Aug 072019
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am so excited to welcome Julia Buckley today!

My Hungarian Grandma

By Julia Buckley

(Guest Post Provided by Publicist)

The author with her Grandma in the 1980s

One character in my new mystery, DEATH IN A BUDAPEST BUTTERFLY, has garnered some attention because she is interesting and possibly psychic. She is a Hungarian immigrant who raised her family in America and adapted to a new way of life despite spending all of her formative years in her home country.

Parts of this character, Juliana Horvath, were based on memories I have of my own grandmother, Julia Vig, who came to this country right around 1920 to keep house for her father, who had traveled to America before her. She traveled by ship, alone, to a country she knew nothing of, and a father she had not seen in years. She was seventeen years old.

I only knew my grandmother in her later life, and my fictional Juliana, too, is an old woman.

My grandmother was full of personality. She was loving, sometimes strict, religious but also superstitious, and extremely talented in the areas of needlework and cooking.

I have not tasted my grandmother’s food in close to forty years, but I have FOOD MEMORY—that thing which allows you to recall the best foods of your childhood as though the flavor is still on your tongue. I remember the smell of her kitchen, the taste of her cooking, the wonderful blend of onions and paprika and chicken stock and pastry.

My grandma did not use recipes, at least not ones that she would write down for us. She had a magical sense of what was needed, and she threw it all into a pot and created delicious things. One of my favorite memories of her involves the sleep-overs my sister and I would have at her house (we were the two youngest and probably the only ones not in school at this point). We would sleep in her “hotel” and we got a room to ourselves, known as the “purple room” because of its purple bedspread. We got to unpack our things in the big old dresser, and it felt quite cosmopolitan to us little girls who pretended we were in some Ginger Rogers movie.

In the morning we would go down the solid wood staircase and travel to my grandmother’s kitchen on a wave of some heavenly aroma. She would have cereal for us, but she would be at work, even in the early hours, making noodles. All of her noodles were homemade, rolled out from dough and cut into tiny pieces, then dried so that they could be used in various recipes. She would have a huge pot of chicken soup going; this became our lunch. It was filled with vegetables from her garden, healthy doses of chicken, and her little noodles. (In her early Chicago days, she even killed and plucked the chicken herself).

The book details all of my favorite foods (they become the favorites of Hana, my narrator) and they will make you hungry.

It’s hard to find a good Hungarian restaurant these days, but even if I could locate one near me, the chef would have a very tough act to follow. The reality is that no one cooks like Grandma did, and the best way I can pay homage to her food is to write about it.

~Julia

Thank you so much, Julia, for visiting today!

Keep reading for my thoughts on Death in a Budapest Butterfly.


Death in a Budapest Butterfly (A Hungarian Tea House Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
New Series
Setting – Illinois
Berkley (July 30, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1984804820
ISBN-13: 978-1984804822
Kindle ASIN: B07K5ZJ2QL

Hana Keller serves up European-style cakes and teas in her family-owned tea house, but when a customer keels over from a poisoned cuppa, Hana and her tea-leaf reading grandmother will have to help catch a killer in the first Hungarian Tea House Mystery from Julia Buckley.

Hana Keller and her family run Maggie’s Tea House, an establishment heavily influenced by the family’s Hungarian heritage and specializing in a European-style traditional tea service. But one of the shop’s largest draws is Hana’s eccentric grandmother, Juliana, renowned for her ability to read the future in the leaves at the bottom of customers’ cups. Lately, however, her readings have become alarmingly ominous and seemingly related to old Hungarian legends…

When a guest is poisoned at a tea event, Juliana’s dire predictions appear to have come true. Things are brought to a boil when Hana’s beloved Anna Weatherley butterfly teacup becomes the center of the murder investigation as it carried the poisoned tea. The cup is claimed as evidence by a handsome police detective, and the pretty Tea House is suddenly endangered. Hana and her family must catch the killer to save their business and bring the beautiful Budapest Butterfly back home where it belongs.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Welcome to Maggie’s Tea House where Hana, her mother Maggie, and grandmother Juliana, serve cakes and tea focused on the family’s Hungarian heritage. A real treat is that Juliana can read tea leaves and predict the future. The ladies have a vast tea service collection for their customers and Hana has a private collection too. She just added a beautiful butterfly cup, one that she has put on display at their latest event.

With the event well underway Maggie notices her cup is not where she left, but on a table being used by a woman, she doesn’t recognize. Her grandmother is busy reading leaves and Hana overhears some ominous predictions. She looks back to see the woman who was using her cup hurrying off to the bathroom. After a few minutes, Hana heads that way to find the woman dead.

Detective Erik Wolf arrives on the scene, the butterfly cup is bagged as evidence and he and his partner start getting everyone’s information. When he does start questioning witnesses he asks for Hana, Maggie, and Juliana’s help because they are familiar with the woman and the Hungarian language. With their business labeled as a crime scene, they agree but that doesn’t stop them from doing some snooping on their own.

This series is off to a fine start!

Hana Keller is 26 years old and still single much to her mother and grandmother’s dismay. She lives with her cats Anthony & Cleopatra and she has a passion for promoting her family’s Hungarian culture. Her mother Maggie is the force behind the tea house, but her grandmother is also very involved. I really enjoyed getting to know them, but feel we have just scratched the surface of who they are. There is a thread that purposed that Hana may have a gift similar to her grandmother that seems to have skipped her mother’s generation. I am interested to see how this is featured in future stories.

