Dec 082018

Pineapple Upside Down Murder
(The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series)

by Jodi Rath


Hi Everyone,

I’m so excited to be a part of Escape With Dollycas Into a Good Book blog tour! Writing my first fictional book has been an amazing journey and this is the PERFECT way to end it as I move into writing book two of The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series, Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread Murder. I have found that the writing community is one the most gracious and helpful communities out there. I should know as I’ve worked in Advertising, Communications (writing speeches for local city CEO’s), Vice President of a Credit Union, insurance, and now my 21st year in education—which I LOVE with a passion! I have to say all of my years in different fields have all contributed and helped me to be able to run the business I run today. So, even though some of those jobs were jobs I did not enjoy, I learned a lot and was able to take all of those lessons and apply them to what I do today! I wouldn’t change anything at all because I am thrilled with where I am right now!

Writing this series was so much fun, I feel like I’m friends with all my characters. I don’t know if that is normal or not? LOL! There will be fourteen books in this series and I have some overarching themes that will develop as the series continues that I’m very excited about! One of them deals with family and close friends and the paradox that exists with love/hate relationships: how we all navigate through that. My protagonist, Jolie Tucker, always says, “Why is it my family can push my buttons so easily? Oh, yeah, they installed them!” SO TRUE! I love my family to death, but no one can rile me up faster than them. BUT if anyone says one bad thing about them, WATCH OUT!


Thank you, Jodi, for visiting today!

Read on to find out all about Jodi’s book, Pineapple Upside Down Murder!


About the Book

Pineapple Upside Down Murder (The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
MYS ED llc (November 23, 2018)
Print Length: 130 pages

Introducing Jolie Tucker, an introverted yet passionate restaurant co-owner of Cast Iron Creations, who, at her best friend Ava’s request, steps out of her comfort zone which leads her into the shade of a killer in the small, cozy village of Leavensport, Ohio. The victim is the villages beloved Ellie Siler who runs the village sweet spot, Chocolate Capers. Jolie finds her grandma Opal is a prime suspect and goes on a search for answers only to find out that her families secret recipes may not belong to the Tucker family at all. Jolie’s job, family, and livelihood are all on the line. The answers are assuredly lethal.

Praise for Pineapple Upside Down Murder (The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series)
by Jodi Rath

With a quirky population of characters who have known each other for many years, this small town cozy is full of surprises.
~Laura’s Interests


About the Author

Moving into her second decade working in education, Jodi Rath has decided to begin a life of crime in her The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series. Her passion for both mysteries and education led her to combine the two to create her business MYS ED, where she splits her time between working as an adjunct for Ohio teachers and creating mischief in her fictional writing. She currently resides in a small, cozy village in Ohio with her husband and her seven cats.

Author Links:  Webpage FB Author Page: Author Jodi Rath  Twitter @jodirath

Goodreads   Bookbub    Pinterest

Purchase Links:

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Thanks to the author I have 1 e-copy to giveaway! 

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December 6 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
December 6 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
December 7 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 7 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
December 8 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
December 8 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY
December 9 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW, RECIPE
December 10 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 11 –Valerie’s Musings – GUEST POST
December 12 – Handcrafted Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
December 13 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST
December 14 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW
December 15 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT
December 16 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER GUEST POST
December 16 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW, GUEST POST
December 17 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – REVIEW
December 18 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 18 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
December 19 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

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Nov 212018

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am so happy to have Terry Ambrose stop by today as part of his Great Escapes Book Tour! 

Photos and Writing
by Terry Ambrose

If you’re “of a certain age,” you probably remember your family having friends over on a Saturday night to share photos of the most recent family vacation. In our house, I was the one who took hundreds of 35mm slides and then proudly showed off an endless array of shots from wherever we’d been. In the age of digital photography, we’ve moved those Saturday night get-togethers online. The nice thing about social media for a viewer is you only have to actually look at as many (or few) photos as you want.

Some photographers seem to have a knack for creating the wow factor. Whether their subject is as mind-boggling as the Milky Way or as basic as a slice of apple pie, I’m always amazed at how they get those wow-factor shots.

I love the blue hour — that point where the sky is still blue and the stars are just starting to come out. None in this photo, but not bad for a first attempt at a long exposure.

One of the things I love about photography is how it forces you to look differently at the world. Whether the photo is of food, people, or a sunset, composition is critical to ensuring that particular creation isn’t just another ho-hum series of bit and bytes.

When we visited San Clemente in January, we were lucky enough to catch the sunset.

I’ve spent three decades practicing the craft of writing, and during that time I let my photography skills lie dormant. Two years ago I decided to fix that, so I bought a new camera and began taking photos of many different things. Only recently did I realize my main interest was light, not necessarily any type of subject. It probably should have been more obvious to me that I was a light junkie, because I always seem to be on a quest to find new and different ways to paint the picture of light for readers.

What I’ve come to realize recently is that the common thread in my favorite photos is how the light plays in the scene. Describing this in words may not make tremendous sense, but perhaps a few examples will make it clear. I still consider myself a newbie at night and light photography, but I hope you enjoy these photos (and don’t fall asleep on the couch watching them!).


Thank you, Terry, for visiting today!

The Killer Christmas Sweater Club (A Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast Mystery)
by Terry Ambrose

About the Book

The Killer Christmas Sweater Club (A Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – California
Publisher: Satori
Print Length: 342 pages
Digital ASIN: B07H27NCP4

All ten-year-old Alexandra Atwood wants for Christmas is to get her dad and the B&B’s cook Marquetta under the mistletoe. After all, how can they get married if they don’t kiss first?

When murder strikes in Seaside Cove, bed-and-breakfast owner Rick Atwood is asked to help find the killer. But this will not be an easy case to crack. Not only did the killer contaminate the crime scene, but there are suspects all over town. And they all received the same Christmas sweater from the victim.

Alex hears rumors about the murder and decides that since she’s on Christmas break, she has time for a little multitasking. She launches her own investigation even as she continues her efforts to get her dad and Marquetta together.

Just when Rick thinks he’s identified all the suspects, he discovers a new one—his estranged wife. With the days until Christmas ticking down, Rick feels pressured from all sides. He needs to solve the case. He needs to send his wife back to New York. But the one thing he doesn’t need is for his daughter to be one step ahead of him and the cops.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

First I must say, that cover is gorgeous!! Every cover in this series has been beautiful and inviting.

We arrive back at the Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast right before Christmas. Rick and Marquetta discover boxes of decorations in the attic including a Christmas train, Captain Jack and her father had a lot of fun with. Ten-year-old Alex is focused on moving her dad’s relationship along. She enlists a little help to hang some mistletoe, now she just needs to get them under it at the same time.

Rick’s focus is on the latest murder. While at The Crooked Mast for an Ugly Sweater Contest, Deputy Cunningham arrives sans ugly sweater to ask for Rick’s help. Local lawyer, Thorne Waldorf has been murdered. He just happened to send out a bunch of ugly sweaters to certain people he has wronged. The sweaters included an apology of sorts but Rick thinks the killer is among those who received Thorne’s gifts. Word around the party shows people were not happy with the man for several reasons. Even Alex hears some interesting stories. The one thing Rick never expected was for Alex’s mother to be in town, involved with Thorne Waldorf, and on the suspect list.

Christmas is right around the corner so this case needs to be wrapped up as fast as possible. He knows Alex wants to help and maybe with guidance from Marquetta that is possible. He just hopes he figures out whodunit before she does.

These characters quickly found their way into my heart right away in book 1, A Treasure To Die For. It is a joy to visit them for the holidays. I am almost as invested in Rick and Marquetta’s relationship as Alex.  Alex is a phenomenal character, she is smart and thinks well are her feet for someone so young. Rick struggles to be sure he is giving her the best life he can and with Marquetta’s help, he truly is. Having her mother arrive back on the scene in this story could have gone many ways but the way it plays out shows just how good of job he is doing.

