Dec 272012
 

me before you
Me Before You: A Novel
Contemporary/Woman’s Fiction
Pamela Dorman Books
Release Date: December 31, 2012
Hardcover: 384 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0670026609

Louisa Clark (Lou) is just an ordinary woman leading her life, living with and helping to take care of her parents and grandfather. Then the job she loves at the cafe is gone. The owner has closing and moved away. Jobs are hard to come by and she tries a few. Then she is convinced to become a companion/caregiver to Will Traynor. A man who was a daredevil and astute businessman that has been sidelined by an accident the caused damage to his spinal cord. He is now in a wheelchair and can only move one hand slightly. Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I couldn’t wait to dive into this book. I had only read a small synopsis sent by the publicist before I started reading. I knew the man in the story was paralyzed but didn’t really give it more than a passing thought until I read about his injury. His damage to his spine was in the C5-6 area, the exact same place as my injury. He is confined to a wheelchair with very little movement. This could have been me. I was lucky to have paralysis only claim one side of my body. This did give me pause but I continued reading. Will Traynor went through the same feelings and doubt and uncertainty that I did and still sometimes have. But he did do something I could never do. He decided to have 6 months with his family and then he would end his life at a assisted suicide clinic in  Switzerland. Lou will do anything to get him to change his mind. To say this book affected me deeply in an understatement.

Jojo Moyes has written a brilliant story that was well researched. She incorporates spinal injury online support groups to help Lou understand what Will is going through. From experience I know the snippets in the book are credible. She has included a caregiver that takes care of the more personal and medical needs for Will so that Lou is more of a friend or companion at least at first.

She has also created a wonderful cast of supporting characters. Lou’s lower class family, working hard every day to try to keep up. Her sister, the family favorite, with her own personal battles. Lou’s boyfriend who has suddenly become a fitness guru. Then there is Will’s family. Upper middle class with a huge house and plenty of money. But even with their son’s disability aside, were they ever happy? I truly enjoyed the chapters when other characters took over and gave their perspective. We were able to get a deeper vision of their thoughts and impressions of  their lives as well as their feelings about Lou and Will.

This was not a book that I could rush through but I feel that is because of my personal issues with the story. I found myself setting the book aside because some parts were so powerful or when I found myself actually crying so much the words were blurred. It is not your run of the mill love story. Feelings grew in ways that I didn’t even imagine. I don’t want to ruin the end for anyone but I was truly hoping for a different outcome. I understood, but as a person who has actually looked death in the eye and came back, life is just too precious to me.

An intense story, I highly recommend you have a box of tissues handy.

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

Q & A with JOJO MOYES,

Tell us a little about where your ideas for your characters and their stories come from.

They come from all over the place. It’s often a snippet of conversation or a news story that just lodges in my head and won’t go away. Sometimes I get an idea for a character too, and then unconsciously start knitting them together. Me Before You is the most “high concept” book I’ve ever written—in that I could describe it in two sentences. But most of them are a lot more organic and just contain lots of ideas and things that I’ve pulled together. With this book I think the issue of quality of life was probably to the front of my mind as I had two relatives who were facing life in care homes, and I know that in one case she would probably have chosen any alternative to that existence.

Which of the characters in Me Before You do you identify with the most?

Well, there’s definitely a bit of Lou in there. I did have a pair of stripy tights that I loved as a child! I think you have to identify with all your characters to some extent, or they just don’t come off the page properly. But I also identify with Camilla a bit. As a mother I can’t imagine the choice she has to make, and I could imagine in those circumstances you would just shut down a bit emotionally.

What made you choose to set Me Before You in a small historical town with a castle at its center?

I tried all sorts of settings for this book. I drove all over Scotland, trying to find a castle and a small town that would “fit.” It was essential that Lou came from a small town, rather than a city, because I live in one myself and I’m fascinated by the way that growing up in one can be the greatest comfort—and also incredibly stifling. I wanted a castle because it was the purest example of old money rubbing up against ordinary people. Britain is still incredibly hide-bound by class, and we only really notice it when we go to a place where it doesn’t exist in the same way, like the U.S. or Australia. I needed the class difference between Will and Lou to be clear.

We love the way you draw the social distinction between Lou’s working-class upbringing and Will’s upper-class background. Did you do that deliberately to introduce humor into what could otherwise have been a deeply tragic situation?

