Dec 122013
 

snowflakes and coffee cakes
Snowflakes and Coffee Cakes
Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (November 14, 2013)
Paperback: 208 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1492933175
E-Book File Size: 473 KB
ASIN: B00FXXY4UG
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Vera Sterling has gone home to Addison Cove for her sister’s wedding. There is really no reason to return to the “big city”. She has lost her job as a journalist and doesn’t know what she wants to do next. Then she passes this big old house and barn on her way out of town and it has a FOR SALE sign in front of it. She impulsively turns around and uses most of her severance pay to purchase the house. Her sister thinks she has lost her mind but likes the idea of having her sister close by.

It isn’t long before a course of events change Vera’s life and that of a few others in Addison Cove in unexpected ways.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Heartwarming is the very best way to describe this book. I had to be careful in my synopsis of this book because some times they just seem to give too much away. Part of the magic of this book is discovering the connections and the relationships and the lives of the characters as you read the story.

Vera’s relationship with her dad just plain made me smile. He is a meteorologist who loves winter and will have you looking at snowflakes in a whole different way. Yes, we know no 2 are alike and when piled together they can be used to make snowmen and snow angels. They can also drift together and be back breaking to move. But this story shines them in a whole new light. I am not a winter person but I love watching it snow and snowflakes coming down  can be beautiful.

Addison Cove is full of wonderful people and there is something special that brings them together at this time of year. Vera finds there is a way for her to make the occasion even more special.

Love, loss, forgiveness, understanding, friendship and the power of a snowflake come together to make this magical season oh so special, You just have to believe “because snowflakes can grant very special wishes …”

A perfect holiday book. One that you will want to read every year about this time. Definitely one for the “keeper shelf”.
a perfect escape
5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

 

About This Author

Joanne DeMaio is the award-winning author of Snowflakes and Coffee CakesBlue Jeans and Coffee Beans and the bestselling novel Whole Latte Life, which won First Place in the 2012 Discovery Awards and was named a Kirkus Reviews Critics’ Pick. It has also been featured in USA Today, The Huffington Post and other outlets. Blue Jeans and Coffee Beansis her second novel. Both books explore the intricate relationships between mothers and daughters, sisters and friends. In addition, her music essays have appeared in literary journals, celebrating her passion for song. Joanne lives with her family in Connecticut and is currently at work on her next book.

Find out more at her webpage here.

Connect with her on: 25 (2)

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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Dec 112013
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640

 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am excited today to welcome Laura her to tell you about her brand new cozy series!!

The Necessity of Research

by Laurie Cass

 

lauraAfter I came up with the idea of writing a mystery series that centered on a young bookmobile librarian and her rescue cat, I danced around for awhile, congratulating myself on dreaming up such a genius mastermind idea, excited about the concept, thrilled with the possibilities, and generally geeked about life in general.

Then I sat down and started to write.

When I wasn’t even a chapter into the manuscript, I realized that I didn’t know anything about bookmobiles. The handful of times I’d been on board a bookmobile when I was six years old was not going to be enough knowledge. What had I been thinking, to come up with a genius book idea but not be able to actually, you know, write the book? How dumb was that?

I took a deep breath. Took another one. Then another. Research, I told myself. You’re going to have to do some research.

The problem is, I have an odd relationship with doing research for my books. Basically, I’ve avoided it as much as humanly possible. I recognize the need for accuracy in fiction, but once I start researching a topic, I turn up something else that needs to be explored, then something else, then another thing, and before you know it, the deadline to deliver a manuscript is looming and you’ve only written half the book.

lending a paw decThis is not a good thing. Trust me.

In the past, I’ve done my best to write mostly familiar things into my books, thus avoiding the necessity of research. (Lazy or efficient? You decide.) But the bookmobile idea? Well, if I wanted to write the book properly, and I did, it was time to dig deeply into research.

