Posted in 2022 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies You Read How Many Books Challenge

Mint Chocolate Murder: An Ice Cream Shop Mystery by Meri Allen #Review @StMartinsPress


Mint Chocolate Murder: An Ice Cream Shop Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Connecticut
St. Martin’s Paperbacks (July 26, 2022)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1250267080
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1250267085
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09L6V4FWV

Riley Rhodes returns in the second delicious cozy set in a New England ice cream shop, Meri Allen’s Mint Chocolate Murder!

When Udderly Delightful Ice Cream shop manager Riley Rhodes is summoned to Penniman’s Moy Mull Castle, it’s the cherry on top of a successful summer season. The gothic pile built by an eccentric New England Gilded Age millionaire has been transformed into a premiere arts colony by Maud Monaco, a reclusive former supermodel. As part of Moy Mull’s Fall Arts Festival, Maud is throwing a fantasy ice cream social and hires Riley to whip up unique treats to celebrate the opening of an exhibit by Adam Blasco, a photographer as obnoxious as he is talented.

As Penniman fills up with Maud’s art-world friends arriving for the festival, gossip swirls around Blasco, who has a dark history of obsession with his models. Riley’s curiosity and instincts for sleuthing – she was a CIA librarian – are piqued, and she wonders at the hold the cold-hearted photographer has over the mistress of Moy Mull.

But when Adam is found dead behind the locked door of Moy Mull’s dungeon, Riley realizes there’s more than one suspect who’d wanted to put the malicious photographer on ice.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Riley Rhodes has been given a unique opportunity to provide ice cream treats for Moy Mull’s Fall Arts Festival at the medieval Penniman’s Moy Mull Castle. The castle has had its share of owners but Maud Monaco turned it into a premier arts colony. She has invited famous photographer Adam Blasco to be the first exhibit at the festival.

Maud is excited as all her art-world friends start to arrive but Riley hears plenty of gossip about Adam Blasco. Her CIA librarian skills kick in as she wonders what the truth is about the photographer. His history is pretty dark but then why would Maud have invited him to exhibit his art?

When Blasco goes missing Maud does her best to follow through on her programs. Then Adam Blasco is found dead in the castle dungeon. After all Riley’s heard she knows there is quite a list of people who could have done the deed including someone close to her. She just needs to follow the clues and get the scoop on the killer before they strike again.


First, I have to address the elephant in the room. That’s a really cool cover, right? Sadly, it has nothing to do with this story and neither does the title. I love cozy mysteries with punny titles and how they are woven into the story but this title is pretty straightforward –  Mint Chocolate Murder. Well, the word MINT is not found once in the text of this story and the word CHOCOLATE is just mentioned 6 times. But PUMPKIN SPICE is mentioned 29 times. Either the title should have been Pumpkin Spice Murder or everywhere “pumpkin spice” is used should have been changed to Mint Chocolate. I know sometimes the titles are out of the author’s control but this should have been fixed in editing. Even the recipe at the end of the book is for No Churn Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream! It truly looks like the wrong story was matched with the wrong cover.

Riley Rhodes is a great amateur sleuth, especially with her CIA librarian background. It feeds her need to research and investigate while handling her day job of managing the Udderly Delightful Ice Cream shop. There her creative juices can flow as she comes up with some fantastic ice cream flavors. Riley is surrounded by a wonderful group of family and friends who can all pitch in to help so she has time to do a little sleuthing. It is a large quirky cast and they all feel true to life.

I really enjoyed the castle setting. It almost became a character on its own. All its secrets, the nooks, crannies, staircases, dungeon, and hidden features made an excellent place for a cozy mystery to take place. I was entertained following along as Riley tried so hard to find what she was looking for and finding something she wasn’t looking for at all. I was working on a couple of theories of my own. I had the guilty party in my sights very early on but that sure did not take away from the big reveal that was compared to a Mission Impossible movie.

While Mint Chocolate Murder has nothing to do with mint or chocolate it was an appealing read. Terrific characters including two frisky felines, an intriguing setting, and a stirring mystery make this book a fine successor to Rocky Road to Ruin. I am looking for to the next book in this series.



Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

https://us.macmillan.com/author/sharirandall/

About the Author

MERI ALLEN/ SHARI RANDALL lives in a quiet corner of Connecticut, where she haunts libraries, used book stores, and vintage shops.

 

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

Posted in 2022 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Literary Escapes You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring The Sign of the Calico Quartz (The Sweetbrier Inn Mysteries) by Jan Drexler #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour


The Sign of the Calico Quartz (The Sweetbrier Inn Mysteries)
by Jan Drexler

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am so happy to share my thoughts about
The Sign of the Calico Quarts today!

About The Sign of the Calico Quartz


The Sign of the Calico Quartz (The Sweetbrier Inn Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – South Dakota
Swift Wings Press (May 20, 2022)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 276 pages
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 979-8986137803
Digital Swift Wings Press (May 25, 2022)
Print length ‏ : ‎ 242 pages
ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09ZNDM1VL

Emma Blackwood’s favorite pastime is solving literary murder mysteries…until the body in her living room makes everything a little too real.

When Emma comes to the Black Hills to work at her Aunt Rose’s B&B, the Sweetbrier Inn, she is hoping for a quiet break from the corporate treadmill. But she hadn’t expected murder and intrigue to mar this peaceful setting.

