Posted in Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Guest Posts Reviews 2013

Cozy Wednesday with Author of Murder, She Barked – Krista Davis (Giveaway too!)

cozy wednesday 2013 640
Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!!
It is my pleasure to welcome Krista Davis back here today!!!

How Smart Is Your Dog or Cat?
by Krista Davis

Krista_Buttercup4 smallMany years ago, as I prepared to leave on a date, I told my dog I would be home in a few hours. Apparently, that upset my date. At dinner, he began with, “You know your dog doesn’t understand what you say, don’t you?” Then he launched into a lengthy lecture. He told me dogs have brains the size of walnuts and can’t think. He explained in some detail that dogs merely react to tones of voice. According to him, they can distinguish between angry and happy tones, but nothing more.

I recall trying to be polite. I remember trying to change the subject. But the guy would not let go. It must have really bothered him that I talked to my dog. When he persisted, I finally asked the big question, “Have you ever had a dog?”

Available December 3
Available December 3

Of course he hadn’t! You can imagine my laughter when he confessed. It was our one and only date. Clearly, we weren’t right for each other. No big loss. He was a pretty bright guy (about other things) whom I saw at social occasions now and then, but the dog conversation is the only thing I remember about him.

Anyone who has ever had a dog can tell you how smart they are. My golden retriever tricks one of my dogs when he’s sleeping where she wants to be. She stares at him first. I can see the annoyance building. Next, she goes to the door and asks to go outside. The minute she’s outdoors, she barks. The other dog wakes, rushes outside and before he’s fully out the door, my golden retriever races back in and makes herself comfortable where he was sleeping. What amuses me so much about this little trick is that it takes planning. She knows exactly what she’s doing.

Researchers at the Max Plank Institute determined that a dog understood about 200 words. And now there’s another dog, named Chaser, who understands over 1,000 words. That probably won’t come as a surprise to dog owners. Or to cat owners, for that matter. My cats know what “squirrel” and “bird” mean.

My dogs know people’s names, too. There are names I can’t say without all the dogs barking and running to the front window to look for that person. I think they’re much smarter than we give them credit for. In my new book, Murder, She Barked, the animals don’t speak, but they help the protagonist solve crimes.

What clever things do your dogs and cats do?

street crew 1

To celebrate the launch of Murder, She Barked, Krista’s dogs and cats are looking for dogs and cats to join their street crew. They’re giving away Murder, She Barked bandanas to two lucky dogs or cats who leave comments here today (it’s okay if their people leave comments for them)! Photos of winners (hopefully wearing their new Murder, She Barked bandanas) will be posted on Krista’s website (http://kristadavis.com/paws-and-claws-mysteries/murder-she-barked-street-crew.html) and on Pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com/kristadavisbook/murder-she-barked-street-crew/) so your dogs and cats can share with their friends.

Krista Davis’s new series for animal lovers debuts on December 3rd, with Murder, She Barked. Like her characters, Krista has a soft spot for cats, dogs, and cupcakes. She lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with three dogs and two cats. The Diva Frosts a Cupcake  is the seventh book in her Domestic Diva Mystery series. Three of those books have been nominated for Agatha awards and three have made the extended New York Times Bestseller list.

kristadavis.com

www.facebook.com/KristaDavisAuthor

pinterest.com/kristadavisbook

mysteryloverskitchen.com

twitter.com/kristadavis

killercharacters.com

murder she barked dec Murder, She Barked:
A Paws & Claws Mystery (A Paws and Claws Mystery)

Brand New Series
Release Date: December 3, 2013
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Mary Ann Lasher
Cover Design by Diane Kolsky
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425262559
E-Book
ASIN: B00BTRDHNK
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The Sugar Maple Inn in Wagtail, Virginia, is the country’s premiere vacation hot spot for pet owners who can’t bear to leave their furry friends behind. But this tourist town smells trouble when a killer goes on the prowl….

Holly Miller’s life has gone to the dogs. She has no job and her boyfriend’s old girlfriend wants him back and since she is his boss’s daughter she is always around.  Then she gets a phone call to return home to Wagtail from her grandmother’s friend saying her grandmother needs her. She wastes no time, hops into her boyfriend’s car, tells him she will call when she knows more and heads to Virginia.  She makes a quick stop for gas before heading up the mountain and picks up a “hitchhiker” –  A Jack Russell Terrier who has been left behind by someone makes himself right at home in the car. 

