Posted in Reviews From Dollycas's Thoughts

Review: Shelter by Harlan Coben

This review was posted on Dollycas’s Thoughts September 16, 2011.

Shelter: A Mickey Bolitar Novel

G.P. Putnam’s Sons

A Division of Penguin Young Reader’s Group

Available Now

ISBN-10: 0399256504

ISBN-13: 978-0399256509

Reading level: Ages 12 and up

Hardcover: 288 pages

Harlan Coben spins off from his successful Myron Bolitar series to reach out to young adults with his Mickey Bolitar series.  Mickey is Myron’s nephew.  Mickey has come to live with Myron after witnessing his father’s death and his mother ends up in rehab.
Mickey has spent his life traveling around the world with his parents and they do mission work with The Abeona Shelter. They had returned to the states so Mickey could attend a regular high school and college.
New schools are always tough but Mickey makes two new friends at orientation day.  One is the beautiful Ashley and the other is Ema, a plus size girl who thinks Mickey is only being nice to her out of pity. But when Ashley mysteriously disappears right after school starts he teams up with Ema and another new friend, “Spoon,” to try to find her.
As they follow a trail to find Ashley they walk in to a world that leads Mickey to question everything he thought he knew about his life.  It also puts him and his friends in danger they only thought happenned in the movies.  Hang on tight, this is a wild ride.
My Thoughts
I am a huge Harlan Coben fan and was really intrigued when I heard he was venturing into the Young Adult reader genre and taking his star character Myron Bolitar with him.  The set up for this book started when we were introduced to Mickey in Coben’s  Live Wire  in March.  I was very interested to read Shelter to see how the author completed this transition.
I loved this book and while featuring high school kids as the leading characters they took on some very adult problems.  I am sure teenagers will enjoy this action packed thriller. Coben does an excellent job of explaining Mickey’s life before Shelter so that the new generation of readers understands the history. I only question if I followed everything so easily because I have read the entire Myron Bolitar series. 
Like all books written by Harlan Coben the story is masterfully plotted, full of twists and turns while adding the perfect amount of humor.  All the things that makes him a great author and his novels must reads.  
All fans of Coben will love this book and then pass it on to their teenagers to enjoy.  My son is waiting for me to finish this review so he can read this book because he has heard my husband and I talking about it.  Hopefully as a new reader of this author he will be able to answer my one question above.  I will keep you posted. 

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the G.P. Putnam’s Sons, A Division of Penguin Publishing. 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 From Dollycas's Thoughts

Review: The Diva Cooks A Goose by Krista Davis

Berkley Prime Crime Mystery

A Division Of Penguin Publishing

4th in the Domestic Diva Mystery Series

Available Now!
The key characters in this series are Sophie and Natasha.  Natasha happens to be the girlfriend of Sophie’s ex-husband Mars (short for Marshall) and they each offer us wonderful household tips from their syndicated newspaper columns at the start of each chapter.

This book revolves around the Christmas Season and brings all the families and neighbors together.  All is cherry and bright until a Grinch steals all of the Christmas presents from one neighborhood as all the neighbors are gathered for the annual holiday celebration.  They even took the food.  Sophie tries to stem the neighbors from turning against each other as they try to figure out who is responsible and she succeeds in getting them to work together to come up with toys so the children have gifts in the morning.
One crisis down, another arises when Sophie’s sister-in-law’s father shows up at a family gathering with a diva all his own.  He and his wife had only been separated for a very short time and this guest’s arrival does not sit well with anyone at all.  When the new diva becomes victim of some well thought out foul play, Sophie’s relatives of  course considered prime suspects.  Sophie’s detective boyfriend in out of town visiting his parents so it’s up to Sophie to save the holidays.


First of all I apologize for the tardiness of this review.  Life some times get in the way of best laid plans.
This is such a fun series and the last book had more adventure that most series have in all the books together.  It was definitely hard to put down.  There were so many people that could have committed both the robberies and the murder that it truly came down to the very last chapter before all the clues came together to provide all the answers to nab the criminals.  Sophie put it all together literally in the “nick” of time before her “goose” was literally cooked and she almost had her sister baked too.

This was the perfect mystery, every time you thought you had it figured out another clue sent you in another direction.  It was not only well written, but wonderfully staged and plotted.  The new characters added a whole new dimension to this story, I hope some of them reappear in future editions, especially Ginger.  

I have to mention the pets that add the important feature necessary in every great mystery, including this one.  Daisy, the dog with the keen senses of smell, hearing and the ability to know the good guys from the creeps :).  Mochie, the cat with the attitude and the knack of knowing just when to pounce and when to just walk away.  Plus the two little ragdoll kittens, Alice and Jasper, cute, cuddly and key to some clues in the mystery. 

