Posted in Reviews 2011

Dangerous Alterations by Elizabeth Lynn Casey

Dangerous Alterations (A Southern Sewing Circle Mystery)
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
Published by The Penguin Group
5th in the Series
Cover Illustration by Mary Ann Lasher (It’s Fabulous!)
Cover Design by Judith Lagerman

We are back in Sweet Briar with Tori Sinclair and the ladies of the Southern Sewing Circle. In this installment Tori’s past comes back to haunt her.

First at a local health clinic Tori runs into her ex-fiance’s great aunt Vera. The old woman seems shocked to see Tori. Tori is shocked when the woman dies on the spot, most likely from a heart attack. Vera’s death brings slime-ball Jeff to Sweet Briar for the funeral and he has the nerve to ask Tori to take him back.

Tori is also worrying about Dixie, the former head librarian, filling in for her as she takes off on a weekend retreat with the Sewing Circle. Then she learns that it seems Jeff has fallen over dead during a run around Sweet Briar, from a heart attack as well. Heart problems run in his family but even Tori believes this is too much of a coincidence. The police chief thinks so too and even thinks Tori may be involved in the death.

It’s time to gather everyone together and try to piece together what really happened as Tori tries hard to keep for life from ripped apart at the seams.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
I love this series and I love these ladies. The story is filled with one surprise after another. Elizabeth Lynn Casey has outdone herself with this one. It is easily the best book in the entire series, but knowing this author the next one will be awesome too. The characters continue to grow, the story is full of layers that will continue into the next installments. The mystery or should I say mysteries are clever. I will say there were at least three places in this story when I said “OH MY GOSH”, totally unexpected, off the wall twists.

As the time passes, the friendships of these women have grown so that even through some are already family, together they are building a new family all their own. Tori has been in Sweet Briar a very short time and now with her past up close and personal she has the entire support of the ladies of the Southern Sewing Circle. She needs them more than ever in this story. They protect her and fight for her like she was their own, daughter, niece or sister. They are there to help her pick up the pieces and move forward. These friendships are the core of this series. To move away from one life to start over in a new place is extremely difficult but she has been welcomed and embraced by this town totally.

Every trip to Sweet Briar is a pleasure. The residents of Sweet Briar just stitch themselves right into your heart. I’ll give Tori and friends some time for things to settle down. I know the next book is in the works and I can’t for my next visit.



Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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.”

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Posted in Reviews 2011

L.A. Mental by Neil McMahon


Harper
An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Available Now

To psychologist Tom Crandall it seems Los Angeles in going insane. A distinguished judge goes on a rampage an destroys his own home, a brilliant grad student from CalTech is killed while driving his car wildly through traffic, his own brother, Nick, calls him distressed claiming “his brain is being devoured by worms”.

Sadly as Tom tries to help his brother he can’t stop him from throwing himself off a cliff into the Pacific ocean. Tom rescues him only to learn Nick doesn’t remember a thing.

The Crandalls are a very wealthy family. Tom seeming to be the most normal, Nick has been involved in some shady dealings, their sister Erica has her own problems and younger brother Paul is the business man of the family and is in charge of the family fortune.

As Tom starts to investigate secrets come out and all the insanity seems to lead to a film company Parallax Productions and its director, a former physicist named Gunnar Kelso. Tom delves right into the middle of things to find some answers and what he discovers is absolutely mind boggling.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
I knew this author from his previous work with James Patterson on the book TOYS so I knew he come up with some pretty out there ideas, but it did not prepare me for this.

I wouldn’t actually call it a thriller, it is more of a psychological study of madness. However, it is just as entertaining, but must be read carefully to capture ever nuance in this mind bending story. They are some really technical concepts that take away some of the drama by being too scientific. They are also some confusing elements as to setting and why certain people were affected and others not, but it is fiction, science fiction. Sometimes you need to just let go of reality and let the story take you on a journey. I was waiting for a real ” a ha moment” and that doesn’t happen.