Yes I did. I thought that the subject was so bleak potentially that it was important to have a lot of humor in the book. But it adds a useful tension to the narrative too: offsetting the warmth and chaos of Lou’s home life with the more formal and reserved nature of Will’s relationship with his parents. And it gives Lou an added reason to feel totally out of her depth once she arrives there. From the point of the reader, it also gives Will a subtle advantage that is vital if we are to see him as Lou’s equal and not just an object of pity.

Your books always have an incredibly moving love story at the heart of them. What is it about the emotional subject of love that makes you want to write about it?

I have no idea! I’m not very romantic in real life. I guess love is the thing that makes us do the most extraordinary things—the emotion that can bring us highest or lowest, or be the most transformative—and extremes of emotion are always interesting to write about. Plus I’m too wimpy to write horror.

Have you ever cried while writing a scene in any of your books?

Always. If I don’t cry while writing a key emotional scene, my gut feeling is it’s failed. I want the reader to feel something while reading—and making myself cry has become my litmus test as to whether that’s working. It’s an odd way to earn a living.

Where do you write? Do you set hours or just put pen to paper when inspiration strikes?

I work in roughly set hours, but with three children and a lot of animals I’ve found you have to be flexible. If there are no disruptions I roll out of bed and straight to my desk and work from 6am to 7:30am, and then again after I’ve done the animals from roughly 10am to 2:30pm. My ideal time to work would be from 3pm to 10pm—but unfortunately that only happens if I go away and hide in a hotel.

When you form characters do you ever incorporate aspects from people you know?

Yes—but often without realizing. Luckily if you write a negative character trait people are rarely likely to recognize themselves. More often though the characters have elements of myself which I then stretch and exaggerate until they become their own. Lou, for example, contains something of the character I could well have been if I had married the man I got engaged to at 17. I would have led a very different life.

Who would be in your dream book club? Where would you meet and what would you talk about?

Oh, wow. If I can have dead and living writers, I’d have Anaïs Nin, Hemingway, Xenophon, Haruki Murakami, Jessica Mitford, and Nora Ephron. We’d meet in a smoky bar in Paris and I’d probably not say very much at all. I’d be awestruck and just sit there and listen.

Do any other writers inspire you?

Yes. I love Kate Atkinson for her inventiveness, and because as a reader you can give yourself over to a plot that seems to go everywhere, trusting that she will bring the ends together in the most satisfactory and unexpected ways. I love Barbara Kingsolver for her use of language and Nora Ephron for her wit and the way she writes about the business of love and being human. It’s always tricky reading too much of the writers who inspire you though; sometimes they’re so good you just want to give up and go and work in a chicken factory instead.

When you’re not writing, how do you like to spend your time?

I ride my ex-racehorse, Brian, and try to just hang out with my children without muttering: “I’ll be with you in a minute… I’ve just got to finish this…” A dream weekend, however, would be spent alone with my husband in Le Marais, Paris.

The Book Publicity Kit Even Includes This Recipe.

Lemon Cream Tart
1 large egg white
2 tablespoons stick margarine
3 tablespoons sugar
3 cups reduced-fat
vanilla wafer crumbs (about 36 cookies)
Cooking spray
3 large eggs
1 (14-ounce) can low-fat sweetened
condensed milk (not evaporated skim milk)
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup frozen reduced-calorie whipped topping, thawed and divided
10 lemon rind strips (optional)
Mint leaves (optional)

Preheat oven to 325°. Combine first 3 ingredients and beat at high speed of a mixer until blended. Add crumbs and toss with a fork until moist. Press crumb mixture into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch round tart pan coated with cooking spray.

Bake at 325° for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Combine eggs, milk, lemon rind, and juice in a bowl, stirring with a whisk until blended. Pour mixture into prepared crust. Bake at 325° for 30 minutes or until filling is set. Let cool completely. Top with whipped topping. Garnish with lemon rind strips and mint, if desired.

About This Author
Jojo Moyes (b. 1969 in London, England) is a British novelist. She is one of only a few authors to have twice won the Romantic Novel of the Year Award by the Romantic Novelists’ Association and has been translated into eleven different languages. Moyes studied at Royal Holloway, University of London. She won a bursary financed by The Independent newspaper to study journalism at City University and subsequently worked for The Independent for 10 years. In 2001 she became a full time novelist. She is married to journalist Charles Arthur and has three children. Find out more about Jojo Moyes here.

I am giving away my gently read review copy!
Open to U.S. and Canada
Contest Will End January 10, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. CST
Winner will be notified via email and name will be posted in the sidebar of this blog.

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.”