What does a writer, or anyone, do these days when faced with a question? Go to the internet, of course. It didn’t take me long to find the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services. ABOS is a wonderful and supportive group of librarians, and their listserv has been an invaluable help. Becoming an ABOS member was one of the smartest research things I did – and it was a little bonus that attending their 2013 conference in Baton Rouge taught me the joys of jambalaya 🙂

But while having access to a couple of hundred bookmobile and outreach librarians was great, I was still having problems visualizing the interior of the bookmobile. Where, exactly, were the doors? And how many doors were there? What about steps? How many books would be on the bookmobile? How long would it be? Would my librarian need a commercial driver’s license? So many questions and how would I find the answers?

Yup. More research.

siniiI contacted a number of bookmobile manufacturers. All were helpful, but Barb Ferne of OBS talked to me at length and even sent me pictures and sample floor plans of the 31-foot long vehicle we decided would be perfect for my book.

For another few chapters I wrote with the floor plans in front of me. I knew where the doors were, I knew where the engine was, I knew that there were two computer desks and a wheelchair lift and 3000 books. Hooray! I could finish writing the book!

Only…I couldn’t. Because although, thanks to ABOS, I was learning about the trials, tribulations, and joys of bookmobiles, and although I knew what my bookmobile looked like inside and out, I didn’t know what it felt like to be a bookmobile librarian. And if I didn’t know that, how on earth could I write these books properly?

Huh. Now what?

I contacted bookmobile manufacturers again, and soon I had the name of a not-too-distant library that had recently purchased a bookmobile. I contacted the library, and lo and behold, less than two weeks later I had the tremendous pleasure of spending an entire day on their bookmobile.

Research bliss! I wrote down pages and pages of notes, took scads of pictures, and had a tremendously good time. Best of all, I finally got a solid feel for what it meant to be a bookmobile librarian. Finally, I could finish writing the book and have confidence that I was getting it right.

Without doing the research, I would have missed a million and a half critical details about bookmobiles. I wouldn’t have learned about generator problems, I wouldn’t have known about having to clean books, and I wouldn’t have had a clue about lobby stops or traffic counts or floating vs. dedicated collections.

But most of all, if I hadn’t’t taken that research plunge, I wouldn’t have seen how close the relationship between bookmobile librarians and their patrons can become.

Research. It’s not the necessary evil I once considered it to be. It’s a journey of discovery, a journey that, if you’re lucky, can take you to places that you never even knew existed.

Happy trails!

~Laurie

About Laurie Cass

Laurie Cass grew up in Michigan and graduated from Eastern Michigan University in the 80’s with a (mostly unused) Bachelor of Science degree in geology. Currently, Laurie and her husband share their house with two cats, the inestimable Eddie, and the adorably cute Sinii. When Laurie isn’t writing, she’s working at her day job, reading, yanking weeds out of her garden, or doing some variety of skiing. Laurie also writes the PTA Mystery Series under the name Laura Alden.

To find out more about Laurie check out her website here and here on Facebook.

lending a paw dec
Lending a Paw:
A Bookmobile Cat Mystery

Brand New Series!!
Cozy Mystery
Obsidian (December 3, 2013)
An Imprint of New American Library
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451415462
E-Book File Size: 1523 KB
ASIN: B00C5QUM0U
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With the help of her rescue cat, Eddie, librarian Minnie Hamilton is driving a bookmobile based in the resort town of Chilson, Michigan. But she’d better keep both hands on the wheel, because it’s going to be a bumpy ride…

Eddie followed Minnie home one day, and now she can’t seem to shake the furry little shadow. But in spite of her efforts to contain her new pal, the tabby sneaks out and trails her all the way to the bookmobile on its maiden voyage. Before she knows it, her slinky stowaway becomes her cat co-pilot!

Minnie and Eddie’s first day visiting readers around the county seems to pass without trouble—until Eddie darts outside at the last stop and leads her to the body of a local man who’s reached his final chapter.

Initially, Minnie is ready to let the police handle this case, but Eddie seems to smell a rat. Together, they’ll work to find the killer—because a good librarian always knows when justice is overdue.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Eddie, a fabulous furry feline, has absolutely stolen my heart and tugged Minnie right in there too! He isn’t magical and doesn’t have any special powers. He just has a delightful “MWR”, snores to beat the band and is just so sneaky. Plus his person, Minnie, talks to him just like all of us pet lovers do. They do understand us you know!! Bookstores have cats so why shouldn’t bookmobiles? What a “purrfect” setting!

