Jun 202018

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am so happy to welcome Peg Cochran to Escape With Dollycas today! 

Guest Post
By Peg Cochran
(Provided by the publicist)

There is a certain irony in the fact that I am writing the Farmer’s Daughter series which takes place on Love Blossom Farm in the fictional Michigan town of Lovett.  I didn’t grow up on a farm and my gardening skills can best be described as “limited.”

The suburb where I grew up is much more built up now but back then there was actually a very small farm about two miles away from where they grew corn and sold it at a roadside stand.  The highlight of the summer was those first ears of fresh Jersey corn.

My grandparents had a fair amount of property behind their house and grew lots of vegetables (tomatoes, tomatoes, and more tomatoes!), fruits and herbs.  The air around their house always smelled of basil and now when I smell the herb I’m immediately transported back to their home.  My grandfather even grew grapes for the wine he made himself.

Sadly the green thumb wasn’t passed to me.  I had good luck with tomatoes one year and the next year…not so much.  I think I harvested three tomatoes from two plants.  I did manage some herbs and my small lavender “starter” plant actually grew into a bush.

And mint!  Note to self: next time plant mint in a container not in the ground!  I had enough mint to make mint juleps for the entire county! And lemon balm, too.  But I must say our yard smelled heavenly when the breeze blew over my herb garden!

So a lot of research went into this series—I spent a fair amount of time looking up growing seasons and what might be planted/growing/reaped in which month in the Mitten State.  I learned about canning, storing root vegetables for the winter and even cheese making.

It was tons of fun, and I hope you’ll have as much fun reading Bought the Farm!


Thank you, Peg, so much for visiting today!

Now let me give you my thoughts on Bought the Farm.

Bought the Farm (Farmer’s Daughter Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Michigan
Berkley (June 5, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 042528204X
ISBN-13: 978-0425282045
Kindle ASIN: B075HYXZ45



Wedding preparations are in full swing at Love Blossom Farm as food-and-lifestyle blogger Shelby McDonald transforms the property for her friend Kelly’s down-home country-style reception. But when the lead singer of the wedding band turns up dead–drowned in a trough full of rainwater and strung up like a scarecrow–the police round themselves up a barnful of suspects.

It seems that Travis sowed the seeds of discord wherever he went, and when it becomes clear that everyone from the groom to Shelby’s own staff has motive, tracking down Travis’ killer is going to be more difficult than finding a needle in a haystack. As Shelby finds herself drawn deeper into the investigation, she’ll have to move quickly before the killer decides to put her out to pasture…


Dollycas’s Thoughts

Love is in the air at Love Blossom Farm. Shelby McDonald is hosting her friends, Seth and Kelly’s barn wedding. The mother of the groom wanted an entirely different venue, but Shelby’s barn does look really pretty. The bride’s cousin and his band are on hand for the music and food is being barbecued for the dinner. After the wedding and the reception has ended and everything is back to “normal”, Shelby makes a frightening discovery. The lead singer from the band strung up like a scarecrow. Dead, yes, he is very dead, but Shelby has no idea what could have killed him. There is no blood, so obvious cause. Could one of her guests have killed him? or someone in the bridal party? or someone Shelby had hired? Maybe it was another member of the band? Everyone at the wedding is a suspect. Detective Frank McDonald may need Shelby’s help to solve this one. At least that is what she thinks.

These characters are very down to earth. Shelby is a food and lifestyle blogger who has a huge garden. She sells some of her harvests at Jake’s store. She posts recipes and gardening tips on her blog. I love that her blog posts are part of the book.

She is also raising 2 children, Billy and Amelia. Amelia is dealing with a bully issue at school. A current and relevant topic and I appreciated the insight shown by the author in a fictional way that really resonates. Shelby is also worried about Bert who is not feeling well.  Also, a member of the church has asked her to check out the pastor’s girlfriend. The member is sure she has a shady past.

The murder mystery itself is full of twists and turns and even includes another murder that changes not only Shelby’s thinking but this reader’s as well. The singer’s past is pretty dark and his actions could lead to a few people that would have the motive to kill. So many suspects are holding things back or outright lying. That makes the case hard to solve. There are some suspenseful moments as the killer is revealed. I may have solved it just a little bit before.

The setting in Michigan, Love Blossom Farm sounds like a perfect place. A great place to raise children. A place I would have loved to live when our family was just starting out. I think leasing out the barn for weddings is a great source for extra income. If no one else gets murdered, of course.

I do enjoy the way Ms. Cochran writes. Her “Hello Reader” blog posts and tidbits make me feel right at home. Her descriptive style brings everything into focus. She builds up her characters lives in a very realistic way. I found myself invested in what was happening with all the characters. Shelby does make a decision about her romantic life. It was hard, but I feel she made the right decision.

The entire story is very entertaining. A great installment to this series. I hope we get to visit Love Blossom Farm again soon.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author

Mystery writing lets Peg indulge her curiosity under the guise of “work” (aka research). As a kid, she read the entire set of children’s encyclopedias her parents gave her and has been known to read the dictionary. She put pen to paper at age seven when she wrote plays and forced her cousins to perform them at Christmas dinner. She switched to mysteries when she discovered the perfect hiding place for a body down the street from her house.

When she’s not writing, she spends her time reading, cooking, spoiling her granddaughter and checking her book’s stats on Amazon.

A former Jersey girl, Peg now resides in Michigan with her husband and Westhighland white terrier, Reg. She is the author of the Sweet Nothings Lingerie series (written as Meg London), the Gourmet De-Lite series, the Lucille series, and now the Cranberry Cove series. Her newest series, the Farmer’s Daughter, debuted with No Farm, No Foul in September 2016. Sowed to Death followed in July 2017. Bought the Farm is available now.

Coming July 31, 2018

Written as Meg London

Just Click on Covers to order from Amazon. 


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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.”

Jun 062018

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am happy to share an excerpt from Leslie’s new book and to kick off her Great Escapes Book Tour!


The Great Christmas Cookie Debate
By Leslie Budewitz

Excerpt from As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles (June 8, 2018, Midnight Ink)

In the dining room, we oohed and ahhed over the offerings. Date pinwheels, spritz cookies, bourbon balls. Candy cane cookies studded with crushed peppermint. Big, soft coconut macaroons dipped in chocolate. Jam thumbprints. Fudge ecstasies—crackle-topped cookies that make me ecstatic.

“No biscotti?” Heidi said. “Isn’t it a law that every Italian must make biscotti?”

“Everyone makes biscotti,” I said, “Italian or not. So what’s the point?”

“You brought peanut butter cookies?” Chiara asked Molly, who is not half Italian.

“They’re my favorite,” Molly answered. “Everyone loves peanut butter cookies. These are simple—six ingredients.”
“But they’re not Christmas cookies.”

When it comes to cookies, my sister and I were on the same page. Certain traditions must be followed.

As you might imagine, in anticipation of a book with cookies in the title and all over the cover, I’ve been talking cookies a lot lately. Christmas cookies. And I’ve been as surprised as Erin Murphy, my main character, to discover that not everyone agrees with her about Christmas cookies.

Don’t get us wrong. We both love peanut butter cookies, and the flourless version her young cousin Molly brings to the Murphys’ annual friends-and-family cookie exchange is both yummy and easy. We bow to no one in our love of a good chocolate chip cookie. And snickerdoodles? Joy, rolled in cinnamon sugar.

But they aren’t Christmas cookies.

What, to Erin, me, and both our mothers, makes a cookie a Christmas cookie? Some are clearly seasonal—only an author testing a recipe is likely to color dough red and twist it into candy canes in June. Christmas cookies feature an ingredient not used in an everyday cookie. Fruitcake has long been relegated to December—or in some households, to the trash bin, but I don’t hold with that either—so that’s when fruitcake cookies or bars surface. Candied fruit, dates, and nuts are holiday staples.
A gingerbread boy or girl served any other time of year? Just plain wrong. A sugar cookie in the shape of a star or a bell, trimmed with frosting or sprinkles? You know I’m right. And spritz? Case closed.

Quite a few readers mentioned jam thumbprints as holiday faves, and I can’t recall eating one any other time of year. Other cookies are holiday stars in certain European traditions—pfeffernusse, Berlinkranzer, lebkuchen, pizzelles.

Then there’s the snowball with its pseudonyms—Russian tea cakes or cookies, Mexican wedding cakes, and pecan sandies. So important to the holiday that they even play a role in the mystery. I can hardly wait to try the “Dirty Snowball” one reader created by adding cocoa powder added to the powdered sugar. But I will wait, until December 1.

And we haven’t even talked about fudge, divinity, or peppermint bark.

Now it has been brought to my attention that some cookbooks call the snickerdoodle a Christmas cookie. If it meets your criteria for special, and you only make it in December, then by all means, go ahead and give it that label. After all, traditions do vary. Frankly, I think you’d be unnecessarily depriving yourself the joy of those little balls of crackly dough wrapped in sugar and spice and everything nice the rest of the year.

