Posted in Literary Escapes Reviews 2012

Review: Land of a Hundred Wonders by Lesley Kagan

Land of a Hundred Wonders
Published by New American Library
A Division of The Penguin Group
Published July 2008

 

      Land of a Hundred Wonders

 

Set in 1973, Gibby MaGraw has lost her parents to an automobile crash that she survived. But she did suffer brain damage that has left her NQR (Not Quite Right). This makes being a newspaper reporter pretty challenging.

While out looking for her next big story she stumbles upon the dead body of the next governor of Kentucky, Buster Malloy. She figures if she can solve the murder and write a fantastic news article she will show everyone including her mother in heaven that she is on the road to becoming Quite Right again.

Off with her leather-like briefcase that holds her blue spiral notebook, her favorite #2’s, and her camera she stumbles over quite a few more astonishing things as she tries to put all the clues together with her hit and miss memory.

More important though she learns some things are far more important than all the brains in the world, and that miracles occur in the most unexpected moments.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Lesley Kagen is a Wisconsin Author and I am making my way through all of her books and I am enjoying them so much.

The author is excellent at bringing her characters to life. Gibby has been through some terrible things and she just keeps going. Being “Not Quite Right” slows her down a bit but she keep pushing through. She is courageous and funny, most times unintentionally,  and readers will fall in love with her immediately.

She is surrounded by her grandpa and many friends who are all truly unique. They all have her best interests at heart and go to great lengths to protect her from remembering too much too fast. It is too hard to pick a favorite.

The story is set is the south in the 70’s and I believe the author portrayed the issues of the time quite well. 

This a heartwarming story that will hold your attention from the first page to the last. I was surprised at how quickly I read this book and all in one sitting. I was almost sorry to reach the end. The Land of a Hundred Wonders in a perfect place to escape.

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

Lesley was my guest here on May 4. Click Here To Learn More About This Wonderful Author.

This book was from my private collection.

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Posted in E-Book Challenge Reviews 2012

Review: Wicked Wives By Gus Pelagatti

The Wicked Wives: A novel based on a true story Mill City Press, Inc. Paperback and E-book

The Wicked Wives

This novel is based on a true story. In 1938, 17 wives and their accomplices were arrested in Philadelphia for murdering their husbands. Behind the whole plot was Giorgio DiSipio, a true lothario. He was a local tailor with a revolving door of women. He would seduce them, help them to insure their husbands, then teach them how to kill them, all for his share of the insurance money.

It was extremely successful until a single assistant district attorney discovers the plot and does everything he can to hold the guilty parties accountable.

Dollycas’s Thoughts It is easy to forget this novel is based on a true story as it reads like a good piece of juicy fiction.

A bored housewife is never a good thing. These wives first have an affair with the tailor, then let him lead them down a wicked path of murder, all thinking they are in love with this guy. A guys whose sick wife is right upstairs. I wonder how he even had time to make any clothes with all the women coming and going. Sound like a plot for a soap opera doesn’t it.

They made some mistakes and one man brought them down. The author takes us inside the investigation. The deceit, the corruption, the conspiracy. Plus the lust and sex. These women were no shrinking violets. There are the twists and turns to this story as well. The story is written by a trial lawyer that has done his research. Once you start reading you will have a very hard time putting this book down so plan accordingly. 🙂

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author He is a practicing trial lawyer with over 47 years of experience trying civil and criminal cases, including homicide.

He is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, limited to attorneys who have been recognized as achieving a standard of excellence as a trial expert.

He has spent years researching the true story of the 1938 insurance scam murders, interviewing judges, lawyers, police and neighbors involved in the trials.

He was born and raised within blocks of the main conspirator’s tailor shop and the homes of many of the wives convicted of murdering their husbands.

    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.”

