Posted in Spotlights Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting

Spotlight – On The Chopping Block by Jenny Kales

This book is on my wish list. It takes place in Wisconsin!!! I will be reviewing it some time this summer!
on the chopping block

On the Chopping Block:
Cooking and Baking Cozy Mystery
(A Callie’s Kitchen Mystery Book 1)

Self Published
Publication Date: May 24, 2016
Print Length: 228 pages
ASIN: B01EQIJ8UO
goodreads-badge-add-plus

Greek-American restaurateur and single mom Calliope “Callie” Costas faces Greek tragedy when a murder shakes the picturesque waterfront community of Crystal Bay, Wisconsin.

Recipes included!

Building a small business has been murder, but Callie Costas didn’t expect to be confronted with an actual body. The 36-year-old Greek-American proprietor of “Callie’s Kitchen,” a meals-from-scratch business in an idyllic small town, has been busy creating a post-divorce life for herself, her young daughter and her Yorkie, Koukla. After a lot of hard work (including staving off her father’s continual advice), she’s got the locals and tourists clamoring for her delicious Mediterranean dishes and Midwest comfort food classics. Recently, she’s started a budding romance with a fellow foodie, the wealthy owner and chef of Crystal Bay’s most popular bistro.

However, success is as fleeting as one of Wisconsin’s glorious autumn days. As local businesses begin to shut down due to a slow economy, Callie is struggling not to become another statistic. A contest with a hefty cash prize seems like the perfect chance to fix her financial woes, until a shocking murder threatens not only her livelihood – but her life.

When she’s targeted as a prime suspect by an attractive expat British detective, Callie’s situation becomes more delicate than her Greek egg-lemon soup. She’s got to find the killer and fast if she wants to protect her daughter, save her business and stay alive.

Don’t miss this page-turning first installment in a delicious new culinary cozy series!

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
Purchase

B & N

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent
Posted in Crafty Cozy Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Guest Posts Reviews 2016 What An Animal Reading Challenge Wisconsin Author You Read How Many Books Challenge

Special Guest – Mary Ellen Hughes – Author of Scene of the Brine #Giveaway too!

special guest blue
I am so happy Mary Ellen Hughes could stop by for a visit today!
Let’s give her a great welcome!

Mary Ellen Hughes author pic

Hi Everyone,

WHAT’S IN A NAME?
by Mary Ellen Hughes

When I talk to people about my books, there’s one question I can count on being asked, “Where do you get your ideas?” But a question I rarely hear is, “How do you come up with names for your characters?”

I suppose that’s because most people take character names for granted. A reader makes note of them in order to keep everybody in the story straight but mostly doesn’t think much about them. For me, though, and I suspect most authors, character names are very important. Margaret Mitchell, for example, changed Scarlett O’Hara’s first name several times before settling on one, calling her star character Pansy for a while. I think we can all be glad Ms. Mitchell moved on from that one.

pickled piper

When I started putting ideas together for THE PICKLED PIPER, the first book of my Pickled and Preserved mystery series, I had no problem coming up with a name for my main character. Since she was a young woman who would be making and selling all things pickle-related, what could be better than Piper?

But Piper wasn’t the only character in the book. She has an aunt and uncle living nearby, a shop assistant, neighboring store owners and other townspeople, along with, of course, the victim and murderer. All these characters needed names, and ones that fit. I wouldn’t, for example, name Piper’s aunt, who is around sixty years old, Britny. And for Piper’s twenty year-old helper, Gladys would be all wrong but Amy was right.

A novelist has to come with more names than you might realize, sometimes just for walk-on characters who need a name simply to avoid being continually referred to as “elderly gentleman,” or “her.” Where do we get them all? When I first started writing and needed a name for an older person, I’d flip through the obituary section of my newspaper. If the obituaries had photos attached, all the better. Mixing and matching first and last names kept me out of lawsuit territory.

Younger characters were a little tougher. A copy of a baby-naming book helped there—though it did startle my family at first until I explained why I needed it. Then I discovered the Social Security website, which lists baby names that were popular in each decade. That was—and is–so helpful! I also found a few random name generator websites, which come up with combinations of first and last names, sorted by gender or ethnicity, as well as “common” or “rare.” A great time saver!

Until I settle on a character’s name, I often can’t completely picture him or her. Martin will look and act differently from Matt, and, though close, Patsy won’t be quite the same as Patty, at least to my mind. If, farther down the road, I see the need to change a character’s name, I’ll often go back and tweak their description to go with the new moniker.

scene of the brineIn SCENE OF THE BRINE, my latest and third Pickled and Preserved Mystery book, I needed a name for a character new to the series, a forty-something, female caterer. “Sugar” popped into my head, and with it I immediately knew what she looked like: attractive, silver-blond, and with a Rubenesque figure. Her personality grew from that, and I was soon good to go.

Sugar had a college-aged son, and it didn’t take me long to name him Zach, a popular name of his generation. Zach majored in botany and, while bright, also had a bit of a temper. It was that last thing that got him into a pile of trouble in my story. Would that have happened if I’d named him Nigel or Preston? Doubtful. But we’ll never know because a mother called Sugar would never give her son either of those names, would she?

Family names, for me, at least, are off-limits, as are close friends, since the image that comes with them is too strong to shape into the character I want to write. Also in that “don’t touch” category are one-of-a-kind celebrity monikers and names already famous in fiction such as Scarlett, Kinsey, or Reacher.

It tends to narrow the choices, which makes me sometimes envy science fiction and fantasy writers. If they need a name, they can just scramble a few letters or make it vaguely middle-earth-ish. So much simpler. And they don’t have to worry about age, either.

But then, I’d have a hard time picturing a Ruavu Flagmatag.

Wouldn’t you?
~Mary Ellen

Thank you so much for visiting today Mary Ellen! Feel free to add a Lori or a Dolly to your stories anytime 🙂

scene of the brineScene of the Brine:
Pickled and Preserved Mystery

3rd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – New York
Release Date: February 2, 2016
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Chris O’Leary
Cover Design by Karen Oberrender
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425262474
E-Book ASIN: B00W2ZKQ9Q
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

 

The national bestselling author of License to Dill returns with a dilly of a pickle.

Piper Lamb has to take a break from jarring her delicious pickles and preserves to blow the lid off a poisoner….

Business is booming at Piper’s Picklings in Cloverdale, New York. But not all is sweet in the life of Piper’s number one customer and friend, local caterer Sugar Heywood. Sugar is dating wealthy realtor Jeremy Porter, but his family doesn’t approve. After their unscrupulous accountant finds some dirt on Sugar, the family quickly urges Jeremy to throw her out like rotten fruit.

Things are further spoiled after the accountant is found poisoned, and all evidence points to Sugar’s son, Zach. With the Porter family determined to avoid scandal, it won’t be easy for Piper to preserve Zach’s innocence. And after someone falls victim to a poisoned jar of some of her brandied cherries, Piper’s got a peck of trouble to deal with herself…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Check out that cover and the new door to Piper’s Picklings! Handcrafted and a true work of art. Piper has a party to celebrate her new entrance and it seems almost everyone from Cloverdale attends. Thankfully new resident, Jeremy Porter and his right hand man,  Dirk Unger skipped the festivities. Unger has been making life difficult for some people in town, like Piper’s friend, Sugar Heywood. Dirk, the jerk, dug up some dirt and Sugar was terribly hurt. She lost her boyfriend and a huge catering gig. When “the jerk” is murdered, Sugar’s son becomes the prime suspect but before the murder is solved, others are hurt and Piper finds herself in hot water.