When they reach Wagtail both are welcomed with open arms.  Her grandmother seems fine but Holly decides to stick around. It’s been a long time since they have spent time together and she thinks her grandmother is keeping something from her.

Then she learns there was a hit and run accident and one of the Inn’s employees was killed. Holly thinks it may not have been so much of an accident. She is like a dog with a bone as she and her furry friends do their best to sniff out the killer.

Dollycas’s Thoughts 
What a wonderful idea for a cozy mystery series – Paws & Claws!! Wagtail sounds like an animal lover’s paradise. Imagine a town dedicated to pets and their humans. Because you know we don’t own out pets, they are part of our family and they each have their own person/s. My husband is definitely our 2 dogs person. They tolerate being left here with me while he is at work but when he gets home I no longer exist unless they want to lick my ice cream bowl. The Jack Russell and a cute little calico kitten have both chosen Holly as their person.

Krista Davis has created a wonderful setting in Wagtail. There is no way to describe this idyllic place in this review, you will just have to read the book. I would love to live there 365 days a year.

She has also given us a wonderful group of characters both 2 legged and 4 legged. Unique, colorful and real and they span all ages.  Add to that a well-plotted mystery that keeps us guessing to the finish.

If I had a tail it would be wagging in pure delight. I loved this story!!  A fantastic series debut!! I cannot wait for my visit to The Sugar Maple Inn. 

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

In addition to Krista’s giveaway I have 2 copies of Murder, She Barked
courtesy of Penguin 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 Krista for 5 Bonus Entries and an entry to win a bandanna!

What clever things do your dogs and cats do?

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

Contest Will End December 4, 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.”

Posted in Reviews 2013

Review: The Critical Element (A James Becker Suspense/Thriller)

critical element
The Critical Element
(A James Becker Suspense/Thriller)

5th in Series
Mystery/Suspense
Self Published
Paperback: 326 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1491243572
E-Book File Size: 485 KB
ASIN: B00EARNQ2I

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FROM AN AMAZON TOP 100 AND NOOK TOP 100 AUTHOR.

James “Beck” Becker has retired from a twenty-year career serving his country as a military intelligence operative and now practices law in his childhood hometown of Red Wing, Minnesota.  His wife, Beth, a retired CIA code-cracker, takes care of things at home. They have worked out a comfortable routine for their retirement. That is until the call comes call for a little of their expert assistance.

This time their help is needed just down the road with a unusual finding but it quickly turns into so much more. Rodney Holton,  a local farmer, comes to Beck for some advice regarding a “meteor strike” on his land. Beck knows Holton will do anything to make a buck so he is quite skeptical about this “meteor”.  But then the FBI comes to town and before they even get to see it the “meteor” disappears. This is just the tip of the iceberg as Holden’s cows start to get sick, and this so called “meteor” may have something to do with North Korean “weather satellite” that everyone thought was just a piece of junk floating in space.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
This is one of my favorite series. John Betcher just keeps getting better and better. I love these characters. This mild mannered retired couple, Beck and his wife Beth, kicking back on the porch enjoying the beautiful Minnesota views one minute, tracking down terrorists the next. This time the target is practically in their own backyard. Beth works her magic electronically with her computer and Beck tracks down the leads. A fabulous team. 

Betcher has a talent of writing stories the draw you in and don’t let go. He takes his characters and drops them into these unbelievable situations and makes you believe them. The world today is a dangerous place but those of us in the Midwest always feel pretty safe.  All of  Betcher’s books have that ripped from the headlines feel.  This one will have you looking at one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world in a whole new light and may have you rethinking your plans to about many places we travel without a second thought.

Suspense, thrills and chills. This book delivers all. It also includes a touch of humor that keeps all the drama from from getting overly intense. We also see a compassionate side of Beck surface more in this installment.  The plot and subplots are tight and perfectly paced. I highly recommend you grab this book today and escape into it as quickly as possible. My Beck fix has been filled for the moment. I can’t wait for the next adventure!

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

To find out more about this author and his books visit his webpage here.

