Posted in Reviews 2011

Remembering Christmas by Dan Walsh


Remembering Christmas

Published by Revell

Available Now

Rick Denton hasn’t had an easy life. His dad left Rick and his mom when he was just twelve years old. His mom found the love of her life but Rick never cared for his stepfather and put up walls so he and the man never were close. Rick makes a life for himself away from them and does the minimum family stuff required to stay in touch.

Then his stepfather suffers a stroke and his mom reaches out to Rick for help. They own a small Christian book store and holiday shopping helps the store stay open all year long. She can’t afford to close the store. They have a woman that works part time, but she begs Rick to please come watch the store just for a few days. He agrees to come but soon realizes that he will be staying much longer than a few days. There’s a homeless guy hanging around outside the store, the business set-up is a mess and the customers are just plain weird, plus his stepfather is in much worse shape than he originally thought.

But within a short period of time the woman that works part-time, the weird customers, and even the homeless man start to have a good effect on Rick. He starts to learn the true meaning of Christmas and a lot about himself. Maybe this family stuff isn’t so bad.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Set in the 1980’s this story is a little step back in time, before everyone was lost texting on their cell phones and becoming addicting to social media. People actually had to talk face to face, share stories with each other, communicate on a personal level. It is a wonderful story of a family coming together at a time of need and realizing they need to be involved in each others lives more than on holidays and a few telephone calls a year.

The story has a wonderful message without being preachy. It is heartwarming and enlightening. A little twist brought a tear to my eye. I think it would make a great Hallmark holiday movie. This is my first experience with this author but it won’t be my last. I love the way this guy writes!!


Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

This was a book from my personal collection.

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Posted in Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Guest Posts Reviews 2011

Special Edition of Cozy Wednesday With J. J. Murphy (Giveaway too!)

J.J. Murphy was my first guest post this year when the book Murder Your Darlings debuted. He took us back in time to the Algonquin Round Table with Dorothy Parker and her friend Robert Benchley. On Tuesday the second book in the wonderful series, You Might As Well Diewas released. I am so happy J.J. is back to tell us all about this wonderful story!

Welcome J.J.!

Thank you Lori for having me here today.

A Funny Way to Die
By J.J. Murphy, author of The Algonquin Round Table Mysteries

Dorothy Parker was a writer and critic in the Roaring 20s who’s known for such sayings as, “Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses,” and “Brevity is the soul of lingerie.” Another favorite: “This is not a book to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.”

In the Algonquin Round Table Mysteries, the clever Mrs. Parker is not only an amusing writer but also an inadvertent, and often reluctant, solver of murders. The title for the most recent book, You Might As Well Die, takes its cue from one of Dorothy Parker’s most famous poems, “Résumé.”

In the book, Mrs. Parker has to figure out why a second-rate artist would apparently commit suicide—and why everyone else is glad that he’s dead. In her actual poem, Mrs. Parker listed the various ways to commit suicide, and why none of them are very good: “Guns aren’t lawful / Nooses give / Gas smells awful / You might as well live.”

In other words, as difficult as life is, death is even worse.

I wonder, then, why we’re so fascinated with murder mysteries? Is it to feel as though there is at least some order in a chaotic universe? Or is it, as snarky Mrs. Parker might have seen it, a way to thumb our nose at death?

Of course, there’s nothing funny about death… Or is there?

As Dorothy Parker herself wrote, “They say of me, and so they should / It’s doubtful if I come to good …/ And though to good I never come / Inseparable my nose and thumb.”

What do you think? Can you crack a joke or a smile at the worst of times?

Visit www.roundtablemysteries.com or www.facebook.com/RoundTableMysteries.

(Fun feature: Go to www.roundtablemysteries.com/contests.html to vote on which famous figure should “guest star” in an upcoming book—and enter to win a $25 gift card.)

~J.J.

About This Author

J.J. Murphy is an award-winning health care writer in Pennsylvania, and has been a long-time fan of Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin Round Table. J.J. started writing after the birth of twin daughters as an escape from toddler television.

Thank you so much J.J. for being here today.  I guess I am one of those like Dorothy that tries to get through the bad times with humor.
How about you my followers?
Leave a comment below for J.J. and tell him you handle things at the worst of times.


