Posted in 2020 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Staging Wars (A Laura Bishop Mystery) by Grace Topping – Author Interview / #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @gtoppingauthor


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am thrilled to feature Staging Wars by Grace Topping today!

Staging Wars (A Laura Bishop Mystery)
by Grace Topping

About Staging Wars 


Staging Wars (A Laura Bishop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Pennsylvania
Publisher: Henery Press (April 28, 2020)
Hardcover: 254 pages
ISBN-10: 1635115949
ISBN-13: 978-1635115949
Paperback: 254 pages
ISBN-10: 1635115914
ISBN-13: 978-1635115918
Digital ASIN: B084BT29GG

Laura Bishop’s new home staging business is growing in popularity, though not with her nemesis. Laura has long suspected established interior designer Monica Heller of sabotaging her fledgling company—and having an affair with her late husband.

 

When the ultra-chic Monica is caught at the scene of a murder, Laura is plenty happy to imagine her languishing in a prison cell with bedsheets far from her normal 600-thread Egyptian cotton. But her delight is short-lived.

 

When Laura’s friends land on the police’s radar, Laura must overcome her dislike of Monica to help solve the crime. Not an easy task since Laura and Monica have been at war since the second grade.

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Laura Bishop’s new business, staging homes is really taking off, but it seems interior designer Monica Heller would like to stop that, going so far as doing a little sabotage. Then Monica has other concerns on her hands when Laura and 3 other witnesses walk in on her killing her new client. She claims she didn’t do it, it’s all a mistake but the woman is spending some quality time behind bars while a mutual friend begs Laura to clear Monica of the crime.

Grace Topping continues to bring strong characters to her mysteries. Laura, Nita, and all their friends continue to evolve. One has a great amount of power over this certain group of people and knows how to use it to their advantage. I love the real teamwork feel of these amateur sleuths. Even Aunt Kit helps out and takes a new look at her niece’s choices.

The mystery gets off fast with first one body and then another, both killed in the same manner but no other apparent connection.  I was surprised by how much time and effort Laura puts into not only helping Monica regarding the murders but in keeping her business afloat too. Laura is a much better person than me. I would have held a grudge. These women have been foes FOREVER!

The romantic aspect of this book is kinda cute. Laura is completely oblivious that Detective Spangler has feelings for her. I am happy that the author is taking the time to lay a firm foundation for this relationship. I think it will make it so much stronger in the long run.

I really enjoy the home staging theme of this series. It is creative and feels very fulfilling to help homeowners sell their homes faster and usually for a better price. It is like playing with full-size dollhouses. I love that Laura is building her wares enough to have more choices and the need for a large warehouse storage space. Each chapter starts with a staging tip. They could be useful for more than just staging a home. The tips are great to give your own home a little freshening.

Staging Wars is filled with great characters and a substantial mystery that kept me engaged and entertained from beginning to end. I am excited to see what Laura stages next.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Read my review of Staging Is Murder here

 

Hi Grace, welcome to Escape With Dollycas!

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a recovering technical writer and IT project manager, accustomed to writing lean, boring documents. Now that I’ve retired, I am creating murder mysteries and killing off characters who remind me of some of the people I dealt with during my career. Fictional revenge is sweet. I’m using some of the experience I gained helping friends stage their homes for sale as the inspiration for my Laura Bishop mystery series. I’m a member of the Chesapeake Chapter of Sisters in Crime, SINC Guppies, and Mystery Writers of America. I live with my husband in Northern Virginia.

What are three things most people don’t know about you?

  • I was born in Atlanta, Georgia, but raised in Altoona, Pennsylvania
  • I served in the Navy as a WAVE for seven years
  • While stationed in England, I married an Englishman who calls himself a GI War Bride

What is the first book you remember reading?

My mother had a book of Bible stories that she had brought to Pennsylvania from the farm she grew up on in George. The book was falling apart, but I loved to leaf through the pages looking at the black and white illustrations. I’m embarrassed to say that I colored some of the illustrations with crayons. As I got a little older, I was able to read the stories that went with the illustrations—which had been nicely enhanced by me.

What are you reading now?

I usually have several books going at one time, depending on what mood I’m in. Right now I’m reading One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski, Game of Scones by Mary Lee Ashford, and Fields Guide to Abduction by Julie Mulhern. Different types of stories to fit different moods.

I’m also a huge audiobook fan, so I listen to audiobooks while driving, cooking, or when I can’t sleep. I’m currently listening to An Artless Demise by Anna Lee Huber.

What books have most inspired you?