Laurie Cass has not only introduced us to the life of a bookmobile librarian but crafted a very interesting whodunit.  It is really hard to do this in the first book of a series because there is so much foundation that needs to laid out for the reader to become invested in the characters. She has done this wonderfully.

The victim himself was a very interesting character. Minnie saw one side of the man while others saw a completely different side which leads to plenty of suspects.  Minnie lives part of the year on a houseboat which sounds like a lot of fun. During the winter she lives with her aunt  in her huge house. When tourists season starts Aunt Frances rents out rooms. This also brings some colorful characters to the story. Her boss at the library is another character I want to see evolve. 

This is a great debut for this series. I am already looking forward to snuggling up and getting cozy with Eddie… oh and Minnie too!

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

 

 

Thanks to the people at Penguin I have w copies to give away!

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

Leave a comment for Laurie for 5 Bonus Entries !

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

Contest Will End December 26, 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.”

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Dec 072013
 

november echo
November Echo
Aleksandr Talanov Thriller Series
Published by Regis Books (November 1, 2013)
Paperback: 298 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0958666435
E-Book File Size: 2944 KB
ASIN: B00G727L70
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Every spy has a beginning and this story is about Colonel Aleksandr Talanov’s beginning. For Talonov, an agent of the KGB, his life as a spy started back in 1985 at the height of Cold War tensions between the Americans and Soviets. It was after the the Biological Weapons Treaty of 1972 and the Soviets ignored the treaty. They instead set up several facilities to create biological weapons to use around the world whenever they decided to attack. In 1985 one of the Soviet scientists working with these deadly toxins decides to defect and Talanov is assigned to bring him back. This assignment changes the entire course of Talanov’s life.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Wow! Wow! Wow! My husband and I read this book at approximately the same time and we both uttered those words as we finished the last page. We had the same reaction to Turner’s Greco’s Game which I reviewed last year and named Best Indie Suspense Thriller of 2012.

James Houston Turner packs a lot into the pages of this book, car chases, hand to hand combat, bombs, fires, gunfire, truth, lies, compassion and fear.  A major twist turns the whole story upside down. It was a non-stop ride from the first page until the last. I can easily see this as a movie. The drama was vivid in my mind’s eye. 

Turner is an awesome writer. He has created this fabulous character, Aleksandr Talanov, and masterfully written another fantastic espionage thriller that keeps readers on the edge of their seats.  I can’t believe how fast I read this book. The pages were flying.

There are 3 books featuring Aleksandr Talanov, Department Thirteen, Greco’s Game, and November Echo. I can’t believe I have not read Department Thirteen, but it is on my Wish List and I am going to get it on my reading schedule as soon as I can. These books can all be read as stand-alones and in any order. It is because of books like this that I had to add another level to my rating system because this book deserves more than 5 stars!!

Bravo James!!

 paradise

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about James Turner Houston here.

You can even find out more about Aleksandr Talanov here.

Like James Houston Turner’s Facebook Fan Page here.

Want to win a copy of November Echo???
James is giving away 6 copies over at GoodReads.
Click Here.
Contest ends December 15.

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.”

2013where are you reading

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Dec 052013
 

great escape tour banner large BITCHES OF BROOKLYN 640

I am so thrilled to be organizing this tour for Rosemary. You may recognize her from her Dirty Murder Mysteries like Pushing Up Daisiesand The Big Dirt Nap. With this book, The Bitches of Brooklyn, she mixes Chick Lit/Women’s Fiction with just a bit of mystery.

Bitches cover 2
The Bitches of Brooklyn
Published by Chestnut Hill Books (October 2, 2013)
Paperback: 322 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0989697019
E-Book File Size: 469 KB
ASIN: B00E3XMPN0
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An annual all girls weekend hits a snag when one of the women doesn’t show up. Rachel, Clare, Tina and Jane are surprised all the receive from Abby is a gift basket and a note…“I’ve run off with one of your men.” They can’t decide if this is a prank or if they should worry. Can they still relax and have fun or is this a mystery they need to solve?