If you haven’t read previous books in this series, Marguetta gave Alex a journal as soon as she arrived at the B&B. The story goes back and forth between Rick’s point of view and Alex’s along with her journal. Seeing a 10-year-olds perspective to the crime and her theories is so much fun. Her efforts to bring the two most important people in her life together had me smiling ear to ear.

Mr. Ambrose delivers another extraordinary mystery. Multifaceted with plenty of suspects made this a hard one to solve. It was all twisted up until a key clue was solved and all the pieces fell into place. I was totally surprised when all was revealed.

The author sets a wonderful scene too. I can imagine the B&B in all its finery right down to the train village, the lights on the stairway, the wreath, the mistletoe, and all of the ugly sweaters too. A real treasure of a story to get you into the Christmas spirit.

I loved this story and I just can’t get enough of these characters. I can’t wait for my next visit!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Check out my review of A Treasure To Die For here and Clues in the Sand here.


About the Author

Terry Ambrose is a former skip tracer who tracked down deadbeats for a living. He’s long since turned his talents to writing mysteries and thrillers. Several of his books have been award finalists and in 2014 his thriller, “Con Game,” won the San Diego Book Awards for Best Action-Thriller. He likes cool photography, funny mysteries, and finding the oddest things while walking on the beach.

Author Links:   Website   Facebook   Goodreads

Praise for The Killer Christmas Sweater Club (A Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast Mystery)
by Terry Ambrose

Another 5 stars for Terry Ambrose and the Seaside Cove B&B Mystery Series. I am really enjoying this series and all the characters.
~My Reading Journeys

The Killer Christmas Sweater Club is a fun cozy mystery with a great Christmas theme.
~The Power of Words

The Killer Christmas Sweater Club is a charming story. There are engaging characters, a quaint setting and Christmas merriment . . . (it) can easily be read by a younger audience . . . (and it) has a heartwarming ending that will have you smiling.
~The Avid Reader

I am completely smitten with everything about this mystery book, and if Hallmark is looking for a cozy mystery to turn into their next best-selling series of films, look no further!
~My Devotional Thoughts

What an adorable Christmas cozy mystery . . .Great for cozy fans.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

Purchase Link – Amazon

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November 9 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW  
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November 12 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT
November 13 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
November 13 – The Power of Words – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY
November 13 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
November 14 – Babs Book Bistro – GUEST POST
November 14 –  A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
November 15 – The Avid Reader  – REVIEW, 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.”

Nov 142018

I am keeping everyone in California devastated by the tragic wildfires in my thoughts and prayers.

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am pleased to welcome Kate Carlisle back to Escape With Dollycas! 

Distorted Reality by Kate Carlisle

Say Cheese!

There’s no such thing as reality TV.

Let me repeat that: There is no such thing as reality TV.

The camera, by its very nature, distorts reality. It starts when we’re very young when our parents tell us to smile for the camera. We manipulate our muscles obediently, even if the sparkle doesn’t quite reach our eyes. We “say cheese” to get our mouth into proper position.

Look back at the fauxtographs from your childhood, and you’ll see what I mean. There’s something both engaging and heartwarming about the genuine smile of a child. And something disturbing when it’s evident that the smile is forced.

Before becoming a writer, I worked for many years in TV production on so-called reality shows. Time and again, I witnessed a change come over the on-camera talent the moment that filming began. The changes were subtle sometimes, but there. Almost everyone instinctively stands a little bit straighter, tries to sound a bit more intelligent/less casual—and frequently less profane.

We clean up our language and clean up our acts because we’re aware of being watched. . . and judged.

I thought it would be really interesting to play with this concept in my latest Fixer-Upper Mystery, A Wrench in the Works. Contractor Shannon Hammer is known around Lighthouse Cove as an expert on home renovation—but her little sister Chloe’s skills are famous all across the nation. Chloe is one of the stars of Makeover Madness, a home renovation show. She and her crew have descended on Lighthouse Cove to film a few episodes.

And to stir up some trouble.

When you’re reading A Wrench in the Works, pay attention to how characters change when the cameras start rolling. No one acts like a murderer while the klieg lights are on. Behind-the-scenes is another story altogether.


Lights! Camera! Homicide! Contractor Shannon Hammer must sift through the suspects when a popular TV show comes to Lighthouse Cove and brings murder with it…

Shannon Hammer’s younger sister Chloe left Lighthouse Cove after high school to make it big in Hollywood. And she did it! Chloe is the co-host of a popular home repair show on the Home Builders Network. Now, after ten years, she has returned to their quaint, coastal hometown to film several shows featuring her sister Shannon, along with some special mini-segments on Victorian style and design.

But Shannon quickly realizes that things are not exactly blissful in TV land. Bree, the executive producer of the show, has a knack for stirring up sticky situations and when she’s found dead, Chloe and the entire crew are under suspicion. During the investigation, Shannon, her thriller-writer boyfriend Mac, and their crime-solving friends unearth the real reason Chloe left home. Is that ten-year-old secret connected to Bree’s death? And can Shannon track down the real killer before her beloved sister becomes the next victim?

Do you agree that most people behave differently when they know they’re on camera? Why or why not? Do you have any fun examples to support your position?


Thank you, Kate, for stopping by! 

Keep reading for my review of A Wrench In The Works. 

A Wrench in the Works (A Fixer-Upper Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Setting – California
Berkley (November 6, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 0399586482
ISBN-13: 978-0399586484
Kindle ASIN: B079R3XMKZ

The synopsis is included in the guest post above.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

The television cameras have arrived in Lighthouse Cove along with Shannon’s sister Chloe. She is the co-host of a home renovating show, Makeover Madness, and is thrilled to be taping back in her hometown. Shannon also gets in on the fun by making some guest appearances. The hammer comes down on all the fun though before they even start filming. Executive producer Bree is found dead in the house chosen for the big makeover and the whole crew including Chloe are now suspects. Even Shannon saw with her own eyes the way Bree always through a major wrench in the productions. But then a real estate agent from Lighthouse Cove is found dead, again at the makeover house and the suspect pool widens. What is really scary is that Chloe could be the next victim. Shannon, Mac, and their friends are nailing down every clue to keep her safe and catch the killer.

The author has created characters that are very likable and realistic. Both Shannon and Chloe grew up working construction with their dad and know their way around a job site and every tool in the box. Determined women but Chloe hasn’t been back to Lighthouse Cove since she left for Hollywood. We learn along with Shannon the secret that has kept Chloe away all these years. I really enjoyed this subplot woven throughout the mystery as we see so much evolve for Chloe.  Shannon is so proud of her sister and her accomplishments. Their strong bond is heartwarming. The relationship between Mac and Shannon is getting more comfortable too. He really is a great boyfriend. He understands Shannon and her need to jump into these murder mysteries and is happy to help her in any way he can. The supporting cast is captivating too and made me feel like I was visiting old friends.

The backdrop of Lighthouse Cove, oceanside and all the old Victorian homes is a perfect setting for this series. Big enough to handle all the dead bodies, small enough to allow our amateur sleuth to nose her way into the investigation. I truly enjoy all the descriptions of the homes. The makeover house had so much wrong with it, novices would think the only answer would be to tear it down, but in the hands of Shannon, Chloe, and their teams you know they are going to turn it into a real jewel.

The mystery is well plotted and written. All the drama brought by the television people along with the added drama of some current Lighthouse Cove residents flows together to bring a story that sets a very nimble pace. There is always something happening, a twist, a turn, a curve, that diverts attention or sends everything in another direction. It is impossible not to totally be pulled into this story. I did solve the mystery just a little bit before Shannon but the entire story was totally entertaining.

This story does read well on its own. I always recommend reading the series in order for maximum enjoyment. The movies are great too but could never replace these wonderful stories.

Picturesque setting, terrific characters, and a delightful mystery. A Perfect Escape for all cozy lovers.

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Read more about Kate and the Fixer-Upper Mysteries at!

You can read my reviews of previous books in this series by clicking the links below.
A High End Finish
This Old Homicide
Crowned and Moldering
Deck the Hallways
Eaves of Destruction
Also by Kate Carlisle

Coming June 4, 2019


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

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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.”