To say this book is full of “mystery and mayhem” is a understatement. This story is beyond a little chaos and clues, it takes the cozy mystery to a whole new realm and I enjoyed every minute of it and can’t wait for more.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received these books free from Berkley Prime Crime,  a Division of Penguin Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 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 From Dollycas's Thoughts

COZY WEDNESDAY – With Author Krista Davis

This post originally appeared on Dollycas’s Thoughts September 7, 2011.

I love Cozy Wednesdays and hope you do too.  Today my special guest, Krista Davis, author of The Domestic Diva Mysteries. is here and I am really excited.  The latest book in the series, The Diva Haunts the House  is the perfect fall read because “This Halloween A Murderer Is Up To Mischief”.
With yesterday being New Release Tuesday and Krista’s book coming out you know she has been extremely busy getting ready for her big day.  I am so happy she is here today to spend some time with us!
Welcome Krista!!!
Thank you for inviting me!
We’re Watching You!

A dear friend gave me a T-shirt that says Careful, or you’ll end up in my novel. I love that shirt. There’s a little bit of truth in that saying. People often ask writers where we get our ideas. We get them from you!

People are fascinating, and writers are people-watchers. We observe the argument between boyfriend and girlfriend at a bar. We notice the adoring smile of a grandmother in the park with her grandchild. We watch the harried mom on her cell phone in the grocery store who doesn’t realize that her three young children are tossing their favorite candies into her shopping cart.
Even animals draw our attention. A baby snake made its way into my house recently. I’m not a snake person, and this little guy was moving fast. I tossed the closest thing, a dog dish, over top of it so it wouldn’t disappear. Ugh. What’s worse than a snake in the house under a dog dish? A snake on the loose in the house! A normal person eventually forgets about that little snake. A writer uses it in a book.
The Diva Haunts the House (A Domestic Diva Mystery)When I was writing THE DIVA HAUNTS THE HOUSE, I came to a part where I needed something spooky to happen. An event that couldn’t be explained, yet, Sophie, my protagonist, had to be able to figure out how it happened. While I was mulling over the possibilities, I heard a creepy voice in my house. I figured out where it came from right away, but no one else was home. What set it off? I won’t spoil the fun — you’ll recognize the event toward the end of the book. It’s something that really happened to me.
The Diva Cooks a Goose (A Domestic Diva Mystery)Of course, we also draw information from the news. In THE DIVA COOKS A GOOSE, Christmas gifts are stolen right out from under the tree. Two days before the book was released, a local man was arrested for stealing wrapped Christmas gifts from someone’s house. They identified him because he dropped his cell phone! Now seriously, aside from the just plain meanness of stealing Christmas gifts, who would steal a wrapped gift? It could be socks or underwear or a talking fish. He was willing to risk jail time for that?
Then there are the fun characters. Do you have some of these in your life? The relative who puts his foot in his mouth every holiday? The co-worker who thinks she’s always right? The boss whose secretary runs the show while he takes the credit? The distant relative who only turns up when he needs a favor? The mom who thinks her angelic child can do nothing wrong, even when the chocolate evidence is smeared all over his mouth?
People are funny, and mean, and deceptive, and clueless, and kind. And since no one is perfect (in spite of the fact that some people think they are perfect), most of us are all of those things at one time or another. Writers are always thinking about what makes people tick because they make life, and mysteries, interesting.
Be careful, writers are watching!!! I Love It!!!
Thank you so much Krista for sharing how authors get their ideas.  If you have a friend that is an author you could end up in their book and it will probably be for something you don’t even know they observed until you read it in a book and you say, “hmmmm, that same thing happened to me once.” and then realize OMG, they are writing about me!!!  
Cover Illustrationby Teresa Fasolino

Cover Design

by Diana Kolsky

5th in the series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
Published by The Penguin Group
Domestic Divas Sophie Winston and Natasha Smith are trying to outdo each other with their Halloween plans.  Sophie is in charge of the community haunted house while Natasha is planning a huge Halloween Bash at her home. Sophie is worried the fake haunted house is really haunted and Natasha has costumes and caters on her mind.
Sophie was not really planning to attend Natasha’s party but she ends up there to try to solve a small problem.  When she arrives she discovers a much bigger problem, one a Natasha’s guests, part of an elaborate Halloween display in the front yard, is not just playing dead,  he is actually, really, very dead and he has two puncture marks on his neck!
Is there a vampire loose in Old Town?  As people stock up on garlic, Sophie is going to figure out who is responsible for all this mischief and murder!!