Posted in Reviews 2012

Review: Murder On The Half Shelf by Lorna Barrett

Murder on the Half Shelf
(A Booktown Mystery)

6th in Series

A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group

Jacket Illustration by Teresa Fasolino
Jacket Design by Diane Kolsky

We return to Stoneham, New Hampshire just when a man from Tricia’s past also arrives in town. Tricia, owner of the Haven’t Got A Clue Mystery Shop and her sister Angelica have received a free night at the town’s new Bed & Breakfast, Sheer Comfort. They join some other members of the Chamber of Commerce so the hosts can have a trial run before they open to the public. Pippa and Jon Comfort are new in town but it seems they already know some of Stoneham’s prominent residents.

Of course Angelica couldn’t leave her dog at home even though the inn has a strict no pets policy. As usual she cons Tricia into sneaking him outside for a comfort walk. That’s when what should have been a relaxing overnight stay turns into nightmare. Sarge sniffs out a dead body in the backyard. Tricia has too much experience in this kind of discovery so it takes her only seconds to realize that Pippa has been murdered. If that isn’t enough, Tricia meets Pippa’s husband Jon and discovers he is actually Harry Tyler, a man Tricia loved and thought was dead for the past twenty years.

Harry needs to answer a lot of questions for Tricia but he has become the prime suspect in his wife’s murder. Tricia may not have seen this man for 20 years but she knows he wouldn’t murder his wife. There is much more to Pippa’s story and Tricia can’t help herself, she just needs to follow the clues and catch the real culprit.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Lorna Barrett is one of the best at writing a cozy mystery and I believe this is the best story she has written yet.

This is a tight, well written fast moving mystery with well developed characters readers have grown to love, including Miss Marple the cat and now Sarge the dog. We are also introduced to some new very interesting characters in this edition. I can’t wait to see how Pixie impacts the next installment. You know characters are wonderfully created when you as the reader want to reach into the pages and slap one of them up aside the head. C’mon Grant, seriously!!

The story is also chock full of humor. Angelica has quite a harrowing experience but it had me laughing out loud and quickly turning the pages. Also when Tricia meets Pixie, priceless.

This wonderful mystery is filled with plenty of suspects, more twists and turns that a carnival ride, and a few surprises. Barrett has also gone the way of television drama. This book has a cliffhanger! Yes, a cliffhanger. I was already anxious for a return trip to Stoneham but Lorna this is just cruel 🙂 I will be baking some of the delicious recipes included in the book while I wait not very patiently.

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About This Author Lorna Barrett is the Agatha-nominated, New York Times bestselling author of the Booktown Mystery Series. She also writes under the name of Lorraine Bartlett with the Victoria Square Mysteries, and L.L. Bartlett, for the Jeff Resnick suspense series.

Lorna lives in Rochester, NY with her husband and three felines. To find out more about Lorna visit her website at  lornabarrett.com

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

Posted in Reviews 2012 Virtual Book Tour

Lost Girls by Caitlin Rother Virtual Blog Tour

Caitlin Rother is one of the best at writing True Crime stories!

New York Times bestselling author Caitlin Rother has written or co-authored eight books, including Poisoned Love (Kensington, December 2011), Dead Reckoning (Kensington, February 2011), Twisted Triangle (Wiley, 2009), Body Parts (Kensington, 2008), Deadly Devotion (Simon & Schuster/Pocket, July 2011), NYT bestseller My Life, Deleted: A Memoir (HarperOne, October 2011), and Naked Addiction (Dorchester, 2007).

Rother, a Pulitzer-nominated investigative journalist with more than 310,000 copies of her books in print, has also been published in Cosmopolitan, the Los Angeles Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, and The Daily Beast. She has done dozens of TV and radio appearances as a crime expert on Nancy Grace, the Jay Thomas Show, E!, the Oxygen Network; Greta Van Susteren’s “On the Record,” Investigation Discovery, “America at Night,” American Radio Network, XM and numerous NPR/PBS affiliates. Rother also works as a book doctor/editorial consultant and teaches journalism and creative writing at University of California, San Diego Extension. She has done dozens of TV and radio appearances as a crime expert on shows including Nancy Grace.

Her latest true crime project, Lost Girls (Kensington, July 2012), chronicles the rape and murder of two innocents, teenagers Chelsea King and Amber Dubois, by sexual predator John Gardner.

