Sep 102019
 

A Curio Killing
(A Keepsake Cove Mystery)
by Mary Ellen Hughes

 

About A Curio Killing

A Curio Killing (A Keepsake Cove Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Maryland
Midnight Ink (September 8, 2019)
Paperback: 264 pages
ISBN-10: 0738752266
ISBN-13: 978-0738752266
Digital ASIN: B07KMX5QY4

Callie finds treble in Keepsake Cove when her ex-boyfriend is framed for murder . . . 

Callie Reed is looking forward to her first Keepsake Cove spring festival. But her excitement dims considerably when she learns that her ex-boyfriend, Hank, will be performing with one of the hired country-western bands. Callie vows to keep her distance, but that changes when the band’s manager, Bobby Linville, is found dead, killed with the music box Hank bought at Callie’s shop.

Hank is soon singing a sad tune in a detention center with Callie his only lifeline. Though thoroughly aware of his many faults, she knows violence and murder aren’t in his blood. But that means one of her fellow Keepsake Cove residents must be hiding a dark secret—something Callie desperately needs to uncover.

Dollycas’s  Thoughts

In this 3rd Keepsake Cove Mystery House of Melody owner Callie Reed is excited about the upcoming Spring Festival. She is totally caught off guard when her ex-boyfriend Hank walks into her shop and informs her his band will be headlining the entertainment for the festival. She is even more shocked when he purchases a pricey music box. She plans to enjoy the festival with new boyfriend Brian, keeping any contact with Hank to a minimum.

Then the band’s manager is murdered and the murder weapon happens to be the music box Hank purchased the day before. Like a familiar country song, Hank finds himself behind bars pleading his innocence and begging a woman (Callie) for her help. She believes he didn’t do it but she has no idea who would have killed the man. It could be someone who calls Keepsake Cove home.

__

The core characters in this series are an eclectic group and they are joined this time some great new characters, some who make very good suspects. Keepsake Cove residents, Hank and the members of his band. Delia’s costume photographer friend Jill, and Callie’s mom who is reaching out by phone for Callie’s help too. I am glad Brian is such a fantastic boyfriend. He was patient and didn’t get too freaked out by Callie’s determination to help her ex, but it was easy to see he was not happy. She also leaves the music box shop in her assistant’s hands a lot while she is “investigating”. She is blessed by the people in her life that stood by her side as she helped a man that had really hurt her in the past.

The mystery had its share of twists and turns. There turned out to be more suspects than originally perceived. Secrets revealed really took the case in a different direction. I was surprised by the way everything played out.

Keepsake Cove, a collector shopper’s dream come true, is an ideal place for cozy mysteries to take place. I would love to visit all the unique shops at any time of year. The author’s words also bring another area to life. She does an excellent job laying out the festival grounds too, making it very easy for readers to visualize.

There was something missing from this book that I loved about the others. That being Tabitha’s surprising over-the-top clothing and accessory choices that would surprise Callie and visitors to House of Melody, i.e. a new character each day. This time she was so focused on building her jewelry business and filling in for Callie, her uniqueness took a backseat. With a more serious Tabitha, some of the humor found in previous books was lost.

That being said A Curio Killing is a fine addition to this series. With the publisher closing its doors I hope the author finds a way to continue it because I sure would love to visit Keepsake Cove and these characters again soon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Read my review of A Fatal Collection here, and A Vintage Death here.

About Mary Ellen Hughes

Mary Ellen Hughes is the bestselling author of the Pickled and Preserved Mysteries, the Craft Corner Mysteries, and the Maggie Olenski Mysteries, along with several short stories. The Keepsake Cove series begins with A Fatal Collection and continues with A VINTAGE DEATH and A CURIO KILLING.

Visit her at www.MaryEllenHughes.com.

Author Links – Facebook – Pinterest – Twitter  – GoodReads

Purchase Links 

 
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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.”

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Sep 042019
 


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am delighted to welcome Kathleen Ernst back to Escape with Dollycas!

Reaching a Milestone

By Kathleen Ernst

 

As Chloe Ellefson walked from 1982 into 1870s Wisconsin, a white frame church emerged from the trees, prettily framed against a cloud-studded blue sky. The view alone was enough to make most visitors pause, appreciate the simple elegance of the restored church, perhaps even wonder about the lives of those women and men and children who had first worshiped within its walls. For Chloe, the historic site’s newest employee, the scene represented a fresh start.

I wrote those words seventeen years ago, hoping they might one day become the beginning of an adult mystery novel.

At the time I was busy writing historical fiction for young readers and working as a project director and scriptwriter for instructional videos broadcast on Wisconsin Public Television. I had little spare time.

Still, writing a series about an outdoor museum curator was something I truly wanted to do. I had once worked for a large historic site myself, and I missed that world. Writing “on spec,” with no promise of publication, I began work on the first Chloe Ellefson mystery, Old World Murder.

Because I had to fit writing Chloe’s story around contract work, it took me seven years to finish that first book. The delays actually served me well, I think, for they gave me lots of time to think about not only the first mystery, but my goals for the series.

Old World Murder was published by Midnight Ink in 2010. Astonishingly, I’m now celebrating publication of the 10th book in the series, Fiddling With Fate.

My goals for the series haven’t changed. First, I strive to give readers a satisfying armchair adventure and complex characters to root for. In addition, I want to feature real historic sites and museums in Wisconsin and the Upper Midwest. I want to celebrate this region’s diverse ethnic heritage by focusing on different groups. And I want to spotlight the stories that artifacts and old buildings can tell.

