Posted in Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Finish The Series Challenge Just For Fun Challenge Literary Escapes Sunday Salon / Sunday Post What An Animal Reading Challenge What's In A Name Challenge Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting

Sunday Salon – Weekly Recap – 2012 Challenge Wrap Up – Mail Call

The Sunday Salon.com

The Sunday Salon used to be a meme but was getting so huge it became unmanageable, so it is now a Facebook group that has become an informal week in review
gathering place for bloggers.

It is also a place to share our thoughts about things of a bookish nature.

So Happy Sunday Everyone!

I can’t believe how quickly 2012 flew by. The biggest events for me happened in April and December when my new grandchildren were born. I known their parents won’t agree but the months went pretty fast. I am looking forward to spending as much time with them and 5 year old Kaden and the rest of my family as I can in 2013. I am also excited about 2013 in my blog world. I think it is going to be an awesome year for books and sharing my thoughts with all of you. What are you looking forward to in 2013??

Weekly Recap December 24 – 29

MondayIt’s Monday! What Are You Reading?
TuesdayJust For Fun 2012 Challenge Wrap Up
WednesdayCozy Wednesday Special Cozy Giveaway
ThursdayMe Before You by Jojo Moyes Spotlight With Giveaway Me Before You: A Novel hits stores tomorrow and I highly recommend it. It is a powerful story that hit me on a personal level but I feel everyone will be touched by this story and it would be an excellent book club selection for the discussions it will start.
FridayMy Best Reads of 2012 This was a hard list to put together because I read so many wonderful books this year.
SaturdaySaturday Surfin’ – Recipes – Romance Challenge and Favorite Reads.

December Wrap Up

Reading Challenge 2012


I finished 2012 reading 222 books. So I completed this challenge and the Outdo Yourself Challenge with some to spare even with going 48 hours this week without reading a word.

I have not seen anyone running a Total Number of Books Reading Challenge for 2013. Please let me know if you know of one.

December Totals
16 Books – 4808 Pages – 2460 KB
2012 Totals – 222 Books – 65744 Pages – 28682 KB

More 2012 Challenges Completed
Reading Challenge Addict

 

 

 

 

 

17 / 19 Challenges. 89% done!

197 / 197 books. 100% done!

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20 / 20 books. 100% done!

8 / 12 free e-books. 67% done!

Fell Short on this one 🙁

25 / 25 e-books. 100% done!

51 / 51 States. 100% done!

18 / 18 Outside the U.S.A. 100% done!

12 / 12 cozies. 100% done!

13 / 13 cozies. 100% done!

6 / 6 cozies. 100% done!

6 / 6 books. 100% done!

1st in a Series Challenge 2012

6 / 6 books. 100% done!

2 / 2 series. 100% done!

26 / 26 books. 100% done!

5 / 5 books. 100% done!

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12 / 12 books. 100% done!

6 / 6 books. 100% done!

8 / 8 books. 100% done!

 

 

 

 

24 / 24 books. 100% done!

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12 / 10 books. 120% done!

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0 / 3 books. 0% done!
This was a personal challenge to read 3 books from the year I was born.
I failed miserably. I am not going to try in 2013.

So I was successful at all but 2 challenges. Not a bad year.

 mail call314

Due to the New Years Holiday January Cozies have a release date of 12/31/2012.
I was getting worried because the review copies had not arrived yet last week.
They finally arrived Thursday.


These books also arrived for review:

and

Mary Daheim will be here January 30 for Cozy Wednesday!

This was a huge  post!

Looking forward to an awesome 2013 full of great reads!!

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent
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Posted in Cruisin Thru Cozies Finish The Series Challenge Literary Escapes Saturday Surfin' What An Animal Reading Challenge

Saturday Surfin’ – Week 10 – Cozy Christmas Countdown Giveaway – More 2013 Challenges

One of the things I have been trying to improve on is visiting more blogs each week.

Doing this has led me to some very interesting blog posts so I am going to use
Saturday Surfin” to bring some of these posts to your attention.

HAVE A COZY CHRISTMAS COUNTDOWN!

Join Killer Characters at the Have a Cozy Christmas Countdown!

In celebration of the holidays, KillerCharacters.com is giving away a book a day. From November 26 to December 25, visit their site and leave a comment, and you’ll be entered for that day’s giveaway. Return the next day to see if you won. You have thirty chances to win! Be sure to come back each day and leave a new comment to enter the drawing for that day. Good luck. From all the Killer Characters and their authors, Have a very Cozy Christmas!

Head over there every day to enter the giveaways!!

2013 WHERE Are You Reading Challenge Sign Up!!!

Sheila at Book Journey is hosting this challenge for the 3rd year.

What is the point of this challenge?
It is to try to read in each of the 50 States
between January 1 2013 – December 31, 2013.

Today I am just 1 book away from completing the challenge for 2012.
It was much easier than I thought it would be.
I only had to search out books for a few states.
My regular reading took care of most of them
plus I visited 18 places outside the U.S. too!
CLICK HERE for all the details!

*****

This is also the third year for this challenge.
To find out exactly what a cozy mystery is, check out Cozy-Mystery.com. This site is dedicated to cozy mysteries and does a great job of defining them as well as giving a list of cozy mysteries. This challenge is NOT restricted to what is on their list, it’s just to be used as a guideline in case you need some hints on what to read.

