Jan 222019
 

Botched 4 Murder (Sophie Kimball Mystery)
by J.C. Eaton

About the Book 


Botched 4 Murder (Sophie Kimball Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Arizona
Kensington (December 18, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1496719883
ISBN-13: 978-1496719881
Digital ASIN: B07C9WK1J8

Bowled over . . .

Sophie “Phee” Kimball is getting dragged into the drama again at her mom’s Arizona retirement community. A new board member wants to get rid of two golf courses and replace them with eco-friendly parks, and some of the residents are pretty teed off about it. On top of that, her mother’s book club friend Myrna is being pushed out of the bocce league. These seniors are serious about winning, and Myrna’s dragging them down. She’s so bad at bocce, in fact, that when a community mem.ber’s dead body is discovered while Myrna’s practicing for a tournament, she assumes it was one of her own errant balls that killed the woman.

But before Myrna can be tossed off the bocce court and into criminal court, the police find an arrow in the victim’s neck. It looks like this was no accident—and Phee and her investigator boyfriend Marshall will have to team up to bounce a killer into the slammer . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

There is never a dull moment at the Sun City West Retirement Community and Sophie “Phee” Kimball always get dawn into the fun and games by her mother, Harriet. This time a board member has the bright idea to turn to golf courses into eco-friendly parks. Most of the residents are up in arms. There is also a big bocce ball tournament coming up and one of the members of the Sun City West team is performing up to par and some member want her out. These two things collide when the board member is found dead and misthrown bocce ball is found nearby sending the group into quite a tizzy.  When the police arrive they find the real cause of death, and they call it murder. It doesn’t take long before Phee and Marshall, her investigator boyfriend, are fully involved in the investigation. Marshall helping the police, Phee on every wild goose chase her mother sends her on.

This series just gets better and better. This time Phee is roped into a group made up of the women from her mother’s book club and a group of men who are dead set against board member, Sorrel Harlan’s plan to get rid of two golf courses. Together they make plans to attend the board meeting and to try to convince the board to vote “no”. When the woman is found dead the group continues to meet to be sure the golf courses stay in tact and to “help” Phee catch the killer.

Harriet is a loving but very pushy woman. Phee has learned to just do as her mother asks to avoid confrontation and also because sometimes the chases do provide clues to move the case forward. It always cracks me up when Phee has to remind her mother and her friends that, yes, she does work for an investigation agency, but she is the BOOKKEEPER, not a detective. Eye-rolling is one of Phee’s great traits.

All the characters feel very real and Harriet reminds me a little bit of my own mom. The way the woman plans her life almost entirely around her Chiweenie dog, Streetman, is hilarious. I love the way the relationship is growing between Marshall and Phee. The man is a keeper, he puts up with all the things Phee does and her mother.

The plot was a twisty one. Plenty of suspects and red herrings. I was totally caught up in the story from start to finish.

Funny and entertaining. The entire series has been delightful. They are best read in order to get to really know these characters.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About the Authors

Ann I. Goldfarb

New York native Ann I. Goldfarb spent most of her life in education, first as a classroom teacher and later as a middle school principal and professional staff developer. Writing as J. C. Eaton, along with her husband, James Clapp, she has authored the Sophie Kimball Mysteries (Kensington) set for release in June 2017. In addition, Ann has nine published YA time travel mysteries under her own name. Visit the websites at www.jceatonauthor.com and www.timetravelmysteries.com

James E. Clapp

When James E. Clapp retired as the tasting room manager for a large upstate New York winery, he never imagined he’d be co-authoring cozy mysteries with his wife, Ann I. Goldfarb. His first novel, Booked 4 Murder (Kensington) is set for release in June 2017. Non-fiction in the form of informational brochures and workshop materials treating the winery industry were his forte along with an extensive background and experience in construction that started with his service in the U.S. Navy and included vocational school classroom teaching.

Visit their website at www.jceatonauthor.com and Like and Follow on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/JCEatonauthor/

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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.”

Oct 192018
 

Deadly Payload (Rim Country Mysteries)
Suspense/Mystery
Setting – Arizona
4th in Series
Short on Time Books (July 17, 2018)
Paperback: 270 pages
ISBN-10: 1717360165
ISBN-13: 978-1717360168
Kindle ASIN: B07CLVZBZR

Dead birds raining from the sky. Poison in the water supply. Spies on the back porch.

A lifeless crow shatters the windshield as Rita Avery, her daughter-in-law, and her granddaughter arrive at Arizona’s Rim Vista Park. Rita dodges bird carcasses on the road home, where she finds her husband Cliff and son Travis gravely ill from a mysterious pathogen with no cure.

The CDC assembles a team to create a cure, but Rita doubts it will arrive in time to rescue Cliff, Travis, and dozens of her friends and neighbors.

In a race to save her family, her community, and potentially thousands more Americans, Rita launches her own investigation. She partners with a certified herbalist and a homeless war veteran dubbed Crazy Mary.

But the more clues Rita uncovers, the deeper she finds herself in the middle of a ruthless plot that could unleash a wide-ranging American disaster. And the culprits aim to stop her at any cost.

Before it’s too late for her loved ones, Rita must thwart the next attack on innocent civilians.

Murder, spine-tingling trips through Arizona’s rugged wilderness, and callous spies determined to spread havoc – this isn’t your average family outing!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

“It started raining dead birds as I turned my Lexus into the driveway of Rim Vista Park. A crow thudded against my windshield, leaving a web-shaped crack and a red smear as it slid to the hood.”

Okay, Ms. Randau, with a first paragraph like that you totally got my attention.

I missed the first two adventures with Cliff and Rita but book #3, Deadly Choices made my Best Reads list last year and when they traveled to New Jersey in the novella, Deadly Reception, for their daughter’s wedding I went on that wild ride too.

This time Rita Avery faces that whatever is killing the birds could also kill her husband and her son and she feels it may be her fault. The entire community is at risk and people are dying. Her friend Taylor, a paramedic and herbalist tries her best to help the folks that will let her by adding herbal remedies to the treatment at the hospital. The CDC is working on a cure but it may be too late. Rita notices that a homeless war vet suffering from PTSD has picked up the virus too, but her symptoms seem more extreme but at a slower pace.  The police force is down to a skeleton crew and the chief realizes he may need Rita help to solve this thing. But what she discovers is bigger than she ever imagined. This mysterious virus could expand and reach far beyond Arizona, it could be a threat to the entire U.S.