You Might As Well Die
An Algonquin Round Table Mystery
2nd in the Series
An Obsidian Mystery
Published by New American Library
A Division of The Penguin Group
Available Now

Second rate illustrator, Ernie MacGuffin, slips dear Dorothy a note that she later finds out is a suicide note. Seems he threw himself off the Brooklyn Bridge at midnight and Dorothy found the note too late to save him. Soon after his works of art have tripled in value and no one really seems sad that the man is even dead.

Dorothy believes there is more to the story and enlists the help of Harry Houdini, magician and skeptic. They attend a séance where the dead artist is expected to be contacted from the great beyond. The haunting voice sounds just a little to real to Dorothy which leads her to believe something illegal is definitely afoot. With the help of her friends she is going to solve this mystery and maybe another one too.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
I love everything about this story, the setting, the characters, the mysteries. Traveling back in time with real people, to real places, with fictional drama is so much fun. Dorothy Parker was quite a woman. She led quite a life. She was a book reviewer herself.

Miss Parker laced her wit with heady truth as a book reviewer, first for The New Yorker as Constant Reader and then for Esquire as book review editor for many years. Her notices were written with a chatty trenchancy, as though she were talking informally to the reader; but she could (and did) impale authors who displeased her, either by synopsizing a pompous plot in all its ludicrousness or by pulverizing the book with a phrase.*

I don’t think J.J. Murphy would “displease” her at all, but she would probably wonder why anyone would write stories featuring the people at “The Round Table”.

These were no giants. Think of who was writing in those days – Lardner, Fitzgerald, Faulkner and Hemingway. Those were the real giants. The Round Table was just a lot of people telling jokes and telling each other how good they were.*

I am sure my reviews wouldn’t pass muster with her though because with her great wit she was a master.

I am glad J.J. Murphy has chosen to write these captivating mysteries with these feisty characters. There is definitely plenty of material in their histories to make me hope there will be many, many more installments to this series. Be sure to vote for the next special guest that will appear in Book 4 of the series. Arthur Conan Doyle will be the special guest in the third book in the series, A FRIENDLY GAME OF MURDER (2012). I am a big Sherlock Holmes fan so that one is definitely on my “Can’t Wait To Read” list. If you have an e-reader there is also a short story available now featuring Dorothy, Hair of the Dog. I just ordered it myself.

I highly recommend You Might As Well Die!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

* excerpts from the New York Obituary of Dorothy Parker (1967)

I will be giving away my review copy
so be sure to fill out the form below to enter.

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

***Remember GFC is going away March 1, 2012
so be sure you are following in a different way if you want to
continue to follow Escape With Dollycas.

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

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

Contest Will End December 22 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted 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 Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Guest Posts Reviews 2011

Cozy Wednesday with Author Ellery Adams (Giveaway too!)


Since starting my blog almost two years ago I have “met” some really good people. The “met” is in quotes because I only know these people via the internet but still call these people my friends. They have been there for me through thick and thin with just the right words, a virtual hug, a silly picture, sharing my joys and picking me up when I stumble. The geography is the only thing that sets these people apart from the friends I have here in Fall River. Ellery is one of those friends who if we didn’t have the miles between us I could see us as real life friends as well.

I am so excited she is here today sharing with us something I myself have wondered about. So get a cup of coffee and relax and enjoy a visit with my friend Ellery Adams.

Welcome Ellery!!!

Hi Lori, I am happy to be here.

Am I Jealous of My Heroine?

By Ellery Adams

A reader asked me this question recently and I found it fascinating. What she really wanted to know was does my character do things I’d be afraid to do? Does she have more fun? Is she more adventurous? Et cetera.

First of all, though Olivia and I are both in our early forties, love animals, and grew up with the ocean as our back yard, we’re really quite different.

For example, Olivia is standoffish. After years of being followed by the paparazzi, the oak barrel heiress values privacy above all other things. And while she’s emerging from her shell of solitude and I spend much of my time alone creating novels, I cherish my relationships with others. I’d be nothing without them.

Another thing Olivia would never do is join Facebook. The idea of chatting with complete strangers who share common interests would have no appeal to her. I love it! It’s brought me closer to so many readers, to so many wonderful people, like your fabulous blog owner (xoxo).

However, I would love to be able to drop into Olivia’s five-star restaurant, The Boot Top Bistro, and take my pick of anything on the menu. I’d love to live in her house overlooking the Atlantic, and be able to stroll around the charming seaside town of Oyster Bay, North Carolina whenever I wanted to!

