Posted in Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Reviews 2017 Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday / #Review / #Giveaway – Spiced and Iced (A Callie’s Kitchen Cozy Mystery) by Jenny Kales

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.
Another book that was waiting on my Kindle.


Spiced and Iced (A Callie’s Kitchen Cozy Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Self Published (December 5, 2016)
Paperback: 237 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1520481555
Kindle ASIN: B01N8UXIWC

 

 

The holidays can be murder! Greek-American restaurateur Callie Costas finds herself on thin ice when a colleague is killed. Recipes included!

The season is bright when Calliope “Callie” Costas agrees to contribute her Greek snowball cookies to a December bridal shower at The English Country Inn in the scenic waterfront town of Crystal Bay, WI. But when Callie finds a colleague dead, she’s sucked into another murder investigation — all while juggling her growing business and staggering holiday workload.

As she reluctantly agrees to help the Inn’s owner track the killer, Callie is soon up to her spiced Greek biscotti in difficulties. For one thing, the hotel staff is freezing her out as she tries to uncover information, helped by her feisty Grandma Viv and her sweet but nosy aunt who’s visiting from Greece. And then there’s her deepening relationship with the suave and mysterious Detective Sands, a British expat now living in Wisconsin, who seems to have a few secrets of his own.

The icing on the cake is a host of simultaneous family mayhem including her father’s surprising fixation on a real estate agent and her ex’s plans to move back to Crystal Bay. As the Inn’s annual Christmas Tea approaches, things are heating up in Callie’s Kitchen, but she’s on thin ice! Will Christmas be a festive celebration this year – or will it be murder?

Turn to the end of the book for six delicious recipes, including Greek cookies and savories, plus traditional Midwestern holiday favorites!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

It’s December in Crystal Bay, Wisconsin. The snow if falling, frigid temps are setting in and Callie’s Kitchen is busy baking and making delicious things for the holiday season. She has agreed to provide her Greek snowball cookies for a bridal shower at The English Country Inn but before the shower begins Callie finds the party planner dead in the water. Her relationship with Detective Sands may hit the skids because she just can’t help investigating the death. Her aunt and grandma even get involved. As if she doesn’t have enough on her plate, her ex may be moving back to Crystal Bay and her father appears to be dating. Christmas may be drawing near but Callie is determined to ice the killer just like he iced his victim.

I started reading this story and it felt like home. The author really describes everything about Wisconsin perfectly. The weather, the people, the food, the little language quirks, it warmed by heart.

Callie is a lovable character, she has a huge heart and is a hard worker determined to make her business a success. Her friendship with Samantha struggled a bit in this installment and their interactions were spot on. Her relationship with Detective Sands struggles as well but we learn more about this character as they work to turn things around.  Max and Callie work together in the kitchen like a well oiled machine and he is a great friend to her. Callie’s aunt, “Sweetie” is visiting from Greece and she teams up with Grandma Viv for some laugh out loud moments.  Her father’s life is in a period of change too.  Callie is unsure if it is the situation or the woman that he is seeing that gives her concern. All these characters are well crafted, engaging and true to life.

The murder mystery itself was complicated. There were more suspects that I imagined at first and I was totally wrong about the murderer. Things got really exciting as Callie thought she too had it all figured out. We were both surprised, she actually found herself in what could have been a life or death situation. She was livid by the time she was able to literally track the culprit down. Wow Callie! You Go Girl!

I can’t finish this review without talking about the food. Good gracious, I was practically drooling every time Callie or Max were in the kitchen. I could almost smell the food cooking. I can’t wait to try the recipes in the back of the book.

Christmas in Wisconsin is delightful, (sans murders, of course), the temperatures may be dropping and the snow may be falling, but the food and friendships will warm you right up. Thank you Jenny Kales for this wonderful story.

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Watch for my review of Secrets and Pies, the 3rd book in this series coming soon! 

About the Author
Award-winning writer Jenny Kales is the author of ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK, the first in The Callie’s Kitchen Mystery Series. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in English and spent several years working as a copywriter and corporate communications marketing writer for many top companies. Her freelance writing about parenting has appeared in many venues including The TODAY Show Parents site. Her award-winning blog, The Nut-Free Mom, has been featured in newspapers and websites around the world.

Fiction writing is her first love and her marriage into a Greek-American Midwestern family inspired The Callie’s Kitchen mysteries, featuring Calliope Costas, food business owner and amateur sleuth. The setting of the story, “Crystal Bay,” is inspired by a favorite family vacation spot – Wisconsin’s beautiful Geneva Lakes.

Jenny is an avid reader, cook and baker and she’s addicted to mystery TV, especially anything on Masterpiece Mystery or BBC America. She lives just outside of Chicago with her husband, two daughters and one cute but demanding Yorkshire terrier.

Author Links

Webpage     Facebook      Twitter     GoodReads      Instagram


I will give away 1 Kindle set of All 3 Books to 1 Winner
Books will be sent directly from Amazon

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Posted in Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Reviews 2017 Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting

#Review / #Giveaway – Mining for Justice (A Chloe Ellefson Mystery) by Kathleen Ernst – Great Escapes Book Tour – @midnightinkbook


Mining for Justice (A Chloe Ellefson Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
8th in Series
Midnight Ink (October 8, 2017)
Paperback: 384 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738753348
E-Book ASIN: B01N7UGNZB

Chloe Ellefson is excited to be learning about Wisconsin’s Cornish immigrants and mining history while on temporary assignment at Pendarvis, a historic site in charming Mineral Point. But when her boyfriend, police officer Roelke McKenna, discovers long-buried human remains in the root cellar of an old Cornish cottage, Chloe reluctantly agrees to mine the historical record for answers.

