Posted in Great Escapes Book Tours Guest Posts

Asbury High and the Parcels of Poison: Asbury High YA Cozy Mystery by Kelly Brady Channick – #GuestPost – Great Escapes Book Tour

Asbury High and the Parcels of Poison:
Asbury High YA Cozy Mystery Series
by Kelly Brady Channick

About Asbury High and the Parcels of Poison

Asbury High and the Parcels of Poison: Asbury High YA Cozy Mystery
Young Adult Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Publisher: Purple Milk Publishing (May 24, 2020)
Paperback: 269 pages
ISBN-10: 1734307323
ISBN-13: 978-1734307320
Digital ASIN: B088F1W592

Asbury’s fearless foursome is back!


Is their favorite hangout to blame for recent food poisonings? Or is there something more sinister at work?


After an unprecedented first year of high school, the gang is ready for a relaxing summer vacation, although in Asbury, that may be easier said than done. This summer, the Food Network is running a summer special highlighting local hot spots, Carly, Maddie, Pilot and Cornelious are psyched to have the world’s best restaurant featured—their very own Brady’s! In fact, Maddie can almost forget that her arch-nemesis, Alexis Johnson, will also be on TV for winning the logo design for Caulfield’s Candies… almost.


However, after patrons start falling ill, shoobies and locals alike point the finger at Brady’s and rumors of food poisoning. When Brady’s threatens to close its doors, Pilot realizes his mother’s job is in jeopardy, as well as his future in Asbury. With the aid of Cornelious’ wealthy cousin Dane, who spends every summer with the quartet, the gang is once again thrust into an investigation. Unfortunately, they find themselves thwarted by both the local police (who believe their recent success was due to luck, rather than skill), and Cornelious’ father, who has decided to run for Mayor of Asbury and cautions his son on the need to maintain a spotless public image.


With a new pancake house on the boardwalk, Mainlanders invading their beaches, and the Pitbulls sneaking around and terrorizing shoobies (as usual), there’s no shortage of suspects. But can they solve the case before the summer, and Brady’s, are finished?

If you could only eat one meal for life,
what would it be?

If I could only eat one meal for life, anyone who knows me would probably say I would choose cookies. However, I also know that cookies—although the most amazingly delicious dessert ever created—does not constitute as a true meal. Therefore, taking this question seriously, I would have to choose a steak dinner. However, I am quite picky when it comes to my steak, as anyone could attest. Not only would the steak have to be a Prime Rib bone-in cut, but there must be no pink on the inside. I’m not saying I like it burned or overcooked, just medium-well sits perfect with me. Also, by choosing a steak dinner, I get the delicious option of choosing some tasty side dishes. Of course, I would choose garlic-mashed potatoes. The mashed potatoes also have to be done a particular way (this is my only meal for life, right? It better be perfect!😊) Anyway, I am not someone who enjoys the potato skin in my mashed, so they would have to be peeled and tossed away. Also, I like it creamy with no chunks in sight! Yum! The other side I would choose, would be buttery string beans. The string beans wouldn’t have to be too particular, I tend to like any type of string beans. And finally, to top everything off, I would need to finish with a tall glass of cold, whole milk.


About Kelly Brady Channick

For as long as she could remember, Kelly Brady Channick loved making up stories and leaving her listeners/readers on the edge of their seats.

Perhaps that’s why she always managed to talk herself out of trouble…

After graduating from NJ’s own Ocean City High School, Kelly accepted a basketball scholarship to Holy Family University, in Philadelphia. As a lifelong athlete, Kelly understands the importance of teamwork and overcoming adversity, something she hopes translates into her books.

Before writing page-turners, she taught first, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grade — like a dessert menu, she simply had to test them all out. But her favorite job is the one she’s now doing full time: writing. Kelly loves to craft whodunit mysteries, leading readers through various twists and turns filled with red-herrings, hidden clues, and more peculiar characters than a reality show.

Kelly lives in South Jersey with her handsome husband, energetic baby boy, two cookie-stealing dogs, and an awfully smart cat.


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Posted in 2020 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Guest Posts New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Barbara Monajem – Author of Lady Rosamund and the Poison Pen: A Rosie and McBrae Mystery – Great Escapes Book Tour – #GuestPost / #Review / #Giveaway

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am so happy to welcome Barbara Monajem to Escape With Dollycas today!

Tracking Down a Poison Pen
by Barbara Monajem


If you lived two hundred years ago and someone sent you poison pen letters, how would you go about identifying your anonymous letter writer?

Lady Rosamund Phipps had to do this in Lady Rosamund and the Poison Pen. She didn’t know why she was receiving the horrid letters, but each one was more menacing than the last. She had to find out who was sending them, and why.

The first clue was the handwriting – but it was all in capitals, which makes it much harder to recognize than normal cursive. Not much of a clue, unfortunately.

The second clue was the postmark. Yes, they had postmarks in England in 1811 – and quite a bit earlier, actually. Unfortunately, the postmark also proved far less useful than she (and I) hoped. By the time of the Regency, all London mail went through the Chief Post Office in Lombard Street. That wasn’t much help to Lady Rosamund, since London was and is a big city, and she knew many people there, some of whom disliked her.

Her third clue was the paper the poison pen used. Paper was expensive back then. Made from linen and cotton rags, it was sold in various sizes and quantities. The letters Lady Rosamund received were written on foolscap. This was not the well-known foolscap of not so long ago (which we now call legal size), but 16.5 x 13.25 inches. Since paper was too costly to waste, it was often cut it into half and quarter sheets, so as to use only as much as was needed. People also crossed and re-crossed their letters—in other words, they wrote on top of what they had already written, but in the opposite direction, and even diagonally. It’s unbelievably hard to read, at least to modern eyes, but it certainly goes to show how expensive both paper and postage were at the time.

Lady Rosamund’s horrid correspondent wasn’t the thrifty sort. He (or she) used a half-sheet of foolscap for a single nasty sentence! Was she (or he) a wealthy person who could afford wastage? Or a servant who enjoyed wasting an unpleasant employer’s paper? Or some other possibility that Lady Rosamund didn’t think of?

The fourth clue was the seal. Since there were no envelopes yet, letters were folded and sealed. Sealing wax was melted with a wax jack or a bougie box, both of which held long coils of wax, of which a small amount could be melted at a time. Sticks of sealing wax were also available. A blob of melted wax would be dropped onto the folded letter and pressed flat with a seal. Instead of the usual red, the anonymous letters were sealed in black, which was used for mourning. A poison pen letter was bad enough, but worse when sealed in a color that hinted of death.

The design on the seal itself was more promising. Often seals would have a family crest or some other method of identifying the sender. The seal the poison pen used was very strange indeed – it looked like a cow with a shaggy coat. At last, a good, solid clue. The unusual seal gave Lady Rosamund the start she needed to track down the poison pen.

Thank you Barbara for visiting today! 


About Lady Rosamund and the Poison Pen:
A Rosie and McBrae Mystery

Lady Rosamund and the Poison Pen: A Rosie and McBrae Mystery
Historical Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Level Best Books (April 21, 2020)
Paperback: 244 pages
ISBN-10: 1947915274
ISBN-13: 978-1947915275
Digital ASIN: B087BBLLNL

Lady Rosamund Phipps, daughter of an earl, has a secret. Well, more than one. Such as the fact that she’s so uninterested in sex that she married a man who promised to leave her alone and stick to his mistress. And a secret only her family knows—the mortifying compulsion to check things over and over. Society condemns people like her to asylums. But when she discovers the dead body of a footman on the stairs, everything she’s tried to hide for years may be spilled out in broad daylight.