Oct 102018

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am always thrilled to have Kathleen Ernst drop by for a visit.

Immigrant Stories
by Kathleen Ernst

People sometimes ask why I so often write about 19th-century immigrants.  My fascination began in the 1980s when I worked at an outdoor ethnic museum called Old World Wisconsin. The museum features over 50 historic structures which have been moved to the site and restored.  Working as an interpreter and curator there provided tantalizing glimpses into the lives of some of the state’s first Yankee and European immigrants.

An even stronger motivation is simply my ever-growing admiration for the everyday people who made the monumental decision to leave everything familiar and gamble on a new life in Wisconsin.  I created the Chloe Ellefson Mysteries to give myself the opportunity to share some of what I’ve discovered.  Chloe is a curator at Old World Wisconsin, and as the series progresses, she visits other special historic sites and museums.  Different books have featured different ethnic groups.

In the ninth book, The Lacemaker’s Secret, Chloe travels to northeast Wisconsin. She’s been hired to create a furnishings plan for a Belgian-American farm being restored at Heritage Hill State Historical Park in Green Bay.  She’s on the hunt for insight into the lives of Belgian immigrants (and after discovering a body in an old brick bake oven, she’s soon on the hunt for a killer as well).

I knew little about the Belgians’ experience before beginning research for this book.  The immigrants, most of whom arrived in the 1850s, faced a brutal struggle to turn old-growth forest into farmland.  A devastating cholera epidemic swept through the settlements.  And in 1871, what is remembered locally as The Great Fire (which burned simultaneously with the Peshtigo Fire across the bay) blazed through many of the Belgian communities.  Over two hundred people died; over five thousand lost everything they owned.

But the Belgian immigrants’ story is not defined by tragedy.  It’s defined by strength and persistence, by faith and courage.  Today many of their descendants still live in northeast Wisconsin because their ancestors did not give up or give in.  I find that inspiring.

So does Chloe Ellefson in The Lacemaker’s Secret.  I hope that readers do as well.


Thank you, Kathleen, for being my guest today! 

Now let me give you my thoughts on The Lace Maker’s Secret.

The Lace Maker’s Secret (A Chloe Ellefson Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
9th in Series
Setting – Wisconsin/Belguim
Midnight Ink (October 8, 2018)
Paperback: 408 pages
ISBN-10: 0738753548
ISBN-13: 978-0738753546
Kindle ASIN: B0795R5H4C

Greed, Uncertainty, and Death Get Tangled in the Mystery of a Rare Piece of Belgian Lace

Curator Chloe Ellefson needs distraction from the unsettling family secret she’s just learned. It doesn’t help that her boyfriend, Roelke McKenna, has been troubled for weeks and won’t say why. Chloe hopes a consulting job at Green Bay’s Heritage Hill Historical Park, where an old Belgian-American farmhouse is being restored, will be a relaxing escape.

Instead she discovers a body in a century-old bake oven.

Chloe’s research suggests that a rare and valuable piece of lace made its way to nearby Door County, Wisconsin, with the earliest Belgian settlers. More importantly, someone is desperate to find it. Inspired by a courageous Belgian woman who survived cholera, famine, and the Great Fire, Chloe must untangle clues to reveal secrets old and new . . . before the killer strikes again.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This installment of this wonderful series takes Chloe Ellefson on the road to Green Bay’s Heritage Hill Historical Park. They are restoring a historic Belgian-American farmhouse and have asked her to consult on its furnishings. She recently learned some upsetting news about her family and something is definitely bothering her boyfriend. Roelke McKenna, so maybe a week away, doing the thing she loves will do them both some good. She is meeting a woman there who she has worked with in the past. The woman is a lace expert and she has been told a valuable piece of lace is part of Heritage Hill’s collection. Both women are excited to learn about the lace and its origins.

It is winter in Wisconsin and driving north Chloe encounters some slippery conditions. Just before she reaches the B&B where she will be staying she notices a summer kitchen building right off the road.  She pulls over quickly to check the place out, but she makes a grisly discovery. A dead body has been stuffed into the old bake oven. This is not the way she planned to start her week. The death has nothing to do with her. Maybe she can leave everything to the police and just do what she came to Green Bay to do. But she knows that is not going to happen, she is going to find herself right in the middle of another investigation and her favorite police officer is many miles away.

I know when I pick up a book by Kathleen Ernst I am in for a delightful read. This book was no exception. I have spent my whole life in Wisconsin and every time I read a book by this wonderful author I still learn something new. I knew the basics of the historical events that take place in this story but her fictional telling of the time period resonates and makes the time, place, and people come alive.

The historical part of the story begins in Belguim in 1848 when 12-year-old Seraphine Moreau’s father dies and she and her twin sister, Octavie are taken by their uncle to a convent school in Bruges.  She leaves her friend Jean-Paul Lejeune behind but he doesn’t forget her, he visits her and the convent often and they pledge their love to each other. While at the convent both Seraphine and Octavie learn to make the beautiful bobbin Belgian lace. In 1854, Jean-Paul returns to ask Seraphine to be his wife and travel with him to America where there are new opportunities for farmers. The story then follows their lives in Wisconsin and joins together with the current story which is set in the 1980’s.

Again, Ernst really shows her storytelling chops by marrying these two time periods together seamlessly. Both time periods feature strong women in Chloe and Seraphine and even Octavie who remains in Belguim. We see through the letters to her sister what is happening across the Atlantic. Seraphine and the immigrants struggle to just survive at times was both heartbreaking and inspirational, the perseverance shown throughout their lives was remarkable. Chloe shows her strength time and time again and she strives the find the truth even while putting herself in danger.

In Chloe’s timeframe, I always need to remind myself, 1980’s, no cell phones, no easy access to the internet, no text messages. I love the nightly phone calls between Chloe and Roelke, the calling collect, and reversing the charges. Something the current generation of kids and young adults will never know. For them, both parts of this story would be historical. I know Ms. Ernst’s books would be a great way for them to learn about history. She makes it personal and her stories stick with her readers. Her stories are well-researched but fictional so she does juggle the dates sometimes to fit her narrative while still giving an accurate picture of the things her characters endure.

I do love that the stories in this series take place in actual destinations near where I live. As my grandchildren get older these are places I would love to take them. According to their website, “Heritage Hill has earned a reputation as a jewel of the Midwest for guests from within the area and those visiting the community.” I really thank the author for bringing this treasure to my attention.

The Lacemaker’s Secret is a fantastic story filled with characters that are truly believable. They will draw readers deep into their lives. The theme of Belgian lace and the setting in Wisconsin really shows the author’s love of the history of our state. This was an amazing read!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

The last book in this series also received a Paradise Rating.
Check out my review of Mining for Justice here.

About the Author

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

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
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Contest Will End October 24, 2018, at 11:59 PM CST
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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.”

Sep 222018

Past & Present: A Marketville Mystery
by Judy Penz Sheluk

I am so happy to welcome Judy Penz Sheluk to Escape With Dollycas today!

Guest Post 

Public Speaking: How I went from petrified to panelist

by Judy Penz Sheluk


My earliest memory of public speaking goes back to the eighth grade when I stood in front of the class and mumbled my way through a dry dissertation on Sir Isaac Newton. Years later, I’d think, I should have brought an apple, tossed it in the air, let it hit me in the head… that would’ve got their attention, but alas, I wasn’t nearly that inventive. The end result was a deadly dull presentation that had my teacher and fellow students falling asleep in their seats—or even worse, feeling sorry for me—and a fear of public speaking that carried on for decades.

It didn’t matter, for a long time. And then in 2015, my debut novel, The Hanged Man’s Noose, was published. I was invited to be part of a two-author event at a local library. Of course, I went—I couldn’t pass up the opportunity because I was terrified, could I?