So, here are the rules…

1. Choose the level you wish to participate:
Level 1 – Snoop – Read at least 6 books
Level 2 – Investigator – Read 7-12 books
Level 3 – Super Sleuth – Read 13 or more books

2. The challenge runs from January 1, 2013 and ends December 31, 2013.

3. You don’t have to choose your books in advance. If you do, you can change your list at any time during the year. Books can overlap with other challenges.

4. Books can be in any format – paper, audio, ebooks…it all counts!

5. You don’t have to post a review, but I’m sure others would love to know about the books you are reading and may even want to add it to their reading lists.

NOTE: If you don’t have a blog and want to participate, that’s fine. You don’t have to have a blog, just post in the comments section as you finish books. If you belong to a site like Goodreads and review the books there, that’s fine too. Just leave us the link.

6. Take the button above, put it on your blog and post about the challenge. Then add your name to Mr. Linky at Yvonne’s blog. Please use the link of your challenge post, not the link to your home page.

7. She’s going to have one link for signing up, one link for completed reviews and one link for your wrap up posts.

I am signing up at the Super Sleuth level of 13 or more books!!!

CLICK HERE to join this challenge!

*****

Yvonne at Socrates Book Review Blog is hosting this one too!

Here are the rules guidelines.

1) All books that are part of a continuing series qualify (i.e. Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove, Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum, James Patterson’s Alex Cross, etc. etc.)

2) It doesn’t matter if you have 1 or 10 books in a series to complete it, it qualifies (i.e. if you only need to read one more Sookie Stackhouse book to complete the goal, that’s fine) The goal is to complete a series from wherever you are up to until the last published book.

3) The qualification period is January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013. Books must be read during this time frame to count.

4) Take the button above and post about it. Use the Mr. Linky to sign up and make sure you link it directly to your post about this challenge. (Note: She’s not going to be using the Finishing the Series Blog she created last year. She’s going to keep everything  right on her blog.)

5) If you don’t have a blog, that’s fine. Just leave a comment to sign up and tell us what you are reading.

IF YOU WANT TO LINK UP YOUR REVIEWS OR, FOR THOSE WITHOUT A BLOG, LEAVE A COMMENT ON YVONNE’S BLOG

6) Any format of book counts – audio, ebook, etc.

7) You should choose the series you want to finish before the challenge begins, but it isn’t necessary. It’s fine to change series during the year – as long as you complete whichever series it is.

8) Choose a level….

Level 1 – Complete 1 series.
Level 2 – Complete 2 series.
Level 3 – Complete 3 or more series.

I have several series I want to catch up on so I am signing up for Level 3.

Right now the ones I hope to catch up are Janet Evanovich Plum Series, J.B. Stanley’s Supper Club Series and one other series after I tidy up my To-Be-Read stacks.

*****

One more from Yvonne!

What An Animal Reading Challenge VI will begin on January 1st.

The rules are really simple…

1. Read at least 6 books that have any of the following requirements:

a. there is an animal in the title of the book
b. there is an animal on the cover of the book
c. an animal plays a major role in the book
d. a main character is (or turns into) an animal (define that however you’d like).

2. The animal can be any type of animal (real or fictitious)–
dog, cat, monkey, wolf, snake, insect, hedgehog, aardvark…dragon, mermaid, centaur, vampire, werewolf…you get the idea…

3. Challenge runs from January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013.
That’s a full year to read at least 6 books (you can read more if you’d like).

4. Books can be fiction or nonfiction.

5. You may make a list of books at the beginning of the challenge or you can just list them as you find them.

6. Book titles may be swapped out at anytime (assuming you made a list to begin with).

7. Crossovers with other challenges are permitted and encouraged.

8. You don’t have to have a blog or write a review, but you can if you want to.
 If you don’t have a blog, just post in the comment section that you’d like to join. You can post your books in there.

9. Books can be in any format of your choice (print, audio, ebooks)

CLICK HERE to head over to Yvonne’s blog to sign up!! I sure am!

*****

off-the-shelf-2013-badge

BA’s 2013 Off the Shelf Reading Challenge

About: The Off the Shelf Reading Challenge is probably the most popular challenge there is on BA. The goal? To read books on your shelves that have gone unread for far too long. Selecting books from the year before (in this case, 2012 and before), read as many of the unread ones as you can. It’s up to you if you want to keep them or give them away afterwards, the main goal is to turn those unread books into read ones.

The Finer Deets

  • The Main Rule: Do not include books acquired during 2013, it defeats the purpose, read those books from before 2013 started.
  • Running dates for all 2013 challenges: 1st of January – 31st of December 2013
  • Sign-Ups are accepted until the 16th of December 2013.
  • Formats: All BA Challenges are eBook, audio, short story, and graphic novel friendly.
  • Crossovers: You’re welcome to crossover with BA’s challenges. Include as many books across all the challenges as you can, I always say.

