Oct 042019
 


On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.

This book was recommended to me several years ago and it has been sitting on my To-Be-Read shelf ever since. I was so happy that one of the books required for the What’s In A Name Reading Challenge was “Contains the word “girl” or “woman”. This book fits to a T.


The Girl Who Fell from the Sky
Cultural Heritage Fiction / Contemporary Literature & Fiction
Setting – Various
Algonquin Books (January 11, 2010)
Hardcover: 256 pages
ISBN-10: 1565126807
ISBN-13: 978-1565126800
Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1616200154
ISBN-13: 978-1616200152
Kindle ASIN: B004GKNBX8

Rachel, the daughter of a Danish mother and a black G.I., becomes the sole survivor of a family tragedy after a fateful morning on their Chicago rooftop.

Forced to move to a new city, with her strict African American grandmother as her guardian, Rachel is thrust for the first time into a mostly black community, where her light brown skin, blue eyes, and beauty bring a constant stream of attention her way. It’s there, as she grows up and tries to swallow her grief, that she comes to understand how the mystery and tragedy of her mother might be connected to her own uncertain identity.

This searing and heartwrenching portrait of a young biracial girl dealing with society’s ideas of race and class is the winner of the Bellwether Prize for best fiction manuscript addressing issues of social justice.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Eleven-year-old Rachel Morse is living with her grandmother in Portland following a day that left her the only survivor of her family. Her father was an African American G.I. and her mother was Danish. They met, fell in love and had a family. Moving to Chicago things were hard for her mother and their mixed children.

After the deaths of the rest of her family  Rachel moves in with her very strict African American grandmother she finds herself surrounded in a black community with her light brown skin and beautiful blue eyes. She misses her “Mor”, mother in Danish, and her siblings so much. As she grows she becomes more aware of what really happened all those years ago.

____

This was such a moving story. Told in two parts from different points of view over several years. It was a little confusing at first but the author makes it work. Each character has a distinct voice and their own baggage.

Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner may have been released in 1967 but in the early ’80s biracial marriages were still not as accepted in the U.S. as they were in Europe. Rachel’s mother Nella tried to do everything putting her children first. When tragedy strikes Rachel is the only one left. Now she has to deal with the prejudice on her own while finding out who she really is and how she can survive. She also learns she wasn’t the only one trying to move on from that fateful day.

Most of this story is full of heartwrenching moments. You can feel Rachel’s pain. She’s black, but not black enough, she has startling blue eyes that set her apart, her hair isn’t right, she talks “like a white person”.  A complex coming of age story with so much adversity. Rachel tries so hard to deal with everything on her own and that really ripped me apart. There are a few softer moments but this was a heavy read. There was a little bit of hope in the end but it left me wondering where is Rachel today?

 The Girl Who Fell from the Sky will have you feeling a bucket full of emotions as you escape into Rachel’s story. A complex, gripping story that will stick with you long after you turn the last page.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author – From Amazon
Heidi W. Durrow is the New York Times best-selling author of The Girl Who Fell From the Sky (Algonquin Books), which received writer Barbara Kingsolver’s 2008 PEN/Bellwether Prize, and is already a book club favorite. The Girl Who Fell From the Sky has been hailed as one of the Best Novels of 2010 by the Washington Post, a Top 10 Book of 2010 by The Oregonian, a Top 10 Buzz Book of 2010 by the Boston Herald and named a Top 10 Debut of 2010 by Booklist. Ebony Magazine named Heidi as one of its Power 100 Leaders of 2010 along with writers Edwidge Danticat, and Malcolm Gladwell. Heidi was nominated for a 2011 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Debut.

Heidi W. Durrow is a graduate of Stanford, Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism and Yale Law School.

Originally from Portland, Oregon, Heidi has worked as a corporate litigator at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, and as a Life Skills trainer to professional athletes of the National Football League and National Basketball Association. She was the co-host of the award-winning weekly podcast Mixed Chicks Chat and now host of The Mixed Experience; and was a founder and executive producer of the now defunct Mixed Roots Film & Literary Festival. She is now spearheading the Mixed Remixed Festival, an annual free public event, that celebrates stories of the Mixed experience. She is an occasional essay contributor to National Public Radio.

She is the recipient of a Fellowship in Fiction from the New York Foundation for the Arts, a Jerome Foundation Fellowship for Emerging Writers, a Jentel Foundation Residency, and won top honors in the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition and the Chapter One Fiction Contest. She has received grants from the Elizabeth George Foundation, the American Scandinavian Foundation, the Roth Endowment and the American Antiquarian Society. She has also received Fellowships to the Norman Mailer Writers’ Colony and the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference. Durrow’s writing has appeared in the New York Times, Ebony Magazine, Alaska Quarterly Review, The Literary Review, Smokelong Quarterly, Callaloo, Poem/Memoir/Story, the Yale Journal of Law and Feminism, Essence magazine, and Newsday.