Trips to Cloverdale are never dull, that is for sure. Hughes introduces us to the Porter family. I hated the whole snobby bunch and that was just awesome. These characters like all my favorites were wonderfully written and totally believable. I wasn’t surprised when Dirk Unger was killed. He was a nasty man. What surprised me was the twists and turns we took to find the murderer. Just when I thought “I know who it is!”, something happened to prove me wrong. It sure was a fun as I kept trying.

There is a bit of romance as Will remains patient while Scott still tries to worm his way back into Piper’s life. The man has been trouble since he showed up in Cloverdale. I think Piper may be on the verge of making a decision.

Mary Ellen Hughes has written a really smart mystery delightfully flavored with some of the best cozy characters. I have liked each of these stories more than the last. The characters continue to evolve and even the mysteries get better and better and each were great already.

For someone that doesn’t like pickles I sure do love these pickled and preserved mysteries.

perfect 2016

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 About This Author

Mary Ellen Hughes may live in Maryland today but she started out right here in Wisconsin!!! Find out more about Mary Ellen and her books here on her webpage.



Just click on book covers for more information or to order.

GIVEAWAY

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

This year I am trying to build my Twitter following so for this giveaway 4 Bonus Entries will be awarded by following me on Twitter. @dollycas

Leave a comment for Mary Ellen for 5 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End March 1, 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.”

Posted in Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes Reviews 2016 TBR Pile Challenge Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

Flashback Friday – Review/ #Giveaway – Driving Sideways by Jess Riley

9WbGnJTR

Back in 2005, way before I started blogging, I joined Paperback Swap. I had hundreds of books gathering dust and with Paperback Swap, I could trade them for new books I wanted to read for just the cost of postage. I went a little crazy and soon had a huge To Be Read stack, o.k. stacks. I found today’s book there when I was searching for Wisconsin authors. I was just able to read it now thanks to Flashback Friday

driving sidewaysDriving Sideways: A Novel
Women’s Fiction
Setting – Wisconsin/Road Trip West
Ballantine Books (May 20, 2008)
Trade Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0345501103
E-Book ASIN: B00199B2XU
goodreads-badge-add-plusShop Indie Bookstores

Leigh Fielding wants a life. Seriously. Having spent the past five years on dialysis, she has one simple wish: to make it to her thirtieth birthday. Now, thanks to the generosity of the late Larry Resnick and his transplanted kidney, it looks like her wish may come true.

With her newfound vitality (and Larry’s kidney) in tow, Leigh hits the road for an excursion that will carry her from Wisconsin to California, with a few stops in between: Mount Rushmore, the Badlands, the Rockies, Las Vegas–and a memorable visit to thank Larry’s family for the second chance.

Yet Leigh’s itinerary takes a sudden detour when she picks up a seventeen-year-old hitchhiker, Denise, a runaway with a bunch of stories and a couple of secrets. Add a long-lost mother, a loaded gun, an RV full of swingers, and Hall and Oates’s Greatest Hits to the mix, and Driving Sideways becomes a hilarious and original journey of friendship, hope, and discovery.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Why did I wait so lone to read this book? Leigh Fielding lives with her brother and his wife about 30 minutes from where I am sitting. I loved all the local references. Also my mother was on dialysis for some time before she died so those references rang true as well.

Leigh was lucky to receive a kidney transplant and through a mix up the anonymous donation didn’t stay so anonymous. Leigh has planned quite a road trip and she has added a stop to visit one of her donor’s relatives. She wants to find out what he was like and to thank them for the gift they have given her. Against her brother’s wishes Leigh heads west in what turns into a very memorable trip. She gains a passenger along the way, they stop to see the sights, visit her best friend in Colorado, meet up with an old boyfriend, has an interesting stop at the donor’s mother’s house and then head to California to hopefully reconnect with her mother.

This was Jess Riley’s debut novel and it a heartwarming and sometimes a heartbreaking story.  It is also full of some laugh out loud and crazy moments. I found it to be very well written with a very balanced pace. Easy to picture all the events as they happened because of the author’s descriptive writing style. There was a twist that added just a little suspense too. It was almost a learning experience as Leigh has PKD, polycystic kidney disease. I had heard of this disease but didn’t know much about it.

The trip that Leigh calls her Unfinished Business Trip was quite a journey. I am honored to have been able to travel on it right along with her. I loved this story.

perfect 2016

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author

Wisconsin native Jess Riley spent much of her childhood being punished for lying and/or passing notes during class, both of which qualified her for a possible future as a novelist.

Jess has been a waitress, a blue cheese packager, and a school grant writer. She worked at a toy store during the Tickle Me Elmo craze and lived to tell about it. She’s also worked at a medium-security men’s prison, which was much less stressful. Jess graduated from UW-Oshkosh in 1998 with degrees in English and History. She shares a drafty old house in Oshkosh, Wisconsin with her husband and a neurotic dog that despises public radio.

You can follow her on Facebook here.


GIVEAWAY
I would love to share my copy with you.
Remember this is a used book.

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Contest Will End February 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

~This book was from by personal collection.~

Posted in Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Challenges Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Finish The Series Challenge Just For Fun Challenge Literary Escapes What An Animal Reading Challenge Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

2015 – It’s A Wrap!

g-gif-update (2)
AND GOOD RIDDANCE!

We all know personally 2015 was the worst year of my whole life, but I threw myself into this blog and the book tours.

In 2015, I read 196 books, 54165 pages, gave away 282 books, organized 168 book tours, and completed all but 1 of my challenges. It was a fantastic year in my virtual world.

Since I need this to qualify as my Challenge Wrap Up Post, this is how I did:

 

2015 Challenges

2015RC HowManyBooks-hostingI signed up at Level 2 – 150 books

My list is on GoodReads shelf here.

my read-2015 shelf:
LORI CASWELL's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read-2015 shelf)

alphabet 2015A. All The President’s Menus by Julie Hyzy
B. BIG MOJO by Jack Getze
C. Crash & Burn by Lisa Gardner
D. Devil in the Deadline by LynDee Walker
E. An Early Wake by Sheila Connolly
F. Feta Attraction by Susannah Hardy
G. Garden of Death by Chrystle Fiedler
H. How to Catch A Cat by Rebecca M. Hale
I. In Hot Water by J.J. Cook
J. The Jesus Cow by Michael Perry
K. A Killer Retreat by Tracy Weber
L. Lie of the Needle by Cate Price
M. Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule by Jennifr Chiaverini
N. New Uses For Old Boyfriends by Beth Kendrick
O. One Garish Ghost & Blueberry Peach Jam by Jennifer Fischetto
P. Passing Through Perfect by Bette Lee Crosby
Q. To Quiet in Brooklyn by Susan Russo Anderson
R. A Root Awakening by Kate Collins
S. A Seamless Murder by Melissa Bourbon
T. Tales From Suburbia by Brandi Haas
U. Under the Cajun Moon by Mindy Starns Clark
V. Visions of Sugarplums by Jennifer Blake
W. Wedding Duress by Elizabeth Lynn Casey
X. X Out of Wonderland by David Allan Cates
Y. Yarned and Dangerous by Sadie Hartwell
Z. The Alpine Zen by Mary Daheim

just for fun 2015JanuaryApple Turnover Murder by Joanne Fluke
February – Book Fair and Foul by Erika Chase
March – The Body in the Boudoir by Katherine Page Hall
April – Almost Always by Bobbi Reed
May – The Body in the Piazza
June – Devil’s Food Cake Murder by Joanna Fluke
July – Death is Like A Box of Chocolates by Kathy Aarons
August – The Corpse With the Platinum Hair by Cathy Ace
September – For Whom The Blue Bell Tolls by Beverly Allen
October – Farewell, Dorothy Parker by Ellen Meister
November – Mrs. Kaplan and the Matzoh Ball of Death by Mark Reutlinger
December – Snow Way Out by Christine Husom

ANIMAL READING CHALLENGE

 1. A Killer Retreat by Tracy Weber
2. Kill ’em With Cayenne by Gail Oust
3. Kelly’s Koffee Shop by Dianne Harman
4. Fry Another Day by J.J. Cook
5. Romeow and Juliet by Kathi Daley
6. Lie of the Needle by Cate Price
7. Arsenic and Old Books by Miranda James
8. License to Dill by Mary Ellen Hughes
9. The Mad Catter by Kathi Daley
10. How to Catch A Cat by Rebecca M. Hale
11. Denim in Demise by Duffy Brown
12. Hot Fudge Frame Up by Christine DeSmet
13. Seven Threadly Sins by Janet Bolin
or more.