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 2013 Wisconsin Author

Review: Venice in the Moonlight by Elizabeth McKenna

venice in the moonlight
Venice in the Moonlight
Historical Romantic Mystery
Paperback: 194 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1492720195
E-Book File Size: 1623 KB
ASIN: B00FMGW38E
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Set in Italy, 1753

Trapped in a loveless marriage Marietta endures each day until her husband’s sudden passing. Put out by his parents she returns home to Venice to start over.

Nico Foscari, eldest son of one of the founding families in Venice, is consider worthless and useless by his heartless father. He spends his days and nights womanizing, gambling and drinking.

Fate plays a hand by bringing this unlikely twosome together. But when Marietta finds out Nico’s father may have had something to do with her father’s death she needs to decide between vengeance or love.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
I was blown away by Elizabeth McKenna’s book Cera’s Place so when she offered me a copy of this story I jumped at it. And again I was blown away.

She takes us back in time and mixes mystery with romance flawlessly. The characters are dynamic. The way she describes time and place is just outstanding.  This story just flows. My only complaint was I didn’t want it to end.  I escaped right into the pages and didn’t want to leave.

I hesitate to give too much away to the story. Let me just say there is a lot packed into these pages and you won’t be able to put it down. History, mystery and romance collide to make this book a PERFECT ESCAPE!!

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author

Elizabeth McKenna works as a full-time technical writer/editor for a large software company. Though her love of books reaches back to her childhood, she had never read romance novels until one Christmas when her sister gave her the latest bestseller by Nora Roberts. She was hooked from page one (actually, she admits it was the first love scene).

She had always wanted to write fiction, so when a psychic told her she would write a book, she felt obligated to give it a try. She combined her love of history, romance and a happy ending to write her debut novel, Cera’s Place. Her short story, The Gypsy Casts a Spell, is available for free on her website http://elizabethmckenna.com/. She hopes you will enjoy her latest novel, Venice in the Moonlight, as much as others have enjoyed her previous works.

Elizabeth lives in Wisconsin with her understanding husband, two beautiful daughters, and sassy Labrador. When she isn’t writing, working, or being a mom, she’s sleeping.

Find out more on her webpage here.

Find Elizabeth on Facebook
!

Both Books are available for Kindle at just 99 cents!!! You can also read her short story for free by clicking the link on her webpage.

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 2013

Posted in Great Escapes Book Tours Literary Escapes Reviews 2013 Virtual Book Tour

Great Escapes Book Tour – Deathbed & Breakfast by Bart J. Gilbertson

great escape tour banner large DEATHBED AND BREAKFAST 640

Deathbed & Breakfast
by Bart J. Gilbertson

 

Deathbed_&_Breakfast_432x648_Small_Ebook
Deathbed & Breakfast (Pookotz Sisters Bed & Breakfast Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Cozy Cat Press (June 30, 2013)
Paperback: 264 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1939816115
E-Book File Size: 372 KB
ASIN: B00DUGZHYK

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Dollycas’s Thoughts
Retired CEO, Richard Forester and his granddaughter are just passing through town and need a place to stay for the night. A stop at a local store leads them to the Pookotz Sisters B & B. Everyone can see that Richard is very ill as he barely stays awake and is in obvious pain through the evening meal.

This story had a bit of a Twilight Zone feel as this seemingly random stop takes them to a place where all the guests at are all connected to Richard or his former company. A company where he was accused of embezzling $750,000 but never convicted of the crime. When he is found dead in his bed the next morning it is first believed he has died of natural causes. Then the sheriff and coroner find evidence of murder. Everyone is placed under house arrest while the local authorities start their investigation,  the Pookotz sisters start a little investigation of their own.

I can tell this author has a great sense of humor because it really comes through in this story. Edna and Mildred Pookotz are absolute treasures and excellent amateur detectives. Felix the chef was a hoot! I wouldn’t want to eat any food he prepared but he had me laughing out loud.

The story is full with twists and turns as means, motive, and opportunity are determined for all the suspects and one clue leads to another.

This was a very interesting debut. I am quite anxious to see what is in store for Edna and Mildred and their future guests. I think fans of Jessica Fletcher will fall quickly for these sisters.

just you and a friend

4 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

Bart J. Gilbertson 4
About This Author
Bart J. Gilbertson is the author of the Pookotz Sisters Mystery Series. Although he was born in Wisconsin, he spent most of his youth and later years in the rocky mountain state of Idaho. He has been all over the northwest and it is his love for the lush green state of Oregon that inspired the setting for Pleasant Lake and its inhabitants. He attended ITT Technical Institute in Boise, ID and received an Associate in Applied Science Degree for Computer Networking Systems and graduated with honors. Bart has worn many hats over his lifetime career, but the one he is most proud of is that of being a writer. He currently resides in O’Neill, NE. He has two children.

