quite gripping.

I had not read the first book in this series, Storm Peak: A Jesse Parker Mystery, and had absolutely no problem following the story line so this book could definitely read as a stand alone, although now I would like to read the first one.  I want to see how Jesse’s story began.

This author is better know for his fantasy series for children in grades 4 – 8 but the first book in this adult series was a New York Times Bestseller and this follow up may be too.  I give it 4 starfish!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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

Posted in Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Literary Escapes Reviews 2012

Dodge the Bullet by Christy Hayes


Dodge the Bullet
This is an e-book
that was offered FREE from Amazon.

As I type this the book is still free.

 

A.J. Dodge is a man with a past. He recently returned home to Hailey, Colorado, to become a rancher like his dad. He has six sisters so “he knows women”.

Sarah Woodward is trying to put her life back together. Her husband passed away over two years ago and she has decided to leave Atlanta and relocate to Hailey where she and her husband bought a ranch they hoped to move to someday. Her sons are not very happy about moving but she feels the small town is a better place to bring up her sons than the fast paced city of Atlanta.

What Sarah doesn’t understand is why a U.S. Senator is trying so hard to buy her land in Colorado away from her. She doesn’t understand that the Senator has made some promises he can’t fulfill without her land.

Sarah really knows nothing about running a ranch and realizes the place needs a lot of work but she is not going to let anything deter her dream.  She is very surprised when a handsome man shows up at her door offering help, telling her the Senator sent him through a local friend, Tommy Thorton, to help get her off to the right start.  The handsome man is A.J. Dodge and when the Senator finds out that Tommy sent Dodge to help Sarah, he is livid.

The Senator wanted someone he can control, someone that would ensure that Sarah would see that there was no way she could run a ranch. Dodge was the exact opposite of what the Senator had in mind. Now he will have to take drastic measures to get that land and Dodge is the man standing in his way.

Plus Dodge may understand women, but Sarah is unlike any woman he has every known. He finds himself risking everything to keep her and the kids safe.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I love a story with a strong woman and Sarah has been through the wringer but she is still tough as nails. She is stubborn and opinionated and sparks fly immediately between her and Dodge as he tries to treat her as a helpless woman.  

Dodge is a strong man that doesn’t care what anyone think about him. He is in Hailey to put down roots no matter how many people are talking behind his back.

The mystery of Dodge’s past and the suspense of the Senator trying to steal the land added nicely to make this a very enjoyable read. It is very well written and I can see why is was a finalist  in the 2007 Virginia Romance Writers Fool for Love Contest. This is my first Christy Hayes novel but it definitely will not be my last.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This book was from my personal collection.

Posted in Giveaways Literary Escapes Reviews 2012

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey with Giveaway!

2012 best historical fiction
The Snow Child: A Novel
Reagan Arthur Books/ Little, Brown and Company
Hachette Book Group
Just Released

Set in the 1920’s, Jack and Mabel need a change. They are missing the child they lost and it is just too painful to be around friends and relatives and all their children. They set their sights to the Northwest, Alaska to be specific, to set up a homestead and a new life. The work and isolation feels good at first, but they are still longing for a child. Can their marriage stand the trials they have in front of them? Will their love see them through?

All the sudden it starts to snow, a thick wet snow, they venture outside and build a child out of snow, complete with a scarf and mittens.  The next morning the snow child is gone and a tiny trail of footsteps lead into the woods. For weeks they catch glimpses of something in the woods but both of them think they are only seeing what they wish for, not anything really there. Until a little girl shows up at their doorstep.

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts
This story was so much more than I originally thought it would be. I had heard of a fairy tale about a snow child so I thought I knew where this story was going. I was so wrong. This book is full of love, loss, friendship, trust, pain, suffering and joy.

I would have gone crazy in the wilderness all alone with just my husband. Love is wonderful, but I was so glad that a boisterous, blustery, neighbor family befriended Jack and Mabel. Imagine having only one person to talk to do day in and day out for days on end, it’s freezing cold outside, and the land is full of moose, bears and coyotes. The people of that era had a strength I can only imagine.