Like Patterson’s quote says on the cover it is “a very cool concept”, but if you pick this book thinking you are going to be reading a true thriller you will be disappointed. If you like sci-fi or futuristic type fiction this book is perfect for you. It is filled with the stuff that you spend nights dreaming about. It is also a book that will leave you contemplating just how much is really fiction. How much of this technology is already out there and can it be used for good and evil. McMahon has now shown me twice that he has quite an imagination, a sometimes scary imagination. What worries me is the actual research he did to come up with this “very cool concept” and how much is true and how much is imagined.
The Twilight Zone Theme Song



Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Harper. 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 2011

The Nine Lives of Christmas by Sheila Roberts Review & Giveaway

I know it is a little early for Christmas books but this one was released on October 25, and I wanted to share it with you as soon as I could.

The Nine Lives of Christmas
St. Martins Press
Jacket Illustration by Jane Boyle Hallman

This story features Ambrose, the matchmaking cat, who finds himself facing his ninth life, you know the final one. He will do anything – ANYTHING – to be able to live it out happily.

When it looks like his fate has been sealed by an enormous dog, he pleads for help. His savior arrives in the form of a big, strong, firefighter named Zach. A firefighter who is very surprised that his good deed not only included scaring away the dog but giving Ambrose a new home.

Ambrose soon sees Zach needs help in the romance department. He also knows it is not going to be an easy endeavor to bring the perfect match together. With a bit of holiday magic he may be able to do it and even find a little feline romance for himself.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
This is such a cute little story. The perfect pick me up to get your holiday planning and shopping off on the right foot. You may even want to pick up some extra copies to give as gifts.

A light holiday romance with the predictable happy ending told from the cat’s point of view. It makes for a Very Meowy Christmas.


Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

The good people at St. Martin’s Press have been very generous.
I have my gently read hardcover copy to giveaway
but they also sent me an audio copy too!!

I really want to share this book so I am having a special giveaway.
U.S. & CANADIAN RESIDENTS

You can enter once for each copy formats by filling out two separate forms.
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.
If you publicize the giveaway anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End November 11 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner 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 St. Martin's Press. 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 Thoughts

Feel Good Friday – Toys

Hosted by: Erika, the girl next door grows up

Welcome to
Feel Good Friday!!!

Erika had found that a lot of her bloggy friends reading posts about being positive, so she thought she might try her very own meme. She just wanted everyone to feel good and have some happy thoughts as you begin the weekend.

“The Girl” is busy constructing a new website so for the time being this feature is being hosted by lia sophia tomgirl. She has a great blog, be sure to check it out!

What made me FEEL GOOD this week?

Going a little different direction this week.


I am thrilled to be a member of the Amazon Vine Program. Even more so because I was able to get something to review that I could team up with my daughter and my almost 4 year old grandson for the review.

Last month I was sent

Fisher-Price GeoTrax Disney/Pixar Cars 2 World Grand Prix RC Set

Let GeoTrax® help you recreate the excitement of the big race in the Disney/Pixar Cars 2 movie, complete with cool sounds and phrases! As everyone pulls into Porto Corsa, Italy, Acer the Pacer is ready to throw Finn McMissile off track with his flip track at the bridge! And if that doesn’t work, he can catch him at the Minion Garage! Includes Minion Garage with flip track, Tokyo Pit Stop, Porto Corsa racing venue with collapsing bridge, Easy Rail track piece, Snap-Lock™ track, Acer push vehicle and Finn McMissile Turbo RC with forward & reverse action. Requires 6 AAA batteries (3 for RC controller and 3 for vehicle).

My grandson loved it!!!


The funniest thing happened. You know that with the holidays coming way too quickly all the television stations are full of toy commercials. There was one showing this product and he started yelling at the tv screen, “I WANT THAT!! I WANT THAT!!” I said “you already have it, right out in the living room”.
He said “I want the rest, I really need a “Mater” because the cars keep crashing!”

Well there are plenty of accessories to add for his
upcoming birthday and Christmas!


There are about 12 other things too!

To set the whole set up check out this web page.

PLUS CARS 2 COMES OUT ON DVD NOVEMBER 1

Cars 2 (Two-Disc Blu-ray / DVD Combo in Blu-ray Packaging)
IF DON’T HAVE THE FIRST MOVIE BE SURE TO GET THAT TOO!!

Cars (Single-Disc Widescreen Edition)

This entire set wins high praise from all of us!!

A great toy to add to your holiday list!

We all enjoyed the movies as well!

Playing with my grandson always makes me FEEL GOOD!!!