As she wades through too many clues to identify the murderer, she soon finds that the culprit isn’t stopping at only one homicide and may even have placed Emma herself on the list of targets. With the help of her friend Becky and a deputy sheriff who grudgingly lets them join in on the investigation, Emma tracks down the killer. But will it be in time to save the next victim?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Emma Blackwood’s Aunt Rose has asked her to come to the Black Hills to help with The Sweetbrier Inn, her B&B that is really starting to take off. Emma is happy to help as she is just getting out of a bad relationship and could use a diversion from the corporate grind too. But she never expected that diversion to be a murder investigation with her at the top of the suspect list. Okay, the dead body was found in her suite, but she has no idea who the man is until she is informed he had been hired to take some of the guests prospecting. While Emma does her best to sort out a myriad of clues she learns her Aunt Rose is being threatened. Then another guest is strangely ill and another goes missing. Can Emma find a way to corner the killer or will she be the next victim?


First, I have to compliment that cute book cover. The cat is named Tim and Emma is his person. The Corgi is Thatcher and he belongs to Rose. The cover was all the push I needed to want to read and review this book.

I liked Emma immediately. She is smart and funny and ready to help her aunt in any way she can. Aunt Rose has an interesting past but she is totally in her element when chatting up the guests and telling them about things to do in the area. Wil, Rose’s chef, and partner has big ideas for the inn but Rose is pretty happy with how things are. Becky delivers baked goods to the inn every morning and she and Emma become fast friends. Deputy Cal Cooper entered the scene when the dead body is found and immediately put Emma in the hot seat.  These characters are interesting and develop well over the course of the story.

Readers are introduced to several new characters in the form of the guests at the inn. Rose’s long-time friend Clara is booked for a two-week stay. Montgomery, a friend from Rose’s past has also checked into the inn to do a little research. Ghost hunter Paul Peterson hopes to film an episode at the inn or in the area. His assistant, Mary Walters is at his beck and call. Fans Roger and Annie would love to be part of his ghost hunting team. Sam Nelson and his wife Nora have checked in and are excited to do a little prospecting. It’s an eclectic group and I loved that Emma used mnemonics to keep all the guests straight and that helped me as a reader too.

Emma was clearly being framed so she had to mine through a lot of clues to solve this mystery. She teams up with Becky to make a crime board to try to put some order to the information they have so far.  I will say the guilty party was on my personal suspect list but I was mystified for quite a while as to their motive. I loved following along with Emma as she continued her investigation but Deputy Cal knows she may have pushed the killer too far. Of course, that sets up a very entertaining reveal.

I also enjoyed the author’s descriptions of the Black Hills. Back in the 1980’s my husband and I along with our infant son traveled through South Dakota and saw all the sights. We even panned for a little gold. I had never heard of “calicoes” but I found the information fascinating.

The Sign of the Calico Quartz has set the Sweetbriar Inn Mysteries off to a great start. Ms. Drexler has written several Amish and Christian Romance stories but this is the first time she has ventured into the cozy realm. I am really excited to see where she takes these characters and this series.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Jan Drexler 

Jan Drexler lives in the Black Hills of South Dakota with her husband, where she enjoys hiking and spending time with her expanding family. She is the author of several historical romance novels, including the award-winning Mattie’s Pledge, and is pleased to be starting a new adventure with a cozy mystery series, The Sweetbrier Inn Mysteries. You can find out more about Jan on her website: www.JanDrexler.com.

Author Links 

 

Purchase Link –

Amazon 

Find more books by Jan Drexler here.

Great Escapes Praise for The Sign of the Calico Quartz (The Sweetbrier Inn Mysteries)
by Jan Drexler

The Sign of the Calico Quartz is a charming cozy with the beautiful Black Hills, a cute corgi, a murdered man, scrumptious scones, cagey guests, cowboy Cal, and enquiring Emma.
~The Avid Reader

The Sign of the Calico Quartz is an entertaining start to a new cozy mystery series! If you’re looking for a great mystery to cozy up with this weekend, grab a copy and enjoy!
~Reading is my Superpower

What an adorable mystery! I loved these characters and thought that this was a wonderful start to a brand new series.
~Moonlight Rendevous

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
July 18 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW, EXCERPT
July 18 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
July 19 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
July 19 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – GUEST POST
July 20 – ebookaddicts – SPOTLIGHT WITH EXCERPT
July 20 – Maureen’s Musings – REVIEW
July 21 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT WITH EXCERPT  
July 21 – My Journey Back – RECIPE POST
July 21 – My Reading Journeys – SPOTLIGHT WITH EXCERPT
July 22 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
July 22 – Ascroft, eh? – GUEST POST
July 23 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT
July 23 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
July 24 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST
July 24 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT WITH EXCERPT
July 25 – I Read What You Write – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
July 25 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW WITH EXCERPT
July 26 – Baroness Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT
July 26 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
July 27 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
July 27 – Sneaky the Library Cat’s Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

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

Posted in 2022 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways

No Parm No Foul (Grilled Cheese Mysteries) by Linda Reilly #Review / #Giveaway @LindaSReilly7 @PPPress

Available Today!!