Author Links:

Website: http://bjgilbertson2.wix.com/bartjgilbertson

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/BartJGilbertsonAuthor

Blog Page: http://bjgilbertson2.wix.com/bartjgilbertson#!blog/c29d

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BartJGilbertson

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7172645.Bart_J_Gilbertson

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Bart-J.-Gilbertson/e/B00DV4JMO2/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Cozy Cat Press, my publisher: http://cozycatpress.com/

Book Trailer Vid on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FuvPpkc1os
******************************************************************************************
great escape button160Be sure to check out  the rest of the tour!!

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

November 12 – Mochas, Mysteries and More – Guest Post
November 13 – readalot – Review, Guest Post, Giveaway
November 14 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Review
November 15 – Books-n-Kisses – Review, Guest Post
November 17 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review
November 19 – Books Are Life – Vita Libri – Review
November 20 – Christa Reads and Writes – Review, Interview
November 21 – Queen of All She Reads – Review, Guest Post, Giveaway
November 24 – Kaisy Daisy’s Corner – Review
November 25 – Brooke Blogs – Review
November 27 – Musings and Ramblings – Guest Post, Giveaway
November 28 – Thanksgiving (U.S.)
November 29 – My Devotional Thoughts – Review
November 30 – Dalene’s Book Reviews – Review, Interview, Giveaway
November 30 – THE SELF-TAUGHT COOK – Review

 

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

Posted in Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Guest Posts Reviews 2013

Cozy Wednesday with Author Heather Blake (Giveaway too!)

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am so excited to have Heather here today!!

Inspiration in the Strangest Places

By Heather Blake

heather webber blakeOften people wonder how I come up with story ideas. Sometimes there are no answers—the plots and characters are just stuck in my brain ready come out. Other times, I find inspiration from the news. I’ll hear something that starts me playing the “What if” game. What if one of my characters found that body… (That game is a lot of fun, by the way.) But as I was writing A Potion to Die For, a found inspiration in a place I never had before…

In one of my own characters.

a potion to die for NovemberLet me back up a bit. Originally Carly Hartwell, the main character in A Potion to Die For, was a white magic witch, a healer, who used potions made of herbal concoctions and some magical drops to heal the mind, body, heart, and soul. And when I first started this story, that’s all she was and that’s all she did. But I couldn’t help but feel that something, some element, a deeper layer, was missing.

the good bad and witchyAbout this same time, I’d received edits on a book I’d previously written, The Good, the Bad, and the Witchy, (the third book in my Wishcraft series). After I’d done the edits, one of the characters kept nagging at me. That character is an Emoticrafter, a witch who can feel another person’s emotions. I adore this character because of how he tugged on my heartstrings and made me feel for him. And after a day or so, I suddenly realized why I couldn’t get him out of my head.

What that character could do was exactly what Carly Hartwell needed, except I kicked it up a notch. I made her a full-fledged empath—she can feel a person’s emotions and their physical pain. She uses her gift to help find the exact potion to make that person better (and sometimes to solve crimes!).

With this final element in place, Carly Hartwell finally came to life. Fully layered.

As an empath, she’s compassionate yet guarded.

As a witch and healer, she’s magical.

As a woman, she’s deeply flawed, but oh-so-hopeful.

She’s complicated and unconventional. Loyal yet cynical. Feisty yet caring. Most of all, she’s utterly lovable.

She’s absolutely become one of my favorite characters, and I hope she’ll become one of yours, too.

 ~Heather

***

Heather Blake (aka Heather Webber) is the author of more than a dozen mystery novels and has been twice nominated for an Agatha Award. She’s a total homebody who loves to be close to her family, read, watch reality TV (especially cooking competition shows), drink too much coffee, crochet, bake (mostly cookies), and occasionally leave the house to travel to the beautiful mountains in the northeast. Heather grew up in a suburb of Boston, but currently she lives in the Cincinnati area with her family and is hard at work on her next book.