How To Sign-Up and Join In

  1. Choose Your Level: Choose a challenge level listed below.
  2. Sign Up Post: Create a post on your blog, in a group, or on a forum (where possible) to let others see what you’re aiming for (a predefined list of books is optional).
  3. Grab The Badge: Download or grab the badge and place it in your sign up post. Then link back to BA's Off the Shelf Reading Challenge. Grab me!Bookish Ardour.
  4. Link Up: Grab the direct URL to your sign up post, not your blog, click the Mr Linky graphic and enter your link.
  5. Blogless? Don’t worry, you can sign up with your social network profile (YouTube, Twitter, GoodReads, Shelfari included), just make sure you link to your review list, shelf, tweet, or category. If you don’t have any of those feel free to comment.
  6. Your Reviews: Reviewing is optional! But if you do review it would be great for you to share them by submitting them on the review page.
  7. Finished: When you’re done it’s completion post time and you can share these on the completion/wrap-up page.

Challenge Levels

  1. Tempted– Choose 5 books to read
  2. Trying – Choose 15 books to read
  3. Making A Dint – Choose 30 books to read
  4. On A Roll – Choose 50 books to read
  5. Flying Off – Choose 75 books to read
  6. Hoarder – Choose between 76-135 books to read
  7. Buried – Choose between 136-200 books to read

Extra Challenges

If you feel like that extra kick to your reading challenges here’s a couple you can choose from.

  • World: Choose a country as your theme, reading only books from that country or where it’s the setting. For how high you go you can choose more than one country;
    • Level Tempted and Trying: Choose one country
    • Level Making a Dint and On A Roll: Choose two countries
    • Level Flying Off to end of Hoarder: Choose three countries
    • Level Buried: Choose four countries.
  • Gender Battle: Read books only by female or male authors. Another alternative is to read equal amounts of both.

Sign Up Here

I am signing up to read 5 books!

If you like Reading Challenges as much as I do, you have to subscribe or follow this blog!

A Novel Challenge
There is a team of bloggers at work there to keep us up to date on all the latest challenges. I will post the ones here that I am participating in but there will be tons of challenges out there for 2013 and some start at different times of the year. I subscribe to the blog via email so news of new challenges land right in my Inbox.

That’s it for week 10 of Saturday Surfin’. If you see some posts you feel should be shared please leave the links in the comments section for people to visit. The weeks are too short to travel to all the wonderful blogs in the blogosphere but together we can help find and direct each other to at least a few.

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent
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Posted in Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Finish The Series Challenge Sunday Salon / Sunday Post What An Animal Reading Challenge

Sunday Salon – May 2012 – The Finale

The Sunday Salon.com

 The Sunday Salon used to be a meme but was getting so huge it became unmanageable, so it is now a Facebook group that has become an informal week in review
gathering place for bloggers.

It is also a place to share our thoughts about things of a bookish nature.

So Happy Sunday Everyone!

Reading Challenge 2012

Books I Read In May


20 Books – 5688 pages – 2878 KB
Totals Though May 95 Books – 25087 Pages – 8275 KB

Challenges Completed During May


I joined at the CD Disk Level – 10 ebooks!

1. Almost Perfect – Patricia Rice
2. Mortal Deception by Liz Roth
3. The Wedding Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini
4. Last Chance Beauty Queen by Hope Ramsay
5. Doxology by Brian Holers
6. Executive Sick Days by Maria E. Schneider
7. The Half Stitched Amish Quilting Club by Wanda E. Brunstetter
8. Died on the Vine by Joyce Harmon
9. Skewered Halo by Brenda Youngerman
10. Woodrose Mountain by RaeAnne Thayne

CHALLENGE COMPLETED 5-24-2012

Going to see if I make to the next level in this challenge which is 25 e-books. This is my first year with my Kindle and I had no idea how many books I would use it for and it is turning out to be many more than I thought.
11. Little Night by Luanne Rice
12. The Ninth Step by Barbara Taylor Sissel

I was signed up at the Super Sleuth Level 13 or more books!!

1. An Appetite For Murder – Lucy Burdette
2. Shear Murder by Nancy J. Cohen
3. File M for Murder by Miranda James
4. Clobbered by Camembert by Avery Aames
5. The Walled Flower by Lorraine Bartlett
6. Due or Die by Jenn McKinlay
7. The Probability of Murder by Ada Madison
8. Dread On A Arrival by Claudia Bishop
9. Ocean Waves by Terri Thayer
10. The Long Stitch Good Night by Amanda Lee
11. Copycat Killing by Sofie Kelly
12. Monkey Wrench by Terri Thayer
13. Final Sail by Elaine Viets

CHALLENGE COMPLETED 5-11-2012

Series Lover Level Read the 1st book in 6 new Series!

1. Buried in a Book by Lucy Arlington
2. Amber Eyes by Jolyn Palliatia
3. Blue Monday by Nicci French
4. A Killer Read by Ericka Chase
5. A Grand Murder by Stacy Verdick Case
6. A Deadly Grind by Victoria Hamilton

CHALLENGE COMPLETED 5-16-2012


Signed up to finish 2 series’.

1. The Elm Creek Quilter’s Series by Jennifer Chiaverini
Read: The Aloha Quilt, The Union Quilters, The Wedding Quilt and Sonoma Rose

2. The Quilting Mystery Series by Terri Thayer
Read: Wild Goose Chase, Old Maid’s Puzzle, Ocean Waves and Monkey Wrench

Challenge Complete May 9, 2012
Going to try to still complete more series yet this year.

