Posted in Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Guest Posts Literary Escapes Reviews 2013 What's In A Name Challenge

Cozy Wednesday With Author J.J. Cook (Giveaway too!)

cozy wednesdayWelcome to Cozy Wednesday!

Today I am pleased to welcome new author J.J. Cook to tell us about their new series.
Cozy fans will be pleased to know that while this is a new name
this author team is very familiar to us.

Jim and Joyce Lavene have written several fantastic mysteries and other genres as well.

One half of J.J. Cook is here today!
Hi Joyce!!

Hi Everyone!

Stella Griffin and the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mysteries

clip_image001Our main character in the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mysteries is Fire Chief Stella Griffin. Stella is part of a strong Irish family that has served the fire department in Chicago, Illinois for many years. She understands the rigors of the life, but when it came time for her to make her choice of career, she knew it was what she wanted.

404367_452465988129034_528250595_n (1)Firefighters are a strange breed of men, my grandfather used to tell me. They run into the fire instead of away from it. My grandfather, Henry Koch, was a firefighter. He was part of the team that fought the Our Lady of the Angel’s Fire, one of the most devastating because it killed so many children in a Catholic school. That was one fire he wouldn’t talk or joke about.

fire badge croppedMy great-grandfather, Michael Sebastian, was also with the CFD. In the late 1800s, he drove a team of white horses that hauled the fire wagon. The job was even harder when he was a firefighter because they had no special equipment, no protection.

My husband and my father have both been volunteer firefighters. Basically, this means they get all the danger and the hard work without getting paid. Volunteers have to train for hours every week, as much as the professional firefighters. They have to go out at all hours of the day and night, in every kind of weather, never knowing what’s waiting for them. They do it for their communities.

I wanted to be a firefighter when I was 14. I thought it was the noblest profession in the world. Everyone laughed because GIRLS weren’t firefighters. I cried for days. That’s changed now, for the better of the firefighting community, and probably the food!

Smoky MountainsNow, I’ve found a way of honoring the people in my family who have fought fires, lost some, and grieved over victims. Stella is the chief of a volunteer fire brigade in the Smoky Mountains. She is who I imagined I could be, at one time. She’s strong and brave, loyal to her volunteers, concerned about people.

She came to life for me in Sweet Pepper. In the first book, That Old Flame of Mine, she goes to the small town in Tennessee after a bad break-up with her boyfriend and an injury that has put her off the job. She doesn’t realize how raw her recruits are or how different being a volunteer firefighter is, but she learns.

She always plans on going back to Chicago, but Sweet Pepper, and the resident ghost in her log cabin there, may change her mind.

I hope this book will be something that would’ve made my family of firefighters proud.

~Joyce

About This Author
Joyce Lavene, and her husband/partner, Jim, write the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mysteries as J.J. Cook. They have written and published more than 60 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family. Visit them at www.joyceandjimlavene.com or www.jjcook.net plus on

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404367_452465988129034_528250595_n (1)

That Old Flame of Mine
(A Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade)

Brand New Series
Release Date: April 2, 2013
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Mary Ann Lasher
Cover Design by George Long
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425252048
E-Book File Size: 738 KB
ASIN: B0099D4B3Q

That Old Flame of Mine
NO MATCH FOR MURDER

After knocking the lights out of her boyfriend when she catches him cheating on her, Chicago fire fighter Stella Griffin hops on her Harley and heads for Sweet Pepper, Tennessee, where she ends up becoming the small town’s fire chief. When her dear friend Tory Lambert dies after her gingerbread-style house is set ablaze, Stella suspects arson and foul play.

As Stella investigates, she gets help from a most unlikely source—the ghost of Eric Gamlyn, Sweet Pepper’s old fire chief. And if that isn’t enough to rattle her, attractive police officer John Trump seems to have taken an interest in her. But Stella’s got to stay focused if she hopes to smoke out a killer before her own life is extinguished.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
As the daughter of a firefighter I was thrilled with this book. My dad passed away 25 years ago and it still seems like yesterday. I wish he would haunt his old firehouse, maybe he does? He did not die on “a scene” but he was a chief too just like Eric Gamlyn and I so wanted to be a firefighter and work side by side with him. At that time female firefighters were few and far between. Ladies were on the auxiliary and handled bake sales and delivered food and drink to the big fires. I would have loved Stella’s life even with the crummy boyfriend.