We are also meet several women/suspects from the neighborhood, the hunky Detective Wolf and his partner. Detective Benton. We are also introduced to pastry chef Francois, Hana’s brother Domo, and her dad too. It is a large cast but the author takes time to make each unique and has left plenty of room for growth. There are some sparks between Hana and Detective Wolf but it is very early in the series and hard to classify as a relationship YET, but we know where they are headed. 🙂

The mystery was filled with intrigue. I did like that Hana and Detective Wolf stayed in constant communication and she passed on everything she uncovered. I was also pleased that the family was not automatically pegged as suspects and were treated with respect whenever they needed to answer questions. There were twists and turns too and clues were released in unique ways. The author’s detailed writing style played well for this type of plot.

The Hungarian theme and language continued throughout the story. I had known a little about the culture and was happy to learn more. When Detective Wolf was around it was necessary for words to be translated and as a reader, not familiar with the language that was appreciated. I love that recipes are included in the back of the book. To learn that Grandma Juliana is partly based on the author’s grandmother brought me even more joy about this book. What a wonderful to pay tribute to someone important in her life.

I found Death in a Budapest Butterfly to be delightfully entertaining. I want to get to know these characters better and visit the tea room again soon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Julia Buckley is the author of the Undercover Dish mysteries and the Writer’s Apprentice mysteries. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and the Chicago Writer’s Association. She has taught high school English for twenty-nine years.

Also By Julia Buckley


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

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.

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

Click Here For Entry Form

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

 

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Aug 062019
 

Risky Biscuits
(A Sugar & Spice Mystery)
by Mary Lee Ashford

 

About the Book


Risky Biscuits (A Sugar & Spice Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Iowa
Lyrical Underground (July 9, 2019)
Paperback: 190 pages
ISBN-10: 1516105079
ISBN-13: 978-1516105076
Digital ASIN: B07JDXFM7G

Former magazine editor “Sugar” Calloway’s life has taken a delicious twist since she launched a community cookbook publishing business with blue-ribbon baker Dixie Spicer. Now these amateur sleuths must solve a small-town murder—without getting burned . .

Sugar and Spice Cookbooks’ newest project is a fundraiser organized by the St. Ignatius Crack of Dawn Breakfast Club, famous for their all-you-can-eat biscuits and gravy events. But when a group member is found dead, Sugar and Spice’s priorities change from raising dough to figuring out who put murder on the menu.

The return of former badboy Nick Marchant has stirred the town’s gossips too. Add a few grudges and some old-fashioned greed over a land deal into the mix, and it’s a recipe for mayhem. And when someone serves up a second helping of murder, Sugar and Spice need to sift the guilty from the blameless, or their next breakfast may be their last . . .

* Includes delicious recipes! *

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Biscuits and Gravy cooks from the St. Ignatius Crack of Dawn Breakfast Club have been hosting breakfast events to raise money for the park shelter where they hold their events. The decide to bind their recipes together in a cookbook put together by Rosetta Sugarbaker Calloway and Dixie Spicer aka “Sugar” and “Spice”. When the de facto leader of the Breakfast Club goes missing and is later found killed, Sugar’s landlord, a member of the group begs Sugar to look into the tragic death. Sugar does have an in as she needs to attend meetings and contact members to keep the fundraising cookbook on track. Plus the gossip chain has ratcheted up with the return of Nick Marchant to town. He and “Spicy” have some kind of a past that Sugar knows nothing about but keeping her ears open and putting a little pressure on her friend she just might find out. The good sheriff is sure not thrilled the man is back in town either.

After reading Game of Scones recently I could wait to sink my teeth into Risky Biscuits. Author Mary Lee Ashford sure didn’t disappoint. She has written strong characters and enveloped them in a stellar mystery.

Sugar & Spice Publishing is getting more clients and Sugar is using her organizational skills while Spice refines a bunch of recipes all to make their next cookbook publication a huge success. Photographer Max Windsor wasn’t as present at the beginning of the story as I had hoped but he doesn’t let the ladies down when it is time to take the food photos needed for the book. We also meet several residents from Greer’s retirement community. While mourning their friend they are still a fun and feisty group.

Ms. Ashford takes a bit of time introducing the new characters and showing readers how they fit with those we had already met. But then Sugar gets hot on the trail to find the killer. Red herrings, yes there were a few. I made the mistake of thinking I had the culprit pinned down early only to be shown the error of my ways. Twists and turns led to a shocking reveal.

Aside from the murder, this little town in Iowa is a fun place to visit. I love all the friendships that are blooming.

I can’t finish this review without mentioning the food. Spice is always baking up something good. Even things she considers flops are downright tasty. She always seems to have plenty of people dropping by their shop for samples too. I wish she could pass them out from the pages, especially the Better Than Robert Redford/George Clooney cake. The author does include recipes in the back of the book but I don’t have the skills Spice has. Then again the recipe of the above mentioned doesn’t look too complicated 🙂

Culinary cozies readers will love this story.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Game of Scones here.

About Mary Lee Ashford

 

Mary Lee Ashford is a lifelong bibliophile, and avid reader, and supporter of public libraries. In addition to writing the Sugar & Spice mystery series for Kensington Books, she also writes as half of the writing team of Sparkle Abbey, author of the national bestselling Pampered Pets mystery series from Bell Bridge Books.

Prior to publishing Mary Lee won first place in the Daphne du Maurier contest, sponsored by the Kiss of Death chapter of RWA, and was a finalist in Murder in the Grove’s mystery contest, as well as Killer Nashville’s Claymore Dagger contest.

