Posted in Cozy Wednesday Guest Posts Reviews 2011 Wisconsin Author

Cozy Wednesday with Author Rochelle Staab (Giveaway Too!)

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

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

Welcome Rochelle!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a fabulous Thanksgiving everyone!


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

Rochelle Staab, a former award-winning radio programmer and music industry marketing executive, blended her fascination with the supernatural and her love for mystery in Who Do, Voodoo?the first novel in her Mind for Murder Mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime. BRUJA BROUHAHA, the second novel in the series will be released in August 2012.
You can find out more about Rochelle at
or Follow her at:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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

U.S. & Canadian Residents

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

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

Leave a Comment for Rochelle for 5 Bonus Entries.

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

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

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

Posted in Reviews 2011

A Real Basket Case by Beth Groundwater

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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

Posted in Monday's Music Moves ME

Monday’s Music Moves Me!

This is  a fun meme conducted by Xmas Dolly, co-conductors Stacy from Stacy Uncorked Lorie fromThe Shewbridges of Celebration, and Callie at Jamerican Spice.   This meme is so much fun and so easy!!!  Just go to one of the links above for the details and enjoy the music.

This week’s theme
Songs or Things We Are Thankful For

This was a song from our wedding.

That should get your Monday off to a good start!!
Click one of the above links and add you own favorites!!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Posted in It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

This great meme is hosted by Sheila at
Book Journey”.
It’s a great way to start the week and
find out what other bloggers are reading.
My To-Be-Read pile has grown to an
unbelievable number thanks to this meme.


A Real Basket Case (A Claire Hanover Mystery)

For Review! This has been on my wish list a while!!!
Review will be up tomorrow. This book was so good!!!!

Who Do, Voodoo? (A Mind for Murder Mystery)

Rochelle is an author with roots in Wisconsin and
she will be here this week for Cozy Wednesday!!

Sweet Revenge: A Lady Arianna Regency Mystery (Lady Arianna Hadley Mystery)

November Just For Fun Book!!

The Perfect Christmas

A Quick Christmas Read


Daddy’s Home

For Review and for my 3 R’s Challenge.
Recommended by Lori at Lori’s Reading Corner


Executive Retention: A Sedona O’Hala Mystery #2 (Volume 2)
For Review

Crops and Robbers (A Farmers’ Market Mystery)
Release Date: December 6, 2011

Endangered (A Summer Westin Mystery)

New Series
Release Date: December 6, 2011

Double Booked for Death (A Black Cat Bookshop Mystery)

New Series
Release Date: December 6, 2011

The Gratitude Giveaways Continue!

Click Here To See Current Giveaways!!

Details for 2012 Found Here!!


Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Posted in Just For Fun Challenge

Just For Fun Challenge 2012

As bloggers we are all on timetables to read books, get reviews posted, host giveaways, etc.
But we also travel around to other blogs and see books we would just like to read because of their recommendation or the cover or title catches our interest. The Meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” adds more books to my Wish List and To-Be-Read pile every week.

As followers you get our recommendations, win books from us, pick up books at the library or buy them at a store.
But our lives are so busy these books sometimes sit in our To-Be-Read piles for months or even years.

This is the second year I am hosting this challenge to
encourage you to read some of those books.

12 books in 12 months.

This year this challenge will be set up as a group on Good Reads. If you are not a member it is very easy to join. There are many benefits other than this challenge, you can keep track of the books you read and get great recommendations from other members too. Just go here to sign up.


Join the group!
This group will close to new members on January 31, 2012.

Just start a thread, WITH YOUR NAME AS THE TOPIC OF YOUR ORIGINAL POST. Select the proper folder using your first initial.
Then copy and paste this:
I am committing to read just one book for fun each month!

There will be no forms to fill out each month. You just need to go back to your original post on GoodReads,  and edit it each month to add the book you read plus the author next to each month. Please add a link to the book you read if you would like. This way you are in charge of your own recordkeeping and can check where you are in the challenge anytime you wish.

Bloggers: Please grab the button and put it on your blog to show your participation and provide a link back so others can join. I hope you will write a post telling about your involvement in the challenge and invite you followers to join and participate! Bloggers if you feel compelled to review the book you can but it is not required. You may want to list what books you have read under the button on your blog.

Read 1, yes, just 1 book for fun each month.


All book formats are allowed, printed, audio, e-book.