I’m writing about stories and places I feel passionately about, and I hope it shows. I love hearing that the mysteries have inspired readers to visit a museum, try a traditional craft, or delve deeper into their own family history.

The very best part of writing ten Chloe Ellefson mysteries? Making so many friends along the way—sites staff and volunteers, folk artists, reenactors, bloggers, and other authors, and most especially the many readers who care about Chloe (and her fiancé, Roelke McKenna) as much as I do.

To celebrate this milestone, Chloe and Roelke travel a bit farther afield in Fiddling With Fate. Chloe accepts a grant that sends them to Norway to research folk dance and fiddle music. While there, she hopes to unravel the mystery of her own ancestry. Of course, all does not go smoothly! Nonetheless, Chloe and Roelke manage to celebrate a milestone of their own.

Heartfelt thanks to Dollycas for her years of support, and to the wonderful readers who have made it possible for me to hold the 10th Chloe Ellefson Mystery in my hand. Happy reading!

Thank you, Kathleen, for visiting and writing such wonderful stories!

Keep reading for my thoughts on Fiddling with Fate.


Fiddling with Fate (A Chloe Ellefson Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
10th in Series
Setting – Wisconsin/Norway
Midnight Ink (September 8, 2019)
Paperback: 360 pages
ISBN-10: 0738760900
ISBN-13: 978-0738760902
Kindle ASIN: B07KN76WMH

Chloe has a devil of a time unraveling the mysteries of Norway’s fiddle and dance traditions

After her mother’s unexpected death, curator Chloe Ellefson discovers hidden antiques that hint at family secrets. Determined to find answers, Chloe accepts a consultant job in Norway, her ancestors’ homeland. She’s thrilled with the opportunity to explore Hardanger fiddle and dance traditions . . . and her own heritage.

Once their plane lands, however, Chloe and her fiancé, cop Roelke McKenna, encounter only disharmony. Chloe’s research reveals strong women and the importance of fiddle music in their lives. But folklore warns against “the devil’s instrument” and old evils may yet linger among the fjords and mountains. As Chloe fine-tunes her search for the truth, a killer’s desire to stop her builds to a deadly crescendo.

 Dollycas’s Thoughts

Chloe was dealing with some information she found out about her mother when her mother unexpectedly passed away. While going through her mother’s belongings she finds some unique heirlooms hidden away. These objects raise more questions than providing answers. Her mother was getting ready to travel to Norway to study Hardanger fiddle and dance traditions. With her death, Chloe is given the opportunity to take her place and her fiancé Roelke McKenna agrees to go along.

Their trip gets off to a rocky start when someone tries to steal the backpack Chloe is carrying at the airport soon after they landed. Able to hang on to her belongs, they try to concentrate on Chloe’s research with the added opportunity to research her mother’s background. The fiddle has a rich heritage, both good and bad and Chloe is anxious to learn all she can. But when a young woman is murdered Chloe enlists Roelke police instincts to help her solve all the mysteries. When they realize Chloe is the killer’s target things get really intense.

___

What I have loved about every book in this series is the way Kathleen Ernst melds her character’s lives with an extraordinary mystery while tying in a historic story too. This time she takes us to Norway to learn about immigrants that had migrated to Wisconsin in the 1920s. She takes her readers along with lead character Chloe on an adventure to learn about Norwegian history and the many facets like music and fiddling played in that history. The author’s research shines but it is all fictionalized in a way that is a pure joy to read.

Her words also permit readers to visualize clearly every place her characters travel. The outside museum, the trails, the hotel, the waterfalls, and to a spectacular place where Chloe learns so much. All the people they meet too are richly described and developed.

Chloe’s life takes place in the 1980s, no cell phones, no GPS, no Wikipedia, no internet, but she does have what I call “spidey sense”, certain places and things affect her physically. She learns much through her travels and experiences. I found myself fully immersed in this story wanting the learn right along with her. Both the present time and historic period had its own suspenseful mystery and some terrifying moments building to an unexpected ending.

Ms. Ernst is an amazing storyteller. Her imagination weaves a story filled with real history to take her readers on a delightful literary trip. The main characters are genuine, real and very engaging. It seems each book in this series becomes my new favorite because the author continues to top herself.

Fiddling with Fate takes two characters I care about on quite a journey. I loved every minute of it! Look for this book on my Best Reads List of 2019.

Each story is written to stand on its own but for maximum enjoyment, you should read them all.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About the Author

Kathleen Ernst is a social historian, educator, and author. Her Chloe Ellefson mysteries reflect the decade she spent as a curator at a large outdoor museum, and feature historic sites in the Upper Midwest. Library Journal says, “Ernst keeps getting better with each entry in this fascinating series.” Kathleen has also written many mysteries for young readers. Honors for her work include a LOVEY Award and Agatha and Edgar nominations. Kathleen lives and writes in Wisconsin.

 Author Links – Website    Blog       Facebook

Thanks to the author I have 1 copy to give away!
The 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.
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Leave a comment for the author for 5 Bonus Entries.

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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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Aug 142019
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am thrilled today to feature Needled to Death
by Wisconsin Author Annelise Ryan!

Needled to Death (A Helping Hands Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Kensington (July 30, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1496719433
ISBN-13: 978-1496719430
Kindle ASIN: B07K5Y2PCS

As a colleague of deputy coroner Mattie Winston, social worker Clothilde “Hildy” Schneider is no stranger to unsolved murders at Sorenson General Hospital. Except this time, it’s up to her to crack the case . . .