She is the founding president of Sisters in Crime – Iowa and a current board member of the Mystery Writers of America Midwest chapter, as well as a member of Novelists, Inc., Romance Writers of America, Kiss of Death the RWA Mystery Suspense chapter, Sisters in Crime, and the SinC internet group Guppies.

Mary Lee has a passionate interest in creativity and teaches a university level course in Creative Management to MPA candidates, as well as presenting workshops and blogging about creativity. She loves encouraging other writers and is a frequent presenter on a variety of topics at workshops, conferences, and writers’ groups.

In her day job, Mary Lee is a Deputy Chief Information Officer. She currently resides in the Midwest with her husband, Tim, and Sparkle, the rescue cat namesake of the Sparkle Abbey pseudonym. Her delights are reading and enjoying her family and especially her six grandchildren.

For more information, visit her website at www.MaryLeeAshford.com

Find her on  –  Facebook – Twitter – Instagram – Pinterest – GoodReads 

Purchase Links
Amazon    Barnes & Noble     Kobo    iBooks


Thanks to the author I am giving away 1 copy!

Winner’s Choice – Print or Digital!

The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

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

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Aug 032019
 

The Subject of Malice
(A Lila Maclean Academic Mystery)
by Cynthia Kuhn

I am so thrilled to shine the spotlight on Cynthia Kuhn’s
new book, The Subject of Malice today!

 

About the Author


The Subject of Malice (A Lila Maclean Academic Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Henery Press (July 23, 2019)
Hardcover: 244 pages
ISBN-10: 1635115140
ISBN-13: 978-1635115147
Paperback: 244 pages
ISBN-10: 1635115116
ISBN-13: 978-1635115116
Digital ASIN: B07RDZ99PL

The organizers have rustled up plenty of surprises for the literary conference at Tattered Star Ranch. But the murder of an influential scholar wasn’t on the program—someone has clearly taken the theme of Malice in the Mountains to heart. This shocking crime is only the beginning: Other dangers and deceptions are soon revealed.

English professor Lila Maclean has a full agenda: She must convince a press to publish her book (possibly), ace her panel presentations (hopefully), and deal with her nemesis (regrettably).

However, when Detective Lex Archer requests Lila’s academic expertise, she agrees to consult on the case. While her contributions earn high marks from her partner, it could be too late; the killer is already taking aim at the next subject.

As Lila races to keep her colleagues alive, publish or perish takes on new meaning.

About the Author

ck2x3

Cynthia Kuhn writes the Lila Maclean Academic Mysteries: The Semester of Our Discontent, The Art of Vanishing, The Spirit in Question, and The Subject of Malice. Honors include an Agatha Award for best first novel and Lefty Award nominations for best humorous mystery. She blogs with Chicks on the Case and is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers. For more information, please visit cynthiakuhn.net.

Praise for The Subject of Malice
(A Lila Maclean Academic Mystery)
by Cynthia Kuhn

The Subject of Malice is the strongest book in this series to date. After having read it, I must give it a grade of A+.
~Carstairs Considers….

The Subject of Malice is an entertaining read with twists and turns peppered throughout.
~Mysteries With Character

Author Links

Webpage      Blog         Facebook      Goodreads     Twitter: @cynthiakuhn     Newsletter

 Purchase Links

Amazon   B&N     Kobo

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July 27 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
July 28 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT
July 28 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
July 29 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
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July 31 – Books Direct – SPOTLIGHT
August 1 – Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen – REVIEW  
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Aug 032019
 

The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs: A Novel
by Katherine Howe

I am excited to shine the spotlight on Katherine Howe’s
The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs today! 

About the Book


The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs: A Novel
Occult Fiction
Henry Holt and Co. (June 25, 2019)
Hardcover: 352 pages
ISBN-10: 1250304865
ISBN-13: 978-1250304865
Kindle ASIN: B07HF3MDDH

New York Times bestselling author Katherine Howe returns to the world of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane with a bewitching story of a New England history professor who must race against time to free her family from a curse

Connie Goodwin is an expert on America’s fractured past with witchcraft. A young, tenure-track professor in Boston, she’s earned career success by studying the history of magic in colonial America—especially women’s home recipes and medicines—and by exposing society’s threats against women fluent in those skills. But beyond her studies, Connie harbors a secret: She is the direct descendant of a woman tried as a witch in Salem, an ancestor whose abilities were far more magical than the historical record shows.

When a hint from her mother and clues from her research lead Connie to the shocking realization that her partner’s life is in danger, she must race to solve the mystery behind a hundreds’-years-long deadly curse.

Flashing back through American history to the lives of certain supernaturally gifted women, The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs affectingly reveals not only the special bond that unites one particular matriarchal line, but also explores the many challenges to women’s survival across the decades—and the risks some women are forced to take to protect what they love most.

About the Author

Katherine Howe is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane and The House of Velvet and Glass, as well as the young adult novels, Conversion and The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen. She served as editor of The Penguin Book of Witches and her fiction has been translated into over twenty languages. Descended from three women who were tried for witchcraft in Salem, she and her family live in New England and New York City, where she is at work on her next novel.

Author Links – Twitter: @katherinebhowe     Facebook       Instagram

Praise for The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs: A Novel
by Katherine Howe

The story is full of academic research and family history but is never dull. It is a wonderful story of family and love, with a little magic thrown in.
~The Book’s the Thing

Purchase Links

Amazon   B&N   Kobo  Google Play   IndieBound
Also By Katherine Howe

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August 1 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW
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Aug 022019
 


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.
Checking off the “Q” this week on my Alphabet Soup Challenge.