No Parm No Foul (Grilled Cheese Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Vermont
Poisoned Pen Press (July 26, 2022)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 336 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1728238358
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1728238357
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09JJ46K9H

The second book in a delicious culinary cozy series—the muensters have arrived in Balsam Dell in this Halloween cozy mystery featuring a grilled cheese shop owner turned amateur sleuth

After a long hot summer in Balsam Dell, Carly Hale is ready for crisp Vermont weather and gourmet grilled cheeses at her Grilled Cheese Eatery. And the upcoming Halloween food competition is the perfect way to impress the locals.

But Ferris Menard, the owner of Sub-a-Dub-Sub, is nursing a serious grudge against Carly. Two days before the competition, one of Carly’s employees quit his part-time gig at Menard’s sub shop, sending Menard into a serious snit. In a confrontation at the Eatery, Menard accused Carly of sabotage and vowed to bring her down.

That’s when Menard’s body is found in his kitchen the morning after the competition, a steak knife sticking out of his heart. But Menard had a slew of enemies, and if Carly doesn’t figure out which one is the culprit, she might find herself—or someone she cares about—serving grilled cheese sandwiches under lock and brie!

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Autumn in Vermont is perfect for a cup of soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. Carly Hale has a bit of competition, though, not just for her food but for an employee too. Ferris Menard gets on his high horse when he decides that Carly is the bain of his existence. One of his employees that had been working part-time for both Menard’s Sub-a-Dub-Sub Shop and Carly’s Grilled Cheese Eatery has decided to work full time for just Carly. He went so far as to publicly accuse Carly of sabotaging his business during the Halloween Scary-Licious Smorgasbord food competition.

When Menard’s daughter finds her father’s dead body the next morning in his shop’s kitchen with a steak knife plunged into his heart Carly knows she will be on the list of suspects, along with someone she cares about. It should be a long list though, the man had made plenty of enemies over the years but she can’t take any chances. Carly’s going to do her best to flip the real killer and fry them up in a pan before she sends them off to jail.


Carly has settled into her new life well. Her eatery has really taken off and she has great friends and employees that support her in everything she does. She is a strong protagonist but she may need to fine-tune her investigation techniques. One person tells her, “You know Carly, you’re about as subtle as a coronary.” Another tells her, “a careful driver like you is easy to tail.” But her heart is always in the right place she will do anything she can to help anyone. I love the direction her relationship with Ari is taking. And Havarti, Carly’s lovable Morkie always makes me smile.

Carly’s supporting cast is great too. Grant and Suzanne are wonderful employees that truly have become friends. Suzanne has a little accident in this story that put her out of commission for a while but that made for some interesting temporary employees. I will say my favorite character in No Parm, No Foul was retired teacher, Evelyn Fitch. She is a regular at Carly’s Eatery and she really is a special lady who plays a major role in the mystery.

The mystery had as many tangles as a Halloween cobweb with a lot of evidence pointed in one direction. It is clearly a frame-up. Carly gets clues from some unusual sources. One who uses poetry to help her get on the right track. She does get frustrated but doesn’t give up. I was totally engaged following along with her step by step. There were some really nice twists and that meant my jaw dropped when the killer was outed during a scary and exciting reveal.

This second Grilled Cheese Mystery, No Parm, No Foul, is an excellent addition to this series. I do suggest having a cup of tomato soup and a grilled cheese handy as your start reading because the cravings start almost immediately. There are a couple of recipes at the end of the book you are going to want to try too.

Engaging characters, a fun mystery, and a cheesy-filled story will have you coming back for more. Cheddar Late Than Dead will be released on January 31, 2023.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Linda Reilly is the author of several mystery novels, including the Cat Lady Mysteries, the Deep Fried Mysteries, and the Grilled Cheese Mysteries. A member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and Cat Writers’ Association, she can be found prowling the shelves of a local bookstore or library when she’s not pounding away at her keyboard. A dyed-in-the-wool New Englander, she lives with her husband and rescue cat in southern New Hampshire.


Coming January 31, 2023

Also by Linda Reilly

I am giving away my review copy!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
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Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads
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If you share the giveaway on Twitter, Facebook, or anywhere, you will receive 5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End on August 9, 2022, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
The Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For The Entry Form

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

Posted in My Reading Itinerary Monday

My Reading Itinerary Monday! – Week #30 – 2022

Welcome to My Reading Itinerary Monday!

I am still working on getting my reading groove back,
I hope this week will get me back to normal.

Where are your books taking you this week?

I will be traveling to New York and California!

Here’s what I read and what I have planned for this week.

Escapes Completed


No Parm No Foul (Grilled Cheese Mysteries)
by Linda Reilly
Release Date – July 26, 2022
Setting – Vermont
My Review will be up tomorrow!


The Sign of the Calico Quartz (The Sweetbrier Inn Mysteries)
by Jan Drexler
Release Date – May 25, 2022
Setting – South Dakota
The Great Escapes Book Tour stops here this week for Cozy Wednesday!


Mint Chocolate Murder: An Ice Cream Shop Mystery
by Meri Allen
Release Date – July 26, 2022
Setting – Connecticut
My Review will be up Thursday!

Scheduled Escapes


Shielding the Tiny Target
by Deena Alexander
Release Date – July 26, 2022
Setting – New York
The Great Escapes Tour stops here next Tuesday!


A Killing in Costumes (A Hollywood Treasures Mystery)
by Zac Bissonnette
Release Date – August 9, 2022
Setting – California
The Great Escapes Tour stops here next week for Cozy Wednesday!

I need to select a #FlashbackFriday book to read!