Now tell me
What made you Feel Good this week?
I hope you will take a moment to share!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent
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Posted in Giveaways Reviews 2011

Cemetery Girl by David Bell With Giveaway

Cemetery Girl
New American Library
Published by The Penguin Group
Available Now

Tom and Abby Stuart seem to be a couple with the perfect life until their wonderful 12-year old daughter, Caitlin, disappears without a trace. The only witness to Caitlin’s disappearance is the family dog. Abby finds solace at church, Tom endures by tracking every lead and keeping their daughter’s story out there. Their marriage starts to fall apart as they are both pulled in different directions. Abby needs closure and Tom needs to keep hope alive.

Four years later their world is rocked again when Caitlin is found alive…..

Dollycas Thoughts
I think the book cover synopsis gives away too much of the story and loses some of the suspense. That being said it is a gripping story. The psychological part of the story is very compelling as all three main characters deal with serious issues. Losing a child is devastating enough but having them return after time, while fantastic, trying to acclimate together again can be overwhelming.

The entire story is told from Tom’s point of view and his pain, agony, fear, mistrust, sadness and grief are all poured out on these pages. As his childhood memories are revealed you feel even more of these emotions. At times I thought he was hallucinating visions of his daughter, his mind trying to cope. Maybe because I was taking this journey so closely with Tom I found myself really not liking Abby and her relationship with her pastor really upset me.

This author has a voice I will continue to watch. This is a smart novel with keen insight. There are many layers in this story that add to the story making it different from other stories with a similar premise. Parents will hug their kids tight after reading this all too real nightmare.


Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from New American Library. 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.”

I really want to share this book so I am having a special 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.

Contest Will End November 10 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here.

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Posted in Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Guest Posts Reviews 2011

Cozy Wednesday with Author Liz Lipperman (Giveaway too!)


When I saw the title of this book, I knew I had to “meet” this author. I immediately wrote her to ask her to guest post and was so happy when she agreed. Then the book arrived and I loved it and could wait for her to get here! She is here today so help me give her a warm welcome.

Welcome Liz!!!

Hi Everyone,

First of all I want to thank Lori for inviting me to hang out with her today. She’s one of the many avid readers/reviewers out there whom I’ve gotten to know through Facebook. I love Facebook, BTW. Anyway, I’ve developed a new respect for all of you out there who love reading so much and are so generous with your reviews. So many people are quick to tell you what they don’t like but forget to mention a good experience. This happens in all walks of life, not just book reviews, and I’m sorry to say I’ve also been guilty of it.

Not anymore! The next time I get a waiter/waitress who does a really nice job, I’m filling out the comment card on the table. If there is none, I’ll make sure I let him/her know I appreciated the good service.

Anyway, I got off topic for a minute, but I wanted y’all to know how much writers appreciate it when you tell us if you enjoyed our books. Enough of that and onto the post.

When I asked Lori what I should blog about, she suggested I talk about myself and how I got the idea for the book and the series. So here goes.

I’m a retired RN with two grown kids and four adorable grandchildren. Unlike most writers, I wasn’t much of a book reader growing up. My goal was always to be a nurse and marry my high school sweetheart—– both of which I did! About 20 years ago, I got the first wild hair that I wanted to write. I’d always known I could express myself better on paper, even used letters when hubby and I would fight. It wasn’t until I went back to college and took a creative writing class that I really got the itch.

So, I started my first novel about a nurse who was kidnapped and smuggled into Columbia. It’s a beautiful love story, and since I was chasing the romance genre, I thought it would be my breakout novel.

Hello, New York Times Bestsellers’ List… I thought.

Little problem here. My two heroes and the fact that “romance in Third World countries doesn’t sell” (their words, not mine) got me rejected faster than you can imagine. I suppose all the explosions and dead bodies had something to do with it.

It wasn’t until I signed with my agent that I had a rude awakening. “You know you don’t write romance, right?”

What?

“You write mysteries.”

It was as if a light bulb had gone off in my head, and it released me from all the romance rules I had been struggling with. I could now write the story exactly as it played out in my head.

Two completed manuscripts later, my agent submitted the first of a proposed paranormal mystery series to an editor at Berkley. It’s the story of five sisters, one of whom dies and comes back to help solve her murder. My ghost is trash talking and irreverent and says exactly what she thinks. The editor loved the story, even quoted some of the ghost’s best lines, but…

Sheesh! I hate that word.