Motivated by her own difficult past, Hildy has an unparalleled commitment to supporting troubled clients through grief and addiction in Sorenson, Wisconsin. But when a distraught group therapy member reveals disturbing details about her late son’s potential murder, Hildy goes from dedicated mental health professional to in-over-her-head amateur sleuth . . .

Alongside her loyal therapy Golden Retriever, Hildy stumbles through incriminating clues—and an unlikely partnership with Detective Bob Richmond, the irresistibly headstrong cop who shares her passion for helping others. With signs of foul play surfacing all over town, can Hildy and Detective Richmond pinpoint the deadly traits of a sharp-witted killer before another seat gets filled at grief therapy?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Still dealing with my own grief for a loved one I was a little nervous about reading this book but I really wanted to support the author from my home state. An author whose own books have brightened some of my dark days I decided to push ahead knowing that if it got to be too much I could always stop. I am so glad I started reading because a few uncomfortable moments at the beginning of the story were clearly outweighed by the rest of the story. 

Clothilde “Hildy” Schneider works as a social worker at the Sorenson General Hospital. She also leads a grief and addiction support group at the hospital.  It is there she meets Sharon Cochran, a mom who lost her son to what the police have ruled a suicide. Sharon doesn’t believe her son took his own life and she begs Hildy and the support group to help her prove it. She feels her son was murdered and no one is paying attention.

First, Hildy checks in with the Medical Examiner’s office and finds some inconsistencies.  She then visits Sharon’s home and finds some interesting drawings and the young man’s computer. Armed with both she confronts Detective Bob Richmond in hopes he will share information and reopen the case. He realizes she may be onto something and agrees to work with her to find out what really happened to Toby Cochran.

I immediately liked Hildy and her open heart. She has great instincts and she doesn’t back down. She also has a wonderful golden retriever named Roscoe, who works as a comfort animal when needed. We also meet Hildy’s neighbor P.J., a very adult 11-year-old who walks Roscoe several times a day and even gives Hildy relationship advice and fashion tips. The author also sets up a prospective love triangle with Hildy, Detective Richmond, and evidence technician Jonas Kriedeman. Jonas is raising his 7-year-old daughter on his own. She is also very smart and independent for her young age.

But I really identified with Sharon Cochran. I could feel her pain. No matter how your child died the grief is with you the rest of your life. Life is never normal again. Ms. Ryan portrayed that very well in this character.

All the recurring characters are complex and I am excited to see them evolve as this series continues. Deputy Coroner Mattie Winston from the author’s other series does make a cameo appearance but this series stands completely on its own.

I really enjoyed the way Bob and Hildy worked together and the premise of this series means it is not just a one-time thing. This murder investigation was not an easy solve and had some truly surprising moments that had me holding my breath. My focus was in the right ballpark but I struck out putting everything together until it was clearly spelled out for me.

The icing on the cake was that this series takes place in my home state not too far from where I live. I loved recognizing all the landmarks as we followed along with Hildy and Bob as they chased down clues.

The Helping Hands Mystery series is off to a champion start! Needled to Death was a Perfect Escape and I can’t wait to read the next book in this series!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Annelise Ryan is the pseudonym for the author of the Mattie Winston Mysteries and the Mac’s Bar Mysteries (written as Allyson K. Abbott). She has written more than 200 published articles, worked as a book reviewer for Barnes & Noble, and is an active member of Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers.

Needled to Death is her first book in a new mystery series, A Helping Hands Mystery, featuring a social worker at the Sorenson Hospital who solves mysteries.

Annelise currently works as a registered nurse in an ER. She can be reached at www.mattiewinston.com. Her books have garnered numerous accolades, most recently she has been honored by the Wisconsin Library Association as a Wisconsin.

Author Links – FacebookGoodReadsAmazon

Written as Allyson K. Abbott

Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!
The 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.

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Follow Kensington Books on Twitter for 2 Bonus Entries!

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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 August 28, 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 102019
 

The Great Jewel Robbery (A Front Page Mystery)
by Elizabeth McKenna

About the Book 


The Great Jewel Robbery (A Front Page Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Independently Published (June 3, 2019)
Paperback: 204 pages
ISBN-10: 0578503018
ISBN-13: 978-0578503011
Digital ASIN: B07SKB5YX7

Mystery with a splash of romance…

Chicago Tribune reporters Emma and Grace have been best friends since college despite coming from different worlds. When Grace is assigned to cover an annual charity ball and auction being held at a lakeside mansion and her boyfriend bails on her, she brings Emma as her plus one. The night is going smoothly until Emma finds the host’s brother unconscious in the study. Though at first it is thought he was tipsy and stumbled, it soon becomes clear more is afoot, as the wall safe is empty and a three-million-dollar diamond necklace is missing. With visions of becoming ace investigative journalists, Emma and Grace set out to solve the mystery, much to the chagrin of the handsome local detective.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Tribune Lifestyle reporter Grace Warner is assigned to cover a charity ball at a Lake Geneva mansion owned by Ivy and Edward Braun and she drags along best friend Emma Moore who also works for the Trib as a sports reporter.  Grace is friends with the Brauns so she feels right at home. But it is Emma who finds a man knocked out in the study. More investigation finds the wall safe empty. A three-million-dollar necklace that was there before the event started is now missing.

