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

The Union Quilters by Jennifer Chiaverini

The Union Quilters: An Elm Creek Quilts Novel
Plume
Published by The Penguin Group

An Elm Creek Quilts Novel
17th in the series
Paperback Edition Available February 7, 2012

In 1862 Water’s Ford, Pennsylvania is a busy place. Most of the men are off to war to fight for the Union. The woman are rallying to support the cause. They are holding fundraisers, sending bandages, food and supplies. They are using their needles to make quilts to send to hospitals. The also create a very special quilt that will reach out well beyond Water’s Ford.

Gerda Bergstrom takes on Southern sympathizers in the pages of the local newspaper. Anneke Bergstrom deals with her husband pacifist beliefs and does her best to hide her shame. Constance Wright supports her husband as he tries to enter the war effort despite the color of his skin.

The quilters anxiously await letters from their husbands, sons, and brothers which they share with each other at their circle meetings. The community is drawn together as they hope and pray the war will end soon and their men will return home soon. The woman are gaining a new independence that will “alter the patchwork of life in the Elm Creek Valley”.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
An incredible personal look at the Civil War through the eyes of the soldiers and women who wait at home. These gripping individual stories brought together through this powerful piece of fiction give us a very relate-able picture about how the war effected those in a fight to save the Union.

I truly enjoy when the author steps back into the past to give us the history of the Elm Creek Valley. The battle scenes were captivating to show the real rugged truth of battle. The men took on more of a roll in this story while the women also really emerged even stronger than in previous stories. I especially liked the part of the story about the quilt that went to the battlefield.

Chiaverini is a strong storyteller whether writing historical or contemporary fiction. If her name in on the cover you know you are assured to read a treasure.


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 E-Book Challenge Literary Escapes Reviews 2012

Mortal Deception by Liz Roth

Mortal Deception
Kindle

What would do if you found out your nephew was dying? Dani Perez’s twin sister’s son is dying. There is a long shot cure that would save him but can Dani follow through on the crazy plan the sisters come up with. She is also trying to clear her husband’s name. He was killed during a bust and has been labeled a “dirty cop”. Her entire world is turned upside down as she tries to complete and survive both missions.

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts
This is one of those stories that I don’t want to tell you too much about so that I don’t ruin any of the suspense. I read the whole thing in one sitting. I couldn’t put it down.

This is a exciting story with really strong family relationships. The things we do for love. Dani puts her life on the line for both her nephew and her husband’s memory.

The author takes us with these characters on a journey of love, loss, surprise, tension, fear, worry, and hope in an extraordinary way.

This is my first Liz Roth novel that I would classify as a romantic thriller. I hope she has another one it the works because I definitely want more!! I highly recommend this one.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

This book is from my personal collection.



Posted in Literary Escapes Reviews 2012

Murder Grins and Bears It by Deb Baker

Murder Grins and Bears It: A Gertie Johnson Murder Mystery
Print

Murder Grins and Bears It : A Gertie Johnson Murder Mystery
Kindle

A Gertie Johnson Mystery
2nd book in the Series

It’s Bear Season is Yooper Country!! That is Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and the bears aren’t the only thing being hunted. A game warden is murdered right under Little Donny’s tree stand and Little Donny is no where to be found. Gertie is upset, her son, the sheriff, is wasting time trying to catch her driving without a license when he should be trying to catch a killer and find Little Donny. Does she have to do everything herself?!

Dollycas’s Thoughts
This story will leave your sides aching from laughter!!

Gertie is an absolute gem!! Driving all over God’s creation without a license, tramping through the woods, questioning suspects who answer the door with sawed off shotguns, she does it all. She is quite a woman and you don’t want to mess with her. You never knows what she is going to pull out of that handbag. The woman is fearless!!!

In addition to Gertie there is man-hungry Cora Mae, Carl who is willing to coat himself in chicken grease to bag a bear, Grandma Johnson who just loves to cook and good ole’ Blaze who is just trying to his job. Add in a few more wacky friends and relatives, a dead body or two, and you are in for a wild ride courtesy of Deb Baker’s vast imagination.