I especially enjoy books that have characters who are wise and make wise observations—the kind of book that makes you want to underline passages. I find characters like that in books by Jacqueline Winspear and Anne Perry. They often inspire me to be a better person or have a better outlook on life.

I also enjoy books that teach me something new. Cozy mysteries where the main character has a business or interest frequently teach me new things. For example, I learned a lot about clocks reading Julienne Holmes’ Clock Shop Mystery Series.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?

Like most mystery writers, I chose to write mysteries because that is what I read. I enjoy the puzzle a traditional mystery presents. How I decided to write one is one of those strange quirks of fate. A friend asked me to go with her to Malice Domestic, a mystery conference for fans of traditional or cozy mysteries. I had never heard of Malice Domestic, but when I discovered it involved mysteries and that some of my favorite authors would be there, I couldn’t sign up fast enough. I went as a fan but found it so inspiring I left as a wannabe mystery writer. Lots of years later, I am attending Malice in May as a nominee for an Agatha Award for Best First Mystery. Anything can happen when you are inspired.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

Most of the time I write in my office, which is a bedroom I inherited from one of my daughters when she left home. But when the weather is good, I love to work on our screened porch that looks out over woods. There is something about being out in nature, feeling a fresh breeze, hearing the birds chirping and the squirrels scurrying up trees, that helps me relax and lets my imagination take over.

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

I had a friend who used to say that she got her ideas from the Idea Store. I haven’t been lucky enough to find that place, so I have to look around me for ideas. In my first book, Staging is Murder I had watched so many episodes of home staging shows on HGTV, I felt I had learned enough about home staging to have my main character start her own home staging business. I got the idea for the 19th century home she stages and the setting for the murder from a historic home in my hometown. In Staging Wars, I set the story in a small town arts group, based on the stories my sister told me about heading her arts group—dealing with everything except murder.

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

I enjoy writing. I even enjoy rewriting. What I find challenging is proofreading my own work. After reading it numerous times, I begin to see what I expect to see, and I miss mistakes. That’s where beta readers are helpful. The story is fresh to them, so mistakes jump out at them more easily. One beta reader for Staging Wars noted that I had used the wrong name for a character in one place. I had totally missed catching that after reading my manuscript multiple times. It’s also a challenge keeping things straight from one book to another. In my second book, I referred to Laura selling her Lexus in the first book to help fund her business when she had actually sold her Volvo.

What do you think makes a good story?

One thing I look for in a good story is character growth. I want to see the characters evolve and come out of the story better people than they were in the opening chapters. Romance writer Susan Elizabeth Phillips is a master of this. In each of her books she has her main characters facing their demons or recognizing their flaws and dealing with them. One of the first things I learned about writing was to give characters a flaw that they would have to deal with during the story. Nobody likes a main character who is perfect. One of Laura’s flaws is that she has an aversion to good-looking men. Anytime someone hurt or embarrassed her, took credit for her work, or generally made her life a misery, a handsome man was usually involved. It was enough to have her avoiding them.

Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

When I first started writing, I felt a bit awkward and self-conscious creating my main character because I felt people would think I was writing about myself. To compensate, I made my main character tall, I’m not; thin, I’m not; and a lot younger. But saying all that, I guess my main character, Laura Bishop, is the most like me. On the other hand, I made Laura’s mother sound so awful that I felt I should add a disclosure at the beginning of the book, saying that Laura’s mother was not based on my mother, who is wonderful.

What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

The one thing that might be different from other cozy mysteries is that Laura Bishop is not only an amateur sleuth, she is also an extremely reluctant one. In Staging is Murder when her young assistant is accused of murder and his grandmother beseeches Laura to help find the killer, Laura acknowledges that she doesn’t have any skill in identifying killers and that she would do the grandmother a disservice if she agreed to help and then couldn’t do anything. She does not want to be looking for a killer. Another flaw is that she can’t say no to people who come to her for help, and she is drawn into the case—but reluctantly.

What’s next on the horizon for you?

After I spend a fair amount of time this spring promoting Staging Wars, I will begin working on the third book in the series, continuing the adventures of Laura Bishop and her best friend, Nita Martino. In May, I will be attending the Malice Domestic mystery conference, where I’ll find out if Staging is Murder won the Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Exciting times.

Thank you, Grace, so much for visiting today!