She soon finds herself in the center of a heated and deadly controversy that threatens to close Pendarvis. While struggling to help the historic site, Chloe must unearth dark secrets, past and present . . . before a killer comes to bury her.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This time Chloe Ellefson takes us along on a trip to Mineral Point as she goes there to help out for a week. Roelke drives her there and plans to spend the weekend helping a friend update a family home. Chloe is hoping for a quiet week away from the drama brought on by her boss at Old World Wisconsin but when Roelke uncovers human bones in the root cellar Chloe knows her week in going to be far from quiet. She agrees to do some research to try to determine who the remains belong to and who buried them. This is all before she sets foot in Pendarvis, the historic location of her temporary assignment. A recent newspaper article has the employees there up in arms and Chloe finds herself the person to blame for a state funding problem. She also find another body.

I have lived in Wisconsin my whole life but I always learn something new when reading a Kathleen Ernst mystery. Pendarvis is one of 12 historic sites owned and operated by the Wisconsin Historical Society. “Tucked away in historic Mineral Point, Pendarvis celebrates the restoration and preservation efforts of Robert Neal and Edgar Hellum, who saved a significant part of Wisconsin’s past.”* Sadly, I have never visited there, but using the author’s descriptions I feel like I have. With all the main buildings, land and nearby cottages it makes a wonderful setting for a murder mystery or two. Roelke back in Eagle has a mystery to solve as well.

The  brilliance of this book is the way the author blends history with life in Wisconsin in the 1980’s. We get the story of a Cornish family coming to America and then to Wisconsin in search of a life provided by the mines. Pendarvis recreates and celebrates this time in history but has problems of the current day which for this series is the 1980’s.

Both time periods have very strong females. The woman in the story that immigrated in the 19th century had  to be strong to live among the men working the mines, she even worked at the mines herself before she came to America. She was a trailblazer is protecting children at a time when most were forced to work in the mines. Chloe is the strong woman of current time. She searches for the truth and doesn’t give up even when she is putting herself in danger. She has a resilience that I truly admire.

Many issues are faced within the story, an abusive husband, drug dealers, financial worries, and of course, murder. It is also a story with a nice romance. Chloe and Roelke relationship has grown at a very comfortable place over this series. Set before cell phones, I really enjoy their nightly calls to check-in with each other when they are apart. The way they work together is heartwarming.

Kathleen Ernst is a real treasure. She researches these stories intensely and creates fictional drama based on facts that keep the reader fascinated from the first page to the last. She is an excellent storyteller whose words come alive. Her love of Wisconsin history shines brightly in this and all of her books in this series.  The characters are believable with great dialogues.  The setting always plays a key part and she always leaves me wanting to visit the location as soon as possible.

Each of the books in this series can be read all on their own, but to enjoy the character development you really should read them all. Mining for Justice has become my favorite book in this series and will be included in my Bests Reads of 2017.

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

*Quote from the Pendarvis website.



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.

Webpage Facebook – Blog 

Purchase Links
AmazonB&N 

Praise For Mining for Justice (A Chloe Ellefson Mystery)
by Kathleen Ernst

Have no fear as this author weaves a masterful tale. She never drops the ball. Being in Wisconsin I am naturally drawn to the series but anyone who appreciates history and a well written mystery will not want to miss Kathleen’s books.
~Laura’s Interests

This is one of my favorite cozy mystery series. I love that the author mixes history in her mysteries and that you can learn while reading a fun book.
~A. Holland Reads

Wow, this book grabbed my historian heart and held my sleuthing mind to the last page.
~Bibliophile Reviews

Mining for Justice is an outstanding story in an equally outstanding series, one that has quickly become a favorite of mine.
~The Power of Words

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October 5 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
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October 6 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW
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October 7 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW
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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.”

Posted in Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Guest Posts Reviews 2017 Wisconsin Author You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Sally Goldenbaum – Author of Murder Wears Mittens (Seaside Knitters Society) #Guest Post / #Review / #Giveaway @KensingtonBooks

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am so excited to have my friend Sally Goldenbaum drop by for a visit today!
Her new book Murder Wears Mittens was released last Tuesday by Kensington!

One of my favorite things about the excitement that surrounds a book release is the chance to spend time right here in Dollycas’s cozy corner. Thank you for inviting me back. I love spending time with you.

A Sense of Place

One of the things I enjoy most about writing is the challenge of creating a sense of place. Helping readers step into a world in which they can feel and taste and hear and see everything that surrounds the characters. At least that’s my goal.

This August I spent many hours walking the shores of Cape Ann, where the fictitious town of Sea Harbor is now so firmly rooted in my imagination that I see it at every turn. But as I walked around, I realized I was taking more credit than I deserved for creating the town. It isn’t my imagination alone that has helped me achieve that sense of place that I covet. It’s the place itself.

It’s Cape Ann and its small towns—Essex, Manchester-by-the-sea, Rockport—and the city of Gloucester. Some of you have visited the area, and even spotted places you’ve read about in the mysteries. Which gave me the idea of a tour—checking out places that have inspired me while writing the seaside mystery books. I hope you fall in love with the place, just as I have.

First, for some basics: Izzy’s yarn shop, Harry’s Deli, The Book Store and Ocean’s Edge Restaurant—oh, and Jake’s Gull Tavern. They are all on Harbor Road, Sea Harbor’s active main street inspired by those of Cape Ann’s towns.  (Well, Gloucester’s main street doesn’t look exactly like the photo on the right anymore, but I loved the 1875 photo of it. I’m sure some of the original buildings are still there, but like Izzy’s yarn shop, spruced up a bit. The photo on the left is a main street in Manchester by the Sea, which has the same corner park and big tree as does Sea Harbor.)