Queen of the Trailer Park (Rosie Maldonne’s World)
Amateur Sleuths/Humorous Fiction
1st in Series
Setting – France
Translated from French
Amazon Crossing (June 1, 2015)
Paperback: 334 pages
ISBN-10: 1477827560
ISBN-13: 978-1477827567
Kindle ASIN: B00Q74VXMC

Rosie Maldonne is outspoken and sexy. She’s also unemployed, and, with three children and a cat, life is a little tough. The four of them—well, five, if you count the cat—live in the South of France, in a run-down trailer near a vacant lot. They make do, living off her part-time waitressing job and a little help from the state.

Rosie thinks things are finally turning around when she meets handsome police officer Jérôme—until she realizes that his appearance coincides with her friend Véro’s disappearance. Then, something even stranger happens: Rosie finds a package with a crazy amount of money in the trash can of a fast-food joint. With so much going on, Rosie has some big questions: Where is Véro? Is Jérôme too good to be true? Who put all that cash in the trash? And what happens when they want it back?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Single mom Rosie Maldonne lives in a trailer that had seen better days with her three children and their cat. Mostly unemployed she depends on government assistance to keep food on the table.  She waitresses at a nearby restaurant and begs loans from friends when the money runs out. That is until she makes a bizarre discovery in a trash can on her way home – A huge amount of money in several envelopes.

During this time her friend Vero and her son go missing and the police come to Rosie for answers she just doesn’t have. One police officer Jérôme is particularly nice and starts to be around wherever she goes. She also meets a very nice older man that wants to take care of her and the children.

While Rosie tries to find her friend and tries to decide what to do with the found money, she also has to deal with a new development that would evict her from her home. Finding help in unique places she fights to keep what’s hers and save Vero and her son.

____

I was looking for a book to fill the “Q” spot for a reading challenge. The synopsis sounding interesting and felt close to the cozy genre I love so I quickly snapped it up.  I was a little nervous when I realized it was a French story translated to English, but after reading the first few pages I knew that was not going to be a problem at all. The book cannot be classified as a cozy though due to the explicit language used throughout the story.

The lead character Rosie, who would rather be called “CriCri” is a very interesting character. She is very open about her life and has a huge heart.  She takes in one child of a friend quickly and is ready to welcome in another even when she is as poor as can be. She doesn’t let it get her down. She gets her children to school each day and tries to have as much fun with them as possible. The kids are happy and well cared for. Rosie has a quick mind and can put anyone in their place immediately, even men who have come to hurt her. She is always one to two steps ahead of everyone and really can think on her feet. She also has a continuous inner dialogue that is absolutely priceless. She uses unique terminology, calling her children lovingly “crib lizards” and “chickadees” along with other phrases that may only be unique because of the translation from French. She also appears to be a very sexy woman.

The flow of the story has a few issues but I know that is due to the translations. There are a few mysteries to solve and some twist together while others don’t. While most are solved by the end of the book they are things unresolved that will have me reading the next book in the series.

The Queen of the Trailer Park is an entertaining/hilarious story.  Rosie’s antics will have you in stitches and shaking your head. I enjoyed following her exploits all around town. I am so glad I was looking for a “Q” book and found this author and this series. This was a great little escape to France.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Alice Quinn has worked many jobs, from theater hostess to waitress, and has traveled the world, often relying on her wits to make ends meet. After the success of her first novel, Queen of the Trailer Park, in her native French, she quit her day jobs and now makes her living writing full-time. She lives in the South of France with her two teenage children and several cats.


I am giving away 1 Kindle copy of this book!  

It will be sent directly from Amazon.

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 share the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
3 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End August 16, 2019, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

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Aug 012019
 

Laurie Gelman

You’ve Been Volunteered: A Class Mom Novel
by Laurie Gelman

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About the Book 

Laurie Gelman
You’ve Been Volunteered: A Class Mom Novel
Humorous Fiction
2nd in Series
Setting – Kansas
Henry Holt and Co. (July 23, 2019)
Hardcover: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 1250301858
ISBN-13: 978-1250301857
Digital ASIN: B07HLZH7BH

In the eagerly anticipated follow-up to Laurie Gelman’s “irreverent and hilarious” (The New York Post) hit Class Mom, brash, lovable Jen Dixon is back with a new class and her work cut out for her

If you’ve ever been a room parent or school volunteer, Jen Dixon is your hero. She says what every class mom is really thinking, whether in her notoriously frank emails or standup-worthy interactions with the micromanaging PTA President and the gamut of difficult parents. Luckily, she has the charm and wit to get away with it—most of the time. Jen is sassier than ever but dealing with a whole new set of challenges, in the world of parental politics and at home.

She’s been roped into room-parenting yet again, for her son Max’s third grade class, but as her husband buries himself in work, her older daughters navigate adulthood, and Jen’s own aging parents start to need some parenting themselves, Jen gets pulled in more directions than any one mom, or superhero, can handle.

Refreshingly down-to-earth and brimming with warmth, Dixon’s next chapter will keep you turning the pages to find out what’s really going on under the veneer of polite parent interactions, and have you laughing along with her the whole way.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

As a last resort, Jen Dixon is again the Class Mom for her son Max’s class. The kids are now in 3rd grade and except for 1 new family, the parents are familiar with the way Jen handles things and her crazy sense of humor.