The story is so well written and full of wonderful real characters. The drill/practice sessions ring true to me as someone who has observed many. Chief Eric’s haunts struck my heart. Another firefighter lost too soon with so many plans and dedication. Stella has a lot on her plate in Sweet Pepper and with a bit of “help” she comes out on top. A sassy, smart, sleuth that this reader plans to enjoy tagging along with for a very long time.

J.J. Cook has written an extraordinary debut. This book will be burning up bookstore shelves next Tuesday.  It’s hotter than a 5 alarm fire!! Respond and extricate your copy as soon as possible.

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Would you like to win a copy of this wonderful book?

Thanks to the people at Berkley Prime Crime
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 J.J. Cook 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 April 10, 2013 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners 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.”

404367_452465988129034_528250595_n (1)readalattechallenge_zps01d248d0mystery challengeWIN62013where are you readingcozymysterybooktours

Posted in Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Guest Posts Literary Escapes Reviews 2013 What's In A Name Challenge

Special Thursday Edition of Cozy Wednesday with Author Victoria Hamilton (Giveaways too!)

cozy wednesdayThere were just not enough Wednesdays this month for all the authors to visit so…
Welcome to this Special Thursday Edition of Cozy Wednesday!
I am thrilled to welcome Victoria Hamilton back to Escape With Dollycas.

Victoria
Vintage Finds Inspire Cozy Mysteries
By: Victoria Hamilton

When I set out to plan a mystery series, I quickly decided to center it around my collection of vintage kitchen bowls and utensils. I don’t have the largest collection—I just don’t have the space—but I’m always on the lookout for interesting pieces, and I love reading about the history of kitchen implements, so it was a natural fit.

I especially love bowls. I don’t know why! I suppose that they unite the best in beauty, utility and color… all of the things that make an item not only collectible, but perfect for display. When it comes to bowls, I have a full set of vintage Pyrex Primary Colors bowls, and a few random pieces from the seventies. DepressionGlassBowl2But then a friend gave me a fascinating vintage Depression glass bowl; it’s big and clear with an odd, heavy square bottom and grooved indentations down from the curled lip to the base. She didn’t know anything about it, so I looked it up. The square base intrigued me; had it been used as a stand mixer bowl, perhaps?

I found out that not only was the square bottom not for any utilitarian purposes, I had stumbled upon another bowl set obsession! These bowls were sold in graduated sets from the size of mine (I think my clear one is an example of the largest) to a teeny cutie of a bowl! Now I am determined to get one in every size, and… wait for it… in every color. Yes, they come in colored glass and I love colored glass.

IM000459.JPGThis is how I first figured that out; I was haunting a thrift shop, as I often do, and I saw a small green one very similar, though the square base has a different shape. Well, you know I had to buy it. It’s adorable! Now I learn that they come in many colors: pink, amber, amethyst and the brilliant green of my new acquisition.

But how did I get from the receipt of a lovely bowl from a friend to picturing it as a murder weapon? Well, there isn’t much that I haven’t tried to imagine used as an instrument of death, as bad as that makes me sound. I’m a mystery writer. It’s my job to see things differently, I guess, so as I hefted that weighty bowl in my hand, I thought, ‘That is one sturdy bowl. It could do some serious damage. In fact… it could kill someone!’

bowled overAnd so the bowl shows up in Bowled Over as the murder weapon, provided unwittingly by poor Jaymie.

Wait until you see what I use as a murder weapon in the next Vintage Kitchen Mystery, Freezer I’ll Shoot, coming out in November of this year. Here’s a hint: though a kitchen utensil, it is a well known and oft used tool that is still considered a lethal weapon by police departments everywhere!