March 1, 2012 – February 28, 2013 (6 books)

1. Due or Die by Jenn McKinlay
2. Dread on Arrival by Claudia Bishop
3. The Cat, The Wife and The Weapon by Leann Sweeney
4. Copycat Killing by Sofie Kelly
5. A Deadly Grind by Victoria Hamilton
6. The Big Kitty by Claire Donally

Challenge Complete May 18, 2012

There were several giveaways and a month long “Get Caught Reading” Contest.

Looking ahead for June

Armchair BEA starts tomorrow. There will be special posts through Friday. Giveaway Day is Tuesday!

Laura Bradford will be here for Cozy Wednesday this week to tell us about her new Amish Mystery Series. Hearse and Buggy comes out this Tuesday.

Tara McTiernan author of Barefoot Girls will be Guest Posting here Tuesday, June 12.

Alyse Carlson will be here for Cozy Wednesday on June 13 for her new book/series. The Azalea Assault (A Garden Society Mystery) also comes out this Tuesday.

Julie Hyzy is stopping by Cozy Wednesday on June 20. Grace Among Thieves (A Manor House Mystery), release date is this Tuesday, June 5th.

The All He Saw Was The Girl Virtual Book Tour stops by here on June 21.

Kari Lee Townsend will finish out a month of Cozy Wednesday on June 27. Corpse in the Crystal Ball (A Fortune Teller Mystery) is also out this Tuesday.

The month will be filled with reviews and Giveaway Blog Hops too!!

HAPPY READING!

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent
Posted in What An Animal Reading Challenge

Review: The Big Kitty by Claire Donally

The Big Kitty
(A Sunny & Shadow Mystery)

Brand New Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery

The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Tony Mauro
Cover Design by George Long

Meet Sunny Coolidge, a New York journalist who has returned home to Kittery Harbor, Maine, to take care of her father after his heart attack.  She finds work at the local travel agency for Ollie Barnstable a.k.a “Ollie the Barnacle”” but she hopes it is temporary and that she will be able to land a job at a local newspaper.

She is surprised one day when Ada Spuance, the eldery woman everyone calls “the cat lady” comes into the office and asks Sunny to help her find a winning lottery ticket. Sunny is not sure the winning ticket even exists but agrees to help Ada search her cat filled home.  She thinks there may be a story she can write for the paper to impress the editor enough to hire her.

Sunny arrives to begin her search and she has a “Shadow”, a stray tomcat has followed her right up to the house. When there is no answer at the front door they stroll around to the back of the house and find an open entrance to the basement. Her investigative nature pushes her forward and she discovers poor Ada Spuance dead at the bottom of the stairs.

Did her fall have something to do with the lottery ticket? Was it an accident or MURDER? With her tomcat sidekick Sunny is going to find out.  “Following the trail of the purrloined ticket” Sunny and her feline friend better be careful or the made find their very own tickets punched.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Sunny made some interesting decisions which made this a very interesting mystery. I may not have agreed with her actions but they set in action quite a chain of events. Shadow’s inquisitive nature also drove this story. They are purr-fect partners.

It had several humorous moments, but the ladies of the neighborhood, especially one special lady, sneaking rich, sweet and “unhealthy” food to Sunny’s dad really made me giggle.

This is a light hearted romp with plenty of suspects in a quirky little town. It is a great start to a series that shows much promise.

Dollycas
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 Giveaways Guest Posts Reviews 2012 What An Animal Reading Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Victoria Hamilton (Giveaway too!)


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!


Today my very special guest is the author of a brand new cozy mystery series, the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries. But Victoria is not a brand new author, this may be her first venture into the cozy genre but she has written several bestselling romance novels. I am thrilled to welcome her today to tell us about her crossover to the genre that I absolutely love! Help yourself to a cup of tea and join me in welcoming Victoria.

Hi  Victoria!!

Hi Everyone!

The Ultimate Game of Pretend
By: Victoria Hamilton

A couple of years ago I approached a wonderful agent, one I was hoping to interest enough that she would represent me as an author. I had a mystery series idea, and had already written one book, and was a good way though a second in that series. I was devastated – crushed! – when she read my proposal, but just didn’t find it compelling enough to offer me representation. And then she went on hiatus, and was not accepting proposals for about five months. Ack!!

I was sending around to other agents, but not a one of them was my ‘dream’ agent like Jessica was (and still is). So I did something rare for an author. I asked for – and took! – her advice. Read some of the ‘first in a cozy series’ books by authors she represented, she told me. And I did. I read Hannah Reed, Sarah Atwell, Betty Hechtman, Joyce and Jim Lavene, Sheila Connolly and many others.

And I got it!! I finally got it.

To create a cozy mystery series that people would love, I had to take something I was passionate about and find a way to incorporate it into a set of characters and a town that was both fun and entertaining. I created a concept, wrote a proposal, presented it to my dream agent, and voila! She loved it as much as I did. Within weeks I had a three book contract with Berkley Prime Crime, my dream publisher.