Her first email starts with: Yes, I’m back despite swearing they would have to drag my cold dead body back to the PTA. She includes a questionnaire from teacher Mrs. Randozzo. Jen’s responses regarding Max and the teacher’s responses back truly had me laughing out loud.  And that was just Chapter One!

With a new PTA President and the retirement of the current crossing guard, Jen also finds herself in charge of the 5th-grade Safety Patrol Program. That means many more delightful  – NOT – things for her to handle. She also has to deal with her husband, a daughter working at Jenny Craig, a daughter traveling abroad with a band and her aging parents.

Jen Dixon is my idol. She is everything I wish I was while shepherding 4 children through school. Of course, back then we were just exploring all the joys the internet had to offer. I was also part of the 5th-grade Safety Patrol back when dinosaurs roamed the earth so that whole subplot made me smile too. As far as dealing with adult children and aging parents, I have been there, done that too. In fact, I am still dealing with the adult children stuff but their trials and tribulations are not as funny as Jen’s, at least not yet, some never will be amusing but maybe someday I could write a book, fictional of course with the names changed to protect the not so innocent.

Until then, you have to read this book! Laurie Gelman has written a fantastic story. She has taken on some light and heavy issues and allowed Jen to keep her spirit and find the funny. Sometimes that’s what moms have to do to get up and keep going each and every day. I laughed from beginning to end and found a bit of wisdom too.

This book has everything I look for in A PERFECT ESCAPE! A lead character I can believe and identify with, a story that holds my attention, and a book I can’t wait to tell all my friends about.  The lighthearted feeling and the off the charts hilarity was just the icing on the top of the cake.

I have not read the first book in this series, Class Mom but I added it to my wish list as soon as I completed this book. I can’t wait to read it or any book by this author.  She truly has tickled my funny bone and I want more!

Totally entertaining – a must-read for all moms! Add this book to your Back-to-School lists today!

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About Laurie Gelman

Laurie Gelman

Laurie Gelman was born and raised in the Great White North. She spent twenty-five years as a broadcaster in both Canada and the United States before trying her hand at writing novels. The author of Class Mom, Laurie has appeared on Live With Ryan and Kelly, Watch What Happens Live, and The Talk, among others. She lives in New York City with her husband, Michael Gelman, and two teenage daughters.

Author Links – Twitter: @lauriemgelman     Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lauriegelman/

Purchase Links –

AmazonBarnes & NobleKoboIndieBoundGoogle Play 

Praise for You’ve Been Volunteered: A Class Mom Novel
by Laurie Gelman

The writing style flows smoothly and the book is a quick easy read. The author is witty, sassy, irreverent (in the best way) and she had me laughing throughout the entire book.
~MJB Reviewers

Laugh your way through the trials of third grade, and creating a fifth-grade safety patrol system when the school crossing guard retires.
~Laura’s Interests

Oh My Stars! Guess I expected a good read when I saw the title as well as the book cover and it definitely exceeded my expectations!
~Rosepoint Publishing

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

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Jul 312019
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am so happy to feature Let’s Fake A Deal today by Sherry Harris! 


Let’s Fake a Deal (A Sarah W. Garage Sale Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Setting – Massachusetts
Kensington (July 30, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496716981
ISBN-13: 978-1496716989
Kindle ASIN: B07K5ZMBZB

SHE’S GOT THE GOODS . . .
As a former military spouse, Sarah Winston’s learned a little about organizing, packing, and moving. Her latest project sounds promising: a couple of tech-industry hipsters, newly arrived in her Massachusetts town, who need to downsize. Unfortunately, when Sarah tries to sell their stuff, she discovers it’s all stolen—and she’s the unwitting fence.

BUT SARAH’S PROBLEMS ARE JUST BEGINNING
Michelle, an old friend of Sarah’s from the Air Force base, is in line for a promotion—but not everyone is happy about it, and she’s been hit with an anonymous discrimination complaint. When one of the men she suspects is behind the accusations turns up dead in Michelle’s car, Sarah needs to clear Michelle’s name—as well as her own for selling hot merchandise. And she’ll have to do it while also organizing a cat lady’s gigantic collection of feline memorabilia, or they’ll be making room for Sarah in a jail cell . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Sarah Winston barely opens a garage sale for a couple wanting to downsize when the police show up. The couple is nowhere to be found and everything she was trying to sell for them appears to be stolen. Before she knows it she is on the ground and under arrest. As she tries to find the couple that set her up she is also trying to clear her friend Michelle from murder charges. Michelle was up for a promotion with the Air Force when someone files a complaint against her. One of the men she had pegged for the discrimination report turns up dead in HER car! Sarah is also working on a fabulous feline garage sale too. That is if she stays out of jail long enough for the Cat-tastic Garage Sale to take place.

Hold on tight, Sherry Harris has twisted together a terrific mystery that is impossible to put down!

The first scene grabbed my attention with a premise I never would have thought of and turns Sarah’s business inside out. Then we move to Michelle’s issue which is too prevalent in the military today sans the murder of course. This author doesn’t shy away from hot topics. She gives a wonderful fictional spin that makes her readers aware and informed.

These characters stole my heart back in the first book Tagged for Death and they continue to impress me book after book. Sarah continues to grow after her divorce while trying to start her new relationship with Seth. Sarah does have a huge heart and is very trusting, which was a big flaw this time. Small towns just aren’t what they used to be anymore.