The other author, whose fantasy novel about an aboriginal child fascinated by wolves, was up first. He spoke eloquently, read like an actor flawlessly reciting his lines, and basically had the audience (thankfully small) in the palm of his very capable hands. Later I’d find out he did presentations as part of his day job, but I didn’t know that then. Shades of Sir Isaac Newton came flooding back to me and I all but begged the librarian who had arranged the event to read for me.

She did. Badly. I left that day determined to do my own reading the next time I had an opportunity. After all, I couldn’t do a worse job than the librarian. Could I?

Next up, Bouchercon Raleigh 2015. My first Bouchercon. My first novel. My first panel. Knowing that the American Guest of Honor, Tom Franklin, was also on the panel only served to frighten me all the more. I was pacing the hall outside my hotel room, trying to summon up the courage to go to the conference room, when another author walked by. I’ll never know why she stopped to talk to me. Maybe it was because I was green around the gills, or maybe because I looked desperate for a friendly face. Whatever the reason, her random act of kindness changed my life. Because she told me the one thing I hadn’t considered: No one wants you to fail. The audience is rooting for you. They want you to succeed.

The panel, about writing stories set in small towns, went reasonably well. I wasn’t perfect, but as I answered the moderator’s questions, I found myself gradually gaining confidence.

Since then, I’ve been the guest author at a few library events and regional clubs/groups and managed to read from my book each time (see sidebar for tips). I’ve also been a panelist at Malice Domestic, twice, in 2016 and 2017.

My last conference appearance was at Bouchercon Toronto in October 2017, where I was assigned to moderate a panel of esteemed reviewers. Consider this line-up: Margaret Cannon (Globe & Mail), Erica Ruth Neubauer (Publisher’s Weekly), Steve Steinbock (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine), Marsali Taylor (UK reviewer) and Andrew Gulli (The Strand). Instead of being petrified, I looked at it as the incredible opportunity that it was: A chance to meet some amazing reviewers, and hopefully, make a good impression. Besides, this panel wasn’t about me, the moderator, it was about the panelists. That’s who people were coming to see. Remembering that made it easier.

Was I perfect? No. Would I do some things differently? Yes. But I left that panel proud of how far I’d come. And sometimes, that’s enough.


Photo: Judy (purple and black sweaters) with other members of Crime Writers of Canada at the Ontario Library Super Conference, Toronto. Judy acted as emcee and introduced each author, and also spoke about her latest release.

About the Book

Past & Present: A Marketville Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Superior Shores Press (September 21, 2018)
Paperback: 232 pages
ISBN-10: 0995000735
ISBN-13: 978-0995000735
Digital ASIN: B07FYZ6HPF

Sometimes the past reaches out to the present…

It’s been thirteen months since Calamity (Callie) Barnstable inherited a house in Marketville under the condition that she search for the person who murdered her mother thirty years earlier. She solves the mystery, but what next? Unemployment? Another nine-to-five job in Toronto?

Callie decides to set down roots in Marketville, take the skills and knowledge she acquired over the past year, and start her own business: Past & Present Investigations.

It’s not long before Callie and her new business partner, best friend Chantelle Marchand, get their first client: a woman who wants to find out everything she can about her grandmother, Anneliese Prei, and how she came to a “bad end” in 1956. It sounds like a perfect first assignment. Except for one thing: Anneliese’s past winds its way into Callie’s present, and not in a manner anyone—least of all Callie—could have predicted.

About the Author

Judy Penz Sheluk is the author of two mystery series: The Glass Dolphin Mysteries (THE HANGED MAN’S NOOSE and A HOLE IN ONE) and The Marketville Mysteries (SKELETONS IN THE ATTIC). Judy’s short crime fiction appears is several collections. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Crime Writers of Canada, where she currently serves on the Board of Directors as the Regional Representative for Toronto/Southern Ontario. Find Judy on her website/blog at, where she interviews and showcases the works of other authors and blogs about the writing life.

Author Links

Website – FacebookTwitterAmazonGoodReadsPinterest Publisher

Purchase Links


TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Check out all the stops on this tour. Two bloggers are hosting giveaways! 
September 21 – Community Bookstop – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
September 22 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – GUEST POST
September 23 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
September 24 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
September 24 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT
September 25 – Babs Book Bistro – RECIPE POST
September 25 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW
September 26 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
September 27 – Mysteries with Character – CHARACTER GUEST POST
September 27 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
September 28 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW
September 28 – The Montana Bookaholic – GUEST POST
September 29 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY
September 30 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
October 1 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
October 1 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
October 2 – Here’s How It Happened – REVIEW
October 2 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW  
October 3 – Books Direct – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
October 3 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
October 4 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST



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Sep 192018

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am so excited to have Cleo Coyle drop by for a visit!

Why We Made Our Ghost Reappear

By Cleo Coyle

“Jack and Pen are a terrific duo who prove that love can transcend anything.”

—The Mystery Reader

For nearly ten years, fans of our Haunted Bookshop Mysteries told us how much they missed our stories. Emails, messages, comments on posts implored us to bring our series back. We expected this outcry to die down, but it never did, which is why we returned to writing it.

Look for our brand new Haunted Bookshop Mystery, The Ghost, and the Bogus Bestseller, to be released next week by our longtime publisher. We dedicated it to our readers, who waited almost a decade for Jack to come back. And who is Jack? If you’re new to our series, he’s the first (of five) reasons fans say they love our books…


Haunted Bookshop Mysteries by Cleo Coyle



A tough PI from the mean streets of New York, Jack lived on the rougher side of life. His death (in 1949) was no picnic, either. Gunned down while pursuing a lead in a murder case, he was left with a hardened outlook, especially when it came to judging people and their motives. Despite his troubled spirit, Jack has a wicked sense of humor, and he can’t help cracking wise about the absurdities of our modern life—from paying for water in a bottle to staring half the day at a little glowing screen.


Penelope McClure – Haunted Bookshop Mysteries by Cleo Coyle

#2 THE PRIM BOOKSELLER: Penelope McClure

A young widow with a little boy, Penelope Thornton-McClure once believed in spirits, until a series of tragic losses took her faith away. Slowly, Jack Shepard is restoring that faith, and though Pen often bristles at the ghost’s retro male attitude, she’s encouraged by the strangest irony of all—the ghost’s belief in her. Whether Jack is an actual apparition or the vivid imaginings of a stressed and lonely widow, the surly, wise-cracking gumshoe is Pen’s daily companion and a handy advisor when big-city crimes come to Pen’s small town.




#3 QUINDICOTT: The Quaint Rhode Island Town

Readers love spending time in Penelope’s charming hometown. Quindicott may be less posh than nearby Newport, but its residents are proud of its revived Cranberry Street business district and renowned Victorian B&B. Fresh ocean air, amazing seafood, and a neighborly community make it one of the area’s most pleasant places to live—even if you happen to be dead.



The “Quibblers” are a cast of quirky characters who make up the local Quindicott Business Owners Association. They meet regularly in Penelope’s charming old bookshop (guarded by Pen’s cat Bookmark). There’s Fiona Finch, the fastidious co-owner of Finch Inn, who has a penchant for True Crime books and “happening to overhear” conversations between guests. Seymour, the outspoken mailman who moonlights as an ice cream truck driver, collects vintage pulp fiction, and lives in a haunted mansion. And there are plenty of other colorful characters who Pen dearly loves—and the ghost barely tolerates.

#5 THE MURDER MYSTERIES: Twisty Plots to Die For

The entertaining murder mystery storylines of our Haunted Bookshop series have kept readers happily turning pages for years. Join our prim bookseller as she teams up with her hardboiled ghost to catch cunning killers. Each book can be read as a stand-alone or in order. The six titles are…

The Ghost and Mrs. McClure

The Ghost and the Dead Deb

The Ghost and the Dead Man’s Library

The Ghost and the Femme Fatale

The Ghost and the Haunted Mansion

And our newest release…

The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller




CLEO COYLE is a pseudonym for Alice Alfonsi, writing in collaboration with her husband, Marc Cerasini. Both are New York Times bestselling authors of the Coffeehouse Mysteries, now celebrating fifteen years in print and three starred reviews. Alice and Marc are also bestselling media tie-in writers who have penned properties for Lucasfilm, NBC, Fox, Disney, Imagine, and MGM. They live and work in New York City, where they write independently and together, including the beloved Haunted Bookshop Mysteries.