She was looking for a new cozy series and said she’d have to ruin the ghost story to make it work. She asked if I could write a cozy, more specifically a “foodie” since a series like that had just ended.

I’d only heard the word cozy mentioned up to this point, so I said no. I had just broken out from under the romance chain of rules. No way I wanted more… but (again that word) I would sleep on it and let her know. Since most of the foodies out there were about gourmet food, my first thought was that even if I agreed to write it, there was no way I could pull it off. I’m number 8 of 9 children, and I grew up on casseroles. I hate gourmet food.

Prepared to tell my agent to ask one of her other clients if they wanted to give it a shot, I fell asleep with all this on my mind. About three in the morning, I shot up in bed with the idea of Jordan, my heroine, being the exact opposite of every other “foodie” protag out there. What if she unexpectedly had the opportunity to write a food column for a small newspaper, despite the fact that not only did she know nothing about cooking, but she also survived on fast food, fried bologna sandwiches, and Hostess Ho Hos.

I brewed a cup of coffee then ran to the computer. In less than a week, I had a synopsis and three chapters. When I hit Send to my agent, I wondered if both Jordan and I could pull it off. Two weeks later, I had a three book deal from Berkley.

So my message today is never say never. Sometimes being clueless isn’t the worst thing. And as a side note, I just got my edits for book 2 in the series. My editor wants my love interest to have a little more air time.

Go figure!! I guess I write romantic mystery.

BUT I just got dinged on Amazon because of it. So now it’s my turn to find out how you feel about a touch of romance mixed in with your murders and mysteries.

~Liz

Great Post Liz! Don’t let one reviewer ever get you down!! If everyone liked the same thing the world would be so boring.

Liver Let Die (A Clueless Cook Mystery)
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
Published by The Penguin Group
A Brand New Series
Cover Illustrated by Sarah Oberrender
Cover Design by Ben Perini
Available Now!!

Jordan McAllister wants to be a sports columnist, but she follows her boyfriend to Dallas and sports columnist jobs are few and far between. Even worse her boyfriend breaks up with her after she has turned her life upside down for him.

The only job she can find working at a newspaper is at the Ranchero Globe writing the Personals ads, while she awaits her dream job. After just three months on the job she is summoned to the editor’s office. Not having a clue what she did, she slowly makes her way there. She quickly learns he wants to offer her a job in addition to her Personals work. He wants her to fill in for the Culinary Reporter who is on leave recovering from an accident.

Jordan knows absolutely nothing about food, but this may take her one step closer to becoming a sports columnist, so she decides she will figure out the details later and accepts the job.

Her first assignment puts her right into the hot water. She really is trying to stay away from red meat and she has been sent to review a local steakhouse. She asks the waiter for a recommendation and he suggests the foie gras. As soon as she sees it she knows there is no way she is going to be able to eat it, so she tries to go unnoticed as she slides the plate full of food into her purse. She has ruined a good handbag, but that is nothing, when the next night she finds her waiter dead in her building and he had her name and phone number in his pocket.

She is now the prime suspect and could end up being served as the main course on the real killer’s menu.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
I loved this book on so many levels. First of all I am one of the pickiest eaters on the planet. It drives my family nuts but my dad was the same way. Growing up my mother owned a restaurant and was a wonderful cook. She loved to cook casseroles but about the only one dad and I would eat was her tuna casserole. The rest ended up as specials on her restaurant’s menu. Foie Gras was never on the menu but Liver & Onions was a weekly special. This story reminded me of all those dishes she used to serve.

Now, my husband is the chef of the family, so like Jordan I don’t know too much about food. This whole idea of someone like Jordan writing a “Kitchen Kupboard” column is something easy for me to relate too. The recipes in the back are a nice bonus that I will pass along.

I don’t want to give to much away but foodies and non foodies, will love how this “clueless cook” makes it work. Even a dead body and slew of suspects doesn’t stop Jordan from returning back to the steakhouse at the owner’s request, of course she is going to do a little snooping along the way. It wouldn’t be a cozy mystery without a nosy protagonist.

Liz has a winner start to her new series. Great characters, a really good mystery and what may bud into a little romance for Jordan. I especially liked all the connections of the people in Jordan’s apartment building, meshing together as a family. It is going to be fun watching this characters develop as the series continues and Jordan gets herself into more sticky situations.