So next time you peruse the kitchen utensil aisle imagine me, looking up and down that row and wondering, ‘Now, what could I use to kill my next victim?’ Potato masher? Electric Mixer? Corkscrew?? The choices are endless.

~Victoria::~

About This Author

Victoria Hamilton is the pseudonym for author Donna Lea Simpson. As Victoria she writes the bestselling Vintage Kitchen Mystery series (Book 1 – A Deadly Grind– May 2012) –  (Book 3 Freezer I’ll Shoot – November 2013) and the upcoming Merry Muffin Mysteries, also from Berkley (Book 1 – Bran New Death – September 3rd, 2013)  Victoria loves cooking and collecting vintage kitchen utensils, as well as reading and writing mysteries.

Check out her webpage for all the latest: http://www.victoriahamiltonmysteries.com

Find her on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorVictoriaHamilton

bowled over

Bowled Over
(Vintage Kitchen Mystery)

2nd in Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (March 5, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Robert Crawford
Cover Design by Lesley Worrell
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425251928
E-book File Size: 561 KB
ASIN: B0099CUTGK

Bowled Over

Stirring up trouble…

Vintage kitchenware and cookbook collector Jaymie Leighton and her high school friend Kathy Cooper have been at odds for years but Jaymie has no idea why. She decides it is time to find out what she did that makes Kathy hate her so much. She needs to confront her so they can put whatever happened behind them.

But when she finds Kathy dead after the 4th of July fireworks along with her Depression era glass bowl she realizes there will not be any reconciliation. With her fingerprints all over the bowl and their rocky past she is not surprised to be the prime suspect of her murder.

Did the killer frame her on purpose? If so, she is ready to mix it up, because solving crimes is vintage Jaymie Leighton…

Dollycas’s Thoughts
I was “Bowled Over” by this marvelous mystery. This story had so many twists I almost got whiplash. So many secrets, so many suspects. I Loved It!

Jaymie has a huge heart and that always leads her right in the center of trouble. She needs to clear her name.  With her many odd jobs she comes into contact with almost everyone in town. She has Valetta for backup, who knows the skinny on just about everyone in the area. Even Anna has info to help Jaymie find the killer. Jaymie just has to put all the clues together.

There’s also a bit of romance in this story but unfortunately Jaymie’s romantic path is a bit cloudy. Her sister Becca’s path is pretty clear yet again.  Jaymie has given herself a six month deadline to decide how she feels about the men in her life. The next book should be very interesting!

Victoria Hamilton has dished up another fun and entertaining winner! 

Freezer I’ll Shoot (A Vintage Kitchen Mystery) will be released November 5th and I want it today!!!

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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

PLUS Victoria is giving away
one (1) copy of Bowled Over,
as well as a Vintage Kitchen Mysteries pen, notepad and magnetic calendar.

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

The first name chosen that
has left a comment will win Victoria’s prize!!!!

Contest Will End April 4, 2013 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners 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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Posted in Literary Escapes Reviews 2013 What's In A Name Challenge

Review: Town in a Pumpkin Bash by B.B. Haywood

town in a pumpkin bash

Town in a Pumpkin Bash (CANDY HOLLIDAY MYSTERY)
4th in Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (February 5, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Teresa Fasolino
Cover Design by Diane Kolsky
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425251881
E-Book File Size: 576 KB
ASIN: B009NY412C

Town in a Pumpkin Bash

In the quaint seaside village of Cape Willington, Maine, Candy Holliday has a mostly idyllic life, tending to the Blueberry Acres farm she runs with her father and occasionally stepping in to solve a murder or two…

Autumn in Cape Willington means the annual Pumpkin Bash. Candy Holliday and Maggie Tremont decide to make a little extra money from their farm stand by adding a haunted hayride through a pumpkin patch. When they discover a real dead body among the fake tombstones Candy’s side job becomes a full time investigation. But in her effort to catch the killer she may unearth some long buried secrets. Maybe all those skeletons in the residents closets are not all Halloween decorations.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
These stories are all unique has they all take place during a Cape Willington event like the Annual Pumpkin Bash. The whole town is transformed by the festivities. Carved pumpkins line the street, costume parties, a biggest pumpkin contest, and even a bus tour of the local cemeteries. 