Website: www.heatherblakebooks.com

FB: www.facebook.com/heatherblakebooks

Twitter: @booksbyheather

a potion to die for November
A Potion to Die For:
A Magic Potion Mystery

Brand New Series
Cozy Mystery
An Obsidian Mystery (November 5, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451416308
E-Book File Size: 1979 KB
ASIN: B00C5Q47XI
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Welcome to Hitching Post, Alabama. A charmed little town that revolves around love and marriage. When a local soothsayer forecasts “Sunny with a chance of divorce” the entire town goes crazy and heads to Little Shop of Potions to get their love potions to make sure they stay hitched. Carly Bell Hartwell, the owner of the shop, rushes to beat the crowds and get her magical potions ready for her many customers.

Upon her arrival things quickly turn from magical to criminal as there is a dead man on the floor clutching one of her potion bottles. Now she is the prime suspect and she will be lucky if she can give her potions away.

 *In no time the murder investigation becomes a witch hunt—literally! Now Carly is going to need to brew up some serious sleuthing skills to clear her name and find the real killer—before the whole town becomes convinced her potions really are to die for!

Dollycas’s Thoughts
The whimsical characters that inhabit Hitching Post are just fantastic. You have Carly, the “good” hoodoo witch, who chooses to focus on the positive –  healing, love, marriage, happiness. Delia, her cousin, the darker, “not really bad”, voodoo witch who owns Till Hex Due Us Part and conjures more of the hexes with no concern of consequences. Both have the ability to feel other people’s emotions.

Then there is Carly’s mom who runs one of the local wedding chapels and who will do anything to drive the competing chapel out of business. Add in Eulalie, Hazel, and Marjie Fowl, Carly’s aunties or “The Odd Ducks” as the townsfolk call these 65 year old,  fraternal triplets, that never have  been married. They own 3 local Bed & Breakfasts. Two of which are very welcoming to tourists and the third will greet anyone trespassing on her property with a shotgun.

And for that necessary romantic conflict there is Sergeant Dylan Jackson, investigator for the Darling County Sheriff’s Office. He is also the man Carly almost married not once but twice! There are more wonderful townspeople to meet too. 

Heather Blake takes these characters and brews up a magical mystery that was a pure pleasure to read. Smart, funny, and clever with a touch of southern charm.  A truly extraordinary debut for this series!!

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 3 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 Heather 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 November 28, 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.”

*FROM BACK COVER

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Posted in Reviews 2013

Review: Read It And Weep by Jenn McKinlay

read it and weep november
Read It and Weep
(A Library Lover’s Mystery)

4th in Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (November 5, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Julia Green
Cover Design by Rita Frangie
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425260722
File Size: 1741 KB
ASIN: B00BDQ39O4
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From Back Cover:
Former Broadway actress Violet La Rue is holding auditions for A Midsummer Night’s Dream—and everyone from the sour spinster librarian Ms. Cole to Lindsey’s youthful library pages are trying out for parts. Brought in to play the mischievous Puck is the flirtatious professional actor Robbie Vine, who seems to have eyes for Lindsey. Before her blush has faded, the Bard’s dream turns into a nightmare—when one of the cast is poisoned. Now Lindsey and her crafternooners must take center stage to unmask the culprit before the final curtain call…

Dollycas’s Thoughts
I loved this story! Not a huge fan of reading Shakespeare but love watching the plays and this production sounded like so much fun especially due to a very surprising twist.

Let’s face it Jenn McKinlay never disappoints. Each story is better than the last. She creates awesome characters and plots an engaging story around them that just keeps those pages flying. I especially enjoyed new side developing of “the lemon” Ms. Cole. Lindsey and Sully’s relationship is still on the rocks but he gets pretty jealous when another man gives Lindsey a little attention.

Another wonderfully plotted mystery full of twists and turns.  You definitely won’t be weeping when you read this story.

If you are new to this series start at the beginning with Books Can Be Deceiving (A Library Lover’s Mystery), you will then want to read every one. If you are already a fan pick up this one as soon as you can.