Or maybe that just leaves more for me. And Erin. And you, if you stop by. Because no matter what the cookie, no matter what the season, cookies taste better when they’re shared.

As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles (A Food Lovers’ Village Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – Montana
Midnight Ink (June 8, 2018)
Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738752419
Digital ASIN: B075W25FNF



Erin is one smart cookie, but can she keep the holiday spirit—and herself—alive till Christmas?

In Jewel Bay, all is merry and bright. At Murphy’s Mercantile, AKA the Merc, manager Erin Murphy is ringing in the holiday season with food, drink, and a new friend: Merrily Thornton. A local girl gone wrong, Merrily has turned her life around. But her parents have publicly shunned her, and they nurse a bitterness that chills Erin.

When Merrily goes missing and her boss discovers he’s been robbed, fingers point to Merrily—until she’s found dead, a string of lights around her neck. The clues and danger snowball from there. Can Erin nab the killer—and keep herself in one piece—in time for a special Christmas Eve?

Includes delicious recipes!


Dollycas’s Thoughts

Time to celebrate Christmas and a wedding in Jewel Bay. Adam and Erin are getting married on Christmas Eve! That is after she gets Murphy’s Mercantile all ready for the holidays. The community has turned out for Decoration Day and Erin is surprised to see Merrily Thornton has returned to town. She is even more surprised about how Merrily’s family is treating her. She immediately invites Merrily to her cookie swap the following Sunday,

Merrily fails to show up at Erin’s house or at work the next day. Then her boss notices his bank deposit was short the cash Merrily was supposed to take to the bank. The woman is reported missing and sadly her boss is the one to find her dead eerily with a string of lights wrapped around her neck. Erin is rocked by her new friend’s death and decides she must find her killer. Hopefully, she doesn’t cross the killer or Adam may be left standing at the altar all by himself.

It was a lot of fun to read a story set at Christmas when the temperatures outside were climbing way past 90 degrees.  Decorating Day is Jewel Bay sounds like the perfect way to get in the Christmas Spirit.

The characters in this series are some of the most realistic I have ever read. It is very easy to get invested in their lives. Even though Merrily’s family wasn’t the nicest they still come across as real. I don’t agree with the way the handled things in their family, but we have all met people we don’t agree with.

The mystery this time really keep me guessing. Truthfully at one time or another, I suspected everyone the victim had come into contact with. Red herrings, there were a bunch. Several twists too. I was right about one part of it and totally surprised about everything else. I enjoyed how Erin jumped right into her investigation even with the holidays and her wedding coming up quick. I loved her method for keeping all the facts and suspects straight.

The story has an excellent pace. Many events take place within the 288 pages, but nothing is rushed or missed. The author describes people and places so clearly that pictures formed quickly in my mind. The dialogue was wonderfully written too.

A loving family and a family pulled apart come together in this terrific cozy mystery.

The author also includes recipes in the back of the book. The one I am excited to try is the Classic Italian Lasagna. Several differences from ours but without the Murphy’s sauce, it will probably be hard to duplicate.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. She lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician, and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat Ruff, a cover model, and avid bird-watcher.

Connect with her on her website, http://www.LeslieBudewitz.com, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

Purchase Links

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June 6 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – COZY WEDNESDAY
June 7 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW
June 7 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW
June 7 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
June 8 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
June 8 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW
June 8 – Carole’s Book Corner – GUEST POST
June 9 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW
June 9 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW
June 10 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW
June 10 – Cozy Up With Kathy – GUEST POST
June 11 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
June 11 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
June 11 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
June 12 – The Power of Words – REVIEW
June 12 – Island Confidential – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
June 12 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
June 13 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW
June 14 – cherylbbookblog – REVIEW
June 14 – My Reading Journeys – SPOTLIGHT
June 15 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
June 15 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW
June 16 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW
June 17 –   Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
June 18 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
June 19 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW  
June 19 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
June 19 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW
June 19 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT
June 20 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
June 20 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST



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May 302018

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am so happy to have SASHA SILVERMAN drop by for a visit today!

Escape with Sasha Silverman
by Meg Macy

Hi! I’m Sasha Silverman, manager of my family’s Silver Bear Shop & Factory in Silver Hollow. We’re located in the area around Ann Arbor, Michigan. My Uncle Ross is the supervisor of production, and my sister Maddie, an artist, does all our design work for flyers, promotion, brochures, and ads plus social media. She used to work as our office manager, but Aunt Eve – Uncle Ross’s ex-wife – has returned to take over that job. Maddie hopes to open her own graphic design studio, but right now, she’s busy with her fiberglass bear sculpture. Maddie’s design was chosen for the Parade of Bears, which is part of the village’s annual Oktobear Fest. Yes, Okto-BEAR. My sister and I are hosting a Cranbeary Tea party (parents, kids, teddy bears) to kick off the month’s events.

But Maddie and I plan to escape in between the festival and the busier Christmas season – when teddy bear production and holiday events really crank up the stress! We usually go to Mackinac Island for a fall weekend. This year, we forgot to make reservations at our favorite bed-and-breakfast spots. Oops! And for some reason, it seems everyone is heading up north on the weekend we chose. But the Somewhere In Time weekend at the Grand Hotel had a few spots left, for an exorbitant price – so we figured it might be worth it. What’s on the schedule? Apparently, it’s the 25th anniversary of holding the weekend, and the 35th anniversary of the film. Plus, actress Jane Seymour will be attending! How cool is that? I’m sure we’ll have a few fan-girl moments with her, an autograph or two, and hopefully more than a few selfies as well.

On the schedule is a special screening of the film, which we both loved – but haven’t seen in probably a decade – plus a discussion of how the movie was made, an evening cocktail reception (with mimosas, I hope), a Grand Luncheon Buffet along with their usual full breakfast and scrumptious dinners, and a costume promenade. Uh, oh. We have nothing to wear! That meant a pre-escape-escape to find some 1912 era-appropriate hats, shoes, and costumes. I found an ivory satin gown with tiers of lace cascading at an angle from a shirred Empire waist, with a square neckline; Aunt Eve says I can wear her pearls and above the elbow opera gloves. My hat tipped, also at an angle, is crowed with pale roses and other tiny flowers. Maddie is wearing a vintage green silk gown with an ivory lace overlay, since she’s petite, with a rose silk ribbon at the waist. Her wide-brimmed straw hat covered with feathers is larger than Kate Winslet’s in the Titanic film!

I doubt I’ll enjoy my satin heels for long, however. I couldn’t find a pair wide enough. Ouch! They pinch my toes, but I’ll manage to grit my teeth and maybe slip them off under the table while eating lunch and dinner. Maybe I can tiptoe barefoot back to my room each night, which is supposed to have a glimpse of the Mackinac Straits but faces the gorgeous, huge Victorian cottages on the West Bluff. I’m hoping Maddie and I can squeeze in our annual bicycle ride around the island on Sunday afternoon and buy our favorite fudge flavors in town before we have to catch the ferry back to Mackinaw City.

We’ll need a few days to recover from our weekend escape, I’m sure!


Thank you, Sasha/Meg, for dropping by today!

Now let me tell you all about this book.


About the Book 

Bear Witness to Murder (A Teddy Bear Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Michigan
Kensington (May 29, 2018)
Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496709653
Digital ASIN: B075C38DMD



As autumn air settles into the quaint small town of Silver Hollow, there’s nothing more popular than Sasha’s teddy bears—and murder in cold blood . . .

Silver Bear Shop and Factory manager Sasha Silverman is cozying up to the fall season by hosting Silver Hollow’s Cranbeary Tea Party, the opening event of the village’s Oktobear Fest—a too-cute celebration themed around teddy bears. She barely has a moment to agonize over the return of her former high school rival, Holly Parker, whose new toy and bookstore in town could spell big trouble for the Silver Bear Shop and her cousin’s small bookstore . . .

But when Sasha discovers Holly’s shop assistant dead with a knife plunged in her body, the unpleasant woman suddenly looks like a real backstabber. So does Sasha’s ex-husband, rumored to have rekindled the fiery extramarital affair he once had with the victim. Now, before a gruesome homicide case takes the fun out of both the Fest and her personal life, Sasha must identify the true culprit from a daunting suspect list—or risk becoming as lifeless as one of her stuffed bears . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

It is time for Oktobear Fest in Silver Hollow, Michigan. The event starts with a Cranbeary Tea Party. Silver Bear Shop has several bears in attendance and Sasha and her sister Maddie are waiting tables. Sasha is surprised to see her high school rival and owner of the new toy shop in town, Holly along with her assistant Gina at one of the tables and even more surprised to see her ex, Flynn arrive and he and Gina rush over to the mayor’s table. They make a huge scene. It wasn’t bad enough the new store was stealing business, now they had to try to ruin this wonderful event too.