Dec 212012
 

379178_3712015071951_1022866432_33311551_119250024_n

Book, Line, and Sinker
(A Library Lover’s Mystery)
3rd Book in Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (December 4, 2012)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Julia Green
Cover Design by Rita Frangie
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425251768

Book, Line and Sinker (Library Lover's Mystery, #3)Pirates in Briar Creek??! Well maybe just some in costume today but a salvage company has landed in town with hopes of finding buried treasure on Pirate Island. Residents are divided on their feelings about the excavation but Lindsey’s downstairs neighbor, Charlie Peyton, has signed on with the company to help dig up the booty. Things barely get underway when the body of Trudi Hargrave is found at the site. She’s the local tourism director who arranged for the dig. Charlie becomes one of the suspects so Lindsey decides to do some digging of her own before the truth gets buried for good.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Jenn McKinlay has written another bestseller here.

The reader is welcomed right into the Briar Creek Library for a meeting of the crafternoon group. The group works on their crafts like knitting or crochet while discussing the pre-selected book. Of course the discussion gets off track and family news and community gossip is shared. Talks try to stay on topic if sour “lemon” Mrs. Cole is lurking. These characters are fantastic!!!! In this installment Lindsey’s ex even makes an appearance. Will his presence throw a wrench in Lindsey’s and Sully’s romance? This reviewer is not telling. 🙂

McKinlay writes a fast paced mystery filled with humor, romance and intrigue. The friendships are genuine and true. Briar Creek sounds like a wonderful place to live and the library a perfect place to be to keep your thumb on the pulse of the community. I really hate getting to end of these stories knowing I must wait months to visit Lindsay, Beth, Sully, Heathcliff and even Mrs. Cole again. I will be watching for Read It and Weep to hit the shelves. Soon I hope.

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author

Jenn is the New York Times bestselling author of the Cupcake Bakery mystery series and the Library Lover’s mysteryseries. She will be debuting the London Hat Shop mysteries in 2013. She also writes the Decoupage mystery series under the name Lucy Lawrence and the Good Buy Girls mystery series under the name Josie Belle.

Her main interests are reading, writing, baking, knitting and skateboarding. She lives in sunny AZ in a house overrun with kids, pets and guitars.

Find out more about Jenn McKinlay at www.jennmckinlay.com

Dec 192012
 

cozy wednesdayWelcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am so happy that Juliet could be here today. Her new book Murder on the House: A Haunted Home Renovation Mystery was just released. She gives us the story behind the story today.

Welcome Juliet!

Hi Everyone!

julietpublicityI love doing research.  Maybe it’s because of my background as a graduate student in Anthropology, but I can get lost in the research for my books: spending hours on the internet, reading entire swaths of the library, and passing whole days walking the streets of the neighborhoods where I set my stories (notepad in hand, of course!).

In fact, one of my very favorite things about being an author is getting to hang out “researching” for days on end –and getting to call it “work”!  One of the hardest things, of course, is later making the tough decisions about what to include in one’s book — and what to leave out.  I might find  home renovation fascinating , but not everyone is up for me waxing poetic about the art of floor sanding, however intriguing it might seem to me when I witness a really good floor guy at work. (Seriously – these guys are impressive!)

murder on the houseBut researching for my Haunted Home Renovation series also includes looking up ghost stories – and those are SO much fun. The seed for my latest novel, Murder on the House, was planted one day when I met a friend for lunch in the Castro District, a quirky, wonderful San Francisco neighborhood.

He told me about a nearby building called Nobby Clark’s Folly, a mansion built on 17 acres in “Eureka Valley” (now know as the Castro) in 1892.  This was back before cars, when the area was considered to be out in the boonies for those living in downtown San Francisco. In fact, Clark’s wife decided it was too remote from Nob Hill, so she never moved in.  You can see pictures and read the whole story here:

http://foundsf.org/index.php?title=Nobby_Clark%27s_Folly

http://www.fuzzygruf.com/mansionstory.html

http://www.victorianalliance.org/house-tour/house-histories/nobby-clarkes-folly/

For the purposes of the story in Murder on the House, I changed the architecture from a Victorian extravaganza to an eclectic Greek revival with Italianate flourishes because the Victorian was too close to the home I described in my last book in the series, Dead Bolt. Nobby’s Folly became SF General hospital –it was that large!—which led me to make my fictional house a maternity hospital.