That was how my Vintage Kitchen Mystery series was born. I’ve been collecting vintage kitchen stuff since… well, since the stuff wasn’t even vintage. I have some of my mom’s Pyrex refrigerator dishes, old tablecloths, and even her handwritten recipe book from way back when. Since then I’ve added to my collection with a set of Primary Colors Pyrex bowls, bought one piece at a time so it cost me less than a whole set. I have vintage cutlery, Depression glass bowls, old cookbooks… more than I really should have.

Then I imagined a town I’d like to live in, one where Americans and Canadians could mingle. And so Queensville, Michigan popped onto the map along the St. Clair River, which is the border between Michigan and Ontario. I invented an island – Heartbreak Island – with an interesting history, and a neighboring Canadian town, Johnsonville. I built an old yellow brick house in Queensville, and peopled it with a youngish vintage collector – Jaymie Leighton – and her two fur friends, Hoppy, a three-legged Yorkie-Poo of indomitable character, and Denver, the crabby tabby.

And then I let Jaymie loose, looking for that big, elusive prized piece on which to display some of her collection, a Hoosier kitchen cabinet. Jaymie went to an auction, and guess what she found… a Hoosier cabinet! Being a writer is wonderful, like an extended version of that favorite childhood game of ‘Pretend’. Do you remember that? It was my favorite. While other little girls may have treated their dolls like their babies, I treated them all like characters in a story, and made up lives for them.

And I guess I’m still doing that today. Being a writer is the ultimate game of pretend!

Book 1 of my Vintage Kitchen Mysteries, A Deadly Grind, is now out, and I am thrilled with the reception… readers seem to love it! Book Two, Bowled Over, will be published in February of next year.

When I thought of writing another series, guess what? I realized another collecting passion of mine would come in handy!! I love and adore and collect teapots and teacups. So next year will also see the introduction of Book 1 of my Merry’s Muffins series, A Bran New Death.

This really is too much fun!
~::~Victoria

A Deadly Grind is the first book in Victoria Hamilton’s ‘Vintage Kitchen Mysteries’ cozy series. To learn more about the series, check out Victoria’s website: http://www.victoriahamiltonmysteries.com

Read an excerpt from A Deadly Grind, and check out the site for online availability of this and other Victoria Hamilton Mysteries.

Victoria, I am so happy you have been bitten by the cozy bug. You play the game of “pretend” very well :).

Now let me me tell you why I loved this story!
A Deadly Grind
(A Vintage Kitchen Mystery)

Brand New Series!
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group

Cover Illustration by Tim O’Brien
Cover Design by Lesley Worrell

Jaymie Leighton lives in her parents nineteenth century yellow brick home. They have retired to a warmer climate and just visit during the summer. Her sister Rebecca visits on the weekends from London, Ontario, and together they hit the auctions and estate sales. They are both collectors. Jaymie collects vintage cookware and cookbooks. Rebecca china, tea cups and saucers. Rebecca is fifteen years older than Jaymie and sometimes seems like a second mother. She still thinks she knows what is best for Jaymie, but at 32 years of age Jaymie can make her own decisions.

Jayme decides to bid on Hoosier cabinet that made be a little worse for wear but she knows with a little elbow grease she will have a treasure. She outbids the other buyers and is thrilled to get her purchase home. Her sister, not so much. She thinks the house is full enough of Jaymie’s clutter. They get it home and leave it on the summer porch. They are exhausted from the day and enjoying their purchases can wait until morning.

But someone else had other ideas. Becca and Jaymie are woken up in the middle of night by noise downstairs. They are beside themselves when the find a dead body on the summer porch. They don’t recognize the man and even the police have a hard time identifying him. Why their house? Who is this guy? Jaymie needs to know. She starts to do just a little investigating. She had better be careful or she may be the one “who ends up going, going,…gone”.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
I can identify this sibling relationship clearly. My sister is 12 years older than me and she too was like a second mom. We are close today but there have been times when she has made me so mad, thinking she knows best.

Before my accident I loved to attend auctions and estate sales. I was just like Jaymie. I would have killed, not literally, for a Hoosier like the one in this story. Our home has been cluttered over the years with my “finds”. This story hit home for me, really struck my heart.

Jaymie and I could be friends, we would be hitting the sales. Becca would probably be friends with my sister 🙂

The setting of these mysteries is really brilliant. Fictional Heartbreak Island between Michigan and Ontario where both American and Canadian tourists arrive for a variety of celebrations is the perfect backdrop. In this installment, a “Tea With The Queen” fundraiser gives the tourists, residents, and suspects a place to gather.

The author has laid the great foundation for more books in this series, setting us up for many return visits to Heartbreak Island. I hope not too many hearts are broken but with cozy mysteries you never know who the next victim or suspect may be. I just know this author is going to give us a wonderful who-dun-it that will find us Bowled Over!!

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Thanks to the people at Penguin
I have 2 copies to giveaway!!

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.

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 Victoria for 5 Bonus Entries !

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

Contest Will End May 30, 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 Cozy Wednesday Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Guest Posts Reviews 2012 What An Animal Reading Challenge

Special Edition – Cozy Wednesday with Sofie Kelly (Giveaway too!)


Welcome to a Special Thursday Edition of Cozy Wednesday!
There are so many wonderful books out this month and wonderful authors to visit with
I had to add an extra Wednesday.