I am giving away my hardcover copy!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
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Contest Will End October 18, 2019, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

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Aug 292019
 

Singapore Sapphire (A Harriet Gordon Mystery)
Historial Mystery/ Amateur Sleuth
1st in Series
Setting – Singapore
Berkley (August 6, 2019)
Paperback: 384 pages
ISBN-10: 198480264X
ISBN-13: 978-1984802644
Kindle ASIN: B07KDW7YKS

Early twentieth-century Singapore is a place where a person can disappear, and Harriet Gordon hopes to make a new life for herself there, leaving her tragic memories behind her–but murder gets in the way.

Singapore, 1910–Desperate for a fresh start, Harriet Gordon finds herself living with her brother, a reverend and headmaster of a school for boys, in Singapore at the height of colonial rule. Hoping to gain some financial independence, she advertises her services as a personal secretary. It is unfortunate that she should discover her first client, Sir Oswald Newbold–explorer, mine magnate and president of the exclusive Explorers and Geographers Club–dead with a knife in his throat.

When Inspector Robert Curran is put on the case, he realizes that he has an unusual witness in Harriet. Harriet’s keen eye for detail and strong sense of duty interests him, as does her distrust of the police and her traumatic past, which she is at pains to keep secret from the gossips of Singapore society.

When another body is dragged from the canal, Harriet feels compelled to help with the case. She and Curran are soon drawn into a murderous web of treachery and deceit and find themselves face-to-face with a ruthless cabal that has no qualms about killing again to protect its secrets.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I was a little hesitant when I opened the book to a glossary and a cast of characters. I was afraid the different dialects were going to mess with the flow and I like to get to know the characters myself as I read the story, especially for the first book of a series. So I skimmed the glossary and ignored the cast list and jumped right in. What I found was a unique mystery with very interesting characters in a fascinating setting.

Harriet Gordon lost both her husband and child to Typhus in India. She returned to England and became involved in the Suffragette Movement and got into a bit of trouble. She then decided to join her brother, a minister, and headmaster of a school in Singapore. There was work there for her to do but with no pay. To earn money she placed an ad to be a personal secretary. Her first client was Sir Oswald Newbold, a man well known for his exploration and a mining magnate. He was also president of the exclusive Explorers and Geographers Club. He had hired Harriet to transcribe his memoirs to get them ready for publication. Her employment ends abruptly when she finds the man dead in his home.

Inspector Robert Curran arrives on the scene and sees Harriet is a formidable woman with a keen sense of observation. He also feels she is hiding something. Something not pertaining to the death but something that is holding her back. Inspector Curran is holding something personal back from her as well, but beyond that, he believes she can help him with his case.

These characters are very well-developed for the first book in a series, but the author has left them plenty of room to grow. I enjoyed the way a friendship was built between them. The author also surrounds these characters with a diverse cast. Young students from the school, the staff, her brother to everyone we meet as we follow along with the investigation. All the characters are strong even those with minor parts to play. There are a lot of characters but I had no trouble keeping them straight.

The descriptions of Singapore, 1910, are vivid and I could tell the author was familiar with the setting and had researched it greatly.  It was no surprise when her biography stated she had lived there. Her words definitely transported this reader back in time to a place I knew very little about. She even captured the weather and makes her readers feel it. I was sweating in sympathy for the characters.

The mystery was an imaginative jewel. Precisely plotted, with culture and time are clearly portrayed. The pace had a slow build but really picked up about halfway in. The story was complex with twist after twist. The ending was suspenseful and kept me on my toes until everything was revealed.

Singapore Sapphire was an extraordinary read and I am looking forward to my next adventure with Harri and the good inspector. This series is off to an excellent start.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About A.M. Stuart 

Australian author, A.M. Stuart, learned her passion for history from her father and began her writing career halfway up a tree in the school playground where she wrote her first (unpublished) historical romance.

There have been many published, and multi award-nominated, historical romances (writing as Alison Stuart) since then but her first love has always been historical mystery.

Born in Kenya, her family came to Australia when she was ten years old. As an adult, she lived in Singapore for a number of years, where the idea for the Harriet Gordon Mysteries first crystallized.

In her life outside writing, she enjoyed a varied career as a lawyer in a wide number of fields including the military (where she held the rank of Major) and as a senior executive in the fire services.

The first of The Harriet Gordon Mysteries, SINGAPORE SAPPHIRE, was published by Berkley in August 2019.

Readers can connect with A.M. Stuart at her Facebook page, Twitter or subscribe to her newsletter.


Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

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Contest Will End September 12, 2019, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

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Oct 052018
 

On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.