Challenge Completed April 22, 2015

Cruisinchatting cozies
1. In Hot Water by J.J. Cook
2. Feta Attraction by Susannah Hardy
3. All The President’s Menus by Julie Hyzy
4. A Killer Retreat by Tracy Weber
5. Devil in the Deadline by LynDee Walker
6. Kill ’em With Cayenne by Gail Oust
7. One Garish Ghost & Blueberry Peach Jam by Jennifer Fischetto
8. A Seamless Murder by Melissa Bourban
9. As Gouda As Dead by Avery Aames
10. Kelly’s Koffee Shop by Dianne Harman
11. Cunning Cruise Ship Caper by Sally Carpenter
12. Fry Another Day by J.J. Cook
13. Dead Man Walker by Duffy Brown
14. A Root Awakening by Kate Collins
15. Criminal Confections by Colette London
16. Death and The Redheaded Woman by Loretta Ross
17. This Old Homicide by Kate Carlisle
18. Romeow and Juliet by Kathi Daley
19. Lie of the Needle by Cate Price
20. Arsenic and Old Books by Miranda James

21. Drawing Conclusions by Deirdre Verne
22. The Deep End By Julie Mulhern
23. License to Dill by Mary Ellen Hughes
24. Dang Near Dead by Nancy G. West
25. An Early Wake by Sheila Connolly
26. A Suspendered Sentence by Laura Bradford
27. Murder with Fried Chicken and Waffles by A.L. Herbert
28. Flamenco, Flan, and Fatalities by Mary McHugh
29. Deadlines by E. Hepner
30. The Mad Catter by Kathi Daley
31. Too Cute To Kill by Linda Crowder
32. Main Street Murder by Linda Crowder
33. How to Catch A Cat by Rebecca M. Hale
34. Garden of Death by Chrystle Fiedler
35. Denim in Demise by Duffy Brown
36. Wedding Duress by Elizabeth Lynn Casey
37. Ladle to the Grave by Connie Archer
38. Bridges Burned By Annette Dashofy
39. Hot Fudge Frame Up by Christine DeSmet
40. Dark Chocolate Demise by Jenn McKinlay
41. Seven Threadly Sins by Janet Bolin
42. Lemon Pies and Little White Lies by Ellery Adams
43. Slayed on the Slopes by Kate Dyer Seeley
44. Musseled Out by Barbara Ross
45. Oh Say You Can Your Fudge by Nancy Coco
46. The Final Reveille by Annette Dashofy
47. Deadly Desires at Homey Church Hall by Hannah Dennison
48. The Body in the Birches by Katherine Hall Page
49. Bite the Biscuit by Linda O. Johnston
50.  The Alpine Zen by Mary Daheim
51. The Diva Steals a Chocolate Kiss by Krista Davis

52. Bubba Done It by Maggie Toussaint
53. A Wee Murder in my Shop by Fran Stewart
54. The Book Stops Here by Kate Carisle
55. Purl Up and Die by Maggie Sefton
56. Death at Timberly by Maithili Pradhan
57. Smothered, Covered and Dead by Liz Lipperman
58. A Fatal Chapter by Lorna Barrett
59. A Bushel Full of Murder by Paige Shelton
60. A Finely Knit Murder by Sally Goldenbaum
61. Dressed to Kill by Lynn Cahoon
62. Justice For Katie by Linda Crowder
63. A Season for Killing Blondes by Joanne Guidoccio
64. Murder at Beechwood by Alyssa Maxwell
65. Fatal Reservations by Lucy Burdette
66. Grace Cries Uncle by Julie Hyzy
67. Butter Off Dead by Leslie Budewitz
68. Fatal Fairies by Joyce and Jim Lavene
69. The Royal Assassin by Kate Parker
70. Peaches and Screams by Susan Furlong
72. Hooked on Ewe by Hannah Reed
73. Death by Didgeridoo by Barbara Venkataraman
74. The Case of the Killer Divorce by Barbara Venkataraman
75. Peril in the Park by Barbara Venkataraman
76. Caught Read-Handed by Terrie Farley Moran
77. Trawling For Trouble by Shelley Freydont
78. The Karma of King Harald by Richard Audry
79. King Harald’s Heist by Richard Audry
80. Fudging the Books by Daryl Wood Gerber
81. The Musubi Murder by Frankie Bow
82. Give Em Pumpkin To Talk About by Joyce and Jim Lavene
83. Fool Me Once by Steven Hockensmith
85. Seniors Sleuth by J.J. Chow
86. Dream A Little Scram by Mary Kennedy
87. Murder in the Paperback Parlor by Ellery Adams
88. Under the Cajun Moon by Mindy Starns Clark
89. Better Homes and Corpses by Kathleen Bridge
90. A Desperate Homecoming by Anna Loan Wilsey
91. Under the Cajun Moon by Mindy Starns Clark
92. Better Homes and Corpses by Kathleen Bridge
93. A Deceptive Homecoming By Anna Loan Wilsey
94. Revenge of the Chili Queens by Kylie Logan
95. Murder on the Horizon by M.L. Rowland
96. If Onions Could Spring Leeks by Paige Shelton
97. Basket Case by Nancy Haddock
98. Truffled to Death by Kathy Aarons
99. Black Cat Crossing by Kay Finch
100. Cancans, Croissants and Caskets by Mary McHugh
Challenge Completed 9/16/2015
101. Law and Author by Erika Chase
102. Threads of Evidence by Lea Wait
103. Move Your Blooming Corpse by D.E. Ireland
104. – The Cracked Spine by Paige Shelton
105. Mission to Kill by Lizbeth Lipperman
106. Looking for Mr. Good Witch by Joyce and Jim Lavene
107. Plantation Shudders by Ellen Bryon
108. Floral Depravity by Beverly Allen
109. Mission Impastable by Sharon Arthur Moore
110. Guaranteed to Bleed by Julie Mulhern
111. Heroes and Hooligans by Amy Metz
112. Murder Plainly Read by Isabella Alan
113. The Skeleton Haunts the House by Leigh Perry
114. Trick or Deadly Treat by Livia J. Washburn
115. The Corpse with the Sapphire Eyes by Cathy Ace
116. Florist Grump by Kate Collins
117. Short and Tall Tales in Goose Pimple Junction by Amy Metz
118. Flipped for Murder by Maddie Day
119. Olive and Let Die by Sussanah Hardy
120. Death Changes Everything by Linda Crowder
121. Trimmed for Murder by Sally Goldenbaum
122. Miss Ruffles Inherits Everything by Nancy Martin
123. Stabbing in the Senate by Colleen J. Shogun
124. Dead Tease by Victoria Houston
125. Mrs. Kaplan and the Matzoh Ball of Death by Mark Reutlinger
126. A Pain in the Tuchis by Mark Reutlinger
127. Dead to the Last Drop by Cleo Coyle
128. Sweetheart Deal by Linda Joffe Hull
129. Writing All Wrongs by Ellery Adams
130. Cover Shot by LynDee Walker
131. Murder Most Howl by Krista Davis
132. Smart, But Dead by Nancy G. West
133. Bun For Your Life by Karoline Barrett
134. To Brew or Not To Brew by Joyce Tremel
135. Yarned and Dangerous by Sadie Hartwell
136. Murder Fir Christmas by Joyce and Jim Lavene
137. The Conspiring Woman by Kate Parker
138. Dorothy Parker Drank Here by Ellen Meister
139. Engaged in Murder by Barbara Venkataraman
140. Here Today, Gone Tamale by Rebecca Adler
141. A Christmas Mourning by Laura Bradford
142. Rest Ye Murdered Gentkeman by Vicki Delany
Finishing the Series
1. The Body in the Boudior  – The Body in the PiazzaThe Body in the Birches by Katherine Hall Page
2. Too Cute to Kill and Main Street Murder – Justice for Katie – Death Changes Everything by Linda Crowder