Lost Girls
Pinnacle Books
Kensington Publishing Group

Lost Girls


The desperate search for two lost innocents, Chelsea King and Amber Dubois, led authorities to a brutal predator hiding in plain sight: John Albert Gardner, a convicted sex offender who could have been returned to prison several times over. Pulitzer-nominated writer Caitlin Rother delivers an incisive, heartbreaking true-life thriller about a case that galvanized its community, first by grief and goodwill, then by anger and injustice, as it came to grips with a flawed system that failed … and adopted a law that will forever change how we keep our children safe.

 

“I was out of control … I was aware of what I was doing and I could not stop myself. I was in a major rage … at my whole life and everyone who’s hurt me and I hurt the wrong people.” — John Gardner

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Caitlin Rother is one of the best at writing True Crime stories! Her books grab you and hold on tight.

Chelsea King would have been 20 years old this year, she and I share a birthday, though I am much older. I know her family does not support this book but it does draw worldwide attention to a very flawed criminal and mental health system. It also shines a light on Chelsea’s Law and awakens parents everywhere to a very real problem. Every state should have similar legislation. We must protect out children in every way possible.

The events of this story rocked California and people around the nation to their core. Many have hit the review sites telling us not to buy this book. How are we supposed to learn about these predators if there aren’t books like this? Rother gives us an in depth study into one monster’s life, much more than we would ever get from a basic news article. I do not believe she wrote the book to hurt the victims. This is what she does, she is a excellent true crime storyteller. She researches and investigates thoroughly and makes this tragic story to a level we can all understand. I believe she has presented accurate information in an extremely well written tome. She delves into Gardner’s past for clues for his behavior but in no way condones anything he did.

Living in the Midwest this story was not front and center of my news watching or reading at the time like it was for those who live in California. Rother gives us a clear and concise account of the story. People reading this story may have their eyes opened to be aware of people’s behavior around them. This book shows us the people around the predator are usually blind to things that should raise red flags about an individual. It is hard for a parent or sibling to believe a member of their own family could commit such heinous acts. After reading a story like this a neighbor or co-worker may see behavior that needs to be brought to the attention of law enforcement. They may be able to act in advance and save a child. Laws that have been enacted to protect children may be more well known and a predator living too close to a school or park may be identified.

I understand the family’s hurt in reliving this story but if one child is saved because we are now more aware after reading this book, isn’t it worth it?

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.”

Posted in Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Reviews 2012

Cozy Wednesday Featuring Pies and Prejudice by Ellery Adams (Giveaway too!)

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

Ellery Adams was my scheduled guest this week but she recently lost her sister-in-law due to complications of a C-section. The baby is doing fine but I am sure you can all understand she needs to concentrate on family right now. I hope you will all keep her and her family in your thoughts and prayers.

I am happy that I can do a little bit to help her by telling you about her new book, Pies and Prejudice, A Charmed Pie Shoppe Mystery. I was craving pie so bad after reading this book we had a peach pie for dessert the day after I finished the book and apple pie the next, ala mode of course. 

Now let me tell you about this book!

Pies and Prejudice
(A Charmed Pie Shoppe Mystery)

A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group

Cover Illustration by Julia Green
Cover Design by Laura K. Corless
Available Now

Pies and Prejudice


When Ella Mae LeFaye catches her husband in the act of cheating on her, she dumps a few baking ingredients on the guilty parties, picks up her Jack Russell terrier, leaves New York, and heads home to Havenwood, Georgia. There she reunites with her aunts and tries to work out things with her mom. Her mom was not happy when she got married and moved to New York and their relationship has been strained ever since.  

Ella has a gift for baking the most delicious pies. Her aunts convince her that her dream of having her own pie shoppe can still come true and help her open The Charmed Bake Shoppe right in Havenwood. Ella soon realizes that baking delectable pies is not her only gift, her pies are actually charmed. They have magical effects on the people who eat them.  