Future Escapes

July 24 – 30, 2022


Click Here to check out my Current Giveaways!

Please Share Your Reading Itinerary in the Comments below!
Happy Reading!!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Posted in Sunday Salon / Sunday Post

Sunday Salon / Sunday Post – A Week in the Life of Dollycas – Weekly Rewind – New Arrivals

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The Sunday Salon is a Facebook group that has become an
informal week in review gathering place for bloggers.

It is also a place to share our thoughts about things of a bookish nature.
You can also link up weekly on Readerbuzz.

SUNDAY POST The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by
Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer
~ It’s a chance to share news~
A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received, and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

HAPPY SUNDAY EVERYONE!

A Week in the Life of Dollycas

This was a Natalie week. On Monday night Daughter #2 and I went to watch her play a softball doubleheader. Her team won both games and she gave that ball a great ride every time she came up to bat. After the game, the coach approached Natalie and her mom and asked if Natalie could come to a mini practice the next night because he wanted her to pitch in their Wednesday night games. I wasn’t feeling the best so Mr. Dollycas went with Daughter #2 to watch on Wednesday. Natalie had a little bit of a rocky start pitching but she got the 3rd and 4th batters she faced to strike out. Mr. Dollycas said the type of fastpitch they teach the girls is hard to learn and at only ten years old he was thrilled by how well Natalie did.

Then Friday, Natalie arrived to spend the weekend with us. She watched movies with Daughter #2, played with Daisy, had some Nana time, and helped Papa mow the lawn and water the flowers. I love when she visits. She is like a ray of sunshine.


Weekly Rewind – July 18 – 23, 2022

Monday – My Reading Itinerary Monday! – Week #29 – 2022

Tuesday – Sneaky’s Supernatural Mystery and Other Cobble Cove Stories by Debbie De Louise #Spotlight / #Excerpt / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @Deblibrarian

Wednesday – Cozy Wednesday – Special Guest – Leslie Budewitz – Author of Peppermint Barked: A Spice Shop Mystery #Review / #Giveaway @LeslieBudewitz

Thursday – The JOY of Murder: A Daiyu Wu Mystery by Gloria Oliver #Spotlight

Plus –Special Guest – Terry Korth Fischer – Author of Double Dipped (One Scoop or Two) #GuestPost / #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @terryiswriting

Friday – #FlashbackFriday – Boats and Bad Guys (An Isle of Man Ghostly Cozy) by Diana Xarissa #Review / #Giveaway

Saturday – Deceived (A Kelly Pruett Mystery) by Mary Keliikoa #Spotlight / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @mary_keliikoa


I hope you have a fabulous week!!!
Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Posted in Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Spotlights

Deceived (A Kelly Pruett Mystery) by Mary Keliikoa #Spotlight / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @mary_keliikoa


Deceived (A Kelly Pruett Mystery)
by Mary Keliikoa

It is my pleasure to shine my spotlights
on Mary Keliikoa’s new Kelly Pruett Mystery today!

About Deceived

Deceived (A Kelly Pruett Mystery)
Cozy Mystery – Woman Sleuths
3rd in Series
Setting – Oregon
Camel Press (May 10, 2022)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 218 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1603818650
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1603818650
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09Q7SG18K

In the third thrilling book in the Kelly Pruett mystery series–Her world was falling into place. Then women started dropping off the map.

 

PI Kelly Pruett finally feels like she’s coming into her own. With her personal life well on track, a gig uncovering what drove a client’s granddaughter underground could be good for business. But after her undercover operation at the homeless shelter reveals rampant drug dealing, she’s suddenly kicked off the case… just as another girl goes missing.

 

Vowing to expose the truth even if it means pro-bono work, Kelly is taken aback when her half-sister helps her hunt down answers in a tent city brimming with distrust. When her investigation doesn’t move quickly enough to save a second woman from a vicious murder, Kelly doubles her efforts unwilling to accept defeat.

About Mary Keliikoa 

Mary Keliikoa is the Shamus finalist and Lefty, Agatha and Anthony nominated author of the PI Kelly Pruett mystery series, and the Misty Pines mystery series featuring former Portland homicide detective turned small-town sheriff. Her short stories have appeared in Woman’s World and in the anthology Peace, Love and Crime.

A Pacific NW native, she spent years working around lawyers and admits to being that person who gets excited when called for jury duty. When not in Washington, you can find Mary on the beach in Hawaii. But even under the palm trees and blazing sun, she’s plotting her next murder—novel that is.

Author Links

Website       Facebook     Twitter      Instagram      Goodreads    BookBub

Purchase Links

SIGNED COPIES ARE AVAILABLE THRU VINTAGE BOOKS 
AmazonB&NBookshop.orgAppleKobo

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
July 20 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW  
July 20 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW
July 21 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
July 21 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW
July 22 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT
July 22 – Baroness Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT
July 23 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT
July 23 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
July 24 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
July 25 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
July 25 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW
July 26 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW  
July 27 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
July 27 – I Read What You Write – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
July 28 – Mysteries with Character – REVIEW
July 29 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
July 29 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT
July 30 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
July 30 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
July 31 – ebook addicts – REVIEW

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Posted in 2022 Reviews Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes TBR Pile Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Boats and Bad Guys (An Isle of Man Ghostly Cozy) by Diana Xarissa #Review / #Giveaway

On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.