And, like just about any decent historic building in San Francisco, Nobby’s Folly, abandoned as it was, was rumored to be haunted.  As one account read:

On nights when the coastal fog creeps down over Twin Peaks and the nearby hills with long white fingers, the huge house looms darkly out of the weblike mist. The hollow “clops” of horses’ hoofs on cobblestone streets and the rickety clink of carriages and harnesses can sometimes be heard passing by, unseen, on wet, cold streets outside the mansion… some of the tenants have heard heavy measured footsteps in the hallways, passing by on their way to some ghostly business. Could these sounds be the ghost of Mr. Clarke returning to survey the old estate that he loved so well?

I ask you, how can a mystery author read something like that and not think up a plot or two?  Guess that’s why I love research!

~Juliet

Thank you so much Juliet for sharing your inspiration for this story! I hope you will come back again soon!

About This Author

Juliet Blackwell is the NYT bestselling author of the Haunted Home Renovation mystery series (If Walls Could Talk, Dead Bolt, Murder on the House) and the Witchcraft mystery series (Secondhand Spirits, A Cast-off Coven, Hexes and Hemlines, In a Witch’s Wardrobe, and the upcoming Tarnished and Torn). As Hailey Lind, Juliet penned the Art Lover’s Mystery series, including Agatha-nominated Feint of Art. A former anthropologist and social worker, Juliet has worked and studied in Mexico, Spain, Cuba, Italy, the Philippines, and France. She now lives in a happily haunted house in Oakland, California, where she is a muralist and portrait painter. She was a two-term president of Northern California Sisters in Crime.

Visit Juliet at www.julietblackwell.net;
on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JulietBlackwellAuthor;
and Twitter @JulietBlackwell

//

Amazon.com Widgetsmurder on the house

Murder on the House:
A Haunted Home Renovation Mystery

3rd in Series
Cozy Mystery
An Obsidian Mystery (December 4, 2012)
Published by New American Library
A Division of The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451238849

Murder on the House (A Haunted Home Renovation Mystery, #3)

Bed-and-breakfast—with a side of ghosts.

Mel Turner has a way with ghosts and people are starting to talk. So much so that the new owners of a historic house have contacted her not only to restore the house but to use her abilities to encourage the ghosts thought to be there to roam about. They want to open a haunted Bed & Breakfast.

In order to win the contact she must stay overnight in the house with another prospective contractor and the elderly caretaker, who also is the previous owner. The sleepover comes to an abrupt halt when the estate gains another supernatural occupant. Someone didn’t make it through the night. Mel hopes that she can get the resident spirits help her find the killer before she becomes another victim and joins them in their ghostly world .

Dollycas’s Thoughts
These stories first drew me in because of my house construction background but now in addition to that it is the history woven into the story. Juliet Blackwell blends the history with the mystery to give us readers an excellent read. That the house the story is based on could actually have been haunted just added to the story.  I could hear the creaks and the groans and the marbles bouncing down the stairs – sent shivers up my spine.

Mel is a spunky protagonist and seems to have no fear most of the time but even this set of ghosts took their toll on her. Her life is not turning out the way she planned. She wanted to take off for Paris but her dad needed her so she came home. She enjoys restoring homes but there are days she wishes for Paris, but I think the trouble who just follow her there. Her gift now realizes would sneak up on her wherever she goes. I am glad she is sticking around San Francisco and the construction biz. Who knows who she will have haunting her during her next renovation?

Murder on the House is a smart and clever mystery all cozy lovers will enjoy!!

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

 

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Would you like to win a copy of this wonderful book?<

Thanks to the people at Penguin
I have 2 copies to giveaway!!

U.S. and CANADIAN RESIDENTS
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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 Juliet for 5 Bonus Entries !

If you publicize the giveaway anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End January 2, 2013 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

 

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

Dec 182012
 

emilie christmas love

Emilie’s Christmas Love
Contemporary Romance
E-Book Self Published
File Size: 399 KB
ASIN: B00A6VHADI

Emilie and her aunt live in a huge house and have plenty of money. She is a teacher that works with at-risk youth. The one thing Emilie wants more than anything is to adopt a child. But it is so hard for a single woman to adopt. She thought her dreams were about to come true but yet again she is denied because the person giving the child up will only allow a two parent household to adopt the child.

Nick is a mechanic and he has taken in his niece and nephew after his sister’s tragic death. He promised her he would give her children the one thing she and Nick didn’t have: two parents.

Nick and Emilie meet when he tows her car. She soon learns that he is the man offering the little girl for adoption. He doesn’t know she is the rich woman wanting to adopt his niece. When she finds out they need a place to stay over the holidays she invites them to stay with her. She hopes to convince him she is the perfect person to adopt his niece and his nephew as well.