All is not magical though in Ella’s life. The thorn in her side from the old days still lives in Havenwood and she is making trouble for Ella. Loralyn had plans for the storefront that now houses The Charmed Bake Shoppe and she vows to ruin Ella’s business. Then Loralyn’s fiancee is found dead. Apparently from a blow to the head.  A blow delivered by a marble rolling pin.  A rolling pin owned by Ella.   It may take more than magical pies to get her out this mess.  

Dollycas’s Thoughts

WHAT AN AWESOME DEBUT!!  

A well written plot set in the Georgia that includes horse racing, greed and corruption is the flaky crust of this enchanting story. Surprising what some people will do for money.   

This story has a group of very strong “gifted” women readers will immediately fall in love with. Ella learns about her gift gradually as she tries to find herself, the new and improved Ella, without the cheating husband. A husband that is not quite ready to just let Ella go. Her aunts are there to support her as is her mother. There is also the beloved Reba and her licorice twists. The woman who raised Ella with her aunts while her own mother was busy at Derby parties and Junior League events.  Ellery is a master at character creation, even the supporting characters are complex. Some extremely likable, some we love to hate.   

This first installment is a nice slice of what I know will be a delicious series. Romance is set to bloom, the aunts have more secrets to reveal, Ella will start to really understand her charm, and murder and mayhem will be stirred into this fine mix. Peach Pies and Alibis will be served in March and I can’t wait for the first bite.    

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author Ellery Adams grew up on a beach near the Long Island Sound. Having spent her adult life in a series of landlocked towns, she cherishes her memories of open water, violent storms, and the smell of the sea. Ms. Adams has held many jobs including caterer, retail clerk, car salesperson, teacher, tutor, and tech writer, all the while penning poems, children’s books, and novels. She now writes full-time from her home in Virginia. Find out more at elleryadamsmysteries.com

WOULD YOU LIKE TO WIN A COPY OF THIS BOOK?

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 telling me What Is Your Favorite Kind Of Pie? for 5 Bonus Entries !

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

Contest Will End July 25, 2012 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted 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.”

Posted in Reviews 2012

Review: My Father At 100 by Ron Reagan


My Father at 100: A Memoir

Plume
Published by The Penguin Group

My Father at 100


Ron Reagan celebrates the centenary of his father’s birth by taking us on a trip to the small towns that made his father the man we know as one of the most beloved presidents in history. Ron traveled to these towns and shares his experiences along with many stories he heard his father tell over the years.

The journey before Hollywood, Sacramento and Washington D.C. that shaped Ronald Reagan into the man we got to know later in his life when he hit the public spotlight.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

The love Ron Reagan has for his father just flows off these pages. He takes us back in time and shares with us the life of Ronald Reagan from the very start.

This is not a book about Ronald Reagan the politician or Ronald Reagan the actor although a bit of that is mentioned. This is a story of Ronald “Dutch” Reagan, the boy, the young man, and how his life growing up in Illinois brought him to be the man we came to know as an actor, a Governor and a President, from the very beginning when his ancestors came to the United States. Ronald Reagan, the child of a what would be called today a dysfunctional family became a local hero, the lifeguard and the football player. A man who even when everything was against him he always tried to do what was right. He set a very high standard for himself and while like all of us, he had is faults, he tried to be the best he could be every day and in every way.

This book is a loving tribute by a son about his father. Ron Jr. admits he didn’t completely understand his father and wishes he would have listened closer to his dad’s stories and spent more time talking about the past before the Alzheimer’s started to take over. I think this book turned in a different direction than what was originally planned. He may have had some unresolved conflict he needed to work out after his dad passed away. Not only did the readers learn much about Ronald “Dutch” Reagan but the author did as well.


Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author
Ronald Prescott “Ron” Reagan (born May 20, 1958) sometimes known as Ronald Reagan Jr., is a former talk radio host and political analyst for KIRO radio and later, Air America Radio. His Ron Reagan Show was a daily three-hour show broadcast from 6–9 PM (ET). He is notable for his liberal or progressive views, despite being the son of a conservative icon, President Ronald Reagan.