These books can be counted in your total books read for the year challenge and to one other challenge such as a Where Are You Reading Challenge but try not to cross them over to many other challenges as they really are to be read

Everyone that completes the Challenge, 12 books in 12 months will be entered in a drawing for a $25 dollar Gift Certificate or $25 at The Book Depository for International Participants.

Last year I really hampered myself by using the books I read JUST FOR FUN as a prize. I found myself putting so much thought into my choices like: Is it the first in a series?, Will other people like this?, that I found I wasn’t reading the books I really wanted to read JUST FOR FUN, like some of my favorite series books that I didn’t want to part with. So my books will not be a prize in 2012.

Instead I will add another $10 Gift Certificate from or The Book Depository as a 2nd prize.

More prizes may be added depending on the number of participants.

You Must Read One Book For Fun Each Month.
You can only add one book to your list per month.

I hope you enjoy this challenge and
hope I help you clear at least 12 books from the rising stacks.

There will also be extra giveaways only for JUST FOR FUN CHALLENGE MEMBERS throughout the year!

You can enter anytime between now and January 31, 2012.

There will still be a JUST FOR FUN page here too for reminders and special announcements.

Sign up today and get ready to hit the ground running January 1 reading
Just For Fun!!!

Posted in Thoughts

Feel Good Friday

Hosted by: Erika, the girl next door grows up

Welcome to
Feel Good Friday!!!

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

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

What made me FEEL GOOD this week?

Last Saturday my grandson turned 4. I can’t believe how time has flown by.
From This

To This

And Grandma and Papa were so mean we got him pajamas and not toys.

It looks here like they were liked better once he got home.

The other thing that took up a lot of my week was setting up and maintaining the social media networks and publicizing the page for a group in the area. Here in Wisconsin there is a huge movement to recall our governor. Only two governors have ever been successfully recalled. In 1921, Lynn Frazier, Governor of North Dakota, was recalled during a dispute about state-owned industries, and in 2003, Governor Gray Davis of California was recalled over the state budget. Additionally, a recall was approved against Arizona Governor Evan Mecham, but he was impeached and convicted before it got on the ballot.

I am pleased to be able to do my part for this recall by setting up Grassroots Columbus-Fall River. I can’t go door to door collecting signatures, go to the protests or rallies but this was something I could do to participate in this historic event.

Do worry, my blog will remain book oriented and remain politically free but when looking back at my week this task took up most of it.

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

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Posted in Reviews 2011

Edited for Death by Michele Drier

Edited for Death
By Michele Drier
Mainly Murder Press, LLC
Available Now

When Amy Hobbes takes on the editor job of a small town Northern California newspaper she expects a fairly easy job. She decides she wants to write a book about Senator Robert Calvert who had died recently. He was a WWII war hero and the famous son of a family from nearby Marshalltown. His family owned the Marshalltown Hotel since the Gold Rush, but as more people with connections to the hotel end up dead, secrets begin to emerge and the book takes a backseat to the daily news and solving the murders. Some of the secrets even lead to a Holocaust survivor who has been tracking stolen goods taken during the war. Quickly the past of the Calvert family puts not only Amy but her friends in danger, simple research could end up with dire consequences.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
An excellent debut!The author’s background in journalism shows in every word and every page. The story was well researched and a bit of a history lesson as well. The flashbacks to the war were amazingly insightful. The settings rich with history. The characters clearly defined. The story builds and unfolds at a rapid pace. There is bit a romance starting for Amy as well which adds another wonderful element. I hope the author has more adventures planned for Amy Hobbes, this is a wonderful start to what could be a very entertaining series.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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

Posted in Giveaway Winners - Now Appear In The Sidebar

To Catch A Leaf Winners!!!!!

Denise (Oregon)
Amy (Indiana)
They have each won a copy of

To Catch a Leaf: A Flower Shop Mystery

Winners chosen using
Thank You To Everyone That Entered!!!
More Book Reviews, Recommendations,
Random Thoughts & Giveaways!!!
Will always be here!!!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Posted in Giveaways

Gratitude Giveaways Blog Hop

Click Here To Travel To Over 300 Other Blog Giveaways

This is a special Giveaway Hop where we say
to our followers!!

Entry is very simple, just your name, your email address and your mailing address.
One entry is all that is allowed for each Gratitude Escape Into A Good Book!