Rita Avery is a strong woman on a mission to first save her family and second find out who is behind this deadly pathogen and take them down. No matter how run down, tired or frightened, she doesn’t back down. She is brave beyond measure.

Readers are taken on quite a journey with Rita.  There are many edge of the seat moments. In fact, in places, it felt like a Michael Palmer thriller. Murder, spies, corruption, then add in treks through the Arizona wilderness and you have a story that is impossible to put down.

Ms. Randau makes this crisis intimate by involving the Avery family giving a wife and mother spin that pulls your heart right in. I was invested in these characters from the previous stories so I truly cared about the outcome.

Randau is an excellent storyteller and knows how to set a scene. Whether it be the Avery home, the hospital or in the middle of the woods, she takes her readers there with clear detail.

The story was complex with a lot of moving parts, false leads, twists, and surprises. Exactly what I have come to now expect from this author. She sure didn’t disappoint. This was another spectacular read!

While this is a series, the author does give enough background for this story to stand on its own so don’t be afraid to start with this installment.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Karen Randau is the author of the Rim Country Mystery series. Her fast-paced novels include Deadly Deceit, Deadly Inheritance, and Deadly Choices, each with intricate plots and lots of action and told from the point of view of protagonist Rita Avery.

 

Author Links

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Check out my review of Deadly Choice HERE and Deadly Reception HERE.

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I had to squeeze this book in. Flashback Friday will return next week! 

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.”

Jun 282018
 


Staged 4 Murder (Sophie Kimball Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Arizona
Kensington (June 26, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1496708598
ISBN-13: 978-1496708595
Kindle ASIN: B07638MJJT

Sophie “Phee” Kimball wants to get some work done at her private investigation company in Arizona—and she’s distracted already by her old crush, who’s arriving from Minnesota to join the staff. The last thing she needs is constant updates from her mom on the local production of Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap.” Practically everyone from Mom’s book club and retirement community, with the possible exception of her chiweenie, Streetman, wants to join the cast and crew. But someone’s playing the role of the killer for real.

After a much-despised cast member is found dead on a catwalk in the theater, Phee has no choice but to be drawn into all the backstabbing and backstage gossip. Especially if her drama-queen mother is right about the vaguely threatening note left on her windshield, which could mean curtains for another victim.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Sun City West is launching a production of Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap and because all the members of Phee’s mom’s book club love mysteries they all just have to be part of the play.  Sophie “Phee” Kimball has other things on her mind, like the new private investigator joining the firm where she works. Someone from her past and she just doesn’t know how she can see him every day without telling him how she feels.

But of course, her mother has to interrupt her at work several times a day with all the happenings at the theater. When Phee receives a call saying a cast member was dead she rushes to the theater to find her mother and her friends uninjured but the star of the play dead up on the catwalk. Phee finds herself in the middle of another investigation along with the new P.I., Marshall Gregory because the  Booked 4 Murder Book Club doesn’t think the police have a clue so they have hired the firm to solve the case. Curtain up, light the lights. there is a murder mystery to solve if Phee survives both her mother and the killer.

Thankfully Phee’s Aunt Ina is out of town, so she only needs to be at her mother’s beck and call. Harriet is a real force, says what she thinks, interrupts in the most inopportune moments, and demands her daughter do what she tells her to do, right now! If Harriet was my mother I would either be in jail or live far, far, away. Sophie has the patience of a saint and so does Marshall Gregory. Phee had warned him about her mother and her friends, who aren’t as demanding as Harriet but are pretty manipulative in their own right. Marshall doesn’t back off but takes them all with a grain of salt. He does have feelings for Phee, I just hope whatever relationship they try to have can survive one of the pushiest women on the planet.

After you get used to Harriet’s boldness we are treated to an exceptionable mystery. Twists, threats, “ghosts”, secrets, trapdoors, spotlights, and murder all collide to keep readers glued to the pages. The police really dropped the ball at the beginning of the investigation. It took some digging for the real suspects to come into focus. As all the clues start to fall into place and the mouse is almost trapped the suspense ramps up.  I did think after learning all about the mechanisms around and under the stage that Phee would surprise the killer in a different way with to set up the ending. The approach used by the authors did bring the story to a satisfactory conclusion with some chilling moments too.

The Booked 4 Murder ladies do bring a lot of humor to the story. I do have hope for the budding romance between Marcus and Phee, but with Aunt Ina back in town, heaven only knows what the next book will bring.

A fast-paced entertaining read. I should be recovered from Harriet by the time the next book is released. 🙂 All three books in this series have been pleasures to read. I am looking forward to my next visit with Sophie “Phee” Kimball!


About the Authors

Ann I. Goldfarb

            New York native Ann I. Goldfarb spent most of her life in education, first as a classroom teacher and later as a middle school principal and professional staff developer. Writing as J. C. Eaton, along with her husband, James Clapp, she has authored the Sophie Kimball Mysteries (Kensington) set for release in June 2017. In addition, Ann has nine published YA time travel mysteries under her own name. Visit the websites at www.jceatonauthor.com and www.timetravelmysteries.com

James E. Clapp

            When James E. Clapp retired as the tasting room manager for a large upstate New York winery, he never imagined he’d be co-authoring cozy mysteries with his wife, Ann I. Goldfarb. His first novel, Booked 4 Murder (Kensington) is set for release in June 2017. Non-fiction in the form of informational brochures and workshop materials treating the winery industry were his forte along with an extensive background and experience in construction that started with his service in the U.S. Navy and included vocational school classroom teaching. Visit the website at www.jceatonauthor.com



Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End Jul 12, 2018, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Apr 262018
 

Wedding Cake Crumble (Cupcake Bakery Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
10th in Series
Setting – Arizona
Berkley (April 3, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0399583834
Kindle ASIN: B073Z3BCXH

 

 

With Angie and Tate’s wedding just around the corner, it’s a happy time for Melanie Cooper and the bakery crew. Not only are they finessing the last minute details of the big day, but their bakery, Fairy Tale Cupcakes, has just been hired to bake cupcakes for the blockbuster book signing of a controversial author who wrote a steamy bestseller filled with juicy local gossip.