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Even when Rosemary Harris writes Chick-Lit she throws in a bit of mystery. I loved this story!

These women use the term “Bitches” as a sign of affection for each other, but those growing up around them probably did not. Four of them together forever, the fifth joined the group in high school. This weekend is their way to stay in touch and connected without the stress of family and work. A time to get away and just have fun. This year Abby’s mysterious note makes them all think and reexamine their own relationships with their significant others.

Harris has written a fantastic story that the women of today can identify with. All of our lives are in constant flux and we tend to take the relationships of those closer to us for granted. Work or the kids come first and we just assume our mates will be there no matter what. They story is filled with ups and downs and plenty of humor too!

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author
Rosemary Harris is a native Brooklynite, like some of the characters in The Bitches of Brooklyn. A former bookstore manager and television executive, she’s the author of the Dirty Business mystery series featuring amateur sleuth Paula Holliday. Her debut novel, the Agatha and Anthony-nominated, Pushing Up Daisies (Minotaur), was followed by The Big Dirt Nap, Dead Head and Slugfest. The Bitches of Brooklyn is the first in a new series. Rosemary is past president of Mystery Writers of America’s NY Chapter and Sisters in Crime’s New England Chapter.

She lives in New York City and Fairfield County, CT.

She blogs with seven other mystery writers at www.jungleredwriters.com.
Visit Rosemary at www.rosemaryharris.com
Like her on facebook at www.facebook.com/RosemaryHarriswriter

Be sure to check out the rest of the tour!!

Tour Participants

December 1 –  Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book   
December 2 – Mystery Playground – Interview, Special Giveaway
December 3 – StoreyBook Reviews – Review, Giveaway
December 4 – Books-n-Kisses – Review, Guest Post
December 5 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Review, Giveaway
December 6 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review, Giveaway
December 7 – dru’s book musing –  Guest Post, Giveaway
December 8 – Thoughts in Progress – Review, Giveaway
December 10 – Darla King Series – Interview
December 11 – Kelly P’s Blog – Guest Post
December 12 – rantin’ ravin’ and reading – Review, Interview, Special Giveaway
December 13 – fundinmental – Guest Post,  Special Giveaway
December 14 – According to Squenn – Review, Interview
December 15 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Interview

Special Giveaway Prize

Special Giveaway Prize

Because I am hosting 3 stops on this tour this form changes just a bit each blog post to give you additional entries that all go into the same “hat”.

This Bonus Word Must Be Used To Enter!!

BROOKLYN

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

Contest Ends December 17, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. 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.”

 

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Dec 042013
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640

 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I always love it when Paige comes to visit!!

Timing Might Not Be Everything, However . . .

by Paige Shelton

PAIGE“Flurry” is a good word to describe my last few years. “Fun, exciting, and crazy” would work too. And, sometimes, so could “confusing.”

Though I’ve had a great time writing mysteries, I truly only like the good times – very specifically, the writing. I’m not good with numbers and contract details don’t hold a lot of interest for me. However, I’ve learned that writing is not just writing; it is also a business. I’ve forced myself to try to pay attention to the stuff that doesn’t interest me, stuff that’s extremely important like numbers and contract details. But, since a frog can’t change it stripes – wait, that’s not it – since I can only be me, something was bound to be missed along the way.

A KILLER MAIZEBack in 2011 I was working on my 2012 Farmers’ Market book, A Killer Maize. I was happily pounding out the words, enjoying the chance to write something that would be a great fit for September, close to October, something a little creepy, something that worked well with fall and Halloween. Oh, I was having a great time. Here’s where I made a big mistake. I’d assumed (oh, yeah, we know what happens when you do that) that A Killer Maize would publish nine months after the previous book in the series because that’s how the publish schedule had been going. But then someone sprang the news: A Killer Maize was publishing a whole year after the previous book – this year spread happens sometimes after a series has been on the shelves awhile. My creepy Halloween-y book would be publishing in December. Oh dear. But it was far too late to do anything about it. A Killer Maize did publish in December of 2012, and though it wasn’t quite right for the season, it was a wake-up call for me and my “pay-attention” skills.