Don’t panic, it is still me and I haven’t given up cozies. Before starting this blog I used to read quite a few Harlequin Romance novels even the Blaze titles like this one. To Complete my Alphabet Soup Challenge and the What’s in A Name Challenge I needed a title that began with “Z”. While searching I found I already had this book downloaded on my Kindle, so I went for the Contemporary Steamy Romance to complete both challenges. A little spice was a nice change. 

Zero Control
Contemporary Romance
Setting – Great Britain
Harlequin Blaze; (October 15, 2009)
Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
ISBN-10: 0373795106
ISBN-13: 978-0373795109
Kindle ASIN: B002SVQDXM

Eros Vacations presents castles, Shakespeare…and sizzlin’ sex!

Live it up—literary style! Guests are whisked away to Great Britain for two weeks of luxury adventure, history and plenty of naughty possibilities! Whether it’s an illicit tower tryst, a romantic boat ride or even some hot dungeon action, your pleasure is our concern….

But both executive assistant Roxie Stanley and undercover security agent Dougal Lockhart have their own motives for this vacation. Except that sex—mind-meltingly great sex—is the only thing either can think about. It’s forbidden. It’s tantalizingly irresistible. And they’re losing control…over and over and over!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Undercover security agent Dougal Lockhart has been hired by Euros Vacations to find out who is sabotaging their resorts and tours. Roxie Stanley is on the tour as a mole for one of Eros competitors. They meet on the plane from the U.S. to Great Britain and they are immediately attracted to each other. He has signed a morality clause and is not supposed to fraternize with guests. She needs to complete her mission or she won’t get a promotion. A promotion she needs to pay for her sister’s college tuition. Both of them are keeping secrets but it isn’t long before they can deny their passion. What will happen at the end of this fantasy vacation? Will they tell each other the truth? Can they really build a relationship after just knowing each other for two weeks?

So this story does have a mystery, who is sabotaging Eros Vacations. Are they just pranks or is someone trying to take the company down?

After that, it is a hot, steamy, close to an erotic story that will have you needing a cold beverage and maybe cranking up the air conditioner. I was surprised by the daring sex scenes. A little bondage in a dungeon, quite a bit a role-playing, I mean the guy was dressed as Shakespeare, ala Shakespeare in Love complete with tight leather pants, a couple of encounters in public places, and some sizzling hot romance in her cottage.

I did enjoy that there was a story between all the sex. Dougal seemed always to be one step behind the saboteur, even thinking Roxie could be the one causing trouble. They also step in to help to help with a fencing demonstration when the people hired were unable to perform.

As expected from Harlequin Blaze, this story brought the heat. A spicy read for a cold autumn night. My only complaint, the mystery was not solved by the end of the book.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author (from Amazon)

Lori Wilde is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over 80 romance novels. She is a three-time RITA award nominee, a four time Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice nominee and has won numerous other awards. She earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Texas Christian University and holds a certificate in forensics. She is also a certified yoga instructor.

Her books have been translated into 27 languages and featured in Cosmopolitan, Redbook, Complete Woman, All You, Time and Quick and Simple magazines. She lives in Texas with her husband, Bill.

Find out more about Lori and her books on her website here.


I am giving 1 Kindle Copy sent directly from Amazon away.
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
that can receive books from Amazon US.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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Contest Will End October 19, 2018, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

 

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Mar 022018
 

On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.

Irish Stewed (An Ethnic Eats Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Ohio
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
Release Date – May 3, 2016
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425274880
Kindle ASIN: B013Q70CVK

 

 

After flopping as a personal chef to a Hollywood movie star, jobless Laurel Inwood finds herself humbled in Hubbard, Ohio, helping her aunt Sophie run her restaurant. Much to Laurel’s dismay, Sophie’s Terminal at the Tracks is not the cozy bistro her aunt would have had her believe—it’s a run-down greasy spoon in an old railroad station. To save the dingy diner, Laurel cooks up a plan to feature alternating ethnic cuisine as specials.

But first, there’s the problem of the body in the booth. Slumped over a table with a receipt spike in his back is Jack Lancer—“the Lance of Justice”—an investigative reporter for local TV news. Assisted by the drop-dead gorgeous owner of the neighboring Irish store—who may or may not be a suspect—Laurel sets out to track down a killer who had no reservations about impaling a newshound. But as she turns up the heat, will she end up in the soup herself?

INCLUDES RECIPES

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Laurel Inwood arrives in Hubbard, Ohio to find two surprises.

  1. Her aunt Sophie’s restaurant is in nowhere close to what she expected – more greasy spoon – less cozy bistro cafe.
  2.  There is a dead body in a booth with a receipt spike stuck in his back.