First the anonymous caricaturist, Corvus, implicates Lady Rosamund in a series of scandalous prints. Worse, though, are the poison pen letters that indicate someone knows the shameful secret of her compulsions. She cannot do detective work on her own without seeming odder than she already is, but she has no choice if she is to unmask both Corvus and the poison pen.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Lady Rosamund Phipps has herself wrapped up in a sticky wicket. Her footman either fell or was pushed to his death in her home, an anonymous caricaturist is posting outrageous prints featuring her, her family and friends, and someone is sending her threatening letter in hopes to send her over the edge.

Lady Rosamund is a willful, independent woman who knows what she wants and will go to great lengths to get it. She also has a severe case of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder although not yet in the mainstream at the time of this story. The malady is serious because she could be locked away easily. She is in a marriage of convenience which is perfectly fine with her. She and her husband support each other and attend important events as he desires a political career. Her husband also has a mistress, Rosie’s best friend but she is fine with that too. Her mother does come into their home to address the perception of the drawings on her family and basically curtails most of Rosie’s visits, teas, and parties, even making her stay home and eat invalid rations. Her brother also makes an appearance trying to get to go to the country until things settle down We also met several members of the class and the staff. All the characters are cleverly written.

This is a unique story as Rosie tries to chase down clues to the poison pen letter and the drawings. She doesn’t focus too much on the footman at first. She gets help from some unusual people that kept the story moving along and fresh. I did hone in the caricaturist very early in the story. A historical cozy Regency mystery with a twist. There are some adult themes. The author used her words beautifully in setting each scene taking readers right there with her. I was surprised by the ending and a little heartbroken.

Lady Rosamund and the Poison Pen is really the story of a woman’s journey with 3 mysteries blended together. While not my typical read I did enjoy this one very much and look forward to reading more by this author.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent


About Barbara Monjem

Winner of the Holt Medallion, Maggie, Daphne du Maurier, Reviewer’s Choice and Epic awards, Barbara Monajem wrote her first story at eight years old about apple tree gnomes. She published a middle-grade fantasy when her children were young. When they grew up, she turned to writing for adults, first the Bayou Gavotte paranormal mysteries and then Regency romances with intrepid heroines and long-suffering heroes (or vice versa). Some of her Regencies have magic in them and some don’t (except for the magic of love, which is in every story she writes).

Barbara loves to cook, especially soups, and is an avid reader. There are only two items on her bucket list: to make asparagus pudding and succeed at knitting socks. She’ll manage the first but doubts she’ll ever accomplish the second. This is not a bid for immortality but merely the dismal truth. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with an ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and feline strays.

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

Posted in Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Guest Posts

Nearly Departed (An Eve Appel Mystery) by Lesley A. Diehl #GuestPost / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

Nearly Departed (An Eve Appel Mystery)
by Lesley A. Diehl

I am pleased to welcome author Lesley Diehl to Escape With Dollycas today!

Hi Lesley,

It’s Not About Murder

 By Lesley A. Diehl


Cozy mysteries usually contain one or two or perhaps more murders, but they’re about more than murder. In fact, murder isn’t really what draws us to the mystery. It’s discovering who the killer is and why the murder was committed that is the intriguing puzzle presented to the reader. But solving the mystery is about more than identifying the perpetrator.

Murder sets the stage for disrupting life as the protagonist, her close friends and family and a community experience it. Whether the person murdered is someone important to the protagonist or a victim she isn’t acquainted with, the protagonist’s involvement in finding the killer is intimate to her relationships and to how she sees herself. While the mystery behind the murder makes for the structure of the sleuthing, how the protagonist goes about discovering necessary truths behind other characters’ behaviors and their impulses and provides the story with its unique flavor.

For cozy writers and readers, solving crimes is uninteresting unless we understand and like the protagonist. If we are reading for criminal and forensic details or legal nuances, our choice would be legal thrillers or police procedurals, not cozy mysteries. Cozy mystery readers want to share sleuthing with someone who may have an interesting life and career, but not necessarily one in law. Instead, we prefer to see someone like us who is able to match wits with a killer and tease out truth from lies, the life we might choose if we had the opportunity or if someone asked for our help. Miss Marple is the prototypic cozy mystery sleuth, older, wise, brilliant and imbedded in the life of her village, just the kind of woman who dwells in my fantasy life and who beckons me to come with her as she uncovers the killer. There’s much to learn from the cozy protagonist that doesn’t require a special degree or training, just a keen mind and an unfettered curiosity, qualities the reader brings to the book.

What the protagonist provides to the community is more than the identity of the murderer. She delivers the village from disorder. Not only does the protagonist grow and change as a result of her quest, but so do the characters that play key parts in her search. Clues become more than pieces of a puzzle; they can be lies told, lies covered up, truths revealed, and new relationships established. The original order of village life before the murder is never reestablished and what the pursuit of the killer does is to make it impossible for life to go back. Instead, the journey in the book puts everyone under the microscope. The result is life reinvented, usually in a better way.

The killer may be as important to the mystery as is the protagonist. In some ways the story is directed by the killer who leaves clues to his/her identity as well as false leads implicating the innocent. While the identity of the guilty remains unknown throughout, the protagonist and the reader come to know the individual intimately through the killer’s history, interaction with the victim and relationships with others. Understanding motive is significant to both the protagonist and the reader. If the story ended not knowing who did it, the reader would be disappointed, but the reader wants more than the face of the killer. The reader along with the protagonist needs to know why the killer did it. Establishing motive is often the final piece of the puzzle.

Like all good mysteries the cozy mystery is about putting together puzzle pieces that seem in the beginning of the tale to be irrelevant. The fragments come together when the protagonist discovers the important aspects of the lives of the characters in the story, their personal histories, their needs, desires, weaknesses and obsessions, what they have hidden and what they have lied about. The cozy mystery is only tangentially about murder. It’s really a jigsaw puzzle, the pieces of which are found in the psychology of the characters who make up the story.

Thank you, Lesley, for visiting today! 


About Nearly Departed 

Nearly Departed (An Eve Appel Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Publisher: Epicenter Press (January 14, 2020)
Print Length: 180 pages
Digital ASIN: B083G9GDJY

Tired of sitting surveillance on insurance fraud, apprentice PI Eve Appel Egret gets her first big case, one where the outcome is important and personal. Eve’s best friend Madeleine has few relatives, so her Uncle Shamus is special, but someone is determined to kill him and has tried several times. Eve is certain she can identify who is after him, but this time she may have taken on more than even our self-confident Eve can handle. Coping with a growing toddler and a teenager, devoting time to the consignment shop and finding someone who can go undercover in a sexual harassment case all vie for Eve’s attention. Eve knows she cannot fail Madeleine. This is more than her favorite uncle’s life. His death would mean devastating loss for Madeleine and call into question Eve’s commitment as a friend and her ability as a PI.


About Lesley Diehl

Cows, Lesley learned as a child growing up on a farm, have a twisted sense of humor. They chased her when she went to the field to herd them in for milking, and one ate the lovely red mitten her grandmother knitted for her. Determining that agriculture wasn’t her career path, she took a job as a stripper, book cover stripper for a publishing company, that is. Now after many years as a college professor and university administrator, she has returned to the world of books and uses her country roots and her training to concoct stories designed to make people laugh in the face of murder. “A good chuckle,” says Lesley,” keeps us emotionally well-oiled long into our old age.”

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Posted in Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Guest Posts

All We Buried: A Sheriff Bet Rivers Mystery by Elena Taylor – #AuthorGuestPost / #Giveaway @Elena_TaylorAut

All We Buried: A Sheriff Bet Rivers Mystery
by Elena Taylor

About All We Buried

All We Buried: A Sheriff Bet Rivers Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (April 7, 2020)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1643852914
ISBN-13: 978-1643852911
Digital ASIN: B07RQH353V

For fans of Julia Keller and Sheena Kamal, All We Buried disturbs the long-sleeping secrets of a small Washington State mountain town.