In Murder Wears Mittens, a Laundromat on Harbor Road becomes important when Cass finds children’s clothing mixed up with her own. The next day she summons Izzy, Nell and Birdie to meet at their favorite brunch place to talk about the young boy she saw fleeing with only half his laundry load.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
This restaurant, Annabelle’s Sweet Petunia, was inspired by Sugar Magnolias, located on Gloucester’s Main Street. You can see why the knitters like it so much, right? The omelets definitely provide brainpower, or so Cass claims.

The boy’s left-behind clothes lead the knitters to two children and to a missing mom, and from there they become deeply involved in the mysterious death of a reclusive Sea Harbor woman somehow tied to this familya—a family they quickly become attached to. Birdie’s enormous home, built on a bluff overlooking the town harbor, becomes a quiet place for them to meet and gather clues.  (I often walk by this East Gloucester home—I hope the owners don’t mind me claiming it for Birdie.)

Another spot that I/the knitters love to visit is the Ocean’s Edge Restaurant. It’s where they often meet with friends and where many clues have fallen into place. The restaurant is inspired by a Gloucester hotel, the Beauport, a beautiful place on the edge of the harbor with a firepit-warmed deck where one can watch the sun set.  And sometimes (at the Ocean’s Edge Restaurant), observant diners spot suspicious exchanges between staff and visitors, words and actions that linger dangerously and may help move an investigation along.

There are so many more real places that feature in the lives of Nell, Izzy, Cass, and Birdie. The Canary Cove Art Colony, for one, is the baby sister, inspired by Gloucester’s Rocky Neck Art Colony, one of the oldest continuing working art colonies in the United States. There’s Nell’s neighborhood and the yacht club, the beaches the women walk as they try to figure out life—and death.

And, of course, there’s Izzy’s Yarn Shop, a place that centers the seaside knitters’ spirits and minds and souls. A place that is the result of dozens of wonderful shops I’ve visited everywhere we travel. A place the knitters call home.

Hopefully, this small glance at the seaside knitters’ environs will look familiar, and you will paint them even more brightly with your own imaginations.

Thank you for stopping by. And I hope you enjoy Murder Wears Mittens. I’d love to hear from you.
Happy reading,
Sally

Thank you Sally for being here today!! 

Murder Wears Mittens (Seaside Knitters Society)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Massachusetts
Kensington (August 29, 2017)
Hardcover: 272 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496711021
E-Book ASIN: B01MSVCTH9

 

 

As autumn washes over coastal Sea Harbor, Massachusetts, the Seaside Knitters anticipate a relaxing off-season. But when murder shatters the peace, the craftiest bunch in town must unravel a killer’s deadly scheme . . .

After retrieving fresh lobster nets from a local Laundromat, Cass Halloran rushes to attend a last-minute gathering with her knitting circle. But Cass can’t stop worrying about the lonely boy seen hanging around the dryers, and the school uniform he left behind in a hurry. When the ladies return the lost clothing the next day, they find the child and his younger sister alone, seemingly abandoned by their mother . . .

The knitters intend to facilitate a family reunion, not investigate a crime. But the death of Dolores Cardozo, a recluse from the edge of town, throws the group for a loop. Especially when the missing mother and one of their own become tied to the victim’s hidden fortune—and her murder . . .

Before scandalous secrets break bonds and rumors tear Sea Harbor apart, the Seaside Knitters need to string together the truth about Dolores—while preventing a greedy murderer from making another move!

  • Includes a knitting pattern *
Dollycas’s Thoughts

This is one of my very favorite series. Now it has been reborn as Seaside Knitters Society Series by Kensington Publishing. For fans of this series it picks up right where Murder at Lambswool Farm (Seaside Knitters Mystery) leaves off.  For those just discovering this fabulous group of characters there is a cast list at the beginning of the book, don’t panic by the long list, the author gives plenty of detail throughout the story so you can get to know the characters easily.

If I could I would pack my bags today and move to Sea Harbor, Massachusetts. The residents are smart and fun and generous. They are always willing to give a helping hand, a little advice, a warm hug and a full belly. Their dinners on the deck will make you swoon. They will also be sure you have all the sweaters, scarves and mittens you need.

Case in point;  Cass Halloran is at the laundromat when she finds some unusual items in her dryer. She is surprised when a young boy hurries in, pulls some things out of her dryer and quickly rides off on his bicycle. She tries to catch up but can’t. Then she finds a school uniform just like she used to wear that the boy had left behind. She just can’t get the child out of her mind,  with a little help she finds out his name and where he lives. She along with her friends Izzy, Nell, and Birdie go to return the uniform only to find the boy and his sister alone, no sign of their mother. While trying to track down the woman they also find themselves investigating another death. A recluse, Dolores Cardozo, is found dead in her home and the children’s mother could be involved. So now in addition to knitting mittens for charity they are going to have to knit together all the clues to solve this murder.

The Seaside Knitters, Izzy, Nell, Cass and Birdie, along with their spouses, significant others, kids and friends are some of the best characters right now in cozy literature. Over the years the group has grown because as a whole and they are all so welcoming. Knitting may have brought them together in the beginning but it is their friendships that have stood the test of time. They are realistic, engaging, with hearts as big as all outdoors. Such a fine group of people. With each book I feel as I am returning to visit old lifelong friends.