But Olivia might actually be jealous of me, because her lifelong dream is to become a published author. I can check that off my list, but I can also understand her determination to succeed at that goal. Maybe the more she learns about love and friendship, the better she’ll be at creating fictional relationships?

Until then, she can live the life of a tall, thin, gorgeous heiress and I’ll be me. I get to live vicariously through her after all!

And for you, my friends, I have a gift. Someone posting a comment will win a signed copy of THE LAST WORD!

So please tell me which character you’d like to be for a day and maybe you’ll win!

Happy Holidays from Olivia, Captain Haviland, and the Bayside Book Writers!

~Ellery

Thank you so much Ellery for being here today!!! and for offering an autographed copy of The Last Word! Happy Holidays my friend, I see awesome book sales as one of your Christmas presents!!!

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

The Last Word
A Books By The Bay Mystery
3rd in the Series
Berkley Prime Crime
The Berkley Publishing Group
A Division of The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Kimberly Schamber
Cover Design by Rita Frangie


Olivia Limoges and the Bayside Book Writers are excited about Oyster Bay’s newest resident: bestselling novelist Nick Plumley, who’s come to work on his next book. But when Olivia stops by Plumley’s rental she finds that he’s been strangled to death. Her instincts tell her that something from the past came back to haunt him, but she never expects that the investigation could spell doom for one of her dearest friends…

Dollycas’s Thoughts
I have loved all the books in this series but this one is the best so far and brings to light the authors amazing growth as a writer. Ellery Adams takes a little snippet of North Carolina history, unknown to most people, and masterfully weaves a mystery featuring the characters we have gotten to know and love right into that history making it relevant today. It is absolutely brilliant.

The way the mystery unfolds surprised me but it just flowed so naturally it couldn’t have played out any other way.

Ellery writes books I really get caught up in, yes to use my tagline, I “escape” effortlessly into her stories, like I am actually smelling the ocean, feeling the wind and hearing the ocean waves hitting the beach. I used to think it was because the best vacation our family ever had was a week spent at Caswell Beach, North Carolina, several years ago so I already had a picture of this seaside town in my mind, but reading this book I realized it was the author’s words taking me there, not some old memory. In fact if we ever returned I wouldn’t be surprised to find someone just like Olivia treasure hunting along the beach will her canine friend by her side.

It is always the right time of year to take a mini vacation to Oyster Bay. I promise you will enjoy every minute of your trip.


Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

In addition to the autographed copy Ellery is offering (U.S. Only) I will be giving away my review copy so be sure to leave a comment to enter Ellery’s prize and fill out the form below to win my copy.

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

***Remember GFC is going away March 1, 2012
so be sure you are following in a different way if you want to
continue to follow Escape With Dollycas.

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

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

Contest Will End December 21 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted 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 Reviews 2011

Playing The Hand She’s Dealt by David Fingerman

Playing The Hand She’s Dealt
Published by L & L Dreamspell

This is a sequel to David Fingerman’s Silent Kill.

Louise Miller has left the police force and is trying to get her life on track as she struggles to overcome the terror she has survived. She is unemployed and becoming addicted to gambling. How could her life get any worse? Coming home and finding dead man sitting on her sofa is definitely worse. The man being someone she arrested before resigning from the police department makes it twice as bad.

On top of all that the killer is obsessed with destroying Louise piece by painful piece. Threatening not only her life but the lives of the people she loves. She has no choice but the hunt this madman down on her own.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
I read this book the same way I read Silent Kill, all in one sitting, with just a couple of small breaks to gather by wits. This author has a way of writing that amazes me. The story unfolds before your eyes like you are watching it on the big screen. There are places that will make you shiver and others that will make you shake, some that may even bring a smile to your face, but I guarantee you will not be able to put it down.

Louise Miller will be someone you care about as she has flaws like every one of us. She lies to her partner and to her brother to try and keep them safe. The relationship between Louise and Grant gets very interesting as they both have their eyes opened. And Peanut, the dog even his mother wouldn’t love, works his way into your heart.

In Silent Kill I was drawn in by the graphic and gory nature of the writing about the serial killer. In this story I was more drawn in by the growth and relationships among all of the characters and the mystery of tracking down the killer. As is the case with books in a series each one tends to be better than the last. In this case both books are excellent but in different ways. In the sequel the characters are growing naturally and we become more entrenched in their lives, along with a masterfully crafted mystery. It makes me wonder where Mr. Fingerman may be taking us in the future. I know he is at work on book three and I can’t wait to see what Louise get herself into next.


Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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

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Posted in Reviews 2011

Executive Retention by Maria E. Schneider

Executive Retention: A Sedona O’Hala Mystery #2 (Volume 2)
2nd in the Series
Bear Mountain Books

Sedona O’Hala returns along with those Huntington brothers that seem to always lead her into the line of fire. In this edition she is undercover at Acetel, an IT firm, who seems to have a problem somewhere because their numbers just aren’t adding up. Sedona needs to track down not only the who, but the what and why to solve this companies issues.

On the personal front, Sedona’s sister-in-law is hosting Thanksgiving and Sedona even brings a guest.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
First let me say there are no recipes at the back of this cozy mystery and after you read about the family’s Thanksgiving dinner you will understand why. Hilarious!!!

I enjoyed this spunkier version of Sedona. The author is getting more comfortable with her protagonist and her other prime characters as well. The relationships between them are all growing, some even a little unexpected.

The plot was original but at times a bit too tech savvy and in places hard for me to follow but not too distracting to take away from the story. The methods of hacking to find answers were just a little confusing if you are not familiar with the Information Technology jargon. In the end all the answers come together and I had a few “aha moments”.

The next book in the series Executive Sick Days is available too and on my wish list. This is really a fun cozy series.


Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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

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Posted in Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Reviews 2011

Cozy Wednesday with Crops and Robbers Giveaway!


I can’t believe I didn’t schedule a guest post this week but that doesn’t mean we can’t talk cozies. The next 3 weeks be fun as Ellery Adams, Juliet Blackwell and Virginia Lowell stop by to talk about their books coming out December 6. If you check my Books Tab these are all books I Can’t Wait To Read!!! Another one I couldn’t wait to read was Crops and Robbers (A Farmers’ Market Mystery)by Paige Shelton.  You will find my review below. I will also put a box below with a bunch of new cozies that are being released next Tuesday so you can get them pre-ordered and their way to you. December is going to be another wonderful month for cozy lovers.

Crops and Robbers (A Farmers’ Market Mystery)
A Farmer’s Market Mystery
3rd in Series
Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
Published by The Berkley Publishing Group
A Division of The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Dan Craig

Becca Robin’s farm-made jams and jellies are “to die for” but that is because they are delicious not that they would actually kill anyone. Unless of course you are Joan Ashworth of the South Carolina Restaurant Association. Her group visited Bailey’s Farm Market to set up contracts to purchase local produce and products. Becca couldn’t wait until they tasted her preserves. With her family wedged tightly in her booth Joan takes a bite of the strawberry jam, they are all surprised by her reaction, her face sours and she openly rejects Becca’s jam. Becca is heartbroken but knows she has a wonderful product and all her friends and family try to console her. She pulls herself together, completes her day and heads home. She gets there only to find Joan Ashworth dead and her mother with blood on her hands. Now she really needs to work fast to figure out what really happened and get her mom out an enormous jam.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
I have loved this entire series and this one just continues to deliver farm fresh mystery for me to “escape” into within minutes. No matter the weather outside it is always a perfect time to visit Bailey’s Farm Market and catch up with all the characters that have sprouted warmly in our hearts. The in depth peek into Becca and Allison’s parent’s life was truly a pleasure. Sticking together through thick and thin and barely even leaving each other’s side even when one of them is behind bars is a great testament to a long happy marriage. Their positive attitude is really something to admire.

The bump in Becca’s love life gives us something to look forward to as the series continues. It should be very interesting. Wonder who is going to get themselves into a pickle next.

If you enjoy this series you will be happy to hear about Paige’s new series, If Fried Chicken Could Fly (Country Cooking School Mystery) will be release January 3, 2012 and Paige will be here January 4 for Cozy Wednesday to tell us all about it!!!

To find out more about Paige Shelton be sure to check out her web page.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Thanks to the people at Berkley Prime Crime I have one copy of
Crops and Robbers (A Farmers’ Market Mystery)to give away.