Neither of them expected what happened next.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Cozy mystery authors Jim and Joyce Lavene bring us a wonderful Christmas love story.

Emilie’s heart had been broken before by a man who couldn’t deal with her disability. She just was so afraid to open herself up to that kind of pain again. She knew she could make a good home for a child on her own and that was what she planned to do. Then Nick entered her life and as she tried to prove to him she didn’t need a man in her life they just kept getting closer and closer. It was so easy to connect with these characters.

The Lavene’s have written a captivating love story that will pull at your heartstrings. It unfolds at a perfect pace with the expected misunderstandings and drama but there is humor and more depth than usually found in romance novel today. Emilie’s work just with Adam – striving to get to the bottom of his behavior. She is a very special teacher. 

If you are looking for a book to curl up with this holiday season this is one I highly recommend!

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Amazon.com Widgets

This book was from my personal collection.

Dec 142012
 

the cat the came home

The Cat Who Came Back for Christmas: How a Cat Brought a Family the Gift of Love
Non-Fiction/Autism
Plume (September 25, 2012)
Published by The Penguin Group
Trade Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0452298781

The Cat Who Came Back for Christmas: How a Cat Brought a Family the Gift of Love

George was a handful at first, crying for hours on end, never sleeping. Julia tried everything to please her son. He then grew to be withdrawn and quiet, in his own little world. George was finally diagnosed as autistic and even with a diagnosis things didn’t get any easier. Until one day a small black and white stray cat appeared in their garden and George’s face just lit up. He named the kitty Ben and George started to open up to his mother. He was like a different little boy. Until one day when Ben disappeared.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
This was a very heartwarming story. Animals can have a profound effect in people no matter what they may be facing. 

As a mom with several cats in residence this is very clear to me and when one disappears it can break your heart. This happened to at our house twice this year. Back in the summer heat my cat Sherlock got outside and was missing for about a week. When he came back he was very sick and dehydrated. That was when we were receiving record high temperatures. Today he still has little wombles but he is back at my side every day. I missed him so much.

My daughter with the original Watson.

My daughter with the original Watson.

Then about 6 weeks ago my daughter’s cat Watson went out exploring. He did this a lot and was always waiting on the porch the next morning. But not this time. He has still not come home and we have posted notices, call the vets in the area and the humane society’s and posted online at missing pet sites. Last week we were sent a picture on Facebook and we were sure it was our Watson. My daughter rushed to pick him up. When she arrived she knew it wasn’t him but the people didn’t want this cat so she bought him home. She calls him Watson 2.0. He has not taken Watson’s place but he has healed her heart a bit. After reading this story I am still holding out hope the our Watson will make his way home to us. What better time than Christmas.

Julia goes way beyond anything we did. She never gave up and answered every call and kept searching. My only question I had was how George blamed his mother totally for Ben’s disappearance when the cat was in his father’s care at the time. His father was not a constant figure in his life so maybe he didn’t feel he could last out at him the same way as his mom. There is still so much we don’t know about autism but Julia gives us an inside look. 

Looking for a stocking stuffer for cat lover, this book would make a great gift. You might want to include a small box of tissues.

just you and a friend
4 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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.”

Dec 132012
 

Beeline to Trouble
(A Queen Bee Mystery)

4th in Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (December 4, 2012)
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425251805
Cover Illustration by Trish Cramblet
Cover Design by Judith Lagerman

Beeline to Trouble

Folks in Moraine, Wisconsin, are buzzing about the latest swarm of trouble humming around Story Fischer…
Story’s sister Holly needs help. Her husband has invited some of his employees to their house to relax for the weekend. Now she not only has to find ways to entertain them but also feed them. The kitchen in Holly’s house is state or the art but it is foreign territory as she can’t cook at all. With Story’s help they pull off breakfast and then Story takes them on a tour of her hives. They are enjoying themselves until one of the guests drops dead and Story becomes the prime suspect. It seems the carrot juice she served at breakfast contained poison.

This is the last thing Story needs. Johnny Jay can’t stand her and he will try to pin this on her for sure. Plus her hunky boyfriend Hunter just moved into her house with her and a dead body can tend to take away that romantic feeling.  She has no choice but to comb through the clues and close the case herself.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

The Queen Bee of the cozy is back again with another tale that is as sweet as honey! I love it!