More About Grace Topping

Grace Topping is a recovering technical writer and IT project manager, accustomed to writing lean, boring documents. Let loose to write fiction, she is now creating murder mysteries and killing off characters who remind her of some of the people she dealt with during her career. Fictional revenge is sweet. She’s using her experience helping friends stage their homes for sale as inspiration for her Laura Bishop mystery series. The series is about a woman starting a new career midlife as a home stager. The first book in the series, Staging is Murder, is a 2019 Agatha Award nominee for Best First Novel. Grace is the former vice president of the Chesapeake Chapter of Sisters in Crime, and a member of the SINC Guppies and Mystery Writers of America. She lives with her husband in Northern Virginia.

Author Links –  Website – Twitter – Facebook – GoodReadsBookBub – 

Purchase Links – Amazon  B&N   Kobo  

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
April 5 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
April 5 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT
April 6 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE
April 7 – eBook Addicts – SPOTLIGHT
April 7 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW
April 8 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
April 8 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 9 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST
April 10 – The Book Decoder – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 11 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
April 20 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
April 20 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT
April 21 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW
April 21 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
April 22 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
April 23 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE
April 24 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – REVIEW
April 25 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

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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 Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Spotlights

BOOK BLAST – Perils and Lace: A Ghostly Fashionista Mystery by Gayle Leeson @GayleTrent

Perils and Lace: A Ghostly Fashionista Mystery (Ghostly Fashionista Mystery Series)
by Gayle Leeson

About Perils and Lace


Perils and Lace: A Ghostly Fashionista Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Publisher: Grace Abraham Publishing
Number of Pages – 320
Digital ASIN: B086KXY34W

A murderer outwitting a quirky flapper ghost? Seams unlikely!

 

Budding retro fashion designer and entrepreneur Amanda Tucker is thrilled about making costumes for Winter Garden High School’s production of Beauty and the Beast. But when the play’s director Sandra Kelly is poisoned, Amanda realizes there’s a murderer in their midst. She’s determined to keep herself and the students safe, so when her ghostly fashionista friend Max suggests they investigate, Amanda rolls up her sleeves and prepares to follow the deadly pattern…

 

About Gayle Leeson

Amanda Lee, she wrote the Embroidery Mystery series, and as Gayle Trent, she writes the Daphne Martin Cake Mystery series and the Myrtle Crumb Mystery series. Going forward, Gayle intends to keep her writing until the Gayle Leeson name. She has a series of women’s fiction novellas set in a shopping mall that has been converted to include micro-apartments (the Kinsey Falls series) and is enjoying writing the Ghostly Fashionista Mystery Series, the Down South Cafe series, and co-writing the Victoria Square series with Lorraine Bartlett.

Author Links

Website Book  Website – Author  – Newsletter sign-up form –

Twitter:  @GayleTrentFacebook –   Amazon Author Page –  BookBub  – Goodreads

Purchase Link – Amazon 

Also by Gayle Lesson


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Book Blast Participants

The Avid Reader

Christa Reads and Writes

Moonlight Rendezvous

Literary Gold

T’s Stuff

Socrates Book Reviews

eBook Addicts

Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews

Reading Is My SuperPower

Cozy Up With Kathy

Nadaness In Motion

Christy’s Cozy Corners

Diane Reviews Books

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Posted in 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Deep Fried Revenge (A Farm-to-Fork Mystery) by Lynn Cahoon #Review @LynnCahoon @lyricalpress

Available Today!

Deep Fried Revenge
Deep Fried Revenge (A Farm-to-Fork Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Idaho
Publisher: Lyrical Underground (April 7, 2020)
Paperback: 184 pages
ISBN-10: 1516109902
ISBN-13: 978-1516109906
Kindle ASIN: B07Z5NFN5T

Angie Turner is all prepped to face Boise’s culinary best when she enters her restaurant, The County Seat, into a big State Fair challenge. Instead, she gets dunked into a new murder investigation after a killer starts scrapping her competition . . .

 

The Idaho State Fair is in full swing and chefs are lining up to enter Boise’s Best Restaurant contest, including Angie and her County Seat crew. They might be the hometown favorite, but the competition is steeper than a funhouse floor. And when a top contender is felled following a heated confrontation over a corn dog recipe, winning suddenly becomes a matter of life or death. With a foul foodie on the prowl, it’s up to Angie to dig into the case and put a murderer on ice.

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I love a state fair, don’t you? At the Idaho State Fair, they are holding a culinary competition and Angie Turner has entered her team from The County Seat to participate. The Boise’s Best Restaurant contest has several rounds with restaurants being eliminated after each round. One contestant, a top contender, is eliminated permanently shortly after the first round. Another is rushed to the hospital after the next round. Winning now has become a matter of life or death and Angie and Felicia rally their troops while Angie, Ian, and others get deep into the case to catch a killer. Ian also brings a new person in to join The County Seat crew and she has an interesting story.