I love the way recurring characters pop up even in small ways in each story. Whenever Mike “Big Cheese” Titone appears on the scene it always makes me smile. He is not your typical mobster when Sarah is involved. The dialogues between all the characters are excellent and laced with the perfect amount of humor.

This mystery is carefully plotted and develops in a surprising way. Ms. Harris faked me out more than once. Every twist and turn had my mind spinning. I was in the dark right up to the fantastic final reveal and perfectly delighted to be so.

This is a brilliant addition to this series. It is my new favorite! In fact, it will be the next book on my Bests Reads list for 2019! I absolutely loved it from beginning to end!

I do want to say each book can be read all on its own, but Sarah Winston is an extraordinary protagonist and to truly understand her and where she is in her life now I recommend reading all the books in order. 

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About the Author

Agatha Award-nominated author, Sherry Harris, started bargain hunting in second grade at her best friend’s yard sale. She honed her bartering skills as she moved around the country while her husband served in the Air Force. Sherry uses her love of garage sales, her life as a military spouse, and her time living in Massachusetts as inspiration for the Sarah Winston Garage Sale series.

Find out more about Sherry on her webpage here.


Coming December 31, 2019


Thanks to the publisher I have 1 Print Copy to giveaway! 
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Jul 302019
 

The House on Xenia
(A Mary Catherine Mahoney Mystery Series)
by Rita Moreau

The House on Xenia, a full-sized YaYa (Greek grandmother). It’s also very much extraordinary . . .
~INTO THE ABYSS

 

About the Book 


The House on Xenia (A Mary Catherine Mahoney Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Independently Published (May 8, 2019)
Paperback: 332 pages
ISBN-10: 1096120712
ISBN-13: 978-1096120711
Digital Print Length: 209 pages
ASIN: B07R9Q682Y

A government conspiracy. A life-threatening secret. Can a psychic accountant balance the books of justice?

Mary Catherine “MC” Mahoney prefers numbers to her supernatural powers. But when a cold-case corpse shows up under her cousin’s family home, the only calculations that add up are paranormal. And deep within the floorboards of the house on Xenia, MC and her madcap Greek family uncover evidence pointing to visitors from another planet…

Pursued by military agents intent on keeping the secrets buried, MC will have to play by the house’s rules to expose the alien mystery. And there’s only one member of the family who can get to the hidden truth…

Can MC reveal the cover-up, or will a dangerous hush job close her books forever?

The House on Xenia is a standalone novel in the Mary Catherine Mahoney cozy mystery series. If you like psychic female sleuths, crazy family antics, and long lost aliens, then you’ll love Rita Moreau’s quirky tale.

Hi Sister Matilda! Welcome to Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? “My name is Sister Matilda. I am the assistant mother superior of the Order of the Sisters of Saint Anthony.  Sort of like a vice president. Saint Anthony is the saint you pray to when you have lost something (or you are lost). My order contains a secret society of nuns who are psychic, including me. It comes in handy when Saint Anthony is busy and trust me he is busy. I am short and petite but I carry myself as someone as tall as my best friend Sister Hildegard. She says I am a walking Wikipedia on any subject. I have a deep love of history. The nuns at the convent do their best to avoid me because it will lead to what they have dubbed: history time.”

How did you first meet Mary Catherine Mahoney?

“Through her Aunt Sophia.  I also had her as a student back in the day. She was a handful. We were told she had a knack at finding things.  Part of it was her training with the IRS and part of it her DNA. She is a reluctant psychic.  We were desperate since we had lost a very old jewel which some say contained supernatural powers. We ordered her to find it and she did (eventually).”

Want to dish about him/her? “She is easily scared by nuns but then who isn’t?”

Why do you think that your life has ended up being in a book?

“The author attended the play, Late Night Catechism and found out that nuns are not supported by the Catholic Church. We’re on our own.  She then visited her high school nuns, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in Cincinnati and they told her about the audit of Catholic nuns by the Vatican.  She decided to weave all that into her third book Feisty Nuns.”

Tell us about your favorite scene in one of the author’s book. “In chapter 11 of The Russian & Aunt Sophia, we were all in the back seat of Limo Louie’s Cadillac Fleetwood and on the way to Jennifer’s party. We had fun drinking shots out of little red solo cups and comparing our outfits.”

Did you have a hard time convincing your author to write any particular scenes for you? “No, she pretty much obeys my every command. She is a product of parochial schools just like her protagonist, Mary Catherine.”

What do you like to do when you are not being actively read somewhere? “Sit and meditate in the Garden of Saint Hildegard which sits on our convent property. We grow herbs in the garden, much like Saint Hildegard, for medicinal purposes of course.”

Do have any secret aspirations that your author doesn’t know about? “I’d love to see the author’s books made into a movie.”

If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do? “Go to a museum. I love history. It’s my passion.”

What impression do you make on people when they first meet you? How about after they’ve known you for a while? “I scare them. Mother Superior, Sister Hildegard, is very tall and we wear the habit, unlike modern nuns who wear everyday clothes. I stand next to her and its lights out. After they have known me for a while I still scare them.”

What are you most afraid of? “Flying insects.”

What’s the best trait your author has given you? “Strength of character.”

What’s your author’s worst habit? “Cannot write fast enough. In today’s world an author needs to produce books quickly.”

How do you feel about your life right now? What, if anything, would you like to change? “I worry for my order since we do not get any assistance from the Catholic Church. We are getting older and there are no younger nuns to take our place. If we live long enough we will run out of funds. They will separate us and send us to the old folk’s homes.”