Interim sheriff Elizabeth “Bet” Rivers has always had one repeat nightmare: a shadowy figure throwing a suspicious object into her hometown lake in Collier, Washington. For the longest time, she chalked it up to an overactive imagination as a kid. Then the report arrives. In the woods of the Cascade mountain range, right in her jurisdiction, a body floats to the surface of Lake Collier. When the body is extricated and revealed, no one can identify Jane Doe. But someone must know the woman, so why aren’t they coming forward?


Bet has been sitting as the interim sheriff of this tiny town in the ill-fitting shoes of her late father and predecessor. With the nightmare on her heels, Bet decided to build a life for herself in Los Angeles, but now it’s time to confront the tragic history of Collier. The more she learns, the more Bet realizes she doesn’t know the townspeople of Collier as well as she thought, and nothing can prepare her for what she is about to discover.


I am thrilled to host Elena and this guest post today!! 

A Crime Writer’s Take on Character Development and Grey’s Anatomy


I watch a lot of crime dramas on television. From the terrific adaptations of British novels to the long-running Law & Order, I enjoy a lot of the shows the reflect the genre I write in.

But I also watch the medical shows from St. Elsewhere to ER to Grey’s Anatomy.

For both genres, I fully realize I’m watching fiction. I know DNA doesn’t come back in an hour, that Crime Scene Technicians don’t chase suspects, and that interns can’t break protocol over and over and still continue working at their hospital, or even staying out of jail.

But it’s so much fun and the characters matter, so I suspend my disbelief and relish the drama.

So why am I bothered by a character choice on a recent episode of Grey’s Anatomy?

The simple answer? Creating unrealistic situations in a fictional context can be forgiven, but I’m not sure creating an unrealistic aspect of character development can.

When I teach writing workshops about character development, I often say “characters can—and should—surprise us, but those surprises should still be in character.”

In other words, after a character has done something I don’t expect, I should be able to look back and say, “of course that’s how they behaved. The clues are all there that this is what they would do.”

This might include the lengths that they would go to achieve something or their unwillingness to break an ethical rule. It could cover their ability to overcome a fear or their inability to help a friend.

What it can’t do, is reverse the forward development of a character that we’ve watched for sixteen years into a less ethical character. Because that makes the character a lie and that, dear reader, is unforgivable.

The internet exploded with comments about the exit of Justin Chambers’ character, Alex Karev from Grey’s Anatomy’s sixteenth season.

The loss of the character is understandable. Actors are human beings with complex lives. Chambers moved on for whatever reason and his character’s absence had to be dealt with, but the decision made by the show’s writers on how to do that may have missed the mark.

Here’s the scenario for those of you who don’t watch Grey’s Anatomy.

Alex started as a total jerk.

Throughout the first season, he became less of a jerk.

Over the next decade and a half, he continued to develop and evolve and became a thoughtful, conscientious, loving adult.

He ended the series as a total jerk.

See the problem there?

In mid-November, Alex Karev disappeared from the show. No explanation. Just vanished.

His wife, Jo, worried. She called. She emailed. She panicked. She mourned. She suffered. She got no response.

Then on March 5, all of Alex’s closest friends got letters explaining his disappearance.


He leaves his wife over a letter.

The letters describe how he reconnected with his first wife and learned they had two children together, which she’d birthed five years ago through embryos they’d created during her cancer treatment.

Ignoring all of the potential plot problems with that scenario, let’s go back to the fundamental problem with character development.

Alex left his wife—the woman who grew up in the foster system just as Alex did, who finally overcame her fear of trusting another human being through her time with Alex—through a letter.

After letting her wonder for months where he was and why he walked out.

This is beyond cruel. It’s epic in its cruelty. It’s also bizarre in its cruelty. It’s more than just “who does that?” It’s why, why, why would Alex Karev do that?

There is NOTHING in his character development to back up that kind of behavior. Even at Alex’s worst, even when he behaved like a jerk, he was never cruel.

There are no clues in place to justify this kind of action on his part.

Will this kill Grey’s Anatomy? Probably not. It’s a wildly successful show and Meredith Grey remains alive and well and she’s the main character. But there’s an emotional impact here that may matter more to fans, even if they keep watching.

A lot of longtime viewers feel duped.

It takes away some of the pleasure of feeling like we “know” these characters. That our investment in years of watching the show, sometimes following characters we didn’t care for and scenarios we found tedious just to stay with a program for which we felt intense loyalty, has been cheapened.

Alex Karev didn’t just leave his wife, or his person, Meredith, or the hospital he was trying to save. He left his fans.

And we didn’t even get a letter.


Oh, Girl, I so, agree, I was steaming over this for days! 

About the Author


Elena Taylor spent several years working in theater as a playwright, director, designer, and educator before turning her storytelling skills to fiction. Her first series, the Eddie Shoes Mysteries, written under the name Elena Hartwell, introduced a quirky mother/daughter crime-fighting duo. With All We Buried, Elena returns to her dramatic roots and brings readers a much more serious and atmospheric novel. Located in her beloved Washington State, Elena uses her connection to the environment to produce a forbidding story of small-town secrets and things that won’t stay buried. Elena is also a senior editor with Allegory Editing, a developmental editing house, where she works one-on-one with writers to shape and polish manuscripts, short stories, and plays. If you’d like to work with Elena, visit she’s not writing or coaching writing, her favorite place to be is at the farm with her horses, Jasper and Radar, or at her home, on the middle fork of the Snoqualmie River in North Bend, Washington, with her husband, their dog, Polar, and their cats, Coal Train and Cocoa. Elena holds a B.A. from the University of San Diego, a M.Ed. from the University of Washington, Tacoma, and a Ph.D. from the University of Georgia.

Author Links

Website –  Blog – Facebook –  Twitter – Goodreads  – Instagram

Purchase Links:

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Written as Elena Hartwell

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Great Escapes Praise for All We Buried: A Sheriff Bet Rivers Mystery
by Elena Taylor

I absolutely loved All We Buried: A Sheriff Bet Rivers Mystery! If you love a good suspenseful mystery, you’ll love it too!

I haven’t read Elena Taylor before but after being thoroughly captivated by Bet Rivers, this is definitely not the last!
~TBR Book Blog

All We Buried by Elena Taylor was an exciting tale of mystery, crime, and carrying a family legacy.
~Baroness’ Book Trove

The story was well thought out, executed and gripping, I loved the small town setting and the characters and can’t wait to read from this series and author.
~eBook addicts

Taylor skillfully sets the pace to allow us to become acquainted with the town, the people, and the deep-rooted mysteries coming to the surface. A fabulous read from start to finish!
~Reading Is My SuperPower

A twisty little thriller set in the dark environs of Washington state with a lake that is so dead that fish can’t even live there.
~Diane Reviews Books


April 7 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
April 7 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
April 8 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 8 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
April 9 – The Power of Words – REVIEW
April 9 – Gimme The Scoop Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST
April 10 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW
April 10 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 11 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 12 – TBR Book Blog – REVIEW
April 13 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
April 13 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER GUEST POST
April 14 – eBook addicts – REVIEW
April 14 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 15 – My Reading Journeys – SPOTLIGHT
April 15 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
April 16 – The Book Diva’s Reads – GUEST POST
April 16 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT
April 17 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
April 18 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
April 18 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – GUEST POST  
April 19 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW
April 19 – Brooke Blogs – CHARACTER GUEST POST
April 20 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Guest Posts Spotlights

Why Me?: Chimeras, Conundrums, and Dead Goldfish by Charlotte Stuart – #CharacterGuestPost – Great Escapes Book Tour @quirkymysteries

Why Me?: Chimeras, Conundrums, and Dead Goldfish
by Charlotte Stuart

Marina Pets

by Bryn Baczek, responsible pet owner

I admit it, I never thought I would become attached to a cat, especially not to a cantankerous, orange creature with the ability to manipulate me like no human, not even my mother, has ever been able to do. (Although my mother never gives up trying.) I met Macavity at an animal shelter. I was there with a friend who was looking for a cat. When his two different colored eyes gazed into my two different colored eyes, I couldn’t resist adopting him. Or maybe he adopted me, I’m not sure which.