merry market murder decThe awesome part of all of this is that something really good happened next. If A Killer Maize published in December, then maybe my next December book could be a Christmas or holiday mystery – which is something I’ve always wanted to write. I got the approval, quadruple checked the publish date (December 3, 2013) just in case I’d missed another potential surprise, and was excited to get started on the fun stuff, the writing. I ended up loving every minute of working on Merry Market Murder. It’s got Christmas trees, tree farms, snow, surprise ornaments, recipes galore (including what I think is the absolute best cut-out cookie recipe ever in the history of all cut-out cookie recipes), murder, secret and not so secret Santas, a little romance, and a current mystery that also reaches back in time a little. I hope readers enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

And, since it truly is about that time – Happy December and happy holidays to everyone. A very special thanks to Lori (Dollycas) and all her readers for making this such a wonderful blog, and for inviting me to stop by.

~Paige

About Paige Shelton

Paige Shelton is the national bestselling author of the Farmers’ Market Mysteries and the Country Cooking School Mysteries. She grew up in the Midwest but moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, after college. Paige enjoys reading, listening to music from the 80s, and watching way too many zombie movies with her husband and son.

Find out more on her webpage here.

On Facebook or Twitter.

 

merry market murder dec
Merry Market Murder
(A Farmers’ Market Mystery)

5th in Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (December 3, 2013)
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Dan Craig
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425252352
E-Book File Size: 2030 KB
ASIN: B00BTRDI84
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Bailey’s Farmers’ Market is this season’s go-to holiday destination, but not all the vendors are feeling the Christmas spirit…

This is the fifth installment of the Farmer’s Market Mystery Series featuring fraternal twin sisters Allison and Becca Robins. Allison manages Bailey’s Farm Market and Becca is a vendor selling her jams and preserves.

Ridgeway Christmas Tree Farm has decided to add a booth at Bailey’s Farmers’ Market this year. Most of the regular vendors are excited about it until another tree farmer, Reggie Stuckey, arrives with a truck full of trees and tries to claim he has an exclusive contract to sell them. Before Allison has time to sort out the contract dispute Reggie is found with a tree stake in his chest. Things are far from MERRY!

Soon after the body is found Becca starts to receive unusual and mysterious ornaments. She thinks they may be clues to who killed Reggie. As she tries to wrap her mind around what these clues are telling her she discovers a lot about some people she thought she knew pretty well.

Just who is the Scrooge that that is set on keeping these holidays from being happy?

Dollycas’s Thoughts
One of my favorite series and this time we get to visit over the Christmas holidays. Again Becca lands right in the middle of the trouble. Her detective boyfriend wishes she would butt out but the clues are all being left for her and she can’t just ignore them.

This is a very clue oriented mystery and Becca has to dig deep and back in history to put everything together and then she may still be too late. Paige Shelton has put a real clever spin on the clues this time. They need to be pondered and investigated and then sometimes pondered a bit more.

All our favorite characters are back and it seems Becca and Allison’s parents may be sticking around awhile. The new characters are interesting. A tree farmer than looks a bit like Santa can’t be a bad guy.  can he?

Anytime is a great time to “escape” to visit Bailey’s. But with the smell of pine in the air and a bounty of tasty treats available this is perfect time. Time to get in the holiday spirit and you know this book would make a perfect stocking stuffer for the cozy mystery lover on your list. The recipes in the back of book are fabulous, the Orange Meltaways are just one that has been added to my holiday baking list.

a perfect escape
5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 2 copies to give away!

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

Leave a comment for Paige for 5 Bonus Entries !

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

Contest Will End December 18, 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.

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.”

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Nov 292013
 

quotientThe Quotient of Murder
(Professor Sophie Knowles)

4th in Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (November 5, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Art by Lisa French
Cover Design Lesley Worrell
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425262702
E-Book File Size: 2602 KB
ASIN: B00BC255W8
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Dr. Sophie Knowles loves using puzzles to make math fun for students. But when winter seizes Henley College, she must thaw out a cold case to track down a killer—her most difficult puzzle yet . . .