Visit Cleo’s website:
Subscribe to her free E-newsletter
Follow Cleo on Facebook and Twitter
Follow Jack Shepard (The Ghost) on his Facebook Page

Thank you so much for visiting today!! 

Now let me give you my thoughts on The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller.

The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller (Haunted Bookshop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Setting – Rhode Island
Berkley (September 25, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 0425237451
ISBN-13: 978-0425237458
Kindle ASIN: B078VX9SNF

Penelope Thornton-McClure and her bookshop’s ghost-in-residence Jack Shepard are back on a new case in this delightful paranormal mystery from New York Times bestselling author Cleo Coyle.

A big bestseller leads to small town trouble.

Bookshop owner Penelope Thornton-McClure didn’t believe in ghosts, until she was haunted by the hard-boiled spirit of 1940s private investigator Jack Shepard. Now Jack is back on the job, and Pen is eternally grateful…

After an elegant new customer has a breakdown in her shop, Penelope suspects there is something bogus behind the biggest bestseller of the year. This popular potboiler is so hot that folks in her tiny Rhode Island town are dying to read it–literally. First one customer turns up dead, followed by another mysterious fatality connected to the book, which Pen discovers is more than just fiction. Now, with the help of her gumshoe ghost, Pen must solve the real-life cold case behind the bogus bestseller before the killer closes the book on her.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Jack and Pen fans Rejoice! This series is back with a brand new mystery! New readers Rejoice! The authors have written this mystery in a way that you can jump right in with this new mystery and feel right at home. 

Penelope Thornton-McClure got more than she bargained for in her bookshop, but now that she has gotten to know Private Eye Jack Shepard she wouldn’t have it any other way. You see, Jack is a ghost from the 1940’s, killed in the shop in 1947, and he has saved her more than once. Together they have solved quite a few mysteries too.

A new book has just been released and it has been flying off the shelves. When a well to do customer falls apart in the store after a peek at the book jacket, Pen becomes concerned. That and the woman ran out of the store without paying for the book. When Pen tracks her down she makes a horrible discovery, the woman is dead and was killed not long before Pen’s arrival. The police say suicide but Pen doesn’t think so. There is a whole lot more about this bestseller than the story within the pages and with Jack’s help Pen is going find out what it is, even if it means making contact with a killer.

I was so excited to hear this series was returning. Book #5, The Ghost in the Haunted Mansion was released in 2008. Ten years later our patience has been rewarded. Don’t worry if you have forgotten details about the characters or if this is a new series to you. The characters are all introduced like this is the first book in the series. They are some incredible characters too. Jack, Pen, Aunt Sadie, co-owner of the bookstore, mailman Seymour, and Bookmark, the cat,  are all back.

The author’s style of writing really set a scene and give readers a  delightful mystery. Well-written and well-plotted the story is full of twists and turns that make the book very hard to put down.  I really love the trips back in time Jack takes Pen on via her dreams. She and readers get to see how one of his old cases played out and helps her see clues to the current mystery.

These authors never fail to give readers an impressive mystery. I was so excited to start reading this book but was sad to see it end. I am so happy to have reconnected with these characters and truly hope we do not have to wait 10 years to visit Quindicott again.

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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.”

Sep 122018

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am so happy to welcome Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli to Escape with Dollycas today!

Hi Everyone,

When my agent suggested Little Libraries might make a good topic for a series, I did what I always do, smiled and nodded while thinking: “That’s nuts!  What can I do with Little Library boxes that sit out in front of houses?

They sit there at the curb, one purpose only: to hold borrowable books and make readers happy.   How do I stuff a body into one of those little things?  How do I plant clues?  How do I work up suspense?  How do I stage a final scene with the killer cornering my sleuth: his eyes blood red, a knife in his raised hand, the final thrust within inches…?

I thought up mysteries based on themes in a famous writer’s work., or a style, a book from a series, a character, a setting . . . from shadowy moors with a voice calling from a parked Porsche: “Heathcliff! Where the hell are you?” to a 21st century Scrooge with a murderous ghost hiding in his natural-stone shower.  I looked at writers from Shakespeare: “Out, out, damned spot.  Thy DNA wilt gives me away.”


Edgar Allen Poe:  The Tell-Tale Heart.   My title: What’s That Beating in my Walls.

Joseph Kesselring, the Broadway play of 1941: Arsenic and Old LaceMy title: Batrachtoxin and Spandex

Frances Hodgson Burnett:  The Secret Garden.  My title: Mulch and Murder.

Daphne du Maurier: Rebecca. My title: Hmmm.  Maybe, for that lying, cheating Rebecca:  Sure Glad She’s Dead.

Louise May Alcott:  Little Women.  My title: The Family that Preys Together.

But this is what I’ve settled on so far:

I took bits of Alice in Wonderland, stirred in some whimsical flavoring, committed a couple of murders, threw in a Little Woman with a giant chip on her shoulder, and out popped: A Most Curious Murder.

Then—Emily Dickinson, at long last she’s slipped into my hands.  I used, not her work but her life in their icy Amherst, MA house with sister Lavinia.  I threw in a heap of jealousy, touched a match to it, and came up with: She Stopped for Death.

Then—In Want of a Knife.  This is Jane Austen (believe it or not).  I found what I was looking for in Pride and Prejudice.  I discovered that mothers wanting rich husbands for their daughters are alive and well, in this century, in Bear Falls, Michigan.  Rich husbands might be murderers, or maybe it’s their friends.  It all works out in the end:  some daughters get their men, murderers are duly dispatched, and everyone lives happily ever after.

And now I’m writing: He Went out and Hanged himself.  You’ve got to know that’s Agatha Christie.  This one’s easy.  Ten people isolated in the forests of Upper Michigan.  They disappear—one by one (almost), old sins follow them, and eventually, the dead are unburied for all to see.

And that’s it—so far.   But who knows where this series will take me: Anna Karenin?, Animal Farm?  Maybe Lord of the Flies?

After all, there’s no place like a library.

What a great idea:  Little Libraries!   (I love my agent).


Thank you, Elizabeth, for visiting today!

Now let me give you my thoughts on In Want of a Knife.

In Want of A Knife: A Little Library Mystery
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Pennsylvania
Crooked Lane Books (September 11, 2018)
Hardcover: 321 pages
ISBN-10: 1683317378
ISBN-13: 978-1683317371
Kindle ASIN: B078MB5DHT

When they investigate a string of disappearances of young girls, will Jenny Weston and Zoe Zola be dispatched with extreme pride and prejudice?

Amateur sleuth and little librarian Jenny Wilson is set on edge when the police discover a young girl’s body, dressed in an old-fashioned white lace dress, just outside Bear Falls. And when another local girl from town disappears soon after, Jenny and her next-door neighbor, author and little person Zoe Zola, know they have to help the beleaguered police chief.

But first, Jenny and Zoe have new neighbors to meet: A trio of wealthy newcomers from Chicago has just moved into a huge mansion on Lake Michigan. Nathan and Delia Wickley are genial siblings, and Fitzwilliam Dillon, the mansion’s owner, is a Little Person like Zoe. It is a truth universally acknowledged that a rich gentleman seeking to ingratiate himself to his new neighbors will spread a bit of largesse around, and Fitzwilliam is no exception: He has offered two million dollars to Bear Falls. But the townspeople are far from agreed on what to do with the money—and the deliberations are far from peaceful.

But it’ll all come to naught if the missing girl isn’t found, and the culprit identified. And when she ventures alone to a mysterious structure in the woods, Zoe may not live to resolve her romantic dilemmas. Though neither Jenny nor Zoe is particularly placid or even-tempered, love and danger beckon them.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Dora’s daughter Jenny and famous author, Zoe team up in this story after one young girl is found dead on the side of the road and another girl goes missing. The police are doing a huge search and as soon as the amateur sleuths meet their new neighbors they will join the search and meet with the girl’s mother and her friend to see if they can get more insight as to where the girl may have gone.