A savory cozy not to be missed!!!!

This story is definitely

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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.”

Are you ready for a
GIVEAWAY!!!

Thanks to the people at Penguin
I have 2 copies of the tasty book to giveaway!!!

U.S. and Canadian Residents Only
Since I lost all mt Google Friend Connect and Email Followers in the move.
Followers who follow anyway on the list will receive
5 Bonus Entries for each way they follow!

If you help me by Publicizing this giveaway or this new blog you will receive
an additional 5 Bonus Entries for each link you provide!

You will receive 5 more Bonus Entries if you leave a comment for Liz!

You do not have to be a follower or publicize to enter
but I hope you will see something you like here and join.

Contest will end November 9 at 11:59 p.m. CST

Winners will be chosen by Random.org

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Posted in Reviews 2011

The Girl In The Green Raincoat by Laura Lippman


This book caught my eye some time ago on Staci’s blog Life In The Thumb. At first when I learned that it was book 11 in the series I was a little hesitant as I am one of those people that has to read series in order, but after seeing Staci’s review and hearing more about it I moved it to the top of my To-Be-Read pile last week. Thank You Staci!!!


The Girl in the Green Raincoat: A Tess Monaghan Novel
Published by HarperCollins
Cover Design by Emin Mancheril
Cover Photo by Charles Gullung/Corbis
11th in the series

Tess Monaghan is a private investigator in Baltimore, but unfortunately as she enters the third trimester of her pregnancy she is put on complete bed rest. This is especially hard for a woman who uses her keen observations to solve crimes. Now all she gets to observe is what she can see out her window. Pretty boring stuff, the same people walk by every day, some walking dogs or kids. A young woman wearing a green raincoat walking a dog goes by every day without fail. Tess is intrigued by her and tries to figure out her story just by what she can see from her bed.

Then one day the dog goes flying by Tess’s window and the girl in the green raincoat is nowhere in sight. Certain that something is really wrong. Tess decides she must solve the mystery. What happened to the girl in the green raincoat? Little does she know she is putting herself and her baby in danger as she delves into her quest to find the answers she needs.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

The book reads quite easy as a stand alone. I have not read any of the books in this series and totally enjoyed it. The whole Rear Windowesque theme was thoroughly entertaining.

Some of Tess’s superstitions added quite a bit of humor along with the zany actions of Dempsey. It is easy to feel for the character of Tess as she not only deals with being bedridden but deals with questions about her future, the normal pregnancy hormones and the fears of a high risk pregnancy. Her boyfriend is a gem, her best friend Whitney is a stitch and her dad is the typical dad, there when you need him.

This story is short, well paced and gives us a peek into the world of Tess Monaghan. This may be the first story I have read in this series but it won’t be the last. I also want to check out some of Laura Lippman’s stand alone novels.

If you want to find out more about Laura Lippman check out her web page.


Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

This book came from my own person collection.

Posted in Reviews 2011

Recipes To Die For: A Victoria Square Cookbook by Lorraine Bartlett

Recipes To Die For: A Victoria Square Cookbook


Polaris Press
A Companion Cookbook
By Katie Bonner
Manager – Artisan Alley
Victoria Square

We were introduced to Katie in Lorraine’s first book in the Victoria Square series A Crafty Killing.Artisans Alley is the cornerstone of Victoria Square. It is an old applesauce warehouse renovated into a collection of booths for artists and craft dealers to sell their wares. Katie’s original dream was to open a Bed & Breakfast but plans changed when her husband died in a car accident and he already owned part of the Alley. Shortly thereafter, his partner is killed and Katie found herself sole owner of Artisan’s Alley, which turns into a dangerous job until the killer is tracked down.

Since setting things in order at the alley Katie realized that it was her husband who was the real cook in the family. She has been sustaining herself on just sandwiches for far too long. Katie has now gone back to preparing the food she grew up with, the food her Aunt Lizzie taught her to make. As she becomes more than just an “adequate cook” she has generously decided to share her favorite recipes and those from some of her friends on Victoria Square with all of us in this wonderful cookbook.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
This is an excellent little cookbook. My husband and I both come from a long line of excellent cooks. My mom even owned a small home town cafe, as did her mom. My husband has always been the main chef in our house but even more so since my accident. I couldn’t wait to share this cookbook with him. He had it full of post-it markers in minutes! “This green bean recipe sounds like something by grandma used to make!” “This pie is perfect for Thanksgiving!” The comments went on and on. This book is already a family favorite.