Candy’s birthday also falls on Halloween and everyone pulls together to try to surprise her. The day will end up having more than it’s share of surprises.

Candy Holliday is smart and super observant, the perfect amateur sleuth. Her newspaper skills and resources help unearth some crucial information to tie things together. She ends up visiting a few cemeteries herself as she tracks down clues. 

Every sleuth needs a sidekick and Maggie fits the bill perfectly. Candy also has her dad and his friends to help out in a pinch. 

What I really love about this series is that each installment connects with the last. There is a lot more to the story of the history between Pruitt’s and the Porter-Sykes families and each book gives up another piece to that evolving puzzle. For that reason I recommend reading the books in order.

Town in a Pumpkin Bash is a wonderful entertaining mystery I highly recommend. It’s the perfect time for you to visit Cape Willington. 

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

B.B. Haywood has a fantastic webpage. Be sure to check it out 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.”

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What's In A Name 6 Challenge

Posted in Cozy Wednesday Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Guest Posts Literary Escapes Reviews 2013 What's In A Name Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Author Kylie Logan (Giveaway too!)

cozy wednesday

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am so happy to welcome back Kylie Logan for Cozy Wednesday!

Casey for Library

 

A Charming Old Custom

At the risk of sounding old-fashioned, I have a confession to make. I think charm strings are simply . . .
image0-1[1]kyliewell, charming!

What’s a charm string? Ah, settle back and get ready to hear the story of these delightful antiques.

Creating charm strings was a fad in the late 1800s and early 1900s. That’s when young girls collected buttons and put them on long strings. There were rules to the game:

1. No two buttons should be the same

2. The buttons should come as gifts from friends or be traded with other stringers, they should never be bought

3. The more brilliant and beautiful each button, the better

4. Buttons with shanks are best because they nest together well

panic buttonA young girl would begin her string with what was called a “touch button,” one button that was usually a little bigger than the rest. From there, she would collect for years, always in pursuit of one more button, until the charm string reached 1000 buttons. Then, legend took over. Some stories said that 1000th button would be presented by the man who would become the girl’s husband. Another story said that after she strung that last button, a girl would meet her Prince Charming. In a total turn-around from those legends, some stories said that if a girl collected all 1000 buttons, she’d end up being a spinster.

Charm strings are also called memory strings, and it’s no wonder why. Each button came with a story, and families would gather with the charm string and trade memories. “This is a button from the coat I was wearing when I met your father,” a mother might say. “And here’s one from Grandpa’s Army uniform.” In the days before the distractions of TV, internet and cell phones, charm strings sparked conversation and help pass along family traditions and tales. In fact, an unfinished charm string was always left out in full view so visitors could contribute buttons (and stories) to it. It was also common to find non-button items on charm strings, things like religious amulets, coins and charms.

Charm strings of any size are nearly impossible to find these days. Most have been scooped up by collectors or broken apart by family members who each wanted a keepsake of the memories. But that doesn’t mean we couldn’t revive the tradition. Stringing buttons is a great way to encourage fine motor skills in young children, and sorting the buttons, too, helps them learn analytical skills. As for adults, there is endless delight in old buttons, and I’ve seen charm strings (of less than 1000 buttons, of course) used as one-of-a-kind bracelets and necklaces.

So get started. All it takes it a little string…and a few buttons!