What can Laurel do? her “aunt” is having surgery tomorrow and needs Laurel to run the restaurant. Maybe she can make a few “minor” changes. . . but how will business really be after someone was murdered there? She has a prime suspect in mind but can that handsome man really be a murderer. He also wants to help her track down the killer. She doesn’t trust him but he knows the residents of Hubbard better than she does. She may need the Luck of the Irish to get her out of this mess. Save the restaurant and find the killer . . . maybe Hollywood wasn’t that bad.

Reading this book was a delightful way to spend my Saturday. It brought back memories of my mother’s restaurant and the one she worked at while I was growing up. The later was called “the greasy spoon” by everyone. It is always hard to keep businesses like this thriving especially today with so many options. I loved Laurel’s idea and loved that she started her ethic eats concept with Irish comfort foods.

Laurel is smart and can cook virtually anything. She is given a recipe for Irish Stew and she takes it and runs with it. Her upbringing as a foster child gives her an interesting way to look at life and the relationships she makes. Laurel holds nothing back when she confronts her aunt about her deception about Sophie’s Terminal at the Tracks and that she may not be sticking around. She is a tough cookie on the outside and in this first story in this series, just a little bit of the softer inside begins to show. There is a potential for a lot of character growth and I want to get to know her better and Sophia too.

Laurel’s relationship with Declan, the hunky manager of The Irish Shop, is pretty complex. There is romantic tension, but she doesn’t trust him, and their arguments were very couple-ish. He also has a wonderful family that accepted Laurel immediately.

The man who was murdered Jack Lancer—“the Lance of Justice” was a local reporter that appeared to be loved by everyone, until Laural started really digging into his life and the stories he featured. I really enjoyed this way this progressed throughout the book. There were so many surprises in addition to a few twists that kept my eyes riveted to the page.

This series is off to a terrific start. Well-written, nicely plotted and characters I want to know better. I am looking forward to reading French Fried soon.

Your Great Escapes Travel Agent

You can find out about Kylie Logan and her books on her website here.


Coming July 3, 2018

GIVEAWAY

I am giving away my review copy!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End March 16, 2018, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

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Feb 012018
 

Murder Borrowed, Murder Blue (A Wedding Planner Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Pennsylvania
Kensington (January 30, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496704825
Kindle ASIN: B0725F8BYD

 

 

A celebrity couple getting hitched on Valentine’s Day would be a big boost for Mallory Shepard’s wedding planning business, but someone’s got cold feet: a corpse . . .

Actress Dakota Craig is set to tie the knot with her famous musician boyfriend at Mallory’s Pennsylvania B&B on the most romantic day of the year. Best of all, the whole thing will air on the reality TV show I Do. But the maid of honor has dropped out of the wedding party—by dropping dead.

A lot of people insist the show must go on, so Mallory’s investigation keeps getting sidetracked by everything from a meddling mother to a foot of snow to a side project making arrangements for a high school Winter Ball. But if she doesn’t catch the noxious culprit, the bride might wind up with a funeral wreath instead of a bouquet . . .

Recipes Included

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Mallory and Rachel have their hands’ full preparing for a celebrity wedding that will be airing on television and the Winter Ball for the local high school. The B&B is full of the crew from I Do, the show featuring actress Dakota Craig and her famous musician boyfriend, Beau Wright’s wedding set to take place on Valentine’s Day. One problem, the maid of honor is found dead right in the middle of the Winter Ball. The bride decides to go through with the ceremony but her mother, the show’s host and it’s producer all have demands Mallory doesn’t know if she can fulfill, especially because it seems the bride’s wishes are being ignored. And of course, there is a murder investigation that could put a halt to everyone’s plans.

This is a fantastic twisted up mystery story.

You may need a scorecard to keep track of all the players. Dakota Craig grew up and attended school in Port Quincy. Her school friend,  Ginger Crevecoeur is to be her maid of honor, Ellie Barnes, and her sister Leah the bridesmaids. Ginger is the headmistress of Dunlap Women’s Academy and Ellie is the drama teacher. They all attended the academy and Leah is a current student. Ellie and Leah’s mother, Iris, owns a nursery with several greenhouses and will be providing special flowers for the wedding events. Mallory’s almost mother-in-law Helene is on the academy board and she is the one who forced the Winter Ball into Mallory’s hands. Adrienne, the host of I Do, also happens to be Summer’s mother, ex of the man Mallory is dating. Adrienne left when Summer was a baby and they have just recently reconnected. Xavier, the show’s producer has a past linked to Roxanne, Dakota’s very overbearing mother, and the reason why the wedding is being broadcast. Xavier has also made Mallory and Rachel an offer that may be too good to pass up.

While there are a lot of characters, the mystery is so worth the time to get everybody straight. It is very well written and plotted. Twists on top of twists kept me guessing from beginning to end. How Mallory kept her cool and keep things straight was just amazing to me. The murder takes place when the B&B is full of all the guests at the Winter Ball. Recent events have Mallory thinking she knows who the killer is, she just has to prove it and while doing so more suspects come to light. I escaped right into this book and had my own thoughts about the guilty party. I was so close, but I was wrong again.

