Jan 022014
 

HEARTACHE front
Heartache Motel: Three Interconnected Mystery Novellas (Henery Press Mystery Novellas)
Publisher: Henery Press (December 10, 2013)
E-Book File Size: 518 KB
ASIN: B00H7H2LTM
Paperback: 225 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1938383915
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THREE TIMES THE FUN AND MYSTERY…

Elvis has left the building, but he’s forever memorialized at the Heartache Motel. Filled with drag queens, Rock-a-Hula cocktails, and a vibrating velveteen bed, these three novellas tell the tales of three amateur sleuths who spend their holidays at the King’s beloved home.

DINERS KEEPERS, LOSERS WEEPERS by Terri L. Austin
A Rose Strickland Mystery Novella (follows DINER IMPOSSIBLE)

Ma, Rose and Roxy close up the diner and head to Graceland for the holiday. Axton and Stoner Joe come along for the ride. There is a mix up with their hotel reservation and they end up staying at the Heartache Motel, which wouldn’t even rate 1 star.  When one of the Elvis impersonator turns up dead Rose finds herself right in the middle of the investigation.

QUICK SKETCH by Larissa Reinhart
A Cherry Tucker Mystery Novella (prequel to PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY)

Cherry and her boyfriend Todd roll into town to help his cousin out of a jam and are staying at the Heartache Motel. Todd is quite the poker player and clearly his cousin is not, as he was hustled out of all his Christmas money and lost his job too. With a little help they set up a “sting” to try to win back the lost money. Cherry is hoping to use her drawing ability to sketch the players to be sure the right players get stung.

DATELINE MEMPHIS by LynDee Walker
A Nichelle Clarke Headline in Heels Mystery Novella (follows BURIED LEADS)

Nichelle is on her way home for Christmas with just a quick stopover in Memphis to get her mom the perfect gift.  But even at Graceland she makes headlines when the whole place is locked down when a treasured item goes missing. As she tries to get the scoop on the story she finds herself getting dangerously close to the thief.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
I thought it would be nice to finish out the year with a little Elvis. He was an icon a little before my time but my sister and mom always had his songs playing. I never got “All Shook Up” about him but his music sure has withstood the test of time.

I had only read LynDee Walker’s Headline in Heels Mysteries before this collection of novellas but I can say these authors have a chart topper with this group of stories.

Terri’s characters really drew me in and I can’t wait to read the whole Rose Strickland Mystery Series.

Larissa’s protagonist reminds me of Sharon Pape’s Rory McCain. Those sketch artists always seem to be able to solve the mystery.

After reviewing LynDee’s Front Page Fatality and Buried Leads, I was already a fan of Nichelle Clark and her wild shoe addiction.

This interconnected format is a great way to introduce every cozy lover to these characters and their stories. The only thing that would have made it better would have been if at least the main characters could have run into each other 🙂  Maybe sometime in the future.

This was a perfect escape for my last book of the year!!

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

This group of authors recently toured with Great Escapes. Click here to find out more about them.

*This book was from my personal collection, purchased from Amazon.

Review: The Journey (Kentucky Brothers) by Wanda Brunstetter

 Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge, Reviews 2013  Comments Off on Review: The Journey (Kentucky Brothers) by Wanda Brunstetter
Dec 272013
 

The Journey_MECH.indd
The Journey (Kentucky Brothers)
Series: Kentucky Brothers (Book 1)
Publisher: Barbour Books (April 5, 2011)
Paperback: 382 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1602606814
E-Book File Size: 1080 KB
ASIN: B004OEK7LK
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In this first installment of the Kentucky Brothers saga we meet Titus Fisher. He waited to court young Phoebe Stoltzfus until she was old enough. He knew he wanted to marry her since she was 13 and he was 17 but as they moved closer to marriage Phoebe wanted to move away from the Amish way of life and Titus to go with her. He couldn’t do that. So away she went from Pennsylvania to California leaving his heart shattered.

Then Titus received a job opportunity in a Amish Community in Kentucky. Against his mother’s wishes he decides to take the job and start fresh in a new place. The people in Kentucky are very welcoming and he meets many new people, including a couple of women they may help fill the hole Phoebe left in his heart.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Last year I read The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club and loved it. I knew I wanted to read more by this author and once I started reading this story I couldn’t stop.