But one by one, the people Angie has hired to work at the wedding begin turning up dead. As the body count rises, the bestselling author is the next to bite the dust. Mel quickly realizes she needs to figure out how the murders are connected and why–before the killer brings the entire cupcake crew crumbling down. After all, Angie and Tate deserve their sweet happily ever after.

INCLUDES SCRUMPTIOUS RECIPES!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Wedding bells will soon be ringing for Angie and Tate and Fairy Tale Cupcakes is busy baking cupcakes for an author’s book signing. They just need to stay clear of any dead bodies until after the wedding. Yeah, right, this is Mel and Angie we are talking about. The book signing is for an author that has written a thinly veiled novel about a neighborhood much like her own and filled it with truth and gossip, not trying to really hide the people’s identities with very telling nicknames. Shortly after her big event, she found dead and Mel thinks it may be connected to some other murders. Can she solve the case before Angie’s trip down the aisle? Or will everything crumble down around them?

This was such a sweet read. Mel, Angie and the Fairy Tale Bakery gang are some of my favorite cozy characters. This being book ten, I truly feel like I am visiting old friends and excited to attend this long-awaited wedding. Mel, Angie, and Tate have been through so much. I was so happy to see this wedding take place. Hopefully, Dear Joe and Mel’s will follow soon.

I really enjoyed the way each character was utilized throughout the story. In addition to creating the cupcakes for the wedding, Oz was having some personal problems. Marty has personal issues on his mind too. Uncle Stan seemed preoccupied and even Mel’s mom has a secret. Each of these characters has their own little subplot. I loved it!

While the story does feature a lot about the wedding Jenn McKinlay doesn’t hold back on the murder/s mystery. The bodies start to pile up early and a clever twist turns the everyone’s thinking around, but finding the real motive takes a bit of sleuthing. The suspect pool changed and it was overflowing of suspects. Another epic twist gets to the heart of the issue and everything falls nicely into place. What a fantastic journey to a very satisfying ending.

This series debuted in 2010 and I have loved all of them. Sprinkle With Murder, the first book in the series, was one of the 1st books featured on my original Dollycas’s Thoughts blog. I hope this series continues for at least 10 more! I do recommend starting at the beginning to get maximum enjoyment of the characters and their growth, but you can jump in anywhere along the way. You can’t go wrong with a Jenn McKinlay novel.

Be sure to check out the recipes in the back of the book too.

Your Great Escapes Travel Agent

 

Find out all about Jenn McKinlay and her books on her webpage here.

Cupcake Bakery Mysteries


Library Lover’s Mysteries

The Hat Shop Mysteries

Check Out Her New Romance Series

Click on covers to order from Amazon.

 

GIVEAWAY
Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

 If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End May 10, 2018, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Dec 072017
 

Ditched 4 Murder (Sophie Kimball Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Arizona
Kensington (November 28, 2017)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496708571
Kindle ASIN: B06XFL7N93

 

 

 

She’s handling a bridezilla—and hunting a killer . . .

Moving from Minnesota to Arizona was a big change for Sophie “Phee” Kimball. She’s much closer to her mother’s retirement community now—which can drive her a little crazy, but at least her mom, Harriet, has her book club and her Chiweenie dog, Streetman, to keep her company. And now there’s, even more, activity, with Aunt Ina’s upcoming wedding. The seventy-four-year-old bride has roped Phee into working on the tent, the pastries, and even her headpiece in preparation for the ceremony. But it’s Harriet who really gets demanding when a dead body turns up yards from her front door.

Aunt Ina’s fiancé is acquainted with the victim—a local millionaire restaurateur murdered at the golf course. Working for a private investigator, Phee is drawn into the case—not just professionally but personally, since Harriet is in a panic about her safety. With a killer on the loose, Phee vows to figure out the plot—that is, if her side job as a wedding planner doesn’t kill her first . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Oh my, Sophie “Phee” Kimball has the patience of a saint. In the first book of this series, Booked 4 Murder, Phee had to deal with her mother’s daily and sometimes hourly demands and in this book, her mom Harriet is joined by Aunt Ina. Aunt Ina is planning a wedding and called Phee for “a favor”, well that favor turned into several and when her groom disappeared she expected Phee to find him too. While Phee does work for a private investigator it is in the capacity of a bookkeeper, not as a sleuth. Yes, she did help solve the last mystery but for this one, she is going to need professional help, that is if her boss, Nate, can fit this “case” into his already very busy schedule. I am seriously surprised the woman doesn’t pack up and move back to Minnesota, even with the cold winters.

I do love these characters as long as they stay in the book and aren’t my relatives 🙂 I would never be able to deal with them the way Phee does. Both her aunt and her mother want her to start dating again, but I don’t know how she would ever find the time. She does have some good friends as a support system though.

The mystery is more than just a missing man, another man was found dead at the golf course and a chef’s body was found in the state park where Aunt Ida’s nuptials are set to take place. Phee just needs to figure out if and how these three men are connected. The author throws us readers several red herrings and twists things up nicely. The pages were practically flying as we got closer to Ina’s big day and the killer/s had yet to be caught. I was right there with Phee as everything fell into place.

This story tickled my funny bone too with all these ladies and their antics. When the book club ladies joined in and were even questioned by the police, I found myself actually giggling. I also found myself laughing when an unexpected guest flew into the wedding. Again, I was fine with it in the book, up close and personal, I would definitely not be laughing.

The state park where Ina’s wedding takes place sounds like a beautiful place, sans the rattlesnakes and scorpions. The authors brought it to life nicely.  I was also captivated by the description of the dessert at the reception instead of the traditional cake. It is something I would love to see and taste myself.

A couple characters drove me a little nutty, but I absolutely loved this story. I am excited about the next book in the series, especially from the little teasers at the end of this one.

Crazy characters and a fun mystery. I loved it!

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About the Authors

Ann I. Goldfarb

            New York native Ann I. Goldfarb spent most of her life in education, first as a classroom teacher and later as a middle school principal and professional staff developer. Writing as J. C. Eaton, along with her husband, James Clapp, she has authored the Sophie Kimball Mysteries (Kensington) set for release in June 2017. In addition, Ann has nine published YA time travel mysteries under her own name. Visit the websites at www.jceatonauthor.com and www.timetravelmysteries.com

James E. Clapp

            When James E. Clapp retired as the tasting room manager for a large upstate New York winery, he never imagined he’d be co-authoring cozy mysteries with his wife, Ann I. Goldfarb. His first novel, Booked 4 Murder (Kensington) is set for release in June 2017. Non-fiction in the form of informational brochures and workshop materials treating the winery industry were his forte along with an extensive background and experience in construction that started with his service in the U.S. Navy and included vocational school classroom teaching. Visit the website at www.jceatonauthor.com



Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

Click the Like Button at the top of this post for a Bonus Entry.