________

Again Lynn Cahoon gives readers a great mystery to sink our teeth into. I really enjoyed this one because of the way the plot and subplots blended together so seamlessly. Thankfully while the revenge may be deep friend, none of the victims are, poison is the method of death and it is tough to ascertain where it actually came from. It was also hard to pare down the suspects. I found myself circling back around a couple of times.

The characters are this series have become some of my faves, both the humans and the animals. I absolutely love Angie’s, Saint Bernard Dom. I was also happy to have Mrs. Potter return in this book but she may be leaving the canvas again and that is okay knowing what she may be facing. The addition of a homeless teenager was a pleasant surprise. I loved the way everyone rallied around to protect her and take her under their wings. These characters truly have a family feel as close friends and co-workers tend to evolve into giving the story a very realistic feel.

At just 184  pages, Miss Cahoon packs in a lot of details and wonderfully descriptive writing. For me, the pace was measured to start with but picked up nicely about halfway through the story. The carnival food had my mouth watering and making me think that with the tragic virus in the world today most of our summer fun and yummy treats will be missed this year.

Deep Fried Revenge is a nice treat as this fun series continues. I recommend this whole series for foodie cozy mystery lovers.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

ABOUT LYNN CAHOON:

New York Times and USA Today best-selling author, Lynn Cahoon is an Idaho native. If you’d visit the town where she grew up, you’d understand why her mysteries and romance novels focus around the depth and experience of small-town life. Currently, she’s living in a small historic town on the banks of the Mississippi river where her imagination tends to wander. She lives with her husband and two fur babies.

Author Links

Goodreads – Twitter –Facebook Website –Amazon Author Page

 

Also by Lynn Cahoon


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 Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Spotlights

Miranda and the D-Day Caper by Shelly Frome – #Spotlight / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @shellyFrome

I am pleased to shine my spotlight on Miranda and the D-Day Caper
by Shelly Frome today! 

About Miranda and the D-Day Caper


Miranda and the D-Day Caper
Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Boutique of Quality Books (March 1, 2020)
Paperback: 338 pages
ISBN-10: 1945448571
ISBN-13: 978-1945448577
Digital ASIN: B07WPG7R3K

A modern day mystery with WWII tactics, old-time heroes and values, and the efforts of two amateur cousin sleuths from the Heartland.

 

On a sparkling spring morning in the Blue Ridge, small-town realtor Miranda Davis approached the tailgate market, intent on dealing with her whimsical cousin Skip’s unexpected arrival from New York. It turns out that Skip was on the run and, in his panic, grabbed his beloved tabby Duffy, recalling that Miranda had a recent part in solving a case down in Carolina. His predicament stemmed from intercepting code messages like “Countdown to D-Day,” playfully broadcasting the messages on his radio show over the nation-wide network, and subsequently forced to flee.

 

At first, Miranda tried to limit her old childhood companion’s conundrum to the sudden abduction of Duffy the cat. But the forces that be were hell-bent on keeping Skip under wraps by any means after he now stumbled close to the site of their master plan. Miranda’s subsequent efforts to decipher the conspiracy and somehow intervene placed both herself and her old playmate on a collision course with a white-nationalist perpetrator and the continuing machinations of the right-wing enterprise, with the lives of all those gathered for a diversity celebration in nearby Asheville and a crucial senatorial vote on homeland security hanging in the balance.

 

About Shelly Frome

Shelly Frome is a member of Mystery Writers of America, a professor of dramatic arts emeritus at the University of Connecticut, a former professional actor, a writer of crime novels and books on theater and film. He is also a features writer for Gannett Media’s Black Mountain News. His fiction includes Sun Dance for Andy Horn, Lilac Moon, Twilight of the Drifter, Tinseltown Riff, Murder Run, Moon Games and The Secluded Village Murders.  Among his works of non-fiction are The Actors Studio and texts on the art and craft of screenwriting and writing for the stage. Miranda and the D-Day Caper is his latest foray into the world of crime and the amateur sleuth. He lives in Black Mountain, North Carolina.

Author Links 

Facebook:  – Amazon: – Twitter:   – GoodReads:   – BookBub  – Instagram:

Purchase Links – Amazon B&N  Kobo Apple Books IndieBound IPG


Also by Shelly Frome

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS
March 30 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
March 31 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST
April 1 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST
April 2 – Sneaky the Library Cat’s Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
April 3 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT
April 4 – Reading Is My SuperPower – GUEST POST
April 5 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST
April 6 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT
April 7 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 8 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
April 9 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – GUEST POST
April 10 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 11 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
April 12 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

 

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Posted in My Reading Itinerary Monday

My Reading Itinerary Monday! – Week #15 – 2020

Welcome to My Reading Itinerary Monday!