U.S. & Canadian Residents

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

***Remember GFC is going away March 1, 2012
so be sure you are following in a different way if you want to
continue to follow Escape With Dollycas

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

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

Contest Will End December 14 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted 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 Literary Escapes Reviews 2011

ENDANGERED by Pamela Beason

Endangered (A Summer Westin Mystery)
BRAND NEW SERIES
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Design by Judith Lagerman
Release Date: December 6, 2011

Summer (Sam) Westin is a wildlife biologist and she recently helped rehabilitate a family of cougars and helped release them into the wild in a Utah National Park. Today she is back to do a follow-up report for a wildlife group. As she starts up the trail of the park where she worked as a Ranger for awhile she comes across a little lost boy. After she returns him safely to his father she is back on the trail hoping to get some pictures of her large feline friends.

Then she learns via her radio that a child has gone missing and he matches the description of the little boy she had been with earlier. Maybe that man wasn’t his father. Sam feels it’s all her fault and has to help find the boy.

The media is going a whole different direction and is reporting the child was taken by a cougar, bringing panic and everyone with a shotgun out of the woodwork to kill the cougars. Sam knows it is highly unlikely that a cougar had anything to do with the missing boy and when FBI Special Agent Chase Perez joins the search she does everything she can to convince him humans are behind the disappearance. The authorities are planning to bring in snipers to kill the cougars so for Sam to save the boy and her precious animals she has to work fast to get at the truth, even if it means canvasing the entire park and going into some of the most dangerous places.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
This book really surprised me by grabbing me right away and holding on tight. Big cats are my favorite wild animal. They always look so regal and majestic sitting high up on the rocks. I have never seen one up close though except at the zoo. I wanted to be in Sam Westin’s shoes as she got oh so close to these wonderful animals.

But it was more than that that kept me reading, the plot twists were amazing, and as more and more clues were gathered the story that evolved was simply spectacular. I have never been to a park in Utah but the author painted such beautiful pictures with her words that I felt like I was right there. The park is also more than just a setting for this story, it is a character, a character that reacts to not only changes in weather but changes of its inhabitants. A trail can be one way one day and totally different the next. The vastness of caves, nooks and crannies make it the perfect spot for a mystery.

This is my first experience with this author but she left us wanting more and a perfect foundation for the series to continue. I am anxious to see the next installment. We are given just a little snippet at the end of this book that is so unfair because I really hate waiting, but it seems bears will be involved.

This book is a

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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

Sponsored by Sheila at Book Journey
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Posted in Reviews 2011

Daddy’s Home by A.K. Alexander

Daddy’s Home
Published by CreateSpace
Available Now

The media call him “The Family Man”. He is in search of the “perfect” family and he stalks single moms and their kids trying to choose just the right ones so he can insert himself to be the “perfect” father. Perfect until the chosen mother and child don’t play along with his demented fantasy and then he kills and starts hunting again.

Holly Jennings, a Crime Scene Investigator for the San Diego Police Department has caught the case. She lost her husband in another police investigation that went horribly wrong. She deals daily with the guilt that it was her fault. This makes the case personal because she is now a single mom herself.

The case gets even more personal for her as a friend falls victim to “The Family Man.” Holly start to realize she has to tread carefully as she fits his profile. One false move could cost not only her own life but the lives of others she holds dear.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Talk about psychological suspense thrillers, this one blew me away! Think Criminal Minds more than CSI. Holly works her way into your heart and “The Family Man” speeds up your heart rate to record levels.

The author has written the book in such a way that you become invested in the characters quickly. They are so fully developed, both the “bad” characters and the “good” characters. Their back stories are interspersed so naturally you can almost see them drawn on the page.

While the moments with the killer can get gritty and graphic, the times with Holly as her new relationship grows can be serene and romantic. Then as we get more into the story and the “chase” is on your emotions will run the gambit. I challenge you to try and put this book down! You will not be able to do it! It is filled with plot twists, surprises and one unbelievably strong woman!

This author has definitely found her niche. I want more just like this one!!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent


I want to recognize and thank Lori from Lori’s Reading Corner for recommending this fantastic book to me. I read about it on her blog back in August and couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. Now I can’t wait to my hands on all of these!!!

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 Cozy Wednesday Guest Posts Reviews 2011 Wisconsin Author

Cozy Wednesday with Author Rochelle Staab (Giveaway Too!)


Back in August I received the nicest email from Rochelle telling me how much she liked my blog Dollycas’s Thoughts, (I hope she likes this new revised version as well) but she also told me she was originally from Wisconsin and about her new book coming out November 1 and that is was a cozy mystery. Well you know what that meant, I immediately wrote back to her and signed her to Guest Post here.