Kylie Logan is the author of the Button Box mystery series. Book #3 in the series, “Panic Button,” is on store shelves now. It features Josie Giancola who owns the Button Box, an antique and vintage button shop, and a charm string brought to her by a customer who insists that the buttons on it are cursed. Impossible, Josie thinks. That is, until the customer is found murdered, strangled with the charm string. You can reach Kylie at: kylielogan@rocketmail.com

Thank you so much Kylie for dropping by. My grandma left behind several strings of buttons. I believe that was how she sorted them and then hung them on hooks on the door of her sewing room. She never told me anything about a charm string but I could definitely see her as a young girl making one of her own.

panic button

Panic Button
(Button Box Mystery)

3rd Book in Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (December 31, 2012)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Jennifer Taylor
Cover Design by Annette Fiore Defex
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425251836
E-Book File Size: 610 KB
ASIN: B0095ZMQG2

Panic Button (Button Box Mystery, #3)

Josie Giancola, owner of the Button Box shop, knows her buttons. But when she comes into contact with a rare charm string, she never imagines it will lead to murder…

In Victorian times, girls would string buttons, no two alike, in long chains to make charms. When the string reached 1000 buttons the legend was that the owner would meet the love of her life. A customer of Josie’s is not looking for love. She inherited a charm string and she will do anything to get rid of it. She believes the string is cursed. She has decided to donate it to a local museum as soon as Josie can appraise its value. Unfortunately before she can deliver it to the museum the owner is found strangled with the charming string of buttons. Josie doesn’t know if the curse is real but there is a real killer on the loose.

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

My favorite in this series so far!!! I have to be careful because I don’t want to give anything away but the history of the small town Ardent Lake was so interesting and plays a major role in this story. I really enjoy books that take us a few steps back into the past even for fictional places.  As a reader I become more engaged in the setting and characters. The charm string history was intriguing as well. Manna for button lovers.

Josie’s ex Kaz was mostly absent in this installment. I did miss his antics a bit, but the character that stole my heart this time was Stan. He has helped out Josie is the store before but after Josie is almost mugged outside her store Nev and Stan feel she needs a little protection and Stan steps up to stay with her at the store. While Josie is a little miffed that they think she needs a babysitter she realizes it’s nice to have someone around. They are very comfortable around each other and have each other’s back. A wonderful friendship.

Nev and Josie’s relationship continues to grow. Some of the residents of Ardent Lake are a little more than peculiar and by the end of the story LaSalle makes a new friend.

Kylie Logan strings words together to create a masterful mystery that is a pure pleasure to read.

a perfect escape 5 STARFISH

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 Kylie 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 January 30, 2013 at 11:59 PM CST

Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners 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.”

85941Cruisin 2013readalattechallenge_zps01d248d02013where are you readingWhat's In A Name 6 Challenge

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!

Photobucket

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!

Photobucket

12 / 12 books. 100% done!

6 / 6 books. 100% done!

8 / 8 books. 100% done!

 

 

 

 

24 / 24 books. 100% done!

Photobucket

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 What's In A Name Challenge

Review: Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews

summer rental

Summer Rental
St. Martin’s Press (June 7, 2011)
Woman’s Fiction
Hardcover: 416 pages
ISBN-10: 0312642695

Summer Rental

Sometimes, when you need a change in your life, the tide just happens to pull you in the right direction….

Ellis, Julia, and Dorie. Best friends since Catholic grade school, they now find themselves, in their mid-thirties, at the crossroads of life and love. Ellis, recently fired from a job she gave everything to, is rudderless and now beginning to question the choices she’s made over the past decade of her life. Julia—whose caustic wit covers up her wounds–has a man who loves her and is offering her the world, but she can’t hide from how deeply insecure she feels about her looks, her brains, her life.  And Dorie has just been shockingly betrayed by the man she loved and trusted the most in the world…though this is just the tip of the iceberg of her problems and secrets. A month in North Carolina’s Outer Banks is just what they each of them needs.

Ty Bazemore is their landlord, though he’s hanging on to the rambling old beach house by a thin thread. After an inauspicious first meeting with Ellis, the two find themselves disturbingly attracted to one another, even as Ty is about to lose everything he’s ever cared about.

Maryn Shackleford is a stranger, and a woman on the run. Maryn needs just a few things in life: no questions, a good hiding place, and a new identity.  Ellis, Julia, and Dorie can provide what Maryn wants; can they also provide what she needs?

Five people questioning everything they ever thought they knew about life. Five people on a journey that will uncover their secrets and point them on the path to forgiveness. Five people who each need a sea change, and one month in a summer rental that might just give it to them.*

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Reading this book in December warmed me right up. While pretty predictable it is well written with engaging characters set in one of my favorite places in the United States.