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out all about Jenn McKinlay on 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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Posted in Giveaways Reviews 2013

Review & Giveaway: The Fatal Funnel Cake by Livia J. Washburn

fatal funnel cake
The Fatal Funnel Cake:
A Fresh-Baked Mystery

8th in Series
Cozy Mystery
An Obsidian Mystery (November 5, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
Trade Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451416612
E-Book File Size: 1099 KB
ASIN: B00BDQ38ZY
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

 

It’s time for the State Fair of Texas—and cooking contests galore! Fryers are heating up and stomachs are growling. But Phyllis Newsom had better watch out. Someone’s brought an appetite for murder….

When Phyllis, Sam, Eve and Carolyn hear that celebrity chef Joye Jameson of The Joye of Cooking will be broadcasting live from the Texas Fair they quickly make arrangements to stay with Carolyn’s cousin Peggy’s place and go to the fair. Phyllis even plans to enter the funnel cake competition even though she has never made one in her life. Carolyn is interested in the cookie competitions and Sam may even throw his hat into the ring of contests.

Things go better than expected and when one of them wins they get to meet Joye Jameson in person and even appear on her show. But the show takes a deadly turn when its host suffers a fatal allergic reaction after taking just one bite of the ribbon winning treat and the retired school teachers find themselves right in the middle of another murder investigation.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Chapter 1, Page 1 had me laughing out loud. You see I sat down to read this book, tuned the television to ESPN and sat back to read. Sam was saying he doesn’t “get cooking shows”. Phyllis says she doesn’t “understand the appeal of fishing shows” Then Carolyn pipes up with “At least it isn’t NASCAR. Why in the world would anyone sit there and watch a bunch of cars drive around and around all day is totally beyond me.” I was watching the NASCAR race from Texas near where the state fair takes place and reading this story. I am a huge NASCAR fan, specifically Matt Kenseth in the #20 car and I love funnel cakes and cozy mysteries too!! Carolyn we need to talk!! 🙂

I look forward to these books arriving because this foursome is one of favorite cozy groups. I can’t wait to see what they get themselves mixed up in each and every story. This one really excited me because funnel cakes are one of my favorite treats. We used to have a fall event at our church and those ladies made some awesome funnel cakes. Phyllis tries some interesting recipes out as she tries to figure out what to enter at the fair and they all sounded yummy to me. Of course there are some recipes included in the back of the book for us to try.

The author has cooked up another fine mystery with plenty of suspects and this was a fun read because I figured out the guilty party at the same time as Phyllis. It also really hit home with me as I have a similar allergy and learned I need to be even more alert when I try those deep fried goodies at the fair. 

Great characters with snappy dialogue, a prime location, a wonderful whodunit. Mix together and you have another fantastic cozy from Livia Washburn. Her books always leave me smiling and anxiously waiting for another trip to visit Phyllis and her friends. 

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent


Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 1 copy to give away!

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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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Posted in Reviews 2013

Review: Relatively Dead by Sheila Connolly

relatively dead
Relatively Dead
Historical Mystery
Published by Beyond the Page (May 16, 2013)
E-Book File Size: 497 KB
Print Length: 211 pages
ASIN: B00CUEGU4E
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Abby Kimball moved to New England with her boyfriend when he accepted a new job. He made a good salary which gave her some time to settle in and decide whether to return to teaching or take some of her other experience and try something new. Boyfriend Brad spent a lot of time working or hanging out with his other coworkers that left Abby with a lot of alone time on her hands.

Abby decides to take a tour of historic homes in the area where she meets Ned. He was the docent for the last home on the tour. He also was a witness to a very strange experience she had in the house. As she entered one of the rooms she saw a family scene but it wasn’t a recreation using actors it was a haunting vision of a family who had lived in the house nearly a century ago. Having never had anything like that happen before she was positive something was very wrong with her. Thankfully Ned was helpful and encouraging and open to what she described to him. He even offered to help her investigate the vision and why she was seeing it in the first place. Abby leery at first eventually decides to spend her free time exploring and she finds out these visions may be connected to her own past.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
If you are familiar with Sheila Connolly or her books at all you know history is a major theme that runs trough her stories and that she is very interested in genealogy. That is what first drew me to this story but she is also a fantastic storyteller and that is what kept me reading.

I struggled a bit with Abby and Brad’s relationship at first but things started to click into place there for me rather quickly. As an avid mystery reader I kept waiting for Ned to show his ulterior motives and be the bad guy. Ned does have secrets but in a whole different direction than I originally thought.