You can tell the author is an Alaskan native as Alaska is not just a setting, it is another character in this beautifully written story. It contains a certain magic that transcends imagination while still giving a real look at how hard homesteading in Alaska was in the 1920’s. I can see how the fairy tale I remembered The Snow Child: A Russian Folktale was a bit of the inspiration but Ivey transforms it into an extraordinary story all her own.

This is the author’s debut novel. I can easily see it becoming classic.


The publisher is generously giving several blogs copies of this novel to giveaway.
I will add my gently read review copy so I have a total of 4 copies to giveaway.
*U.S. AND CANADA RESIDENTS ONLY*
*NO P.O. BOXES*
**PER PUBLISHER**
ONE WINNING BOOK PER HOUSEHOLD
PLEASE NOTIFY ME IF YOU HAVE
WON THIS BOOK FROM ANOTHER
SITE, SO THAT SOMEONE ELSE MAY
HAVE THE CHANCE TO WIN
AND READ THIS BOOK.
THANK YOU

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Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
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and Will Be Posted Here.

FILL OUT THE FORM BELOW TO ENTER.



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

Posted in Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Cozy Wednesday Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Guest Posts Literary Escapes Reviews 2012

Special Edition of Cozy Wednesday With Author Avery Aames (Giveaway too!)

Say Cheese!!!! I am so thrilled  Avery Aames is visiting today. You know how we love our cheese in Wisconsin! Avery writes the Cheese Shop Mysteries and besides the wonderful mystery I just love all the cheese information and recipes. Today I am sharing a virtual tray with Wisconsin made Linderkranz cheese, some dried apricots and a little rye bread. (My dad was a Borden’s milkman for years and this cheese used to be a treat at our house.) I am sure Charlotte, the star of this series, would know the perfect wine to go with this yummy cheese, but around here a nice dark beer is our usual complimenting beverage. Please help yourselves and relax and enjoy Avery’s post.

Welcome Avery!

Thank you, Lori, for inviting me to talk about the third in A Cheese Shop Mystery, Clobbered by Camembert.

I know this might sound cheese-y, but I’m truly thrilled to write about cheese. I have a love affair with it. I didn’t. Before writing this series, I had tasted the usual suspects: Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Swiss. But then I started to do research, and I’ve fallen head-over-heels with cheeses with names like: Délice de Bourgogne and Hook’s Five-Year Cheddar and Abbaye de Bellocq. Aren’t these heavenly and unusual names?

It’s such a joy to write about food. I love to cook, to explore. I blog about food on Mystery Lovers Kitchen with a number of other foodie authors, and we have so much fun.

Often people ask if my protagonist, Charlotte, a cheese shop owner, is like me. Actually, the answer is yes. She’s much younger and single (for now), but like me, she’s impulsive, caring, and a fixer by nature. She can’t stand on the sidelines. She has to dig in and make things right. It gets her in trouble [It often gets me in trouble, too]. I don’t like to see the underdog suffer. And I really care about my community: my family, my friends, my city and country. Would I ever be a cheesemonger? I’m not sure about that. I think running a business would be so difficult. You have to consider the customers, the purchasing, the state of the store, taxes, disability insurance, and so much more. My hat goes off to people who continue to start new businesses in this country to make our economy hum. I did consider owning a restaurant at one time. I wanted to have a diner, like the Country Kitchen across the street from Fromagerie Bessette (The Cheese Shop). I would have loved to serve up grilled cheese sandwiches and burgers and shakes, with delicious homemade pies, homemade ice cream, and cheesecakes for dessert. Yum! Can you tell I like food? And I would have demanded that the wait staff dance in the aisles! Heck, I would have joined them.

Many of my CHEESE SHOP MYSTERY readers ask if I have tasted all the cheeses that I mention in the books. I have tasted over 200 cheeses in the past year and a half and intend to taste another 200 in the year to come. I also have a real-life cheesemonger, Marcella and her feline foodie, Spaulding Gray, that give me fabulous suggestions! [I recently shared an Italian Meatball recipe on her site. Mounded with cheese. Divine.]