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

Posted in Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Guest Posts Reviews 2012

Cozy Wednesday with Author Joelle Charbonneau (Giveaway Too!)

Welcome to this Special Thursday Edition of Cozy Wednesday!


I hope those of you in the U.S.A. had a wonderful holiday and those of you hailing from other great places forgive me for pushing the festivities off for one day.

We had a wonderful holiday but I really can’t wait to share this book with you. Joelle has given us a mystery every “GLEEK” can love! I was in Chorus in Junior High and High School but was far from a shining star. I was one of those in the back row that sang just enough to pass the class and did my best to not ruin the songs we were singing. Today I sing-a-long with the radio and my kids and grandkids cover their ears. So I promise not to burst into song today. I will just sit here quietly with my glass of lemonade and let Joelle tell you all about her new series and Murder for Choir (A Glee Club Mystery).  Of course my full review can be found at the bottom of this post along with a giveaway.

Mr . Dollycas in on vacation this week and he made some yummy cookies for me to share. So help yourself to a glass of lemonade and enjoy the cookies, then relax and help me welcome Joelle.

Hi Joelle!

Hi Everyone!

I’ve had lots of opening nights.  Standing on stage behind the closed curtain you can hear the buzz of the audience.  The orchestra tunes up.  The energy is electric.  No matter how many rehearsals you’ve had or how well you know the show, there is a rush of nerves.  A burst of adrenaline.  Under the excitement there is always the worry that the show might not be ready for the audience – the press – the world.

Then the curtain goes up.  The orchestra plays and there is no time for doubts.  No time to worry about whether you’ll remember your lines, lyrics or dance steps.  The show starts and there is nothing to do but enjoy the ride.

July 3rd was opening night (or day as the case would be) for Murder for Choir, the first in the Paige Marshall Glee Club mystery series.  The story involves a classically trained singer who is struggling to make it in the performing world.  She takes a job as a local show choir coach to make ends meet and finds a rival show choir director strangled with a microphone dead.

Don’t you hate when that happens?  I know I do.

This is only my third opening curtain in the publishing world and I think I’m more nervous this time that I was for the other two.

Why?

Because when writing this book I used my own life for inspiration.  Oh, my heroine Paige doesn’t look a thing like me.  My students are a joy to teach and I don’t have a large standard poodle threatening to starve me.  But the core of Paige – the performer searching for a way to deal with rejection and still remain hopeful that someday she’ll get her big break – that’s me.  I can’t tell you how often I sat near the phone after an audition.  Sometimes it rang. More often it didn’t.  Rejection is part of the business.  I knew that going it.  So did Paige.  But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt when the part goes to someone else and when your dreams don’t look like they will ever come true.

So, on this opening of this Murder for Choir show, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that readers fall in love with Paige, her determination and the ability she has to pick herself up when she gets knocked down.  I also hope they enjoy laughing with the colorful cast of characters that make up Prospect Glen and the Music in Motion show choir.  If so, I am hopeful that the curtain will be allowed to come up again.  Paige and I would love to perform an encore.

~Joelle

Joelle, I am so happy you could be here with us today! I am positive readers are going to absolutely love Paige. I hope you will come back when she puts on her next performance!

About This Author
Joelle Charbonneau has performed in a variety of opera and musical theatre productions across Chicagoland. She now teaches private voice lessons and uses her stage experience to create compelling characters in her books. She is the author of two mystery series: The Rebecca Robbins mysteries (Minotaur Books) and the Glee Club mystery series, Murder for Choir (Berkley). Joelle is also the author of the Graduation Day young adult trilogy that will debut with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s in Spring 2013. Learn more at www.joellecharbonneau.com


Murder for Choir
(A Glee Club Mystery)

Brand New Series

A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Paul Hess
Cover Design by Rita Frangie
Available Now!

Paige Marshall has taken a job as a Glee Club Coach at Prospect Glen High School as she waits for the next big break to come along in her opera career. She thought professional auditions were rough but she quickly learns how cutthroat competition is for high school show choirs. These students expect to win a championship and don’t believe Paige is the right coach for the job.