What I really enjoyed was the process Abby followed to dig in to the local history and the visions she continued to have and the emotions she felt. People are investigating into exploring their family trees and history right now. With so much information being made available on the internet and the several websites created to help people connect the story is very current. Granted not everyone has visions like Abby but it is not beyond the realm of possibility. I have decided to keep an open mind on anything of that nature. My parents have both passed away and while I have never “seen” them or any of my other relatives there are times I just “feel” their presence. I think it would be cool to have way to really connect with them and learn more of my family history to pass on to my kids.

I thought this was a very original story tying a little paranormal activity into a different type of mystery with a bit of romance thrown in too. Connolly’s  writing is very descriptive and I love it.  

It was a nice, light,  easy read and a perfect book for me to curl up with on a dark rainy evening.

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 To find out more about Sheila Connolly visit her webpage here.

~I had received a copy of this book from NetGalley but when I went to read it the file would load on my Kindle correctly so I purchased a new copy from Amazon.

Posted in Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Guest Posts Reviews 2013

Cozy Wednesday with Author Victoria Hamilton (Giveaway too!)

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Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am happy to welcome Victoria Hamilton and
her Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour here today!

The Beauty of Useful Things:

How kitchen utensils are art, and why I display them.

By: Victoria Hamilton

VictoriaThe highest form of art, to me, is when something useful is also beautiful. But here we confront a dilemma… beauty is very much in the eye of the beholder.

This is especially true when applied to my collections.

FrenchFryCutterI collect vintage kitchen utensils and bowls, among other things. Some of the items I will never use. Case in point is the French fry cutter pictured here. I found it at a garage sale and it is pretty old. We had one when I was a kid, but it was the horizontal kind, and this one is different. It’s… well, it’s vertical. And I like it. I appreciate the design – the neat shape it makes – and the red handles and everything about it. I’ll never use it, but it is up on a shelf on display.

And yet, as I take a picture of it and examine it, I notice how battered it is, how worn the metal. But I still think it’s beautiful, maybe even more so. It has a grace of form, it tells a tale of family life… a family the apparently loved French fries! It has lived out the useful part of its life, and now deserves to be an ornament.

When folks get old their hands get age spotted and wrinkled, their veins stand out, blue traceries under their skin. Their nails are brittle and the pads of their fingers flatten out. Cheeks and jowls sag, eyes become rheumy and the skin gets so thin and soft it’s like silk. I find old folks beautiful. Their life shows on their face and their hands: the years of hard work and worry, the kids they raised, the people they loved, the pain they have suffered and tragedies endured… the personality that life has crafted in them. Their face and hands tell a story, the story of their life.

And it’s the same with old furniture and kitchen utensils. If it is battered and worn, it means that it was well loved and used often. These things have soul and the kind of beauty you only get from time. That’s better to me than pristine and unused.

~Victoria

~::~

About Victoria Hamilton

Victoria Hamilton, nationally bestselling author of the Vintage Kitchen Mystery series, is the pseudonym of Donna Lea Simpson, bestselling author of romance and historical mystery novels.

Victoria starting reading mystery novels at the age of 12 and devoured Agatha Christie mysteries, as well as those of Dorothy L. Sayers and Ngaio Marsh. She still adores mysteries, especially the cozy mysteries of Janet Bolin, Krista Davis, and others.

She loves to cook, and collects teapots and teacups, as well as vintage kitchen utensils and bowls. She also enjoys crafts, especially cross-stitching and crocheting, and spends summer days in the garden, drinking tea or wine. Besides the Vintage Kitchen Mystery series Victoria also writes the Merry Muffin Mystery series (Bran New Death – September 3rd) and the Teapot Collector Mystery series which debuts with Tempest in a Teapot, out June 3rd, 2014.

 

FreezerMed nov
Freezer I’ll Shoot
(A Vintage Kitchen Mystery)

3rd in Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Mystery (November 5, 2013)
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425252376
E-Book File Size: 1815 KB
ASIN: B00BDQ3AP2
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About Freezer I’ll Shoot:

Trying to escape her overbearing mother, vintage kitchenware enthusiast and soon-to-be columnist Jaymie Leighton retreats to her family’s cottage on Heartbreak Island. While there she hopes to write an article about the Ice House restaurant, owned by good friends and neighbors, siblings Ruby and Garnet Redmond. Once and actual icehouse, the restaurant is charmingly decorated with antique tools of the trade, including a collection of ice picks.