Research is so much fun. It’s been one of the true delights of my life going into various cheese shops and asking for a sliver of something new or buying a unique cheese online and offering it at a party. A recent discovery was Rush Creek Reserve, from Oregon. Talk about melt-in-your-mouth. Set out at room temperature, it’s a paste that simply scoops out of its bark-bound crust. Delish!

As for mysteries, I’ve been a mystery fan for as long as I can remember. As a girl, I read all of the Nancy Drew stories and Agatha Christie novels. And now I read many of the current foodie mysteries from wonderful authors, such as, Krista Davis, Cleo Coyle, Julie Hyzy, and so many more!

I hope you all enjoy Clobbered by Camembert and I would love to hear your feedback!

You can read more about the book and the series on my website: http://www.averyaames.com,
or Facebook http://www.facebook.com/averyaames.
And I’m always thrilled to hear from my writing and reading friends on twitter! http://www.twitter.com/averyaames.

About This Author
Avery Aames is the Agatha award wining, nationally bestselling author of The Cheese Shop Mystery series, which launched in 2010 with The Long Quiche Goodbye. The latest Cheese Shop Mystery is Clobbered by Camembert (CHEESE SHOP MYSTERY #3).  The Cheese Shop Mystery series follows cheese shop owner Charlotte Bessette as she dishes up tasty morsels of goodness while solving the murders that threaten to the peace and charm of the quaint fictional town of Providence, Ohio.
BUY LINK:
http://www.averyaames.com/book_sellers.html

WEBSITE:
http://www.averyaames.com

BLOGS:
http://www.mysteryloverskitchen.com
http://killercharacters.com

Clobbered by Camembert (CHEESE SHOP MYSTERY)
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
A Cheese Shop Mystery
3rd in the Series
Cover Illustration by Teresa Fasolino
Cover Design by Annette Fiore Defex


Charlotte Bessette—proprietor of Le Petit Fromagerie, affectionately known in Providence, Ohio, as the Cheese Shop—is busy setting up her tent for the town’s Winter Wonderland faire, where she’ll offer fine wines and scrumptious cheeses. In the midst of the preparations, Charlotte meets an old friend of her mother, Kaitlyn Clydesdale, who has come back to Providence with plans to start a new honeybee farm.When Kaitlyn is found dead in the cottage of Charlotte’s assistant Rebecca, suspicion falls on Rebecca’s boyfriend, a honeybee farmer himself. Charlotte knows this beekeeper wouldn’t hurt a fly, so she decides to find the real killer. While the town buzzes with gossip, can Charlotte catch the culprit without getting stung herself?

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Charlotte Bessette is a wonderful strong woman, raised by her grandparents. Her parents were killed in an accident when Charlotte was just a toddler. She has had more than a few bumps already in life but emerges from each them even stronger. She also has a huge heart which means it is hard for her to say “no” to anyone which sometimes leads her to yet another bump in the road. The trouble is lately this bumps have been dead bodies or live ones she just wishes would leave her alone. Rebecca is quite demanding of Charlotte in this installment but then again her boyfriend is being accused of murder. You can’t help but love these characters.

As you can see from the cover of the book illustrated by Teresa Fasolino, the setting is gorgeous. The Winter Wonderland Faire sounds like an awesome event, the food, the ice sculptures, the choir, the author puts you right there, you may even shiver from the cold weather as the snow starts to gently fall.

Avery also sculpts a wonderful winter mystery. New characters come to town shedding some light on the past and also with big ideas that could mean major changes to Providence making many upset as they learn the details. But who would commit murder? We are kept guessing until the very end.

The setting may be winter but that makes this is a perfect cozy to curl up in front of the fire to read. Don’t forgot to pour a glass of wine and make a little cheesy snack. The story will have you craving both.


Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Thanks to the people at Penguin I have
3 copies of this awesome book to giveaway
so be sure to fill out the form below to enter!!

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

***Remember GFC is going away March 1, 2012
so be sure you are following in a different way if you want to
continue to follow Escape With Dollycas.

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

If you publicize the giveaway anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End February 23, 2012 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted 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.”