Posted in Just For Fun Challenge

JUST FOR FUN Challenge

I may have lost all the forms and the posts about this challenge when Dollycas’s Thoughts was disabled by Google but I have all entries through September 30, saved on my computer.

Please add the book you read JUST FOR FUN in October in the comment section below. Remember to include the author’s name. Please add a note if it is a catch up book.

Happy Reading!

Posted in Reviews From Dollycas's Thoughts

Review: Someday Quilt Mystery Series by Clare O’Donohue

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

Plume Books

A Division of Penguin Publishing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

For more about Clare O’Donohue, check out http://www.clareodonohue.com/.


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

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Posted in Reviews From Dollycas's Thoughts

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

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

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

 

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

WATCH FOR HER NEW BOOK TO BE RELEASED APRIL 27, 2010.  YOU CAN PRE-ORDER IT OR ANY OF THE BOOKS IN THIS SERIES USING THE LINKS BELOW.

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Posted in Reviews From Dollycas's Thoughts

Review: Moon Spinners by Sally Goldenbaum

This was originally published at Dollycas’s Thoughts on April 15, 2010.

 

Hardcover Release April 27, 2010

The ocean breezes, sandy beaches and the moon glistening over the waves means we are back in Sea Harbor, Massachusetts, for this third installment of Sally Goldenbaum’s Seaside Mystery Series.  
The Moon Spinners are at work, “imagine the women of ancient Celtic myth pulling the silvery strands of light from the sky and winding it on distaffs until weeks later the waning moon would disappear completely, leaving the world wrapped in a blanket of total darkness, the tides quieter, creatures safe from the hunter.“*
The Seaside Knitters are attending a fundraiser to build a new community center.  Two building companies are working together on the project even though the families can’t stand each other.  The party is interrupted by the drunken ex-wife of one of the builders who also happens to be a sister of the other.  This little interruption causes one lovely socialite to leave the party early.
At the same time Sam Perry is scuba diving at Devil’s Cove with some friends. It is his first night dive and as he emerges from the water he sees the moon hanging so low that he could almost reach up and touch it.  It looks almost eerie, Sam, never without his camera, turns it up toward the night sky, but his attention is quickly drawn to a car moving much to fast down the curvy road that outlines the edge of Devil’s Cove.  The other divers surfacing around him notice the car’s headlights and they all watch in horror as it misses the curve and flies through the air across the moon and falls to the rocky shore below.  Later we learn the brake lines on the car had been cut which means, it was no accident, but MURDER.
The Seaside Knitters spring into action to try to find the killer, but the clues do not knit together easily, many loose ends cause their theories to unravel, there is something they are all missing, the one thread that will stitch everything together.

 

Each book in the series gets better and better.  The characters are like old friends, and their friendship keeps them together through thick and thin.  It doesn’t matter if you are young or old, male or female, this group that meets every Friday night for food, drinks and fellowship will always be there for each other, and they welcome new people with ease.  Yes, there is a mystery to solve and the plot is tight, but these stories are more about the friendship to me.  It would be wonderful if we all could have a fantastic group of friends like this tightly knit group in Sea Harbor.  I hope there are more books in the series, I anxiously await another visit to this seaside village.

*excerpt from book

  
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from  Obsidian, an imprint of The New American Library, a division of Penguin Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Posted in Reviews From Dollycas's Thoughts

A Holiday Yarn by Sally Goldenbaum (ARC)

This was originally posted on Dollycas’s Thoughts on October 12, 2010.

An Obsidian Mystery

A Division of Penguin Publishing

4th in the Seaside Knitters Mystery Series

Release Date: November 2, 2010

We return to Sea Harbor, Massachusetts just in time for the holidays.  The Seaside Knitters are helping Mary Pisano turn her family home into a wonderful Bed & Breakfast.  Her first guests are her family, in town to discuss her grandfather’s will and tie up any loose strings.  Mary hopes the relaxed setting will sooth anyone’s feelings who may have been hurt by her inheriting the family home. When they see her renovations how can they not be happy with what she has done with her family legacy.
Mary not only has to make her family happy but also her neighbors.  One in particular, Henrietta O’Neal, who is doing everything she can to halt the opening of the B&B.

But Henrietta is just one small distraction hindering the opening of Ravenswood-By-The-Sea.  The bigger distraction is the dead body of Mary’s cousin Pam found on its snow covered grounds.  The family reunion has now become anything but relaxing and until the murderer is found all of Mary’s planS for her B&B begin to unravel. The Seaside Knitters are knitting the clues together as fast as they can so that the tragedy will not ruin everyone’s holiday.

I am always happy to visit Sea Harbor, even in the icy cold winter.  By this 4th sojourn to the seaside village all the characters are now old friends, the shops are decked out for the holidays and the recent snowfall really gets us in the holiday spirit, except for murders it is a truly magical place.