These character’s lives would make a great women’s fiction story on their own but Ms. Goldenbaum knits and purls them right into a fantastic mystery. Dolores Cardozo mostly kept to herself. Few people knew her by name, they would see her walking on the beach but didn’t really know much about her. Now that she has gone and named Birdie executor of her will, plus the news that she may have been murdered by the mother of the children that Cass has become attached to sends this story in a very interesting direction. The plot is thought out and so well written. I was invested in the new characters just as much as those that have warmed my heart in 11 previous books. I needed to know how things would turn out. The ending was surprising and so satisfying.

This is a story of friendship first and foremost but the mystery is top-notch. I try to slow down and savor my visits to Sea Harbor but find that impossible because I need to solve the crime right along with the Seaside Knitters. I have enjoyed every story but hate to say good-bye after the final page. Same time, next year…..can’t wait.

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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. A continuation of the Seaside Knitters Mystery Series.

Follow Sally

Webpage

Twitter    Facebook 


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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Leave a comment for the Sally for 5 Bonus Entries.

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Contest Will End September 20, 2017 at 11:59 PM CST
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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.”

Posted in Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes Reviews 2017 TBR Pile Challenge Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

Flashback Friday – Murder on the Rocks by Allyson K. Abbott #Review / #Giveaway @KensingtonBooks


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

This is a series I have wanted to start for a long time.

Murder on the Rocks
(Mack’s Bar Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Kensington (August 6, 2013)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0758280152
Kindle ASIN: B00BPYGR0M

 

 

Mack’s Bar is one of those nice, friendly places where everybody knows your name. That’s great when someone’s buying you a round, but not so hot when you find yourself atop a list of murder suspects–with your fingerprints on the bloody knife!

Mackenzie “Mack” Dalton is a Milwaukee bar owner with a nose for trouble–literally. A neurological glitch has left her with extra perceptive senses. So when she stumbles upon a dead body in the alley behind the bar–the same spot where her own father was shot eight months earlier–she can tell right away there’s something fishy in the air. The lead detective thinks there’s a link between the two deaths, and he’ll need Mack’s help to sniff out the murderer amid the crowd of eccentric regulars. But when all the evidence points to her as the most likely culprit, it could be an early last call for Mack–and celebratory cocktails for a killer.

Includes drink recipes

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Growing up in Wisconsin my parents owned and operated a tavern, much like Mack’s Bar. Drinks, food, pool table, dart boards, regular patrons and visitors from out of town. Thankfully we never found a dead body in the back alley.

Mackenzie “Mack” Dalton has taken over her father’s bar after he was murdered. That case is still open but without any real clues as to the killer. When Mack finds another body in almost the exact same place and she is one of the suspects she tries to stay calm and cool. She knows she didn’t kill anyone. But since the murder weapon did belong to the bar the suspects could be anyone of her staff or customers. When she explains to the lead detective about a neurological issue she was born with he actually doesn’t think she is crazy. He thinks maybe her hyper senses may aid in the capture of the killer. A killer that he thinks took her dad’s life as well. When he wants to go undercover and work at the bar she just can’t say no.

These characters are so likable. Mack loves what she does and in a business like hers you have to. Days are quickly consumed by the work it takes to keep the place up and running. She does have a boyfriend who is a paramedic, but they don’t have much time to spend together. Detective Duncan Albright seems more Mack’s type and they do have chemistry. In fact, when they are together is sends quite a rush to Mack’s senses. Most of the regulars remind me of customers who became friends with my parents over the years. All their reactions and actions rang true to life. Even the part where they gathered together trying to solve the crime themselves with the facts available to the public.

Learning about Mack’s Synaesthesia was very engrossing. When Mack explains the condition to Duncan the author is explaining it to the readers as well. It is a rare  and complicated condition that at first thought must be awful but Mack has adjusted to it so well, it absolutely amazed me.

I really enjoyed that the author brought some Milwaukee history to the story. Yes, Al Capone once owned a bar in Milwaukee complete with some interesting basement activity. It is not much of a stretch of the imagination to think Mack’s Bar just might be the place. To spin the mystery to include part of this history was a fun plot line to follow with a twist that brings the whole story together.  A little different from a normal cozy, Mack works hand in hand with the police and they appreciate her input. The police also love the coffee she serves so they were stopping by often, even ones not involved in the case.

This is a well written story with characters I want to know more about. Murder with a Twist has moved way up on my To-Be-Read stack. I am excited about this series. 

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author

Allyson K. Abbott is a pseudonym used by suspense writer Beth Amos. Beth has enjoyed a varied writing career that included a stint as a book reviewer and several years of nonfiction freelancing. Now she writes only fiction, and in stark contrast to her “day job” as an ER nurse, where she gets to save lives, the one common factor in her fiction, no matter what name it’s written under, is that someone always dies. Allyson K. Abbott is my little insider joke at having to pick yet another pseudonym. It’s not coincidence the initials are what they are.  Check out her webpage here and on Facebook here.

My review copy is a retired library copy.
If the winner would rather have an e-copy of the book that is o.k. with me.

Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address for the print copy.
International if you choose an e-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.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

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

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

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

This book was from my private collection.

Posted in E-Book Challenge Giveaways Literary Escapes Reviews 2017 Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

#Review / #Giveaway – The Simplicity of Cider: A Novel by Amy E. Reichert @GalleryBooks


The Simplicity of Cider: A Novel
Women’s Fiction
Setting – Wisconsin
Gallery Books (May 16, 2017)
Hardcover: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1501179723
Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1501154928
Kindle ASIN: B01HMXRVKO

 

 

Fall in love with The Simplicity of Cider, the charming new novel about a prickly but gifted cider-maker whose quiet life is interrupted by the arrival of a handsome man and his young son at her family’s careworn orchard by the author of The Coincidence of Coconut Cake and Luck, Love & Lemon Pie.