If this fictional town were real it would be about a 45 minute drive from my house. I love the way Wisconsin shines in these stories from our crazy names of our “tongue twisting burgs”

  • Oconomowoc (Og-con-uh-ma-walk)
  • Waukesha (Walk-ee-shaw)
  • Kaukauna (Ka-caw-nah)
  • Chenequa (Sha-ni-qua)

to the beautiful scenery and the caring people. Each and every character is unique, real and believable, even the bad ones.  Pity Party Patty just cracks me up and she was in the middle of it this time. Even with her unusual past, deep down we all have a P.P. Patty in our lives. 

Hannah Reed writes a smart mystery with the perfect amount of humor set is a place that is a beehive of activity.

Bee smart and buzz over to the bookstore and pick this one up today. You will Bee thanking me!!! BUZZ! BUZZ! BUZZ!

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

To find out more about Hannah Reed visit here webpage here.

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.”

 

Dec 122012
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

It is my pleasure to welcome Amanda Lee (Gayle Trent) to Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book.

Hi Everyone!

Even though I write the embroidery mystery series which is set on the Oregon coast, I had never visited there until this past October. I live in Virginia. It was really great to see the place my characters call home. My books are set in the fictional town of Tallulah Falls. However, the characters often visit Lincoln City; and that’s where I went and stayed a couple of days.

My first glimpse of the beach behind the condo where I stayed. I was wearing sandals, but I quickly took them off to enjoy walking in the sand near the ocean. It was unseasonably warm in Lincoln City at about seventy degrees.

I thought it was so cool how the mountains met the ocean. In Virginia, we typically have mountains, flatlands, and then oceans. (Ken Hobbes of the Driftwood Public Library told me that our Virginia “mountains” are actually “hills.”) In Oregon, I saw huge mountain ranges bordered by the ocean.

Because in my series, there is a craft brewery and pub right across the street from Marcy’s shop, The Seven-Year Stitch, I had lunch at McMenamin’s, the Lighthouse Brewpub. Although craft breweries are common on the Oregon coast, I couldn’t find one in my area when I was researching The Quick and the Thread. Most of my research on craft breweries and pubs came from the Internet. At McMenamin’s, I was able to take a tour of the brewery and meet Doug (a/k/a the real-life Todd!), who taught me a lot about craft brewing.

After leaving the pub, I went in search of souvenirs. I was accustomed to seeing souvenir shops by the dozen when I visited beaches on the east coast. I was hard pressed to find a souvenir shop in Lincoln City. I finally found Treasures of the Sea and Captain Charlie Womack. Mr. Womack’s shop had treasures, but he was the best one of all! He was a fellow Virginian, and he was delighted that I’d stumbled across his store! We shared stories like old friends, and I promised to keep in touch.

Afterward, I went to the Driftwood Library where I met many more wonderful people, including Bob and Diana from Bob’s Beach Books and Ken Hobbes of the Driftwood Public Library. I truly appreciate the Driftwood Library Foundation for giving me the opportunity to visit Lincoln City, Marcy, Todd, Ted, Sadie, Blake, and Angus! J

Please visit my Pinterst board (http://pinterest.com/gayletrent/lincoln-city-or/) to see more photos of Lincoln City. Learn more about the series at my website (http://www.gayletrent.com) or via the Android App (http://www.appbrain.com/app/gayle-trent/com.onseeker.gayletrent).

~Gayle/Amanda

Thank you so much for sharing your trip with us! I hope you will be back to visit soon and often.

About This Author

Amanda Lee is the lady next to you in the grocery line or car pool. She has twins: one boy and one girl; she’s a baseball fan, she likes to decorate cakes, she rocks at Guitar Hero… Oh, and she likes to think about murder. But it’s okay! She only writes about murder…a lot! Find out more at www.gayletrent.com

Thread on Arrival:
An Embroidery Mystery
5th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Obsidian (December 4, 2012)
Published by New American Library
A Division of The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451238856

Thread on Arrival (An Embroidery Mystery, #5)

Embroidery shop owner Marcy Singer agrees to help teach a class as therapy for domestic abuse victims. She meets Mary Cantor who wants to leave her abusive husband and take her daughter with her. There’s one problem. Her elderly father-in-law lives with them and she can’t bear to leave him behind. Marcy thinks she may be able to help after she learns the man wants to talk to her about on old tapestry that he believes may be a  treasure map.