Sally Goldenbaum has created a place you will want to visit again and again with words as only she can.  This is the perfect story to “Escape” into. Curl up in a nice comfy chair, a fire in the fireplace, a cup of hot apple cider, sit back and enjoy as she takes you back to this seaside town full of the nicest people, but whose reputation for murder, mystery and mayhem will keep you on hooks and needles.  And don’t forget the power of mistletoe.

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Obsidian, a division of Penguin Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Posted in Cozy Wednesday

COZY WEDNESDAY – With Author Sofie Kelly

This post originally appeared on Dollycas’s Thoughts September 14, 2011.

I am really excited about today’s guest and contrary to what you may have heard just because my cats Sherlock and Professor Moriarty look just like Owen and Hercules on the cover of Sofie’s books Curiosity Thrilled the Cat and the latest Sleight of Paw they have no magical powers unless hiding from an almost 4 year old little boy is magic.  Kathleen’s cats are really magical and I love them!!!
Now back to Sofie, she is a wonderful writer and I am so glad she is because as you will see in her post below her life could have turned out quite differently.
Welcome Sofie!!
Thanks Lori, I am happy to be here today!!!
My Life As An (Almost) Criminal
I get asked at least once a week why I like to write mysteries. And generally I talk about my love of puzzles, my strong sense of right and wrong, my interest in the psychology of the criminal mind, and even my control freak personality that likes to make everything work out just so. And all of those reasons are true. But it’s also possible that my interest in mystery writing comes from an event in my childhood. Yes, I was almost a criminal. In fact if I’d had more upper body strength at six I could be making license plates in the big house instead of writing books on my computer.
First some background. As a child I spent a lot of time with the sons of my mother’s closest friend. Let’s call them Bill and Stephen because, well, those are their names. Bill’s a year older than I am, Stephen is a year younger, the baby of the family. They lived up a winding dirt road, across from woods that led up a slope to an open blueberry field. There were scrabbly bushes and a small pond just beyond their backyard. At the bottom of that narrow, dusty road was a little country store.
We weren’t allowed up in the blueberry field by ourselves. We weren’t allowed down at the pond by ourselves. We certainly weren’t allowed to walk down that road that wasn’t much more than two parallel ruts in the dirt to the store at the bottom. So of course we did all of it. We caught frogs at the pond and shoved them down each other’s shirts. We threw handfuls of mud at each other. We ate berries until our mouths were purple blue. We foraged in the ditch on both sides of the road, looking for pop bottles tossed out of passing cars, until we had enough to exchange for a popsicle. And every once in a while we’d hide and scared the crap out of Stephen because wasn’t that the point of having a little brother, even if he wasn’t yours?
The thing is, little brothers, no matter whose little brothers they are, will only take that for so long and then they will RAT YOU OUT. Which is what Stephen did one summer day.
Remember that strong sense of right and wrong I mentioned earlier? It was a lot stronger when I was six, especially with respect to tattletales. So when I found out what Stephen had done I took action.
I hit him with a hammer, smack in the middle of his forehead. I was saved by three things. One, it was a kid sized hammer. Two, I really had no upper body strength and I had a swing like a girl because, well, I was a girl. And three, Stephen has always had an extremely hard head.
So I didn’t kill him. In fact I maintain I didn’t even really hurt him other than the small divot the hammer left in his forehead. Of course my mother didn’t see it that way. Neither did his. I don’t remember what the punishment was, but I was a law-abiding citizen from that day on. I stopped committing crimes and started making up stories about them.
Stephen never ratted anyone out again as far as I know. Today he’s about the size of a defensive lineman and I’m pretty sure he could squeeze my head between his thumb and forefinger and make my brains come out my nose. So I’m planning on sticking to writing about crimes. Although, I do still have that hammer.
~Sofie
Oh My Gosh, this story had me laughing so hard! I am so glad you are a writer and not a criminal.  I would miss your stories!!! Thank you Sofie for being here today!
Want to find out all about Sofie be sure to visit her web page!
Sleight of Paw: A Magical Cats Mystery

Obsidian

Published by New American Library
A Division of the Penguin Group
Second in the Series
Agatha Shepherd was an educator and over the years she helped almost everyone in town in one way or another.  When she is found dead outside a local cafe people are certainly shocked. Who would do this and why???
Kathleen hopes that with the help of her feline friends and maybe a little assistance from a handsome detective she may find the answers.  Of course having a cat that can walk through closed doors and another that can become invisible at will makes Kathleen investigation a little easier as long as no one notices their cute little tricks. You won’t believe the secrets a cat can cough up.
My Thoughts
Cats are so much fun and they convey so much with a flick of the tail, a certain meow, or a twitch of the ear. Magical cats are even more special.  It’s difficult enough to write for people, there is a special place in my heart for authors that write for animals.  All the characters are well written in this story. The mystery is also extremely well written with many suspects and motives.  The very first chapter had me laughing out loud and the humor in continually interspersed throughout the story.  The friendships Kathleen has made in Minnesota are going to be lifelong and I am sure one special one will continue to develop making it very hard to leave when her short term contract with the library is complete.  I plan to enjoy many more trips to Mayville Heights!
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Obsidian. 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.”