I enjoyed all the author’s descriptions are the people, their clothes and the places they went. She makes it so easy to picture everything clearly. Thistle Park B&B is much larger than I originally thought and sounds like under Mallory and Rachel’s care it has become an amazing place.

This is a wonderful cozy series. I have loved every book and do recommend reading them in order for maximum enjoyment.

I am excited about what is coming up with these characters. There is a teaser chapter for Gown With The Wind at the back of the book.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author

A native Pittsburgher, Stephanie Blackmoore now lives in Missouri, with her husband, son and two-spirited cats. She was an attorney in Pittsburgh and a librarian in Florida before becoming a writer. Stephanie is a fan of everything black-and-yellow. She is hard at work on her next Wedding Planner mystery. Connect with Stephanie at the links below.

Social Media Links:  Website    Facebook    Twitter

Kindle Copy of Murder Wears White is just $1.99 on Amazon.

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

Click the Like Button at the top of this post for a Bonus Entry.

 Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

 Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
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Contest Will End February 15, 2018, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

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Nov 042016
 

9WbGnJTR
On Flashback Fridays I will share with you the books I missed when they were first
released that have been screaming at me from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.
Set in Wisconsin, so close I wish I could visit today!!

five-alarm-fudge
Five-Alarm Fudge: A Fudge Shop Mystery
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
An Obsidian Mystery (April 7, 2015)
Published by New American Library
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451416490
E-Book ASIN: B00MNN7GEK
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

 

In the newest Fudge Shop Mystery from the national bestselling author of Hot Fudge Frame-Up, Ava Oosterling is after a recipe to kill for…

It’s autumn in Fishers’ Harbor, Wisconsin, and fudge shop owner Ava Oosterling is busy preparing for the harvest festival and a visit from some royal relatives who live in Belgium. According to Ava’s grandpa, a famous divinity fudge recipe from the 1860s is hidden somewhere in a local historical church—a treat fit for a prince.

But when a fire in the church reveals the body of a murdered man, it looks like someone is willing to go to any length to possess the valuable secret to the divinity fudge. As Ava searches for the killer—and the recipe—she could use a little divine intervention, because she may have bitten off more than she can chew…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

There is something to do in Door County, Wisconsin year round but the fall when the leaves are changing is one of my favorite times.

In the fictional Fishers’ Harbor everyone is getting  ready for the Harvest Festival and this year is extra special because some royal relatives are coming to town. Ava’S grandfather has promised the special guestS some Divinity Fudge made from a very old recipe. The problem is no one has the recipe but he believes it is hidden in an old church, so Ava and her friends are frantically searching every nook and cranny.  There search is thwarted when a dead body is found and the church becomes a crime scene.

This was another fun mystery from this author. As she describes places I have actually visited it just warms my heart. If you haven’t visited Door County, don’t worry her descriptions will paint vivid pictures in your mind. From Ava’s roadside stand to Oosterlings’ Live Bait, Bobbers & Belgian Fudge & Beer  to the restaurant in Sister’s Bay where goats graze on the roof from May through October you will be taken there and maybe will want to plan a vacation to really visit not only the places but the fudge and the cherries and all the other good things the area has to offer.

The fictional place has had several murders of late. The victim this time is a scientist doing research about chemicals being used in the fields that may be migrating to organic fields, gardens and into the water. He is found dead in a church and there are plenty of suspects. Was it someone searching for the recipe? or did someone else decide this man had to die? The author gives us a plethora of twists and turns that kept me guessing right up until the end. She also packed in some very scary scenes, including a fire that almost brought tears to my eyes.

I love the characters Ms. DeSmet has created. A family that pulls together not only in good times but in stressful times. Ava is a great protagonist, her grandparents help her run the fudge and bait shop with 1 other employee. Of course the ladies from the church are always ready to step in at a moment’s notice. Ava’s parents have a dairy farm so she has fresh ingredients for her fudge. The entire cast of characters are all unique and very engaging.

Just a word of warning, you will be craving fudge, fudge and more fudge while you are reading this story. Thankfully there are recipes in the back of the book including the newest Fairy Tale Fudge, Red Riding Hood Fairy Tale Fudge to be exact.

Christine DeSmet packs her mysteries full of wonderful characters, perfect amounts of humor and romance, all set in a fantastic place. The plot moves quickly and the end comes much too soon. These virtual escapes just make me want more. I hope there is another Fudge Shop Mystery headed my way soon, because you can never have too much fudge… and fudge is even more delectable wrapped with mystery and intrigue.

perfect 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Christine DeSmet author picAbout The Author
Christine DeSmet writes the Fudge Shop Mystery Series (Penguin Random House/NAL/Obsidian). She’s also an award-winning scriptwriter and teaches writing at University of Wisconsin-Madison Continuing Studies where she directs the annual June Write-by-the-Lake Writer’s Workshop & Retreat. You can find her on Facebook or at her website, www.ChristineDeSmet.com.