The ultimate surprise was Sasha and her dog discovering Gina’s body outside a local eatery early the next morning. At first, she thought it was Holly, because of the clothing. Was the killer confused too? Who was the real target? Gina? or Holly? And is Flynn involved? or heaven forbid the mayor? Sasha finds herself in a beary dangerous place as she tries to catch the killer and save the festival.

There is so much to love in this story. I really loved the idea about the Bears on Parade. You see in Madison, Wisconsin, and Dane County this summer they have a Bucky’s on Parade art event with 85 Bucky Badger statues transformed by 64 artists. People are having so much fun hunting them all down. In this story there are about a dozen bears, Maddie is transforming one and so is her boyfriend Kip. Sasha is also helping to transform another bear. The bear statues have sponsors and both parades will auction off the statues at the end of their events. I hope to see a few before summer is over.

All the characters I enjoyed in the first book are back. I have to say I am not a fan of Sasha’s mother though. She bugged me a bit in the first story, but I think by now she needs to realize Flynn and Sasha are through, finished, kaput! The man cheated on her and his suggestion of marriage in name only to Sasha almost made me lose my mind. For some reason her mom likes Flynn, I can’t imagine how any mom would want her daughter with a man like him. I just hope in the next story she really sees the light and supports her daughter and the man she wants to be with.

Oh, the author has given us a clever mystery. The victim has a past – meaning plenty of suspects, with different motives for wanting her gone. I was “beary” confused at first but soon I had an inkling as to who the culprit could be but then I read further and thought I was totally wrong. Those pages were really flying and so much was happening, there was no way I was going to put this book down until I reached the end. By the way, I was wrong and surprised by the ending. I loved it!

Both books in this series have been excellent reads. I do recommend reading them in order to get to know the characters and the setting.

Bring on Book #3, Ms. Macy! I can hardly wait!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review and another guest post from Meg here

About the Author

Award-winning mystery author Meg Macy lives in Southeast Michigan, close to Ann Arbor, Chelsea, and Dexter — the area she chose for the setting of her new “Shamelessly Adorable Teddy Bear” cozy mystery series for Kensington. She is also one-half of the writing team of D.E. Ireland for the Eliza Doolittle & Henry Higgins Mystery series; two books have been named Agatha Award finalists. Meg’s first published book, Double Crossing, won the 2012 Best First Novel Spur Award from Western Writers of America. She’s a graduate of Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction program. Meg loves reading mysteries, historical, and other genre fiction, and also enjoys gardening, crafts, and watercolor painting.

Author Links:      www.megmacy.com      Meg Macy on Facebook      Meg Macy on Twitter

Purchase Links:

Amazon      B&N     Kobo    Google Play   BookBub
Meg also co-writes with Sharon Pisacreta as D. E. Ireland.

Praise for Bear Witness to Murder (A Teddy Bear Mystery)
by Meg Macy

I was riveted and worried and really did not see THIS ending happening.
~Laura’s Interests

I loved all the things that were going on in the town, Oktobear Fest and the Cranbeary Tea Party and all the interesting things!
~Valerie’s Musings

I may be biased because I have a huge love for all things teddy bear but this is just the cutest cozy mystery series . . . The characters are all well developed pulling you into the story until you feel like you have known them forever.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

Mystery lovers will enjoy this story filled with whimsical themes and fun characters that will have you wanting more.
~Texas Book-aholic

I don’t know what I enjoy more about this series – reading about the teddy bear-themed events, or the mystery itself. Sasha Silverman is such a down to earth, believable character that she makes both of them fun.
~The Book’s the Thing

All the story is told around the Oktobear Feast, it was really original reading about all the bear creations and ideas for kids, really, if this kind of village exists I want the name of the town!

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May 23 – Lisa Ks Book Review – REVIEW

May 23 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

May 24 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

May 24 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

May 25 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW

May 25 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

May 26 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

May 26 – Blogger Nicole Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

May 27 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

May 27 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

May 28 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

May 28 – Varietats – REVIEW

May 29 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

May 29 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

May 30 – Sapphyria’s Books – REVIEW

May 30 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

May 31 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

May 31 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

June 1 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW

June 1 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

June 2 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

June 2 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW

June 3 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

June 3 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – REVIEW

June 4 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

June 4 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

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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.”

May 162018

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am so happy to welcome Devon Delaney to Escape With Dollycas today! 

In It To Win It

by Devon Delaney

Some have described the game of golf as a good walk spoiled. A similar sentiment could be applied to cooking competitions. Consider preparing a satisfying meal. The notion should conjure up a kitchen that fills the senses with pleasure and satisfaction. Listen to the crunch of the lettuce being chopped. Feel the fuzzy kiwi skin as you peel it. Smell the sizzling garlic as it dances in the hot olive oil at the bottom of an iron skillet. Roll the cookie dough in the palm of your hand, and note the texture of the chopped walnuts and dark chocolate chips that will be the crunchy gooey center of the sweet treat. Referring back to the golf saying, that’s the “good walk” part.

Now, add to the equation chaos, commotion, pressure, severe time restriction and fellow cooks aiming to outdo your efforts with any means available and you have the basis of a live cook-off. Some may think staging cooking as a battle that rewards the victor with cash and valuable prizes spoils time in the kitchen and that it should be left the wholesome activity it has been for centuries.  I’m not in that group.

I would never have guessed that years ago, as a thirty-something mother of three, it would only take one happenstance to transform the ages-old activity of preparing a flavorful recipe solely for a family’s health and well-being into a modern competitive obsession.

Let me explain. I began cooking in earnest when I was about eight years old. Back then, my mother wasn’t much of a cook and still isn’t. If I wanted to eat something besides oatmeal, boiled chicken breasts, or creamed onions, I was going to have to invade her aged and underutilized spice rack and figure out how to infuse flavor into her bland menu. Eventually, I took over dinner preparations completely.

Fast forward to my early years of motherhood. Not working outside the home at that point, and feeding a hungry husband and three active children, I gained a renewed sense of inspiration in the kitchen. Creating meals that pleased all manner of appetites became my focus at 5 pm each night and I was soundly rewarded for my efforts with loving accolades. But, while I was content in the kitchen, I wasn’t feeling totally fulfilled.

Oh, did I mention I’m a tiny bit competitive? I grew up with four siblings and we all competed for good grades, sports trophies, the last cookie in the cookie jar and my parent’s attention. Rewards were greatest for those who put limits to the test. To this day, I compete with other ladies on a tennis team, with neighbors as to who has the best-trained dog, and against family members for who knows the most answers on Jeopardy, (the answers are technically the questions if you are familiar with the game.)

With a baby, a near-toddler, and a toddler in constant motion, I was faced with the challenge of keeping myself sane throughout a severely icy stretch of winter, during which it was often unsafe to leave the house. On one of the few times, I made a journey to the grocery store, I picked up a handful of magazines to leaf through during naptime. In the back of was an advertisement for a recipe contest with the theme “What recipe can you create with a slice of bread.” I came up with Orange Dusted French Toast Fingers with Maple Dipping Sauce. After typing up the recipe for my concoction and snail-mailing it to the listed address, I forgot all about the contest. Six months later I received a two thousand dollar check in the mail as the grand prize winner. When I read I had beaten out hundreds of entries for the win I was hooked on cooking contesting. My appetite for the adrenaline rush I get when I compete had another source of supply.

Don’t get me wrong. I still am able to approach dinner preparations with calm serenity when I’m not gearing up for a cook-off or recipe contest. However, cook-offs are my escape to the world of like-minded cooks who have let their creativity flow as they turn a sweet potato into a savory biscotti or a cut of beef into a ranch steak bruschetta salad. Each of those ideas won me cash and valuable prizes. So, if its game on for, say, the National Mushroom Cook-off, the “good walk” is spoiled and I’m in it to win it. There will be time for a good walk after the judges choose the winner.


Thank you so much, Devon, for visiting today!! 


Expiration Date (A Cook-Off Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Connecticut
Kensington (April 24, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496714435



After a short-lived marriage, Sherry Frazzelle is living single life to the fullest in her little Connecticut town, accompanied by her Jack Russell terrier, Chutney. Her new passion is competitive cooking—but it turns out that murder is the surprise ingredient . . .

With contestants from Maine to California and a ten-thousand-dollar prize at stake, Sherry’s latest competition, hosted by the CEO of an organic food company, is sure to be heated. But she’s more than ready to step up to the stove. After all, she did win the award for Most Creative Cupcake back in high-school. Today, she’s hoping her flavorful pork tenderloin will sway the judges. Instead, it seems someone’s decided to slay one of the judges . . .