The new neighbors, wealthy people from Chicago, are not very well received. The owner of the new mansion on the lake, Fitzwilliam Dillon, is a Little Person like Zoe and treats her horribly. His two friends aren’t much better, but this group is offering the town two million dollars to invest in something that all residents will benefit from, so the Zoe and the rest of the greeting committee try to bite their tongues until they leave the mansion. Dora agrees to take on Fitz and his friends while Jenny and Zoe do all they can to save the girl who is missing.

Little Librarian Dora takes a bit of a backseat in this story. Jenny and Zoe shine as the trek through the woods searching for any clue that may lead them to the missing girl. They think her friend may have information but he is out of town with his father. The police want all the help they can get and encourage Jenny and Zoe to reach out to this young man as soon as he gets home. I missed the way Jenny and Dora worked together, but really enjoyed the way Zoe cast everything aside, okay, she really doesn’t like the topic of her new book, but she really stepped up this time especially when she has to take 2 steps to everyone else’s 1 and traveling through that woods was hard. The author did an excellent job of making me feel like I was there every step of the way.

Readers were also treated to a complex mystery. First, they had to decide if and how the two teenagers were connected and that wasn’t easy. Suspects were determined by the result. Truthfully the whole thing came down to Zoe and Jenny’s determination that the woods was key. The story is broken into eight parts. I love this author’s writing style. The story had a slow build, each section got a little more intense. By the time I reached Part 8, my heart was beating fast and I could not read the pages fast enough.  Like in the last book a psychological element is brought to light as the mystery is solved.

The subplot of Zoe’s book brought the necessary humor to the story. Her take Pride and Prejudice and the women Jane Austen had created crack me up time and time again. I agreed with her but I do enjoy the escape I get when reading an Austen book.

Jenny’s romantic life is in flux in this book but by the end, things take a turn. No spoilers, you have to read the book.

This is another wonderful book from Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli. Her lead characters are genuine and women whose lives I have become invested in. Each stop to Bear Falls has been very interesting and entertaining. I am excited for more books in this series.

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About the Author

Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli lives in Mancelona, MI. She has published ten novels, one work of non-fiction, and several short stories, which have been produced onstage, read on NPR, and published in several newspapers. For many years she taught writing at the International Women’s Writing Guild summer program at Skidmore College and currently teaches at Northwestern Michigan College.
She loves hearing from readers. Contact me at my website: where Emily Kincaid, Deputy Dolly, and she all blog.

Also by this Author

Written as Elizabeth Lee

Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher on NetGalley. 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.”

Sep 052018

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am so excited to have Susan Boles visit today as part of her Great Escapes Book Tour!

Hi Everyone,

Death said the Gypsy Queen is Book 4 in the Lily Gayle Lambert mystery series. When you’re an author, people always ask how you came up with that idea. At least, they ask me a lot. So, today, I’m going to elaborate on where the idea for this book came from.

I love to listen to music that is now called “classic” rock. That term gives me the shivers; because it’s the music I listened to when I was a teenager and the term ‘classic’ sounds like antique to me. Which translates to old in my mind. How’s that for several degrees of separation? Ugh. I’m digressing from the topic here.

So. Classic rock. On this particular occasion, Sign Of The Gypsy Queen by April Wine came on the radio. I was reading with the radio playing in the background when the song came on. I can remember vaguely realizing that it was a once-upon-a-time favorite song I hadn’t heard in a long time; and kind of hummed along as I read. And, then, the hair literally stood up on my arms and I focused on the lyrics.

Gypsy. Fortune telling. In previous Lily Gayle books, I had revealed that there was a circus connection among the people who lived at The Midnight Dragonfly in book one (when it was Mitchell Manor) and the person living there in book three. So. Right then I realized I needed a fortune-teller predicting something that would happen in book four. Every circus has a fortune-teller, right?

But, why was she in Mercy, Mississippi by herself? And what would she be predicting? Was she really in touch with forces beyond our understanding? Or, was she revealing information she already knew in a way she felt would have the most impact? Who doesn’t love the idea of a mysterious event?

In Death said the Gypsy Queen we see more of the backstory of Vlad and his sleep study at the same time we enjoy Lily Gayle, Dixie and Miss Edna solving the latest murder in town. Is there a connection between the two?

I hope you’ll read Death said the Gypsy Queen to find out.


Thank you, Susan, so much for being my guest today!

Death said the Gypsy Queen
by Susan Boles

About the Book

Death said the Gypsy Queen: A Lily Gayle Lambert Mystery
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Argent Ocean Publishing
Number of Pages – 210
Not up on Amazon or GoodReads yet

“Beware the sign of the vampire blood,” said the fortune teller. “It brings madness and turmoil.”

Lily Gayle knows what that means, but, for the life of her, can’t figure out how the fortune teller does. A quick road trip with Dixie. An unplanned stop at a roadside park. And, an hour later a dead body. Lily Gayle, Dixie and Miss Edna find themselves knee deep in another homicide investigation when the local vet assistant turns up dead behind an outbuilding at the farmers market.

Lily Gayle believes the words of the fortune teller will have a major impact on the investigation but can’t bring herself to tell the other ladies. To reveal what she believes the words mean might bring trouble to another old friend. And would betray a trust. Only Ben knows and he, as usual, advises Lily Gayle to stay out of his investigation – which she isn’t about to do.

When the secret is revealed, the townspeople go mad and the fortune tellers words come true. Can Lily Gayle, Dixie and Miss Edna solve the murder before more people are harmed?

About the Author

Susan is the award-winning author of the Lily Gayle Lambert Mystery Series and a contributing author to the Brotherhood Protectors World.

A lifelong long love of all things mysterious led Susan to write cozy mysteries. Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden were the first to show her that girls can be crime solvers. Agatha Christie showed her that even small towns have big secrets. And Phryne Fisher showed her lady detectives can be outrageously individual. She lives in Mississippi with her rescue mini dachshund, Lucy, and her rescue cat of no particular breed, Zimba. She currently writes the Lily Gayle Lambert mystery series set in the fictional town of Mercy, Mississippi featuring a multi-generational cast of female sleuths and romantic suspense in the Brotherhood Protectors Kindle World.

Susan writes mysteries and set in the big city of Memphis, TN and the fictional small town of Mercy, Mississippi.


Susan loves to hear from readers and book lovers! Visit her website at Or drop her a line at

Author Links:
Website  Twitter – @SusanBAuthor – Blog – Facebook – Linked In – GoodReads Instagram – Pinterest – Bookbub

Purchase Link – Amazon

Prior Books in this Series 

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September 5 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW
September 5 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – GUEST POST
September 6 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW 
September 6 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – GUEST POST
September 7 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
September 8 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
September 8 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – SPOTLIGHT
September 9 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST
September 10 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
September 10 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
September 11 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT
September 12 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
September 12 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
September 13 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW
September 14 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
September 14 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
September 15 – The Montana Bookaholic – GUEST POST
September 16 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT
September 17 – Cozy Up With Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST
September 17 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – GUEST POST
September 18 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
September 18 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

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Aug 292018

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am so happy to welcome Bailey Cattrell back to Escapes With Dollycas!

A Mysterious Manuscript and More in Marigolds for Malice
by Bailey Cattrell

(Provided by Publicist)

Marigolds for Malice is the third book in the Enchanted Garden Mystery series. Elliana Allbright is still running her perfume and aromatherapy shop, Scents and Nonsense, in Poppyville, California. The scent-related empathy that allows her to create custom essential oil blends to benefit her clients is developing more and more, and business is booming. She loves her work, her tiny house, her friends, and her town. In late March, the Enchanted Garden behind her shop is burgeoning, filled with spring blooming plants and the tender green shoots of new growth between the tiny fairy tableaus and gnome doors. Better yet, Ritter Nelson is returning from his research project in the Alaskan tundra, so her love life is about to pick up in a big way.