Where are your books taking you this week?

I will be visiting New York, Scotland, and California!

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

Escapes Completed


Wonton Terror: A Noodle Shop Mystery
by Vivien Chien
Release Date – August 27, 2019
Setting – Ohio
My Flashback Friday Read – My Review


Deep Fried Revenge (A Farm-to-Fork Mystery)
by Lynn Cahoon
Release Date – April 7, 2020
Setting – Idaho
My Review will be up tomorrow! 


Staging Wars (A Laura Bishop Mystery)
by Grace Topping
Release Date – April 28, 2020
Setting – Pennsylvania
The Great Escapes Tour stops here this week for Cozy Wednesday!


A Small Town Can Be #Murder (Whistle Stop Mysteries)
by Julie Seedorf
Release Date – December 21, 2019
Setting – Minnesota
The Great Escapes Tour stops here this Thursday!

Scheduled Escapes


This Magick Marmot (An Abracadabra Mystery)
by Sharon Pape
Release Date – April 7, 2020
Setting – New York
The Great Escapes Book Tours stops here next Tuesday!


A Stroke of Malice (A Lady Darby Mystery)
by Anna Lee Huber
Release Date – April 7, 2020
Setting – Scotland
I will feature this book next week for Cozy Wednesday!


Murder in the Secret Maze (A Tory Benning Mystery)
by Judith Gonda
Release Date – February 26, 2020
Setting – California
The Great Escapes Tour stops here next Thursday!

Future Escapes

April 6 – 12, 2020


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 – Family – 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!

I hope you are all doing well and sheltering in place and participating in social distancing. Mr. Dollycas and I are co-existing in our work area well but our dogs are totally confused because he never leaves. Their nap schedule is completely messed up. Thanks to the nicer weather we are able to open the windows and the door and freshen up the house. The dogs love being able to go outside and lounge in the yard again. We also have a huge bunny rabbit taking refuge in our backyard. The dog’s vision is pretty impaired as they are now almost 17 so they don’t even see him, and he is pretty quick so they have no chance of catching him. This is the time of year when we start to do things with the kids and the grands and this darn virus throws a monkey wrench into that for everyone everywhere. As I write this on Saturday we are expecting Daughter #1 and the boys to come up to do a little yard raking and furniture moving.  We have all been pretty isolated and following all the rules. Stay Safe and Take Care! 

~Lori


Weekly Rewind – March 30 -April 4, 2020

Monday – My Reading Itinerary Monday! – Week #14 – 2020

Tuesday – Who’s Dead, Doc? (A Jules & Bun Mystery) by J.M. Griffin #Review / #Giveaway @KensingtonBooks

Wednesday – Cozy Wednesday – Featuring A Fatal Yarn (A Knit & Nibble Mystery) by Peggy Ehrhart #Review / #Giveaway @KensingtonBooks

Thursday – The Stolen Letter: A Scottish Bookshop Mystery by Paige Shelton #Review @MinotaurBooks

Friday – #FlashbackFriday – Wonton Terror: A Noodle Shop Mystery by Vivien Chien #Review / #Giveaway @StMartinsPress

Saturday – Selah’s Stolen Dream (Dream Horse Adventures) by Susan Count – Lori Sanford (Illustrator) #Spotlight / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

Plus – Gone With The Whisker (A Bookmobile Cat Mystery) by Laurie Cass #Spotlight @BerkleyMystery


Stay Strong! We are in this together!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Posted in Spotlights

Gone With The Whisker (A Bookmobile Cat Mystery) by Laurie Cass #Spotlight @BerkleyMystery


I am happy to shine my Spotlight on Gone With The Whisker today!

GONE WITH A WHISKER
Gone With The Whisker (A Bookmobile Cat Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
8th in Series
Setting – Michigan
Publisher: Berkley (March 31, 2020)
Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-10: 0593100131
ISBN-13: 978-0593100134
Kindle ASIN: B083HLLP75

A friendly feline and a feisty librarian merrily roll along in the newest Bookmobile Cat mystery…until murder stops them in their tracks!

 

It’s the summer season in Chilson, Michigan, and the town is packed with tourists ready for a fabulous Fourth of July fireworks show. Minnie Hamilton and her rescue cat, Eddie, have spent a busy day on the bookmobile, delivering good cheer and great reads to even the library’s most far-flung patrons. But Minnie is still up for the nighttime festivities, eager to show off her little town to her visiting niece, Katrina.