After Chef Birns falls face first into the Seafood Flatbread Pizza, Sherry’s dish is deemed suspicious. Now she’ll have to stir through a stew of rule-breaking, corruption, and gossip to get herself off the chopping block, and find out who turned this food fight fatal . . .

Includes Recipes from Sherry’s Kitchen!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Sherry Frazzelle and her sister Marla Barras have entered the OrgaNicks Corporation Cooking Competition against 4 other home cooks from across the nation. It is time for the celebrity chef judges to choose a winner. Sherry looks on as Chef Birns takes a bite of her pork tenderloin, but he immediately crumbles into another entry. She rushes to help but the man is dead and she is now the prime suspect in his murder. He was eating her food. Amber Sherman, another contestant, agrees to stay in town to help her find out what really happened or the home she could be cooking in be “the big house”.

Sherry Frazzelle is an interesting lead character. She and her Jack Russell terrier, Chutney are starting over after her marriage fell apart. She works part-time for her dad at his hooked rug shop, Oliveri’s Ruggery. She is also very into competitive cooking. She has a few quirks, a very Type A personality. She hates it when someone mispronounces her name, Frazzelle (rhyme with la belly) and hates to be called ma’am and she tends to panic when she is not in control. Her soon to be ex is still hanging around. She has a room full of his stuff that he refuses to pick up. She is close to her sister but Marla lives in Oklahoma. She was thrilled that they were both finalists in the OrgaNicks contest. There they meet Amber and become fast friends.

This is a humorous cozy that suffers a little bit of the first book in the series – itis. The author has to introduce readers to all the characters and give us a mystery we can sink our teeth into. Not an easy job.

I found Sherry a little off-putting at first but she grew on me by the end. I liked her sister Marla and their new friend Amber but since they both were from out of town I don’t know how much of them we will see in future installments. We did meet Sherry’s dad too. I hope he is featured more going forward. I found his hooked rugs shop very interesting. I was really into latch hook rugs back in the day. The dialogue between the characters was a little off and didn’t ring true for me especially when Sherry was talking to police.

The theme of a cooking competition was very enjoyable. There is a lot of emphasis on the food. It was easy to visualize every step of the way. It is also nice to have the recipes talked about in the back of the book.

The pacing of the book became a little stilted in places. The mystery unfolded with plenty of twists and turns but I did zero in on the killer very early in the story due to clues that were a little too on the nose. The murder weapon itself was quite unique. Something I would never have thought of.

Like I always say, the first book in a series is a heavy lift. There are a lot of good things in this story and plenty of room left to expand and grow as the series continues. I really did enjoy the main premise of the mystery and the cook-off theme. A little editing and tightening up would have made this a 5-star read. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

Your Great Escapes Travel Agent

About the Author

Devon Delaney is a wife, mother of three, accomplished cooking contester and a recent empty nester. She taught computer education and Lego Robotics for over ten years prior to pursuing writing. Along the way, she has been handsomely rewarded for her recipe innovation over the last twenty-plus years. Among the many prizes she has won are a full kitchen of major appliances, six-figure top cash prizes and four trips to Disney World. She has also won the grand prize in a national writing contest for her ‘foodie’ poem “Ode to Pork Passion.” Combining her beloved cooking contesting with her enthusiasm for writing was inevitable.

Check out Devon’s website at: www.devonpdelaney.com

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.

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

Click Here For Entry Form

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

May 092018

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am so excited to have Maymee (Tonya)drop by today! 

Death By Edits


I admit that when I started writing I had no idea what I was doing. I had an idea. I wanted ONE reader to escape their life by my one story. That was it. It wasn’t until I had written that book did I know what it really was like to be a writer.

Some people say that writing the novel is the hardest part for them. Ernst Hemingway said, “There is nothing to writing. All you have to do sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.” I agree that writing a novel is far from easy. It takes discipline to sit down every day and knock out five thousand words. Believe it or not, that is the I immerse myself into a book as I’m writing it. I love those characters. I love their homes. I love the small town. I love everything about it. I live in their world for many months as I’m writing their story.

Then comes the part that I downright loathe! I mean it. I can’t stand editing. To make it less painful, after I write the first one-hundred pages of a novel; which is what I call the bones, I go back and add meat to those bones. I will add more descriptions, more dialogue tags, and more of the funny stuff. Then I will do this for the next one-hundred pages with a Diet Coke my side.

That’s not the end of the editing process. This is just the beginning. Once I go back and add the meat on the bones, I print it all out and do it all over again. I try to make the manuscript fat with words and with description all while making sure the timelines in the plot fit and work. After doing this a few times, then and only then do I send it off to the editor. But by this time another character from another series has already taken root in my head and started their story.


A few months later I get an email from the editor that their edits have been added and I have to take a look at them.  I’ve already forgotten the plot and what everyone in the town looks like because I have moved on. I grab a cup of coffee and hunker down.

This is very difficult for me. I’m not the type of writer who can write a couple books at the same time. I can’t. I’m not wired that way. It’s awful. Plumb awful.

Since I have to get the edits back to my editor, I have to stop writing the current work in progress, go back and reread the novel that needs edits and start all over. By this time, I’m so sick of the novel that I just want to move on.

Then I send it back to my editor for a couple more rounds of edits. I don’t hear from the editor for a few months. Then out of nowhere, I get a copy of the ARC of that novel that I’d been so tired of. My eyes swell. My heart dips. I rub the cover. I crack the spine and start to fall in love all over again with those characters and that small town. And it’s just in time for them to move right back in my head for the next novel in the series.


Thank you so much for visiting today! 

Cake and Punishment: A Southern Cake Baker Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Kentucky
Crooked Lane Books (May 8, 2018)
Hardcover 257 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683315711
Digital ASIN: B075QJM2W8



In the first of a delectable new Southern-set baking cozy series, Sophia Cummings, pastry chef extraordinaire, must craft the perfect cake for an old friend’s wedding while sifting through the suspects in a murder.

Bucolic Rumford, Kentucky has glowing fields of bluegrass, a fine selection of bourbons, and now a professional pastry chef. Broken-hearted Sophia Cummings has come home from New York City. She’s not there a minute before she’s charmed into making her high school friend Charlotte’s wedding cake. The kitchen at the Rumford Country Club seems perfect until Chef Emile’s body is discovered, sprawled near the stove, a cast iron skillet on the floor close by.

With one look at the shiny, new frying pan, Sophia knows it’s not Emile’s. She offers her knowledge to Sheriff Carter and her talents to Evelyn, the manager, who needs an interim chef. The mood in the country club is grim: Emile’s peppery personality had burned members and staff alike. Sophia wonders which one of them burned him?

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

When I first saw the cover of this book I didn’t know the author was a pseudonym for Tonya Kappes, but as soon as I read the first page, I knew I was reading a book by Tonya Kappes. She has a distinctive writing style and her characters are so much fun.

This new cozy series introduces us to Sophia Cummings, a pastry chef at a top Manhattan restaurant. That is until she finds her boyfriend, also a chef at the same restaurant, cheating on her. She decides to head home to Rumford, Kentucky to get a break.  She quickly runs into a friend from high school and finds herself making her wedding cake. The reception is being held at the Rumford Country Club where Sophia used to work. She knows she will have everything she needs there to create the wedding cake of her friend’s dreams. Unfortunately, when she arrives she finds the club’s head chef, Emile, dead on the floor with a cast iron skillet nearby. She notices something about the pan and informs Sheriff Carter.  The next thing she knows she has accepted the job as an interim chef for the club. Maybe while working there she can find out who clobbered the chef, but her main concern is that her friend’s wedding goes on without any more interruptions or dead bodies.

This series is off to a divine start. Sophia is a talented chef with a huge heart. She loves creating desserts that make people happy. She couldn’t say “no” to anyone, which is why she ends up committed to baking things even after the date she plans to return to Manhattan.  Her mother, on the other hand, is demanding, bossy, and you know a mom that really loves her daughter. She is also not beyond a little matchmaking. Her father does his best to keep the peace and has a strong bond with his daughter. It was great to meet all of Sophia’s high school friends, even the one she doesn’t recognize. These characters are so well developed already in this first book. I am excited to see the beyond high school relationships grow and evolve. Their Southern charm shines throughout the whole story.

The author has filled these pages with a great whodunit too with plenty of suspects and twists galore. So well-plotted and full of clues and just the perfect amount of humor.

Ms. Bell’s descriptive talents set the scene perfectly. She has created this wonderful little town of Rumford and I escaped away right into it.

Southern charm, mystery, great characters, fantastic dialogue, and a bit of comedy make Cake and Punishment a must read! The talk of sweet treats will also have your mouth watering.

Your Great Escapes Travel Agent

About the Author

Maymee Bell is the pen name of USA Today Bestselling author Tonya Kappes. She lives in Kentucky with her family and her two schnauzers. She likes strong coffee, slow-country days, and fresh-baked cookies – but she like telling stores best of all. This is her first SOUTHERN BAKER MYSTERY.