Focused and unassuming fifth generation cider-maker Sanna Lund has one desire: to live a simple, quiet life on her family’s apple orchard in Door County, Wisconsin. Although her business is struggling, Sanna remains fiercely devoted to the orchard, despite her brother’s attempts to convince their aging father to sell the land.

Single dad Isaac Banks has spent years trying to shield his son Sebastian from his troubled mother. Fleeing heartbreak at home, Isaac packed up their lives and the two headed out on an adventure, driving across the country. Chance—or fate—led them straight to Sanna’s orchard.

Isaac’s helping hands are much appreciated at the apple farm, even more when Sanna’s father is injured in an accident. As Sanna’s formerly simple life becomes increasingly complicated, she finds solace in unexpected places—friendship with young Sebastian and something more deliciously complex with Isaac—until an outside threat infiltrates the farm.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

After read Luck, Love & Lemon Pie last year I knew this was an author I would keep me eye on. When I heard about this new book I couldn’t wait to read it.

Isaac Banks and his son Bass, short for Sebastian, are on a cross country adventure. Isaac is trying to protect his son from the realities at home. They soon find themselves in Wisconsin’s Door County. A beautiful place full of cherries, a restaurant where goats graze on the roof, Green Bay (not the town where the Packers play), lighthouses and apple orchards. Isaac and Bass soon find themselves at Idun’s, an apple orchard that has been owned by the Lund family for five generations. Sanna Lund and her father now run the place and Sanna has a special talent for making cider. Her father has mortgaged the farm to purchase all the equipment she needs to produce on a large scale. Her brother has nothing to do with the orchard anymore but thinks it needs to be sold to take care of the debt because they have received a huge offer.

Issac and Bass agree to help with the chores. It is like fate brought them to this place. Sanna really doesn’t like kids but after a couple of days that changes as Bass finds a way into her heart. She and Isaac also feel a connection neither of them understand. When someone’s actions threaten Sanna’s precious trees and the entire orchard things get complicated.

This is such a beautiful story and so well written. The author has a way of writing that pictures of people, time, and place just come alive with such detailed imagery. Maybe it is because I have traveled to Door County several times that I had a crystal clear picture of everything she described but I truly believe it was her words that took me right along with Sanna, Issac and Bass.

She gives us a story of family, love, loss, and a little touch of something that “just is” and can only be explained by the belief that love carries through the generations and appears in unexpected ways.

These are such special characters. Their hearts are heavy with secrets and vulnerability that ebbs and flows through the entire series, even after some trust has been earned. The relationships built are so unique.

The Simplicity of Cider flows at a nice and easy pace. It was a relaxing read. I usually read a book like this in one or two nights but I didn’t want the story to end. I took time to savor every page and word. This book will make my list of Best Reads for 2017.

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about Amy and her books here

Thanks to the publisher I have 2 copies to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

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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
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Contest Will End JUNE 6, 2017 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.”

Posted in Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge E-Book Challenge Reviews 2017 Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

Early Review – The Mutual Admiration Society by Lesley Kagen

My First Book Read in 2017

The Mutual Admiration Society: A Novel
by Lesley Kagen
Fiction/Family Life
Setting – Wisconsin
Lake Union Publishing (February 1, 2017)
Paperback: 282 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1503941038
Kindle ASIN: B01G50QX2C

 

 

 

From the New York Times bestselling author of Whistling in the Dark comes an unforgettable novel that illuminates the sweet and brittle bonds of family, the tenderness of growing up, the heartbreak of longing for what we’ve lost, and the poignancy of finding love.

FACT: Unbeknownst to eleven-year-old Theresa “Tessie” Finley, she’s in over her head.

PROOF: After hearing a scream and catching a glimpse of a mysterious man carrying a body beneath the flickering streetlights in the cemetery behind her house, Tessie adds solving a murder case to her already quite full to-do list.

Tessie has elected herself president of the crime-stopping Mutual Admiration Society—as if dealing with her “sad madness” over the tragic drowning of her beloved father; showering tender loving care on her “sweet but weird” younger sister, Birdie; and staying on the good side of their hard-edged mother weren’t enough. With partner in crime Charlie “Cue Ball” Garfield, Tessie and Birdie will need to dodge the gossips in their 1950s blue-collar neighborhood—particularly their evil next-door neighbor, Gert Klement, who’d like nothing better than to send the sisters to “homes.” And, of course, there’s the problem of steering clear of the kidnapping murderer if they have any hope of solving the mystery of all mysteries: the mystery of life.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

FACT: Lesley Kagen captures the voices of children in a profound way.

PROOF: This story!

Set in Milwaukee Wisconsin, we meet 11 year old Theresa “Tessie” Finley, her younger sister, Birdie, and her “fiancee”, Charlie “Cue Ball” Garfield. They make up the Mutual Admiration Society. Tessie is sure she saw a crime committed and the society needs to start its investigation right away. They just need to get around some house rules and Gert Klement, their next door neighbor, who is not their biggest fan. In fact, she believes they need to be sent away.

These characters were first introduced to readers in The Undertaking of Tess, released in 2014. While the author does give plenty of details so that this book can be read on its own, you may want to read the prior story first for more background on the Finley’s. 