Leave a comment for the author for 5 Bonus Entries.

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End December 21, 2017, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Aug 242017
 

Deadly Choices
by Karen Randau

Deadly Choices (Rim Country Mysteries)
3rd in Series
Setting – Arizona
Suspense Thriller
3rd in Series
Short on Time Books (July 17, 2017)
Kindle – ASIN: B074187YT7

 

An elderly woman with an arrow in her chest. A murdered journalist. A decades-old cover-up. In Deadly Choices (Rim Country Mysteries Volume 3), Rita and Cliff Avery team up again to solve a spate of murders in their picturesque Arizona mountain town of Rim Vista. Rita’s mother Willow delivers gun-wrenching news while falling for the man who could be responsible for four deaths. And Rita must escape a string of life-threatening predicaments thrown at her by an assailant willing to do anything to scare Cliff off the case.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Karen Rabdau is a new author to me but with stories like this one we are going to become fast friends. I was skeptical about jumping into this series with book three but by the end of the first chapter I was totally tuned in and reading at a rapid pace. The mentions of things that happened in previous books only made me realize that I needed to add both books to my wish list right away.

Deadly Choices starts out with Rita and Cliff camping with her mother, Willow, a woman Rita has not seen for 25 years, when they hear a shot and soon after a woman they had met earlier stumbles into their campsite with an arrow in her chest. She was teaching a student and he is missing. Had he been shot? Rita and her detective husband Cliff are quickly brought into the case. As more deaths occur, a man they have known for years becomes a prime suspect. As they investigate surprising things are uncovered tying back into the past.

This story is a wild adventure for Cliff and Rita. There were so many edge of the seat moments I lost count. Explosions, kidnapping, and twists and turns galore.

Ms. Randau is a wonderful storyteller. She packs as much punch into these pages as humanly possible and makes it impossible to put this book down. I love the way she describes a scene. I felt like I was right there whether it be a dangerous situation or if she was just describing the beauty of Rim County.  The dialogue was on point and I was totally invested in these characters. The plot was complex and so well written.

Drama, danger, mystery and suspense with well crafted characters, this story has them all. I am excited for the next adventure.

The story deserves more than 5 stars! Paradise Rating.

 

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About the Author

Karen Randau is the author of the Rim Country Mystery series. Her fast-paced novels include Deadly Deceit, Deadly Inheritance, and Deadly Choices, each with intricate plots and lots of action and told from the point of view of protagonist Rita Avery.

 

Author Links

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Purchase Link – Amazon

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

August 14 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW
August 15 – Readsalot – SPOTLIGHT
August 16 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
August 17 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
August 18 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST
August 19 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW
August 20 – The Book’s the Thing – SPOTLIGHT
August 21 – Valerie’s Musings – GUEST POST
August 22 – Cozy Up With Kathy – INTERVIEW
August 23 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
August 24 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
August 25 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT
August 26 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW
August 27 – Laura’s Interests – SPOTLIGHT
August 27 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

 

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Aug 042017
 


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.


Peril by Ponytail (A Bad Hair Day Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
12th in Series
Setting – Arizona
Five Star Publishing (September 16, 2015)
Hardcover: 285 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1432830984
Kindle ASIN: B015ESSHV6

 

 

Hoping for a romantic honeymoon at an Arizona dude ranch, hairstylist Marla Vail and her husband Dalton arrive to find a series of mishaps plaguing the resort. A nearby ghost town is suffering similar problems. Is it mere coincidence that Dalton’s Uncle Raymond owns both properties? When Raymond asks for their help in finding the culprit, Marla and Dalton eagerly accept. Then news of a local forest ranger’s death raises the stakes. With sleuthing more natural to Marla than horseback riding, she delves into the investigation. But as she digs deeper, she discovers skeletons in the family closet. Someone means to drive Raymond out of business, and the reason may be linked to his past misdeeds. Raymond isn’t the only one with secrets. The trail leads Marla from an environmental activist group to saguaro poachers to water rights proponents to an abandoned copper mine beneath the ghost town. She’d better saddle up, rein in the clues, and find the killer before she becomes the next spirit inhabiting the haunted hillside.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Finding time in their busy lives for a honeymoon wasn’t easy but Marla and Dalton head to an Arizona dude ranch when his cousin asks for help promising them a wonderful honeymoon getaway. They arrive to learn the ranch and a nearby ghost town renovation have had a run of bad luck, at least that is what everyone hopes. Both properties are owned by Dalton’s Uncle Raymond. Just as Marla and Dalton arrive they learn a local forest ranger’s body has been found just off a trail he was very familiar with. Accident, maybe but added to all the other mishaps Marla and Dalton start to investigate and decide to follow wherever the trail may lead, even underground if necessary.

Experiencing this trip to a dude ranch with Marla and Dalton was a lot of fun. I am glad it was a virtual trip or I would have been completely exhausted 🙂 The dude ranch has plenty of things to do including horseback riding and hiking trails. The distance from the main lodge to the cabins is also a good walk. Plus they followed leads to the ghost town and several other places like Scottsdale. It would have made a great honeymoon sans the dead bodies, the explosion and the fire. Maybe not as good as the tropical vacation  Marla would have liked by maybe next time.

These are characters I have grown to love, this being the 12th book in the series. They have sure come a long way since Permed to Death. Newly married they are still figuring things out like Dalton not talking to Marla about honeymooning in Arizona until after he told his cousin they would be delighted to come. They both enjoyed getting to know these long lost family members better and I did too. 

The mystery was tricky but I did figure out the guilty parties a bit before Marla and Dalton. I still enjoyed following along to find out if I was right and to get all the details straight. I lost count of all the twists and turns that tried to divert my attention. The ending was very suspenseful. Learning some of the history of the area and copper mines was a great bonus.