He’s a handsome animal, his orange fur accented with dark swirls on both sides of his body like he’s been tie-dyed. I named him Macavity for the T.S. Eliot poem, not aware of how fitting the name might be. My Macavity may not be quite as fiendish as the one in Eliot’s poem, but he is a true mystery cat: He’s broken every human law, he breaks the law of gravity.

If Macavity could talk he would probably tell you that I get what I deserve from him. I frequently run out of his favorite foods. I often move my sailboat, his home, around within the marina. Sometimes I even take off and sail – or motor – to other places. The reason these things are significant is that Macavity likes routine and consistency. I’m quite certain he would have preferred a stay-at-home owner who shopped on the same day every week, got up and went to bed at the same time every day, and who perhaps had a fenced back yard instead of a marina community that is constantly changing.

On the other hand, Macavity and I have developed a complementary relationship. I provide food and shelter and he occasionally deigns to let me fawn over him. But when I say something to him like, “Speak up – cat got your tongue,” he immediately lets me know that I’ve crossed the wordplay line. Even given the limited facial muscles of the feline, he manages to communicate a look of disdain. And he sometimes goes on walkabout just to emphasize that he is the one in control.

I do have another pet in addition to Macavity. It’s a goldfish with multiple lives. That is, it’s a goldfish that looks exactly like previous goldfish I’ve had. The original fish was a gift from a person I used to consider a friend. I wouldn’t have cared when it died, the first time, but my niece Emma had just named it Bubbles. Emma is five years old, and, as her aunt, I don’t think it should fall to me to tell her about death and how pets will come and go over her lifetime. That’s why I now own Bubbles IV, although I don’t call out his lineage in front of Emma.

The question that plagues me is why my goldfish keep dying. Granted, one was dispatched by a murderer trying to warn me off of an investigation, but the others died on their own. I’ve tried everything to keep them alive. My current theory is that they are near death when I purchase them. Or maybe, when it comes to goldfish, I just have bad karma.

Anyway, I wanted to share something about myself with you, my readers, and I think what pets someone has and how they treat them tells you a lot about who they are. Although please don’t think I’m a pushover because I let Macavity be the alpha in our relationship. And remember that I do try to keep my goldfish alive. I even buy them miniature decorations like arches and pirate chests to jazz up their limited living space. And each time one dies I say a few words as I commit their golden bodies to the shallow waters of the lake. I even fantasize that as they hit the cold water they come back to life and swim off. That’s the kind of optimistic and caring person I am.

About Why Me?:
Chimeras, Conundrums, and Dead Goldfish

Why Me?: Chimeras, Conundrums, and Dead Goldfish
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Taylor and Seale Publishing LLC (November 18, 2019)
Paperback: 255 pages
ISBN-10: 1950613321
ISBN-13: 978-1950613328
Digital Print Length: 194 pages

In ancient Greece, the chimera was a bad omen. In WHY ME?, it’s a motive for murder. Bryn Baczek, a Seattle consultant, is vacationing in Scotland, hiking alone in a downpour, surrounded by midges, when she sees a body at the bottom of a ravine. Before she can return to the scene with the mountain rescue team, the body disappears. She learns that he was a scientist and that his laptop containing his cutting-edge research has disappeared. Rumors that Bryn has the laptop make her a target.

About Charlotte Stuart

In a world filled with uncertainty and too little chocolate, Charlotte Stuart, PhD, has taught college courses in communication, gone commercial fishing in Alaska, and was the VP of HR and Training for a large credit union. Her current passion is for writing lighthearted mysteries with a pinch of adventure and a dollop of humor. She is the VP for the Puget Sound Sisters in Crime. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys watching herons, eagles, seals and other sea life from her Vashon Island home office.

Social Media Links:   Website   –   Twitter – Facebook  –   Goodreads

 Purchase Links

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Also by Charlotte Stuart

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Great Escapes Praise for Why Me?: Chimeras, Conundrums, and Dead Goldfish
by Charlotte Stuart

Full of fascinating characters, crafty clues, and a few unexpected twists that make it a great read for cozy mystery fans. I really liked it so I give it 4/5 stars.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

Why Me?: Chimeras, Conundrums, and Dead Goldfish is another fun and crazy cozy mystery from Charlotte Stuart. I love the way Charlotte Stuart writes her main characters. I embrace them as my friends right away.

Why Me? was quite a crazy, funny, cozy mystery! . . . I absolutely loved this story, that characters were funny, likeable and engaging and the twists that were thrown in to throw you off were done well,
~EBook addicts

This is a delightful and quirky new mystery and it will definitely keep you on your toes.
~Storeybook Reviews


April 1 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
April 2 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
April 2 – Baroness’ Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT
April 3 – Ascroft, eh?– CHARACTER INTERVIEW
April 3 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
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April 5 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW
April 6 – EBook addicts – REVIEW
April 6 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 7 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 8 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
April 9 – Ruff Drafts – GUEST POST
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April 10 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
April 11 – T’s stuff – SPOTLIGHT
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Die Die Blackbird (A Piney Woods Mystery) by Teresa Trent #GuestPost / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

Die Die Blackbird (A Piney Woods Mystery)
by Teresa Trent

I am excited to welcome Teresa Trent back to Escape With Dollycas today!

Hi Everyone,

Like many of you, I read a lot of cozy mysteries. One thing that amazes me is all of the different places and times these mysteries take place. I recently read Egg Drop Dead by Vivien Chien that took place around a Chinese restaurant. Right now, I’m reading one that takes place in snowy Alaska. Last month I read A View to a Kilt that took place in Moosetookalook, Maine. Then you can head south to Louisiana for one of Sandra Bretting‘s mysteries in the historic houses of Louisiana, or up to Chicago for V.M. Burns character who runs a bookstore and spends time with her mother’s assisted living crowd. Like Doctor Seuss says, Oh, the places you will go! Each one of these locales brings with it the world of their sleuth, whether it be a knitting shop or someone working in the Congress like in Colleen Shogan‘s books.  And don’t forget about cozy historical mysteries. I’ve recently read several that use the backdrop of a regency romance, but instead of focusing on the viscount kissing the heroine, he helps her solve a mystery.

The secret of the cozy mystery is there is a close-knit group of friends and family, whether the main character is living in a big city or small one. They are often funny and caring, and they face everyday problems we all experience, except for murder, thank God.

I love that about these books. When I’m not writing mysteries, I’m a full-time caretaker for my son with Down syndrome. He’s been in the hospital for pneumonia three or four times now, and he is medically fragile. That can be a lot to deal with day-to-day. I think that’s why I enjoy writing my two mystery series, Piney Woods, and Pecan Bayou. Some days you just need to escape to Mayberry.

In Die Die Blackbird, Nora is a co-owner of the historic Tunie Hotel, and this time she’s checking in paranormal investigators Jack and Daisy Foley. They have her front desk clerk, Dominic Fazio, over the moon, being an amateur investigator himself.  Not only that, but they knock heads with Grace Howe, the leader of the Piney Woods quilting group, who doesn’t react well to having to share meeting rooms that were supposed to be for the quilters.  Jack and Daisy are attempting to speak to the ghost of Sam Houston to find out where the missing gold from the Battle of Santa Anna might be hidden. They think Sam visited a lady of the evening in Piney Woods, and if they can’t get Sam on the line, maybe they’ll get her.

Do you have a favorite cozy mystery locale? Please share it in the comments below.


Thank you for visiting today, Teresa!