This author really takes us on a journey with Titus. He was truly having trouble growing up and becoming his own man in Pennsylvania in the shadow of his family and a mother that just loved him so much she really had a hard time letting go. It was a major decision  for Titus to move away on his own and when he arrived in Kentucky is was hardly smooth sailing. There was a young woman he saw every day that reminded him of the girl that broke his heart. His living situation was far from ideal. Plus he really missed the family he left behind.

I read books like this to give me a break from the mysteries and thrillers that I usually read. I love the slower pace and the traditional dialogue. There is a little mystery mixed in too that I enjoy but it is definitely a minor subplot.  Brunstetter gives us “English” a peek at the Amish Plain life with a nice balance of coming of age, romance, and a perfect amount of humor.

After I started reading I realized this series was a spinoff from another series but I had no trouble following the story but I will probably go back and read that series after this one.

just you and a friend4 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

*This book was from my personal collection.

Find out more about this author and her books here.

off-the-shelf-2013-badgea-z challenge 2013large

Dec 262013
 

17738244
Christmas in Snowflake Canyon (Hqn)
6th Book in Series
Publisher: Harlequin HQN (October 29, 2013)
Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0373778157
E-Book File Size: 516 KB
ASIN: B00DSX0OI4
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Holiday gifts don’t always come in expected packages…especially in the town of Hope’s Crossing.

Genevieve Beaumont is back home after being dealt an ultimatum by her father.

Dylan Caine, a sexy, wounded war vet, is learning to cope after being injured in Afghanistan by a bomb explosion in which some of his friends lost their lives.

A chance meeting in a local bar brings Gen and Dylan together and could change both their lives if they can just realize it.


Dollycas’s Thoughts

I broke my own rule about reading series book in order but I so needed to read a Christmas story and this one just called out to me. In fact once I started reading I couldn’t stop.

As a person with a disability Thane’s stories just hit me right in the heart. All of her characters have their flaws and like Taryn in Woodrose Mountain there are people in this story dealing with physical disabilities. This time it is wounded veterans including Dylan Caine who was wounded in Afghanistan and is struggling with so much.

This story was just what I needed to read. So many characters went through transformations. Not only Gen and Dylan but a wondrous gift was given to a supporting character that brought tears to me eyes. Love can conquer anything and in this story it does. This author is excellent at developing her characters. The emerge and grow at a perfect pace. The reader can feel their struggles and their internal battles to change what they can and accept what they can’t.

While this is a Christmas story, don’t think you need to wait until next year to read it. There is still plenty of blustery weather left for you to curl up with it  this winter or it can help you cool off when the weather is warmer too. It is a feel good story for any time of year.

I understand this may be the last book in this series but because I broke my own rule it will not be my last trip to Hope’s Crossing. I will happily be visiting again soon when I read the stories I skipped. 

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

To find more about RaeAnne Thayne and her books visit her 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 242013
 

innkkepper
The Innkeeper of Bethlehem-The Story of Santa Claus
Family Christmas Story
Self Published
E-Book File Size: 1350 KB
Print Length: 115 pages
ASIN: B00FITS078
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From Author: A Christmas book for children, families, and anyone who has ever wondered how Santa Claus came to be. This book will permit you and your family to enjoy Santa Claus and the other secular customs of Christmas within the Christian celebration of Jesus’s birth. For little children, Santa Claus becomes a real person delivering presents to them from Jesus. Each Christmas season, reading a chapter a night will become a holiday tradition for the entire family.

The book is a story within a story, told by a visiting uncle to a little girl and her nephew. Each night before bedtime beginning on December 6th, St. Nicholas’s Day, and continuing through Christmas Eve, the uncle tells part of the story. Instead of numbers, the chapters are titled by day. The book can be read as a normal book or a chapter each day, and it can be read to oneself or out loud to children. When read out loud, the chapter lengths vary between 10 and 15 minutes.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

What a fun and imaginative way to tie the story of Jesus to the story of Santa Claus.  I enjoyed the story of Jesus told in a way that could be enjoyed and understood by children of all ages. Then the author takes us on a whole new adventure with his tale about Santa Claus.  Quite a twist to any other story of Santa I have ever heard.