I have loved everything I have read by this awesome author! A master storyteller!! KUDOS DEB!!!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent


This book was from my personal collection.

Posted in Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Guest Posts Literary Escapes Reviews 2012 What's In A Name Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Author Hannah Reed (Giveaway too!)

One of the first things I learned when I started blogging was that Hannah Reed and her alter ego Deb Baker are from Wisconsin. I quickly reached out to her and she was the very first author to guest post on Dollycas’s Thoughts. Since then I have become huge fan. I am so happy she is here today to tell us about the next Queen Bee Mystery.

Welcome Hannah!

Hi Everyone!

“Write What You Know,” the writing coaches tell us.

But I wanted to write mysteries, and I didn’t know a single thing about killing – I’m not a murderess, or in law enforcement, or a medical examiner. I don’t have a degree in criminal law, and I certainly am not acquainted with any serial killers, so interviewing bad guys was out. The victims weren’t talking, either (obviously).

After a lot of internal debate over my lack of qualifications, I decided to really write what I knew. And what I had experience with was small town Wisconsin. Plus, I’d married into a family business, and let me tell you, that turned out to be quite an awakening.

I also realized early on that I love sassy, unusual characters and fun romps and delving into family dynamics, all mixed with a twinkle of the outrageous and a bit of humor.

Enter Story Fischer, living in her hometown of Moraine, Wisconsin, a novice beekeeper, owner of The Wild Clover, the only local grocery store. Add an overbearing mother, a sister and cousin who work at the store, and a snoopy neighbor. Whip in a hot cop with a K-9 partner, plenty of gossip going around, and the dark side of human nature. Ta da. A winning recipe for murder and mayhem.

Book 3 in the series, Plan Bee, came out early this month. Appropriately titled, since when was the last time Plan A really worked? Never, that’s when.

Hope you enjoy it.

~Hannah

Thanks Hannah for stopping by.

About This Author
Hannah Reed is the pen name of author Deb Baker.

As Deb (her real name) she has authored The Gertie Johnson Backwoods Adventures and The Dolls To Die For Series.

In her youth, Deb dreamed of working as a private investigator or as an undercover cop. So when Deb began writing a new series, the Queen Bee mysteries, she did something she always wanted to do — she went undercover with an alias!

Hannah was one of her all-time favorite names. Reed was her great-grandmother’s maiden name. So she put the two together.

As it turns out, the author Hannah Reed is much younger than Deb Baker. She’s also more daring, more willing to step right into the midst of any sticky situation, and she’s not afraid to tell it like it is.

As Deb says, “Look out! When Hannah’s around, big trouble is sure to follow.”

To find out more check out her web page.

*******************

If you love the Queen Bee Mysteries, you will love Yooper Mysteries too. Stop by tomorrow when I tell you all about Murder Grins and Bears It. The second book in the Yooper series.

*******************


Plan Bee (A Queen Bee Mystery)
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery

A Queen Bee Mystery
3rd in the Series
Cover Illustration by Trish Cramblet
Cover Design by Judith Langerman

It’s time for the Harmony Festival in Moraine, Wisconsin. All the shopkeepers are setting up outdoor displays, there will be a parade and even a Honey Queen. Story is none to happy with this year’s queen but there are other things for her to worry about, like a 12 year old whose is experimenting creating explosives, her mother’s new boyfriend and an out-of-towner trying to reap the benefits of the home town festival.

Then there’s that darn disappearing body, she tripped over it in the cemetery, but by the time help arrives the body is gone. It then turns up in a most unusual spot and when his identity is revealed Story realizes there are even more things she needs to worry about. The search for the truth “bee-comes” very interesting and danger could “bee” lurking around every corner.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
I love this series.

Hannah Reed definitely writes what she knows. She crafts an wonderful intelligent cozy mystery without a flaw. The characters are all unique and absolutely extraordinary. Each and every one will make a beeline right into your heart, even the characters we love to hate. I grow to love each one a little more with every page in this wonderful series. They never fail to put a smile on my face.

Mystery and mayhem are blended together to give us a honey of a story for our minds to enjoy. Reed is definitely the Queen Bee when it comes to cozy mystery.