Henley College has decided to offer a Winter Intersession over the holiday break, 4 weeks of classes, 3 credits each, 31 days braving the cold winter weather on campus. Dr. Sophie Knowles in teaching 2 classes, something she could deal with but then she learns the heating system in Benjamin Franklin Hall is not working and she also has to park way across campus as construction crews continue to work restoring the college’s bell tower and carillon, the huge instrument that consists of huge bells and the keyboard that  play beautiful melodies. While she is looking forward to the bell tower reopening she is not happy about the cold windy walk only to enter the cold drafty building.

The bell tower has been closed for 25 years and Sophie is shocked to learn why—a student apparently leapt from it to her death but there seems to be so many secrets about the case, Sophie wonders if it really was a suicide.

Then one of Sophie’s favorite students, Jenn Marshall, is attacked in broad daylight on campus. The fact that she is one of the students that will be  playing the carillon when the tower reopens just like the girl 25 years before seems just a little too coincidental to math professor Sophie.  It seems like a perfect puzzle for her to figure out before someone else gets hurt.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
How come there were no professors like Dr. Sophie Knowles when I was in college? I absolutely hated math and the classes were so boring.

Sophie is a great amateur sleuth with her analytical mind. Her emergency helicopter boyfriend, Bruce, is a thrill seeker, who goes on hikes up icy mountains. He prefers Sophie stay out of these investigations but when their friend Detective Virgil Mitchell asks for her help all he can do is try to keep her safe. These three characters are all fantastic and I enjoy their interplay so much.

Madison really drew me in to this story with the mystery surrounding the carillon. My children all played in the bell choir of our church and understanding this on this much larger scale was very interesting. I love hearing music from the bell towers but never knew the mechanics behind it.

The way the cold case and the new case are written and how they may be connected is masterful. There is a lot of information and misdirection that keeps us readers on our toes. I thought I had this one figured out but I was wrong.

This entire series is very entertaining and this 4th installment is the best one yet!! The author also includes some brain teasers  and puzzles at the back of the book. Maybe a few brain exercises will give me a better chance at solving the next mystery she tests us with.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author

Camille Minichino, a retired physicist turned writer, has published 17 mysteries in three series: The Periodic Table Mysteries, The Miniature Mysteries (as Margaret Grace) and The Professor Sophie Knowles Mysteries  (as Ada Madison). Soon, every aspect of her life will be a mystery series. She’s also written short stories and articles for popular magazines and teaches writing and science in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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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Nov 292013
 

HERO'S JOURNEY
Hero’s Journey (Novella)
(A Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade)

1.5 in the Series
Cozy Mystery
E-Book File Size: 1031 KB
Print Length: 79 pages
Publisher: Berkley (December 3, 2013)
ASIN: B00CX5V5DG
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A hot dog and a hot head are on the loose in Sweet Pepper, Tennessee, and it’s up to Fire Chief Stella Griffin to collar them both...

We met Stella Griffin in That Old Flame of Mine, the first installment of this series, back in April. Stella accepted a temporary position in Sweet Pepper to train the local residents to be firefighters. The former fire chief had passed away and she needed to get out of Chicago and away from her cheating boyfriend. She starts to think maybe Chicago was better than one of her current roommates, a dalmatian puppy named Hero,  and the ghost of Eric Gamlyn, the former fire chief. She loves Hero but living with a ghost is a major adjustment.

In this novella, Hero disappears and while everyone is searching for him they also have to deal with a string of fires and burglaries. The strange thing is Hero been seen at these fires but is gone by the time Stella and the other firefighters arrive. The fires also appear to be deliberately set.  So now Stella is not just looking for her lost dog but an arsonist too.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Being a daughter of a Fire Chief these stories just capture my heart. This novella was just what I needed to tide me over until Playing with Fire comes out January 7.

We never had a dalmatian, even though I begged for one for years. Hero is a truly special dog and has earned his name.  Stella is feeling more at home in Sweet Pepper and her relationship with a certain police officer seems to be growing. I continue to be drawn to Chief Gamlyn. I tend to forget he is ghost.  He reminds me a lot of my dad who I miss each and every day. These authors know how to write characters readers love and root for, characters that engage us and pull us right into the story.