The whole story is presented as an adult reading the story to children. From the synopsis above you can see this is what the author would like us to do with his book. I am only showing a small part of the synopsis because the full one tells too much. This is one of peeves with synopsis’. Even with classic stories I like to know just enough to draw me in to the story, if you tell me the whole story on the book jacket why would I want to buy the book and read just a lengthened version.

This would be a nice alternative or in addition to the stories we share with our kids at Christmas. I like the way is set up and the way characters  come to life on the pages. My grandchildren are a little young for this story yet but could see sharing it with them when they get a bit older.

just you and a friend4 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.”

Sketcher in the Rye by Sharon Pape Book Tour – Review

 Great Escapes Book Tours, Reviews 2013, Virtual Book Tour  Comments Off on Sketcher in the Rye by Sharon Pape Book Tour – Review
Dec 212013
 

great escape tour banner large sketcher in the rye640

sketcher in the rye

Sketcher in the Rye:
(A Portrait of Crime Mystery)

4th in Series
InterMix (December 17, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
E-Book Only
ASIN: B00AVA4NH0

In her new job as a private eye, former police sketch artist Rory McCain has a spirited partner: Old West marshal Zeke Drummond. He may be a ghost, but when these two combine their skills, they reap justice…

Rory and Zeke take on a case for Gil Harper of Harper Farms. It seems his future plans for events and general business decisions are being leaked to his biggest competitor. There have also been a few instances of sabotage and Gil wants Rory to undercover the culprit responsible before someone gets hurt. Because it is a family business no one is off limits, even his own wife.

Before Rory can even get started on her investigation she finds the body of the company accountant in the Harper Farms Corn Maze. So now the sketching sleuth has another crime to solve.  Rory uses her contacts at the medical examiner’s office and local law enforcement to try to “assist” them catch the killer before anyone else is found dead among the corn stalks.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
I love the way Sharon Pape writes and she also gives us more than one mystery to solve.

In each installment we learn a little more about Marshall Zeke and this time it was pretty significant. Sharon takes us back in time and ties it to the present seamlessly. There are also those little touches – figures of speech or words Zeke is just not totally familiar with – “it must be of those sidekick things” sidekick – psychic – these just crack me up.

The characters are all terrific – Zeke and Rory of course, but Eloise, Olga, Aunt Helene, Hobo and I hope Aaron sticks around. Hobo is quite a dog and has stolen my heart as well as Rory’s. I am going to have to see what my dog’s think of whipped cream, it is a treat Hobo loves. But I will be keeping my dogs away from any piglets, I don’t think I could handle the “piglet/puppy love” 🙂

I do have to say the way the main mystery played out was very surprising. It did bring a few tears to my eyes but I don’t wait to spoil anyone’s enjoyment by telling too much. 

This is a fantastic story as is the whole series. I highly recommend starting at the beginning to see how the sketch artist and the Marshall came together.  

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about Sharon and her books here.

Check out the rest of the tour for more reviews, guest posts, interviews and giveaways!!!

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

December 11 – Chloe Gets A Clue – Interview
December 12 – readalot blog – Review
December 13 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Interview
December 14 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review, Guest Post
December 15 – Christa Reads and Writes – Review
December 16 – Books-n-Kisses – Review
December 17 – Socrates Book Review Blog/Socrates Cozy Cafe – Review – Giveaway
December 17 – Mochas, Mysteries and More – Interview – Giveaway
December 18 – A Chick Who Reads – Review
December 19 – rantin’ ravin’ and reading – Review, Guest Post  – Giveaway
December 20 – Queen of All She Reads – Review, Guest Post – Giveaway
December 21 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Review
December 22 – My Devotional Thoughts  – Review, Guest Post  – Giveaway
December 23 – Thoughts in Progress – Review – Giveaway
December 23 – Dru’s Book Musings – Guest Post

Still need to sign up to be a Tour Host so that emails about new tours can be sent right to your inbox?

Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!