GIVEAWAY
I am giving away my review copy!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
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Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

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Nov 252014
 

scent of rainThe Scent of Rain and Lightning: A Novel
Published by Ballantine Books (May 4, 2010)
Mystery
Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0345471024
E-Book File Size: 1531 KB
ASIN: B0036S4AC2
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One beautiful summer afternoon, Jody Linder receives shocking news: The man convicted of murdering her father is being released from prison and returning to the small town of Rose, Kansas. It has been twenty-three years since that stormy night when her father was shot and killed and her mother disappeared, presumed dead. Neither the protective embrace of Jody’s three uncles nor the safe haven of her grandparents’ ranch could erase the pain caused by Billy Crosby on that catastrophic night.

Now Billy Crosby is free, thanks to the efforts of his son, Collin, a lawyer who has spent most of his life trying to prove his father’s innocence. Despite their long history of carefully avoiding each other in such an insular community, Jody and Collin find that they share an exclusive sense of loss.

As Jody revisits old wounds, startling truths emerge about her family’s tragic past. But even through struggle and hardship, she still dares to hope for a better future—and maybe even love.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

The What’s In A Name Challenge enabled me to cast the review books aside and grab this book off my huge To-Be-Read shelves.

Nancy Pickard takes us to Rose, Kansas where a man’s conviction of murder has been overturned and he is returning back to the scene of the crime. That shakes up the whole town but especially the family of the man who was killed and whose daughter-in-law is still missing. Their daughter Jody takes us through her story and finds things may take her down a very unexpected path.

Colin Crosby, the son of the man convicted of murder had a very interesting story as well. His father treated him terribly but he still grew up and became a lawyer and he was the one that was able to get the man’s conviction set aside.

Pickard has woven a story that could have taken place anywhere but she makes Rose, Kansas come alive and draws the reader right in. The vibrant characters jump off the page, but the story evolves slowly unveiling the mystery and the truth.  The family is very close, brought closer by tragedy.  She explores family relationships and the secrets and lies that can either draw a family together or rip it apart.

I was so impressed with the easy flow. There were surprises and twists but I would not call this a thriller as other reviewers have. It has a totally different kind of feeling. In addition to the mystery there is also an underlying love story that added another element to an already fabulous story.

I am truly sorry it took me so long to read this story. It was getting great reviews when it first came out that made me buy the book and while a few years have passed it is still getting those great reviews. If like me you missed this story when it first came out it is one that shouldn’t be missed. Add to your reading schedule as soon as you can.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 Find out more about Nancy Pickard and her books on her webpage here.

*This book was from my personal collection.

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Feb 262014
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640
Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!!
I am excited to have Carol here today! Technically her books are not cozies as India is an agent of Her Majesty’s Government but these mysteries are full of humor, romantic tension and fantastic characters. If you like your cozies that take you back in time or across the pond you will love India Black.

Carol GB

KEEPING IT FRESH
by Carol K. Carr

            I’m four novels into the India Black series, and I’m not tired of her yet. Or of Lachlan French, Vincent, the Marchioness or any other of the series characters I’ve introduced. That may seem like an odd thing to say, but authors do grow weary of their creations. Arthur Conan Doyle famously killed off Sherlock Holmes only to bring him back several years later, in part because Doyle got tired of being harassed about Sherlock’s untimely demise by fans of the detective.india black and the gentleman thief

            But just because I say I’m not tired of India doesn’t mean that I think she should never change. We all grow and develop, even as adults, and while India would declare that she is perfect just as she is, she must also stretch her wings a little or we’ll all get bored.

            So, how to keep India interesting? Some things are easy. I’ll send her off to South Africa with French, posing as missionaries. The very idea tickles me. The comedic possibilities boggle the mind. My mind, anyway. Because what could be more amusing than a, ahem, brothel owner masquerading as a daughter of the church?

            I can also put India in circumstances that make her uncomfortable. She’s my character, after all, and I can do what I like. India claims she doesn’t possess the emotions typically sported by the average human, so why not put that premise to the test? Will she admit to a growing fondness for the Marchioness, or mistake that unsettling feeling for indigestion?

            And then there’s the painful, even tortured, relationship India shares with French. That has to move along soon. I don’t want the readers to get restless. Has the tease gone on long enough? Probably. But don’t anticipate a future of white picket fences and (shudder) children for the two of them. India wouldn’t be India if she meekly accepted the role of Victorian wife. I almost feel sorry for poor French.