The surprise element was the addition of Maryn. At first she really didn’t fit in with the story but Andrews made it work. Like the rest of the woman she was at a crossroads in her life – a dangerous one. Since I usually read mysteries I enjoyed this character being inserted into the group of life long friends.

Friendship, romance, humor with a bit of mystery makes this an entertaining beach read at any time of year. You really can’t go wrong with a Mary Kay Andrews novel.

just you and a friend

4 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Mary Kay Andrews is the New York Times bestselling author of The Fixer Upper, Deep Dish, Blue Christmas, Savannah Breeze, Hissy Fit, Little Bitty Lies, and Savannah Blues.  A former journalist for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, she lives in Atlanta, Georgia.  Visit www.marykayandrews.com//

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* Synopsis from Amazon.com
This book was from my private collection.
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Posted in E-Book Challenge Saturday Surfin' What's In A Name Challenge

Saturday Surfin’ – Week 9 – 2013 Challenges Are Starting Their Sign Ups

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.

Last week I announced my Just For Fun Challenge for 2013.
Today I am featuring more challenges I plan to participate in next year and
hope you will join me.

E-Book Challenge

The 2013 Ebook Challenge

Encouraging readers to expand past just physical books to embrace ebooks in all forms, whether on Kindle, Kobo, computer, or any other reader.

Challenge Guidelines:

1. This challenge will run from Jan 1, 2013 – Dec 31, 2013.
2. Anyone can join, you don’t need to be a blogger. If you don’t have a blog, feel free to sign-up in the comments. You can post reviews to any book site (i.e. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Goodreads, etc).
3. Any genre or length of book counts, as long as it is in ebook format.
4. You can plan your books in advance or as you read them.
5. When you sign up in the linky, put the direct link to your post about joining the E-Book Reading Challenge.
6. You can move up levels, but no moving down.
7. Sign-ups will be open until Dec 15, 2013, so feel free to join at any time throughout the year.

Levels:

1. Floppy disk – 5 ebooks
2. CD – 10 ebooks
3. DVD – 25 ebooks
4. Memory stick – 50 ebooks
5. Hard drive – 75 ebooks
6. Server – 100 ebooks
7. Human brain – 150 ebooks

At the beginning of each month there will be a roundup post for you to add your reviews for that month. The linky will remain open for the remainder of the year, so if you forget, feel free go back and add them when you remember.

There will be a giveaway at the end of the year for everyone who achieves their goal level (or higher).

You can sign up at Workaday Reads!

I was surprised at how many e-books I read in 2012. I am going to sign up at the DVD level for 2013 and try to move up to Memory Stick by the end of the year. There is a big gap between those levels so it gives me something to strive for.

What's In A Name 6

What’s In A Name 6
Hosted by Beth Fish Reads

Here’s How It Works

Between January 1 and December 31, 2013, read one book in each of the following categories:
1. A book with up or down (or equivalent) in the title: Deep down True, The Girl Below, The Diva Digs up the Dirt

2. A book with something you’d find in your kitchen in the title: Loose Lips Sink Ships, The Knife of Never Letting Go, Breadcrumbs

3. A book with a party or celebration in the title: A Feast for Crows, A Wedding in Haiti, Cocktail Hour under the Tree of Forgetfulness

4. A book with fire (or equivalent) in the title: Burning for Revenge, Fireworks over Toccoa, Catching Fire

5. A book with an emotion in the title: Baltimore Blues, Say You’re Sorry, Dreams of Joy

6. A book with lost or found (or equivalent) in the title: The Book of Lost Fragrances, The World We Found, A Discovery of Witches

The book titles are just suggestions, you can read whatever book you want to fit the category.

Other Things to Know

  • Books may be any form (audio, print, e-book).
  • Books may overlap other challenges.
  • Books may not overlap categories; you need a different book for each category.
  • Creativity for matching the categories is not only allowed but encouraged.
  • You do not have to make a list of books before hand.
  • You do not have to read through the categories in any particular order.