Sofie writes the Magical Cats Mysteries but did you know Sofie Kelly is the pseudonym of young adult writer and mixed-media artist, Darlene Ryan. She is quite a versatile writer.Her latest book Copycat Killing hit the shelves Tuesday.  I am happy she is here today with us, as are my own not magical cats Sherlock and Professor Moriarty who look just like Hercules and Owen.  She answers some very interesting questions and if you are like me you are going to want more details on a couple of them, so be sure to leave a comment and maybe she will tell us a little more.

Hi Sofie!

Hi Everyone!!

A Dozen Questions for Sofie Kelly
(From the creative minds of my friends Jude and Sara.)

1. What’s the most unusual job you’ve ever had?
I was an all-night, rock & roll disk jockey.

2. Have you ever been arrested?
No, but I have had a criminal background check done on me through Interpol. I’m not a secret European cat burglar. My daughter is adopted and it was part of the paperwork.

3. What’s the scariest thing that ever happened to you?
Getting herded out of Tienanmen Square by communist soldiers was pretty scary.

4. What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you?
I was having some tests done at the hospital and I was in a small room changing into one of those gowns that ties in the back. After I’d put it on I turned around to discover that I had just…um…flashed the group of construction workers working outside because I’d forgotten to close the curtains. I was so embarrassed I stopped being nervous about the tests.

5. What’s one of your most annoying habits?
I apologize to inanimate objects. It drives my friends crazy. For instance, if I bump into the sofa I say, “I’m sorry.”

6. Do you have a “guilty pleasure” TV show?
Yes. I like to watch Pawn Stars on the History Channel. The things people bring in to sell fascinate me. A straitjacket worn by Houdini turned up on one episode.

7. What is your hair its natural color?
It is at the moment. (Brown.) But I’m going to dye it red again.

8. Who’s the most inspiring person you’ve ever met?
Jake Lawless. Jake works with the Rick Hansen Anniversary relay. I met him in the fall when my daughter was one of the medal bearers. Jake is in a wheelchair—he’s what’s called an incomplete quadriplegic. He’s also one of the warmest, funniest and most positive people I’ve ever met. Not a Pollyanna, just a genuinely fascinating guy.

9. What surprises people the most when they meet you in person?
That I’m not taller. Apparently I look taller in photographs. And I often hear that I’m not as serious in person. I guess that means I look like a tall person without a sense of humor in pictures.

10. What’s your favorite winter sport?
Sitting on the sofa with a cup of hot chocolate looking out the window at the snow.

11. What’s your favorite summer sport?
Swimming, followed closely by hiking.

12. Did you always want to be a writer?
No. I wanted to become a director, move to California and marry Michael Cole from the Mod Squad.

~Sofie

Tienanmen Square, really, scary, holy cow!!!
I am glad you are home safe and sound and writing stories for us to enjoy!!!
Check out http://www.sofiekelly.com/ and http://www.darleneryan.com/ to find out more about this author.

Copycat Killing: A Magical Cats Mystery
3rd in the Series
An Obsidian Mystery
Publish by New American Library
A Division of The Penguin Group

Welcome back to Mayville Heights! I hope you brought your umbrella, boots and a rain slicker. It’s been “raining cats and dogs” for days. There is flooding all over town. The local artists’ co-op has a basement full of water and our favorite librarian Kathleen is helping her friends move their work to higher ground in case the water continues to rise.

All the artwork is saved but one artist isn’t as lucky. Mask maker Jaeger Merrill is found drowned in the basement. The death doesn’t look accidental to Kathleen. Detective Marcus Gordon is on the case and Kathleen along with her fantastic felines just can’t help themselves from assisting him in any way they can. Owen and Hercules use their magic to help “unmask” the killer.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

These magical felines continue to steal the show! Hercules and Owen are truly special characters. Kathleen handles their powers much better than I would.  All the characters are continuing to evolve. Heck the good detective may even get a library card in the next installment.  Kathleen has definitely made herself at home in Mayville Heights. She has taken falling for a guy to a new level and finds something startling from Roma’s past.  And when Kathleen and Maggie get together there is never a dull moment. (Watch out for flying rodents!)

I especially enjoyed this story because of the history featured that creates a mystery inside of a mystery. The town is getting ready to celebrate the library’s centennial with a very special showcase of the groups that have met at the library over the years. One group was doing more than most people knew and some journals from Rebecca’s mother are discovered that hold several secrets.

Well written, carefully plotted, a little romance and a bunch of humor. A purrfect cozy mystery!

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Thanks to the people at Penguin
I have 2 copies to giveaway!!

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.

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 Sofie for 5 Bonus Entries !

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

Contest Will End May 10, 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 Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Reviews 2012 What An Animal Reading Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Leann Sweeney (Giveaway too!)

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

Leann Sweeney and I go way back to when I started blogging back at Dollycas’s Thoughts. The first book in the series The Cat, The Quilt and The Corpse was the very first book I publicly reviewed. I know my reviews have improved since then. With Facebook it is nice that we could online friends. Because of that I know Leann while is so excited about the new book The Cat, the Wife and the Weapon: A Cats in Trouble Mystery, she has had a rough week. I will let her tell you all about it!