One night, while working on her article, Jaymie overhears an argument, and, ever the sleuth, sets out to explore. But when she stumbles upon a dead body, her blood runs cold. It’s Urban Dobrinskie, whose feud with the Redmonds is no secret, and he’s got an ice pick through his heart. Now Jaymie’s got to sharpen her sleuthing skills to chip away at the mystery and prove her neighbors’ innocence – before someone else gets picked off…

Dollycas’s Thoughts
This installment of the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries takes place mostly on Heartbreak Island. Again Jaymie finds herself in the middle of a very well plotted whodunit. I really enjoy the way the author weaves in the history of the vintage antiques our amateur sleuth  loves. This time the ice houses (ice storage) and the implements used before the modern appliances that came later.

I really love Jaymie and her dad, her mom just seems to push my buttons and I can understand why Jaymie feels the need to escape away sometimes. I wasn’t a big fan for Daniel in this story and his mother drove me crazy. Ruby and Garnet had me rooting for them though and their story was the real highlight of this book. Cozy mysteries need that wide variety of crazy quirky characters, the ones we love, the ones we hate, and the ones that make us want to jump into the pages and slap upside the head. Victoria Hamilton has delivered them all in Freezer I’ll Shoot. Plus Hoppy is one of my favorite pooches in the cozy mystery realm.

I am really looking forward to my next visit with Jaymie as I am sure she will again be up to her neck in a murder mystery. I also hope she she opens her heart and her eyes to the right man.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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Tour Participants

November 2 – rantin’ ravin’ and reading – Review, Interview, Giveaway
November 3 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Spotlight, Interview
November 4 – My Recent Favorite Books – Spotlight
November 5 – According to Squenn – Interview
November 6 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Review, Guest Post
November 7 – The Bookwyrm’s Hoard – Review, Interview, Giveaway
November 8 – Queen of All She Reads – Review, Giveaway
November 9 – A Chick Who Reads – Review, Interview
November 10 – Kaisy Daisy’s Corner – Review
November 11 – A Date with a Book – Spotlight
November 12 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – Review
November 13 – Community Bookstop – Review
November 14 – StoreyBook Reviews – Review, Giveaway
November 15 – Mochas, Mysteries and More – Review

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 Just For Fun Challenge Reviews 2013

Review: Plum Pudding Murder by Joanne Fluke

I know it is a little early for Christmas reading but I needed a quick read for my October Just For Fun book and this is where I was in this series.

plum puddingg murder
Plum Pudding Murder
(Hannah Swensen Mysteries)

12th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Kensington (September 29, 2009)
Hardcover: 256 pages
ISBN-10: 0758210248
Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0758210258
E-Book File Size: 498 KB
ASIN: B003IYI79G

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Christmas in Lake Eden, Minnesota brings “Lunatic Larry Jaeger’s Crazy Elf Christmas Tree Lot” to town. It is combination of a Christmas tree lot and carnival complete with a booth selling goodies from The Cookie Jar. The merriment comes to a screeching halt when Hannah discovers “Lunatic Larry” dead in Elf Central. There are a surprising number of suspects. Hannah has just enough time to catch a killer, bake delicious cookies, date both Mike and Norman, figure out Norman’s mother is up to and keep Moishe from ruining her Christmas tree. Then guess who comes to dinner…

Dollycas’s Thoughts
The good thing about reading this so far in advance of the holidays are all the yummy cookie recipes that may be getting baked this year.

This one seemed more mystery light than the usual Joanne Fluke mysteries that are already pretty light. We get more than halfway through the book before we have a body.

Every long running series has a book like this one to move the characters forward. The mystery was still intriguing but I knew whodunit very quickly after the murder. I also felt the triangle between Hannah, Norman and Mike needs a bit of heating up and by the end I saw that happening so I am very interested in getting to my copy of Apple Turnover Murder as soon as I can. This is definitely a series I need to get caught up on. The newest Hannah Swensen Mystery Blackberry Pie Murder comes out February 25, 2014.

just you and a friend

4 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

For more info about Joanne Fluke and her books visit her webpage here.

*This book was from my private collection.
just for fun 2013

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