Grace has dreams of becoming an investigative reporter and knows solving this case could be her big break. Enter Detective Ryan O’Mara who may have chemistry with Emma, but doesn’t like her and her friend butting into his case.

First, I have to mention the setting.  Lake Geneva is a beautiful place for a vacation and it sounds like Ivy and Edward Braun live in one of the palatial estates complete with a pool on the roof. Most of the summer residents have Chicago ties but Wisconsinites love to visit and know it’s rich history. It is the perfect place to set a mystery series.

Ms. McKenna has crafted strong and engaging characters. Emma and Grace’s friendship shines in this story. They couldn’t be more different but over the years they have grown so close those differences don’t matter. They make a great investigative team too. The author also introduces us to Detective Ryan O’Mara. He is a cop’s cop. An Irish Jamaican who is attracted to Emma almost immediately. They all feel genuine and the dialogue is spot-on.

It was refreshing to not have a dead body to start off the story. Instead, we have a thief and a mansion full of suspects. Detective O’Mara is on the case but Emma and Grace seem to have the inside advantage. This, of course, puts them in danger. The author lays things out in a logical way but she throws in twists that really sent by deliberations of the guilty party in several different directions.

Well plotted, paced and written, this series is off to a grand start I want to delve into these characters deeper and get to know them better. For her first foray into the cozy mystery genre, Elizabeth McKenna done herself proud.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Elizabeth McKenna’s love of books reaches back to her childhood, where her tastes ranged from Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys to Stephen King’s horror stories. She had never read a romance novel until one Christmas when her sister gave her the latest bestseller by Nora Roberts. She was hooked from page one (actually, she admits it was the first love scene). She combined her love of history, romance, and a happy ending to write Cera’s Place and Venice in the Moonlight. Her contemporary romance novel, First Crush Last Love, is loosely based on her life during her teens and twenties. The Great Jewel Robbery is her debut cozy mystery, and she hopes readers will like it as much as they have enjoyed her romances.

Elizabeth lives in Wisconsin with her understanding husband, two beautiful daughters, and a sassy Labrador. When she isn’t writing, working, or being a mom, she’s sleeping.

Author Links     Website     Facebook    Twitter    Goodreads     Instagram

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Praise for The Great Jewel Robbery (A Front Page Mystery)
by Elizabeth McKenna

The Great Jewel Robbery by Elizabeth McKenna is a fantastic book. I loved it from the first page of the book until the end.
~Baroness’ Book Trove

A fun friendship book with an interesting cozy mystery and a hint of romance.
~Laura’s Interests

I liked this book. Emma and Grace are likable, well-developed characters . . . A great start to a new mystery series.
~Cassidy’s Bookshelves

I enjoyed this cozy mystery. It was a quick read and once I started the book, I didn’t want to stop until I figured out who the thief was. I definitely recommend this story to cozy mystery lovers . . .
~Carla Loves To Read

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August 4 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT  
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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.”

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Jun 132019
 

A Crafter Hooks a Killer:
A Handcrafted Mystery
by Holly Quinn

 

About the Book


A Crafter Hooks a Killer: A Handcrafted Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Crooked Lane Books (June 11, 2019)
Hardcover 274 Pages
ISBN-10: 1643850121
ISBN-13: 978-1643850122
Digital ASIN: B07MGS1XDW

Community Craft proprietor Sammy Kane suspects that a tantalizing thread links the deaths of her best friend and a bestselling author. But can she weave together the clues?

Samantha “Sammy” Kane is settling into her new life in idyllic Heartsford, Wisconsin, running her late friend Kate Allen’s craft shop, Community Craft when one early June day, bestselling crochet author Jane Johnson visits Heartsford. Captivated by Community Craft, Jane devotes a chapter in her new book, Behind the Seams, to the store. Sammy is honored, though satisfaction quickly turns to shock when she finds Jane strangled to death—her cold hands clutching a copy of her most recently published book, with the words “THE END” raggedly scratched into the cover.

Heavens to Etsy! Not only must Sammy contend with the author’s inauspicious demise, she has to untie some knotty details from her own past. It turns out Kate’s death was not what it seemed, and instead somehow hooked to Jane Johnson’s demise. Handsome Detective Liam Nash is on the “skein”, more than happy to see the shop owner again, if less than enamored by her sleuthing interventions. But this was Sammy’s best friend—she has to know.

Fortunately, Sammy has a “lace” in the hole. As a child, she formed the S.H.E. detective team with her cousin, Heidi, and her sister, Ellie. Having already reconstituted their partnership, the S.H.E. team searches for a pattern behind the latest death. As the case starts to unravel, will Sammy and team be able to sidestep Liam quick enough to stitch together the clues?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

We are back in Heartsford, Wisconsin, and it’s summertime. Sammy Kane is planning for a big event at Community Craft. A book signing with Jane Johnson, The Queen of Crafts. Jane is also writing a new book that will include one chapter about Community Craft and its original owner, Sammy’s best friend, Kate Allen.

The author surprises Sammy by arriving in town early and requesting a private meeting with her. They agree to meet on a bench by the river. Sammy arrives a short time after Jane, but she is waaayyyy too late. The author is dead and holding her last book. The killer has scratched a deadly message too, “THE END” on the book.  Sammy knows the author wanted to talk to her about Kate and the store, but why would anyone kill her over that?

The death brings Sammy back together with Detective Liam Nash which seems to make them both very happy. But Liam tells her to let him handle the case.  There is no way Sammy can do that. This case has something to do with Kate and she can’t just back away. She quickly assembles the S.H.E. team (Sammy, her cousin, Heidi, and her sister, Ellie) to help her untangle the clues. Together they are going to chain the information together to find the killer and get to the truth they all seek.