 

But then, during the grand finale of the fireworks display, Katrina discovers a body. Minnie recognizes the victim as one of the bookmobile’s most loyal patrons. And she knows she—and Eddie—will have to get to the bottom of this purr-fect crime.

 

About the Author

Laurie Cass is the nationally bestselling author of the Bookmobile Cat Mysteries. She lives on a lake in northern Michigan with her husband and two cats. Find out more on her webpage here and sign up for her Newsletter.


The publisher apologizes for not being able to offer a giveaway at this time due to the Coronavirus Lockdown. 
Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Posted in Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Spotlights

Selah’s Stolen Dream (Dream Horse Adventures) by Susan Count – Lori Sanford (Illustrator) #Spotlight / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

Selah’s Stolen Dream (Dream Horse Adventures)
by Susan Count – Lori Sanford (Illustrator)

I am thrilled to welcome Susan Count to Escape With Dollycas today! 

Hi Susan,

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

The major influence in my life was growing up an Army Brat. We moved frequently and when my family was blessed to be assigned to Hawaii—my personal journey with horses began. While my friends were at the beach, I was riding horses through the cane fields on the side of the mountains of Oahu.

Today I am owned by three equine blessing. The only thing more fun than riding might be writing horse adventure stories. I write because I must. A day without writing is a bit less joyful.

What are two things most people don’t know about you?

If you met me at church, you would never guess that I drive a truck and my #1 Christmas gift request was a battery-powered reciprocating saw.

What is the first book you remember reading?

When your grandmother is a librarian, you are going to grow up with books in your hands. The summer my father was deployed to Vietnam, we lived with my mother’s parents in Falls Village, Connecticut. My father’s mother worked as the town librarian. After she gave me The Black Stallion, I spent the rest of the summer in a hammock reading through the series.

What are you reading now?

When I start writing something new, I find I want to re-read my pile of craft books. I’ll work my way through Super Structure by James Scott Bell, Save the Cat by Jessica Brody, On Writing by Stephen King and about six others. What is it about writing that I never feel like I can just rock back as if I’ve got this? Tonight—Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass.

What books have most inspired you?

You should see my bookshelf! They are filled with horse books even after starting the process of gifting them to my granddaughter, Selah. There is something profoundly moving about our relationship with horses and many writers have created beautiful tributes to that relationship.

What made you decide you wanted to write middle-grade?

I couldn’t write a picture book for anything and I consider it the most difficult of genres. I bow to those that can. I’ve attempted chapter books, but the over simplification of language is more difficult to do than one might imagine.

I didn’t consciously choose to write for upper middle-grade readers, but as the stories unfolded it was my natural voice.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

As long as it is quiet, I will carry my laptop anywhere. I have a desk that belonged to my Grandmother Count that has secret compartments. I’ve always believed story ideas haunt it. In a sunroom that feels tucked into the forest, I have a standing desk and a daybed. In a room with a picture window into the barn and over the pasture is a writing table. On the deck overlooking the pasture is a comfy couch and a rocker, making it difficult to choose between them.

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

I believe God is the author of all creativity. That He delights in us and in our creative expressions. Ideas and plot points come from life experiences. I take truth and twist it into fiction.

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

For me, the process of writing requires solitude. Interruptions are the enemy of story.

What do you think makes a good story?

A great story is filled with conflict and tension and has an ending you didn’t expect. A great story reveals a character through action. Knowing that and pulling it off are two completely different things. I believe as I have evolved as a writer and gotten better at my craft, each book has gotten better.

Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

I’m probably most like the horse. Selah named her beautiful black mare—Sweet Dream. But the horse is difficult to train and highly opinionated.

What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

The first three novels in my series are firmly middle-grade, which is an impressionable age. While many believe middle-grade novels should form a child’s worldview, I’m more inclined to protect a child’s heart and mind just a little longer. But in Selah’s Stolen Dream, Selah is a bit older and therefore exposed to disagreeable elements. Even yet, a parent can confidently put the book in their child’s hands, knowing they will learn to take care in the world even as they ride off on a wholesome adventure.

What’s next on the horizon for you?

I’m in the last stages of preparing for publication an ecology story for my grandboys. The Firefly Warriors Club is the story of two young warriors thrust into battle to save the last firefly family.

I’m also working hard on the first draft of a series of novellas. Each story is about a horse girl struggling through what makes her life impossible.