What aspect of your author’s writing style do you like best? “Her voice.”

If your story were a movie, who would play you? “Why myself of course, Sister Matilda.”

Describe the town where you live. “Fish Camp, a small Florida town near State Road A1A.

Describe an average day in your life. “Busy, putting out fires.”

What makes you stand out from any other characters in your genre? “I’m a nun and I’m very tall.”

If you could be “adopted” by another writer, who would you choose? “Mary Higgins Clark.”

Will you encourage your author to write a sequel? “Yes. We need the money. She regularly donates funds from her book sales to the sisters.”

Thank you, Matilda, for visiting today! 

About the Author

Rita Moreau is the author of the Mary Catherine Mahoney Mystery series.

A workaholic by nature, upon retirement, Rita Moreau began work on her bucket list, writing a book. Traveling the national parks with her husband George in a vintage Bluebird motor home, (on George’s list), Rita completed her first novel Bribing Saint Anthony. Back home she completed Nuns! Psychics! & Gypsies! OH! NO, Feisty Nuns, The Russian & Aunt Sophia and The House on Xenia. Rita and her husband live in a postcard called Florida where he has fun telling everyone he is the author’s husband. When not writing she joins PatZi Gil on the Joy on Paper radio program with Book Buzz Mysteries or you can find her teaching fitness classes and doing her best to keep busy. She loves connecting with readers.

Visit her at www.RitaMoreau.com or find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RitaMoreauAuthor. She would love to hear from you.

Author Links –  Website Facebook Blog  GoodReads

Purchase Links – Amazon 

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Jul 302019
 

Available Today!!


Murder at Crossways (A Gilded Newport Mystery)
Historical Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Setting – Rhode Island
Kensington (July 30, 2019)
Hardcover: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 1496720725
ISBN-13: 978-1496720726
Kindle ASIN: B07K5ZXLJ8

Murder at Crossways – In late August 1898, reporter Emma Cross attends the final fête of the Newport social season and discovers the party’s over for a visiting prince . . .

The days are getting shorter as summer’s end approaches, which means it’s time for the Harvest Festival, the last big event of the season, held by Mamie Fish, wife of millionaire railroad tycoon Stuyvesant Fish, at their grand “cottage,” Crossways. The neocolonial mansion is decked out in artificial autumn splendor, and an extravagant scavenger hunt will be held. But the crowning jewel of the evening will be the guest of honor, Prince Otto of Austria.

As acting editor-in-chief of the Newport Messenger, Emma had hoped to leave her days as a society reporter behind her. But at the last moment, she must fill in and attend the Harvest Festival. With nearly every eligible daughter of Newport high society in attendance, Emma can almost hear romantic dreams shattering like glass slippers when the prince fails to appear. The next morning, he is found dead in the side garden at Crossways, making it clear a murderer crashed the party.

The prince has been stabbed in the same manner as another man, recently found on nearby Bailey’s Beach—who strongly resembles Emma’s half-brother Brady’s father, presumed dead for nearly thirty years after a yachting mishap. As Emma investigates a connection between the two victims, she is joined on the hunt by Mamie Fish herself. But they must hurry—before the killer slips away like the fading summer . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

A dead body can really ruin a day at the beach. Emma Cross had hoped for a relaxing day, but first, a prominent lady almost drowns and then a short time later a man is found dead. A man who looks remarkably like the father of her half-brother Brady.

With that case on her mind, Emma attends the Harvest Festival at the home of Mamie and Stuyvesant Fish to cover the affair for the Newport Messenger. The “cottage” is full of the elite and almost all the area’s eligible daughters hoping to catch the eye of the guest of honor, Prince Otto of Austria. The festival goes late into the night but the Prince never arrives. While cleaning up the estate Prince Otto’s body is found in the garden. The wound appears to be the same as the man found on the beach.

Again Emma finds herself embroiled in another murder mystery. With the family connection, she feels she has no choice.

_____________________

Alyssa Maxwell again draws readers back in time to Newport, Rhode Island 1898. This time we visit Crossways, An American “cottage” owned by Marion Graves Anthon Fish a.k.a. “Mamie” and her husband  Stuyvesant “Stuyvie” Fish. What this author does so well is blending history with her fictional tale. She describes everything so well but I still find myself wanting to see the people and places with my own eyes after I finish the story to learn more about the characters and settings that kept me captivated for 288 pages. I love The Gilded Age Era site for all things Newport.

The thing I enjoyed most about this book was that Alyssa found herself with an unexpected sidekick. Maimie Fish was determined to apprehend the person that used her party and property as the backdrop for murder. She glued herself to Emma’s side and even offered to hire someone to handle Emma’s real job at the paper until the case was solved. Emma is a smart woman and realized Maimie could be a real asset. Maimie was a grand character, not your typical rich socialite. She is very down to earth and very opinionated and doesn’t hold back expressing her thoughts or wishes. She was a complete treasure and together with Emma, they made a wonderful team. I love the way this author focuses on strong and independent women.

The mystery was multifaceted as connections between the murders needed to be delved into as the confirmed identity of the first victim was totally up in the air. Emma and Maimie tracked down each clue and checked out each twist no matter where the led. Emma’s brother Brady was not handling all the news well so he was a constant concern.  She was also dealing with a mystery at the newspaper but she was clearly able to juggle everything thrown at her. I enjoyed following along with all the developments and was pleased that all the clues dropped into place for me at the same time as Emma.