___

I was so excited to get back to Heartsford. I really enjoy the part the community plays in Holly Quinn’s stories. This time when the murder ruins Sammy’s big plans, she starts to plan another event that will benefit the town.

The core characters in this series are strong and realistic. Sammy’s mother gets on my nerves a little bit but in ways reminds me of my own mother in certain ways. I was surprised that the relationship between Sammy and Liam didn’t progress at all, while Heidi and Officer Tim’s relationship is progressing nicely. Ellie is taking advantage of her parents being in town to get a little bit of “me time” while they babysit their grandson Tyler. Even if that “me time” means manning the store so Sammy can investigate. When Ellie can’t step in employee/crafter/friend Deborah takes over and keeps the shop running.  Of course, Sammy’s lovable golden retriever returns. That dog just steals my heart. Like my dogs, Bara is usually by Sammy’s side or very close by.

I really appreciate the way Ms. Quinn has laid out this mystery. She gives her protagonist a gift of “seeking and finding the truth” and gives us a detective that is man enough to know her information is important. He does his best to rein her in and keep her safe at the same time but Sammy is pretty headstrong. She may have her S.H.E. team to help, but she and Liam make a good team too.

The plot is full of twists, and I loved the way the author crocheted everything together but I did figure this one out before Sammy. Even with that, I was entertained reading and following along as all the clues fell into place right up to the exciting ending. Holding back saying more but Sammy rocked!

Fun characters, a great theme, not 1 but 2 mysteries all set in my neck of the woods. Books like this one are what first pulled me into the cozy mystery genre. I can’t wait for the next book in this series!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Read my review of A Crafter Knits A ClueHere

 

About Author Holly Quinn

Holly Quinn has published two stand-alone fiction novels in another persona. She graduated from Carroll University in Wisconsin with a Bachelor of Science in business and a minor in marketing. This is her second Handcrafted mystery. Visit her @ www.authorhollyquinn.com

Praise for A Crafter Hooks a Killer: A Handcrafted Mystery
by Holly Quinn

This one was a quick read for me – once I got started it was very hard to put down!
~The Book’s the Thing

A Crafter Hooks a Killer has three curious ladies, two complex crimes, one disgruntled detective and a delightful doggie.
~The Avid Reader

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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.”

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Jun 122019
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am pleased to share the latest book in this long-running Wisconsin series!


Dead Big Dawg (A Loon Lake Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
19th in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Gallery Books (June 11, 2019)
Paperback: 208 pages
ISBN-10: 1440598835
ISBN-13: 978-1440598838
Kindle ASIN: B01MRACFUA

When the bodies of a wealthy Chicago industrialist and his wife are discovered in their summer home at the same time that a local lawyer disappears, life becomes complicated for Loon Lake Chief of Police Lew Ferris.

Relying on the forensic dental expertise of her close friend and acting coroner, Doc Osborne, Lew soon finds the investigations are even more complicated than she thought when a rarely used computer belonging to a local sawmill operation is taken over by foreign hackers. Add to that the family issues facing both Lew and Doc, and this Northwoods summer becomes both hot and dangerous.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Another trip north to Loon Lake and again Doc and Lew have their hands full. First,  with their grandchildren, especially when they disappear and are found a short time later at a neighboring farm. They also find agents from the FBI Cyber Security Team. Russian Hackers have worked their way into the Northwoods unbeknownst to the owners of the farm and the owners of an old computer they use for recordkeeping.

Then, in the middle of the night Chief of Police Lew Ferris is alerted to a double fatality. A businessman and his wife from Illinois in their summer home. At first, thought to be a murder/suicide, Lew doesn’t think so and calls in the “Wausau Boys” and Ray Pradt to work the scene. Together they all will try to figure out what really happened and why.

On the homefront, Doc’s daughter is home for a visit and she has brought along her new boyfriend and runs into a high school classmate.

Wisconsin is a place where many bigwigs from the Chicago area have their summer homes so it was not surprising that a couple from there are our victims this time. The question is was the killer from the area or did trouble follow them over the border.

___

The core characters in this series have become friends after 19 books. I love that the children and grandchildren again are part of the story. That being said, the author gives enough background info to read this or any of the books in this series on its own. The characters are well developed and genuine, some have the quirky traits fans of this genre look for. There are also plenty of suspects to keep readers guessing.

The later books in this series run about 200 pages and Victoria Houston packs them full. She tangles the main plot and subplots together with believable dialogue and wonderful descriptions of the area. What I love best is that the characters always have time to do a little fly-fishing. They find a certain amount of peace on the water and sometimes that is when a crucial clue falls into place.

The Loon Lake Mysteries are comfortable stories with the perfect amount of suspense and drama. Lew, Doc, and Ray are good people and true friends. Strong, smart, people who work and play well together. The romantic relationship between Doc and Lew is what I would call relaxed. They each know what they want and understand each other so well. The younger Ray is a very special guy, still playing the field and that usually works for him. Most people are amazed by the way women just seem to fall for him.  It does bring some great humor to each story.

I have enjoyed each story in this series. Dead Big Dawg was a quick read that was fun and entertaining. I  look forward to my next trip north.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

To find out more about Victoria Houston visit her webpage here.



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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.”

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May 312019
 


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.