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 202013
 

quilt trip
Quilt Trip: A Southern Quilting Mystery
3rd in Series
Cozy Mystery
An Obsidian Mystery (December 3, 2013)
Published by New American Library
An Imprint of The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451240637
E-Book File Size: 1228 KB
ASIN: B00BDQ397G
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As a quilter, retired folk art curator Beatrice Coleman likes to have all the seams stitched together—but her plans keep getting tangled up in unexpected ways…

In this third installment Meadow is dragging Beatrice to meeting they were not even invited to attend.  Meadow has no qualms about “crashing the party”, but the sky looks like it is cooking up a storm and Beatrice would just like to stay home safe and sound. But there is no stopping Meadow so off they go to find the Victorian mansion in the mountains beyond Dappled Hills, North Carolina, that belongs to Muriel Starnes. Muriel is an elderly eccentric woman who wants to start a foundation to introduce and teach quilting to young people in the area. Meadow is on a mission to get her to choose the Village Quilters Guild over everyone else at the meeting to administer the foundation.

As expected the storm Beatrice was worried about strikes just as they arrive at the mansion. The rain soon turns to sleet and then ice. It isn’t long before an old tree limb falls blocking the driveway which it now just a thick sheet of ice, the power goes out, and of course there is no cell phone reception.

They have no choice but to bed down for the night. At least Muriel has plenty of beds and quilts to keep everyone warm. But everyone does not survive the night. They find in the morning that Muriel has passed away. She was in poor health but Beatrice sees she did not die of natural causes. She was murdered and they have a houseful of suspects. They are also all trapped in the house with a killer. Beatrice and the Village quilters are on the case to figure out just who is responsible for their host’s early demise.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
These are some of my favorite fictional characters. Beatrice, calm, cool, collected, and just so darn nice. She can’t say “no” to anyone especially Meadow. Meadow, “bless her heart”, it is always in the right spot, but she is like “a bull in a china shop” and her brain does not filter what comes out of her mouth. Miss Sissy is battling Alzheimer’s so she has her good times and bad but she always seems to be on the right track when it comes to figuring people out. Posy is sweet as can be and she handles Miss Sissy perfectly.   And when they are all stuck together, with barely enough food, the all pull out their works in progress and quilt.

The author has written a very Christie-esque mystery where all the suspects are trapped together and someone (Beatrice) figures out the Who – Why and How. It all takes place is a mansion with all the turrets and attic complete with hidden rooms and spaces. It also seems the deceased had a pretty big secret. 

The was a really fun mystery to read. With the bitter wind blowing outside my own window I felt like I was right in the story with them. All I needed was the fire to warm my toes. I enjoyed this Quilt Trip very much and can’t wait for my next trip to Dappled Hills.

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author

Elizabeth writes the Memphis Barbeque series for Penguin/Berkley (as Riley Adams), the Southern Quilting mysteries for Penguin/NAL, and the Myrtle Clover series for Midnight Ink and independently.
Facebook: Riley Adams Author and Elizabeth Spann Craig Author.

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.”

a-z challenge 2013large

Dec 182013
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!!

My friend, Liz Lipperman, has a new Clueless Cook Mystery out
and you are going to love it!!

I am so happy she could squeeze in time to visit tight before the holidays!!!

DIFFERENT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT FOLKS
By Liz Lipperman

 

liz lippermanFirst of all, I want to thank Dollycas for having me on her blog today. She’s such a diversified reader, and I love her reviews. Now onto the post.

Last week we had an arctic storm blow into the Dallas area that crippled the entire Metroplex for three days. I posted this picture on my Facebook page because it is so funny — and true about Texans and snow. But in our defense, we don’t see many snow/ice storms, and consequently, DOT has a limited number of snowplows to routinely clean up the roads the way you northerners have.

pic for 12182013

Plus we can go from sleeveless one day to ski clothes the next — which is exactly what happened here. It was 80° on Wednesday and 28° on Thursday after the storm arrived.

I tell you this because I had a rude awakening when I went into the grocery store Thursday morning intending to buy the food for our weather-related house arrest.

chickenThe grocery store I use didn’t look as bad as the one above, but it was severely depleted. They didn’t even have green peppers, for heaven’s sake. No red, orange, or yellow either. It made me wonder what people were eating while they were stuck in their houses. Since I live in Texas where we have a large Hispanic population and I was planning on making chicken fajitas and figured everyone else was, too, that explained the no peppers.