Well, there are a few ideas for keeping India fresh. I hope you’ll all be around for future installments.

Thank you, Lori, for the opportunity to appear as a guest on your blog.

You can read all about India, French and the gang at www.carolkcarr.com

~Carol

Thank you Carol for visiting today!! I hope you will visit again soon!!


india black and the gentleman thief
India Black and the Gentleman Thief
(A Madam of Espionage Mystery)

4th in Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (February 4, 2014)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Alan Ayers
Cover Design by Rita Frangie
Trade Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425262481
E-Book File Size: 1262 KB
ASIN: B00DMCV1PQ
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India Black’s double life operating a high-class brothel and running high-stakes espionage for Her Majesty’s government can take its toll. But there’s no rest for the weary—particularly when an international conspiracy comes knocking…

India Black is one of Victorian London’s most respected madams—not a bloody postmistress. So when Colonel Francis Mayhew forwards a seemingly innocuous shipping bill to her address, she’s puzzled. And when three thugs bust down her door, steal the envelope, and rough up both her and fellow agent French…well, that’s enough to make India Black see red.

The veteran spies soon discover that Mayhew has been butchered in his own bedroom. An impromptu investigation leads them to London’s docks, where India makes a startling discovery she can’t bear to tell the rakish French—she has a history with their chief suspect, the gentleman thief who once stole her heart…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Each story is better than the last and Carr’s writing and her characters continue to evolve. India is the madam of Lotus House, a London brothel, where gentleman of of very high rank in government and military are welcomed daily.  She has grown from just a madam to work as an agent for Her Majesty’s Government with full approval of the prime minister while maintaining the brothel. It makes a great cover.  I have loved India Black since the start but the India in this story starts to let her guard down just a bit. The tension both romantic and in general between India and French is reaching a peak. We also learn more about India’s past and French’s too. Having the Marchioness of Tullibardine and her entourage underfoot at Lotus House gives the story a whole new dimension and even makes Vincent shine.

The  story is full of action as India, French and Vincent travel from the War Office to the dirty, gritty docks and around the English countryside trying to catch a killer and stop a international smuggling ring.  They find themselves in some quite precarious situations.

What I love about these stories is these fantastic characters are all unique and even facing serious danger their personalities continue shine through. India is a very stubborn woman, French puts up with her and does his best to keep her safe. Their dialogue is full of sarcasm and wit and at times had me laughing out loud.

We met the marchioness in India Black and the Widow of Windsor and the gentleman thief connects to the short story India Black and the Rajah’s Ruby,which is a prequel to the series. The stories take place in pretty quick succession. We are given just a hint as to what India and French will be up to in the next installment as this story ends. To truly enjoy this series it should be read in order.

A truly great series I recommend highly.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 2 copies to give away!

Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

Leave a comment for Erika for 5 Bonus Entries !

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

Contest Will End March 12, 2014 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

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

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Jan 232014
 

zero degree murder
Zero-Degree Murder
(A Search and Rescue Mystery)

Mystery/Suspense
A Brand New Series!
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (January 7, 2014)
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425263662
E-Book File Size: 1796 KB
ASIN: B00COOFQOA
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Search and rescue expert Gracie Kinkaid risks her life on a daily basis to save strangers. But going up against a coldhearted murderer is one kind of danger she’s not prepared for…

Gracie Kinkaid is the only female member of her Search and Rescue squad. When they are called out on Thanksgiving to find some missing hikers she is not surprised when she is not named the leader of the 2 person team, but she thinks it will be a routine mission so she doesn’t push the fact that she has more experience.

Things go quickly awry when an early season blizzard hits the search area. They find one hiker who is hurt and he thinks someone tried to kill him and Gracie believes him. Her partner heads back to a place where their radio has reception to call for backup. This lives Gracie and the hiker alone on the mountain. She needs to use all of her knowledge to keep them safe all the while wondering if a killer it trying to find them and permanently cover his tracks.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

An excellent start to what is going to be a great series.

Grace is between regular jobs but she volunteers with the Timber Creek Search and Rescue. She has the talents and training to excel at this but can’t settle down to an occupation that pays a salary. I think this sells the character a little short. It gives her time to go out on the rescues but she is clearly a very strong, smart woman that can handle herself. Maybe after this rescue her confidence will build. I know in stories like this the protagonist has to be an amateur but Grace could probably have quite a career in any of the emergency services. I can really see this character growing as the series continues.

The suspense starts in this story from page one. Hiking in the mountains has many dangers from getting lost to slips or falls that could be deadly to animals looking for a human snack. Adding a killer to the trail amps everything up to a high level or terror. The author uses the short chapter format that also adds to the feeling that you just can’t put the book down. She also describes the scene and the scenery vividly making it very easy to picture in your mind. I have learned the author was part of a search and rescue team herself and her knowledge and experience shine through in this story.