As a mystery lover I enjoyed Tessie and her lists and methodical investigation and that Birdie found a key clue and really helped Tessie figure out the suspected murder. Through the eyes of children in the late 1950’s I was able to see things in a different way. It was quite an adventure. Tessie has already dealt with so much in her young life and is responsible for watching over Birdie every day. Her lists do get a little repetitive but through them readers clearly see the way her mind works.

Kagen has crafted a heartwarming story but at times it is heartbreaking too. Her characters are so unique and the dialogue is true to a child’s voice and sprinkled liberally with humor. The world has changed since 1959. It was wonderful to escape back in time and tag along on this adventure with the Mutual Admiration Society.

I have enjoyed everything I have read by this author. She is an extremely talented storyteller.

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about Lesley Kagen and her books on her webpage 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 Cloak and Dagger Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Reviews 2016 TBR Pile Challenge Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

Flashback Friday – Dead Insider by Victoria Houston – #Review / #Giveaway

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On Flashback Fridays I will share with you the books I missed when they were first
released that have been screaming at me from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.
Did a little rearranging on my bookshelves last week and was so excited I found this book I read it before I read the book for yesterday’s post. 🙂

dead-insider
Dead Insider (Loon Lake Mystery)
13th in Series
Mystery
Setting – Wisconsin
Tyrus Books (June 18, 2013)
Paperback: 208 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1440533563
E-Book ASIN: B00CA9DKE2
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In the midst of a catastrophic August rainstorm, a grisly discovery shatters the serenity of a summer evening in northern Wisconsin. Moving quickly to prevent a panic among tourists, Loon Lake Police Chief Lewellyn Ferris enlists the forensic and interrogation skills of her close friend and fellow fly fisherman, the retired dentist “Doc” Osborne. Within hours of launching their investigation, they find themselves faced with a national media circus as Loon Lake becomes the focus of a murderous scenario that links the murder to the race for the U.S. Senate by a woman who is heir to a Northwoods fortune and other, less savory, family traditions.

In the meantime, Doc Osborne’s eldest daughter, Mallory, enters into a relationship that may put her life at risk–unless her father and Chief Ferris can find the killer stalking the residents of Loon Lake.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Reading this after the crazy political season we just experienced seemed fitting.

It is raining cats and dogs in Look Lake. Roads and fields are flooding and while blocking vehicles from traveling through the water something awful is found floating now a new rainfall river. The findings lead to a woman running for the U.S. Senate. Loon Lake Police Chief Lewellyn Ferris has her hands full. Thankfully her friends and officers are there to help her pull all the pieces of this terrible murder investigation together.

Fly fisherwoman Lew Ferris has caught a huge case and relies on the resources available to her to solve it. I had my main suspect but the twisted plot made the conclusion and the motive totally surprising.  What followed was a tragic tale that left me almost visibly shaking. The pain felt by the killer’s mother just broke my heart.

Ms. Houston dug deep for this one. The laid back community of Loon Lake was not only rocked by the flooding but a terrible murder. People came together to help with the case and handle the media because tourism in the bread and butter of this community. I felt a plethora of emotions as the story continued. How could something so awful happen in this little town?

I enjoy these characters and admire the soothing calm they find standing in a lake or river casting their line time and time again. Sometimes never catching a thing. It’s in those places Lew and Doc can order their thoughts and break away from the stress and trauma of the case. I can see their faces so clearly. My grandfather was a fisherman and his perfect place to relax was in his little boat out on the water with a fishing pole in his hands. He never had the stress of a murder to solve but his life wasn’t easy. I loved going out in his boat with him. Some days we caught a lot of fish and some days we just caught some sun and had good conversation, me the youngster not even in my teens and him sharing his life’s stories with me. The look on his face was just peaceful out on the water. Times I will never forget. The stories in this series touch my heart because of my relationship with him. Doc Osbourne’s thinking and temperament remind me so much of the wonderful fisherman in my life. Lew is a strong woman in a top position and she takes her job seriously. Together they make a great team.

Sadly, these little vacations north to Loon Lake are way too short. I hope to return again soon. Not so much for the mysteries, although those are good, but for the serenity outside of the drama. Both grab a hold and don’t let go.

perfect 2016

 

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

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

GIVEAWAY
I am giving away my signed copy!
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

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

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End December 2, 2016 at 11:59 PM CST
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Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

This book was from my private collection.

Posted in Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Guest Posts Reviews 2016 Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Kathleen Ernst – Author of A Memory of Muskets – #Review #GuestPost #Giveaway @midnightinkbook

cozy wednesday 2013 640
I anxiously await each book in this series.
I am thrilled to have Kathleen stop here as part of her Great Escapes Book Tour!

MEMORY MUSKETS large banner 640

Kathleen Ernst

Keeping It Real
By Kathleen Ernst

 

I used to work as a curator at a large living history site called Old World Wisconsin. Over fifty historic structures from all over the state have been restored on a sprawling 576-acre site. Many are rare examples of ethnic architecture constructed by some of the early immigrants who settled the state.

After a twelve-year stint at Old World Wisconsin I moved on, but I soon discovered that I missed the site. To me, the obvious answer was to write a book set there. Better yet, why not write a series? I missed the whole historic sites world, actually, and a series would let me visit many special places. Thus the Chloe Ellefson Historic Sites Mysteries were born.

MEMORY OF MUSKETSChloe is a curator at Old World Wisconsin. When I began writing the first book, Old World Murder, some of my writer-friends urged me to consider setting the book at a fictional historic site. My writer-friends often have very good advice, so I did consider it. But honestly, not for long. How could I make up a big historic site when I had a real place fixed so firmly in my brain?