Boats and Bad Guys (An Isle of Man Ghostly Cozy)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Isle of Man
Independently Published (February 15, 2017)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 230 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1540750159
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1540750150
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B01N53XBM9

Fenella Woods is excited to be taking the ferry across the Irish Sea to England so that she can begin her research. When she finds a dead body in her cabin, she has to change her plans.

The police seem convinced that the killer is one of the other passengers who had a cabin reserved for the journey. Fenella meets a group of suspects that includes a wealthy couple, an older man and his much younger wife, and a retired and incredibly nosy woman.

Finding herself caught up in the middle of another murder investigation isn’t pleasant for Fenella. This time Fenella is determined not to take any advice from her dead aunt who continues to occupy the luxury apartment that used to be her home. Her kitten, Katie, isn’t much help either, as she seems determined to cause as much mischief as she possibly can.

While Fenella wants to help Inspector Robinson find the killer before he or she strikes again, things certainly aren’t going the way she’d expected when she started her new life on the Isle of Man.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I really enjoyed the first book in this series and have been looking forward to reading this book since I finished it.

This time Fenella Woods is ready to start her research and will be traveling by ferry across the Irish Sea to do so. She has reserved a cabin for the voyage in case she gets seasick and needs to lie down.

She checks in and hurries to her cabin already feeling a little ill but someone is already in the room. She finds a very dead man in her bunk. She backs out of the room and calls her new friend Daniel Robinson, a CID Inspector. The ferry is soon inundated with police and the ferry captain is livid. He feels he should have been told first and then he would decide if and when to alert the authorities. Now all his passengers need to make other arrangements and spend time being questioned.

The police believe the killer is a passenger and Fenella is forced to wait in a room with the other passengers that had booked cabins. They are an eclectic bunch. She is upset about being involved in another murder case. When she gets home her dead aunt wants to start investigating right away no matter much Fenella wants to leave it to Inspector Robinson.

When she moved into the apartment she inherited from her aunt she never expected to be caught up in one let alone two murder investigations. Then again, she never expected to be living with her dead aunt’s ghost either.


I love the Isle of Man setting for this series. Someplace I will never be able to physically visit but the author’s words take me there effortlessly.

Fenella has made some good friends in her neighbors, Peter and Shelly, and also in Inspector Robinson. There is definitely romantic tension between Fenella and the good inspector but she has her ex calling her all the time from the states begging for them to get back together. Then there is Mona, Fenella’s aunt in ghostly form. She is pushy and funny. She pops in at some inopportune moments and is never short on advice for her niece. All these characters sans the ex are delightful.

We are introduced to several ferry passengers. Charlotte Master who is quite a busybody, Justin Newmarket, a 24-year-old who was on his way to Liverpool to spend the weekend with his mates, Brenda Proper and her husband, Nick, both retired, they were on the way to visit their children, a stern Harry Hampton and his much younger wife Sherry also going to visit family, and Sarah Grasso who was set to go on holiday with her husband. We also meet Captain Matthew Howard who is very upset about his authority being overlooked. All are well crafted and easy to keep straight, especially because the captain keeps bringing them together trying to get the answers he wants which are totally different from what the police are looking for. All of them are the inspector’s suspect list.

The mystery is very well-plotted with several meetings and interviews in the quest for the truth. I was kept guessing right up to the end. Captain Howard was really pushing my buttons even though I knew he wasn’t the killer I wanted someone to throw him overboard.

This is an Alphabet Series so I have a long way to go and I am looking forward to reading them all. Boats and Bad Guys takes place about 6 weeks after Arrivals and Arrests and it was a nice follow-up. I hope to be turning the pages of Cars and Cold Cases soon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Diana has lived in several US states, the north of England, and the Isle of Man. While she is currently in the US, she still misses the stunning scenery, wonderful people, and fascinating history that make the Isle of Man so unique.

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Posted in 2022 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Guest Posts Literary Escapes Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

Special Guest – Terry Korth Fischer – Author of Double Dipped (One Scoop or Two) #GuestPost / #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @terryiswriting


Double Dipped (One Scoop or Two)
by Terry Korth Fischer

It is my pleasure to welcome Terry to Escape With Dollycas today!

Inspiration
by Terry Korth Fischer

Flannery O’Connor claims that those who survive to the age of fifteen have enough material to write stories for the rest of their lives. Yet, a frequent question I get at workshops is, how do I come up with story ideas. Comments usually start with, “If I write from experience, I have nothing to write about; my life is boring.” Or ordinary, or dull, or average… Yet, none of us live dull lives. Every day combines physical activity, amazing people, complex situations, and fleeting fears. Take any one of these, and you have the makings for a story. As author Orson Scott said, “Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any.”

So, you aren’t a mass murderer, internet influencer, or brothel madam; you are a complicated person with plenty to draw on when drafting a story. But, just in case you don’t know, what you know, here is a list of five advantages you start with when you sit down with an idea.