I really am using this giveaway to say Thank You!
It has been quite a stressful couple of months for me recreating this blog
after having Dollycas’s Thoughts for almost 2 years.
I thank you for following me to this new site and
chasing me not only to one WordPress Blog
but two all in less than one week.
I know many of you follower me in more than one way and I appreciate that so much!

That is my only requirement for this giveaway, you must be a follower!

All Escapes are Open to U.S. and Canadian Residents

Gratitude Escape #1

Herald of Death (A Special Pennyfoot Hotel Mystery)

A dark spirit threatens the Pennyfoot’s shiny and bright Christmas…

The Christmas Angel is a welcome sight during the winter season-but not this year. A killer is afoot in Badger’s End, cutting a lock of hair from his victims and sticking a gold angel on their foreheads. Cecily Sinclair Baxter already promised her husband that she’d take a hiatus from sleuthing. But three killings have created a blizzard of bad publicity-and guests are canceling their hotel reservations. She will have to find the angel of death before he strikes again, leaving murder under the tree…

Plus some bookish swag


Gratitude Escape #2

Die Buying (Mall Cop)

Emma-Joy Ferris likes mall cop work, even though it’s a bit more humdrum than the military policing she did in the army. But there’s no time to be bored when someone ‘liberates’ a 15-foot python from the Herpetology Hut, and a mannequin turns out to be a very real corpse.


The Christmas Journey

The eighty-mile journey of a common carpenter and a simple peasant girl is one of the most powerful stories in history. As books go out of print and stories fade from memory, the journey of Joseph and Mary and her delivery inside a common barn continues to bless and inspire hope in people around the world.
Accompanied by moving and beautifully rendered illustrations throughout, Donna VanLiere’s retelling shows that the story of the Nativity is alive in our modern world.

Plus some bookish swag!!!


Gratitude Escape #3

A Pinch of Love: A Novel

With a little bit of flour and a pinch of love, anything is possible…

Rose-Ellen “Zell” Carmichael Roy doesn’t cook, but she wears her late husband Nick’s camouflage apron every day. That’s her widow style. It’s been more than a year since Nick’s tragic death during a post- Katrina relief mission in New Orleans, but Zell can’t bring herself to move on. Then, a postman’s error spurs her to enter a baking contest in the hopes of donating the grand prize to the hurricane survivors in Nick’s memory. After Zell’s first attempt at baking goes embarrassingly awry, she meets Ingrid Knox-her motherless nine-year-old neighbor-and the two forge an unlikely friendship that will alter both their lives forever.

Plus some bookish swag!

With Christmas Shopping and Thanksgiving I hope all of you
find some time to Escape Into A Good Book!
Thank you one and all!!!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Posted in Reviews 2011

A Pinch of Love by Alicia Bessette

A Pinch of Love: A Novel
by Alicia Bessette
Published by The Penguin Group
Available Now
Cover Design by Melissa Jacoby

More than a year after her husband was killed during a relief mission in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, Rose-Ellen “Zell” can’t bring herself to move on with her life. Zell who has lived her life with her meals provided via take out or the microwave. So much so, that her husband could even hide surprises for her in the oven knowing it would never be used.

A simple error by a postal carrier changes her life. She receives a magazine touting a baking contest with a $20,000 grand prize. She decides to enter and win and donate the money to hurricane survivors in her husband’s memory. Thankfully after a failed baking attempt that almost burns her house down, Zell meets Ingrid. Ingrid is nine years old, lives next door to Zell with her dad, and Ingrid’s mother is completely out of the picture. These two form an unlikely friendship as they endeavor to win the baking the contest. They both have very different reasons for wanting to win and this contest could change both of their lives forever.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

A compassionate look at the grieving process. The author has mixed together the perfect ingredients to turn out a true recipe of hope and light through the darkness of losing a loved one. The new bonds created are real and ring true in a engaging story that may have you laughing one moment and crying the next.

The characters in this story are absolutely wonderful. Even the character of Zell’s husband is fully developed and his strength carries on in Zell as she allows herself to grieve her devastating lost.  It is true sometimes the best medicine for the hardest times comes from children and our pawed friends. 

If you are like me and endured Home Economics in high school you will love the Ye Old Home Ec Witch references and how the “witch” spends her time in retirement.  

Keep some tissues handy, the entire story will warm your heart and remember a pinch of love never hurts no matter what you are doing.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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