On January 1, Beth will publish 7 posts, each with a Mr. Linky (one for each category and one for your wrap-up post), on her blog so you’ll have a place post links to your reviews (bloggers) or leave comments (non-bloggers) as you finish up each category. You’ll be able to find these posts during the year by clicking on the button in the sidebar. (She will create those links on January 1.)

Tip: If you’re ever struggling to find a title to match a category, check out what other people have read so you can get ideas or be inspired. And remember to be creative.

To join in, sign up with Mr. Linky on Beth’s blog. If you aren’t a blogger, just add a comment. If Mr. Linky ever disappears, either try again later or click on the Email Icon in the side bar and send Beth your information, and she’ll add the link for you.

To use Mr. Linky: put your name or your blog’s name in the top box and the URL (web address) of your blog in the bottom box. If you don’t have a blog, use your tumblr account, your Facebook page or simply mention your intent to join the challenge in the comments.

I still have one book to read to complete this change this year and it has been screaming at me from my TBR shelf.

Just click on the button above to go to Beth’s blog to sign up!

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

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 9 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 E-Book Challenge Reviews 2012 What's In A Name Challenge

Review: Woodrose Mountain by RaeAnne Thayne

 

Woodrose Mountain
HQN Books
Hope’s Crossing Series
2nd in Series

We met Evie Blanchard in the first book of the series Blackberry Summer.  She works for Claire in the bead shop but before she came to Hope’s Crossing she lived in Los Angeles and was a very successful physical therapist. After a very emotional year there she sought refuge in the relaxed pace of Hope’s Crossing. She is shocked when her friend Katherine who knows her history asks her to help with her granddaughter Taryn’s rehabilitation. Taryn was injured in a accident the shook up the whole town. Evie was able to turn down dad Brodie’s request when he asked her to help but there was no way she could turn down his mom.

Brodie is a single dad that will do anything he can to help his daughter recuperate and is happy when Evie agrees to at least get things set up and started. She is immediately drawn in by Taryn’s spirit and realizes the she can help her. The feelings that she is starting to feel for Brodie are the last thing she needs.

With some help for her friends Taryn starts to make strides in her recovery and Evie and Brodie are on a path to find a love neither of them expected.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
This book hit me on a very personal level. Many of you know my story. I was in a accident back in 2001 that has left my right side paralyzed. I spent 75 days in the hospital and then another year in outpatient therapy. I was privileged to work with some awesome physical and occupational therapists. Thankfully my brain and speech was not affected like Taryn, but it was a long road and while I can walk very short distances, any trips outside of our home require a wheelchair and learning to do things left-handed and one-handed has been a journey I would not wish on anyone. My prognosis wasn’t that good and there have been bumps along the way but each day I wake up is a gift.

Because of what I went through Taryn’s story rings true. Her depression, her anger, her temper, are all things just like I experienced as well as the joy she felt when a goal is reached.  The therapist’s push you beyond what you think you can do. That’s what Evie did for Taryn.

Yes, this a romance novel, and the romance was engaging. Like the first book in the series the characters and their relationships with each other is wonderful. Hope’s Crossing seems like a great place to live. The author has created a place I want to visit again and again. But it was Taryn’s story of strength and drive and doing the right thing in the end that made me absolutely love this book.


Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

To find out more about RaeAnne Thayne visit her web page HERE.

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

Posted in Just For Fun Challenge Reviews 2012 What's In A Name Challenge

The Darling Dahlias and The Cucumber Tree by Susan Wittig Albert

This is my Just For Fun Read for April and I just had to share it with you! The second book in the series in also screaming from my To-Be-Read shelf.

The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree
The Darling Dahlias Mysteries
1st in Series
The Berkley Publishing Company
Published by The Penguin Group

Set in the Spring of 1930, the garden club of Darling, Alabama is celebrating the life of the founding member, Mrs. Dahlia Blackstone, by renaming their club in her honor.” Henceforth and forever, the would now as the Darling Dahlias.”