About Die Die Blackbird

Die Die Blackbird (A Piney Woods Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Publisher: Camel Press (January 14, 2020)
Paperback: 210 pages
ISBN-10: 1603818480
ISBN-13: 978-1603818483
Digital Print Length: 159 pages

Nora Alexander is finding her job exciting as she welcomes paranormal investigators Jack and Daisy Foley to the Tunie Hotel. They are trying to contact the ghost of Sam Houston not only for their internet production but because it is reported there is a stash of Santa Anna’s gold hidden somewhere. They are operating on the theory that Sam Houston visited a lady of the evening in Piney Woods and locate Red Ruth Inn where a parking lot now stands. Not only do these two stir the spirit world, but they also bother some of the town’s most established citizens including the town’s quilting group who doesn’t appreciate their overtaking of the hotel with ghost hunting equipment.


When a townsperson is murdered with suspected ties to the local gang, The Alamo Runners, Nora finds herself wanting to protect his wife and daughter all the while getting cryptic messages from beyond. Jack and Daisy aren’t the only ones with a connection to the other side.


About Teresa Trent

Teresa Trent writes cozy mysteries that take place in small towns in Texas. The Piney Woods Series came to be because her older brother worked in the hotel industry for over twenty years and would relate all the things and people he had experienced. Because Teresa loves history and a little bit of the paranormal, the Tunie Hotel was born! Teresa is also the author of the Pecan Bayou Cozy Mystery Series.




Purchase Links – AmazonB&N 

Also by Teresa Trent

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Great Escapes Praise for Die Die Blackbird (A Piney Woods Mystery)
by Teresa Trent

I enjoyed the plot in Die Die Blackbird because it involves a paranormal investigating team of husband and wife . . . These Texans won’t take no guff about their beloved Sam.

Die Die Blackbird by Teresa Trent has a well-plotted mystery, fabulous characters, and a sweet little town setting. I enjoy the humor the author adds to the plot and the family connections.
~Baroness’ Book Trove

A great addition to an adorable cozy series set in a small town in Texas. . . . a fun read full of quirky characters, lots of clues, and small town charm. Great for fans of cozies.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews


March 16 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
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March 16 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT
March 17 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW
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Posted in 2020 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Guest Posts New Release Challenge Purrfect Reading Challenge Read The Printed Word Challenge What's In A Name Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Jennifer J. Chow – Author of Mimi Lee Gets a Clue (A Sassy Cat Mystery) #GuestPost / #Review / #Giveaway @JenJChow

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am thrilled to welcome Jennifer J. Chow back to Escape With Dollycas!

Living in La La Land
By Jennifer J. Chow
Guest Post Provided by Publicist

            I’d never planned on living in Los Angeles. However, I ended up moving here in order to get my master’s degree at UCLA. At the time, I figured I’d flee the traffic-heavy, smog-infested area right after completing my required two years of study. Well, fast forward a few years, and I’d stayed put.

I ended up working in the area and had gotten married by then, so I chose to settle down. I started re-evaluating my initial (and sometimes faulty) impressions of Los Angeles and found many silver linings to staying.

Here are my top five fact vs. fiction insights:

    1. Lotsa traffic. Okay, this perception is true. I personally experienced the slow crawl of cars leaving downtown Los Angeles and trailing behind others’ taillights on the congested freeway. However, as a local, I’ve now discovered sneaky ways to bypass the traffic. I often switch to local roads to speed up my traveling. Also, by knowing the traffic patterns, I pick more optimal times for driving to avoid getting stuck.
    2. Smog city. Los Angeles is known for its air pollution. We do have unclean air, but at least on the American Lung Association’s website, we’re not number one for particle pollution—that distinction goes to the Central Valley. We are, though, tops for having high ozone levels. However, we’re aware of the problem, and officials are trying to brainstorm innovative solutions to improve the air quality here. As an aside, I actually appreciate how the smog creates prettier sunsets—those gorgeous reds and oranges are amazing to behold.
    3. Baywatch bodies. When I first got to L.A., I remember seeing (and hearing) advertisements about how I could create a more improved version of myself, whether by eating vitamins, exercising, or undergoing surgery. This fixation on appearance confounded me, but I thought, “Maybe it’s because we’re so close to Hollywood.” While I have seen some knockouts in L.A., what I’ve noticed more is the diversity of the people who live here. There are different ages, ethnicities, and body types, and I love this variety. Bonus: There’s a huge array of delicious cuisines to choose from because of the vast number of cultures represented in the area.
    4. Natural disasters. Yes, we’re prone to earthquakes (and it is common that people sometimes barely blink at a tremor, as depicted in A. Story—a movie others made me watch when I first arrived in Los Angeles). Beyond the disasters, though, we also have access to natural marvels. There are rugged mountains and verdant forests to the north, plus golden sand and glistening waves to the west. Even the stark beauty of the desert is nearby, like at Joshua Tree National Park.
    5. Hollywood glitz. In grad school, my roommate oohed over how she’d seen the ponytail of a celebrity. I’ve also known coworkers who would haunt Pink’s Hot Dogs just to get a glimpse of somebody famous. And out-of-town friends do enjoy purchasing a Star Map and spying on celebrity homes. I myself enjoyed the excitement of a red carpet event one time—okay, so I was only within googling distance. However, I have rubbed shoulders with a few better-known figures and up-and-coming creative individuals. What I appreciate about meeting them isn’t their glamour but their artistry and perseverance. I connect with them since I’m also pursuing my own passion of writing.

I hope both the fabulous and quirky atmosphere of Los Angeles comes through in my newest novel, Mimi Lee Gets a Clue. The first in the new Sassy Cat mystery series, it features an L.A. pet groomer whose dream career gets disrupted when she becomes a suspect in the murder of a dog breeder. But with the help of her snarky cat and a dreamy lawyer neighbor, maybe she can get back to living the LA dream and running her store, Hollywoof.

So, even if you can’t come and visit L.A., perhaps you can do some virtual traveling through my book. Wishing you lots of happy reading!


Thank you, Jennifer, for visiting today!

Now let me give you my thoughts on Mimi Lee Gets A Clue

Mimi Lee Gets a Clue (A Sassy Cat Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – California
Publisher: Berkley (March 10, 2020)
Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1984804995
ISBN-13: 978-1984804990
Kindle – ASIN: B07VG4QTFQ

Mimi Lee is in over her head. There’s her new Los Angeles pet grooming shop to run, her matchmaking mother to thwart, her talking cat Marshmallow to tend to—oh, and the murder of a local breeder to solve…now if only Mimi hadn’t landed herself on top of the suspect list.


Mimi Lee hoped to give Los Angeles animal lovers something to talk about with her pet grooming shop, Hollywoof. She never imagined that the first cat she said hello to would talk back or be quite so, well, catty—especially about those disastrous dates Mimi’s mother keeps setting up.


When Marshmallow exposes local breeder Russ Nolan for mistreating Chihuahuas, Mimi steals some of her cat’s attitude to tell Russ off. The next day the police show up at Hollywoof. Russ has been found dead, and Mimi’s shouting match with him has secured her top billing as the main suspect.


Hoping to clear her name and save the pups Russ left behind, Mimi enlists help from her dreamy lawyer neighbor Josh. But even with Josh on board, it’ll take Mimi and Marshmallow a lot of sleuthing and more than a little sass to get back to the pet-grooming life—and off the murder scene.


Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Los Angeles has a new place to take your pets for grooming. Hollywoof is operated by Mimi Lee and she just hopes she gets enough customers to keep her business afloat.

The first day her sister drops by with a surprise, a fluffy white Persian cat with big blue eyes. Mimi does prefer dogs but she can’t say no. The cat is soon named Marshmallow, a name he clearly doesn’t like and let’s er know in a surprising way.

Mimi is single but her mother has a plan for that. Mimi plays along for the most part because she has other concerns. Several customers are bringing in Chihuahuas from various services and she notices they all have health issues. When she learns that all came from the same local breeder she decides to investigate. She gets into a war of words with the man, witnessed by one of his neighbors.  Mimi then reports the breeder to the proper authorities for violations. When a Police Detective Brown shows up a Hollywoof he is not there to talk about the mistreatment of animals. He is there to question her about the breeder’s murder. What!