About Selah’s Stolen Dream 

Selah’s Stolen Dream (Dream Horse Adventures)
Young Adult
4th in Series
Publisher: Hastings Creations Group (January 1, 2020)
Paperback: 262 pages
ISBN-10: 0997088389
ISBN-13: 978-0997088380
Digital Publisher: Hastings Creations Group (March 1, 2020)
Print Length: 217 pages
ASIN: B082L6CJ2H

One girl’s victory is another’s tragic defeat.

 

Thirteen-year-old Selah’s perfect life unravels when her beloved horse is stolen. Then ten-year-old Emma buys the dream of a lifetime at a horse auction. When she learns the horse was stolen, even removing her hearing aid won’t drown out the voice telling her to make it right.

 

But two girls can’t divide the horse they both adore. So will life surprise them with an answered prayer?

 

About Susan Count

How many twists and turns can one person take before they figure out what they were born to do? Susan Count’s degree is in Applied Science–nothing in that prepared her to write novels for children. But one day, she began to write with no preconceived ideas. No one could have been more astounded than she was when it turned into a middle-grade equine series. As a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, American Christian Fiction Writers, and Texas Association of Authors, she takes the craft of writing seriously and considers revision to be her super-power.

She writes at an antique secretary desk that occupies a glass room with a forest view. Fittingly, it once belonged to the same wise grandmother who introduced Susan to the love of reading via Walter Farley’s horse books. That desk has secret compartments that hold memories, mysteries and story ideas.

Susan is a lifelong equestrian and is owned by a Rocky Mountain Horse. She is convinced that the only thing more delightful than riding the forest trails might be writing horse adventure stories. She invites you to saddle up and ride along.

Author Links – Website Facebook Twitter Instagram – 

Purchase Link – Amazon 

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Great Escapes Tour Praise for Selah’s Stolen Dream (Dream Horse Adventures)
by Susan Count – Lori Sanford (Illustrator)

Ms. Count has a whimsical way with her writing that makes the reader believe that they are there with the characters. I loved this book from beginning to end.
~Baroness’ Book Trove

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Posted in 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Wonton Terror: A Noodle Shop Mystery by Vivien Chien #Review / #Giveaway @StMartinsPress

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.

I am on a mission to get caught up on this series!

wonton terror
Wonton Terror: A Noodle Shop Mystery
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Ohio
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks (August 27, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1250228344
ISBN-13: 978-1250228345
Kindle ASIN: B07NCWBQRQ

Wonton Terror, the fourth in Vivien Chien’s Noodle Shop delicious mystery series, Ho-Lee Noodle House is ready to take the Cleveland night market by storm—until a brand-new food venue literally explodes onto the scene.

 

Lana Lee is all smiles when the first evening of Cleveland’s Asian Night Market kicks off the summer. The weekly festival is always good for business, packed with locals and tourists, and this year, some stiff new food-truck competition. Wonton on Wheels, run by old friends of Lana’s parents, promises to have customers lining up for their delicately wrapped delights—until the truck blows up at evening’s end.

 

Lana’s boyfriend, Detective Adam Trudeau, had been planning a birthday getaway for the two of them but, lo and behold, Lana must assume the role of amateur sleuth yet again. With one proprietor of Wonton on Wheels dead, it’s beginning to look more like murder and less like an unfortunate accident. And as they begin to unwrap layers of disturbing secrets, Lana’s own family erupts into new drama. Will Lana be able to solve this crime—or has she jumped from the wok right into the fire?

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

It is time for the Cleveland Night Market and Lana Lee is thrilled her Ho-Lee Noodle House will be serving up its delicious Chinese food. The first night goes very well but wraps up with a huge KABOOM! A food truck belonging to some old friends of her parents explodes killing the husband Ronnie Chow and injuring the wife, Sandra.

On top of that Lana’s mother’s sister, Grace arrives in town for a visit and her boyfriend Detective Adam Trudeau is planning a romantic trip for her birthday.

So there is plenty of family drama and some undercover sleuthing going on, but Lana better tread carefully or she may be the next one getting burned.


Lana continues to grow in each book and this time she really doesn’t back away from the challenge of finding who blew up that food truck. She goes back time and time again questioning suspects and anyone that may have any information. From the elderly Mahjong Matrons to reconnecting with her childhood friend, Calvin Chow, who may be her number 1 suspect, or his uncle Gene. She really came across as brave this time. She is also learning that to avoid some of the family drama is to take a pass on the family dinners once in a while, but her overbearing mother won’t let that happen often. This tight-knit family is what really sets this series apart. With all the drama you can see the love behind it all. This time grandma has some wise words for her daughters, making Lana and her sister Anna Mae have a bit of an awakening too.