So, life is better than good … until another murder throws a wrench into things.

Ellie’s women’s business group, the Greenstockings, have been putting the finishing touches on the Heritage House Gold Rush Museum. It’s housed in a small log cabin that’s been restored and moved to the park behind the library. Retired Berkeley history professor Eureka Sanford has a special interest in the California Gold Rush and is helping out.

As the group sifts through items to put on display, they discover a time capsule from the mid-1800s. Inside are several artifacts from Poppyville’s heyday, including a gold nugget the size of an orange and a black-and-white photo of a woman who could have been Ellie’s identical twin. There’s also a mysterious manuscript that appears to be much older and doesn’t seem to be related to the other contents of the time capsule.

The manuscript, soon dubbed the Xavier manuscript, is written in several alphabets and is in a language no one understands. Eureka Sanford knows it’s rare and valuable, but Ellie senses something more about it. When she goes to find out more, she discovers Eureka dead in the museum, and the contents of the time capsule missing.

The last thing Ellie wants is to go up against Detective Max Lang in another murder investigation, but this time the chief of police is heading the investigation. He’s a busy man, though, and Ellie doesn’t quite trust that he’s giving the case the proper amount of attention. So, in the interest of justice for Eureka – and finding the Xavier manuscript, which seems to hold a key to her own past and strange scentual abilities – Ellie starts asking questions.

I’m often asked where I get my ideas. The answer is: everywhere. It’s not a constant influx of lovely ah has!, of course, and rarely do they come fully formed. Rather, there are bits from here and pieces from there, incidents of gosh, isn’t that interesting that go into the mix along with truths that are stranger than fiction. Over time, they synthesize into plot points, character development, and sometimes into the hooks upon which I hang an entire story.

A few years ago, a friend sent me a link to a Wikipedia article about the Voynich manuscript. It described, “an illustrated codex hand-written in an unknown writing system.” It was carbon dated to the early 1400s, and probably written in Italy. Codebreakers from all over had tried to decipher it with no luck. And the illustrations? Some were pretty weird, but others reminded me of the kinds of pictures Ellie’s gamma drew in her garden journal – the one which always seems to contain new information just when Ellie needs it.

I decided against using the Voynich manuscript in Marigolds for Malice per se. For one thing, I wanted the freedom for the manuscript to be what the story needed, and the Voynich is well and specifically documented. It’s also been posited to be a fraud or a hoax. And not too long ago, someone determined that the language wasn’t mysterious so much as it contained a bunch of Latin abbreviations. He concluded that it was actually a medical text written for women’s health.

True? I don’t know. It doesn’t matter, because reading about the Voynich manuscript sparked the idea for the Xavier manuscript, which may or may not be related to Ellie’s grandmother’s mysterious and magical garden journal, and which Ellie – and possibly one other person – can understand even if they don’t know the language it’s written in.

Because I really do think magic is around us all the time if we look for it…and so are ideas.

Other things that sparked aspects of this book? A picture of my great grandmother that looks exactly like my aunt was posted on my family genealogy Facebook page. That made me think about doppelgangers, and then whether Ellie might have one, and why. Watching the first episode of Deadwood again inspired me to research some of the less savory aspects of the Gold Rush in Ellie’s town. A friend’s son was working with his classmates to create a time capsule for future students at his school, and that made me wonder whether time capsules are ever misinterpreted by those who open them. And, as usual, my own interests in gardening, aromatherapy, herbalism, soap making, and, of course, cookies, were sprinkled into the book as well.

Marigolds for Malice includes recipes for Astrid’s Chocolate Crinkle Cookies and Ellie’s Oatmeal Milk Bath. Next up is Cookies and Clairvoyance, the eighth in the Magical Bakery Mystery series that I write as Bailey Cates. For more information about my books, please visit .

Happy reading!


Thank you, Bailey, for dropping by and giving insight about this book.

Keep reading for my review.

Marigolds for Malice (An Enchanted Garden Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – California
Berkley (August 28, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 0451476905
ISBN-13: 978-0451476906
Kindle ASIN: B078DW46M3

In the third captivating Enchanted Garden Mystery from Bailey Cattrell, Elliana Allbright will need to dig up clues from the past to weed out a killer…

Elliana Allbright is happy running her perfume shop, Scents & Nonsense, in the charming town of Poppyville, California. And she’s even happier when she can use her inherited abilities to infuse her perfumes with an extra special something that eases woes or solves problems for her customers. But she’ll need those abilities and more when murder comes to town.

Ellie and her women’s business group, the Greenstockings, are helping to open a new museum about local history, and while sorting through the collection of artifacts they discover a time capsule from the days of the Gold Rush. Among the contents is a strange botanical manuscript, recognized by local history professor Eureka Sanford as extremely rare and valuable. When the professor is found dead in the museum, Ellie has no choice but to sniff out the murderer… but this one may have roots that are as old as Poppyville.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Elliana Allbright is the owner of Scents & Nonsense where she sells items made with special oils she distills from plants in her own garden. The Enchanted Garden is right next to the shop and abuts right up to her tiny house. The garden is a relaxing place with spots for people to sit and wind down from the stress in their lives. Ellie’s dog, Dash and shop cat, Nabokov have free rein of the area so they may dish out their own kind of comfort too.

Ellie belongs to a women’s group, the Greenstockings. They are busy cataloging artifacts for a new local history museum. In their endeavor, they find want appears to be a time capsule for the 1800’s. The town quickly makes an event out of its opening. Inside they find some rare items and local history professor Eureka Sanford tells all that the items could be quite valuable. After most of the items are returned to the museum, Eureka is found dead and most of the items are missing. Ellie is quite interested in the items for a personal reason so she is determined to root out the killer and get the items back.

Elliana Allbright is a wonderful protagonist. She has a gift passed on by her Gamma of being able to match each person with the right combination of scents for them and any problem they may be facing. Her Gamma’s journal is the guidebook and has been the key to everything she knows. A magical journal that still updates itself long after her Gamma’s passing. In this story, it again plays a critical part in solving the mystery.  It is fun tagging along with Ellie as she sniffs around for answers. I love the way she and Detective Lupe Garcia work together, especially this time because the chief of police has taken the lead on the case.

The mystery is not easy to solve and the killer tries to permanently stop Ellie from investigating which just riles her up even more. There are several suspects to check out. While reading along I suddenly had my “aha moment”.  I read a little further and thought “no, that can’t be right”, but then after a few more pages I joyously found out I was right. The author tried hard to lead me astray but I was almost as determined as Ellie  😀

Now, I can’t finish this review without mentioning the cover. All the covers for this series have been amazing and I want to give a shout out to cover artist Adrienne Langer. She captures the beauty of Ellie’s enchanted garden perfectly. That alone should have people grabbing the book off the shelves. Then to read the story and read the descriptions the author provides of the entire garden, Ellie’s shop, and her little house provides the added imagery needed to bring the setting to life. Poppyville and Scents & Nonsense sound like somewhere I would love to visit again and again.

An enchanting place, engaging characters, and a truly entertaining mystery all come together to give readers “A Perfect Escape”. Until next time . . . I can hardly wait!!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent


About the Author

Bailey Cattrell writes the New York Times bestselling Magical Bakery Mystery series as Bailey Cates. She has studied philosophy, English, and history, and has held a variety of positions, ranging from driver’s license examiner to soap maker. She also writes the Home Crafting Mysteries as Cricket McRae.


Writing as Bailey Cates

Writing as Cricket McRae

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

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
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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.”

Aug 082018

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am over the moon excited to welcome Heather Blake to Escape With Dollycas!

Visiting the Enchanted Village

A travel guide by Heather Blake

The village square was aglow in fairy lights and sparkling lanterns hanging from tree branches. Gaslights cast circles of light onto the stone sidewalks and threw shadows along the connected storefronts and individual shops that lined the main square.