Finding a rival coach dead does not help matters. Then one of her students becomes the prime suspect in the investigation. Paige decides she must do everything she can to help clear his name even if it means never hitting a high note again.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
What a musical debut! This story has the perfect tempo and deserves a standing ovation.

Like Glee, you will love this book!
Like cozy mysteries, you won’t be able to put this one down!
Hate your choir director, this is the book for you!

You can tell the author is very familiar with this subject matter, it just sings with that personal touch.

Joelle Charbonneau has created a great cast of characters in a high school setting which as anyone knows is always full of drama. Paige has her hands full not only with the show choir kids, but her boss Larry, the Costume Designer Felicia, Detective Mike Kaiser, and her Aunt Millie too. Aunt Millie’s antics will have you laughing until you are crying. Who knew one little cosmetics party could get so out of hand? Paige is also trying to make friends with her aunt’s standard poodle that she calls “Killer”. She has to get him to like her if she ever expects to eat again. Good thing she is a very determined woman. It will take more than a dead body and a dog poised to attack to knock her out of the spotlight.

I am hoping Murder for Choir (A Glee Club Mystery) is the prelude to many more performances for Paige Marshall and her show choir.  I have fallen hard for this cast and definitely demand an ENCORE!! 


Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent
Murder for Choir

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 Joelle for 5 Bonus Entries !

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

Contest Will End July 18, 2012 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here.

CLICK HERE FOR THE 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.”

Posted in Reviews 2012

Review: Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand

Summerland: A Novel
Reagan Arthur Books
Little Brown & Company
Hachette Book Group
Available Now

Summerland


It’s graduation day at Nantucket High. On the warm June evening the parties have moved to a bonfire at the beach. Four teens decide to leave the party and tragedy strikes when the driver of the Jeep floors the gas pedal and the vehicle goes airborne then comes to rest on a beach. Penny Alistair is dead, her twin brother Hobby is in a coma with 16 broken bones. Penny’s boyfriend, Jake and their friend Demeter are unhurt physically. They had on their seat belts. They are so many questions and the survivors will continue to be haunted by what happened.

Zoe, Penny and Hobby’s mother has raised these kids alone. She would be called a “free spirit” who raised two wonderful and talented children. Hobby was a star athlete and Penny had the voce of an angel. How can she survive without her daughter and does she have enough strength to help Hobby recover?

The summer is spent trying to figure out why the accident happened and parents doing everything they can to protect their children. For some that means really seeing their children for the first time in years and realizing they have not been the parent their children needed them to be. They key to understanding the accident means finding out what happened at that bonfire. Will all the secrets be revealed?

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Told from several points of view this story gives honest portrayal of lives changed in a split second. For one there is no turning back but for the rest of individuals involved it is a chance to make better choices, to reach out for help, to reflect, to be honest with themselves, and to try to move forward in a better direction.

There is so much happening in this story. The characters and the situations they find themselves in are very complex. It reads almost like a mystery as you follow the clues to try to figure out what happened in the dunes on the beach and what made certain characters fall so far. Emotions run the gambit as we try to empathize with each and every character.

This is a wonderful beach read but not my favorite my this author. Silver Girl still holds that spot. Just one note to the author, people can be paralyzed side to side. My right side is paralyzed, but not the left.

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author*
Elin Hilderbrand: novelist, mother of three, sports enthusiast, avid fan of Bruce Springsteen, Veuve Clicquot, and four-inch heels. She sits on the Board of Directors at the Nantucket Boys & Girls Club and Nantucket Little League. Her resting pulse is 65.

*From Amazon.com

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

Posted in E-Book Challenge Literary Escapes Reviews 2012

Review: A Place in the Country by Elizabeth Adler

A Place in the Country
St Martin’s Press

Available Now

A Place in the Country

Caroline Evans has left her cheating husband and her high class life behind in Singapore and takes her 15 year old daughter with her. Starting over is not going to be easy but it better than living a lie.