where are you reading

1. Tennessee
2. New York
3. Alabama
4. District of Columbia
5. New Jersey
6. Washington
7. New Hampshire
8. Virginia
9. Georgia
10. Minnesota
11. Texas
12. Ohio
13. Oregon
14. Missouri
15. Delaware
16. Indiana
17. Mississippi
18. Pennsylvania
19. Maryland
20. California
21. Wyoming
22. South Carolina
23. Vermont
24. Wisconsin
25. Arizona
26. Connecticut
27. Maine
28. Michigan
29. Iowa
30. Colorado
31. Montana
32. Kentucky
33. Massachusetts
34. Rhode Island
35. Florida
36. Hawaii
37. Louisiana
38. North Carolina
39. Nevada
40. Arkansas
41. South Dakota

Abroad
1. Ireland
2. Spain
3. Italy
4. Amazon Rainforest
5. England
6. Ontario, Canada
7. France
8. Scotland
9. Wales
10. Mexico

literary road trip 2012
1. Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule by Jennifer Chiaverini (Wisconsin Author)
2. License to Dill by Mary Ellen Hughes  (Wisconsin Author)
3. Hot Fudge Frame Up by Christine DeSmet (Wisconsin Author & Setting)
4. The Jesus Cow by Michael Perry (Wisconsin Author & Setting)
5. Hooked on Ewe by Hannah Reed (Wisconsin Author)
6. Lost in America by Laura Fitzferald (Wisconsin Author)
7. Death on the Prairie by Kathleen Ernst (Wisconsin Author)
8. Christmas Bells by Jennifer Chiaverini (Wisconsin Author) 
9. Trimmed for Murder by Sally Goldenbaum (Wisconsin Author)
10. Dead Tease by Victoria Houston (Wisconsin Author) (Wisconsin Setting)

ebookreadingchallenge
1. Tales From Suburbia by Brandi Haas
2. BIG MOJO by Jack Getze
3. A Killer Retreat by Tracy Weber
4. Crash & Burn by Lisa Gardner
5. Devil in the Deadline by LynDee Walker
6. One Garish Ghost & Blueberry Peach Jam by Jennifer Fischetto
7. Kelly’s Koffee Shop by Dianne Harman
8. Cunning Cruise Ship Caper by Sally Carpenter
9. Dead Man Walker by Duffy Brown
10. Criminal Confections by Colette London
11. Death and The Redheaded Woman by Loretta Ross
12. Drawing Conclusions by Deirdre Verne
13. The Deep End By Julie Mulhern
14. Dang Near Dead by Nancy G. West
15. Flamenco, Flan, and Fatalities by Mary McHugh
16. Too Cute To Kill by Linda Crowder
17. Main Street Murder by Linda Crowder
18. The Glassblower’s Wife by Joanna Campbell Slan
19. Bridges Burned By Annette Dashofy
20. The Denim Blue Sea by Joanne DeMaio
21. The Body in the Birches by Katherine Hall Page
22. Deadly Desires at Homey Church Hall by Hannah Dennison
23. A Far Gone Night by John Carnen
24. Dying Brand by Wendy Tyson
25. Bite the Biscuit by Linda O. Johnston
Challenge Complete May 13, 2015 but going to try for the next level of 50.
26. To Quiet in Brooklyn by Susan Russo Anderson  
27. Southern Heat by David Burnsworth
28. When the Balls Drop by Brad Garrett
29. Death at Timberly by Maithili Pradhan
30. Let Me Die In His Footsteps by Lori Roy
31. Smothered, Covered and Dead by Liz Lipperman
32. Dressed to Kill by Lynn Cahoon
33. Justice For Katie by Linda Crowder
34. A Season for Killing Blondes by Joanne Guidoccio
35. Somebody I Used to Know by David Bell
36. Fatal Fairies by Joyce and Jim Lavene
37. Death by Didgeridoo by Barbara Venkataraman
38. The Case of the Killer Divorce by Barbara Venkataraman
39. Peril in the Park by Barbara Venkataraman
40. Trawling For Trouble by Shelley Freydont
41. The Musubi Murder by Frankie Bow
42. Give Em Pumpkin To Talk About by Joyce and Jim Lavene
43. Fool Me Once by Steven Hockensmith
44. Zachary’s Choice by Susie Labonte
45. The Paris Key by Juliet Blackwell
46. The Reckoning Stones by Laura DiSilverio
47. Cancans, Croissants and Caskets by Mary McHugh
48. Lost in America by Laura Fitzferald
49. The Brooklyn Drop by Susan Russo Anderson
50. Move Your Blooming Corpse by D.E. Ireland
Challenge Completed 9/24/2015
51. Mission to Kill by Lizbeth Lipperman
52. Death on the Prairie by Kathleen Ernst
53. Guaranteed to Bleed by Julie Mulhern
54. Heroes and Hooligans by Amy Metz
55. The Corpse with the Sapphire Eyes by Cathy Ace
56. Short and Tall Tales in Goose Pimple Junction by Amy Metz
57. Death Changes Everything by Linda Crowder
58. Dead Tease by Victoria Houston
59. Mrs. Kaplan and the Matzoh Ball of Death by Mark Reutlinger
60. A Pain in the Tuchis by Mark Reutlinger
61. Sweetheart Deal by Linda Joffe Hull
62. Cover Shot by LynDee Walker
63. Snow Deer and Cocoa Cheer by Joanne DeMaio
64. Smart, But Dead by Nancy G. West
65. Bun For Your Life by Karoline Barrett
66. Yarned and Dangerous by Sadie Hartwell
67. Murder Fir Christmas by Joyce and Jim Lavene
68. The Rise of The Red Queen by Borne Morris
69. Dorothy Parker Drank Here by Ellen Meister70. Engaged in Murder by Barbara Venkataraman
70. Revenge of the Sea by Jesse Giles Christiansen
71. A Christmas Mourning by Laura Bradford
72. Tis the Season by Sharon Pape
72. Visions of Sugarplums by Jennifer Blake

Wow, that is a lot of books! Most are linked to my reviews. I completed all but the Where Are You Reading? Challenge. 41 states, not too bad, maybe in 2016 I will visit them all.