Visit Tonya:

Facebook at Author Tonya Kappes    Kappes Krew Street Team

Kappes Krew Recipe Exchange

Website    Goodreads     Twitter     Pinterest

Purchase Links:

Amazon  B&N   Kobo 
Click here to find all of Tonya’s books on Amazon.

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Tour Participants

April 25 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – CHARACTER GUEST POST
April 25 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
April 26 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
April 26 – Bibliophile Reviews –  REVIEW
April 27 – The Book Diva’s Reads –  CHARACTER GUEST POST
April 27 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT
April 28 – Ms. Cat’s Honest World – REVIEW
April 29 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY
April 30 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
April 30 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT
May 1 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
May 1 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
May 2 – Queen of All She Reads – SPOTLIGHT
May 2 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
May 3 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW
May 3 – Valerie’s Musings – GUEST POST
May 4 – The Power of Words – REVIEW
May 4 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
May 5 – Varietats – REVIEW
May 6 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
May 7 – Ruff Drafts – GUEST POST
May 8 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
May 8 – Cinnamon, Sugar and a Little Bit of Murder – RECIPE POST
May 9 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
May 9 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, GUEST POST
May 10 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW, GUEST POST
May 10 – Bookworm Cafe – REVIEW
May 11 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, RECIPE POST
May 11 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

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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.”

Apr 252018

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am always excited when Cleo comes to visit!
She is also touring with Great Escapes Book Tours!
Be sure to visit every stop!


Cozy Wednesday with Cleo Coyle – Author of SHOT IN THE DARK #Giveaway too!

A divorced single mom in her forties, our amateur sleuth Clare Cosi is a coffeehouse manager by day and a relentless snoop by night. SHOT IN THE DARK marks the 17th Coffeehouse Mystery that my husband and I have written, and like every entry in our series, Clare sleuths with the help of her quirky staff of baristas, her beloved octogenarian employer, and her shop’s globetrotting rogue of a coffee hunter.

For Clare’s latest case, we researched New York’s café and restaurant scene. As managers of these establishments will tell you, mobile phone dating has become a big contributor to their bottom lines. When we learned that, we knew Clare’s Village Blend would be no different. In SHOT IN THE DARK, even Clare’s elderly ex-mother-in-law is “swiping to meet” new gentlemen friends! But there is a dark side to all this swiping, and we knew Clare’s down-to-earth common sense would make her uneasy about the quickie hookups taking place in her shop.

Manhattan Greenway Hudson River by Cleo Coyle

In Clare’s view, all these high-octane matches were bound to leave many feeling burned. One night, her worst fears come true when a date’s disappointment turns deadly. First, a shot rings out, and later the corpse of a sweet, young female customer is found floating in the Hudson River. Soon Clare is sparing with the NYPD Harbor Patrol, prowling a night-shrouded park in search of clues, and sneaking into a (way too) hipster health club.

Most of SHOT IN THE DARK’s New York locations are either real or based on real locations; and a few are among our favorite places in the city: from a cozy, landmark coffeehouse in picturesque Greenwich Village, to a strip of greenway with breathtaking views of skyscrapers along the mile-wide Hudson, to the foggy wharves of Red Hook, Brooklyn—even a battered railroad barge that’s been transformed into a lively outdoor restaurant.

If you’re a newcomer to our Coffeehouse Mysteries, don’t hesitate to pick up our latest title. All of our books can be read as stand-alone stories. And, if you like one, you’ll have sixteen more to enjoy. But don’t miss our latest: SHOT IN THE DARK!

 Praise for SHOT IN THE DARK
A Coffeehouse Mystery by Cleo Coyle

Mystery Pick of the Month!
“A gripping and entertaining mystery…”
Library Journal (Starred Review)

“Penetrating insights…” —Kirkus

“Sure to delight old fans and garner new ones…”
Publishers Weekly


SHOT IN THE DARK is also a culinary mystery, with an appendix of more than 25 recipes. To get Cleo’s Free Recipe Guide, click here or stop by her online coffeehouse at CoffeehouseMystery.com to download a free copy.

The Coffeehouse Mysteries Book Trailer



Get a title checklist with mini-summaries of all 17 Coffeehouse Mysteries plus links to Cleo’s Free Recipe Guides. To download the list as a PDF document, click here.


Thank you so much for dropping by today Cleo! 

Shot in the Dark (A Coffeehouse Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
17th in Series
Setting – New York
Berkley Prime Crime (April 17, 2018)
Hardcover: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451488848
Digital ASIN: B07465ZYKT



A new smartphone dating game turns the Village Blend into a hookup hot spot, until one dark night, when a gunshot leaves a dead body behind and the landmark coffeehouse becomes the center of a whole new scene–a crime scene.

As Village Blend manager Clare Cosi attempts to finalize a date for her wedding, her ex-husband becomes addicted to making dates through smartphone swipes. Clare has mixed feelings about these quickie matchups happening in her coffeehouse. Even her octogenarian employer is selecting suitors by screenshot! But business is booming, and Clare works hard to keep the espresso shots flowing. Then one dark night, another kind of shot leaves a dead body for her to find.

The corpse is a successful entrepreneur who became notorious for his “hit it and quit it” behavior: prowling for women on dating apps, then devastating his conquests with morning-after insults. Though the NYPD quickly arrests one of his recent victims, Clare finds reason to believe she’s been framed.

Now, with the help of her ex and crew of quirky baristas, Clare starts “swiping” through suspects in her own shop, determined to find the real killer before another shot rings out.

Includes a bang-up menu of tempting recipes.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

These dating apps have been the rage and this one is supposed to unique. Clare’s ex seems to have a new addiction, meeting new “Cinderella’s”, sometimes more than one a night. The new hot meeting place for this new app Cinder just happens to be the Village Blend. Business is jumping until gunshots are fired in the upstairs lounge. The place clears out quick and the cops arrive to make the arrest. Luckily no one was hurt but can the Village Blend survive the bad PR?

The next night when Clare ventures out to pick up her boss from a date gone wrong she finds a girl’s body floating in the water. She recognizes the girl as one of her customers and is shocked to find she has a memory stick with 5 copies of the viral video of the shooting the night before. Panicking about how this is going effect her business Clare reluctantly teams up with the creators of Cinder to host a night that will hopefully bring business back. But then, another dead body is found, the police are back and may have arrested the wrong person.

Can Claire match the right suspect to the crime before there’s another “shot in the dark”? And will she have a job after everything that has happened?

I love this series! I love these characters! I can’t believe this is the 17th book in this series. The authors do an excellent job of making each story fresh and new for their fans while also giving new readers plenty of detail to be able to jump right into this series even at book 17.

Clare Cozi manages the Village Blend along with her ex-husband. The place is actually owned by her ex-mother-in-law. She has a great staff, a wonderful fiance’ and a level head on her shoulders. She just doesn’t understand this new dating app craze.  Her staff does their best to help her out. Her ex has taken the whole thing to the extreme but he is not alone. Even his mother is using an app to line up dates. These characters are delightful. They jump off of the page. Their dialogues are snappy and at time laugh out loud funny.

The authors have hit the mystery part of this story out of the park. Twists, turns, drugs and fitness clubs wrapping it together with this dating app phenomenon that is taking over the world. The story is very fast paced and the authors set up the chapters in such a way that you keep saying “just one more chapter” again and again. This book was impossible to put down.

The Village Blend and New York are a spectacular setting for this story. The author’s descriptions create a visual masterpiece for readers to enjoy. I can smell the coffee, the rich blends, along with delicious baked goodies too.

In addition to all the action, a light is shined on this “face in your phone” society in which we are living. Maybe because I am a dinosaur that doesn’t have a cell phone I see it more than others. I go to dinner with my family and look around the table and everyone but me and my grandchildren have their heads buried deep into whatever is happening on their phones. I do realize that if the children had cell phones I would be on my own.  I love new technology but am not a fan of all the time they take away from daily life. For my family, I do make a conscious effort to say “phones down, family time.”

Cleo Coyle never disappoints. Wonderful characters, intriguing mysteries, and just the right amounts of humor and romance. Each new story becomes another favorite. This was such an entertaining story with so many exciting moments. It truly was a perfect escape!!

Your Great Escapes Travel Agent

About the author

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. Alice has worked as a journalist in Washington, D.C., and New York City, and has written popular fiction for adults and children. A former magazine editor, Marc has authored espionage thrillers and nonfiction for adults and children. 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 popular Haunted Bookshop Mysteries. Look for a brand new entry in their Haunted Bookshop Mysteries this October: The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller.

Visit their website at www.coffeehousemystery.com.

CLEO’S NEWSLETTER: Fun contests, bonus recipes, book news, and videos. To sign up, simply write an e-mail that says “sign me up” and send it to CoffeehouseMystery@gmail(dot)com

You can also follow Cleo on Facebook as well as Twitter and Pinterest


* An autographed copy of SHOT IN THE DARK in its beautiful hardcover first edition.