Hi Leann!!

Hi Lori and all!

Cats in Trouble—Maybe Even in Your Own Home
By Leann Sweeney

Mercy, South Carolina is home to quilter Jillian Hart, her three wonderful cats Chablis, Merlot and Syrah and a cast of characters who help or sometimes hinder Jillian’s quest to help “Cats in Trouble.” (And by the way, the cats NEVER hinder!) Somehow, Jillian’s quest always seems to involve murder. This time, in The Cat, the Wife and the Weapon: A Cats in Trouble Mystery, the investigation is more personal than ever before. I won’t say more than that! I’ll let Lori tell you.

In each novel in the series, I always try to enlighten and entertain—plus include a cat in trouble who might be a bit of surprise. I drew on my own experience with feline diabetes for this new book. My precious cat, Agatha Christie was diagnosed two and a half years ago. She fought the good fight, but this week, seven days after the release of the new book, she crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. She was the sweetest cat I have ever known and the third cat in a year I have lost to what was really just old age. They were all teenagers in cat years, but ancient in human years. I miss them so much, but I have a new “fellow” in my life named Wexford (after Ruth Rendell’s police inspector). He turns one-year-old next week, has a great and loving personality and is my new inspiration.

I was so gratified to learn that several people who read the new book last week learned through my heroine, Jillian, that plastic is toxic to cats. They have since removed plastic dishes from their homes. If that information saves one cat’s life, I am so happy. My own Archie Goodwin, a tuxedo cat who died in November, was suffering from terrible mouth and gum sores about seven years ago. I did a little research, found out plastic can cause these sores (and worse things, too). Within a week of removing the plastic dishes, his sores were gone and they never returned.

Next up in the series, I tackle the heartbreak of feral cats and all the misinformation about them—plus the humane and wonderful ways people are saving these colonies of cats. Look for The Cat, The Mill and The Murder next April. Guess I better get back to work, huh?

~Leann

I am so glad Leann is able to stop by today. I know she has a lot on her mind. Our pets work their way into our hearts so fast and we become almost as dependent on them as they are on us. They can always sense when we need them. When we have had a bad day they are there with the head on our knee or jump into our laps to comfort us. It is always painful when they are sick and can’t tell us what is wrong or when we lose them quickly or to a longtime illness. They may be gone from our physical lives but will forever live on it our hearts.

Thank you Leann for sharing!!

the cat, the wife and the weapon

 

The Cat, the Wife and the Weapon:
A Cats in Trouble Mystery

4th in the Series
Obsidian
Published by New American Library
A Division of The Penguin Group

Mercy is a town when everyone knows everyone’s business. How is that Jillian didn’t know her friend Tom had a brother?

Jillian returns home after attending craft fairs and cat shows selling her beautiful kitty quilts to find Tom missing and a man claiming to be Tom’s brother looking mighty comfortable in Tom’s house. She also finds Tom’s diabetic cat has gotten out of the house and this stranger has made no effort at all to look for him.

Then Tom’s car is found wrecked with a dead man, thankfully not Tom, inside. Where the heck is Tom and what is going on in Mercy?

Jillian with the help of her feline friends is going to find out and find out fast before someone else ends up dead!

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Each story is better than the last. This is definitely the best of the series so far!!

We get to delve into Tom’s past and it is jam packed with secrets that keep us on our paws until the very last page. I don’t want to give too much away but I will say there are several surprises. Lydia still thinks Jillian is standing in the way of her and Tom living happily ever after. Merlot, Syrah and Chablis meet a new friend and there are some new characters that you have to read to believe. There are parts will have you laughing out loud, parts that will have you shaking in your shoes, and parts that may make you shed a tear or two. Sweeney has written a complex mystery and the dialogue between the characters was some of the best I have ever read.

Leann also always includes some cat facts and trivia woven into her stories and this time she enlightens us on feline diabetes and that plastic bowls can be toxic to our furry friends. I changed my pets water bowls the minute I read about it in the book.

I am not going to pussyfoot around, this book is fabulous, I loved it and you will too!


Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author
As well as being a writer, I am a registered nurse and worked for 35 years, 15 of them mostly in psyschiatry and the last 20 before I took early retirement as a school nurse–but wait. School nursing is a psych job, too. I have degrees in nursing and in psychology and have lived on the Texas Gulf Coast for 32 years. My husband is a chemical engineer and I have two amazing children. My son and his wife live in Seattle. My daughter and her husband rotate between NYC and Massachusetts. Aren’t we lucky to be in between? Well, sorta. Both places are too far away.

Would you like to win a copy of this fabulous book?
Thanks to the people at Penguin
I have 2 copies to giveaway!!

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.

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 Leann for 5 Bonus Entries !

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

Contest Will End May 2, 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 Cruisin Thru Cozies Reviews 2012 What An Animal Reading Challenge

Dread on Arrival by Claudia Bishop

Dread on Arrival
(A Hemlock Falls Mystery)

17th in Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Karen Strelecki
Cover Design by Diana Kolsky

Available Now!