If you are new to this series, this book can be read on it’s own. The author provides a cast of characters at the beginning of the book.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author

Nancy J. Cohen writes the Bad Hair Day Mysteries featuring South Florida hairstylist Marla Vail. Titles in this series have made the IMBA bestseller list and been selected by Suspense Magazineas best cozy mystery. Nancy has also written the instructional guide, Writing the Cozy Mystery. Her imaginative romances, including the Drift Lords series, have proven popular with fans as well. A featured speaker at libraries, conferences, and community events, Nancy is listed in Contemporary Authors, Poets & Writers, and Who’s Who in U.S. Writers, Editors, & Poets. When not busy writing, she enjoys fine dining, cruising, visiting Disney World, and shopping.

 Author Links:

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I am giving away my review copy!

Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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something you like here and become a follower.

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Click Here For Entry Form

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

Jun 282017
 


I am so excited to welcome the husband and wife writing team J. C. Eaton
to Escape With Dollycas!
Their book was just released yesterday.

 

Hey HGTV, Find J.C. Eaton a Dream Writer’s Escape

We just finished watching an episode of “House Hunters International” (HGTV) where a lady sold her home in the United States and bought a dream house in Costa Rica, overlooking the beach, so she could have the perfect place to write her first novel. Well, we hate to admit it but we’re jealous. We’d love the perfect place to write our novels, too.

Don’t get us wrong. We love hearing the sound of the garbage trucks as they careen down our block and clang the metal cans. Or the windows shaking when the trains roll by. And nothing rivals our neighbor’s voice yelling to her mother, “You left your teeth on the counter again.”

 If we were safely ensconced on some Caribbean island, we’d be listening to the sound of ocean waves and tropical birds and who knows what kind of masterpieces we’d be able to produce living in virtual paradise.

We wouldn’t simply be writing novels, we’d be living them. With that in mind, we decided to get serious about our dream locales. In a flash, we traded the island life for what we’d like to call “Country Gentry Living.”

We’d write from our charming cottage in a small village outside of London, complete with a housekeeper who makes splendid breakfasts and provides tea and scones for us in the late afternoon. The cottage, that we’d affectionately name “The Good Life,” would be walking distance to a quaint little town with a bakery shop, candy store and small produce market. We’d write lovely Romance novels while enjoying the view of our impeccable garden.

It would be glorious except for one teeny weenie snafu- we don’t write romance.

So, we’d uproot our splendid garden and trade gentrification for snazzy city dwelling. Our new abode, a fabulously re-modeled condo overlooking the main plaza in Madrid, would allow us to slip downstairs to enjoy early evening tapas and drinks with the locals, engaging in conversation and speculation. Anything from painting to politics. We’d dine in different restaurants each night and eat churros every morning. Our complex crime novels would reflect the soul of an international city.

Compelling, yes, but apparently we’d forgotten a minor detail – we don’t write crime novels.

Fine, we’d leave our classy condo and move to a lovely Victorian house situated across from a quiet bay in Cape Cod where we could walk barefoot on the beach and open our windows at night to let in all the soft ocean breezes. A local cook would arrive early in the morning to prepare our meals and clean the house, leaving us all the free time in the world to write our delightful children’s books.

OH NO! We don’t write children’s books. Neither of us can draw, either.

We’d be forced to shutter the Victorian dream house and trade it for an Adirondack lodge that overlooked Lake Champlain. With an abundant kitchen staff and a pantry that held enough fortification for a decade, we could hike the woods in autumn, cross-country ski in winter and kayak in the spring and summer. When not indulging in nature’s own retreat, we’d be writing our mystery-suspense–adventures.

Unfortunately, that’s not our genre.

Good-bye Adirondacks and lake living. Reykjavik, Iceland awaits. We’d ride past the volcanoes on Icelandic horses and immerse ourselves in geothermic geyser pools. We’d drink coffee at the Kringlan Mall and do all sorts of people watching from our quiet little table at the Café Bleu. At home in our ultramodern apartment overlooking the cityscape, we’d plot our espionage thrillers.

Too bad we don’t write espionage thrillers, although Jim is totally addicted to them!

Farewell Iceland! It would be on to the Riviera and our gracious hotel apartment on the Cote d’Azur. With a full time wait staff and more amenities than we could imagine, we’d be writing our historical fiction in opulence and style.

 Historical fiction? Oh dear, that’s not us either.

We’d toss the beach towels on the sand and head off to Scotland. A moody landscape, an old castle and a relentless chill in the air. We’d be warming ourselves in front of the giant fireplace at a restored castle north of Edinburgh. Our housekeeper and our cook would ensure we had toasty blankets for our bed and savory roasts for our meals. With our faithful Scottish wolfhounds at our side, we’d hardly notice the fierce winds as we sat down to write our gothic horror novels.

Gothic horror? We may read it, (especially Ann ) but we don’t write it.

We had to face it, our quirky Southwest community was the perfect place to pen our cozy mysteries. Where else could anyone get excited over Bingo night or two dollar movies? We had our bake shops, bagel places and taco stands where we picked up more gossip for plotlines than fleas in a dog park.

And while we don’t have a housekeeper or a cook, we do have a new vacuum cleaner and cell phones with our favorite take-out places on speed dial. Our computer/office/pile of books and scrap paper, overlooks our giant AC unit and our neighbor’s cactus garden. If that’s not inspiration, we don’t know what is.

We absolutely love crafting humorous cozies with nosy neighbors, reluctant sleuths and enough twists and turns to keep everyone guessing, including us. That HGTV lady may have her Costa Rican dream house but we’ve got five cantankerous cats and one neurotic dog. True, no ocean views but hey, there’s nothing quite like the sound of pottery crashing on the tile floor when the dog decides he’s had enough of the cats’ shenanigans.

~J.C. Eaton

Thank you both so much for stopping by today!

 


Booked 4 Murder (Sophie Kimball Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Arizona
Kensington (June 27, 2017)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496708557
Kindle ASIN: B01LYPJE1G

 

 

Never judge a book by its cover…

Sophie “Phee” Kimball is not a cop. She’s a divorced, middle-aged mom who works as an account clerk for the police department in a small city in Minnesota. But her retired mother, Harriet Plunkett, is convinced Phee is the only one who can solve the mystery of a cursed book. According to Harriet, four members of her book club have already succumbed to the deadly curse. Harriet insists Phee catch the next plane to her retirement community in Sun City West, Arizona, to investigate.