* An autographed set of Cleo Coyle’s collectible recipe cards.

* A sturdy, canvas Coffeehouse Mystery tote bag with a favorite saying of Clare’s octogenarian employer, Madame: “Survive everything. And do it with style.” And…

* A 12-ounce porcelain “Gimme coffee!” latte cup and saucer, made in Italy!

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 the author 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 May 9, 2018, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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


Apr 182018

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 
I am thrilled to welcome Cynthia Baxter to Escape With Dollycas!

Confessions of an Ice Cream Addict
By Cynthia Baxter

In some ways, I’m a shining example of self-control.  When it comes to what I call “real food,” I’ve pretty much got it down.

Breakfast is coffee sweetened with chemicals and lightened with milk that has apparently undergone liposuction.  I check off the boxes on a few important food groups with cottage cheese smeared on whole-grain organic crackers made with chia seeds, pomegranate seeds, acai berries, and a few other foods I never even knew existed until a few years ago.  I know they’re healthy because they have the texture of roofing shingles.

Lunch is similarly wholesome, hitting the most admirable of the food groups: fruits and vegetables.

But then comes three o’clock.

Ever since elementary school, three o’clock has been synonymous with Afternoon Snack.  The idea of being rewarded with a treat at that hour is as ingrained in me as the necessity of pushing in my chair and walking, not running, in the hall.

In adult life, the Afternoon Snack takes on the form of a coffee break.  And no one appreciates the value of a mid-day hit of caffeine as much as I do.

Yet as wonderful as coffee is, it’s not actually food.  You need something to go with it.  And there are plenty of choices.  Cookies, cake, pie, scones, biscotti . . . if it’s made with butter and sugar, I’m all for it.

But none of those possibilities compare with ice cream.  Not only is ice cream as an Afternoon Snack fabulous on its own, which is good news for anyone who isn’t a caffeine addict like me; it also goes great with coffee.

To me, ice cream is the perfect food.  It’s a little bit sweet, a whole lot creamy, and has enough flavor to keep your taste buds humming without overwhelming them.

And the varieties are endless.  Gone is the time that chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry monopolized supermarkets’ ice cream freezers, along with coffee and butter pecan for more adventurous types.  These days, there are more flavors available to us than there are cable channels.  Flavors that until recently were as unknown to us as chia seeds are now sold at ice cream shops everywhere.  Ingredients like lavender, olive oil, salt, and honey have pushed aside more commonplace competitors like cocoa beans and strawberries.

And just think about all the positive associations that we developed in childhood!  Birthday celebrations?  That means cake and ice cream, right?  When I was growing up, that was the whole point of birthdays, even more important than new roller skates or a trip to Six Flags.  Fourth of July and summer vacations?  Ice cream cones melting in the hot summer sun are as much a part of them as fireworks and sand in your underpants.

Then there’s ice cream’s healing properties.  Every woman knows that the cure for a bad breakup is a pint of ice cream, ideally eaten straight out of the container.

Given ice cream’s importance, I’ve decided that there’s no reason not to eat some every day.  It’s just too tasty and too satisfying to do without.

In fact, I think of enjoying ice cream every day as a way of holding a private little celebration.  I consider it as much a part of everyday life as brushing my teeth and checking my phone at least a thousand times a day.  Samuel Johnson once said, “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.”  Substitute “ice cream” for the name of that fine city and you’ve got my personal philosophy in a nutshell.  Or a cone.


Thank you, Cynthia, for visiting today! Your book is a real treat!

Murder with a Cherry on Top (A Lickety Splits Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – New York
Kensington (March 27, 2018)
Hardcover: 256 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496714121
Kindle ASIN: B073NN1PMQ



Kate McKay had doubts about swapping her high-powered life in Manhattan for Wolfert’s Roost, the quaint Hudson Valley village where she grew up. But when she moves back to care for her ailing grandmother, Kate decides to start fresh and indulge her dream of running an ice cream shop. All goes smoothly—until she’s reunited with old acquaintances nuttier than a vat of rocky road . . .

Kate should be thrilled about opening Lickety Splits Ice Cream Shoppe in the heart of town. Instead her spirits melt like soft serve in the summer when she learns that her childhood frenemy, Ashley Winthrop, has started selling frozen treats in the bakery across the street. Turns out, Ashley hasn’t sweetened since high school. And, once again, she’s game for some very unfriendly competition . . .

But before Ashley can kill Kate’s new business, someone kills Ashley—stabbing her to death inside the bakery. Worse, the murder occurs right after the two rivals drew crowds with a heated argument, leaving half of Wolfert’s Roost speculating that Kate was finally pushed over the edge . . .

With rumors swirling and her reputation in serious trouble, Kate is determined to get the real scoop on the crime—even if it means joining forces with a former flame. As she pieces together clues to a chilling scandal, Kate soon realizes that she’ll need way more than a sprinkle of wit if she wants to expose the killer and live to see another sundae . . .

Includes mouthwatering ice cream recipes from the Lickety Splits Ice Cream Shoppe!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream and Cynthia Baxter has scooped up a tasty mystery for us readers to enjoy!!

Kate McKay has returned to Wolfert’s Roost to take care of her grandmother and to follow her dream of opening an ice cream shoppe. Lickety Splits has a prime location but it is directly across the street from a bakery owned by Ashley Winthrop, a woman Kate knew in school and wishes she could just avoid. When Ashley becomes her competition by selling ice cream Kate has no choice but to confront her. Their argument was loud and very public with no clear resolution until Ashley is found stabbed to death in her bakery. Katy wishes she could have frozen time, back before the war of words. Things really start to melt she becomes the prime suspect. To make things even chillier, her old high school boyfriend comes to her rescue. Maybe together they can clear her name before her dream is crushed and her ice cream shoppe is just a memory.

This series is off to a delicious start!

Kate McKay is so dedicated to getting her business up and running. She has created unique ice cream combinations that will keep her customers coming back for more. I wish the book came with free samples. Her friend Willow has been helping out but she really needs a full-time person. Her niece, Emma, arrives looking for a job at the perfect time. Plus she can move in to help with grams. We also meet others from Kate’s past including her high school boyfriend, Jake Pratt. They haven’t seen each other since he failed to pick her up on prom night. Their reunion is pretty icy. These characters are all very interesting and we are just getting to know them.

The author’s descriptive writing style really drew me into the store. Descriptions of Grams Victorian home and Kate shop made me feel like I was right on the scene. The descriptions of the ice cream flavors, sundaes, and other treats had me practically drooling. It also lent well as Kate went around asking questions, trying to find the real killer. It was very easy to visualize everyone she talked to and where they were. The mystery portion of the story wrapped up in a way I was not expecting and was surprised by who the real criminal turned out to be.

I love ice cream so this theme is one I am excited about. Cynthia Baxter has peaked my curiosity with this first installment. I can’t wait for the next Lickety Splits Mystery! 

Your Great Escapes Travel Agent

About the Author

Cynthia Baxter is the author of fifty-three novels. Her books have been translated into German, Swedish, and Danish. Born and raised on Long Island, she currently resides there. Her favorite ice-cream flavors are peach, coconut, and chocolate hazelnut. For more information, visit www.cynthiabaxter.com.

Thanks to the publisher I have 3 Advance Review Copies 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 the author 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
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Contest Will End May 2, 2018, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Apr 112018

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am excited to welcome Nell Hampton today!

London, British TV, and the Royals


I’ve been to London and it’s every bit as interesting as a Midwesterner could imagine. I found it fun and amazingly old. The museums and the parks and the bridges, I felt like I was breathing in the history. The neighborhoods with the Victorian mansions were as interesting as the palaces with their guards and glorious gardens. I went over Christmas which is not a busy time of year for the city. So many people leave to go spend the holidays with their families. The weather was supposed to be in the 50’s the entire time. So I thought I’ll bring a nice leather jacket and be okay. I’m from the Midwest, right? Well, it’s more damp there than I had imagined and that 50 degrees had me shivering.

I walked everywhere from Kensington Palace to Buckingham Palace to the Millennium Bridge which stretches across the river Thames. St. Paul’s cathedral is awesome. You can climb a staircase to the very top and look out over the city.

I can tell you if you don’t like crowds stay away from the Underground at rush hour. I squeezed inside a train so full that you could wear the shirt sleeves of the guy next to you. Then I went to Harrods’s Department store on Christmas eve when the people were four deep to any counter so there was no getting to see anything you might want to buy.

I wouldn’t want it any other way. It took a while to figure out if you wanted to eat at a pub you had to order food from the bar. They bring it around to the table, but they don’t come to the table and take your orders. I think I sat for an hour before figuring that out.