In efforts to clear her name, Mimi starts rubbing elbows with her client’s well-to-do owners and she hires a lawyer, Josh, an easy on the eyes neighbor, she met while doing laundry. Marshmallow also becomes a key member of the investigation team.


I love Marshmallow! Haven’t you always wanted to know what your pet is thinking? The author created this fun character and explains how he learned everything he knows. So lighthearted and funny.

We get to know Mimi Lee pretty well in this first book of the series. She is petite, smart, mid-twenties, but you can tell she has led a bit of a sheltered life due to her upbringing. Her mother is Asian American and her father is caucasian. He’s pretty laid back. She is all in both her daughter’s business or forces one daughter, Mimi, the eldest to interfere in the younger sister’s business. Sometimes this goes unbelievably too far. Mimi has opened a new business without much of a plan and is running it with a seat of the pant’s attitude. Thankfully, she grows over the course of this book and so does her business.  Her mother’s efforts to find Mimi find a man are pretty comical though. The family dynamics are interesting.

I really enjoyed this fresh take for an amateur sleuth team, not your typical Sherlock and Watson.  The mystery was very well done and exceeded my expectations for the first book in a series. The actual detective on the case seemed to be glued to his initial thought even when Mimi tried to give me details she had uncovered. Breeders like the one in this story are a hot topic these days and Ms. Chow gives it a fantastic fictional spin. She plots a twisted up mystery to find who killed the awful man responsible for the poor puppies. Mimi got her clue well before I did. I was very entertained following along with her to clear her name and get justice for the lovable pooches and find them fur-ever homes.

Mimi Lee Gets A Clue gives readers an intriguing mystery with plenty of suspects and twists. I am curious to see how all the characters develop more. Mimi is more Nancy Drew than Jessica Fletcher, meaning she doesn’t have the sage experience needed the help solve complex mysteries, but her youth brings a real freshness to the cozy mystery genre. The rest of the characters need to be more fleshed out to support her and get readers engaged and invested in their lives. For me, Sassy Cat Marshmallow stole the show!

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About the Author

Jennifer J. Chow grew up reading Garfield comics and adores creating sassy kit lit. She also writes the Winston Wong mysteries, which feature a regular meowing cat. Her other Asian American novels include Dragonfly Dreams (a Teen Vogue pick) and The 228 Legacy.

She’s involved in Crime Writers of Color, Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime. Like her on Facebook and Follow her on GoodReads and Twitter. Connect on Instagram @jenjchow

Coming November 10, 2020

Also by this Author

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

Posted in 2020 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Guest Posts Literary Escapes New Release Challenge Purrfect Reading Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Tina Kashian – Author of On the Lamb (A Kebab Kitchen Mystery) #GuestPost / #Recipe / #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @KensingtonBooks @TinaKashian1

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am thrilled to have Tina Kashian visit today!

Hi Tina!

Hi Lori!

Thank you for featuring me as a guest on the Escape with Dollycas Blog to celebrate the release of “On the Lamb”!

I love to cook all types of cuisine. I grew up in a family-owned restaurant in New Jersey, and my Kebab Kitchen Mystery Series is set in a Mediterranean restaurant at the Jersey shore.

In On the Lamb, Lucy Berberian is a recovering lawyer who returns to Ocean Crest, NJ and her family’s restaurant, Kebab Kitchen. When Lucy is invited to a beach bonfire with friends, she’s excited for a night out. But when a disliked, local landlord shows up on the beach and gets in a screaming match with one of Lucy’s friends, Melanie Haven, owner of Haven Candies on the boardwalk, a fun evening turns stressful. And when the same landlord is found dead on the beach after choking on a piece of saltwater taffy, Melanie is in a sticky mess of trouble. It’s up to Lucy to solve the case before her friend gets skewered for a crime she didn’t commit.

Winter is the perfect time to experiment with soups. One of my favorite soup recipes is lentil soup with swiss chard. As a parent, it can be difficult to get my kids to eat certain vegetables, like swiss chard. Surprisingly, if it’s incorporated into soup, they eat it and even like it. I’m sharing a recipe we served at my family’s restaurant.


on the lamb Swiss Chard and Lentil Soup by Tina Kashian

This Mediterranean soup is super healthy and full of fiber. The swiss chard adds flavor without overpowering the dish.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour


½ lb dry Lentils

2 tbsp olive Oil

1 tbsp butter

1 small onion finely chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 carrot chopped

1stalk celery chopped

3 cups swiss chard, washed, stemmed and chopped.

4 cups chicken broth

1 cup water

1 tsp salt or to taste

1 tbsp lemon or to taste

Put dry lentils in a bowl and check for small stones that can naturally occur.

In a soup pot, heat oil, and butter. Add onion, garlic, celery, and carrots. Stir and sauté over medium heat for 15 minutes or until onions are transparent. Add chicken broth, water, and lentils. Simmer for ½ hour. Add swiss chard, salt, and lemon. Simmer for another fifteen minutes or until lentils and swiss chard are tender. Add hot water if you prefer a thinner soup.

Thank you again and enjoy the soup!


Thank you, Tina, for dropping by. 

Keep reading for my thoughts on Tina’s new book, On The Lamb. 


About On The Lamb

On the Lamb (A Kebab Kitchen Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – New Jersey
Publisher: Kensington (February 25, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-10: 1496726057
ISBN-13: 978-1496726056

Lucy Berberian is busy preparing her family’s Mediterranean restaurant for Easter on the Jersey Shore—but a batch of sweets is to die for . . .


Bikers are thundering into the seaside town of Ocean Crest for the annual Bikers on the Beach gathering that raises funds for injured veterans. It’s a big boost for the Kebab Kitchen, as well as for local businesses like Melanie Haven’s candy shop. But Melanie is about to find herself in a sticky situation.


When Melanie and Lucy attend a beach bonfire, a local landlord is found dead after apparently choking on a piece of salt water taffy. Melanie, who was known to have a contentious relationship with the victim, is quickly skewered as the prime suspect. But Lucy is determined to prove her friend’s innocence before the real killer coasts free . . .


Recipes included!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

It’s almost Easter in Ocean Crest and Lucy is excited about getting her family together. She is also busy with the family restaurant and business has picked up for most of the businesses in town with the annual Bikers on the Beach event that raising money for injured vets. Part of the event is a huge bonfire on the beach. Lucy was invited by her friend Michael who is the manager of the bike shop next to her family’s restaurant. She takes along her BFF Katie and their friend Melanie.  Gilbert Lubinski, local landlord of many apartments and businesses tries to ruin the party when he barges in to remind Melanie that her rent is due and to remember it has been increased.

A short time later someone screams. People rush to the sound and find Melanie standing over Gilbert’s dead body. With the earlier public altercation, a piece of taffy found in the victim’s throat, and the one finding the body, Melanie finds herself at the top of the suspect list. Lucy knows her friend is innocent and she is going to prove it.

This is such an entertaining series!

Lucy’s parents have decided to take a step back from the family business, The Kebab Kitchen,  and leave the day to day management in her hands. Her mom still pops in to keep up with Lucy’s cooking lessons and to approve the head chef Azad Zakarian menus. Her dad likes to keep his hand in with the inventory and other office tasks. Lucy knows change is hard for them but she has had a few minor victories so she is fine with them taking their time. She also takes a big step within these pages that coincides nicely with the murder investigation she and Katie have got themselves wrapped up in.  Ms. Kashian has created such genuine characters. I am always excited to see what they are all up to.

Kashian has also introduced some great new characters this time which include Eloisa Lubinski and her Shih Tzu, Cupid. Eloisa stole my heart immediately. I wish I had half her spunk and energy. Her nephew Gilbert is our victim and with his death, all his secrets were revealed leading to many more suspects. including a couple of bikers, his business partner, and his almost ex-wife. A few more come out of the woodwork when Lucy uncovers his little side business. All these characters evolve as the story continues some in very meaningful ways.