This entire series has been terrific, but The Diva Haunts the House is so much fun. You could say it’s “SPOOKTACULAR”!  I caught myself laughing out loud several times.  All the kids involved in the haunted house brought back some wonderful memories from way back when.
The constant neediness of Natasha to independent Sophie is such a great contrast.  How could the same man have fallen in love with both these women? The dialogue between any of the two or all three together is perfectly written whether serious or hilarious. The mystery my have you laying in a supply of garlic.
I like that this book is being released well in advance of Halloween. There are wonderful tips, recipes and ideas for your own Halloween party, without the dead body in the front yard of course.
Please take a moment to check out Krista’s Web Page. There is even a cool map there of Sophie’s neighborhood!

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Berkley Prime Crime. 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 From Dollycas's Thoughts

Review: Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park

This Review was originally posted at Dollycas’s Thoughts on August 9, 2011
My Choice For Best Contemporary Fiction 2011!

Cover Art

by Robin Hyzy

This book is available now in both Kindle and Paperback Formats

ISBN-10: 1461085977

ISBN-13: 978-1461085973



This book has been on my radar for quite awhile and since I haven’t yet given in to an e-reader I had to wait patiently for a paperback copy.  Well that arrived late last week and I spent Sunday curled up with Flat-Out Love.
I can’t write a better synopsis than the one from the back of the book so I am cheating by copying it. I am afraid I would insert a spoiler and let’s face it the author’s humor even resonates in this little blurb. 



Something is seriously off in the Watkins home. And Julie Seagle, college freshman, small-town Ohio transplant, and the newest resident of this Boston house, is determined to get to the bottom of it.  
When Julie’s off-campus housing falls through, her mother’s old college roommate, Erin Watkins, invites her to move in. The parents, Erin and Roger, are welcoming, but emotionally distant and academically driven to eccentric extremes. The middle child, Matt, is an MIT tech geek with a sweet side … and the social skills of a spool of USB cable. The youngest, Celeste, is a frighteningly bright but freakishly fastidious 13-year-old who hauls around a life-sized cardboard cutout of her oldest brother almost everywhere she goes.  
And there’s that oldest brother, Finn: funny, gorgeous, smart, sensitive, almost emotionally available. Geographically? Definitely unavailable. That’s because Finn is traveling the world and surfacing only for random Facebook chats, e-mails, and status updates. Before long, through late-night exchanges of disembodied text, he begins to stir something tender and silly and maybe even a little bit sexy in Julie’s suddenly lonesome soul. 
I flat out loved Flat Out Love.
This story is so well written it pulled me right into it.  I started thinking about it being one of my daughters going off to school and how they would react if their housing fell through and they were hundreds of miles away. I felt an immediate personal attachment to Julie. Thankfully she was a very mature college freshman because she was dropped into a very extraordinary situation.

This is a true contemporary romance complete with the snippets of social media, a good bit of humor and mystery too.  I have to say I ran the whole gambit of emotions while reading this wonderful story.  The characters are eccentric, off beat and you may even use the word peculiar, but they are written so true that you can’t help to fall for each and every one.  You will also be surprised, shocked, mad, sad, heartbroken, happy and joyful all in the span of less than 400 pages. You will be laughing out loud one minute and ready to reach into the pages and slap a character the next. Plus the love story is amazing.

This book hit me in a whole different way that any book I have read in a long time.  Yes, I loved it as I have others, but this book was FUN!!! It was like a day out with a good friend, a day you didn’t want to end.  I found it to be inspiring.  I immediately handed it to my 20 year old daughter and said “you have to read this!”

There are very few books that I would call awesome, this is an AWESOME book.  This book has earned a place on my keeper shelf because I know I am going to want to take this journey again and again. Five stars does not cover it, this book is off the charts. 

Have your ordered your copy yet?  I am telling you this is a must read, A MUST READ!!! Then please come back and share your thoughts with me.  I want to talk to everyone I know about this book!!!

Jessica Park you have hit this one out of the park!!!!!!! I can’t wait to read whatever you are working on next!!!!



Your Escape With A Good Book Travel  Agent

Disclosure of Material Connection: This book is from my private collection 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.” 



To find out more about this fabulous author be sure to check out her web pages:


Posted in Reviews From Dollycas's Thoughts

Review: Live Wire by Harlan Coben

This review was originally posted at Dollycas’s Thoughts on March 22, 2011.
Last year his book CAUGHT was another 
#1 New York Times Bestseller
 and my top choice for Best Suspense/Thriller for 2010. 
 I couldn’t wait to get this new novel in my hands!!!!