Caroline and Issy end up Oxfordshire, England. They happen upon an English pub where owner Maggie takes them in and has Caroline cooking up a storm in the kitchen in no time. Caroline loves to cook.

Issy makes friends with Maggie’s daughter but she still blames her mother for taking her away from her father and ruining her life.

Their lives take a turn as Caroline decides to follow her dream and create her own Place in the Country while Issy is stuck in that time between being a girl and becoming a young woman and is making some dangerous choices.

Their past also comes up close and personal when someone is murdered and an unexpected visitor comes to visit them in the country.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Elizabeth Adler has given us an engaging and emotional story of a mother and her daughter and the bonds they share. 

Caroline is doing what she knows is right no matter how difficult. Issy just wants things to go back to normal. They meet many new people in the country that quickly become friends. Caroline needs to free herself to love again. More than one man wants to be “the man” in her life.

The mystery added to this mix was surprising and exciting. Twists and turns that maneuver they story in a different direction. A direction that shows Caroline how strong she has become since she was at her ex-husband’s beck and call.

The descriptions of the English countryside painted a beautiful picture even when it was raining or foggy. Sounds like A Place in the Country would be a wonderful place to visit. 

This is my first read of this author but it won’t be my last. The story gets my highest recommendation.

 

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About This Author*

Elizabeth Adler is a self-confessed romantic, a travel addict and a foodie, all of which she brings to the reader in her novels, along with a tough thrust of suspense and an unfolding mystery that keeps you on your toes.

Elizabeth has lived in many countries and when she’s not writing spends time discovering even more places to bring to you, with her husband, Richard – still in love after all these years – as are the characters featured in her past three novels, Mac Reilly the Malibu PI and Sunny Alvarez, his lover and side kick. You have to read about them to know them! Elizabeth lives in California and has the ability to take you to all those romantic places she knows so well, Capri, Venice, Tuscany, St. Tropez, Monte Carlo, and of course, Malibu. You will feel you are there, with her, sitting on that Italian terrace, sipping that coffee, smelling the delicious food, savoring the heat and the sunshine and the mystery unfolding for you.

Elizabeth is five-three and wishes she were taller, blind as a bat without her glasses that anyway she is too vain to wear, and at 128 lbs till thinking about that diet. She has one daughter, Anabelle who is married to rock musician Eric Avery and two kitties, the Siamese, Sweet Pea who rules the household, and an adorable black cat Sunny.

Find out more about Elizabeth Adler on her website here.

*From Amazon

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

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Posted in Reviews 2012

Review: Faithful Unto Death by Stephanie Jaye Evans

Faithful Unto Death
(A Sugar Land Mystery)

New Series
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Available Now

Faithful Unto Death


Sugar Land, Texas is a beautiful master-planned community where famous athletes rub shoulders with ranchers.

It is home to Walker “Bear” Wells, minister and a former college football player. Bear has dealt with a lot over the years with his congregation and his own family but when a man is found murdered on a local golf course he finds himself somewhere her never dreamed he would be, right in the middle of all the drama. Every time he turns around, another facet of the investigation tangles with his own life. Case in point, Bear’s rebellious daughter is currently dating the murdered man’s son.

It make take more than a prayer to catch this killer.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
A intriguing debut with a very pleasing preacher protagonist. Walker “Bear” Wells is not your typical preacher. He has trouble coming up with a prayer on the spur of the moment and has very unique sense of humor. People do feel safe telling him everything and anything. But will he keep his promises and keep things confidential?

Sugar Land has a wonderful set of quirky characters that add so much to the story. Annie Laurie is the perfect preacher’s wife, Jo is the typical “preacher’s kid”, you know obstinate and ready for trouble. Bear and Detective Wanderley will learn they make a really good team. Add to that a bunch of people trying to cover for each other and cover their own A**, when no one is sure what really happened made this a very enjoyable read.

I will anxiously be awaiting the next book in this series. This is another author to keep our eyes on!

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Check out Stephanie’s blog 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.”