    • Intellect. You can learn. You use your intelligence to pick up knowledge in classes, daily life, books, and conversations with friends or mentors. You are continually trying to figure out what life is all about. Did you discover something new today? Something that led you to seek more information, ask questions, and feel amazed? Include that curiosity in your writing.
    • Intentions, willpower, and dreams. Your life is an unfolding adventure. You direct your efforts, focus your thoughts, and get where you want to go—or try to. Give these traits to your characters. Recall the determination you summoned to finish a job, win an award, or solve a puzzle? Or desiring something so badly it hurt? Your characters, too, need goals.
    • Emotions. You express a range of feelings. You’re not only serious, motivated, and eager, but sometimes silly, fierce, generous, sad, optimistic, and stubborn. And more often than not, you experience many of these feelings simultaneously. So, you know how they feel, what they do to your voice and body. Remember how you felt in the waiting room before taking the dentist’s chair? Or sitting in the dark waiting for electricity to be restored? The tingle of a kiss?
    • Experience. Memories of significant events color the present. Your experiences have expanded your knowledge and widened your perspective. Personal history shapes a unique point of view. Where did you attend grade school? Where were you when Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon, or Hurricane Harvey hit? The journey from birth to now shapes your stories and makes them uniquely yours.
    • Senses. You have instincts, inherited characteristics, a gender, and a general state of health. You have experienced cold weather, sweltering days, sleepless nights, physical pain, aching muscles, and a blinding headache. Did you escape first love, embarrassment, the feeling of failure, or hear a bump in the night? You’ve been there—done that.
  • Thank you, Terry, for visiting today.

Keep reading for my thoughts about Double Dipped.

About Double Dipped


Double Dipped (One Scoop or Two)
Cozy Mystery Novella
Setting – Wisconsin
Part of: One Scoop or Two (50 books)
The Wild Rose Press, Inc (June 29, 2022)
Print length ‏ : ‎ 137 pages
ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09W8RLJ4X

Accepting second best is good for her career, but first-grade teacher, Retta Curt, delays signing up for the disappointment. Given two weeks to reconsider her contract, she retreats to Gram’s cottage on Moon Lake, the last place she felt contentment. But the cottage is derelict; Cousin Julie, distant; childhood beaux, Dean, bitter; and Sweet Picks, the family ice cream stand, in danger of folding. Magruder, a surly newcomer, is buying and then neglecting properties until nothing remains of the idyllic lakeside community she remembers. When vandals target Sweet Picks, Retta’s dreams to recapture her happy childhood collapse, and the return to Moon Lake becomes a decision worse than accepting her teaching contract. Star-crossed, can she save the family business and rediscover happiness, or is Retta destined for a second-best future?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Can you ever really go home again?

First-grade teacher, Retta Curt feels like her life is at a crossroads. There are some changes coming to the school where she teaches meaning her contract is now for a higher grade and she just isn’t sure if that is what she wants. She has just two weeks left to make her decision so on the spur of the moment she packs a bag and heads for Moon Lake. She has so many great memories of her time there with Gram and other friends and family.

When she arrives her heart just drops. The cottage is in bad shape, as is Sweet Picks, her family’s ice cream stand. So much more has changed as well. Family cottages are being bought up and turned into rental properties. The businesses are being bought too. A man named Magruder has big plans for the area turning it into a place Retta will no longer recognize.

Can she take the man on and try to return the charm to a place she loves so much or should she sign her contract and go home? She doesn’t have a lot of time to discover her bliss but she is going to use her time at Moon Lake to try to figure out how to get to her happy place.


Retta Curt is an excellent main character. She is dealing with real-life issues. She is easy to relate to and I found her very engaging. It is tough to go back and see people she hadn’t seen in years. There are emotions in play that have been brewing for years and like her, her friends have some challenges and sorrow in their lives. The author does a nice job of giving all the characters layers to peel away.

There was definitely something fishy going on at Moon Lake. Vandals have been targeting the ice cream stand and other places but there is something more. Retta is completely in the dark about what happened years ago but is quickly brought up to speed and works with her friends to solve the current crimes. The author portrayed the true complications of dealing with something huge in a small town where everyone knows each other and most of their business.

I loved the way the community supported Retta and her cousin Julie after so many things went wrong at Sweet Picks. It is something you used to see in a lot of small towns and it gave the story such a positive ending. It gave me the feelings I had growing up as a child when I played outside until the street lights came on and if I needed anything I could go to any house on the block.

Double Dipped is a fast read at only 137 pages but the characters developed nicely and the mystery was interesting. It is a sweet summer read that I found totally entertaining. I know this book is part of a compilation of books but I do hope we get to visit these characters again including a very lovable long-haired dachshund named Herman.

.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Terry Korth Fischer

Terry Korth Fischer writes short stories, memoirs, and mysteries. Her debut mysteryGone Astray, introduced Detective Rory Naysmith, a seasoned city cop relocated to small-town Winterset, Nebraska. The Rory Naysmith Mysteries continued with Gone Before, January 2022. Transplanted from the Midwest, Terry lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband and two guard cats. When not writing, she loves reading, gardening, and basking in sunshine. Yet, her heart often wanders to the country’s heartland, where she spent a memorable—ordinary but charmed—childhood. Learn more about Terry at her author website: https://terrykorthfischer.com

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

Posted in Spotlights

The JOY of Murder: A Daiyu Wu Mystery by Gloria Oliver #Spotlight


It is my pleasure to shine my spotlights on Gloria Oliver’s
The JOY oF Murder!!
It is available today!


The JOY of Murder:
A Daiyu Wu Mystery

by Gloria Oliver
Historical Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Dimension Palace Publishing (July 21, 2022)

A socialite accused of murder, planted evidence, and mysterious enemies challenge blind detective Daiyu Wu in her new sleuthing adventure.