Is her mother just bored and lonely? She does have a new pet—a long-haired chiweenie (half Chihuahua, half Dachshund)—for company and a host of pals (although that number is admittedly dwindling). Phee is certain that their book club selection isn’t cursed, but is somebody really knocking off the ladies? As Phee starts to uncover dark secrets hidden in plain sight under the blazing Arizona sun, she’ll need to read between the lines before it’s someone else’s final chapter….

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Oh my word! This is a wonderful debut!

Sophie “Phee” Kimball works for the police department in Minnesota in the office. The only detecting she does is hunting down receipts for expense reports but her dear mother assumes that she can kill the curse that is killing members of her book club. She begs her daughter to come to Sun City West, Arizona before another member ends up dead. Phee tries to calm her mother and put her off until the holidays but Harriet demands her presence immediately. After to talking to one of the local detectives she decides to head to Arizona, knowing he will be able to sort out any details she does find. Hopefully she can close the book on this mystery and get back to her own life in the “star of the north”.

I liked Phee right away but it took a bit for Harriet to grow on me. The way she expected her daughter to drop everything to do something she had no experience in was a little off putting but truthfully there are many moms in the world that expect their children to do the same, maybe not solve murders but handle many other issues. After the first couple of chapters some of Harriet’s requests were pretty funny. But that woman is PUSHY and extremely demanding.

Sun City West, Arizona is a retirement community and made for a very interesting setting. The early dinners, bingo games, clubs, and movies all ring true to the lives of the some senior citizens I know. It also gave Phee places to meet the suspects on her growing list as she tried to disprove all her mother’s theories. I found it delightful that she came up with her own version of a “murder board” to keep tracks of everyone and how they were connected as she tried to figure out what was really going on.

The story was very well written with a plethora of red herrings. I figured out a tiny part of the mystery early on but I uncovered the rest right along with Phee. I appreciated the fact that she knew she needed help to tie all the loose ends together and reached out to the detective and his techy friend back home. Even long distance the three of them made a great team. This story took several different tangents in the route to the big reveal and it truly was a very big public reveal.

The authors have laid a great foundation for this series. Plenty of room for the main characters to become more fully defined. The setting also gives the possibility of many supporting characters and mysteries.

A fine mystery filled with captivating characters and just enough humor to tickle your funny bone. I am very excited for the next installment, Ditched 4 Murder  will be out November 28, 2017.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About the Authors

Ann I. Goldfarb

            New York native Ann I. Goldfarb spent most of her life in education, first as a classroom teacher and later as a middle school principal and professional staff developer. Writing as J. C. Eaton, along with her husband, James Clapp, she has authored the Sophie Kimball Mysteries (Kensington) set for release in June 2017. In addition, Ann has nine published YA time travel mysteries under her own name. Visit the websites at: www.jceatonauthor.com and www.timetravelmysteries.com

James E. Clapp

            When James E. Clapp retired as the tasting room manager for a large upstate New York winery, he never imagined he’d be co-authoring cozy mysteries with his wife, Ann I. Goldfarb. His first novel, Booked 4 Murder (Kensington) is set for release in June 2017. Non-fiction in the form of informational brochures and workshop materials treating the winery industry were his forte along with an extensive background and experience in construction that started with his service in the U.S. Navy and included vocational school classroom teaching. Visit the website at www.jceatonauthor.com



Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

Click the Like Button at the top of this post for a Bonus Entry.

Leave a comment for the author for 5 Bonus Entries.

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End July 12, 2017 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Apr 192017
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am excited to have Jenn McKinlay stop by today.
Her latest Cupcake Bakery Mystery was released April 4!!

 

Where do your characters come from? Are they really you?
by Jenn McKinlay
(Post Provided by Publicist)

 

I get this question a lot. I mean a lot. Here’s the short answer – No, they aren’t me. I mean, I don’t think they’re me. Maybe just parts of me? When I step back and look at the characters in the cupcake bakery mystery series, I see glimmers of myself in all of them. So, I suppose it’s sort of like your children, you know, when you don’t see yourself in them but people keep telling you that the toddler — usually, when he’s screaming his head off — looks just like you. Um…thanks?

Melanie Cooper the chief baker of Fairy Tale Cupcakes is tall, okay, that’s me, blond, nope, not me, and very self-conscious, ha, totally not me. Her partner in baked goods, Angie DeLaura, is short, nope, not me, Italian, sadly, not me, and has a wicked temper as is evidenced if you mess with the people she cares about, okay, there I am! And then there’s Tate Harper, their male counterpart. Tate is brilliant in business, laughably no, not me. He’s level-headed and reasonable, okay, sometimes I can pull that off with three days warning and lots of practice. And he’s a dude, nope, not me.

Moving on to the entourage of side characters in the cupcake bakery series, there’s octogenarian Marty, who is a cranky curmudgeon. I am working my way there in another forty years or so. Marty is my hero! And there’s Oz, a young Hispanic skater dude and wannabe chef. We do share a love of the Ramones, skateboards, and baked goods, so while Oz is not me, he clearly is my people.

Now, I’ll let you in on a little secret. The bad people and the victims in my books are usually loosely based on people I do not like. They may be the jerk who cheated on my friend, the woman who slept through the green arrow when I was in a hurry, the boss I did not enjoy working for back when I had a real job, or the news story that caught my attention about a reprehensible human who was cruel to an animal who I desperately want to slap until my arm gives out…ahem. So, that’s the birth place of the bad people.

And lastly, how do I come up with what my characters look like? Magazines. Mel and Angie in particular came off the cover of Prevention Magazine back when I was working as a librarian at the Scottsdale Hospital and cobbling together the very first proposal for Sprinkle with Murder. I was doing some reference work for a doctor on bone spurs and my mind wandered — it happens — and I started thinking about what those two cupcake bakers would look like when I glanced down at Prevention Magazine and there they were on the cover. Yes, sometimes it is just that easy.

So, that’s the long answer to the question of whether my characters are me. I guess I have to change my original answer. In a way, they are all me but they are also all of the people in my life, good and bad. The shenanigans my people get up to are frequently turned into something the characters in the books would do. And sometimes when I meet a particularly interesting person, I take their whole backstory and use it for a character or two or three. I believe the moral of this tale is be careful what you say and do around a writer because you just might find yourself in a book. Pro tip: You don’t want to be the dead guy.

And now, here’s a brief description of the next cupcake bakery mystery Caramel Crush so you see what the crazy crew is up to this time. Who knows? You may see someone you know it there!