How did you do this year? Books read? Challenges completed? Please share!!

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent
Posted in Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Challenges Cloak and Dagger Challenge Crafty Cozy Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Finish The Series Challenge TBR Pile Challenge What An Animal Reading Challenge Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

Are You Up For A Challenge? Maybe 2, 3 or 12…

challenges
It’s that time of year, wrapping up this year’s Reading Challenges and planning for next year’s Reading Challenges.

I keep track of all my challenges on the Reading Challenges Page here on my blog but most challenges do not require a blog. You can keep track on spreadsheet or word document. You can also set up separate bookshelves for each challenge on GoodReads. The important thing is to read books you enjoy and sometimes challenges give us the push we need. This post is about the new 2016 Challenges. I will post a wrap up of my 2015 in early January.

I have already posted about the Challenges I am hosting.

Craving For Cozies Challenge 2016 and the 2016 Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge.

472 goodreadsSince 2011 I have participated in and completed the GoodReads Reading Challenge. The link for signing up with be posted on GoodReads soon, usually January 1.

You Read How Many Books

The 2016 You Read How Many Books Challenge is now being hosted by The Crafty Engineer’s Bookshelf, It is for people who read more than 100 books a year.

Choose a Level
Level 1: 100 minimum
Level 2: 150
Level 3: 200
Level 4: 250 or more

I almost made it to 200 books this year which really surprised me, so I am signing up for Level 3 for 2016.

Just click here for more details and to sign up.

 

pages read

The Crafty Engineer’s Bookshelf is also hosting 2016 Pages Read Challenge.  This is a new challenge for me.

Choose a Level
Level 1: 13,000 pages read
Level 2: 26,000 pages read
Level 3: 52,000 pages read
Level 4: 78,000 pages read
Level 5: 104,000 pages read

I am going to strive for Level 3.

Just click here for more details and to sign up.

ebook16

Annette’s Book Spot is again hosting the E-Book Reading Challenge.

Levels:

1. Bits – 5 ebooks
2. Bytes – 10 ebooks
3. Megabytes – 25 ebooks
4. Gigabytes – 50 ebooks
5. Terabytes – 75 ebooks
6. Empty the Cloud – 100 ebooks

I signed up for Level 4 – Gigabytes this year and am amazed that I almost reached Level 5 – Terabytes. So I can going to attempt the Terabytes level in 2016.

Click here for more details and to sign up.

cozychallenge2016

Even though I am hosting my own Cozy reading challenge I will still be taking part in the Cruisin’ Thru The Cozies Reading Challenge 2016 hosted by Yvonne at Socrates Book Reviews. I have taken part in this one since she started it back in 2010.

Choose the level you wish to participate:

Level 1 – Snoop – Read at least 6 books
Level 2 – Investigator – Read 7-12 books
Level 3 – Super Sleuth – Read 13-20 books
Level 4 – Sleuth Extraordinaire – Read 21 or more books

I will be signing up at the Sleuth Extraordinaire level.

Click here for more details and to sign up.

What an animal ixSocrates Book Reviews also hosts the What An Animal IX Reading Challenge. Animals and cozy mysteries seem to go hand in hand.

Level 1 – Read at least 6 books
Level 2 – Read 7-12
Level 3 – Read 13-20
Level 4 – Read 21 or more

I am signing up for Level 4 this year.

Click here for more details and to sign up.

craftycozychallenge1

This is a new challenge. The Crafty Cozy Challenge is hosted by Books Are Life – Vita Libri.

There are no levels for this tour. I can’t wait to see how many I read that fit the category. I am starting out with a goal of 25.

Click here for more details and to sign up.

cloak and dagger

It has been a few years since I have participated in a general mystery/thriller challenge. This challenge is hosted by Books, Movies, Reviews. Oh my! and Booker T’s Farm. I have plenty of books on my shelf to choose from. For me this will be a non-cozy challenge.

Levels:

1-10 books – Amateur Sleuth
11-20 books – Detective
21-30 books – Inspector
31+ books – Special agent

I am signing up at the Detective Level.

Click here for more details and to sign up.

Final 2 Large

Bea’s Book Nook has taken over hosting this challenge. The Finishing the Series Challenge pushes me to catch up on my favorite series but I set some extra rules for myself. I have to be 2 or more books behind in the series. That is why I only commit to finishing just 2 series each year.

Level 1 (Novice series reader) – Complete 1 series.
Level 2 (Testing the waters) – Complete 2 -4 series.
Level 3 (Experienced) – Complete 3 – 6 series.
Level 4 (Expert series reader) – Complete 7 or more series.

Click here for more details and to sign up.

TBR CHALLENGE

This year I will not be hosting the Just For Fun Reading Challenge but I want to try to read more books from my huge TBR (To Be Read) stacks. This is a perfect challenge to help me. The 2016 TBR Pile Reading Challenge is hosted by Bookish Lifestyle. They also have a book club as an optional add to this challenge.

How many books are you planning to read for this challenge?
1-10 A Firm Handshake
11-20 A Friendly Hug
21-30 First Kiss
31-40 Sweet Summer Fling
41-50 Could This Be Love?
50+ Married with Children

I am going to try to reach First Kiss level.

Click here for more details and to sign up.

literary road trip 2012

I challenge myself personally each year to read 10 books written by or books set in my home state of Wisconsin. You can do your own personal challenge to read books from your home state too.
Reading Challenge Addict
By my count that is 13 Challenges when you add the 2 I am hosting. So yes I am a Reading Challenge Addict. This year Bev from My Reader’s Block is one with a HUGE problem and the current author and caretaker of the challenge that was previously hosted by Cheryl at CMash Loves to Read and then Gina at Hott Books.  We each can stand proudly and say,

I am a Reading Challenge Addict.

How addicted are you?

  • Easy as Pie: 1-5 Challenges (Entered & Completed)
  • On the Roof: 6-10 Challenges (Entered & Completed)
  • In Flight: 11-15 Challenges (Entered & Completed)
  • Out of This World: 16+ Challenges (Entered & Completed)

__________________

There is still one challenge I hope to add and that is the Where Are Reading Challenge hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. Sheila lost her son in a car accident not long after my Kris took his life. I am not sure if she is going to host in 2016. If she doesn’t it will be a personal challenge for me. That would keep me still in the In-Flight level.

Looks like I will have a very busy year ahead with so many great books to read.

Remember you do NOT need a blog to enter these challenges. Just sign up and read and have fun. Start with just 1. Be careful, as you can see they are quite addicting!!

Come back and tell me about the ones you join and let me know of others you find. If the ones above aren’t for you, head over to A Novel Challenge. They are featuring many more.

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent
Posted in E-Book Challenge Reviews 2015 Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting

Review – Dead Tease by Victoria Houston

dead teaseDead Tease
(Loon Lake Mystery)

12th in Series
Mystery
Setting – Wisconsin
Tyrus Books (March 17, 2012)
Hardcover: 208 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1440533129
Trade Paperback ISBN-13: 978-1440533112
E-Book – ASIN: B007L7LNMO
goodreads-badge-add-plusShop Indie Bookstores

 

A hot August afternoon and Midwest Clinic CEO John McNeil has been working late. Working on his latest conquest, that is. Jen Williams is twenty-six, in charge of graphics for the hospital’s PR division—and quite attractive in a healthy, athletic kind of way. She is quick to laugh and a little too quick to fall for guys. She is no virgin. And she is one of three women—including his wife—intimately familiar with McNeil.