When a highly respected member of the ‘Little Mexico’ community is killed in 1930 Dallas, all the evidence points towards Grace Pierce, wife of a local businessman and a former member of the Ku Klux Klan. Grace’s son Truman turns to Daiyu Wu and her unique detective skills for help, but Dai quickly discovers that nothing about this case is what it seems.

With her companion Jacques and canine bodyguard Prince Razor, Dai must navigate a family in turmoil, racial tensions, and shady business deals to find the actual killer before Truman’s mother is sentenced to death.

About the Author

Gloria Oliver lives in Texas, making sure to stay away from rolling tumbleweeds, freak storms, and bowing to the wishes of her feline and canine masters.

She is the author of nine published novels in the genres of fantasy, YA fantasy, urban fantasy, science fiction, and cozy mysteries. Her first cozy mystery novel and first series book, “Black Jade – A Daiyu Wu Mystery” was released in June 2021. The second book in her first ever series, “The JOY of Murder – A Daiyu Wu Mystery”, it is available today!

She’s also a member in good standing of EPIC and BroadUniverse but hasn’t yet made it onto the list for Cat Slaves R Us.

Sign up to her newsletter at www.gloriaoliver.com/subscribe and choose a gift!

Sample chapters and more info on Gloria and her books can be found at www.gloriaoliver.com

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The first book in the series!


Black Jade:
A Daiyu Wu Mystery

by Gloria Oliver
Historical Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Dimension Palace Publishing (May 11, 2021)

Could a gorgeous old ballgown be used to commit murder?

Deep in the heart of Texas, Chinese immigrant Daiyu Wu discovers a mysterious ballgown in her family’s laundry business. It reeks of burned garlic and there is money pinned to it to pay for the cleaning. But no one knows who left it there.

Harnessing her instincts, knowledge, and determination, Dai sets out to learn everything she can about this strange green dress. Who wore it? Who left it at the laundry?

As she unravels the mystery behind the dress, Dai discovers a lot more than she bargained for. Someone has committed a murder using arsenic. Dai believes the dress is the key and that the murderer is trying to use the laundry to hide this crucial piece of evidence, the green ballgown.

Many factors conspire against Dai, but she remains undeterred. The police don’t even know about the murder. People think her blindness stops her from doing things. It’s Dallas in 1930, and Chinese people like Dai are not welcomed by the white residents of the city. Pushing these factors to one side, Dai turns detective. With Prince Razor, her canine best friend, and Jacques Haskins, her human one, she knows she must take on the challenges posed by a spoiled popinjay, his jealous self-appointed girlfriend, and Dai’s overprotective parents.

Time is ticking, but even though the killer is unaware that Dai is on their trail, they are destroying any evidence of their foul deed. Can she and her friends work out the mystery despite all the obstacles stacked against them?

I truly enjoyed this unique engrossing mystery. Touching on subjects not often seen in cozies, BLACK JADE looks at class, race, and relationships while providing an intelligent, well-plotted mystery.
~Cozy Up With Kathy

. . . the book takes us on a detailed and fascinating investigation to find and identify, first the victim, then the villain . . . obstacles at every turn, but this gal is persistent and clever, and inspires those around her to not give up no matter what.
~Here’s How It Happened

 

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Posted in 2022 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Guest Posts What An Animal Reading Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday – Special Guest – Leslie Budewitz – Author of Peppermint Barked: A Spice Shop Mystery #Review / #Giveaway @LeslieBudewitz

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am delighted to welcome Leslie back to Escape With Dollycas today!

A Spicy Christmas in Seattle’s Pike Place Market

by Leslie Budewitz

Delighted to beat the heat with you by pretending it’s Christmas and celebrating the launch of Peppermint Barked! This is my sixth Spice Shop mystery featuring Pepper Reece, owner of the Spice Shop in Seattle’s famed Pike Place Market. I love writing and reading cozies, in part because of “the cozy covenant.” My interpretation: each book is a promise to introduce our readers to people they want to know in a place they’d like to visit, tempt them with delicious food, and show them something new about the world we live in, all wrapped in a solid mystery. (Thanks to my friend Barbara Ross, author of the Maine Clambake and Jane Darrowfield mysteries for the original concept of the “cozy covenant.”)

In each book, I aim to fulfill that covenant, along with a pair of challenges I set myself. The first: How can I make this book better than the last? What skill do I want to focus on? What plot twist have I not used that I’d like to try?

For Assault and Pepper, the series opener, I wanted to “explore how a ‘life begins at 40′ gal rebuilds after her life falls apart, in the heart of a city I still love. Explore caring vs. over-protection.” Others: “Investigate a cold case.” “Kill twice and get away with it.” “Deepen the relationships.” “Family on her own terms.” “No murder.”

And this time? My books always touch on a woman’s search for identity. Not that men don’t sometimes struggle with a sense of themselves and their purpose, but it has always seemed like the true heroine’s journey. In Peppermint Barked, I flipped that script to focus on the male search for identity. That led directly to decisions and actions by three men close to Pepper, as well as a few new characters. The combination, I think, is a fun story with a serious edge, and good food!

What’s that second challenge? When I started writing the series, I picked up a book of Market ghost stories. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, the stories are a fascinating part of Market history. One reason, I came to understand, is the physical layout. There’s a main, L-shaped cobbled street, Pike Place. An alley runs through it, ending abruptly and picking up again thirty feet lower, connected by a cobbled passage and a hidden staircase carved into a retaining wall. More than a dozen buildings cropped up over fifty-some years, distinct but connected, some with several levels. Walls were moved, passages closed off, and windows boarded up, creating opportunities for people to seemingly appear and disappear.