When a breakup via cupcake threatens to crumble their friend’s life for good, Mel and Angie race to solve the murder as this New York Times bestselling series continues…

Love is in the air at Fairy Tale Cupcakes as bridezilla Angie prepares for her wedding, but co-owner, Mel, is preparing for a breakup. Her old friend, Diane Earnest, is dumping her fiancé after discovering he’s only marrying her for her money. She wants Mel to personally deliver a batch of caramel breakup cupcakes to the louse and give her a play-by-play of his reaction.

When Mel finally tracks the man down, the look on his face isn’t the reaction she was expecting: he’s dead. After the police arrive and see the incriminating cupcakes, Diane becomes their prime suspect. If she hopes to taste freedom again, Mel and Angie must make sure the real killer gets their just desserts…

Thanks for letting me visit! Happy Reading!

~Jenn

Thank you Jenn for visiting today.  Caramel Cupcakes for everyone!! Well virtual ones anyway! Enjoy!! 

 

Caramel Crush
(Cupcake Bakery Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
9th in Series
Setting – Arizona
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (April 4, 2017)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0399583810
Kindle ASIN: B01J2STXDU

 

 

When a breakup via cupcake threatens to crumble their friend’s life for good, Mel and Angie race to solve the murder as this New York Times bestselling series continues…
 
Love is in the air at Fairy Tale Cupcakes as Angie prepares for her wedding, but co-owner, Mel, is preparing for a breakup. Her old friend, Diane Earnest, is dumping her fiancé after discovering he’s only marrying her for her money. She wants Mel to personally deliver a batch of caramel breakup cupcakes to the louse and give her a play-by-play of his reaction.

When Mel finally tracks the man down, the look on his face isn’t the reaction she was expecting: he’s dead. After the police arrive and see the incriminating cupcakes, Diane becomes their prime suspect. If she hopes to taste freedom again, Mel and Angie must make sure the real killer gets their just desserts…

INCLUDES SCRUMPTIOUS RECIPES

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Jenn McKinlay absolutely crushed this mystery! It just became my favorite in this series!

Angie is planning the “perfect” wedding and Mel, Tate, Marty and Oz are paying the price as she turns into a classic bridezilla, complete with breakdowns and blowups. Can they survive 3 more months? To add to the drama a college friend of Mel’s would like her to make a special cupcake delivery. Diane Earnest, has had enough of her fiancé and she is breaking up with him by sending him cupcakes and has asked Mel to use her phone to catch his reaction. Sadly his reaction time is pretty slow because when she finds him he is dead. Again, Mel is in the wrong place at the wrong time and becomes a suspect. She starts investigating to get herself out of this sticky situation all the while being the best maid of honor possible.

These characters always make me smile. The dialogue cracks me up because they all talk just the way I talk to my friends, sarcastic, blunt, zany, but always caring when they need to be. This is a group that would be fun to be part of. I love the different stages of romance. Angie and Tate, but mostly Angie, planning their wedding. “Dear Joe” and Mel’s relationship is moving in the right direction. Even Marty and Olivia trying to live together. There is never a dull moment.

Mel’s old roommate, Diane, is holding something from the past over Mel’s head, telling Mel she “owes her”. Diane is one pushy woman and because of the way Mel reacted to her constant requests I knew it had to be something major. Diane was that character that you really don’t like but she needs to be there to make the story work and push it forward. You know, the character you love to hate. She does help us learn about Mel’s past.

The story has a few very suspense filled moments but they are tempered with humor. I was laughing out loud numerous times. The pace was very quick and I think this was the fastest I have read a book in a long time. I was engaged and excited to see how it all played out.

Then in Jenn McKinlay style she wraps up one mystery and teases us with just enough for the next book to really whet our appetite. With a little taste (an excerpt) of what is to come and a title like Wedding Cake Crumble, I can only imagine what she has in store for these wonderful characters.  I know we will probably have to wait until next April to find out but I know it will be worth the wait!

Every book in this series is a must read.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out all about Jenn McKinlay and her books on her webpage here.

Cupcake Bakery Mysteries


Library Lover’s Mysteries

Check Out Her New Romance Series

Click on covers to order from Amazon.
Click here to see more books by Jenn McKinlay.

GIVEAWAY
Thanks to the publisher I have 2 copies to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End May 3, 2017 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Feb 012017
 


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am excited to welcome Cheryl F. Taylor to Escape With Dollycas!

Several years ago we took a family a vacation in Canada where we spent a day in an Amethyst Mine and brought home several nice rough pieces. Not sure where all the kids pieces ended up but my piece is still on my dresser today. Since Amethyst is the official stone of Wednesday it seems fitting to have Cheryl here today to tell us about herself and Stone’s Gem and Murder featuring her main character, Amethyst Stone.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time the last week or so, considering my escape habits in preparation for writing this blog post, and I have come to the realization that I’m a mental escape artist. Like so many, when I delve into a book, I can become so totally immersed that when I stop reading, I may find myself looking around, trying to figure out why what I’m seeing or hearing isn’t what I expect. A recent case in point came about when I was reading an apocalyptic book involving an EMP (an electromagnetic pulse for those uninitiated). When I took a break from reading, I’d find myself wandering around the house wondering why the lights were turning on. Hadn’t all the electricity been knocked out? You see, totally buried in my reading.

Unfortunately for me (or maybe fortunately, you be the judge) my escapism has taken on a whole new dimension since I became an author. When I started writing my first book, Gone to Ground (which I like to call a ‘cozy apocalpyse’), I had entered a period in my life where I was frustrated with all the people moving into my rural community, throwing litter along the trails, breaking glass all over the ground, and running me off the road while I was riding my horses. I started mentally telling myself a story where there weren’t as many people. Why weren’t there as many people? My mind had to come up with a reason, and soon that reason got written down and I had a book. In the meantime I found myself riding my horses farther afield, and looking toward the mountains, wondering when (not even if, but when) I should pack up and head out. I had to fight the urge to stockpile food and supplies and wondered if I should head for the middle of the Bradshaw Mountains, or over west of Prescott, Arizona where most of the book takes place. Luckily for me, after that book was finished my brain started returning gradually to normal (or what passes for normal for me.) I have to admit, however, that I left part of myself in that world, and my saddle is still ready.