After Marcy meets with Mr. Cantor and promises to keep the tapestry safe, he agrees to leave his home. Unfortunately when the police show up the next day to  escort him a safe place they are too late. Mr Cantor is dead and the house had been searched. Would someone kill to get their hands on the tapestry? Could it really be a treasure map? Marcy is definitely going to find out.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I love my visits to Seven Year Stitch where I am not only welcomed by Marcy Singer but also by her wonderful Irish Wolfhound Angus and Jill. the mannequin the looks like Marilyn Monroe. 

Marcy has made some great friends since moving to Oregon. They take her classes, tell her who she should be spending her life with, and try to keep her safe as she is out trying to track down a killer. Her mother is in California, but only a phone call away. Sometimes she knows what is happening in her daughter’s life before her daughter does. Wonderful, rich, full characters – every one.

In addition to  the murder mystery which I thought I had figured out, then didn’t, then did, then didn’t 🙂 Marcy makes a big decision about her love life.  There was also a bit of history stitched in about the shipwrecks off the coast of Oregon that I found quite interesting.  Lee knots it all together into a very engaging story that I read all in one sitting.

You know things will never stay quiet for long in Tallulah Falls. Cross Stitch Before Dying hits shelves in August. Who knows what mystery the Inch High Private Eye will find herself in the middle of next?

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Thanks to the people at Penguin

I have 2 copies to giveaway!!
U.S. and CANADIAN RESIDENTS

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 Amanda for 5 Bonus Entries !

If you publicize the giveaway anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End December 26 2012 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

Dec 112012
 

Mistletoe, Merriment, and Murder
(Ellie Avery Mysteries)

A Mom Zone Mystery
7th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Published by Kensington (October 2, 2012)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0758269218

Mistletoe, Merriment, and Murder

Ellie Avery is a military wife and an expert at moving. She has turned her skills into a business that can travel with her wherever she goes. She is a professional organizer.

In this installment she takes a job helping first rate hoarder eliminate stuff that is beyond repair, donate what she doesn’t need, and organize the things she wants to keep. She was really nervous taking on this job but with Gabrielle Matheson, another professional organizer, trying to poach her clients and underbid her on the new ones she has no choice.

Trying to enjoy a little holiday cheer the squadron spouse club gets together for a party. The highlight of the night besides the little argument between Ellie and Gabrielle was the Elephant Swap Gift Exchange. When the gift Ellie receives ends up as a murder weapon she becomes the prime suspect. Ellie now “has to solve this ho-ho-homicide …and find a killer who wishes her a very deadly Christmas”.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I love the television show Army Wives and this series could be a spin-off – Air Force Wives.

I immediately loved the characters and the setting. The mystery was well written and fast paced. Once I started reading I couldn’t put it down. The holiday theme was a real treat as I have attended a few Christmas parties myself with a White Elephant Gift Exchange. My favorite character definitely was Ellie’s husband Mitch. He reminded me a lot of my husband. The quiet man behind the scenes until you are just about to take things too far and he steps in to try the voice of reason. It’s doesn’t always work but these guys try.

I will admit this is my first Ellie Avery mystery. The author sent me a copy telling me it could be read as a stand alone, which was true. I am usually a stickler for reading series books in order but Sara Rosett was very smart. I enjoyed this story very much and now I will be reading the rest of the books in this series as soon as possible. 🙂

This is a wonderful holiday read. Several organizational tips are included too! So whether this is a new series to you or you already love Ellie and her family, this is definitely a book to add to your pre-Christmas list!!

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About This Author
A native Texan, Sara is the author of the Ellie Avery mystery series and the On The Run travel thrillers. As a military spouse, Sara has moved around the country (frequently!) and traveled internationally, which inspired her latest travel thrillers. Publishers Weekly called Sara’s books, “satisfying,” “well-executed,” and “sparkling.”

Sara loves all things bookish, considers dark chocolate a daily requirement, and is on a quest for the best bruschetta. Connect with Sara at www.SaraRosett.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Goodreads.

Thanks to Sara I have a copy to share with you!!

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

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

If you publicize the giveaway anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

This is a quick one! Just One Week To Enter!!

Contest Will End December 18, 2012 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 author. 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.”

Dec 072012
 

Cathedral Windows:
A Someday Quilts Mystery (A Penguin Special from Plume)

Short Story (E-Book)
It’s a chance for folks unfamiliar with the Someday Quilts gang to meet them, and for fans of the series to catch up with old friends until book #5 is released in the fall of 2013.
Plume (November 13, 2012)
80 Pages
File Size: 725 KB
ASIN: B00938UPUU

CATHEDRAL WINDOWS
It’s the holiday season, but things are heating up in Archers Rest.