All this got me thinking about what stores in different areas around the country would look like in this situation. Would there be no oranges in Florida? No pizza in Chicago? No Kolaches  in West, Texas, where there’s a big Czech population? No hot dogs in New York?

Again this got me thinking — which is dangerous all by itself. Here in the United States, we have so many different cultural groups that influence what is marketed in different areas of the country.

So I did some more thinking about how this might relate to reading books— geez! (It’s a wonder I didn’t blow a brain fuse.) What if everyone only liked to read literary fiction? Or biographies? Or how-to books?

First of all, I would be dead meat, since I write mystery/suspense. But wouldn’t the world be a dull place if you walked into a Barnes & Noble with only those types of books. No Clive Custer, Janet Evanovich, or Nora Roberts. I, for one, would be devastated. Although my TBR pile is composed mostly of mysteries and thrillers, occasionally I venture out into other genres, especially those written by my friends.

Thank heavens we have so many choices, and the world is filled with people like you guys who read a book just because it’s good. Who get invested in the story because you fall in love with the characters and not because it’s a certain genre.

In the New Age of publishing there is so much more out there in all genres. Sometimes it’s even free. And prices have come down on a lot of books, especially digital downloads, all of which is conducive to trying new stuff and new authors.  I love that. It’s really all about good characters and good writing, anyway. The only difference between a paranormal mystery and a regular mystery, for example, is the way the story is presented. A killer is a killer even though he may be a dragon or have supernatural powers. Am I making my point or just confusing you?

I’ll close with a little story about my six-year-old grandson, who always gives me lots of material to work with. We were on a family vacation last summer, and I had popped a bag of popcorn that had been on the shelf for a long time. I followed the microwave directions to a T, but somehow, I ended up with burnt popcorn — and you know how bad that can smell. Anyway here’s the conversation between my grandson and me.

Him: “Nana, why’d you burn the popcorn?”

Me: “I did exactly what they told me to do.”

He crinkled his brow and asked, “Someone told you to burn the popcorn?”

See how words can be interpreted differently? And with that, I’ll end with a question. Are you eclectic with your reading preferences, or do you stick to one or two genres only? One lucky commenter will receive a copy of CHICKEN CACCIA-KILLER, my latest cozy release.

~Liz

Liz is one busy author with several books coming in 2014 too!! Check out her webpage here to find out more about Liz and all her books.

chicken
Chicken Caccia-Killer
(A Clueless Cook Mystery) (Volume 4)

4th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Self Publshed (December 5, 2013)
Paperback: 236 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1494286064
E-Book File Size: 498 KB
ASIN: B00H2DZLHA
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Forced to fight to keep her job as the culinary reporter at the Ranchero Globe, Jordan must cover the International Italian Festival coming to town. But along with the festivities and great Italian food, she has to deal with meeting her boyfriend Alex’s mother and sister for the first time.

When an arrogant Italian playboy falls to his death from a suite at a swanky hotel during a pre-festivities party and Alex’s sister Kate is charged with his murder, Jordan springs into action to find clues that could prove her innocence. But the real killer doesn’t appreciate that she getting too close. Can Jordan and her motley crew of friends thwart his efforts and catch the killer before he succeeds?

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Liz Lipperman writes some of the funniest stories I have ever read and this one is no exemption. She puts Jordan is some of the craziest predicaments, dangerous and hilarious. Jordan is always right in the middle of the trouble, even when she doesn’t even have to cook.

Meeting Alex’s mother and sister had her nervous to begin with but then his sister just happens to have a fight with a guy right before he topples to his death. Jordan knows there has to be more to the story so she has to get involved in the investigation. She just can’t help herself. She also has a sidekick to help her investigate, Alex’s mother, which both hastens and hampers her efforts. Natalie is a hoot!!

This whodunit has plenty of twists and turns. Secrets are revealed and there are plenty more suspects that just poor Kate. It seems the dead guy’s playboy status more than rivals Hugh Hefner’s. He was one busy fella!  Although some of enemies were also male! 