Dead Firefly (A Loon Lake Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
18th in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Gallery Books (June 19, 2018)
Paperback: 208 pages
ISBN-10: 1440598878
ISBN-13: 978-1440598876
Kindle ASIN: B01N6V9K81

“My wife and Gordon Maxwell tried to kill me this morning.”

Doc Osborne is startled by the unexpected words tumbling out of the mouth of his friend and fellow AA member Chuck Pelletier, the recently remarried lead accountant for a planned luxury fly-fishing lodge preserve under construction in the area.

Alarmed, Doc tries to alert Police Chief Lew Ferris, but she is tied up with law enforcement teams across the state. They’re searching for thieves who have been cutting down and stealing hundreds of thousands of precious birch trees from public and private property across northern Wisconsin.

But it’s too late. Pelletier is found dead not two hours later. Doc is shocked, saddened, and determined to get to the bottom of the murder.

With one man dead, evidence of lakeshore properties being stolen from elderly owners, and an attempted sexual assault, short-handed Chief Ferris deputizes Doc and his skilled tracker neighbor to help with the investigation. Then, just as they seem to be getting somewhere, things grow even more complicated.

Just another summer in Loon Lake.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

“My wife and Gordon Maxwell tried to kill me this morning.” 

That line got Doc Osborne’s attention but before he can do anything his friend Chuck Pelletier is dead, probably killed by his new wife and his boss Gordon Maxwell. Doc is now going to work closely with his girlfriend, Police Chief Lew Ferris to bring the killer to justice.

Add to that, thousands of acres of birch trees are being decimated on public and private lands and Lew finds out elderly riverfront property owners are being forced to sell for pennies on the dollar. She and Doc hardly have time to do even a little fishing.

___________

Time to travel a few hours north for another visit to Loon Lake. I always enjoy catching up with Doc, Lew, Ray, and the Wausau crew.

This time Doc is personally involved and feeling guilty for letting a man he met through AA down. They had three things in common, AA, fishing and losing their wives. I had to laugh when a new investigator expected Doc to be recused from the case because he knew the victim. Heck, everyone knows everyone in Loon Lake, which Lew quickly pointed out. That is what I love about these stories. The author gives us a true picture of the way things work in a small town.

Ms. Houston’s characters are like old friends. Doc and Lew are comfortable in their relationship, Ray Pradt, tracker and water tour guide extraordinaire brings the comic relief for topics that could get a little heavy. Together they make an excellent team to solve a case and get justice. They also spend their free time together, much of it spent in a lake in their waders with a fishing rod in their hands.

This time the mystery was more in proving something Doc already knew. You can’t arrest and indict without evidence and he was one determined man. All of Lew’s investigations twisted together and with his help, they were able to wrap everything up to my satisfaction.

At just over 200 pages, this story was a quick read and very entertaining. I love that they take place not far from where I live and can attest that the author describes the locale perfectly. References to real places are always fun.

I don’t fish anymore but these little trips always bring my grandfather to mind. As a youngster, I spent a lot of time with him out in his boat on the lake. He trying to teach me the fine art of fishing while I just loved spending time with him. When he passed away there was no one left in my life that fished so that part of my life faded away but left me with some fine memories. Doc reminds me a little bit of my grandfather.

Somewhere along the line, I got a little behind on this series, but now I am caught up and ready for Dead Big Dawg that will be released June 11. 

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

To find out more about Victoria Houston visit her webpage here.



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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.”

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Apr 192019
 


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.


Lucky Stiff (Mattie Winston Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Kensington (March 5, 2013)
Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
ISBN-10: 9780758272751
ISBN-13: 978-0758272751
Kindle ASIN: B009L93H7Y

It’s Christmas Day in the sleepy town of Sorenson, Wisconsin, but instead of unwrapping presents, deputy coroner Mattie Winston is at the burnt remains of a house, where a charred body has been found. The victim is none other than Jack Allen–a paraplegic who recently won a huge casino jackpot. Upon closer inspection, Mattie and detective Steve Hurley are convinced Jack was murdered to steal his winnings, giving the phrase Black Jack a whole new meaning. . .

But as Mattie investigates, even her cutting-edge forensic skills keep coming up short in a case with as many suspects as twists. After her odds-on-favorite turns up dead, Mattie and Hurley must race to find a killer before another victim cashes in his chips.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Deputy Coroner Mattie Winston catches a case on Christmas Day. Firemen called to a fire have found a body among the ashes. They are able to identify the man as Jack Allen, a paraplegic who was said to keep the fortune he recently won at the nearby casino in his home. Evidence shows the fire was deliberately set and not an accident as the killer had hoped. They also find Allen’s hiding spot empty. Working with detective Steve Hurley Mattie chases down clues while trying to ignore the romantic electricity that is running between them. They are also drawn into another case involving a missing man that was found floating in the river. Again, the evidence shows foul play.

I loved the first 3 books in this series for many reasons.

  1. It is set in my home state of Wisconsin.
  2. The text is full of Wisconsin references and the dialogue sounds just like the way I talk.
  3. The story is usually well-written and plotted.
  4. The humor flows from beginning to end.

But the thing I liked the best was protagonist Mattie Winston. She is a curvy woman, 6 feet tall, with size 12 feet, and she never fails to find herself the butt of a joke of her own making. This time mud and fire ants lead to two of her misadventures. The woman and the situations she gets herself into are flat out hilarious.