The club was also left the Blackstone home and gardens to use as their clubhouse. The home isn’t too large but the gardens have been written about in the Montgomery Advertiser and the Selma Times Journal. There is also a large cucumber tree in front and another in back of the house. Town librarian and Dahlia club member insists they be called by their proper Latin name, Magnolia acuminata, but they are now and will forever be cucumber trees to the people of Darling. Both the house and the gardens need work as Mrs. Blackstone health was failing she was unable to keep up with everything. Inheriting the home was totally unexpected by the group but they will do what they need to do to restore everything.

Life in Darling isn’t all a garden party though. A convict has escaped from a nearby prison, a car is stolen, there are rumors started about the local bank being in trouble and a ghost has been sighted digging in the backyard of the Dahlias new home. The Dahlias start digging themselves for information to see if the can get to the root of all these mysteries.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
While reading this I was struck at how similar life is today with what was going on in 1930. We keep hearing that this economic downfall is as bad as the “great depression”. This story shines a light on the struggles being faced then and it is glaring in the similarities being faced by people today.

The author has created wonderful characters that are each vastly different but come together through their love of gardening. They also come together to help each other when without the garden club they may not even be friends. We are introduced to each and learn how the fit together while they use their individual talents to solve a series of problems plaguing their beautiful town.

A wonderful debut to what I am sure will be a wonderful series. Susan is a very talented author and I would expect no less. This is the perfect time of year to curl up with the Darling Dahlias and their mysteries.


Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author
Susan Wittig Albert is the author of An Extraordinary Year of Ordinary Days, recently released by the University of Texas Press, and Together, Alone: A Memoir of Marriage and Place.

Her fiction, which has appeared on the New York Times bestseller list, includes mysteries in the China Bayles series, the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter, and a series of Victorian-Edwardian mysteries she has written with her husband, Bill Albert, under the pseudonym of Robin Paige. Previous nonfiction includes What Wildness is This: Women Write About the Southwest (winner of the 2009 Willa Award for Creative Nonfiction); With Courage and Common Sense; Writing from Life: Telling the Soul’s Story; and Work of Her Own: A Woman’s Guide to Success Off the Career Track.

She is founder and past president of the Story Circle Network and a member of the Texas Institute of Letters.

Find out more at http://susanalbert.com/


This book was from my private collection.

Posted in Literary Escapes Reviews 2012 What's In A Name Challenge

Review: Blue Monday by Nicci French

Blue Monday: A Novel
Pamela Dorman Books
VIKING
New Series
Available Now

Frieda Klein believes the world is out of control and the only thing we can control is what is inside our own heads. Yes, she is a psychotherapist. A very obsessive compulsive one at that. She spends her free time walking the streets of London to clear her head and get her thoughts in order.

Frieda has a patient that keeps having recurring dreams for a child that looks just like him. He and his wife have been unable to conceive and it has tormented him so that he is very near a mental break. When she learns of the disappearance of 5 year old Matthew Farraday and sees his resemblance to the child her patient has described he feels she must notify someone is charge of the investigation. She never imagined she would be working with the chief investigator to find the boy.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
It is very important to lay out a really good foundation when starting a new mystery series and these authors (Nicci Gerrard + Sean French) have done an excellent job. Revealing enough about the primary characters to immerse us in the current story but leaving us intrigued about where these characters will go and grow in future installments.

Frieda Klein is a perfect imperfect protagonist. She already has many layers. Reuben is a troubled soul that continues to emerge. Josef is a mystery himself and because of his background adds a little humor to a very intense story. Inspector Karlsson is a tough nut to crack but we can see a relationship with Frieda moving forward. The primary character to this story, Alan, was very well written as he struggled through his pain and dealt with a therapist he thought had betrayed him and had secrets revealed about his life that he never could have fathomed. All the characters are flawed which gives them so much depth.

The mystery is extremely complex and suspenseful. A few white knuckle moments. These are experienced authors with several other bestsellers. They know how to create a thrilling tale to keep us turning those pages. It starts slow and builds. I am anxious to see where the next Frieda Klein story takes us.


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