British TV

When you’re in London, there is so much to see that there is no time to watch British television. Then of course when you do catch a program it’s so different from US live television. It feels almost small town. But I love the programs. I watch Dr. Who, Father Brown, Downton Abbey, Midsomer Murders, Sherlock and so many more. The humor and mystery are wonderful and I’ve always been passionate about history and all that goes into the care of keeping of a manor home or palace so those stories are fun.

The Royals

I’ve been following the Royal family most of my life. My father was a huge reader and fan of monarchies. I studied the Royal histories in college as an elective. The idea of protocol and intrigue that followed the royals for centuries. Now they are a favorite soap opera. Who doesn’t love a royal wedding or pictures of the children? When I had this opportunity to write a cozy mystery set in a palace, I had to pick the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their growing family.

So I put all that knowledge and research and respect and imagination into Kale to the Queen followed by Lord of the Pies. I think where you set a cozy is as important as what the sleuth does for a living. Since we can’t all live in London, it’s fun to go there in the pages of a book.

Where is your dream place to visit? Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Lord of the Pies.

Thank you, Nell, for visiting today!

Lord of the Pies: A Kensington Palace Chef Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Kensington, England
Crooked Lane Books (April 10, 2018)
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683315599
Kindle ASIN: B074MCJB5D

When Carrie Ann Cole bakes a lemon meringue pie to die for that actually kills someone, she must find out who the real killer is before her time at the Kensington Palace expires.

The elegant Orangery at Kensington Palace is the perfect setting for the bridal shower of Carrie Ann Cole’s best friend’s sister. Personal chef to the royal family, Carrie Ann’s pie theme is naturally winning. But a waiter later keels over dead into the lemon meringue pie she leaves as a thank-you to the staff and Carrie Ann realizes that somebody slipped a mickey into that meringue.

Her floury fingerprints are all over that pie and the authorities suspect her distress is a cover-up for murder. Carrie Ann must set out to clear her name if she wants to stay at her dream job any longer. But all too soon, another body drops in the Orangery. This time, it’s the Orangery chef.

Murder won’t crimp her style, and as bodies pile up, Carrie Ann uncovers palace intrigue, London nightlife, and British pies scouring for the killer.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Pies! Pies! Pies! Carrie Ann Cole is baking pies for a bridal shower to be held in the Orangery at the palace. She has one pie left over and leaves it for the chef usually in charge of the Orangery. When a waiter is found dead with his face in her pie she knows someone tampered with it. All the evidence points to Carrie Anne and when another chef is murdered she realizes it is up to her to find the real killer before she loses her dream of being the chef for the Duke and Duchess and their wonderful family.

Carrie Ann Cole is an American chef in charge of one of the palace’s four kitchens. Her kitchen prepares meals and teas for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. She also is asked to do the food for events her royals host like the bridal shower in this story. In addition to her normal duties, she has been asked to participate in a televised cooking competition for charity. After that event concludes several people on one of the other teams get sick and again Carrie Ann is a suspect. She does have two men watching out of her, the kitchen gardener and the palace’s chief of security. She also has a new assistant that is determined to help her clear her name.

All of Ms. Hampton’s characters leap off the pages. Carrie Ann is getting comfortable in her new position but is worried about being terminated with all these dead bodies that just seem to pile up around her. She is starting a romantic relationship with Jasper, the gardener but there is also romantic vibes between Carrie and Ian, the security chief. I also liked the way she and her new assistant got along and her friend that tries to show Carrie Ann some of the area’s nightlife.

There is never a dull moment at the palace or in Carrie Ann’s life. The story has a fast pace, the pages on my Kindle where flying. Twists and turns, peeping Tom’s, a cheating chef, a cranky chef, murders, secrets and lies and or so many pies held my attention from word one. Cleverly written, Nell Hampton gives readers a mystery we can sink our teeth into. An inside look at palace life is just the meringue on the top of the pie.

Readers of Julie Hyzy’s White House Chef Mysteries will love these characters and their story. I recommend this book/series to all cozy mystery fans!

Your Great Escapes Travel Agent

About the Author

An avid foodie and writer, Nell Hampton decided to finally combine her two loves. She lives in Richmond, VA. This is her first mystery. But you may also know her as Nancy J. Parra or Nancy Coco. Check out her webpage here. 

Written as Nancy Coco

Written as Nancy J. Parra

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.

Where is your dream place to visit? Leave a comment 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 April 25, 2018, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Mar 282018


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am so excited to welcome Krista Davis to Escape With Dollycas today to
tell us about her new book/series!

I love starting a new series. There’s nothing that’s more fun than imagining the location and bringing new characters to life.

When I started working on Color Me Murder, I knew that Florrie Fox would be an adult coloring book artist. I borrowed the name Florrie, which I heard recently and loved immediately. Doesn’t a Florrie sound like a kind and quiet person? But also someone who is fun! Then I gave her the day job of managing a bookstore. Originally, I thought she might own it with her grandfather, but when I started writing, that was just plain wrong. I scrapped the first thirty pages and started over!

Once I had a handle on her boss, the owner of the bookstore, things fell into place. John Maxwell is the ultimate absent-minded professor. He loathes confrontation and is a lousy manager but a great guy. He’s always searching for answers to historic mysteries. And he’s a well-known adventurer with an office full of interesting artifacts from his exotic travels.

Of course, Florrie had to have a boyfriend. But wait, maybe she wasn’t crazy about him. Maybe he would be a pain in the neck. As it turned out, he got her into some hot water with her mom. Not to worry, though, someone much more interesting would turn up soon.

But where to set this story? I seriously considered a small university town. Those still exist, don’t they? But the more I thought about it, the more I saw the bookstore in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, DC. It’s quaint, it’s very cool and chic, and the streets have that lovely neighborly feeling. Plus it’s full of diplomats and intellectuals who would provide fodder for future books.

The character of Mr. DuBois popped up out of nowhere. He’s a wizened old fellow and very proper. As John Maxwell’s butler, he takes care of the mansion and keeps track of the details that John forgets—like breakfast. Mr. DuBois is a bit agoraphobic, and he watches entirely too many true crime programs on TV. He’s an armchair amateur sleuth. Once in a while, he does something that is completely out of character and delights in it.

One of the things I love about the Pen & Ink Mysteries is that some of the clues are on the cover. If you look at the center of the cover, you’ll notice a cat, a plume, martini glasses, a stunning necklace, and more in an oval around the title. Every one of those is a clue to the mystery!

Oh! Did I mention that the front and back covers can be colored? I can’t wait to see how readers color the covers. In fact, I’m having a contest with prizes for the top three colored covers, to be chosen by a panel of your favorite authors! Stay tuned to my Facebook page and website for more information on the contest.


Thank you, Krista, for being my guest today! This book is fantastic! 

Now, let me tell you all about it.

Color Me Murder (Pen & Ink)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Washington
Kensington (February 27, 2018)
Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496716408
Kindle ASIN: B0719VDGJ6



Includes A Front and Back Cover for You to Color!
By day, Florrie Fox manages Color Me Read bookstore in Georgetown, Washington D.C. By night, she creates her own intricately detailed coloring books for adults, filling the pages with objects that catch her eye. There’s plenty of inspiration in her new apartment—a beautiful carriage house belonging to Professor John Maxwell, Florrie’s boss. He offers the property to Florrie rent-free with one condition—she must move in immediately to prevent his covetous sister and nephew from trying to claim it.

When the professor’s nephew, Delbert, arrives, he proves just as sketchy as Florrie feared. But the following morning, Delbert has vanished. It’s not until she visits the third floor of the store that Florrie makes a tragic discovery—there’s a trap door in the landing, and a dead Delbert inside. The esteemed Professor Maxwell is an obvious suspect, but Florrie is certain this case isn’t so black and white. Doodling clues, she begins to consider other colorful characters on the scene, all with a motive for murder. With a killer drawing closer, Florrie will need to think outside the lines . . . before death makes his mark again.

Digital edition contains a link to the downloadable color-it-yourself cover art!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

What a unique cover idea. Adult coloring books are huge right now. I gave away quite a few to my family for Christmas with sets of colored pencils. This book brings two favorite things together, a fantastic cozy mystery and color-it-yourself cover art.

When you venture beyond the cover you do find a fantastic mystery. We meet Florrie Fox, manager of the Color Me Read bookstore in Georgetown, Washington D.C. The cool thing, she doesn’t just sell adult coloring books in the store, she has also published several herself. Florrie is quite a doodler and the pictures she creates are truly art. Professor John Maxwell owns the store. He is a traveler, his adventures take him all around the world. His office is full of treasures from his travels. He lives on a huge estate with a butler, Mr. DuBois, who runs the household and keep his friend Maxwell on track. There is a guest house on the estate and Professor Maxwell offers the place to Florrie. She is unhappy in her small apartment and Maxwell would rather have her for a tenant than his unsavory nephew Delbert.