Published by DUTTON

A Division of Penguin Group

10th Myron Bolitar Novel


ISBN-10: 0525952063

ISBN-13: 978-0525952060

We first met Myron Bolitar back in 1995 in the book Deal Breaker.  He was an athlete knocked out of the game by an injury right before his first professional start so he became a Sports Agent to keep him in the game if only from the sidelines.  But he was more than an agent, he was a friend, a confidant, a problem solver, and a guy with an enormous heart that to protect his clients he also eventually becomes a private eye.
With the help of his friends, Windsor Horne Lockwood III (Win), and two gals who were a former tag team with the Fabulous Ladies Of Wrestling (FLOW), MB Reps has grown into a firm that not only handles athletes, but authors, actors, artists, and musicians.
In this book we learn more about Myron’s family and his past as he is forced to deal with some family issues.  He is also trying to help former tennis star Suzze T (Trevantino) and rock star husband Lex get to the bottom of a paternity issue being posed about their unborn child on a Facebook page.  Myron also learns that his family issues and these baby issues are intertwined in a way that leads him down a very dangerous path as he tries to find the truth that has been hidden for more than 15 years.


If you have read the previous 9 Myron Bolitar novels and you think you know Myron Bolitar you will realize early into this book that you didn’t know him at all.

Harlan Coben is by far the best author ever of the suspense thriller. He grabs you from the first word and like the title of one of his previous novels HOLD(s on) TIGHT until the very last word and leaves you wanting more.  The difference between this novel and others in this series is than we learn more about Myron Bolitar than we ever have before and Coben ties it into the latest mystery brilliantly.  What starts out as a simple question of who posted the anonymous Facebook comment builds into the thriller Coben is famous for, and brings to light the things Bolitar has kept hidden or to himself in the other books.

This is definitely a book you will want to read in one sitting, so plan accordingly and be prepared for a few surprises.  This book proves than even Harlan Coben still has plenty up his sleeve to thrill and entertain us.  Coben himself is the LIVE WIRE!!!

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To find out more about Harlan Coben be sure to check out his web page.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the Dutton, A Division of the Penguin Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 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 From Dollycas's Thoughts

Curiosity Thrilled The Cat by Sofie Kelly

This post originally appeared over at Dollycas’s Thoughts on February 8, 2011

An Obsidian Mystery

An Imprint of New American Library

A Division of Penguin Publishing

A Magical Cats Mystery
  • ISBN-10: 0451232496
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451232496

Kathleen Paulson needs to change her life NOW, her boyfriend goes away for two weeks and comes back MARRIED!!

Kathleen chucks her life in Boston and accepts a job in Mayville Heights, Minnesota, to supervise the renovation and modernization of their library.  This turns out to be no small task, but the job is just the kind of distraction she needs.

Not long after her arrival in town she allows to stray cats two snuggle their way into her life. She names the tabby Owen and quickly learns he is addicted to catnip. The other is a stocky tuxedo cat she names Hercules. Hercules loves Barry Manilow music as much as Kathleen, but Owen hates Barry, no matter the song and has no trouble showing his distaste.  It doesn’t take Kathleen long to learn the cats are very special, maybe even magical.

Life in quiet Mayville Heights takes a drastic turn when a guest of the Wild Rose Summer Music Festival is found dead.  For some reason all the clues seem to point to Kathleen.  It is then she finds out just how gifted her four legged feline friends are when they help her work to clear her name and quickly bring this caper to a close.

The first thing that really drew me into this book was the cover, the cat’s piercing eyes.  I have been trying this year to acknowledge the cover illustrators and designers, because book covers today are truly small works of art.  There is no information on the artists for this cover but click on the picture, the cats eyes alone will have you wanting to read the story.

The characters of Mayville Heights are so easy to enjoy from the quick wit of Roma, veterinarian by day to human doctor in a pinch, or coworker Abigail’s sarcasm, and Detective Gordon’s dry sense of humor. Add to that, loving neighbor Rebecca along with the newly transplanted Kathleen, the antics of her “magical” cats and so many more true characters in every sense of the word.  There is someone for every reader to love or even hate as I do, the maddening contractor in charge of the renovation.  As a former construction worker it took pure restraint not to jump right into the pages and slap him “up aside the head”!

You can’t go wrong with a cozy if you have characters like these, a really good mystery, the perfect setting of a library and magical cats.  A wonderful debut for what I know will be a “purrfectly” “cat-invating” series.  This author has written several young adult books and has now left a paw print in the cozy mystery world with this story and I am happy to welcome her and will anxiously awaiting her next feline escapade.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Obsidian/NAL, a Division of Penguin Publishing.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 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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Be sure to visit the Author’s Website to find about her alter-ego and the other books she has written.
Posted in Cozy Wednesday Reviews From Dollycas's Thoughts

COZY WEDNESDAY – With Author Clare O’Donohue

This post originally appeared at Dollycas’s Thoughts June 1, 2011.