Christmas is just around the corner in the Hudson Valley. Nell and her friends at the Someday Quilts shop should be making eggnog and finishing up the stitching on their last homemade gifts, but when an arsonist strikes and a beloved teacher becomes a suspect, the ladies rally behind him to clear his good name. Will they succeed in time for him to spend Christmas among loved ones or will this be a chilly winter for the town of Archers Rest?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

A holiday bonus trip to Archer’s Rest with a bit of a message too!

Just because a person is a bit of a mystery doesn’t mean there is anything sinister afoot. Charlie is a veteran who has returned after serving in Afghanistan and is now a teacher in Archer’s Rest. Nell meets him when she is doing a quilting project with the kids at the school. He doesn’t stick around while she is in his classroom even though a little teacher participation would have been appreciated. She understands he is adjusting to his non-military life but others seem to think his is strange because he keeps to himself. When his house starts on fire many suspect him of arson because his failure to acclimate to civilian life. Nell decides to get to know him a little better and maybe find the real culprit that started the fire. It is then that she learns about Charlie’s grandmother and her Cathedral Windows quilt.

A quilt has a way of bringing people together. The story behind it, the quilters that put it together, or even quilters sitting together working on their own projects. Those sewn seams can bind us together. That is what happens in this wonderful story. A perfect read for the holidays.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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.”

Dec 062012
 

When a fireman or a policeman would visit his school, most of his classmates’ heads would swim with aspirations of growing up and catching bad guys or saving someone from a blazing inferno. When these moments came for Ethan Cross, however, his dreams weren’t to someday be a cop or put out fires; he just wanted to write about it. His dream of telling stories on a grand scale came to fruition with the release of his first novel, the international bestseller, The Shepherd.

Ethan Cross is the pen name of a thriller author living and writing in Illinois with his wife, two daughters, and two Shih Tzus. In addition to The Shepherd and The Prophet, he has published two novellas––Callsign: Knight – Book 1 (A Shin Dae-jung – Chess Team Novella) and The Cage.

2012dollycas favorite mystery suspense

The Prophet: A Shepherd Thriller
Suspense Thriller
Published by The Story Plant (October 16, 2012)
Trade Paperback: 414 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1611880458

The Prophet: A Shepherd Thriller

OLD ENEMIES… Francis Ackerman Jr. is one of America’s most prolific serial killers. Having kept a low profile for the past year, he is ready to return to work – and he’s more brutal, cunning, and dangerous than ever.

NEW THREATS… Scarred from their past battles, Special Agent Marcus Williams cannot shake Ackerman from his mind. But now Marcus must focus on catching the Anarchist, a new killer who drugs and kidnaps women before burning them alive.

HIDDEN TERRORS… Marcus knows the Anarchist will strike again soon. And Ackerman is still free. But worse than this is a mysterious figure, unknown to the authorities, who controls the actions of the Anarchist and many like him. He is the Prophet – and his plans are more terrible than even his own disciples can imagine.

With attacks coming from every side, Marcus faces a race against time to save the lives of a group of innocent people chosen as sacrifices in the Prophet’s final dark ritual.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

BAM! WHAM! KAPOW! Ethan Cross has thrown a knockout punch with The Prophet. I stayed up late in the night to finish this one and then had nightmares. Wow!!

Riveting, thrilling, gritty, gripping, enthralling, chilling, edgy, okay you get the idea. Cross’s books tend to make me get a little carried away. The detail of  the descriptions will make you shiver and shake. Cross is a very compelling writer. He PULLS you right into the drama and the mind of a serial killer. Scary!! and not for the squeamish! The way the characters connect is spellbinding on many levels.

Special Agent Marcus Williams worked for a covert agency overseen by the Department of Justice, The Shepherd. Agents don’t come to the group through normal channels. Each is fighting their own demons and is specially selected to become part of the group. Williams story continues to build slowly and soon you will be on the edge of your seat and the tempo reaches breakneck speed.

In a previous review for the  The Shepherd I told James Patterson he had competition. This story surpasses Patterson.  Ethan Cross is the new author to watch in thrilling suspense fiction! If you haven’t read The Shepherd I recommend reading that first.  I also wish I would have read the novella The Cage before reading this as I am a stickler for reading series in order. But  the author has brought forth the necessary facts to allow this to be read as a stand alone.

Ethan, give me a little tine to recover and I will be ready for your next installment. The rest of you need to get reading!!!

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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.”

The Drawing Game (A Sketch in Crime Mystery) by Deirdre Verne Get Your Copy Today!
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