Delbert shows up at the bookstore and Florrie dislikes him instantly. She understands why his uncle doesn’t want him around. When she arrives that next day a wrinkle in the carpet catches her attention, she discovers the carpeting in covering a trap door, but when she lifts it she is shocked to find a very dead Delbert. There is no way to color this picture any other way but tragic and gruesome.

I want to shout about this book from the rooftops!

Krista Davis is a great writer, but she has topped herself with this series debut!

The characters are so smart, engaging, witty, charming, interesting and fun. I love them already and want to know them better. Heck, I want to move into Professor Maxwell’s guest house so I can be a part of their lives every day.

I have only visited Washington D.C. once, but with the author’s descriptions of the area and the bookstore, I could transport myself so easily. All the little details were wonderful. I would love to get lost in all the Color Me Read bookstore has to offer.

The plot was rich and flowed at the perfect pace. I found myself so immersed in the story that I realized I didn’t highlight any parts or make any little notes like I do with most books to help me solve the mystery and write my reviews. I sat down and started reading and didn’t put it down until I reached the final word. Well written and well plotted this book has everything I look for in a story and more.

A charming and compelling read with an ending that surprised me. A perfect escape, no this one was a trip to Paradise. It deserves more than 5 stars!

Your Great Escapes Travel Agent

About The Author 

New York Times Bestselling author Krista Davis writes the Paws and Claws Mysteries set on fictional Wagtail Mountain, a resort where people vacation with their pets. Her 4th Paws and Claws Mystery is MISSION IMPAWSIBLE, which releases on February 7th. Krista also writes the Domestic Diva Mysteries. Like her characters, Krista has a soft spot for cats, dogs, and sweets. She lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with three dogs and two cats.

Webpage  Facebook   Pinterest

Mystery Lovers Kitchen    Twitter    Killer Characters

Coming November 27

Coming May 29, 2018

 Thanks to the people at Kensington I have 4 ARC copies to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US  mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Leave a comment for Krista for 5 Bonus Entries!

Sign Up for Krista’s Newsletter for 5 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End April 11, 2017, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form


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

Mar 242018

Killer Tied (Eve Appel Mystery)
by Lesley A. Diehl

I am so happy that Lesley Diehl is here today for a visit!

Changes in a Cozy Series Character
by Lesley A. Diehl

People often say they don’t like change. Change requires adjustment, and that’s often difficult. On the other hand, sameness in our lives is unexciting. Changes such as marriage, birth of a child, promotion in a job, graduation from high school or college, a vacation, even purchasing the home of our dreams are usually viewed as bringing happiness or joy, but they also involve alterations to our lives. On the surface getting married would appear to be an almost totally happy experience yet it is accompanied by other, less positive issues such as who pays for the wedding, how much, who is invited, will there be a honeymoon, who has the final say in choosing the bridal gown? Those are just a few, yet humans perceive this day as a to be yearned for milestone in life. Any change alters what has gone before. It modifies our lives, and the accumulation of changes makes us into people we weren’t before we began adulthood. Yet change is what we see as the trajectory of living. As much as we would like to avoid negative events and what they demand of us, we must admit that life would be oh so boring without the reworking and revision we engage in to accomplish what we want or what is demanded of us.

Readers expect development and change in a series character. Rarely do we encounter a protagonist who remains unaltered throughout the series. There are exceptions. We like the Jack Reacher character in Lee Child’s books just as he is when we first meet him. We do not expect nor want him to marry, settle down, get a day job or open a charge account. Reacher, however, is an iconic character in his changelessness. It is what defines him and what attracts him to us.

In cozy mysteries, life changes in the main character are expected. The protagonist arrives in the first book with issues that need to be resolved not only for the reader, but these issues are part of what drives the character as she strives to find her true love, deal with her teenage daughter’s crush on the bad boy in school or exit an unhappy relationship. She may find her husband is cheating, her business may encounter financial problems, or her mother dies suddenly. Cozy mystery writers like to throw many roadblocks in her way as she struggles to live her life. Then, of course, the writer also tosses in a murder for her to solve. The murder is probably the only unique problem the protagonist confronts. All the others are common to many readers’ lives and are the stuff that defines who the protagonist is and the reasons why the reader comes to both like and identify with her.

Protagonists in a cozy mystery series take careful development. Not only does the reader expect resolution of the issues presented to the protagonist in an individual book, but the writer must leave something or somethings unresolved to arise in the next book. The murder will be solved, and the love affair might look as if there will be wedding bells, but as to the latter, does the writer want to begin the second book with marriage or should the protagonist be reluctant to marry? Perhaps book 2 might introduce another love interest? There are a variety of issues both internal to the protagonist and external to her life which can be proposed, resolved or left to the next book. Many of the internal roadblocks to change arise from fears or yearnings within the character and may define the evolution of the character through the series.

In the case of Eve Appel, protagonist in the
Eve Appel mysteries, it appears she has found the love of her life, and her husband’s father, after a long absence, has returned to the family. Great, but I decided to create an in-law problem with a twist when he is accused of murdering the man who might be the father of Eve’s half-sister. Even though Eve’s father-in-law doesn’t like her, and she finds him annoying, her husband’s family hires her as the PI to find out the truth about the murder. There’s trouble in Eve’s own family when she has reason to believe her grandmother has lied to her about her parents’ deaths. I also decided to take Eve back to the Northeast to confront issues which she believes were resolved when she was a child.

One enduring issue for Eve, the one she struggles within each book, is her impulsivity. It is one she now is aware of and works to overcome. Less obvious and subtler is that of distrust arising from Eve’s childhood and loss of her parents. Book 6 Killer Tied reveals this concern to be one Eve must acknowledge and come to grips with as it affects her and the people closest to her.

Killer Tied represents a turning point in Eve’s life from the youthful and adventurous Eve to a woman more mature yet still the old sassy gal she has always been. I want to be careful I don’t violate Eve’s true nature; the person readers want to remain constant. Readers will find the Eve they love, but they will see her as more nuanced and complex than before. Eve takes changes in her life in stride. How could she not? She’s taken on alligators, a Cape buffalo and a whole host of baddies. Eve is growing, and the changes in her make her even more intriguing to the cozy mystery reader.


Than you Lesley for visiting today!

Now let me tell you about Killer Tied.

About the Book

Killer Tied (Eve Appel Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Camel Press (March 15, 2018)
Paperback: 264 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1603813198
Digital ASIN: B0789824WQ

Eve Appel Egret is adjusting to married life with Sammy and their three adopted sons in Sabal Bay, Florida. While still running her consignment stores, she is going pro with her sleuthing by becoming an apprentice to a private detective.

Until her marriage, Eve’s only “family” was her grandmother Grandy, who raised her after her parents died in a boating accident. Now, in addition to her husband and sons, she has a father-in-law who clearly dislikes her. Sammy’s father, a full-blooded Miccosukee Indian long presumed dead, has emerged from the swamps where he’s been living like a hermit, and he isn’t happy about Eve’s marriage to his half-Miccosukee, half-white son.

As for Eve’s family, are her parents really dead? A woman named Eleanor claims to be Eve’s half-sister, born after her mother faked a boating accident to escape her abusive husband, Eve’s father. Then Eleanor’s father turns up dead in the swamps, stabbed by a Bowie knife belonging to Sammy’s father, Lionel. Strange as Lionel Egret is, Eve knows he had no motive to kill this stranger. In order to clear him, Eve must investigate Eleanor’s claims, and she might not like what digging around in her family’s past uncovers.

About the Author

Lesley is a country gal through and through, from her childhood on a dairy farm in Illinois to college in a cornfield in Iowa, Lesley creates sassy, snoopy protagonists who embrace chasing killers in country settings. Lesley writes several series: the Big Lake Murder mysteries and the Eve Appel mysteries both set in rural Florida; the Laura Murphy mysteries located on a lake in upstate New York; and short stories, some featuring a few of Lesley’s unique relatives from back on the farm (Aunt Nozzie and the Grandmothers). She is inspired by an odd set of literary muses: a ghost named Fred and a coyote as yet unnamed. Killer Tied is the sixth mystery in the Eve Appel Mysteries. To read more about Lesley’s unusual and humorous cozy mysteries, go to www.lesleyadiehl.com.

Author Links

Website    Blog   Twitter: @lesleydiehl Facebook   Facebook Fan Page

  • Purchase Link



March 15 – Books Direct – GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY 
March 15 – Laura’s Interests – SPOTLIGHT
March 16 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 17 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 17 – Mysteries with Character – CHARACTER GUEST POST
March 18 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
March 19 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 20 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW  
March 21 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
March 22 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
March 23 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – REVIEW
March 24 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – GUEST POST
March 25 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT
March 26 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW
March 27 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
March 28 – Ms. Cat’s Honest World – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY

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