One of my goals for the series was to introduce readers to wonderful historic sites and museums. As the series has progressed, Chloe has traveled to an old lighthouse, all of the Laura Ingalls Wilder homesites, an abandoned flour mill (now the Mill City Museum in Minneapolis) and more—all real places, open to the public.

To my delight, many readers who live within traveling distance of the Upper Midwest have visited one or more of the sites featured in the Chloe mysteries. Some have visited all of them. Nothing makes me happier than hearing from readers who have read one of the books and then gone exploring. I’ve added maps, photos, and other resources to my website to enable armchair or actual travel to the locations featured in the books.

The 7th Chloe Ellefson Mystery, A Memory of Muskets, is largely set back at Old World Wisconsin. I had a great time visiting my own memories of my years at the historic site, and I know I wouldn’t have been able to conjure up a fictional setting in such vivid detail.

If you give the series a try, I hope you enjoy visiting the setting locations vicariously within the pages. Or maybe, if you’re ever in the area, you can explore them first-hand.

~Kathleen

MEMORY OF MUSKETS

A Memory of Muskets (A Chloe Ellefson Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Midnight Ink (October 8, 2016)
Paperback: 408 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738745152
E-Book ASIN: B01APSYQ1A
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Synopsis

Curator Chloe Ellefson is happily planning to spotlight home-front challenges and German immigrants at Old World Wisconsin’s first Civil War reenactment―but her overbearing boss scorns her ideas and proposes staging a mock battle. And when a reenactor is found dead at one of the historic site’s German farms, Chloe’s boyfriend, cop Roelke McKenna, suspects murder.

The more Roelke learns about reenacting, the more he fears that a killer will join the ranks at Chloe’s special event. Then Chloe discovers a disturbing secret about Roelke’s Civil War-era ancestors. Together they struggle to solve crimes past and present . . . before Chloe loses her job and another reenactor loses his life.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

My first experience at Old World Wisconsin was back in 5th grade for a school field trip and have visited several times since but not lately, at least in person. Through this series I have been able to visit there and some other wonderful places in the Midwest.

Our protagonist, Chloe Ellefson together with Byron Cooke, curator of interpretation, are planning a Civil War program. Thanks to their boss it turns into a Civil War Reenactment. While doing research for the event she discovers some ties to Roelke’s ancestors and the family home she is planning to move into with him. It may explain the disturbing feelings she has about the place. They both get distracted away from their move when a man is found dead at Old World Wisconsin. Dressed as a reenactor, the man has no identification, and this leads the case in several different directions.

Kathleen Ernst always writes a great story with a captivating mystery and the perfect amount of history too. She gives us very detailed descriptions that make the story come alive and easy to visualize. I enjoyed the way she skips back to the past, the 1860’s, and back to present time in this case, is the early 1980’s. As always you can see she has deeply researched the subject matter and I like that I actually learn something while reading every story.

I found Rosina’s story to be very interesting. Her traveling to the New World and making her way to Wisconsin and her life there.

Chloe and Roelke have gotten even closer but they are still building trust as their lives together starts a new chapter.

All the characters are written so well. Chloe’s boss, Petty, not only pushed her buttons but mine. You know the type, my way or the highway, moving deadlines just because he can. and adding things to programs some times just to get her on the defensive. At times you could cut the tension with a knife.

The mystery itself tangled around itself at times and the clues did not always more the investigation forward but took us back to review things that were missed. I was again caught by surprise as we reached the end for that revealing moment when all the clues fell into place.

Ernst is a strong storyteller. At times I could picture all of us gathered around her listening to her tell us Rosina’s story and catching us up with Chloe and all the people in her life. Kind of like the interpreters at Old World Wisconsin. Something she actually used to do. Her love for the place and the history shines bright in every one of her stories.

perfect 2016

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Kathleen Ernst

About The Author –

Kathleen Ernst is a former museum curator who remains passionate about history!  In addition to the Chloe Ellefson Historic Sites series, she has written many books for American Girl, including nine about the historical character she created, Caroline Abbott. Over 1.5 million copies of Kathleen’s 33 titles have been sold. The Chloe series has earned a LOVEY Award for Best Traditional Mystery, and several of her mysteries for young readers have been finalists for Edgar or Agatha awards.

Author Links:

Webpage      Blog     Facebook
Purchase Links:

Amazon – B&N Indie Bound 

GIVEAWAY
Leave a comment below and you’ll be entered to win a signed and personalized print copy of
A Memory of Muskets: A Chloe Ellefson Mystery.
The giveaway ends at midnight October 14, 2016.
Please include your email (ex., janedoe –at – janedoe.com) to facilitate winner notification.
Good luck!

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

October 6 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST
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October 8 – LibriAmoriMiei – REVIEW
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October 10 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW
October 11 – View from the Birdhouse – INTERVIEW
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October 18 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
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Posted in Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Flashback Friday Giveaways Reviews 2016 TBR Pile Challenge Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting

Flashback Friday – Bean There, Done That by Sandra Balzo #Review / #Giveaway

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On Flashback Fridays I will share with you the books I missed when they were first
released that have been screaming at me from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.