Talk about red herrings, this story is full of them. I loved it even though I fell for most of them and was caught totally by surprise at the reveal.  I really enjoy the way Lucy and Katie sleuth together. When one drops the ball the other can pick it up and weave a tale like a pro. They also don’t give up. The author sets a brisk pace and gives us plenty of drama and action. There are also some truly funny moments too.

So much of the story takes place on the boardwalk. Lucy’s daily runs helped her sort through the clues and she also gets a little advice when she stops to visit psychic Madame Vega and learns something when she finds herself at the tattoo parlor. All this goes on with a loudspeaker blaring ” Watch the tramcar please!” as the tramcar goes up and down the boardwalk. Ms. Kashian really sets the scene wonderfully, not only on the boardwalk but at the Kebab Kitchen, the beach, Melanie’s candy shop, and all around Ocean Crest.

On The Lamb has everything I look for in a cozy mystery, engaging and entertaining characters, a mystery I can sink my teeth into, and just a little romance and humor to balance everything out.

Speaking of sinking my teeth into, there are several recipes in the back of the book. I have never eaten Armenian, Lebanese, or Greek food with the exception of a gyro back in my college days. The descriptions of the food in this series do make my mouth water. This small-town girl may have to step out of her comfort zone and give these recipes a try.

I am already looking forward to my next visit to the Jersey Shore because they are always some really great things happening there along with a little bit of murder.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Hummus and Homicide here
and Stabbed in the Baklava here and One Feta In The Grave here


About Tina Kashian

Tina Kashian is a bestselling author, an attorney, and a mechanical engineer whose love of reading for pleasure helped her get through years of academia. Tina spent her childhood summers at the Jersey shore building sandcastles, boogie boarding, and riding the boardwalk Ferris wheel. She also grew up in the restaurant business, as her Armenian parents owned a restaurant for thirty years. Tina’s books have been Barnes & Noble top picks, and the first book in her Kebab Kitchen Mediterranean mystery series, Hummus and Homicide, spent six weeks on the B&N bestseller list. Please visit her website at to join her newsletter, receive delicious recipes, enter contests, and more!

Author Links  Website   Facebook  Twitter  Instagram   Goodreads

Purchase Links

Amazon  –  Barnes & Noble –  Kobo –   Google BooksiBooks

Praise for On the Lamb (A Kebab Kitchen Mystery)
by Tina Kashian

An intricate mystery, an abundance of motives, a large dollop of intriguing characters, and a pinch of romance blended with a hint of salt from the Jersey Shore blend together to make ON THE LAMB a fun heartwarming story.
~Cozy Up With Kathy

Ms. Kashin did a fantastic job of stumping me that I just had to give this book five stars. I loved every minute of reading this book.
~Baroness’ Book Trove

On the Lamb is a charming cozy mystery that will have you wanting to visit the Jersey shore.
~The Avid Reader

A family-centric crime series with lots of delicious food and plenty of twists, turns, and red herrings.
~Laura’s Interests

Another great cozy with likable relatable to me characters but what I enjoyed most was the closeness of family and also that the “who did it” wasn’t so easily recognized because almost everybody was a suspect!
~Gimme the Scoop Reviews

Well plotted with many twists and turns, this strong, superbly written mystery gave me the run around as I tried in vain to help protagonist, Lucy Berberian, solve the case and clear her friend.
~Lisa Ks Book Reviews

The author combined the perfect amount of mystery, humor, and romance to create a great addition to the series. As always, I love the author’s personal touches, such as her family recipes and the fact that she took some of her favorite memories and included them in the book.
~Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews

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On the Lamb (A Kebab Kitchen Mystery)
by Tina Kashian

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please Visit All the Stops. 
February 25 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
February 25 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT
February 25 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT
February 26 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
February 26 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST
February 26 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
February 27 – This Is My Truth Now – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 27 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 28 – The Book Diva’s Reads – GUEST POST
February 28 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
February 29 – Laura`s Interests – REVIEW
February 29 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – CHARACTER GUEST POST
March 1 – Gimme The Scoop Reviews – REVIEW
March 1 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, INTERVIEW
March 2 – Literary Gold – CHARACTER GUEST POST 
March 2 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – REVIEW
March 3 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
March 3 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
March 4 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, GUEST POST
March 4 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT
March 5 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 5 – Dee-Scoveries – SPOTLIGHT
March 6 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
March 6 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW
March 7 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
March 7 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW



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

Posted in Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Guest Posts

Bonbon Voyage (Adventures of Gladys) by Katherine H. Brown #GuestPost / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

Bonbon Voyage (Adventures of Gladys)
by Katherine H. Brown

I am thrilled to welcome Katherine H. Brown to Escape With Dollycas today!

Hey there! Thanks for letting me come say hi today. My name is Katherine Brown and I live in Texas. I love words and weaving them together to create stories and books. I also love to read. I read fiction the majority of the time, with one or two non-fiction books thrown in every year or so. I read cozy mystery, chick-lit, paranormal, witchy and werewolves, you name it. My Kindle is running out of space and I’m constantly looking for new places to put bookshelves in my home. My husband built me several beautiful ones inset in the wall already.

Besides tons of books, my bedroom is cluttered with a ridiculous number of spiral and composition notebooks, big and small. I’m jotting down story ideas, random bits of dialogue that are witty but have no story to go with yet, poems, and about a million fun titles for books that I haven’t begun to write yet.

To answer the age-old question, yes, I’ve actually always wanted to write. Since childhood. My parents can vouch for that and they are still some of my biggest fans. My sister is only an email away and I bounce ideas off of her frequently. There are so many things I love about writing. I love telling stories that entertain people and keep them guessing. I enjoy the freedom of allowing words to flow onto the page; I don’t plan out my books down to the last detail. I barely plan the beginning, middle, and end. I do brainstorm and jot down a list of things that need to happen but then the characters take over and I am able to simply write, often being as surprised as the readers at what happens next. For example, Chef Fabio started speaking with a French accent in the book and I had no idea he would be French when I added him. It is fun, to make something come to life and rewarding when others tell me they enjoy it or ask when the next book will be completed.

One of the most difficult things about writing, for me, is deciding on the ending. I don’t even like to read blurbs because I want to be totally surprised. When I write, I find it difficult to “know” the end rather than just be surprised. I know. Weird. Still, I’ve found a happy medium of planning enough to create a good storyline while still leaving enough empty space to not know all of the details. I work through the problem with my characters as we go.

Just like reading, when writing I get to be all of the characters. I can make them familiar, or I can use them to vicariously experience new things and that is thrilling. All of the fun and adventure without any of the actual pain and danger to fear. When people tell me that they don’t like to read, it is the one thing I can’t imagine.

When Summer arrives and with it a pretty big disruption to my writing schedule because of all the things we have planned. Let me share a typical workday with you. The alarm for my husband to go to work blares between 4:45 and 5 in the morning. I get up alongside him and turn my laptop on as I head to brush my teeth. For the first hour or two, I check emails and maybe update my mailing list and do business operations. Plus check to see if I’ve earned another thirty-five cents or not. Then after taking our daughter to school, I settle in with water or green tea and a bowl of peanut butter/oats/honey/dark chocolate chips for a good three to a five-hour writing session. Twenty to thirty minutes of TV while I eat some lunch, then maybe mow the yard or do other outside things. I usually push for another hour of writing or editing before it is time to get my daughter from school. With that, I’m able to get around 50,000 words in a month MOST months, though not every time. Things come up. Life happens. For the most part, it is a system that works for me and that I can be productive with. I think that my favorite book to write in my Ooey Gooey Bakery Mystery series might be book 3 Bake, Eat, & Be Buried. One of the most fun scenes that had me laughing out loud was when Gladys shows up to the bakery with a bag of “supplies” for herself, Piper, and Sam. The things that woman found shopping online!