Ms. Chien has served up a very twisted mystery here. It was a challenging mystery to solve, in fact, there is a huge twist at the end that turned all my theories inside out. The pace felt a lot faster this time than in the previous books, my pages were flying.

I have enjoyed every book in this series so far. Egg Drop Dead is waiting not so patiently on my Kindle and Killer Kung Pao will be released on August 25.

Wonton Terror is a wonderful addition to this series! I would encourage you to start the series from the beginning but the author does a great job at including enough background to read each story on its own.

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You can read my review of Death by Dumpling here,  Dim Sum of All Fears here
and Murder Lo Mein here

About the Author

VIVIEN CHIEN was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio where she grew up in a mixed-race home, making for some very interesting cultural experiences. She found her love of books and the written word at an early age while writing short stories about her classmates in elementary school. Currently, she writes side-by-side with her toy fox terrier who refuses to sit anywhere else. When she’s not writing, Vivien enjoys frequenting local Asian restaurants, frolicking in the bookstore, and searching for her next donut. (From Amazon)

 

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

 

 

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The Stolen Letter: A Scottish Bookshop Mystery by Paige Shelton #Review @MinotaurBooks


The Stolen Letter: A Scottish Bookshop Mystery
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – Scotland
Publisher: Minotaur Books (April 7, 2020)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1250203872
ISBN-13: 978-1250203878
Kindle ASIN: B07XX1JBJS

Delaney Nichols is confident she’s doing what she loves—case in point, just one day after returning from her fabulous European honeymoon, she’s eager to get back to the Cracked Spine, the bookstore where she works. But as she disembarks her bus and hurries toward the shop she and another woman collide, sending a stack of books the woman is carrying to the ground.

Delaney’s hapless victim’s name is Mary, and the two women can’t help but notice that they bear an uncanny resemblance to one another. According to Mary, they both also look like the long-beheaded Mary Queen of Scots. Even stranger, Mary believes she is the reincarnation of the Scottish queen. But peculiar as Delaney’s doppelganger is, she doesn’t have time to dwell on it: on her arrival to the bookshop, she learns the Edinburgh city council wants to close the Cracked Spine, citing code violations, and she’s determined to stop them.

But when Mary’s husband dies in a car explosion—and Delaney learns he was the very member of city council who proposed that the city take a closer look at the bookshop’s construction—she starts to wonder if her meeting with Mary wasn’t an accident. Edinburgh has become as filled with intrigue and deception as any European court, and Delaney is determined to get to the bottom of this royal mystery.

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Delaney Nichols has returned from her honeymoon and can’t wait to get back to work at The Cracked Spine. But she is waylaid and she collides with a woman carrying a large stack of books. As she helps the woman. Mary, pick up the books she realizes the woman could be her doppelganger. Their resemblance is remarkable and the woman was also on her way to The Cracked Spine. Mary tells Delaney that they both resemble Mary Queen of Scots and that she firmly believes she is a reincarnation of the Scottish queen. Delaney is totally confused and taken aback by this but she is in for another even bigger shock when she arrives at her beloved bookshop. It seems the city council of Edinburgh is closing down the shop for unknown code violations. No one can even remember an inspector coming into the shop or receiving notification of any violations. Delaney jumps right into action trying to save the store.

She does accept a dinner invitation from Mary where she meets her husband, Henry. The next day he dies in a car explosion and Delaney finds out he was the member of the council behind the pressure to close The Cracked Spine.  This leads her to believe her meeting with Mary was not coincidental at all. She is going to do everything to save the bookshop and be sure the right person is booked for murder too!

______

I do love the way Paige Shelton tells a story. They are so easy to escape right into.

This time we see Delaney get fierce when her dream job is in jeopardy, in fact, all of the characters really step up.  Owner of the shop, Edwin MacAlister, is a little overwhelmed at first but does rally when Delaney makes it clear his help is truly needed and he pulls in a big gun. It was truly cool the way the story played out.

This author’s descriptive writing is just wonderful. Vivid images overtake my mind and take me right to Scotland allowing me to follow right in Delaney’s footsteps. From her amateur sleuthing to settling into to married life and getting ready to move into their new home. She is always able to give her stories a unique twist making it stand out in this genre.

The Stolen Letter is a great addition to this series. The characters are engaging and genuine. The mystery is twisty and entertaining. It checks all my cozy boxes to make it a Perfect Escape!

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About The Author

Paige Shelton is the New York Times Bestselling author of the Farmers’ Market Mysteries and the Country Cooking School Mysteries. She’s lived lots of places but currently resides in Arizona. Find out more at www.paigeshelton.com



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.”