I highly recommend this one. The only drawback was that I read this during the frigid “polar vortex” and it takes place during a blizzard in zero degree weather so it truly gave me the shivers. 🙂

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author

How far would you go to save the life of a stranger? Dangle on a rope over the edge of a cliff? Sleep outside in the winter with only a sleeping bag? Jump out of a helicopter into four feet of snow on the side of a mountain?

M.L. Rowland has done all of these things and more, all in the line of service as a mountain Search and Rescue volunteer.

Born, raised and, except for one year of high school in Hawaii, schooled kindergarten through college in the midwest, Rowland comes by her adventurous spirit honestly. Her mother pioneered for women’s rights in the early 1960’s. Her father—a neurosurgeon and marine scientist—was a world traveler and member of The Explorer’s Club. After college, Rowland lived and worked in Florida, Missouri, Connecticut and New York City, finally settling in the mountains of southern California where she joined the local Search and Rescue (SAR) team.

During her almost twelve years on Search and Rescue, Rowland participated in hundreds of search and rescue missions and trainings, including technical ropes rescues, helicopter insertions and evacuations, and searches for lost children, hikers, snowboarders, mountain bikers and criminal evidence, in mountain, desert and urban environments. She served as the team’s Training Officer and participated in community events and public speaking engagements. Trained in land navigation, and desert and winter survival, including avalanche awareness and self-arrest, she holds a certification in tracking from the State of California.

Rowland is an avid political activist, naturalist and environmentalist. She is an accomplished painter and loves to snorkel. She has traveled to all fifty United States and throughout the world, including a rustic camping safari in Kenya. As often as possible, she hikes and explores the slot canyons of Utah.

Rowland lives with her husband and their chocolate lab at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in south-central Colorado.*

*From Berkley Prime Crime

Find out more about M.L. Rowland here.

Are you taking part in my Alphabet Soup Challenge?
Here is your “Z” Book!!!

I am giving my Review Copy away!!

Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

5 Bonus Entries for those taking part in the Alphabet Soup Challenge!!

Contest Will End February 6, 2014 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

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

alphabet 2014 300challenge_2014whatsinaname2

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Jan 052014
 

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.

SUNDAY POSTThe Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by
Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer
~ It’s a chance to share news~
A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

Welcome to 2014!!
And the Coldest January in Decades!!
Schools decided on Friday to close tomorrow due to the frigid temps. The grocery store where my youngest daughter works will be closing early and several businesses will not even open their doors tomorrow. People are told to stay home and stay warm. 

I will be right here at my computer or snuggled up reading a cozy mystery.

My daughter and grandson are ready for the weather.

My daughter and grandson are ready for the weather.

weekly rewind credited235
Weekly Rewind December 30, 2013 – January 4, 2014
This week marked the start of my 5th year blogging!
MondayIt’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

TuesdayReview: Spider Web by Earlene Fowler

Wednesday – Best Reads of 2013

ThursdayReview: Heartache Motel: Three Interconnected Mystery Novellas by Terri L. Austin, Larissa Reinhart, and LynDee Walker

FridayReview: Rosemary and Crime by Gail Oust

SaturdayClear Your Shelf Giveaway Hop!!! – My Blogoversary!!!

December Recap
Books Read

December Totals
16 Books – 4458 Pages – 8420 KB
2013 Totals
200 Books – 57131 Pages – 34038 KB

2013 CHALLENGE WRAP UP!
I did it, by the skin of my teeth, I reached by goal of Reading 200 Books!
badge1This means I completed the GoodReads Challenge!!

Earlier in the year I completed the Read-A-Latte Challenge, the E-Book Challenge, the Crusin’ Thru The Cozies Challenge, the Finish The Series Challenge, the What An Animal Challenge, the Mystery/Crime Reading Challenge, My Wisconsin Challenge and the First in A Series Challenge.

In December I completed the A-Z Challenge, the Off The Shelf Challenge, the What’s In A Name Challenge, and the Just For Fun Challenge.

a-z challenge 2013largeoff-the-shelf-2013-badgeWIN6just for fun 2013

 
 
 
 
 
 

This means I completed 13 out of 17 Challenges.
I did pretty well in the Where Are You Reading Challenge – 38 out of 51 States and 10 Countries. Fell 6 titles short on the A-Z Cozy Challenge, but was unable to even read 1 book in the Woman’s Murder Club Challenge or the Outdo Yourself Challenge.

I am cutting back just a little on Challenges this year. I may add a Mystery/Thriller Challenge but that is it.  Be sure to check out my Alphabet Soup Challenge and my Just For Fun Challenge.

Happy Reading!! Stay Warm!!!
Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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The House on Hallowed Ground (A Misty Dawn Mystery) by Nancy Cole Silverman Get Your Copy Today! Just $2.99
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