I was introduced to Clare by her Someday Quilts series, they are so good. A couple of months ago she sent me an Advance Review Copy of the first book in her new series starring Kate Conway and it broke my rules, very rarely do I LOVE the first book in the series because I feel it takes more than one book to get to know the characters, the protagonist, the setting and the background.  But this book grabbed me from page 1.  
I am thrilled to have Clare here today to tell us about writing two series that are so vastly different.
Welcome Clare!


Thanks Lori!

A New Friend
            For the last few years, I’ve spent part of my time in a quiet river town called Archers Rest. Three hours north of New York City, it’s famous for three things; an amazing shop called Someday Quilts, a larger than logical murder rate, and for being entirely fictional.
            It’s been fun for me to write each book in my Someday Quilts series, including The Devil’s Puzzle, which will be released in late September. I love Nell Fitzgerald, the main character of the series, and I love being part of the lively quilt group, who manage to solve murders and finish most of their quilting projects at the same time. Archers Rest has become a very comfortable place for me to hang out, and I hope for the readers of this series as well.
            But things are changing. With the release of Missing Persons, the first in the Kate Conway Mysteries, a new location, a real location – Chicago – and a new set of characters, is taking hold on my imagination. Kate is older and more sarcastic than Nell. And the world of Missing Persons is more complicated. There’s no quilting (though I do mention a quilt in the book!) and, unlike the deaths in my Someday series, which I like to refer to as step-over-the-body murders, the mysteries in Missing Persons change forever the lives of all involved.
            Some people have asked if it’s hard for me to write two very different series at the same time. No more difficult, I think, than having two friends with different personalities. Nell is romantic, curious, and headstrong. An art student and quilter, she is surrounded by the love and protection of her boyfriend, Jesse, and her grandmother, Eleanor, as well as all the members of her quilt group, including its most popular member, Barney, the loveable golden retriever. Nell’s curiosity may get her into trouble, but she has plenty of people around to keep things from getting out of control.
            Kate, on the other hand, is complicated, funny, and overwhelmed. She has no quilt group, no grandmother, no boyfriend, to offer support and friendship. Her soon to be ex-husband is dead, and Kate is left with her in-laws, her meddling sister, and worst of all, her husband’s girlfriend. Plus, her job as a TV producer of a true crime show requires her to exploit the family of a missing girl.
        Something Kate does just well enough to feel bad about it. Kate isn’t curious. In fact, she just wants to sit on her couch and eat take-out Chinese. But she hates to be treated like a fool. Kate looks into the death of her husband and the disappearance of the missing girl because she is convinced that someone is lying – and she does it without knowing if anyone will be there to help if she gets into trouble.
            Kate and Nell might not be similar to each other (or to me) but I like them both. And going back and forth between them allows me to talk about life, death, love… you know, all the big subjects… from two very different points of view.
            Of course, as I launch Missing Persons, I do wonder if my readers will like Kate as much as Nell. It’s always hard to introduce a new friend to an established circle. But I’m hoping they give Kate a chance. She may not know how to quilt, but Kate Conway sure has a knack for tripping over a body, and who doesn’t need a friend like that?
Clare O’Donohue is the author of four novels, including the just released Missing Persons; A Kate Conway Mystery. She still works as a TV producer and writer, and lives in Chicago.  Check out her web page for more information.






Published by The Penguin Group



A Kate Conway Mystery

First In A Brand New Series

ISBN-10: 0452297060

ISBN-13: 978-0452297067



Kate Conway’s soon to be ex-husband Frank is dead and the cops always think the spouse did it so Kate becomes the number one suspect.  Strange too is that his new girlfriend wants to be her new best friend.
She decides to bury herself in work to get her mind off his death and give the police time to find the real killer. She is offered a new assignment for a brand new series, Missing Persons.
Kate starts researching the story of Theresa Moretti, a young woman who has been missing for a year.  Her family is still holding out hope Theresa is alive and believes Kate will find her.  Kate just wants to get enough footage to tell the missing girl’s story and move on but Theresa’s family has really touched her which causes her to dig a little deeper and the more she digs she finds the death of her ex may be related to this Missing Person story.   She also finds the deeper she digs she may be putting her own life in danger.



This is an edgy story that not only draws you in but educates on how these True Crime shows are made and with an author that has a background in television all the jargon rings true, especially how long it takes, how much film is needed, and how much is cut to tell a story in about 22 minutes.  