When Jen’s youthful body is found with a single stab wound through the heart, suspicion falls on both McNeil’s wife, who insists she is being stalked, and the striking hospital physician with whom he had just ended an affair. Pressure to find the killer falls on Loon Lake Police Chief Lewellyn “Lew” Ferris and Dr. Paul “Doc” Osborne, the retired dentist and forensic dental expert whom she has deputized to help with the investigation—when they are not taking a break for fishing and other personal pursuits. When the mayor demands Lew take early retirement—and Doc has to babysit his teenage granddaughter who won’t stop texting—the frustrations mount.

Desperate for a few hours off—and persuaded by Ray Pradt (a fishing guide who wears a stuffed trout on his head, so they should have known better)—to try fly fishing from kayaks, Doc and Lew find themselves in life-and-death straits on the river. This leads to an unexpected and macabre discovery that just may break the case.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Time to travel north and escape to Loon Lake. This time Loon Lake Police Chief Lewellyn “Lew” Ferris assisted by Dr. Paul “Doc” Osborne is investigating the death of a young woman. She was found stabbed through the heart outside her home. Lew and Doc start out at her work place and the CEO John McNeil. A man with secrets is always a good suspect.

I have enjoyed this series from the start. I love these characters. When the mayor started pushing about retirement Lew and the reason why he was doing it made me want to scream. But Lew took a little time to reflect and then she found a way to stop the mayor in his tracks and I had a huge smile on my face.

The mystery was good but not great. I did figure it out a little early but it was fun to follow Lew and Doc and their process.

As always the descriptions of the area, Northern Wisconsin, shined.

We were treated to a little humor as fishing guide Ray Pradt tries to make kayak fly fishing a realty. Oh my, Doc and Lew were his guinea pigs and it was so funny except it could have had dire consequences. Knowing they are the main characters I knew it would turn out alright.

just you and a friend4 STARFISH

Dollycas

This book was from my private collection. 

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

Posted in Cozy Wednesday Cruisin Thru Cozies Guest Posts Reviews 2015 Wisconsin Author You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Sally Goldenbaum – Author of Trimmed for Murder #Giveaway too!

cozy wednesday 2013 640
Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am always so happy when Sally stop by for a visit!

SALLY

 

Visiting Dolly’s cozy corner is like coming home in a way. She and I have been sharing books and lives for years now. Thank you for inviting me back.

 

And in the beginning there was . . .

 

The release of the tenth seaside knitters mystery this month (Trimmed with Murder) has me feeling nostalgic (TEN books. That means ten plus years of hanging out with Nell, Izzy, Cass and Birdie—ten years of friendship with these ladies, ten years of following them around and asking them to share their lives with me).

It has me thinking about the very beginning of the series when I had nothing but a vague idea that I wanted to write a mystery series revolving around four smart, curious women of different ages, four women with four unique personalities—just like the wonderful readers who have come to share them with me.trimmed for murder

Here’s how they came about. I sat down in front of a blank computer screen and began writing four essays about the women I’d like to have as friends. I decided on an age span that I found interesting—30s, 40s—60 and Birdie, who is Sea Harbor’s wise and wonderful grande dame, somewhere around 80. The essays included things that might never appear in the books, but allowed me entry into their lives, telling me where they were born, went to school, what they studied, their first romantic encounters, first jobs. Astrological signs. Hobbies and idiosyncrasies.

  • Izzy and Nell came from the Midwest where I now live. Izzy headed to Boston to college, just as my daughter did. Nell loves to cook (me, too).
  • Birdie is an easterner who has always lived in the Cape Ann area, but she was actually inspired by a Midwestern woman, a mentor of mine— a wonderful woman who taught me philosophy years ago, who marched at Selma and who is an infinitely wise and wonderful friend.
  • And Cass, my favorite lobsterwoman, was inspired by several books I read about a lobsterwoman who was raised in New England and worked on Cape Ann. I loved the idea of a woman overseeing crusty fishermen – and then sitting in Izzy’s back room and learning how to knit.

And the place? That was easy. My daughter lives on Cape Ann, and about the time I was developing the series, she was beginning her family. Grandchildren on Cape Ann. A place I would want to visit often.

  • Sea Harbor, the seaside knitters’ town, is culled from all that I love about Cape Ann and Boston’s North Shore. Charming New England villages, wonderful little stores and restaurants, and interesting personalities and nationalities forming communities that live and love and work together.

Ten years. Happy anniversary Nell, Izzy, Cass, and Birdie. Those long-ago essays were a start, and in each book, I hope to delve a little deeper into their lives, finding out what makes each of them the woman she has become. In TRIMMED WITH MURDER we learn a little more about Izzy’s family. I hope you enjoy meeting Charlie….

Until next time, thank you for joining me in this wonderful Cozy Corner. And thank you Dear Dolly.

~Sally

About The Author

Sally Goldenbaum is a sometime philosophy teacher, a knitter, and an editor, and the author of more than thirty novels. Sally became more serious about knitting with the birth of her first grandchild and the creation of the Seaside Knitters mystery series. 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.

Follow Sally

Webpage

Twitter    Facebook

trimmed for murderTrimmed with Murder:
A Seaside Knitters Mystery

10th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Massachusetts
An Obsidian Mystery (November 3, 2015)
New American Library
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Hardcover: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451471628
E-Book ASIN: B00SI02B2Y
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

 

In this holiday yarn from the USA Today bestselling author of A Finely Knit Murder, all Izzy Chambers Perry wants for Christmas is to keep her brother out of jail….

In Sea Harbor, the holidays mean cozy fires, festive carols, and soft skeins of yarn waiting to become hats and sweaters and scarves. And this year, Izzy and the other Seaside Knitters are also knitting tiny ornaments to decorate a tree for the first annual tree-trimming contest.

Their holiday cheer is multiplied when Izzy’s younger brother, Charlie Chambers, unexpectedly arrives to volunteer at a local clinic. He brings with him outspoken hitchhiker Amber Hanson, who is returning to Sea Harbor to claim an inheritance. She quickly reacquaints herself with the area—and forms an unlikely friendship with Charlie. But their bond is shattered when her body is found beneath the undecorated trees on the Harbor Green.

Charlie is a suspect in the murder, so Izzy and her fellow Knitters step in to uncover the truth. Their journey takes them into Charlie’s past and tests their fierce love for him. But it’s only by peeling away long-buried secrets that they can hope to restore joy to the season and enjoy the shining lights of the newly decorated trees….

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I have been looking forward to this book since I finished A Finely Knit Murder in the Spring and it is even better than I had hoped!

Charlie Chambers, Izzy’s brother, returns to Sea Harbor very unexpectedly and just happens to pick up Amber Hanson along the way. Charlie is there to start work at a free clinic and Amber has some papers to sign regarding an inheritance. They become fast friends knowing that neither of them plans to stay in town for long. Sadly Amber’s visit is cut short when she is found dead on the Harbor Green. Charlie may have been the last person to see her alive and quickly becomes the prime suspect. So Izzy and the Seaside Knitters are plowing through the clues to prove his innocence. They are also hoping he stays in Sea Harbor well past the holidays.

Curl up in front of the fire with a class of wine and enjoy the latest Seaside Knitters mystery. I sure did.

Sally Goldenbaum breathes such life into these characters it is hard to remember they are not real. Izzy, Nell, Cass and Birdie are the Seaside Knitters. They meet each week at Izzy’s shop to work on their projects, enjoy some delicious food and discuss everything from knitting to families and  sometimes even murder. They also gather at least once a week at Nell’s along with their families and friends for a potluck dinner and some adult beverages. The current crime is also a hot topic. After 10 years we have met so many wonderful characters. I have given up trying to choose a favorite because I love them all.