Thanks for letting me share a little about me today. I hope that. if you decide to check out the books, that you enjoy them. I love reader feedback.


About Bonbon Voyage

bonbon voyage
Bonbon Voyage (Adventures of Gladys)
Cozy Mystery Novella
1st in Series
Independently published (December 31, 2019)
Paperback: 213 pages
ISBN-10: 1653633166
ISBN-13: 978-1653633166
Digital Print Length: 129 pages

Gladys gets more than she bargains for when she climbs aboard her first cruise and witnesses a murder. Armed with wigs and wits alone, she determines to get to the bottom of things.
This cozy mystery is a spinoff from the Ooey Gooey Bakery Mystery series.

About Katherine H. Brown

Katherine H. Brown is from the tiny community of New York, Texas. Booklover (some might say book addict) and weaver of words, Katherine desired to be a writer from childhood, embarked on her first publishing adventure in 2017, and in 2019 said audios to her cozy office job to leap into a career as an author full-time.

When not found between the pages of a book or tapping keys on her laptop, Katherine loves to watch baking shows with her stepdaughter or cuddle up with her husband Patrick. Katherine and family prepare to welcome a new baby girl into the family in March 2020.

Author Links – Facebook Author PageWebsiteInstagramGoodreadsBookBubAmazon Author Page

Purchase Link:  Amazon 
bonbon voyage
Also by this Author

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February 21 – Brooke Blogs – CHARACTER GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY
February 21 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW
February 22 – This Is My Truth Now – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 22 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – GUEST POST
February 23 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
February 24 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 24 – T’s Stuff – SPOTLIGHT
February 25 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
February 25 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
February 26 – Ascroft, eh? – GUEST POST
February 26 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 27 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
February 27 – Christa Reads and Writes – SPOTLIGHT
February 28 – eBook Addicts – REVIEW
February 28 – Here’s How It Happened – REVIEW
February 29 – Laura`s Interests – REVIEW
February 29 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
March 1 – Cozy Up With Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST

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Posted in Giveaways Guest Posts Spotlights

Playing the Devil (A Bridge to Death Mystery) by R.J. Lee #CharacterGuestPost / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @KensingtonBooks

Playing the Devil (A Bridge to Death Mystery)
by R.J. Lee

Today I am pleased to welcome Wendy Winchester from the Bridge to Death Mysteries!

Hello readers!  My name is Wendy Winchester, amateur sleuth and investigative reporter in the Mississippi River port of Rosalie. Let me take a moment to catch my breath because the author who writes me, R.J.Lee, has put me in a doozy of a mystery this time. He’s called it PLAYING THE DEVIL, and it’s the second time he’s made me solve a murder in his BRIDGE TO DEATH MYSTERY series.

Fortunately for me, he’s endowed me with some ‘savant’-like cognitive skills. Perhaps I inherited them from my police chief father, Captain Bax Winchester. Daddy is always after me to join the police force, but the thing is, I don’t like guns, I just like puzzles. Imagine that! Someone with the last name of Winchester not liking guns. But I prefer to use my brain, and I used it quite well in solving the first mystery Mr. Lee devised for me—GRAND SLAM MURDERS. In that one, I had to work hard to discover who had poisoned the four wealthy widows who composed the venerable Rosalie Bridge Club with potassium cyanide during their bridge luncheon. Imagine the nerve of someone!

In this new mystery, I’ve gone ahead and formed by my very own bridge club at the Rosalie Country Club. I’ve managed to scrounge up one table of four for starters, and I’m one of the four. It’s just that I want to play bridge and play it well, in addition to solving crimes. At least, that’s the way Mr. Lee has created me.

So, what happens on the very first afternoon of the initial meeting of my Bridge Bunch? My nemesis at the Country Club, Brent Ogle, throws a wrench into the works. I never dreamed I’d encounter such a lout of a man out there. He’s a major contributor to the RCC and truly throws his weight around. He’s one of those ex-college quarterbacks who still wants everyone to cheer for his every move and every word out of his mouth. Plus, he’s one of those ‘personal injury’ lawyers who rubs it in every time he wins a settlement. Brent combines every reprehensible trait it’s possible for a man to have: he’s a sexist, a bully, a xenophobe and a homophobe and mistreats everyone equally out at the country club.

Here the four of us are trying to play our first game of bridge together when Brent and his two golfing partners roll into the Great Room where they proceed to get drunk across the way, then nearly get into a fistfight over something. After the country club’s first female golf pro breaks up the fight (I do love how Mr. Lee creates strong women, including myself haha!), Brent staggers back onto the outside deck to soak in the hot tub.

But wouldn’t you know it? A terrible thunderstorm crouches over Rosalie, and the club loses power for thirty minutes. We’re all plunged into darkness, and when Carly Ogle, Brent’s long-suffering wife, decides to check on her husband in that same darkness with her cell phone flashlight, she discovers him clubbed over the head and quite dead. The weapon turns out to be the pestle that the bartender uses to make his famous mint juleps, the same bartender that Brent has taunted endlessly about his Cuban heritage. But there were eight other people in the clubhouse during the blackout, including myself, and we are all suspects in the official investigation conducted by my father and detective boyfriend, Ross.

I’m not content to stand by idly, of course.  My wonderful new female editor insists I use my knowledge of the RCC to do an investigation for the paper, and what I uncover is mind-boggling. I’ll do no spoilers here, but let me just say that my author has outdone himself this time. He has both managed to make me look brilliant and also put me in harms’ way. Yikes! Be sure you grab a copy and see for yourself. Thanks, Wendy Winchester!

~R.J. Lee

About Playing the Devil

Playing the Devil (A Bridge to Death Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Publisher: Kensington (January 28, 2020)
Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496719166
ISBN-13: 978-1496719164
Digital ASIN: B07R7M378R

Reporter and bridge player Wendy Winchester once again plays ace detective when a country club member is murdered in a hot tub . . .


Now an investigative reporter for the Rosalie Citizen in the Mississippi River port of Rosalie, Wendy still likes to unwind over a game of cards. Following the demise of the Rosalie Bridge Club, she’s started her own group at the Rosalie Country Club. During the first meeting of the Country Club Bridge Players, the dummy has barely been laid down when another dummy gets in a scuffle at the bar across the room. Bridge player Carly Ogle’s husband Brent is at it again.


After the club’s new female golf pro breaks up the fight, Brent storms off to soak in a hot tub. But Carey soon finds the bullying Brent dead in the water, clubbed over the head with the pestle the barkeep uses to crush leaves for mint juleps.


Racist, sexist, homophobic, and an all-around lout, Brent made enough enemies to fill a bridge tournament. So Wendy has to play her cards right to get the story—and stay out of hot water long enough to put the squeeze on the killer . . .

About the Author

R. J. Lee follows in the mystery-writing footsteps of his father, R. Keene Lee, who wrote fighter pilot and detective stories for Fiction House, publishers of WINGS Magazine and other ‘pulp fiction’ periodicals in the late ’40’s and ’50’s. Lee was born and grew up in the Mississippi River port of Natchez but also spent thirty years living in the Crescent City of New Orleans. A graduate of the University of the South (Sewanee) where he studied creative writing under Sewanee Review editor, Andrew Lytle, Lee now resides in Oxford, Mississippi.

Author Link – Facebook – 

Purchase Links

Amazon  –  B&N – Google Play –  IndieBound  – Kobo

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
February 13 – The Avid Reader  – REVIEW, EXCERPT
February 13 – Lori’s Reading Corner – GUEST POST
February 14 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT
February 14 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 15 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
February 15 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – GUEST POST  
February 16 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – GUEST POST
February 16 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
February 17 – T’s Stuff – SPOTLIGHT
February 17 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
February 18 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
February 19 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
February 19 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT
February 20 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT 
February 20 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT
February 21 – Dee-Scoveries – SPOTLIGHT
February 21 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – SPOTLIGHT

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