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 1, 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 Just For Fun Challenge Wisconsin Author

The Aloha Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini


The Aloha Quilt: An Elm Creek Quilts Novel (Elm Creek Quilts Novels)
Simon & Schuster
Elm Creek Quilt Series
16th in the Series

Bonnie escapes the winter in Pennsylvania and her soon to be ex-husband to visit her college friend Claire in Hawaii. While there she is going to help her set up a retreat similar to the Elm Creek Quilting Camp. Bonnie loves the calm of Hawaii but everything doesn’t go smoothly, especially when her husband starts to fight her for half of her share of Elm Creek Quilts.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This was my JUST FOR FUN book this month. This is one of my favorite series for many reasons. Before my accident one of my passions was quilting, the books in this series inspired me so much. Jennifer is a Wisconsin author and doesn’t live too far from me. We have never met and probably never will but I feel a bond to her through her stories. I may not physically be able to create the quilts with my hands but my mind is always creating quilts I hope to help my family make in the future. Once a quilter, always a quilter.

This book is unique in that it is full of Hawaiian history, with stories of not only how quilting came to the islands but a lot about the whole Hawaiian culture.

While this is Bonnie’s adventure the rest of the Elm Creek Quilters are an important part of the story. Part of this story actually takes place at the same time as the Elm Creek Quilters are celebrating A Quilter’s Holiday.

This is one of the series I have gotten behind on, but it one of the series I plan to catch up on for the Finish The Series Reading Challenge. The newest story Sonoma Rosecomes out February 21 and I just received an advanced copy so I will have to get busy reading!

I hope all of you are finding time to read Just For Fun! Remember the GoodReads group for this challenge closes to new members January 31. If you don’t have your topic set up accepting the challenge you will not be eligible for any prizes. If you haven’t signed up there is still time. Just follow this link for details or Click on the Just For Fun Challenge tab at the top of this page.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent


*This book was from my private collection.

Posted in E-Book Challenge Reviews 2012

Almost Perfect by Patricia Rice

I have decided to add a little romance to my blog. Many romances contain an element of mystery and many mysteries have an element of romance so this seems like a natural progression. I won a chance to review this e-book from LibraryThing and it seems like a good way to kick off my return to the world of romance. Don’t worry I promise not to go romance crazy.

Almost Perfect (Carolina Series)

Cleo Alyssum has moved to a small seaside town in South Carolina to try to get her life in order. She has a bit of a checkered past. Cleo is on probation and her sister has custody of her son Matty. She has purchased the local hardware store and her past is a secret to her customers. Cleo has befriended a neighbor woman who has her own problems, if for no other reason to help out the woman’s teenage kids. She just has to keep her nose clean and she will get her son back in time for Christmas. The last thing she needs in her life is a man.

Along comes Jared McCloud wanting to rent the beach house on the property. He even offers to pay for repairs and upgrades to the house. Cleo is an extremely private person, she agrees to let him rent the place as long as he respects her privacy. Their lives quickly become intertwined with her holding back and him trying to push forward. Can they have a future in spite of her past?

Dollycas’s Thoughts
I really enjoyed this story. Cleo is a woman trying to turn her life around and it isn’t easy especially because she has shut everyone out. Jared is the man that just may be able to break through her barriers while knocking down a few of his own. Their interplay is entertaining and captivating.

Cleo is also very unconventional with her “zoo” and her wonderful inventions to keep trespassers off her property.

This is more than love story, it does have romance and a few sexy scenes, but there is also humor, drama and even a bit of mystery. This may be my first Patricia Rice novel but it definitely is not my last. I have added the entire Carolina Series to my wish list.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

To find out more about Patricia and all her books check out her web page.

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

Cozy Wednesday With Author Lucy Burdette (Giveaway too!)

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I saw the cover of Lucy’s An Appetite For Murder: A Key West Food Critic Mystery and knew I was going to love it. The idea of escaping to Key West during a cold Wisconsin winter sounded like a grand idea. Plus the cat on the cover resembles my Sherlock 🙂

I was so excited that Lucy agreed to be a guest here. I had read her other series and enjoyed them so much. I am so happy she is back with a new series and here today to tell us a little bit about it.