Murder at Crossways is unique and entertaining. Maxwell’s characters are so strong and believable. I totally enjoyed my visit to Newport and am looking forward to returning again soon. For me, this was A Perfect Escape!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Alyssa outside (2)

About the Author

Alyssa Maxwell is the author of the Gilded Newport Mysteries and A Lady and Lady’s Maid Mysteries. She lives in South Florida in the current year but confesses to spending most of her time in the Victorian and post WWI eras, as well as other periods of history. In addition to fantasizing about wearing Worth gowns and strolling the gardens of her manor house, she loves to watch BBC and other period productions and sip tea in the afternoons. And each year, she and her husband take a trip up to Newport to visit family, and so Alyssa can “shop” for the next mansion to be featured in her Newport series.

Author Links
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Also by Alyssa Maxwell

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

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Contest Will End August 13, 2019, at 11:59 PM CST
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and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

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Jul 262019
 

The House on Xenia
(A Mary Catherine Mahoney Mystery Series)
by Rita Moreau

 

About the Book 


The House on Xenia (A Mary Catherine Mahoney Mystery Series)
Paranormal Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Ohio
Independently Published (May 8, 2019)
Paperback: 332 pages
ISBN-10: 1096120712
ISBN-13: 978-1096120711
Digital Print Length: 209 pages
ASIN: B07R9Q682Y

A government conspiracy. A life-threatening secret. Can a psychic accountant balance the books of justice?

Mary Catherine “MC” Mahoney prefers numbers to her supernatural powers. But when a cold-case corpse shows up under her cousin’s family home, the only calculations that add up are paranormal. And deep within the floorboards of the house on Xenia, MC and her madcap Greek family uncover evidence pointing to visitors from another planet…

Pursued by military agents intent on keeping the secrets buried, MC will have to play by the house’s rules to expose the alien mystery. And there’s only one member of the family who can get to the hidden truth…

Can MC reveal the cover-up, or will a dangerous hush job close her books forever?

The House on Xenia is a standalone novel in the Mary Catherine Mahoney cozy mystery series. If you like psychic female sleuths, crazy family antics, and long lost aliens, then you’ll love Rita Moreau’s quirky tale.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

While there are recurring characters the author states each book in this series can be read on its own. Intrigued by the synopsis I decided to read this book without reading the prior books. What I found was a very bizarre mystery. You see for me the main character was not Mary Catherine “MC” Mahoney or any of the other human characters. For me, the main character was the House on Xenia. Generations of Mary Catherine “MC” Mahoney’s family have lived in the House. A House that vowed to protect the family from anything. In the book, it is described as a YaYa (Greek grandmother), nurturing, caring, with a huge heart and protective qualities. Also, unusual is that no one is living in the house and keeping up with the maintenance. The house is said to be dying, but it still holds some important secrets.

Several characters have psychic abilities, some are in Ohio where the house is and others are in Florida. When a body is found under the family home everyone’s focus is the House. Not just the family but the military too and talk turns to aliens and secrets that need to be kept. But the House wants to talk and to only one person. MC is caught in the middle. Does she reveal all or does she keep her mouth shut and move on?

The author has presented a very interesting mystery. One that kept my attention even though it was very unique from most mysteries I read. The House has answers so the investigation evolves in an unconventional way. Several people gave input and there were those acting in an underhanded way to keep people from finding out the truth. That deception put people in danger.

Using a real place in this fictional story added extra credence. The Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is where UFO investigations dating from the 1940s to the 1960s with all the conspiracy theories. Theories that people still talk about today like Area 51.

This story was not what I had expected it to be but I was entertained from the first page to the last. I found The House on Xenia to be an enjoyable read and a nice escape.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About the Author

Rita Moreau is the author of the Mary Catherine Mahoney Mystery series.

A workaholic by nature, upon retirement, Rita Moreau began work on her bucket list, writing a book. Traveling the national parks with her husband George in a vintage Bluebird motor home, (on George’s list), Rita completed her first novel Bribing Saint Anthony. Back home she completed Nuns! Psychics! & Gypsies! OH! NO, Feisty Nuns, The Russian & Aunt Sophia and The House on Xenia. Rita and her husband live in a postcard called Florida where he has fun telling everyone he is the author’s husband. When not writing she joins PatZi Gil on the Joy on Paper radio program with Book Buzz Mysteries or you can find her teaching fitness classes and doing her best to keep busy. She loves connecting with readers.

Praise for The House on Xenia
(A Mary Catherine Mahoney Mystery Series)
by Rita Moreau

The House on Xenia, a full-sized YaYa (Greek grandmother). It’s also very much extraordinary . . .
~INTO THE ABYSS

This was just so much fun to read. There are fun, zany characters, house included, and more than one mystery to figure out. Made me grin enough my face hurt.
~ fuonlyknew

Author Links

Website Facebook Blog GoodReads 

Purchase Links – Amazon 

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS
July 18 – Into the Abyss Reviews – REVIEW
July 19 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
July 20 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST
July 20 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT
July 21 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
July 22 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
July 23 – FUONLYKNEW – REVIEW
July 24 – Ascroft, eh? – GUEST POST
July 25 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
July 25 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
July 26 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
July 27 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
July 28 – Brooke Blogs – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
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July 30 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – CHARACTER GUEST POST  
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Spirited Away (A Bay Island Psychic Mystery) by Lena Gregory Get Your Copy Today!
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