Chase away those winter blues with this wonderful cozy. Be sure to try out recipes too!! Carlita’s Italian Cake Balls sound scrumptious. There is also one for Ginny’s Braided Spaghetti Bread made with Rhodes Dinner Rolls. This put quite a smile on my face as this reviewer worked for Rhodes for almost 15 years 🙂

a perfect escape
5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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

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

Answer Liz’s Question!

Are you eclectic with your reading preferences,
or do you stick to one or two genres only?

One lucky commenter will receive a copy of CHICKEN CACCIA-KILLER, my latest cozy release.

Contest Will End January 1, 2013 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.

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 172013
 

z
Z (A Novel)
Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: TKA Distribution (March 14, 2012)
E-Book File Size: 338 KB
Print Length: 212 pages
ASIN: B007KFGSDQ
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“A contemporary re-visioning of The Great Gatsby.”

Nix Carter comes home to Connecticut to help her grandfather care for her ailing father. As a writer she can work from anywhere. She starts to get reacquainted with her friends from high school and a few people that were not too friendly back in the day. But what really catches her eye is the window washer happens to live in a mansion, throw lavish parties, drives a horse drawn cart and he goes by the name of Zorro. He even wears a cape! Just who is this guy??

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I was totally into this story. The strange man from another time whose home had no electricity, phone or even indoor plumbing, and who didn’t show up in modern day pictures. Women would swoon whenever he was near and Nix was totally falling for him. He even righted wrongs leaving his big slash “Z” behind. Weird, crazy and unbelievable things happened when this man was around. Who was he? Was he real or a figment of Nix’s imagination or was he just a character for one of her stories? Did any of these events really take place??? The sex scenes sure read like they were really happening.

I was picking up on the Great Gatsby references but they just weren’t hitting right with me. This was the second book I have read in the past week that were based on works by great authors and I tried to put those references out of my head and just enjoy what I reading. It was working with this book. I was letting go and ready for where the author was taking us. Then it just ended abruptly. I am full of unanswered questions. Maybe that is what the author intended but it left me feeling cheated.

After reading the last line of the  story and contemplated it awhile I reached my own conclusion so I didn’t feel like the time I spent reading was wasted. Now as a reviewer the problem comes in – do I recommend that you read it so we can discuss it to see if you agree with my conclusion or help me understand what you thought of the story? Or do I tell you to stay away from a crazy story that left me confused and shaking me head. The good thing was I added this book to my Kindle some time ago because it was free and I always need a “Z” book for my A-Z Reading Challenge.  Let’s just go with 3 stars or o.k. by Amazon’s standards and I will let you decide 🙂

still at the beach but not as tranquil

3 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about this author on her webpage here.

This book was from my personal collection.
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Dec 142013
 

EDWIN DROOD
The Edwin Drood Murders
Cozy Mystery
Published by Harrison Thurman Books (September 24, 2013)
2nd in Series
Trade Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0985323639
E-Book File Size: 3150 KB
ASIN: B00FE1TLUU
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The Droodists have arrived in Dickens Junction. Local bookstore owner Simon Alastair has his hands full in his role as co-chair for the latest convention honoring Charles Dickens’s uncompleted novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood. A movie star, a pesky blogger, dueling scholars, a stage hypnotist, and an old family friend (among others) all have claims on Simon’s time. In addition, some Droodists are clearly more–or less–than they appear, including a mysterious young man with the improbable name of Edwin Drood.

When a priceless ring and a rare Dickensian artifact go missing, Simon and reporter-partner Zach Benjamin learn that someone will do anything–including murder–to obtain an object of desire.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
This is a very hard review for me. I love Dicken’s popular works like A Christmas Carol, Tale of Two Cities, and Oliver Twists, etc. but I knew absolutely nothing about unfinished Edwin Drood Mystery or that supplying a conclusion to The Mystery of Edwin Drood has occupied writers from the time of Dickens’s death to the present day. I started reading and felt like I was a real dummy. I didn’t know all the things that the author’s characters were citing like they were common knowledge.  I had several literature classes all through school and college. How could I not know about this?

Then I decided I had never really studied Dickens I just read what I enjoyed or was assigned for school. I had to decide to learn from what I reading and just follow the mystery. But it was hard because the mystery was based on events in this unfinished novel. I continually felt like I was reading in circles and getting nowhere.