The unexpected is that as each clue is uncovered you feel you are actually right on the scene.  This can happen with a lot of stories but this one actually played in my mind’s eye like a television program. It made you almost forget this is a work of fiction and that you were actually reading a book. It really is hard to believe the same author who wrote the Someday Quilts series in the same person who wrote this book.  Clare you have a wonderful imagination and I LOVE IT!!!

I am sure readers of the previous series will love this book but I see it bringing in a whole new group of readers, those who love true crime. This story fits the description of a cozy mystery in the way that the crime solver in an intelligent female amateur sleuth,  but this series seems to go further just because of Kate’s job and takes place in the big city of Chicago.

This series has a wealth of information available as people go missing and crimes are committed everyday.  I look forward to being on the scene of the next Kate Conway Mystery.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel  Agent
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Plume, A Division of Penguin Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising


Posted in Cozy Wednesday Reviews From Dollycas's Thoughts

Special Tuesday Edition of Cozy Wednesday with Sally Goldenbaum (Giveaway too!)

This was originally posted on Dollycas’s Thoughts May 17, 2011.

Sally Goldenbaum has been a good friend since I started this blog and when we realized we share Wisconsin as our home state the friendship has grown. The latest Seaside Knitting Mystery really brought back some fabulous memories of my wedding, which I will share more about following her post.  Right now I am just delighted she found time in her busy schedule to spend some time with us!!!



Welcome Sally!!!


I love visiting Dollycas’s Thoughts. Thank you for having me back, Lori.

And what nice company I’m in—lots of cozy mystery authors are stopping by to say hello. Which got me pondering what many of us write about. Nice people in lovely towns, interesting jobs, great crafts, good food, and….well, yes—murder.
So why do these things seem to go together so well? Why do so many of us write mysteries around a theme, like food or knitting or gardening?
Who needs herbs and bamboo needles or a trowel when you have a dead body? Why isn’t a plain old murder enough?
Why, indeed?
Although each of us would probably have a different slant on why we’ve chosen to stir all these elements together in our mysteries, we’d probably agree on one thing: adding a craft or particular job or profession can provide a kind of centering to our stories.
In writing a mystery series, we are not only inviting readers back to follow the same characters story after story; we’re also inviting those characters back. The same ones, book after book after book. And having some sort of anchor—a ready-made reason for those characters to get together, to interact, to gossip, to grow together and develop their friendship in new ways—is helpful in structuring a plot.
Nell, Birdie, Izzy, and Cass—the four friends in my Seaside Knitting Mysteries—gather in Izzy’s cozy yarn shop to think through the things going on in Sea Harbor—whether those things are joyful happenings (like the wedding about to happen in THE WEDDING SHAWL), or tragic events, like a sports car that careens off a cliff and into the ocean (in MOON SPINNERS). The knitting isn’t instrumental in solving the crimes, but it provides an ‘excuse’ to be together, to deepen friendship, and to explore a murder.
Another thing that knitting adds to the novels, I think, is a kind of sensuousness. Imagine a basket filled with cashmere yarn. You can hardly keep your fingers out of it. Soft and silky, vibrant colors so luscious you can almost taste them.
Food and drink do the same—a common theme in so many mysteries. Savoring Nell’s garlic grilled shrimp salad with fresh flakes of basil sprinkled on top—and clinking together four glasses of Birdie’s chilled pinot grigio —are certain to stimulate and sharpen the senses and help the Sea Harbor knitters explore the intricacies of a neighbor’s untimely death.
But why did I pick knitting and not some other craft? Lots of people ask me that. And I’m sure those who write about quilting and gardening and cheese shops are asked the same. Again—there are probably lots of different answers, not the least of which might be that the author happens to be an expert quilter or gardener.
Me? Not so much!
When she was eighty years old and I was ten or eleven, my grandmother taught me how to knit. And though she was an amazing, accomplished woman, she failed in that one aspect of her life. Knitting and purling escaped me.
And then I grew up and became a writer.
AND had grandchildren.
And so I picked up the needles, filled a shelf with fine cotton yarn, and tried all over again, this time with a new passion, if not great skill.
And at that same time, I was thinking about a new mystery series. A series about four smart, funny, hopefully wise women who care about each other and the seaside town in which they live and love and work and eat delicious seafood. A former lawyer, a retired nonprofit director, a lobster fisherwoman, and a grand dame with life’s lessons at her fingertips.
But I needed a way for these women to get together frequently. Something that suited their personalities.
And that something became Izzy’s yarn shop, with a room in the back that overlooked the sea—with a fireplace, fine pinot grigio and fantastic seafood pasta on the coffee table, yarn baskets beside each comfy chair.
The Seaside Yarn Shop became the knitters’ safe haven, the place where the women of Sea Harbor settle down with their yarn and their needles. It’s the place where they gently sip their wine or tea and peel away the layers of their friends’ and neighbors’ lives, discovering secrets in order to solve crimes and to bring peace back to the town they love.
Knitting—and the Yarn Studio—is where their friendship is nourished, right along with their sleuthing skills.
A warm, safe, and cozy place.
And as they work on their projects (I say, hopefully) they will teach me something about picking up dropped stitches and weaving in loose ends.
And even some things about life.
Knitting. Mysteries. Friendship