Since then I have read the book, Who Do, Voodoo? (A Mind for Murder Mystery), and loved it!!! Rochelle was in Wisconsin last week to publicize her book, but we didn’t get to meet in person this time. I know we will get together in the future. Right now I am just so pleased that she is here today, especially with Thanksgiving tomorrow!!!

Welcome Rochelle!!

Thank you so much for inviting me here on Cozy Wednesday, Lori. I’m thrilled to be in the company of the wonderful writers who post here, and proud to raise my hand as a native Wisconsin author. Although fate transplanted me to New York then Los Angeles, I am a Midwest gal at heart.

As I bake pecan pies for tomorrow’s dinner, I’m filled with gratitude. Thanksgiving 2011 is particularly special for me—my first book went on sale this month, fulfilling a lifelong dream. Seeing Who Do, Voodoo? on bookstore shelves took my breath away. Tears? Indeed.

Today I’d like to take the Dollycas’ readers into my writing cave to share some of the other things I am grateful for as a writer:

1. Loud, noisy, hyperactive characters who won’t shut up when they enter a scene. These characters are fun to write because they’ll blurt out the most outrageous comments, mess up the plot, shift directions, and create conflict. Viv, my main character’s mother, is a good example. I can’t say who inspired Viv (my Mom?) but she’s a blast to write. Most of the time characters like this need to be edited, but they’re much more dynamic than characters who opt to take an emotional day off when I need them to react.


2. Scenes that write themselves. Occasionally scenes fool me because on the outline or in planning stages they appear complicated or tricky. Maybe the story is headed toward a big confrontation or dark moment or multi-character gathering I know is necessary but a bear to organize. Then “voila!” I start writing and the scene flows out as smoothly as telling my best friend Pat the minute details of a party complete with dialog, wardrobe, and props.


3. Surprising plot twists. The best. As I began writing Who Do, Voodoo? I was certain I knew exactly who the killer would be. A third of the way in I thought, “Huh. It’s not that person—it’s THAT person.” Two-thirds through I realized, “Holy cow, I was wrong again. The killer is THAT person!” I hope the plot of every novel I write shocks me somewhere along the way because, in turn, the reader (and my amateur sleuth) will be surprised too.


4. Cold Readers. These are the guinea pigs, intelligent and patient souls who read my novels before anyone else, even before my genius editor picks up her red pencil. Cold readers are like the saleswoman who comes in the department store dressing room with the pluck to tell me my butt looks huge in a dress instead of gushing or keeping her mouth shut just to get me to the cash register. It’s great to have one cold reader who gushes, but the treasures are the one who will say, “The main character would NEVER go down to the basement alone. What were you thinking? Rewrite the scene,” and frame their words as a constructive compliment. I (heart) my critique partners and cold readers.


5. The End. Ah, the gift that keeps on giving. The utter joy of typing those two little words comes wrapped in a major sigh of relief with arms in the air and cheers—even if I will be rewriting and editing the entire blasted story at least three more times.

The community of cozy readers, reviewers, bloggers, and writers is the most amazing group of supporters any writer could hope for and will also be on my gratitude list tomorrow. When dinner is over and I’m curled up in bed, I’ll be opening a good cozy for a great read.

Have a fabulous Thanksgiving everyone!

~Rochelle

Thank You Rochelle!!!! I love those loud, noisy characters as you will see in my review. I want to add that as I getting this article ready to post I have learned that Rochelle’s book has made the Barnes & Noble Bestsellers List. Congratulations Rochelle!!! Can you pass a piece of that pecan pie?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Rochelle Staab, a former award-winning radio programmer and music industry marketing executive, blended her fascination with the supernatural and her love for mystery in Who Do, Voodoo?the first novel in her Mind for Murder Mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime. BRUJA BROUHAHA, the second novel in the series will be released in August 2012.
You can find out more about Rochelle at www.rochellestaab.com
or Follow her at:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rochelle.staab
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/rochellestaab
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4705211.Rochelle_Staab

****

Who Do, Voodoo? (A Mind for Murder Mystery)
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
Published by The Penguin Group
1st in the Series
Cover Illustration by Blake Morrow
Cover Design by Diana Kolsky


Who Do, Voodoo?,the first novel in Rochelle Staab’s thrilling new Mind for Murder Mystery series features no-nonsense Liz Cooper, a Los Angeles psychologist forced to embrace the occult to clear her best friend of murder.