Time to light the fire in the fireplace and curl up with this short cozy mystery. Enjoy!!

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author
Joyce Lavene, and her husband/partner, Jim, write the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mysteries as J.J. Cook. They have written and published more than 60 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family. Visit them at www.joyceandjimlavene.com or www.jjcook.net plus on

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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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Nov 262013
 

Basket of Trouble November
A Basket of Trouble
(A Claire Hanover Mystery)

3rd Book in Series
Cozy Mystery
MIDNIGHT INK (November 8, 2012)
A Imprint of Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd.
Trade Paperback: 312 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738727035
E-Book File Size: 2700 KB
ASIN: B00FM5E1QW
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Gift basket designer Claire Hanover is so excited to have her brother, Charley, and his wife, Jessica, move closer to Colorado Springs. She hopes his riding stable and trail ride business is a great success. There are a few details to work out with the neighbors but they never expected a murder would change everything. Kyle Mendoza, one of the stable hands, is found dead in one of the stalls. It looks like one of the horses kicked him and trampled him to death. Then it was determined that the horse didn’t kill him. A human did and then dragged him into the stall. But Kyle’s family files a lawsuit, a competing business is working hard to steal all of Charley’s customers and the neighbors are pushing to have the city shut the place down. Claire is determined to find the real killer “before her brother’s business is put out to pasture.”

Dollycas’s Thoughts
This 3rd installment in this series interested me on many levels.

The story is set in the Garden of the Gods which sounds just beautiful.

Plus Charley’s wife, Jessica, runs a non-profit which uses hippotherapy, a form of physical, occupational and speech therapy in which a therapist uses the characteristic movements of a horse to provide carefully graded motor and sensory input. This therapy caught my attention. I had heard of kids with disabilities riding horses but after reading this I understand the therapy so much better. While my disability is permanent it would be cool to still be able to ride a horse again.

The story also shines a light on the immigration issues we have in this country. Groundwater entwines this hot button issue in the story from the employer and immigrants viewpoints without get political or preachy at all. 

The author takes all this and wraps a great mystery around it. I can’t believe how fast I read this book. It just flowed so well in true Beth Groundwater fashion. She gives us characters that keep evolving, that are as real as our own neighbors. The plots are tight, the dialogue is true. There is the perfect balance of humor and suspense. She just writes a darn good story. One that when you pick it up you won’t put it down.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

To Find out more about Beth Groundwater 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.”

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Nov 222013
 

great escape tour banner large MURDEROUS MATRIMONY640

The Murderous Matrimony Book Tour stops here today!!

I have been looking forward to this book since
I finished reading Perilous Pranks back in August.

Murderous Matrimony book cover
Murderous Matrimony
(Renaissance Faire Mystery)

6th in the Series
Cozy Mystery
Self Published
E-Book File Size: 367 KB
Print Length: 206 pages
ASIN: B00GOA74N6
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In just 2 weeks Jessie Morton and Chase Manhattan will become man and wife in one of the biggest Adventureland events ever. That is if Jessie can get Wanda’s ghost to behave and leaver her alone, get pass the fact that Chase’s family thinks she is all wrong for him and solve a murder or two. Maybe she and chase should just elope.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I love these books. I have never been to an actual Renaissance Faire but because of these books I hope to attend one in the future. What a great ESCAPE from reality! Where else can you see Kings, Queens, Lords, Ladies, madmen, fairies, mermaids, dragons, Robin Hood and hundreds of people in full costume walking about enjoying the fantasy of it all? Plus the food, don’t forget the food.

Joyce and Jim Lavene take us there and they add the suspense of a murder or two in each installment. The descriptions are so vivid. I can see Sherwood Forest, the castle, the dungeon, the streets, the shoppes and every colorful character. Their words paint beautiful pictures in my mind. Even the curmudgeonly outsiders who enter the village who don’t believe. It is usually the outside police that come in to assist Chase but this time it includes Chase’s family as well.