Is she a great lady or what???  

Thank you so much Sally!!!

Her latest book is:

Jacket Illustration

by Doug Martin

An Obsidian Mystery

A Division of Penguin Publishing

Was Released May 3, 2011

A Seaside Knitters Mystery

5th in the series

Izzy is getting married and all her friends are getting together to knit her a beautiful wedding shawl. Everyone contributing their knitting talents to one wonderful project. What a treasured gift!!!

Oh yes, there is mystery too, as the hair stylist for the wedding participants disappears and later is found dead. This lands the Seaside Knitters in the middle of another murder investigation.  But these ladies can handle it, they will finish the shawl and solve the crime to get the towns focus back on wedding bells instead of jail cells.

You know I loved this book because I truly love this series.  The friendship these women have, their personalities, their wisdom, added to the perfect setting, all brilliantly written, makes every trip to Sea Harbor a well deserved vacation with the friends we have come to love. Yes, the sensory factors are amazing, you can almost smell the sea air, feel the yarn fibers and taste the seafood and fine wine. 
Sally is right about the connection needed in these wonderful cozy mysteries I have grown to love.  I was a very crafty person before my accident, knitting, crocheting, sewing, macramé, quilting, cooking, anything to keep my hands busy.  That is what first drew me to these kinds of books.  I may not be able to actually do the craft myself anymore but I sure can read about it. 
This story brought back a wonderful memory.  While not a knitted wedding shawl, I was blessed to have a hand crocheted wedding dress and jacket made just for me.  I found the pattern way back when I was in high school and fell in love with it and tucked it away. When my husband and I became engaged I was bound and determined to make this dress, but there were just not enough hours in the day, so a family friend took over and completed a monumental task as you can see from the picture below.
I wish I could find some pictures of the stitching close up.  We sure have had fun looking through all the old pictures.  The dress underneath is sleeveless and the jacket has like 30 little small pearl buttons to hold it closed.  It was dry cleaned, sealed in a special box, tucked away in my cedar chest, and is waiting for a daughter or granddaughter to wear it someday.  It is quite the treasured heirloom just like Izzy’s shawl. Thank you Sally for such a wonderful memory.  Someday I will share the bridesmaid dresses fiasco 🙂
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel  Agent

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from The Obsidian Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 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 From Dollycas's Thoughts

Review: Someday Quilt Mystery Series by Clare O’Donohue

These reviews were posted over at Dollycas’s Thoughts November 16, 2010.

Plume Books

A Division of Penguin Publishing

In this first book of the series we are introduced to Nell Fitzgerald as she receives a beautiful quilt handmade by her grandmother and The Friday Night Quilting Circle to celebrate her engagement and her upcoming wedding. Her grandmother owns a quilting shop, Someday Quilts, in Archer’s Rest on the Hudson River. Nell was overjoyed to receive the gorgeous quilt with the Lover’s Knot pattern, but her joy quickly turned to despair as her fiancee, Ryan, told her he just wasn’t ready to get married. It becomes a true Lovers NOT!

A heartbroken Nell takes her belongings that were mostly already packed to move to her new apartment with Ryan and leaves New York behind and heads to her grandmother and Archer’s Rest for comfort, time and space to figure out what to do now that her life has been turned upside down.  She is welcomed with open arms by her grandmother and all the ladies in the quilting group.

While Nell is trying to sort out her life, her grandmother takes a terrible fall and Nell decides to stay until she recuperates.  She has also talked her grandmother into expanding Someday Quilts into a vacant building right next door and knows she must be her grandmother’s eyes and ears on the project so it is completed quickly and to her grandmother’s exact specifications.  Things are going fine until the handyman hired to complete the project is found dead in the store.  Guess who arrived in town just around the time of the murder? Nell’s ex-fiancee and he becomes the prime suspect.  Nell and the ladies of the quilting circle are drawn right into the investigation and try to piece together the clues to “help” the sheriff pin down the killer seamlessly.