Awnings shaded large plate-glass shop windows, and ivy trailed from flower boxes bursting with bold-hued annuals. A few tourists remained, walking hand in hand along the sidewalk, window-shopping—most of the shops closed at nine on weeknights. Windows glowed in the apartments above the storefronts, and specks of lights twinkled from the streetlamps along the lanes of the neighborhoods beyond the square.

Neighborhoods where magic lived.

It Takes a Witch

Destination: The Enchanted Village

  • A witch-themed neighborhood of Salem, Massachusetts, popular with tourists.

Best time to visit:

  • When there hasn’t been a murder.
  • But seriously, any time. Every season is enjoyable in this charming neighborhood.

Good eats and drinks:

  • The Gingerbread Shack

This bakery specializes in miniature treats that fill you with contentment. Literally, some say.

  • The Sorcerer’s Stove*

This family restaurant has had its ups and downs, but on the whole, the food is a delight—when it’s not hexed. Eat at your own risk.

  • The Cauldron pub*

One of the few establishments in the village opens after 9 pm.

  • The Witch’s Brew coffee shop

Grab a cup of coffee, a scone, and the day’s local news.

Where to stay:

  • The Pixie Cottage, a B&B

Be sure to visit with Cookie, a pygmy goat, and Scalawag, a miniature donkey, who are two of the most popular attractions in the village. In the spring and summer, enjoy the vast flower gardens on the property.


  • Spellbound bookshop*, The Bewitching Boutique clothiers, The Trimmed Wick candle shop, Lotions, and Potions* bath and body shop, The Black Thorn* florist, All that Glitters jewelry store, the Furry Toadstool pet shop, The Crone’s Cupboard market, The Snuggery furnishings and décor, Ye Olde Gift Shoppe, and Balefire Sports to name a few.

To do:

  • Enjoy the village green*

The green is the heart of the village and home to many festivals, fairs, and traveling shows, including the Firelight Psychic festival, the Roving Stones rock and mineral show, the Midsummer Ball, and the Harvest festival*.

  • Explore the Enchanted Woods*

Hiking trails twist through the dense, reportedly mystical, forest that surrounds the village.

  • In the spring, check out the Pawsitively Enchanting Pet Extravaganza*.
  • In the fall, look for the Shakespearian festival set up behind the Wickedly Creative Art Studio*.
  • In the winter, cheer for the Wicked Mad Dash adventure runners.
  • Enjoy shows year-round at the grand playhouse.


  • Bring good walking shoes, the more stylish the better or they could potentially be replaced by Godfrey Baleaux, owner of the Bewitching Boutique. He has a discerning eye, little regard for comfort, and persuasive powers.
  • Limited parking available along the main village square. Overflow lots located near the village playhouse and the Sorcerer’s Stove.


  • Typical New England weather, except for the hint of magic in the air—that’s a climate characteristic native to only this village.
  • Occasionally, the weather will change in the blink of an eye, especially if that wink is from someone in the Merriweather family.


  • English
  • French, mostly within the walls of the Bewitching Boutique, an oddity no tourist questions.


  • US dollars
  • Gossip


  • As You Wish*

If you find yourself in need of a helping hand while in the village, check out As You Wish, a personal concierge service run by Darcy Merriweather. There’s not a witch person around who’s more capable of handling a crisis. She’s been known to plan last-minute parties, obtain hard-to-find gifts, dress as the Tooth Fairy to charm a five-year-old, tidy the house of a hoarder, and on many occasions, help solve crimes. Appointments upon request…or upon discovery of a dead body.

*Denotes that a murder or attempted murder has taken place within this establishment or on its grounds. Despite the high crime rate per capita, the village is full of magic and endless charm. A visit is always memorable and is highly recommended.

Thank you, Heather, so much for this wonderful travel guide! 

Now let me tell you about the newest book in this amazing series! 

To Catch a Witch: A Wishcraft Mystery
Cozy Mystery
8th in Series
1st with this Publisher
Setting – Massachusetts
Crooked Lane Books (August 7, 2018)
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1683317084
ISBN-13: 978-1683317081
Kindle ASIN: B078M3J5D1

Wishcrafter Darcy Merriweather might be a witch with the ability to grant wishes for others, but wishing isn’t going to help her catch a killer…

When wishcrafter Darcy Merriweather’s personal concierge company is hired by elite runner Abby Stillwell to organize the Wicked Mad Dash, a competition that takes place in the Enchanted Village, Darcy is more than willing to help her friend. As blizzard conditions rage on the morning of the race, Darcy’s main concern is the terrible weather—until Abby goes missing…and is later found dead, buried in the snow.

As Darcy investigates her friend’s untimely death, she learns that she didn’t really know Abby well at all. And those closest to the woman—her secret fiancé, her roommate, her ex-boyfriend, and her co-workers at Balefire Sports—seem to have plenty to hide too. As Darcy digs deeper, she uncovers complicated relationships, a possible embezzlement scheme, and allegations of cheating against a top athlete.

Just when Darcy is convinced she’s hit a dead end in the case, a startling burglary and the hunt for Abby’s elusive ex send Darcy down a dark, dangerous trail. It will take the help from friends, family, and a little bit of magic for Darcy to stop a stone-cold killer from striking again.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

We arrive in the Enchanted Village just in time for the annual Wicked Mad Dash and a few pranks from new crafter Vince Paxton. He is still finding his place in the village but Darcy Merriweather organizer of the event and wishcrafter wishes he would just cut it out. Of course, she can’t grant her own wishes but she still wants Vince to use his powers for good instead of the chaos he loves to create. It’d bad enough that a blizzard has created whiteout conditions and the person that hired Darci has gone missing.

A huge search finds the young woman dead, buried under a pile of snow. Since the death happened in the village the elder has asked Darcy to investigate and all she finds is that everyone connected to the woman is hiding something. Darcy is going to need more than wishes to solve the crime. In fact, she is going to need the help of all her friends and family to catch the witch and bring the killer to justice.

Every time I visit the Enchanted Village and these characters I am taken aback by the wonderful world Heather Blake has designed. From the village to the forest to the meadow I fully escape right into the realm this author has created. Her descriptions create wonderful imagery in full color and bring the world so alive. So easy to believe and picture each place we visit.

The characters are so full of life too. Whether it be the witches, their familiars or the visitors to the village they are so genuine. You never question the conversations with Archie, the macaw or with mice, Pepe and Mrs. P. You don’t question the physician’s healing powers or all the different magical abilities the people of the village have. This time the focus on Vincicrafters, witches with innate athleticism, fantastic runners. The Bryant family are Vincicrafters and own the local sporting goods store. The place where the victim worked.

There is also drama around Darcy’s sister Harper, who had broken up with her boyfriend, fell into a dark depression and has dedicated every waking moment to her business.  On a related note, Dorothy Hansel Dewitt is brewing up plans to overthrow the elder. And Darcy’s her fiancé, Nick Sawyer, police chief for Enchanted Village and his daughter Mimi have moved into her house and have but his on the market.

The author has packed these pages with such a delightful story and a mystery to solve. It is so well written. Twists, turns, and tense moments all lead to a very surprising ending. It flows at a perfect pace. I love the way Nick and Darcy work together. Mutual respect and sharing. They truly are a perfect match.

The Wishcraft Mysteries are a unique series and each book builds from the last one. I am thrilled that it lives on with a new publisher. The author has included some backstory for new readers but you truly need to read the series from the start in order to enjoy the series to the fullest and really get to know the characters and their place in the village. There is a bit of a cliffhanger to this story too. I am honestly tapping my foot, very impatient for book #9. 🙂

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author
Heather Blake is a pseudonym of Heather Webber, the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels, including the Nina Quinn Mysteries and the Lucy Valentine books. Blake has been nominated twice for an Agatha Award. She currently lives in the Cincinnati area with her family.

Follow Heather –
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Also by Heather Blake

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

The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

Leave A Comment for Heather Blake for 5 Bonus Entries!

Sign Up for Heather Blake’s newsletter for 5 Bonus Entries.

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

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End August 22, 2018, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By
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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