When Liz Cooper’s friend Robin Bloom finds an unusual tarot card tacked to her front door, Liz writes it off as a prank. Robin refuses to ignore the omen—her late husband drew the same card, the three of swords, in a reading the night before he was killed in a car accident. As more cards and darker threats appear, Liz realizes someone very dangerous is upping the ante.

Liz turns to her brother’s old college roommate, occult expert Nick Garfield. As Nick leads her into the voodoo community to locate the origin of the deck, she can’t ignore their attraction to each other. Then a woman is found murdered and Robin becomes the prime suspect. Determined to clear her friend, Liz joins forces with Nick to unravel otherworldly secrets and seek help from beyond—or risk being outwitted by a cunning killer.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
First I have to say this is Rochelle’s debut novel, not just published novel, this is the first book she has written. Unbelievable!! She is such a wonderful storyteller I was sure she had written several books, but no, this the first, I asked her more than once. She even talks about it during an interview she did last week in Milwaukee.

Liz Cooper and I are on the same page when it comes to tarot cards and voodoo, we are doubters, it’s fine if you believe it but it not our “cup of tea”, so no tea leaves for us. You do not have to believe to absolutely love this story. In fact, a little doubt makes you relate to Liz as she delves in to investigate this murder to clear her friend. Both Liz and the reader learn about voodoo, including Haitian Vodou and Louisiana or New Orleans Voodoo. The history of both is very interesting and the way Rochelle connects them to the characters in this story is almost magical.

My favorite character of course was Liz, but her mother is an absolute hoot!! She never misses an opportunity to try to get Liz to reunite with her ex-husband and whenever she talks to Liz about her brother she always says,”your brother, Dave”. Liz only has one brother and she does know his name. It just cracked me up every time. Liz is an expert at dealing with or not dealing with her mother. Loved it!!

This is a perfect cozy mystery, unique characters, clever plot, creative setting, spiced up with a little romance and humor. It is a fabulous debut and I can’t wait for the next installment. The Wisconsin girl did a great job, now she needs to have Liz make a trip to the Midwest for a Mind For Murder sequel, just a thought!!


Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Thanks to the great people at Penguin I have
2 copies of WHO DO VOODOO? to giveaway!

U.S. & Canadian Residents

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

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

Leave a Comment for Rochelle for 5 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End December 7 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted 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 Reviews 2011

A Real Basket Case by Beth Groundwater


A Real Basket Case (A Claire Hanover Mystery)
Midnight Ink
First in the Series
Cover Illustration by Glenn Gustafson
Cover Design by Kevin R. Brown
Available Now

Claire Hanover’s nest is empty, her kids are off on their own, and her husband is a workaholic. She has started her own part-time business creating gift baskets but it doesn’t fill her time as much as she would like. She feels neglected by her husband because she comes number two after his rise up the corporate ladder.

She follows the advice of her best friend Ellen to join an aerobics class to get back into shape and meet people. All the women in the class agree their instructor is dreamy and most flirt with him openly through each class. There are rumors that he has had affairs with most of his students but Claire puts up a wall right away letting him know she is married. That doesn’t make her immune from his charms and she still agrees to let Enrique to be her personal trainer and she lets him come to her house to give her a massage after a stressful workout.

The massage barely gets started when someone sneaks into her house and shoots Enrique dead right there in her master bedroom. The police arrest Claire’s husband for the murder very quickly. Claire is determined to clear her husband of the crime and save her marriage and she will do anything necessary to do just that.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
When I finished this book I sat up straight and said WOW!!! This is definitely not your traditional cozy mystery. This is a hold on to the edge of your seat wild ride mystery!!! I got about halfway through and I couldn’t put it down. It was a late night as I stayed up to finish it and then couldn’t get to sleep.

I do not want to reveal much because you will enjoy it much more just reading it yourself but the lengths this woman, Claire, goes to are astounding. All to save the man she loves. The places she goes, the danger she puts herself in, the people she deals with left me dazed. You want to reach into the pages and shake her and say “Are you crazy?” She starts the book as a woman lost and emerges as such a strong heroine.

This is another book I to shout about from the rooftops, YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK!!!! The book is off my rating scale it is so good! Like mystery and suspense, strong women characters, along with the charm and a little humor found in a wonderful cozy, this book is perfect for you. It is like a cozy mystery on steroids!!!



Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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

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