Hi Lucy!

Many thanks to Lori for inviting me to talk about my brand new Key West food critic mystery, An Appetite For Murder, written by Lucy Burdette (formerly known as Roberta Isleib.) I’m truly thrilled to be joining the ranks of other culinary mystery writers, including the renowned Diane Mott Davidson. (I have to brag a little–her blurb is on the front cover of my new book!) So I thought it would be fun to talk a little about food, glorious food, as they sang in Oliver!


This is the launch of my third mystery series, but the first one focused on food. (Although any readers of the advice column mysteries will remember that the main character, Dr. Rebecca Butterman, was an excellent cook.) It’s such a pleasure to write about things I love–and food is certainly one of them. I love to eat, to read about new recipes, to cook, to eat out in restaurants, to read about food in both memoirs and fiction. This series has given me license to do all that with a vengeance! My husband likes to tease that “Isleib” means “is stomach” in German. His other fictionalized translation for my family name is “large lunch followed by a restful nap.” No telling what he’ll make up for Burdette…

Anyway, I don’t think I’d like to be a food critic in real life–when I go out to eat, I like to choose what I feel like eating, not what I think other folks want to hear about. And there are places where I’d draw lines that my character Hayley Snow, cannot. For instance, tentacles. Raw fish and meat. Slimy things. Like that:). That said, all the restaurants in the book really exist in Key West and I’ve had wonderful meals in each of them. The only fictionalized establishment is the one Hayley visits in Miami Beach. I suppose if she’s going to start writing bad reviews or if someone is actually poisoned in a future book in a restaurant, I’ll have to do more inventing.

One of the first readers of An Appetite For Murder commented on the way I have chosen to lead off each of the chapters with a quote about food, chefs, or eating. Finding the quotes was so, so much fun. I started with more standard citations that would be familiar to many people, for example Miss Piggy’s famous “don’t eat more than you can lift.” But then the more I read, the more possibilities I found so I could tailor the quote to fit the action and the characters in each chapter–foreshadow what’s to come in many cases. And I came across gems like this one from Dwight Garner: “It is possible to imagine him having a small meal of minor critics for breakfast, as if they were kippers…

I so hope you all enjoy An Appetite For Murder –would love to hear your feedback!

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

~Lucy

Thank you so much for being here today. Don’t you just love Miss Piggy!!!

An Appetite For Murder: A Key West Food Critic Mystery
Obsidian
Published by New American Library
A Division of The Penguin Group
A Brand New Series
A Key West Food Critic Mystery

Available Now

Haley Snow leaves New Jersey to follow the man of her dreams to Key West, Florida. Things don’t go as planned when Hayley learns she’s not the only woman in his life. She is determined to stay in Key West and since her entire life has revolved around food, cooking it, eating it, and writing about it, she decides to apply to be the food critic for a brand new magazine. Sounds good until Hayley learns her new boss would be the other woman in her ex-boyfriend’s life. Things get crazy when the police show up at her door to question her about a murder. The other woman is dead and Haley’s career as a food critic could be over before it has even begun.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Key West – Paradise – The perfect setting!! for mystery and mayhem!!!

Lucy Burdette weaves us through the streets of this small island, a popular tourist spot, and a place loved by both Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams. Key West’s culinary influences and offerings are as diverse as its population. Hayley has a variety of eateries to critique.

I have absolutely fallen for this character. I want to be this character. Even with the suspicion of being a murderer. She lives in a beautiful place, has wonderful friends and even lives on a boat. Her days are filled with eating yummy food, visits with chefs, a cat herder, a tarot card reader and did I mention she lives on a boat!

The mystery is divine, it is perfectly paced and the ending is a surprise. I have an appetite for much more from Lucy Burnette and the awesome life of Hayley Snow. This is very delicious debut of what will definitely be a delectable series.


Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

Thanks to the people at Penguin I have
2 copies of this wonderful 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 January 25, 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 Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Reviews 2012

Breach of Trust by David Ellis

Breach of Trust
Berkley Prime Crime
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group

A Jason Kolarich Novel
Available Now In Paperback


Jason has lost his wife and baby daughter. He should have been in the car with them. He was more familiar with road. Instead he was waiting for a call that never came. He was waiting for an informant to call with vital information, but the informant was murdered before he could place the call. Jason carries the guilt of not only losing his family but the informant had a wife and kids too.

Jason now has the opportunity to find the killer and bring him to justice. But the FBI is on to his plan as it collides with a probe of their own. He is forced into a game of wiretaps, listening devices, and danger, to help get the answers he needs and the information the FBI wants. The informant was just the tip of the iceberg. Corruption runs deep and wide, hopefully he can make it out alive.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
A corrupt governor in Illinois, no way. Ellis writes this book after serving as House Prosecutor that convicted Governor Ron Blagojevich in the impeachment trial before the Illinois Senate. He writes what he knows. This is quite a political drama.

We were introduced to Jason in Ellis’ The Hidden Man. I was really looking forward to this story after reading that one. Jason Kolarich is a guy trying to do the right thing so you are naturally rooting for the truth to prevail.  

My only reservation about this story is that while very entertaining,  the book was written so that it could be read as a stand alone. A lot of pages were filled with things from the previous book with few real necessary additions. Coming in at 546 pages the repetition took away in places what could have been a tight page turning novel. It was wonderful that the truth was revealed and came together, but having read the first book it dragged in spots. The last third of the book was completely page turning and exciting. The suspense part came through  a little more in this one. 

Truthfully these books could be read in any order. I would start with this one and if you want, check out The Hidden Man.  I see The Wrong Man (Jason Kolarich) is coming out June 28, 2012. I will look forward to the next installment. David Ellis is also teaming up with James Patterson for the anxiously awaited Guilty Wives out on March 26.


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

The Hidden Man by David Ellis

The Hidden Man
G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Published by The Penguin Group

Jason Kolarich is a young, successful, smart attorney. Former college linebacker and a bit of a smart-ass. He is coming off a huge win in a very high profile case. He is also struggling to come to grips with a terrible tragedy that turned his life inside out.

Enter Mr. Smith. He has a case that Jason has to take on and there is only one month until the case comes to trial. He soon learns that the client is a childhood friend. Twenty-seven years ago two year old Audrey Cutler was taken from her home. The child’s body is never found. The police have a suspect but could never nail down enough evidence to convict him. Jason was close to this family. Audrey’s brother Sammy and Jason were like brothers. Sammy has been accused of murdering the man everyone thought murdered his sister. Mr. Smith demands Jason get Sammy acquitted without delay. He even provides witnesses and other possible suspects. Jason just has to follow Smith’s lead and free Sammy.

Of course Jason can’t just follow, he needs to dig to get to the truth even if he puts his own life in danger.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
This is an author that knows his subject. He is an attorney with vast experience and it shows in his writing.

The plot is multifaceted with a really unexpected twist. The characters are razor sharp, some like Jason are instantly likable, but Mr. Smith is untrustworthy from the get go. 

The are parts of the story that are exciting but not edge of your seat thrilling. I feel this story is a wonderful crime drama that will keep you guessing as secrets are revealed.

This story makes me want to read more of this authors’s work and more about Jason Kolarich. Kola like Cola – Rich like rich. I will be reviewing the next book in the series Breach of Trustnext week!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

This book was from my private collection.

Posted in Just For Fun Challenge

Just For Fun Reading Challenge 2011 Winners!!!

72 Readers Accepted the Challenge and started it in January 2011

24 Readers Successfully Completed The Challenge

The names of those completing the challenge were printed out, folded and put into a basket.
Random.org wouldn’t work because I resorted the names so many times.
My daughter Elizabeth drew 3 names.

The winner of a $25 Gift Card to Amazon.com is
Carol W.

The winner of my 12 books read JUST FOR FUN is
Mia J.

An additional prize of a $5 Gift Card to Amazon.com is awarded to
Bonnie K.

Have you signed up for this year’s challenge?
There is still time.
Follow this link to sign up!!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent
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