It was so easy to envision Sea Harbor at Christmastime. The annual tree decorating contest is an awesome idea. All the trees recently planted on the Harbor Green and each business or group trimming with specially made ornaments all to raise money for charity.

Several plotlines, Charlie’s return after so many years, Amber’s life that was tear jerking as we came to know more and more, the holiday events. They all converge when Amber is murdered. The killer strikes several chapters into the story so Amber has found her way into our hearts. Charlie’s pain at the loss was just so sad.

Like all the earlier installments friendship is the main theme of this book. The people we meet in these stories are one big family. The celebrate the highs and are so supportive in the lows. There are shoulders to cry on, hugs are passed out freely and ears are always open to listen. Great food and drink and yarn entangles them altogether. And vicariously we get to go along for the ride.

It has been an amazing 10 books and I truly can’t wait for trip #11.

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas

GIVEAWAY

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

Leave a comment for Sally for 5 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 November 25, 2015 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 Giveaways Reviews 2015 Wisconsin Author You Read How Many Books Challenge

Review/Giveaway – Christmas Bells by Jennifer Chiaverini

christmas bellsChristmas Bells: A Novel
Dutton (October 27, 2015)
Setting – Massachusetts
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Hardcover: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0525955245
E-Book ASIN: B00SI02BZ6
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

 

New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Chiaverini celebrates Christmas, past and present, with a wondrous novel inspired by the classic poem “Christmas Bells,” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

I heard the bells on Christmas Day/ Their old familiar carols play/ And wild and sweet/ The words repeat/Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

In 1860, the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow family celebrated Christmas at Craigie House, their home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The publication of Longfellow’s classic Revolutionary War poem, “Paul Revere’s Ride,” was less than a month hence, and the country’s grave political unrest weighed heavily on his mind. Yet with his beloved wife, Fanny, and their five adored children at his side, the delights of the season prevailed.

In present-day Boston, a dedicated teacher in the Watertown public school system is stunned by somber holiday tidings. Sophia’s music program has been sacrificed to budget cuts, and she worries not only about her impending unemployment but also about the consequences to her underprivileged students. At the church where she volunteers as music director, Sophia tries to forget her cares as she leads the children’s choir in rehearsal for a Christmas Eve concert. Inspired to honor a local artist, Sophia has chosen a carol set to a poem by Longfellow, moved by the glorious words he penned one Christmas Day long ago, even as he suffered great loss.

Christmas Bells chronicles the events of 1863, when the peace and contentment of Longfellow’s family circle was suddenly, tragically broken, cutting even deeper than the privations of wartime. Through the pain of profound loss and hardship, Longfellow’s patriotism never failed, nor did the power of his language. “Christmas Bells,” the poem he wrote that holiday, lives on, spoken as verse and sung as a hymn.

Jennifer Chiaverini’s resonant and heartfelt novel for the season reminds us why we must continue to hear glad tidings, even as we are tested by strife. Reading Christmas Bells evokes the resplendent joy of a chorus of voices raised in reverent song.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

There are two stories in this book. One set in present time and the other in 1863. They are tied together by Longfellow poem Christmas Bells. The book alternates chapters going back and forth between the two stories.

The main story tells the reader about Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and his family before and through the civil war. As always Jennifer Chiaverini has researched his life and bought us a wonderful story and presented a slice of history in a very enjoyable way. His love for his family and the heartbreak he suffers leaps off the pages. His wonderful poems are given new life. That new life shines in the second story.

The present day story introduces us to Sophia, a schoolteacher whose music program is being slashed by budget cuts. Something that is happening all across the United States. Sophia is also the music director at her church. She is featuring the carol “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” based on Longfellow poem for the church’s Christmas service. This story takes place in a short period of time and each chapter is told from a different person’s point of view. This story was entertaining as well. Because parts of the story overlapped there was quite a bit a repetition. I found myself skimming those parts and wish the author had found another way to present this story. The characters were very engaging and I would have liked a broader story about them.

Chiaverini has added another wonderful book to her repertoire. Perfect for the holiday season.

just you and a friend4 STARFISHDollycas

You can find out more about Jennifer Chiaverini and her books on her webpage here.



GIVEAWAY

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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 November 10, 2015 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 Cozy Wednesday Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Guest Posts Literary Escapes Reviews 2015 Wisconsin Author You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Kathleen Ernst – Author of Death on the Prairie – Giveaway too!

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

It my pleasure to welcome Kathleen Ernst back to Escape With Dollycas today! 

The new Chloe Ellefson Mystery, Death on the Prairie, comes out tomorrow! 

Kathleen Ernst

 

Choosing a Setting

When I began conceptualizing the Chloe Ellefson Historic Sites mystery series, I knew I wanted my protagonist to be a collections curator at Old World Wisconsin. OWW is a large living history museum where I once worked, so I had that setting locked in my mind.

I also thought it would be fun to get Chloe out and about at times as the series progressed. I loved the early Anna Pigeon books from Nevada Barr, and eagerly anticipated each as a chance to vicariously experience a new national park. I wanted my series to introduce special historic sites and museums to readers.

DeathOnThePrairieCoverWebThe new Chloe mystery, Death on the Prairie, is the sixth. As the series has grown I’ve been delighted to receive readers’ suggestions for future settings. Equally delightful are invitations from staff at various historic sites and museums.

But choosing a setting for each new book is a complicated thing—especially since it’s not the first element I consider.

The most important factor is where my main characters are, emotionally speaking, at the end of the last book. Chloe usually takes center stage, but police officer Roelke McKenna is also a recurring character. In each book Chloe and Roelke discover things about themselves, and about each other. They grow emotionally. I want their journey to be reflected in the mystery plot, which has to do with setting.

In Death on the Prairie, Chloe embarks on a road trip to visit all of the homesites dedicated to Laura Ingalls Wilder, her favorite author. If you’ve read Laura’s books you know that the struggle to find a home is a strong recurring theme. I’ve wanted to write about the Laura sites for years, but I needed to wait until Chloe and Roelke were at a point where the issue of finding a home had resonance for them.

I also need a site or museum that has enough landscape, if you will, to support a mystery with lots of twists and turns. Old World Wisconsin is spread on 576 acres of land within a state  forest—the largest outdoor museum of rural life in the United States. Over sixty structures have been moved and fully restored, including ten working farms and a crossroads village. All that provides plenty of room for Chloe to get into trouble.

the light keeper's legacy

The other sites Chloe visits are equally rich. The Light Keeper’s Legacy was largely set on an uninhabited island in Lake Michigan. Heritage of Darkness was set at Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum, housed in a big historic structure with an outdoor division of old buildings too. Tradition of Deceit was partly set in an abandoned industrial flour mill in Minneapolis, which historians were planning to turn into the Mill City Museum. Now that setting provided ample opportunity for excitement!

As much as I love one-room log cabins—and the people who have preserved them—I need more real estate to support a book. That doesn’t mean I can’t include such a cabin in a story, but it won’t work as a primary setting.

I also avoid historic structures that are, for one reason or another, a source of current conflict within a community. Is a town board divided on whether to keep funding the local museum? Is the debate causing hurt feelings and animosity among neighbors? I might one day fictionalize the kernel of dissent, but I don’t want to wade into a real debate about a real town and historic site.

The series starts in 1982 (when my museum career started), and my general plan is to write four books for each calendar year. The 7th Chloe mystery, which I’m writing now, is set in the summer of 1983. After beginning it I got an intriguing invitation that will likely lead to a mystery, but I think that particular book will also work best if it’s set in the summer. That means I have to wait several years before settling in on that.