As in the first book of this series The Christmas Carol Murders which I reviewed last year, our amateur sleuth, Simon Alastair, finds a clue that causes the light bulb above the head moment. He then, with the authorities permission, gathers all the suspects in a room and explains the mystery and uncovers the murderer. I was grateful for this because I had missed many clues.

The mystery was good but I just kept loosing myself in the Drood details which took away the pleasure of the story. I enjoyed Simon and Zach back story very much and how their relationship continues to grow. The author has created some very unique characters, like a blogger, Daniel Quill and Simon’s friend Osma Dilber, a very petite woman and  the owner of a very special ring.

Because most of this story takes place in a hotel the charm of Dickens Junction was missing. One excursion with a trip to the cemetery was just not enough for me. 

Since it looks like the next book in the series is based on the more than 700 page, Our Mutual Friend, another Dickens novel I haven’t read, I probably will not be reading Lord’s next Dicken’s Junction Mystery.

still at the beach but not as tranquil3 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author
Christoper Lord was born in Astoria, Oregon. He now lives in Portland with his partner of twenty years and their Devon Rex, Miss Corey, the inspiration for Simon’s Miss Tox. He is hard at work on future books in the Dickens Junction mystery series. Check out his 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 132013
 

vanishng thief
The Vanishing Thief
(A Victorian Bookshop Mystery)

Brand New Cozy Series
The Berkley Publishing Group (December 3, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Teresa Fasolino
Cover Design by George Long
Trade Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425266601
E-Book File Size: 1592 KB
ASIN: B00BDQ39I0
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Georgia Fenchurch appears to be an unassuming antiquarian bookseller in Victorian London, but the life she leads is as exciting as any adventure novel. For Georgia is a member of the Archivist Society, a secret association of private investigators led by the mysterious Sir Broderick.

When a frantic woman comes to Georgia claiming that her neighbor, Nicholas Drake, has been abducted by the notorious Duke of Blackford, Georgia and the Archivist Society agree to take the case. But Drake is no innocent—he is a thief who has been blackmailing many of the leading members of London society. To find Drake and discover who is behind his abduction, Georgia and her beautiful assistant, Emma, will have to leave the cozy confines of their bookshop and infiltrate the inner circles of the upper crust—with the help of the dashing but dubious Duke of Blackford himself.

But the missing thief and his abductor are not the only ones to elude Georgia Fenchurch. When she spies the man who killed her parents years ago, she vows to bring him to justice once and for all…at any cost.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

There is a lot happening in this debut. A man is missing, a cold case (the murder of our protag’s parents) is brought to the forefront when the killer may have been spotted out and about in London and a death of a young woman is being questioned.

There are also a slew of characters from Georgia Fenchurch, to her employee and best friend Emma, Phyllida, their “aunt”, who all live together.  The members of the Archivist Society including Sir Broderick, Lady Westover and her grandson Inspector Grantham. Add to that Drake, the missing man, the frantic woman searching for him and all the members of the upper crust who could be responsible for his disappearance including the Duke of Blackford. There are many more supporting characters too.

At first all of this was a little hard to follow but then the story hits a rhythm where all 3 stories and all the characters come together.

I really like several characters. The dialogue at a formal dinner party between Georgia and her table mates was quite humorous. The Duke and Georgia are quite suitable despite of their different classes. Seeing her rub shoulders with the Lords and Ladies shows she is very intelligent  and resourceful and not just a woman who inherited a bookshop. 

The story has more than the expected number of twists and turns for a book of this type, keeping the reader on their toes.

I enjoyed this trip back to Victorian times. A time before phones, cars, and many things we take for granted. When a trip to the country took days and to call the authorities you had to send a person with a message or find a bobbie on the street.

This is my first Kate Parker novel but according to her website she started out writing Romantic Suspense.  She has made a fine transition to cozy mysteries by combining all her strengths  – history, suspense, humor and romance. The Vanishing Thief is a nice blend of all four. I anxiously await the next Victorian Bookshop Mystery.

just you and a friend

4 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

To find out more about Kate Parker check out her webpage here.
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Become her Fan on GoodReads here.

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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.”

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