Noticing this tendency, I started to wonder where a story starts, and does it start in the same place for everyone. Does someone have to have to have inclinations in a certain direction for the book to be able to take them the rest of the way, or are some books able to kidnap a person’s mind whether they want to go or not. Both scenarios are likely true.

For several years ago I was determined to return to Michigan where I grew up, and to start a trout farm. I thought maybe I’d retire from the traditional “rat race.” I started looking into the possibility but it just wasn’t feasible, and I eventually realized that I liked being able to ride my horses year round. The trout farm daydream eventually faded, and I contented myself to living in Arizona. The next thing I know, I find myself writing Up North Murder and the main character inherits a trout farm located on a lake very similar to one I’ve always wanted. Old daydreams came to life in those words, and even though I’d decided I’d remain in Arizona, I suddenly found myself back on the internet, searching for trout farms for sale in northern Michigan. There was a spiral: the daydream inspired the book which inspired the daydream. I’m hoping that this spiral continues, carrying me through the next books in the series. I still think I’d like a trout farm.

The problem as I see it is that at times these urges become so strong it’s hard to resist them. My mental escapes decide to kidnap my body. When I wrote Stone’s Gems and Murder I was initially inspired by a rock shop in my area. It’s one of my favorite places to escape to physically, if I have limited time and can’t go hiking or riding.

However, when mines entered the picture, problems arose. I’ve always liked abandoned mines, although I’ve been pretty careful around them. Most in my area are vertical shafts and I can’t reasonably explore them, so I’ve contented myself with wishful thinking. With the writing of the Rock Shop Mysteries, however, that desire took on a life of its own (and yes, I’ve been on the internet looking for abandoned mines for sale and if I found one I could afford, I’d probably pack up the horses and head out.) I can’t describe how badly I want to be underground in a mine… or how many new rocks I’ve added to my collection as I’ve worked on this series. See, my imagination has kidnapped my body (and my bank account). I’m even on the waiting list to go to an amethyst mine in April, and a secret turquoise mine as soon as possible… and when I go, I’m sure those trips will inspire new daydreams, which will then result in more books… and adventures, both mental and physical.

I readily admit I’ve had many of these same urges while reading, but they are not as intense and don’t last as long… at least for most of the books. I’ve wondered if that’s because it starts as someone else’s dream, or just because reading a book is quicker than writing one. Of course, there was the time that reading a book on adventure kayaking inspired a solo trip down the Verde River, which nearly resulted in my drowning, but that’s for a future book. I’d better get out my drybags and life preserver.

Now, if only I could find a trout farm with a secret abandoned turquoise mine, out in the middle of the Arizona rangeland with no neighbors for twenty miles around life would be perfect.

~Cheryl

Thank you Cheryl for visiting today. I am excited to share your book with my readers! 

Stone’s Gems and Murder:
A Rock Shop Cozy Mystery

1st in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Arizona
CT Communications (December 7, 2016)
Paperback: 238 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0998212210
Kindle ASIN: B01MXX7RWK

 

 

Amethyst Stone has come home to take care of her father’s rock shop, Stone’s Gems and Minerals, while her father, Nick, recovers from a broken leg. It’s not long, however, before things go awry, as the her father’s assistant is murdered, and Amy is suspect number one.

Amy and her new assistant, Jackson Wolf, have to unravel the tangled clues to find out who killed Carl, and why, as well as protect the shop itself from the Copper Springs town council which would like to see it condemned.

As Amy and Jackson dig deeper, they realize that there is a lot more going on than it appears on the surface, and multiple people have a reason to want Carl out of the way. They just have to figure out who actually did it before they become the killer’s next victims.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Nick Stone runs Stone’s Gems and Minerals, (a rock shop). One day he takes a tumble off a ladder leaving him unable to run his shop. His daughter, Amethyst (Amy), has come home to fill in while he recovers and goes through some rehab. She is a little nervous about her father’s assistant at the store, she doesn’t really know much about him, but when the man is found murdered, in her dad’s store, she becomes prime suspect. Something is going on that has to connect these two occurrences and Amy and her new friend/employee Jackson Wolf are going to dig for the details to figure out what that is become someone else is hurt or killed.

What a fantastic start for this series! Ms. Taylor sets the scene by describing the rock shop in vivid detail. I could easily picture the organized chaos Nick Stone had created. He is the only one that understands his system and could lay his hands on a specific pieces in an instant. As the story goes on those descriptions continue to bring the rest of this very interesting building to life.

The author has also created characters that the reader wants to get to know better, Nick, his wife Crystal, Amy, who also has a brother named Jasper Onyx Stone and a sister named Opal Jewel Stone Amethyst’s middle name is Gem. We also meet Jackson Wolf and he is a man both Amy and I want to know better. Amy is a smart main character and teaming up with Jackson makes her even stronger. Their easy banter in very entertaining. She tries to keep some of the drama from her dad as he recovers and it was so mice to see that he totally trusted his daughter to handle things with the exception of selling anything from a certain area without his okay. 🙂 He has some pieces he just doesn’t want to sell at any price.

As Amy and Jackson sift through the clues and untangle the twists a jewel of a mystery evolves. I thought I had it all figured out but the ending caught me by surprise and the way it all came together was unique.

Cheryl Taylor just happened to find me online and reached out to tell me about her books. Being self published it is sometimes hard to get the word out about your books. I am so glad she found me and after reading this one I can’t wait to read more of her stories.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Note – I will be spotlighting another one of Cheryl’s books on Saturday. After reading this one I have to squeeze it into my reading schedule some time soon. 

 About The Author

Cheryl Taylor was raised in northeastern Michigan and pursued a degree in agriculture communications from Michigan State University. In 1986, Taylor moved to Arizona where she worked in publishing and advertising in the livestock industry, then eventually moving into teaching in 1998 after receiving a masters in education from Northern Arizona University.

Gone to Ground” is Taylor’s first book and explores how an apocalyptic event might look in the Arizona ranch land. “Breaking Free,” a sequel to “Gone to Ground” is currently in the works.

In addition, Taylor is working on several cozy mystery series, including the Up North Michigan series, which takes place on a trout farm in the northeastern part of the state where she was raised, and the Rock Shop mystery series, which takes place in northern Arizona.

Taylor currently resides in northern Arizona with her family of horses, cattle, dogs and birds.


Thanks to the author I have 1 signed copy of the book
along with a special gift.

(not the exact ones, but representative)

 

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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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