 This story has a great mystery with plenty of suspects to keep us guessing – Fabulous characters including a ghost – Takes place in a fantastic setting. I love reading stories that leave me smiling at the end with a few giggles throughout and anxious for the next book.

You just can’t go wrong with a Joyce and Jim Lavene mystery. (Or a J.J. Cook or an Ellie Grant, yep, that’s them too!) While I would recommend reading the series from the start the authors do a wonderful job making each book read well all on its own. Congrats Joyce and Jim and thank you for inviting me to the spectacular wedding!!

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

clip_image001MurderousMatrimony_JimLavene-biopic
About the authors:
Joyce and Jim Lavene write award-winning, best-selling mystery fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook and Ellie Grant. They have written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon, and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family. Visit them at www.joyceandjimlavene.com.
Plus
Website: http://www.renaissancefairemysteries.com/
Blog: www.romanceofmystery.blogspot.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joyceandjimlavene
Twitter: @authorjlavene
Amazon : amazon.com/author/jlavene


Giveaway: The authors are giving away to one winner a copy of each of the 5 print books in the Ren Faire mystery series as well as the E- novella, Perilous Pranks. and an E- copy of Murderous Matrimony.

The entire collection, for now, of our Ren Faire Mysteries. Plus a Ren Faire Mystery tote bag to hold all of them.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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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Nov 212013
 

death overdueDeath Overdue
(Librarian Mysteries)

2nd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Gallery Books (November 5, 2013)
A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc
Trade Paperback: 256 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1451684667
E-Book File Size: 2471 KB
ASIN: B00BSB2C2Y
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Librarian Karen Nash has returned to London with B & B owner Caldwell Perkins to pursue both their relationship but also the feasibility of opening a bookstore. They are barely back when Caldwell’s old girlfriend and business partner, Sally, shows up with her new boyfriend, Alfredo. She left him in the lurch 7 years ago and after all this time she wants to reclaim her half of the business or have Caldwell buy her out. She seems to have forgotten emptying their bank account and leaving him on his own to run the Bed & Breakfast all these years.

That night Karen is jolted out of bed by a loud crash. She rushes into the hallway to find Caldwell standing there in the doorway of the library with a horrific look on his face. Karen peers in the door and all she can see is one of the huge bookcases has toppled. That’s when she notices a woman’s hand under the enormous pile of books. She soon realizes it is Sally and that she is dead. This has to have been an accident, right? The detective thinks it was murder and Caldwell is his prime suspect.

Karen is determined to find the real culprit that caused this bump in the night because she knows Caldwell is definitely not going to be booked for this murder.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
In this followup to Killer Librarian, we find Karen back in London. I admit I wish the characters would have spent a little more time in Minnesota but hopefully they will in a future installment.

This reads like an old fashioned mystery, like a game of Clue where we know the weapon and the room we just need to determine the killer.  It seems all it takes is a “cuppa” tea to get people talk. Do they really drink this much tea in England? 🙂

The main characters continue to emerge and there is the expected twist in this genre. The story does flow nicely. It was a fun read but it was just missing that little something. Karen is a very intelligent woman and her relationship with Caldwell just seems a little whirlwind for me. She just came across very pragmatic in the first book. It was her first trip abroad and she was reeling from her broken relationship. I realize she is in her 40’s and the start of the romance between her and Caldwell was a large part of the first book but they are already so familiar with each other and making huge future plans. I just feel like we missed out on the courtship building between them.  They haven’t even had much of a disagreement on anything. I hope the author slows things down and adds a little real life conflict that happens in all relationships as I am sure they will be working together to not only open a bookstore but solve another mystery or two or many.

The author has a handle on the mystery aspects. There is plenty of room for character growth and development in this new series.  I will be watching for book 3.

just you and a friend4 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author
Mary Lou Kirwin has lived in France, Belgium, England, and New York City. She now lives a quiet life in the wilds of Minnesota and Wisconsin. She feels she owes a great deal to all the librarians in her life—for handing her the right book at the right time. Find out more about this author 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.”

literary road trip 2012

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For a Good Paws (A Barkery & Biscuits Mystery) by Linda O. JohnstonOrder Your Copy Today!