But this time she does some really stupid things that almost had me throwing the book at the wall and not finishing it. I also wish she stood up for herself better with her ex. She is a smart woman but when David is around she turns to mush. He cheated on her! He is the one who got at work with his pants down literally! Yet, she just lets him get away with everything. It is a good thing I was wrapped up in the main mystery and needed to know who killed a man in a wheelchair or this would have been a DNF.

Like Jack Allen, I deal with paralysis, I am a hemiplegic where my right side is mostly paralyzed while he is a paraplegic, paralyzed from the waist down. I identified with this character and was sad he was the victim. It really got my dander up that someone took advantage of him and then killed him all out of greed. So I was totally focused on his killer being brought to justice. There is a long list of probable suspects and I was “in the right church, wrong pew, with my thinking when it came down to nailing the killer.

The second case was easier for me to solve and really broke my heart. It hit a little close to home for me and sadly was a sign of our time.

There was also a trip to Florida for a forensic convention during the holidays, that really made no sense and could have been completely left out.

The romantic issues were like a roller coaster ride and I was excited about it until the first curveball hit, but it was the final pitch that again had me wanting to throw the book at the wall and because the mysteries were solved I DID!

So, No! this was not a Perfect Escape but it wasn’t A Dreadful Detour either. There were things I really enjoyed about the story but there many I didn’t.  I really want to know what happens next with these characters. So after a little break, I will venture into book 5, Board Stiff in hopes this book just had a couple of missteps.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Annelise Ryan is the USA Today bestselling author of the popular Mattie Winston mystery series and a pseudonym for Beth Amos, who also writes the Mack’s Bar Mystery series under the pseudonym Allyson K. Abbott. Beth is a real-life emergency room RN living in Wisconsin. She believes laughter is the best medicine, and with the Mattie Winston series, she is hoping to “medicate” the masses.

For more Mattie Winston fun and to keep up with the latest news, visit www.mattiewinston.com


I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy.

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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*This was from my personal collection.

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Feb 082019
 

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.

Technically, this book was released last year but it was not screaming at me from my TBR shelf. It was screaming at me from Amazon and then my email inbox. The author had sent me a copy for review and I couldn’t get it to load on my Kindle. We recently straightened that out and I wanted to read/review it asap so I scheduled it for today.  😉


A Stew to a Kill (A Callie’s Kitchen Cozy Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Independently published (October 11, 2018)
Paperback: 267 pages
ISBN-10: 1724191233
ISBN-13: 978-1724191236
Kindle ASIN: B07H74PRZX

The Halloween season is serving up more tricks than treats for thirty-something Greek-American foodie and business owner Calliope “Callie” Costas.

When a new employee at a neighboring business, Tea for Two, is found dead, Callie is drawn into a murky brew of motives and murder suspects. It turns out that the seemingly mild-mannered victim might have a few skeletons in his closet. What’s more, the timing of the murder, just a day before Crystal Bay’s first annual Halloween Walk, has threatened to derail the town’s festive fall events, including a Halloween Gala benefiting the local food pantry, one of Callie’s favorite causes.

Callie’s already full plate is set to overflowing with the return of an old boyfriend who has his eye on developing a mall that will compete with and possibly destroy Crystal Bay’s small business scene. Could there be a tie between the mall and the murder?

Somebody has been stewing. Will Callie help find the unsavory killer before things reach the boiling point?

Includes delicious recipes from Callie’s Kitchen!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Plans are underway for Crystal Bay’s first Halloween Walk. All sorts of fun activities are planned and they will wrap up with a huge gala all to support the local food pantry. The shop owners are excited to participate and have placed unique skeletons in their businesses for a #selfie challenge for prizes to bring more customers in. Callie has her hands full with Callie’s Kitchen, but she is also helping with the gala. Having an ex-boyfriend show up touting the idea of a shopping mall on the outskirts of town is the last thing she needed. But the entire town is thrown for a loop when Henry, who works at Tea for Two across the street is murdered. The tragic death is sure to dampen the festivities especially when the police start looking at the shop owners as suspects. With Sands out of the country, Callie tries to stay out of the investigation but again finds herself right in the middle of another murder case.

This is another delightful cozy mystery from Jenny Kales.

Callie is on her own this time. Detective Sands is away, Sam is buried in work, Hugh and Raine are expecting a baby. Her father steps in to help with 11-year-old Olivia when needed, but he and his lady friend seem to be getting serious. The wonderful thing about these characters is that they are relatable and believable. The Greek heritage shines within the pages. I love the relationship Callie has with her dad and how she has taken what he started and ran with it.

The mystery was intriguing. Henry was a quiet man and no one knew much about his past. Callie’s ex Ben is in town pushing hard for a new mall that scares all the business owners. Can the murder and the mall be connected? When another person is attacked more questions arise? The officer in charge of the case has not impressed Callie or the other merchants. I understood Callie’s need to keep asking questions and was really surprised when the real culprit was revealed. Ms. Kales really twisted my thinking with some great red herrings.

Of course, I love the Wisconsin setting, and it is truly portrayed. All the nuances and places felt like home. The author really brings out the small town life of Crystal Bay.

The bonus is the authentic Greek recipes at the end of the story. My mouth was watering throughout the whole book. The stews, the cookies, everything made in Callie’s Kitchen sounded good to me.

A terrific addition to this series!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Sign up for a FREE author newsletter filled with author news like upcoming releases and author events, exclusive recipes, giveaways, price events, author interviews and more: http://tinyurl.com/huv5pof

Jenny Kales is the author of The Callie’s Kitchen Mystery Series, featuring Greek-American Calliope Costas, feisty food business owner and amateur sleuth, who lives in a scenic Wisconsin town with colorful characters — and a high murder rate! Each book contains several delicious recipes, both Greek and American.

ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK is the debut book in the series, followed by SPICED AND ICED (A Christmas cozy mystery), SECRETS AND PIES, and a NEW BOXED SET. The Callie’s Kitchen Cozy Mystery Series Boxed Set, which includes Books 1 – 3, is now available and free to read on Kindle Unlimited!

LATEST RELEASE: A STEW TO A KILL, Book 4 in the Callie’s Kitchen Mystery series! This Halloween mystery is available for the Kindle and in paperback.

Jenny is an avid reader, cook, and baker and she’s addicted to reading and mystery TV, especially anything on Masterpiece Mystery or Acorn TV. She lives just outside of Chicago with her husband, two daughters and one cute but demanding Yorkshire terrier. She’s hard at work on additional writing projects including more Callie’s Kitchen Mysteries and a new series.

I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy of A Stew to a Kill!
Book will be sent directly from Amazon.

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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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Dec 062018
 


How to Knit a Murder (Seaside Knitters Society)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series (with this publisher)
Setting – Massachusetts
Kensington (November 27, 2018)
Hardcover: 272 pages
ISBN-10: 149671105X
ISBN-13: 978-1496711052
Kindle ASIN: B07B74TCK6

A mysterious woman arrives in picturesque Sea Harbor, Massachusetts, and the Seaside Knitters welcome her into their cozy world of intricate patterns and colorful skeins. Unfortunately, nothing frays a warm introduction like cold-blooded murder . . .

With her shy manner and baggy jeans, Rose Chopra becomes an unlikely superhero the night she stumbles into Izzy Perry’s shop and inadvertently saves a shipment of yarn from water damage. When the Seaside Knitters help the enigmatic handywoman settle into town and find work at a popular real estate company, Rose proves she can fix just about anything—until a potential homebuyer is killed and she becomes entangled in murder . . .

The moment controversial entrepreneur Spencer Paxton is found dead in a pricey ocean-side house, accusations fly at the last person on the property—Rose. But the Seaside Knitters have their doubts. After all, Spencer’s political aspirations as well as his company’s plans to pave over Sea Harbor’s historic art district with luxury apartments earned him some very real enemies . . .

Now, Izzy, Birdie, Nell, and Cass must swap knitting for sleuthing as they struggle to move the needle on a twisted homicide case causing turmoil across town. As tensions build in the sleepy New England community and Rose’s secret past unravels, the ladies face an unsettling realization—true victims aren’t always the ones buried six feet under . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Back in Sea Harbor amongst some of my favorite cozy ladies was exactly where I needed to be the night I started reading this book. A stranger comes into Izzy’s shop and solves a huge problem and almost immediately Rose Chopra is moving into to the apartment above the shop, has a job she loves and friends that care about her. But Rose has a secret, a secret that has to come out, especially after Spencer Paxton is murdered and Rose appears to be the last person to see him alive. The man had made plenty of enemies in the seaside town. Izzy, Birdie, Nell, and Cass decide it is time to knit together some clues to solve the murder and try to protect their new friend whose life will never be the same.

I do love this series. It is very character driven. The core group of characters is close and heavily involved in each other’s lives every day, so when a pesky murder pops up they are all in. The ladies and their significant others band together to solve the case but also comfort the victim’s family and the person wrongly accused. It is like a big warm blanket that surrounds them that always includes food, shoulders to lean on and ears ready to listen. Rose and Stella blend into this group nicely and benefit from the big blanket of comfort.

I didn’t like the victim from the moment he was introduced. A snide man, greedy and feeling entitled, pushed all my beware buttons. If I lived in Sea Harbor I would have been on the suspect list.

The author takes on the big hot topic of bullying. A big topic in life and schools today but bullying has always been around. We see how it changed the life, the long-lasting effect, it has on a victim.

The mystery she has laid out is very well done. I did catch a key clue very early on that explained the how, but the who and the why took me quite a bit longer. Twists unraveling, turns to misdirect, knit the clues together, purl to see them in a different way. Following along with the characters as a pattern emerges to get us on the right path. This was such a fun mystery to read.

Sea Harbor is a wonderful place no matter the time of year. The mansion where the murder takes place wouldn’t be somewhere I would want to live but it sure has all the bells and whistles. At the end of the story, it does find the perfect owner.

This is another fantastic story from Sally Goldenbaum. She gives plenty of detail for the story to stand on its own. I have been blessed to read the story of the Seaside Knitters from the beginning and highly recommend them all.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Murder Wears Mittens here

About The Author

Sally Goldenbaum was born on the shores of Lake Michigan, in Manitowoc, WI, to a homemaker mother and a ship-building father. Although she now lives in landlocked Prairie Village, KS, her longing for lakes and the sea is satisfied in part by writing the USA Today bestselling Seaside Knitters Mystery series, set on Cape Ann, MA. She is a sometime philosophy teacher, a knitter, and an editor, and the author of more than thirty novels. Her fictional knitting friends are teaching her the intricacies of women’s friendship, the mysteries of small-town living, and the very best way to pick up dropped stitches on a lacy knit shawl. Murder Wears Mittens is the first book in the Seaside Knitters Society series. How to Knit a Murder was just released. A continuation of the Seaside Knitters Mystery Series.

Follow Sally

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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.”

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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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