In the next book in the series, Nell has decided to stay in Archer’s Rest, help out at Someday Quilts and follow her dream of becoming an artist.  Nell signs up for classes at the nearby college and hopes to take a drawing class being offered by a renown artist.  The class is full but the artist has become smitten with Nell’s grandmother, Eleanor, and tells her to just show up for the class.

Nell finds herself attracted to the local sheriff, Jesse, but he stands her up on their very first date.  As she heads home, blaming herself for always picking the wrong man, she finds out the sheriff had a good reason for standing her up.  The body of young woman has been found near the river. Jesse begs her to stay out of the investigation, but when a second body turns up, a woman from her drawing class, and clues seem to lead to the man who is becoming closer and closer to her grandmother, Nell can’t help herself from following a sort of “drunkard’s path” of clues in the investigation and the other circle members are along for the ride.

In this installment the ladies are off to the Patchwork Bed & Breakfast to support one of the quilting circle members who has been asked to lead a week long retreat featuring “journal quilts” and Eleanor has been asked to help set up a quilting shop at the B&B.  When they arrive they are shocked that the B&B is nowhere near ready to open, the owners know nothing about quilting and the students taking part in the retreat are all local and none of them really wants to learn  about quilting at all .  There is something very un-seamly about the whole thing.  Nell becomes very suspicious and recruits some of the quilting circle members who stayed home to run the store to do a little investigating. Things start to unravel even more when a body is found in the woods and fingers are being pointed at one of the quilting circle members as the murderer.  Neal leads the quest to clear her friend’s name and is shocked that the local law enforcement actually listens to her theories.  As more and more secrets and evidence are revealed the story evolves into a real crazy quilt of ideas, but leads to a “double cross”.

I love reading series books one right after the other, the authors and characters grow and evolve right before your eyes.  This author knows quilting, she worked on the HGTV show, Simply Quilts, for four seasons, eventually becoming the Supervising Producer.  But after reading these books I have learned that she is also quite a storyteller. 

You can tell just by reading the author’s words she is a true quilter that understands the tactile life of finding the perfect fabrics for the perfect quilt.  She also knows how to piece together a good mystery.  Stitch those things together, add a hint of romance and humor and you have a cozy mystery.  

Her words not only drew me into the mysteries but into the Someday Quilts shop.  It was almost like I was going through the aisles, feeling, touching the fabrics.  Stacking the fabrics, standing back viewing how they would compliment and contrast with each other.  I used to spend hours searching for just the right fabric choice, calculating the yardage and choosing the right pattern.  These books not only entertained me with their mysteries but brought back some truly wonderful memories.

I think if I could change one thing in my life it would be to follow my bliss after high school and have worked on my crafts and maybe opened a craft store instead of studying and working in the accounting field, minus the murder, of course.



I have to thank Mary at Plume for sending me this wonderful series for review and I hope there will be many more adventures forthcoming in the Someday Quilts Mystery Series!!

For more about Clare O’Donohue, check out

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received these books free from Plume Books, a Division of Penguin Publishing.   I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 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 From Dollycas's Thoughts

We Go Traveling Through Tuesday With Patterns In The Sand by Sally Goldenbaum

This post was originally posted on Dollycas’s Thoughts March 23, 2010.

Paperback Release April 6, 2010
“Patterns in the sand,” she murmured. “Just like our lives, crossing over one another. Changing. Altered by the tide’s ebb and flow.”


This week we travel to Sea Harbor, Massachusetts, a small fishing village, that has become home to a colony of artists including Izzy Chambers who owns The Seaside Knitting Studio, where the Seaside Knitters meet each week to work on a special project.  Right now they are knitting soft caps for cancer patients.
But tonight after the studio closed, the resident cat, Purl, welcomes out-of-towner Willow Adams into his domicile and causes some excitement to occur in the little village.  Willow is a fiber artist whose work Izzy had seen in Boston. She had emailed the artist to praise her work, and is very surprised when the artist shows up in Sea Harbor, but everyone quickly accepts her into their “family” and makes plans for her to showcase and explain her beautiful work.  First they want to introduce her to their own gala festival “Art at Night” where the galleries are open late, some with special shows, music, food and drink making for a great party attended by people from near and far.
Everyone is enjoying this wonderful night until one of the artists is found dead in his secluded garden behind his gallery.  Many secrets are revealed after his death and his friends find they didn’t know him as well as they thought they did.
Sally Goldenbaum has written a wonderful story with a tightly knit plot with well patterened characters, who will pick up all the dropped stitches and untangle all the loose ends to solve this mystery.  This reader especially enjoyed all the references to her home state of Wisconsin, and that’s where the story really began.