I first found out about Sandra Balzo back when I started blogging years ago when I was contacted to review Running on Empty, the 1st book in her Main Street Mysteries. I loved that whole series. It was then I found out she was from Wisconsin and wrote the Maggie Thorsen Mysteries and that they are set in Wisconsin. I started collecting them and read the first 2 right away. Then my blog took off and I had so many books to read and review. The book below and book 4 – Brewed, Crude and Tattooed and book 5 – From The Grounds Up have been waiting on my TBR shelves. The final 3 are on my wish list 🙂

The copy I have personally that I will be giving away was published in 2012 by Worldwide Library. It was originally released by Severn House first in hardcover in 2008 and then in paperback in 2009 and published as an e-book in 2011.

bean-there-done-thatBean There, Done That (A Maggy Thorsen Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Mass Market Paperback: 251 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0373267903
E-Book ASIN: B004RRB1LE
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

 

Here’s a tip: if your ex-husband’s mistress-cum-missus. asks for your help in proving that he cheated on her while he was married to you, just say no.

And you most certainly should not invite this new missus., Mrs. Rachel Thorsen, in for a cup of coffee. But big-hearted Maggy can’t seem to help her own hospitality.

Unfortunately, most unfortunately, this mistress-cum-missus disappears shortly after her coffeehouse confab with Maggy and is later found murdered…making Maggy’s ex, Ted, the chief suspect.

Despite the tempting satisfaction of seeing her ex go down, Maggy knows Ted is innocent. Cheater? Most definitely. Murderer? Most definitely not. So Maggy reluctantly agrees to help him. Rachel’s wealthy family, however, disagrees and spares no expense in trying to put Ted behind bars.

Now it’s up to Maggy to discover the truth…even if it upsets her on-again, off-again relationship with the handsome Sheriff Jake Pavlik…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Maggie has a huge heart and it gets her in trouble. Her ex’s new wife, Rachel asks for help because she believes Ted is cheating on her just like he cheated on Maggie with Rachel when they were married. She agrees even though she knows she shouldn’t. Then suddenly Rachel is missing and when her body is found all the evidence points directly at her cheating spouse. Now Ted may cheat on his wives but killing one of them, no way. Suddenly Maggie is in investigation mode up to her eyeballs and her “boyfriend”,  Sheriff Jake Pavlik is not happy about it. Maggie believes she can get someone to spill the beans and prove Ted innocent but she never imagined in her wildest dreams what she would truly find.

The author brews up a fast and fun mystery for readers to enjoy. It is filled with humor and a solid mystery and ends with a shocking twist.

I love this book is set in a Milwaukee coffeehouse, the characters all have a quirkiness quality about them, and no that doesn’t mean all Wisconsin people are quirky. There is also just the right amount of romantic tension that every cozy needs.  I enjoyed reading about places I have been and know. The dialogue was familiar and comfortable.

For me this was  a “perfect escape”, just an hour down the road. I hope to read more books in this series soon.

perfect 2016

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about Sandra Balzo and her books on her webpage here.

GIVEAWAY

I am giving away my copy!

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.

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

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

Contest Will End September 23, 2016 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

*This book was from my private collection.

Posted in E-Book Challenge Giveaways Literary Escapes Reviews 2016 Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

#Review / #Giveaway – Luck, Love & Lemon Pie by Amy E. Reichert

love luck and lemon pie
Luck, Love & Lemon Pie
Women’s Fiction
Setting – Wisconsin
Gallery Books (July 12, 2016)
Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1501121548
E-Book ASIN: B0176M3QSM
goodreads-badge-add-plusShop Indie Bookstores

When Milwaukee-area wife and mother MJ Boudreaux notices her husband Chris seems more interested in the casino than her, she’s more bothered that she isn’t upset than by her husband’s absence. She picks up poker as a way for them to spend more time together—and reignite their marital flame.

Although the game doesn’t give her the quality time with Chris that she’d hoped, MJ finds she has a knack for it. Increasingly unhappy at home, she turns to the felt top of the poker table for comfort. Intoxicated with newfound freedom, MJ begins spending more time at the gambling tables and less with her family, finally carving out for herself a place outside her role of wife and mother.

After a string of great wins, MJ finds herself in Vegas, attracting the attention of a certain magnetic poker star. But when she’s forced to choose between her family and her new exciting lifestyle, the stakes may be higher than she thought and MJ will have to play her hand carefully…or risk losing it all.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Marriage is work and when MJ Boudreaux sees her marriage starting to crumble she tries to bring them closer by learning more about her husband’s love of poker. Instead of bringing them together she becomes almost addicted spending less and less time with her family. She even enters a tournament and wins a trip to Vegas where her whole life could change completely, but is that what she really wants.

The cover caught my attention and then I saw it was set in Wisconsin and written by a Wisconsin author so I was quickly all in.

While poker was never my game I had things in common with MJ. My parents owned a tavern and several “gents” arrived daily for their euchre games and men and woman came a few nights a week for euchre tournaments. As it was my parent’s place I was tending bar and playing cards all through high school and college. MJ’s story rang true with me.

Amy E. Reichert takes a very interesting look at love, luck, jealously and family life in this story. Any married couple will tell you keeping your marriage alive takes work and that there are ebbs and flows and how you handle those ebbs and flows makes all the difference. MJ and Chris were going through the motions but weren’t communicating. MJ tried but both parties have to be trying.

The author shows things mostly from MJ’s point of view of her family dynamics. A typical Midwest family with typical family problems. A daughter in her last year in high school in the college planning phase. A son involved in many extracurricular things and adjusting to his teenage years. Chris seemed to be absent a lot, leaving the household and kids to MJ. Although we learn he is the cook in the family. I really didn’t like Chris and felt MJ’s pain.

I enjoyed this book a great deal. It is a story many women will be able to relate to. It is not a romantic book, it is a story of family lives and making it work. There are obstacles along the way and we see how this family deals with them. It is a journey, an emotional journey.

enjoyable 2016

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 Find out more about Amy and her books here


GIVEAWAY

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End August 5, 2016 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.”