Finally, I have to care about a place to choose it for a setting. I will spend a year or more “living” in that space while I explore its history and write the book. Loving the environment and local stories is a definite plus!

And I have to feel confident that readers will enjoy visiting a particular setting as much as I do. I love hearing from readers who visited the setting after reading a particular Chloe Ellefson mystery. Each book has a dedicated page on my website that includes maps and photos and, in some cases, tour guides to make site visits easy and armchair travel vivid.

My files of possible future locations are ever-growing. Do you have a favorite museum or historic site? I’d love to hear about it!

About Kathleen Ernst

Death on the Prairie is the 6th Chloe Ellefson Historic Sites mystery. In addition to the Chloe series, Kathleen has written many books for American Girl, including nine about the historical character she created, Caroline Abbott. She also writes nonfiction, including A Settler’s Year: Pioneer Life Through The Seasons. Over 1.5 million copies of Kathleen’s 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:

www.kathleenernst.com

www.sitesandstories.wordpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/kathleenernst.author

 



DeathOnThePrairieCoverWebDeath on the Prairie
(A Chloe Ellefson Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
6th in the Series
Midnight Ink (October 8, 2015)
Paperback: 360 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738744704
E-Book – ASIN: B015CZD162
goodreads-badge-add-plusShop Indie Bookstores

 

Chloe Ellefson and her sister, Kari, have long dreamed of visiting each historic site dedicated to Laura Ingalls Wilder. When Chloe takes custody of a quilt once owned by the beloved author, the sisters set out on the trip of a lifetime, hoping to prove that Wilder stitched it herself.

But death strikes as the journey begins, and trouble stalks their fellow travelers. Among the “Little House” devotees are academic critics, greedy collectors, and obsessive fans. Kari is distracted by family problems, and unexpected news from Chloe’s boyfriend jeopardizes her own future. As the sisters travel deeper into Wilder territory, Chloe races to discover the truth about a precious artifact—and her own heart—before a killer can strike again.

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

If you are a fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder you know there subsets to the fan base. The group that loves both the books and the television show, those that love the books but not the television show, those that loved the show but probably never read the books. Chloe Ellefson and her sister, Kari are in the book loving group. A friend has just given Chloe a quilt that supposedly made by Little House author to authenticate. The timing is perfect because Chloe has been asked to speak during a tour around the Midwest visiting all the places Laura and her family lived. Chloe invites her sister along and they embark on the journey of there dreams.  Both are so excited as they reach their first destination but one of the traveler has some sort of attack and dies before the event even gets started. Chloe tries to help and she soon realizes this death was no accident. The tour continues but trouble follows them. Soon Chloe is looking for more than provenance for her quilt. She is on the trail of a killer.

I am a  fan of both the Laura Ingalls Wilder books and the television show. I loved the Olesons, especially when the Mr. stood up to the Mrs. 🙂 I am also a fan of Chloe Ellefson Mysteries. It started because they are set in Wisconsin but grew because I love Chloe and all the drama she gets involved in. I also like how real her relational with Roelke is, they take one step forward and sometimes two steps back, but you know they truly love and support each other. This time he is dealing with something back in Wisconsin while she is traveling and since the book is set in 1983 there are no cell phones so communication isn’t easy. Kari is also dealing with something and even in the same room she and Chloe are not communicating.

What makes this story interesting is that that the group is traveling from state to state, so the crimes of murder and vandalism fall into different police jurisdictions so it is hard for law enforcement to bring all the clues together, but Chloe is putting them together and putting herself in danger.

Kathleen Ernst always blends history with fiction in a very entertaining way. The other travelers and those guiding the tours were very detailed and unique. I could picture them easily. The mystery is thoughtfully plotted and I was surprised by the ending.

 I did not realize that all of these historic sites existed. Now I want to take the tour myself, no dead bodies please.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

GIVEAWAY

The author is giving 1 copy of this book 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.

Leave a comment for Kathleen for 5 Bonus Entries.

Do you have a favorite museum or historic site? I’d love to hear about it!

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 October 21, 2015 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 E-Book Challenge Reviews 2015 Wisconsin Author You Read How Many Books Challenge

Review/Giveaway – Lost in America by Laura Fitzgerald

lost in americaLost In America (Book One, Episodes 1-3)
Thrillers & Suspense > Suspense > Supernatural
Paperback: 290 pages
Publisher: Cardinal Press LLC (June 4, 2015)
ISBN-13: 978-1942656111
E-Book ASIN: B00WGOAN32
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

It’s the near future, and the next big thing is already here. Smartphones, tablets, even TVs have been replaced by Butlers, your own digital personal assistant who knows you intimately. It’s killer technology … really, it is.

Billed as “luxury for the little guy,” your Butler knows your clothing sizes, your favorite pizza toppings, the music you like, and gets you whatever you want at your command. Your Butler is always there for you. Watching. Waiting. Listening. It knows everything about you, and so does the company behind it.

That’s where the danger comes in.

Meet Kendra Sinclair. She’d be the first to tell you there’s nothing special about her, until she uncovers a massive conspiracy designed to kill millions of people, including those she loves most. Kendra’s the only one who can stop it … unless the bad guys stop her first, which means she needs to get Lost In America.

But how can she, when privacy is just an illusion?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Most of the books I read are series books were there is an underlying story-line or theme that plays throughout the series and has a mystery or two played out within each book. This book contains the first three episodes (like a television series) of a series set in the non-distant future. A future that is getting closer every day.  Life hinges on how the world uses new technology that replaces common things like out cell phones and televisions. Picture Apple’s new smart watch or a smarter television that knows your entire life, from the food you like to your blood type, what you said to your kids this morning to who visited your house. Technology that leaves what the NSA has on us to shame. What happens when all the information falls into the wrong hands. Hands that want to control the world’s destiny.

All I could say when I finished Episode 3 was “wow, Wow, WOW!” Get me Episode 4! It is out and is calling to me! These stories are quite addicting. I found once I started reading I couldn’t stop. At first I was cursing Laura Fitzgerald and then I was thinking this is pretty genius. This type of story is going to interest everyone from teenagers to senior citizens. With the content it gives us some things some of us may see if our lifetimes and for the older folks it was something they have been predicting for years.  With this format some may wait until all the episodes are released and binge read like they binge watch television series on Netflix and others will grab each exciting episode as it comes out and wait with wondrous anticipation for the next installment.

Some may think this book is too Sci-Fi, which I rarely read, and I am here to tell you it is not. This is close enough to current time that is reads like a suspense thriller. Written is the episodic format the suspense continues to build and build and build. I truly am looking forward to each and every new release because I quickly became engaged and Kendra is an leading character that should grab everyone’s attention.

I was given the first 3 episodes bundled together for review and they can be purchased that way. If you are not sure if this story is for you but you want to check it out the episodes can all be purchased separately and the first episode is just 99 cents.

This is totally different than anything else I have written by this author. She has me completely hooked. She releases the episodes almost as soon as they are finished. She is going to have readers begging her to write faster.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about Laura Fitzgerald and her books on her webpage here.  Sign up for her monthly newsletter so you know when new installment to Lost in America are available.


GIVEAWAYThe author is giving away 1 copy of Lost in America!

Print or E-Book – Winner’s Choice!
Print Copy – U.S. Only

Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

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.

Following the new Google+ Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book Fan Page
will earn you 3 Bonus Entries.

Leave a comment for Laura for 5 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 September 29, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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