In Assault and Pepper, a very real character uses those hidden passages to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, leading him to be wrongly accused of a crime, and later, to be at the right place just in time to help Pepper. How else, I wondered, could I use the idea of ghosts to add a layer of fun to the story, without actually adding ghosts themselves? Ghost peppers. Ghosting in relationships. Ghost nets. Ghost signs, those faded advertisements painted on old buildings that sometimes reappear when an adjacent building comes down. There may, or may not, be a ghost in one book—no spoilers! And often, the ghosts of our own pasts, our choices, our regrets.

I hope you’ll make the trip with me to Pike Place Market, a place where the past, present, and future are all very real.

Thank you Leslie so much for visiting today!

Now keep reading for my thoughts about Peppermint Barked.


Peppermint Barked: A Spice Shop Mystery
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Setting – Washington
Seventh Street Books (July 19, 2022)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 236 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1645060543
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1645060543
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09JPHR9CH

A Dickens of a Christmas turns deadly…

As the holiday season lights up Seattle’s famed Pike Place Market, Pepper Reece’s beloved Spice Shop is brimming with cinnamon, nutmeg, and shoppers eager to stuff their stockings. Add to the mix a tasty staff competition—a peppermint bark-off—along with Victorian costumes for this year’s Dickensian Christmas theme, and Pepper almost forgets to be nervous about meeting her fisherman boyfriend’s brother for the first time.

But when a young woman working in her friend Vinny’s wine shop is brutally assaulted, costumed revelers and holiday cheer are the last things on Pepper’s mind. Who would want to hurt Beth? Or were they looking for Vinny instead?

The vicious attack upsets everyone at Pike Place, but none more than Pepper’s own employee, Matt Kemp. At first, Pepper is baffled by his reaction, but his clandestine connection to Beth could hold the key to the assailant’s motive. Or perhaps it’s Vinny’s ex-wife who knows more than she’s letting on . . . and what about the mysterious top-hatted man with whom Pepper saw Beth arguing that morning?

As the secrets of the market come to light, long-held grudges, family ties, and hidden plans only further obscure the truth. Is it a ghost of the past rattling its chains or a contemporary Scrooge with more earthly motives? As Pepper chases down a killer, someone is chasing her, and in the end, the storied market itself may hold the final, deadly clue.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Pike Place Market in Seattle including Pepper Reece’s Spice Shop is all geared up for the holiday season. The theme this year is a Dickensian Christmas and many are donning Victorian costumes to give some authenticity to the season.

It should have been a fabulous time at the market but then a woman working for Pepper’s friend Vinny is attacked and assaulted. Beth is taken to the hospital and Matt Kemp who works at The Spice Shop with Pepper is taking the attack seriously hard. Not sure about any relationship the two may have Pepper thinks Matt may know why the young woman was attacked. Pepper is also interested in finding a man she witnesses arguing with Beth.

Pepper is uncovering things that don’t seem to meld together but she must be on to something because someone has started tailing her wherever she goes. Can she catch the killer before they catch her? It could be a real Bah! Humbug! Holiday if she doesn’t.


The cover of this book is gorgeous and will put everyone in the holiday mood and adding peppermint bark to their holiday treats.

Pepper Reece is a real Spice Queen, move over Maneet Chauhan. She is a great amateur sleuth as well. Her client list is growing and the holidays are sure to keep her and her employees very busy. I love that Ms. Budewitz has surrounded her protagonist with a fantastic group of employees and friends who care about each other like a great big family. Even the local law enforcement, including Pepper’s ex and detectives Spencer and Tracy, often make themselves right at home unless they are chasing down clues, and leads and trying to get Pepper to leave the investigation to them. Yeah, that is not happening. All the recurring characters are cleverly crafted and continue to grow over the course of the book/series.

This book is really a hands-on book for cozy mystery lovers. There are a lot of suspects and theories as to why Beth was attacked. Subsequent events will have you wondering if she was the real target. I worked hard to put the clues together in the right way only to have to back up and try again. I really enjoy a book that allows the reader to unwind a very complicated mystery. This story is so well plotted. I found myself highlighting what I thought were important passages. All my efforts were for naught though, There were some nice twists that tangled up my guesses and I was not even close when all was revealed, but I blame it on the pace which really sped up the closer we got to the end. Pages were really flying on my Kindle.

I really appreciate the way the author sets a scene and describes everything whether it be the food, the Spice Shop, the Market, and everything in between. I felt like I could see everything so clearly.

One little thing that pulled me up short while reading was that a group of characters had my last name. That was totally cool!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Leslie Budewitz

Leslie Budewitz blends her passion for food, great mysteries, and the Northwest in two cozy mystery series, the Spice Shop mysteries set in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, and the Food Lovers’ Village mysteries, set in NW Montana, where she lives. As Alicia Beckman, she writes moody suspense, beginning with Bitterroot Lake in April 2021 and continuing with Blind Faith in October 2022. A three-time Agatha-Award winner, she is a board member of Mystery Writers of America and a past president of Sisters in Crime.

Find her online at www.LeslieBudewitz.com and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/LeslieBudewitzAuthor



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