Today there are so many fiction books that include recipes for food mentioned in the stories. Cozy mysteries are famous for this. The problem with that is that right after you finish the book you have to make sure you copy down any recipes you might like to try because you know when you are ready to bake it you won’t remember which book that recipe was in. If you are like me and share your books, if you don’t write the recipe down, it goes right out the door with the book. Thankfully a lot of authors put the recipes on their websites or you can go to Mystery Lovers Kitchen for some of the recipes found in the books.

I love this new idea of companion cookbooks and I hope the trend continues. Recipes To Die For: A Victoria Square Cookbook has found a permanent home in my kitchen with recipes like Sweet and Sour Green Beans, Pumpkin Chiffon Pie, Aunt Lizzie’s Cream Scones and drinks perfect for Halloween like the Black Widow or Corpse Reviver.  There are fun little anecdotes before each recipe.  This is truly a one-of-kind cookbook  that  should be in your kitchen as well.


The next book in the Victoria Square series The Walled Flower
comes out February 7, 2012, but is available to pre-order today.

To find out more about Lorraine visit her web page at http://lorrainebartlett.com/

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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.”

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Posted in Reviews 2011

Flowerbed of State by Dorothy St. James

Cover Illustration
by Mary Ann Lasher
Cover Design
by Olivia Anderas

A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
Published by The Penguin Group


A White House Gardener Mystery
First in a New Series
ISBN-10: 0425240576
ISBN-13: 978-0425240571


Release Date: May 3, 2011


Casey Calhoun is not your typical assistant gardener at the White House.  She was brought in by the First Lady to make the gardening at the White House more organic, more earth friendly.  Casey is also very organized, observant and detail oriented.  While getting the grounds ready for the annual Easter Egg Roll she is also developing a plan to present to the Grounds Committee for implementing her new organic ideas.
Fighting back a case of the nerves about her presentation she ventures out to weed one of the park’s gardens.  While there she is attacked from behind and ends up face down in the garden.  As she comes to and is explaining what happened to a Secret Service Agent, she notices some broken limbs on a tree. When she works her way over to the damage, it leads both her and the agent to make a shocking discovery.  A dead woman that has been stuffed into a trash can.  Casey can’t help herself from digging into case and trying to root out the killer.  Doing so she puts herself not only in danger from the assailant but also may lose her job before she even has a chance to bloom.
A wonderful start to a new series!! Casey Calhoun is a gutsy, full of life character, who is not afraid to get her hands dirty.  Her character develops perfectly throughout this story.  You couldn’t have a more perfect setting and the plot is entertaining and fast paced. A friendship that may bloom into love is also planted that I cannot wait to see flower in future editions.  

Flowerbed of State is the perfect Springtime read.  It also includes information on how to keep our yards and gardens blooming in more earth friendly ways as Casey prepares her presentation and fights for at least gradual change. I can’t wait for the next book in this series to see where Casey takes us. 

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel  Agent
Flowerbed of State (A White House Gardener Mystery)
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book 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.
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Posted in Giveaways Guest Posts Reviews 2011 Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting

Cozy Wednesday Special Addition with Author Kathleen Ernst (Giveaway too!)



Welcome to the special edition of Cozy Wednesday on Thursday. This is an extra special day for me. Kathleen Ernst is a Wisconsin Author and her Chloe Ellefson Mystery Series is set at the historic site of Old World Wisconsin and the surrounding area. All four of our kids had school field trips to Old World Wisconsin and my husband and I took turns being chaperones. We love that place and can’t wait until our grandson is just a little older so we can take him there too.

Please help me Welcome Kathleen Ernst to Escape With Dollycas!!!

Hi Kathleen!!

Hi Everyone! I am happy to be here! I am glad Dollycas and I connected so I could take a moment to tell you about…

Murder, Past and Present
by Kathleen Ernst

Novelist William Faulkner once said, “The past is not dead. In fact, it’s not even past.” If Faulkner hadn’t said that, Chloe Ellefson—the protagonist of my Historic Sites mysteries—might have.

Chloe is a curator at large historic site called Old World Wisconsin. She is not an amateur sleuth in the traditional sense. She isn’t nosey or particularly observant. She takes no pleasure in being involved with crimes. If it were up to her, all detection would be left to local cop Roelke McKenna.

Alas, events conspire against her. In Old World Murder, Chloe’s first day on the job comes to a troubling end when an elderly donor comes looking for a family antique that she’d donated to Old World Wisconsin years earlier. Moments later, the woman dies in a car crash. When Chloe realizes that the antique in question is missing, she tries to find it. As curator, it’s her job; she also wants to honor the donor’s memory. Chloe begins to suspect that someone else is after the artifact, but authorities initially take no interest. What’s a curator to do?

In my new release, The Heirloom Murders, Chloe is dragged into the middle of a complicated set of crimes. Roelke McKenna takes the investigative lead, and tries hard to keep Chloe uninvolved in police matters. Just one problem with that plan—the motivation for murder is rooted in historical events. In the end, Chloe’s knowledge helps Roelke understand the situation he’s confronting.

Readers often ask writers where they get their ideas. For me, it’s pretty simple: I used to work as a curator at Old World Wisconsin, and I’ve always been fascinated by the past. While traveling or doing research I look for a spark—some compelling bit of information or lore that makes me want to plunge into a new novel. I like to find stories that haven’t been widely told. I love shining my tiny bit of lantern light on those events in fictional form.

And I love devising ways to illustrate how history can tangle lives in the here-and-now. After all, aren’t all communities and families the sum of everything that has gone on before? We’re all shaped by past events.

I think William Faulkner had it right. How about you? Have you considered how long-gone events affect your life today?

I’m grateful to Dollycas for allowing me to celebrate publication of The Heirloom Murders (A Chloe Ellefson Mystery) by guest-posting here. And I’m grateful to readers! I love my work, and I’d be nowhere without you.

Fill out the form at the bottom of this page and your name will go into a drawing for a free book. The winner can choose any of my seventeen titles. The Heirloom Murders, one of my American Girl mysteries, a Civil War novel—the choice will be yours! To learn more, please visit my website, www.kathleenernst.com

 

**Book blurb, The Heirloom Murders:
Working for Old World Wisconsin, Chloe Ellefson delights in losing herself in antiques and folk traditions–and forgetting her messy love life. Then the outdoor ethnic museum becomes a murder scene. Does the missing Eagle diamond, a legendary gemstone unearthed in 1876, have anything to do with it? Could Simon Sabatola, a rich AgriFutures executive who possibly drove his wife to suicide, be responsible? Chloe learns that some things never change in this compelling mystery of old-fashioned greed, Swiss green cheese, and a nearly-extinct heirloom flower.

The books are both published my Midnight Ink and are available now anywhere books are sold.
Dollycas’s Thoughts
I loved both of these books. First because they were a mini trip down memory lane, but Kathleen describes the settings so well you won’t have had to visit the historic site to feel like you are right there in the farmhouses, the barns, or even Chloe’s trailer office. Chloe also travels around the area and the author’s words take us right along with her.

I also enjoyed that Chloe really doesn’t want to being the middle of any of the investigations, she would rather be doing her job as Curator of Collections, keep her boss off her back and spending time with her new friends.

The best part though are the mysteries. They are so well plotted and intelligently written, with plenty of spins and spills, twists and turns. The characters take some turns and spills themselves.

These stories also educate us about the cultures of old Wisconsin in a subtle way. I especially liked the peek we had when a older couple told the story of coming to Wisconsin and making a special type of cheese. The back stories are as rich as the mysteries that unfold in each book. The way historical and modern times mesh together in these stories is truly delightful. You can feel Kathleen’s passion for Old World Wisconsin in her words. She understands the history and the extra research she does for ideas is going to give her a wide range of things to shine a light on in future stories.

This isn’t your ordinary cozy, it is so much more!!! It earns the rating of

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Midnight Ink and 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.”

Now for the giveaway!!!
Kathleen is giving away your choice of one of her books. The winner can choose any of her seventeen titles. The Heirloom Murders, one of her American Girl mysteries, a Civil War novel—the choice will be yours! To learn more, please visit her website,www.kathleenernst.com

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

Contest Will End November 3 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here.