 

Hemlock Falls, New York, is perfect for tourists with its quaint shops and world famous cooking school and the wonderful Inn at Hemlock Falls. Run by sisters, Meg Quilliam and Sarah Quilliam-McHale. Meg is a master chef with a bit of a temper, watch out for flying saute pans. Sarah (Quill) is the manager with an adorable son Jackson. Her husband Myles, the former sheriff, now works for the federal government and is gone a lot.

In this latest installment a episode of the hit television show Your Ancestor’s Attic is being taped in Hemlock Falls. The host of a competing show Pawn-O-Rama arrives on the scene just in time to cause a little trouble. The hosts of the shows have quite a rivalry going and they decide to settle things between them with a cooking contest that will be taped for both programs.

Things get a little heated as the competition begins, then one of the men keels over dead. Suspicions are that he was poisoned and his rival is the obvious culprit. But he is not the only suspect, even some of the residents of Hemlock Falls are being questioned.

Thankfully the Quilliam sisters are masters at sizing up the suspects and with a little help they will catch the killer.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This is one of my favorite series. The entire set in on my keeper shelf. The quirky characters are delightful. They continue to grow and evolve through each story. Their antics always bring a smile to my face.

With that being said the plot of this one threw me a bit. I love the idea of an Antiques Roadshow type series coming to the town. The characters this theme brought were amazing.  I got lost wondering why would these hosts engage in a cooking contest? This idea did bring the story back to the inn and cooking school, but it just felt off. The were appraisers of antiques, not from a cooking show. If rival cooking show hosts came to town this contest was perfect but it didn’t work for me in this circumstance. There was a wedding supposed to be held at the inn with the reception at the cooking school and a murder there may have made more sense. I know after 17 stories it is hard to be new, fresh, current and unique, and please all the fans, this one just missed the mark with me. 

The story as it plays out is entertaining and I still enjoyed it. It just left me scratching my head a bit.

Dollycas
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 Cruisin Thru Cozies Literary Escapes Reviews 2012 What An Animal Reading Challenge

Due Or Die by Jenn McKinlay

Due or Die
(A Library Lover’s Mystery)

Second in the Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Julia Green
Cover Design by Rita Frangie
Available Now

Lindsey Norris is back and there is a big shake up at the library when the president of the Friends of the Library group, Bill Sint, is ousted after serving for several years. He is replaced by Carrie Rushton and one of Bill’s supporters starts to take things a little too far, but would “Batty” Bilson commit murder? Carrie Rushton’s husband in found dead and all the evidence points at Carrie, but Lindsey knows she is innocent.

To make matters worse the murder investigation takes a backseat when a nor’easter buries the small town of Briar Creek. The entire community is forced to wait out the storm and then dig out after it passes.

Lindsey can’t just stay cooped up and wait for others to investigate. Librarians are always asked tricky reference questions but Who killed Markus Rushton? is the most difficult posed to Lindsey yet. With the help of her friends and a very special canine, she does her best to find the answer to that question before she finds herself checked out permanently.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
I love it! I Love It! I LOVE IT!!!

Jenn has created another awesome cozy set in one of my favorite places, the local library. Old “lemon” Mrs. Cole has returned and I think her face is more puckered than ever. A new character, Heathcliff, has joined the fun and at the perfect time.

I thought winter’s in Wisconsin were bad but those nor’easters that hit Connecticut are something else. I would enjoy being snowed in with a good book like this one, curled up in front of fire, reading by the light of the flames, but then there is that nasty murderer running around. Poor Lindsey just can’t catch a break, but she does catch the killer.

This story is fast paced, I couldn’t put it down. There are great friendships, a romance that is building, an engaging mystery and a big dose of humor, most provided by the lovable Heathcliff. I love the way Jenn McKinlay writes. I feel like I am right in the room observing the action. I am anxiously waiting the next installment, Book, Line and Sinker, coming in December. I can’t wait to see what Lindsey and the gang are up to next!!

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 What An Animal Reading Challenge

What An Animal Reading Challenge


IS THIS PICTURE CUTE OR WHAT?

I can’t resist this challenge!!


Challenge will begin on March 1, 2012 and end on February 28, 2013. The rules are really simple…

1. Read at least 6 books that have any of the following requirements:

a. there is an animal in the title of the book
b. there is an animal on the cover of the book
c. an animal plays a major role in the book
d. a main character is (or turns into) an animal (define that however you’d like).

2. The animal can be any type of animal (real or fictitious)–dog, cat, monkey, wolf, snake, insect, hedgehog, aardvark…dragon, mermaid, centaur, vampire, werewolf…you get the idea…

3. Challenge runs from March 1, 2012 to February 28, 2013. That’s a full year to read at least 6 books (you can read more if you’d like). You can still sign up after March 1st as long as you can get 6 books read by February 28, 2013).

4. Books can be fiction or nonfiction.

5. You may make a list of books at the beginning of the challenge or you can just list them as you find them.

6. Book titles may be swapped out at anytime (assuming you made a list to begin with).

7. Crossovers with other challenges are permitted and encouraged.

8. You don’t have to have a blog or write a review, but you can if you want to.
 If you don’t have a blog, just post in the comment section that you’d like to join. You can post your books in there.

9. Books can be in any format of your choice (print, audio, ebooks)

Want to join me in the fun challenge. You must go to this link to sign up!!!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent