Posted in Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Reviews 2016 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Flashback Friday – Beyond A Doubt by Nancy Cole Silverman – #Review / #Giveaway

9WbGnJTR
On Flashback Fridays I will share with you the books I missed when they were first
released that have been screaming at me from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.

Nancy Cole Silverman just toured her new book Without A Doubt with Great Escapes. When I brought it up on my Kindle I saw that I hadn’t read the 2nd book in the series, Beyond A Doubt, even though I was sure I did. So it quickly became my Flashback Friday book.

BEYOND A DOUBT front under 2mbBeyond a Doubt (A Carol Childs Mystery)
2nd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – California
Henery Press (July 14, 2015)
Paperback: 244 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1941962732
E-Book – ASIN: B00W5VI838
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When reporter Carol Childs is called to the scene of a body dump she has no idea she’s about to uncover a connection to a string of missing girls. Young, attractive women drawn to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood via an internet promise of stardom and romance have been disappearing. A judge’s daughter leaves behind a clue and a trip down Hollywood Boulevard’s Walk of Fame reveals a connection to a high powered real estate mogul and to a cartel targeting girls for human trafficking.

Old Hollywood has its secrets, its impersonators and backdoor entrances to old speakeasies and clubs where only those with the proper credentials can go. And when Carol Childs gets too close, she finds herself politically at odds with powers that threaten to undo her career and like the very girls she’s seeking, make her disappear.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I just watched a broadcast of one of my favorite soap opera stars, Deidre Hall from Days of Our Lives get her star on the Wall of Fame so those images were brought back with this story.

Radio reporter Carol Childs finds herself close to Hollywood and Vine several times as she investigates the murder of a judge’s daughter and a string of missing girls. For the most part she is trying to get the scoop for her radio station but since the police seems to be dragging their feet on their investigation she figures helping them can’t hurt. Carol’s FBI Agent boyfriend, Eric, is off for a little R&R on his boat so he is not around to keep her out of trouble.

The author takes on a couple of hot topic issues in this book and she does it really well. I hesitate to say too much here because I don’t want to spoil the story for you.

I will say Nancy Cole Silverman knows how to build suspense. She packs so much in these 244 pages. By the time I reached the end I was almost out of breath.

Centered around her life at a radio station, her boss is much more supportive than in the last book, even when the powers that be think murder and missing girls isn’t what they want playing on their station. We meet everyone from celebrity impersonators to a bunch of Red Hat Ladies. These characters are real and believable and some bring a little humor to a very stressful storyline and some become suspects.

I really enjoyed the first book in this series, Shadow of Doubt, I am upset with myself for taking so long to read this one.

A fabulous read, my only pause, was the ending, it was just a little too easy, but very entertaining and not enough to knock down my rating.

perfect 2016

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

nancy cole silverman

About The Author –

Nancy Cole Silverman credits her twenty-five years in radio for helping her to develop an ear for storytelling. In 2001, Silverman retired from news and copywriting to write fiction full time. In 2014, Silverman signed with Henery Press for her new mystery series, The Carol Childs’ Mysteries. The first of the series, Shadow of Doubt, debuted in December 2014 and the second, Beyond a Doubt, debuted July 2015. The third, Without A Doubt, is now available. For more information visit www.nancycolesilverman.com

 

Author Links
Facebook – GoodReads Twitter: @NancyColeSilve1

Click on book cover for more inform or to order from Amazon.

GIVEAWAY
I will give away 3 E-copies!
Winner’s Choice of
Shadow of Doubt OR
Beyond A Doubt!
Open International
Books will be sent from Amazon.com
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.

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 June 10, 2016 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.”

Posted in Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Reviews 2016 You Read How Many Books Challenge

#Review – Dying for a Taste: A Sally Solari Mystery by Leslie Karst

dying for a taste
Dying for a Taste:
A Sally Solari Mystery

1st in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – California
Crooked Lane Books (April 12, 2016)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1629535975
E-Book – ASIN: B01CSWPE5I
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After losing her mother to cancer, Sally Solari quits her job as an attorney to help her dad run his old-style Italian eatery in Santa Cruz, California. But managing the front of the house is far from her dream job.

Then in a sudden twist her Aunt Letta is found murdered in her own restaurant, and Sally is the only one who can keep the place running. But when her sous chef is accused of the crime, and she finds herself suddenly short-staffed, Sally must delve into the world of sustainable farming—not to mention a few family secrets–to help him clear his name and catch the true culprit before her timer runs out.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Sally Solari is still reeling from her mom’s death when her Aunt Letta is murdered. Letta is Sally’s father’s younger sister and they had a falling out years ago. He runs an old-style Italian restaurant where she runs an eatery serving more lighter farm fresh dishes. Now Sally is caught in the middle because her aunt left the restaurant to her in her will. When one of the chefs is taken into custody for the murder, Sally has no choice but to try to step into her aunt’s shoes. She also believes the chef is being framed and needs to prove it. So Sally is now working the front of the house for her dad, running the whole restaurant for her aunt and trying to catch a killer.  Hang on tight, this story goes at a good clip!!

Cozy foodie lovers rejoice, this is a new mystery you can take a big bite of!

Sally Solaris is one smart cookie. She has a lot on her plate but she juggles everything that is thrown at her. Coming home to help her dad after her mother passed away and leaving her job as a lawyer behind was a huge step. Her dad is set in his ways and believes woman don’t belong in his kitchen so she takes her mom’s spot in the dining room. She had a relationship with her aunt and is taking her death hard but she needs to keep her restaurant going. Faced with losing a chef she was counting on, she steps up her game to even help in the kitchen herself. Plus she is traveling all over the area investigating trying to figure out who killed her aunt and why. I was engaged by this woman immediately.

Ms. Karst dishes up a great mystery too with plenty of red herrings to keep both Sally and us readers fishing for answers. I was pretty proud of myself because I thought I had it all figured out until those last clues sent me in a different direction. One I had discarded early on. She had me, hook, line, and sinker.

This debut was quite tasty! Are you Dying for A Taste?

perfect 2016

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

You can find out about Leslie Karst on her webpage 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 Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Reviews 2016 You Read How Many Books Challenge

#Review/ #Giveaway – Killer Cocktail by Tracy Kiely – Great Escapes Book Tour

Killer Cocktail large banner640

Killer Cocktail
by Tracy Kiely

 

KILLER COCKTAIL
Killer Cocktail
(A Nic & Nigel Mystery)
2nd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – California
Publisher: Midnight Ink (May 8, 2016)
Paperback: 240 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738745237
E-Book ASIN: B01A5OGVRG
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Synopsis

Walking the red carpet at the Academy Awards with a bow-tied Bullmastiff draws Nic and Nigel Martini plenty of attention from the press. But that’s nothing compared to the attention they receive at the A-list after party, when Hollywood royalty learn that Nic and Nigel have discovered behind the scenes footage from A Winter’s Night, an acclaimed film known for backstage love triangles and the tragic death of its original star, Melanie Summers.

Returning home after the party, Nic and Nigel find their house in shambles and their employee DeDee Evans beaten within an inch of her life. And when the weapon used to pummel DeDee implicates beloved actress Christina Franklin, Nic and Nigel drink and banter their way into a modern-day version of a golden-era crime caper.


Dollycas’s Thoughts

Another extraordinary story from Tracy Kiely!

Nic, Nigel, and Skippy go to the Oscars and we get to tag along. (Skippy has to go home after the red carpet.) At the after party Nic and Nigel are pretty popular because the celebs learn they found some behind the scenes footage from a movie filmed in the 90’s. Melanie Summers died while it was filming and there was a lot of gossip and innuendo at the time. Someone overheard the conversations and knew those clips couldn’t see the light of day. They broke into the Martini’s home, attacked the employee taking care of Skippy and left her for dead, trashed the house and stole the footage. Nigel and Nic have a new case to solve and they may have to look into the past to solve it.

These characters are just so cool and fresh. They are in love, and are witty and charming. I love their conversations. Their sarcasm is priceless. They are also very smart sleuths. I enjoy their process and innocent probing questions that move their investigations forward much to the distress of the LAPD.

The setting was grand as well from the red carpet, to the Oscars, to the after party. Who knew cheeseburgers were the go to food for these events?

As far as the plot, we go back and forth to the set of the movie, A Winter’s Night, and present day. When the footage is watched we see what happened on that set and gain insight into the death of the lead actress and other interesting tidbits. We then follow along as Nic and Nigel as the string the clues from the film together with the break in at their home. So many secrets come out and suspects are eliminated or zeroed in on . It was so much fun to read.

As with the first book in this series, Murder With A Twist, humor is sprinkled liberally throughout this book.  This is just a fantastic read. A nod to the past brought to modern day in a most wonderful way. I am already looking forward to the next book from this author.

This will be one of my favorite reads this year.

paradise 2016

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

tracyportrait

About The Author –

Tracy Kiely is a self-proclaimed Anglophile (a fact which distresses certain members of her Irish Catholic family). She grew up reading Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, and watching Hitchcock movies. She fell in love with Austen’s wit, Christie’s clever plots, and Hitchcock’s recurrent theme of “the average man caught in extraordinary circumstances.”

After spending years of trying to find a proper job that would enable her to use her skills garnered as an English major, she decided to write a book. It would, of course, have to be a mystery; it would have to be funny; and it would have to feature an average person caught up in extraordinary circumstances. She began to wonder how the characters in Pride and Prejudice might fit into a mystery. What, if after years of living with unbearably rude and condescending behavior, old Mrs. Jenkins up and strangled Lady Catherine? What if Charlotte snapped one day and poisoned Mr. Collins’ toast and jam? Skip ahead several years, and several different plot ideas, and you have her first mystery Murder at Longbourn.

While she does not claim to be Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, or Hitchcock (one big reason being that they’re all dead), she has tried to combine the elements of all three in her books.

 

Author Links:

Webpage         Facebook          Twitter     Blog

 

Purchase Links:

Amazon – B&N

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Participants

May 9 – deal sharing aunt – INTERVIEW
May 10 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
May 11 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW  
May 12 – Musings and Ramblings – GUEST POST
May 13 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW, INTERVIEW
May 14 – LibriAmoriMiei – REVIEW
May 15 – The Girl with Book Lungs – SPOTLIGHT
May 16 –  Omnimystery News – INTERVIEW
May 17 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
May 18 – Thoughts in Progress – SPOTLIGHT
May 19 – Lori’s Reading Corner – GUEST POST
May 20 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
May 20 – Mystery Playground – GUEST POST
May 21 – Community Bookstop – INTERVIEW
May 22- Author Annette Drake’s blog – GUEST POST

 

 

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

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 Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Reviews 2016 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Carleen O’Neil – Author of Ripe For Murder – Giveaway too!

cozy wednesday 2013 640

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am excited to welcome Carleen O’Neil (Penny Lively) to Escape With Dollycas today! 

carleen oneil

 

A Visit with Penny by Carlene O’Neil
(Post provided by publicist)

Penny Lively here, taking time out from ploughing on my California winery. Yes, I did say ploughing, because in its early stages wine is a field of grapes, just like any other crop. It’s freezing out today but the work needs to be done. These are the times you don’t talk about in the cozy tasting room, when I frequently hear from a visitor, “Oh, running a winery must be a wonderful way to live.” It can be, but today isn’t one of those days. The last of winter is holding out in early March and there’s a raw wind coming in off the Pacific. My hair is tucked into a ski cap. I’m wearing two sweaters, a fleece and the warmest coat I could find. Hardly highbrow, and yet that’s often one of the things that keeps people from really enjoying wine…the feeling that unless you really know what you’re talking about you should, well, be drinking beer.

ripe for murderI’m just going to come out and say it: Wine can be intimidating. I know it shouldn’t be, and as a winery owner I don’t want it to be, but it happens. Unfortunately, some people in the wine business foster that sense of mystique, and that’s a mistake. It keeps people from enjoying what they drink. Afraid of selecting the “wrong” wine for a meal, they will stick to the same two or three varietals they know, or decide they just don’t like wine.

Then there are some of the terms, and heaven forbid if you’re caught with a wine snob and don’t know what something means. For example, take the term terroir. In some areas of the world this is no laughing matter. Classifications of various grape growing regions in France are utterly strict and closely controlled. Very serious stuff. At least to some of the Châteaux in this area that have had the classifications of First Cru and Premier Cru for hundreds of years. Literally. Now, simply translated, terroir can refer to the terrain the grapes are grown in. It can also mean the slope, rainfall, drainage and how much sun the vines receive, along with a hundred other things, but honestly, do you really care? Of course not, and why should you? If you like something, drink it. Experiment with something new, like a Malbec. Smell it before you taste and see if you can recognize the fruits. Roll it around in your mouth. Is there a bite to it? That could be the oak. It might be smooth, and soft, something good with mild foods. First and foremost, remember that wine should be fun. Just ask the Romans and Greeks. They figured it out thousands of years ago.

Cheers!
Penny Lively

Find out more about Carlene O’Neil on her webpage here.  Like her on Facebook. Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.

 

ripe for murder
Ripe for Murder: A Cypress Cove Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd Book in Series
Setting – California
Release Date – March 1, 2016
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Robert Crawford
Cover Design by Danielle Abbiate
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425274026
E-Book ASIN: B00Z8VT7W8
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

Penny Lively loves running her family’s winery, but to keep business growing, she needs to find a way to attract more guests. When she’s approached to invest in a new train line through wine country, Penny and her intoxicating winery manager, Connor, hightail it to a lavish resort to hear the details. Unfortunately, her neighbor’s daughter, Chantal, is also there, swirling up trouble by flirting with the married investors—and with Connor too.

When one of the investors’ wives is murdered, Chantal, who was seen fighting with the woman, is the prime suspect. Chantal may be a sour grape, but she’s no killer. So Penny, who’s become a sleuthing connoisseur, starts sniffing out the real suspect—and discovers that her fellow potential investors have been savoring more than their share of deadly secrets…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

The author takes a new approach for this second book in the series following One Foot in the Grape. She gives us a version of a locked room mystery, on a moving train.

Penny Lively and her neighbor and fellow winery owner,  Antonia Martinelli have been asked to invest some land into a project that would have a train traveling through wine country and right pass their vineyards.  They along with Chantal, Antonia’s daughter, and Connor, Penny’s winery manager, travel to Monterey County to meet with other investors and get more details about the plan. Penny cringes at the idea of Chantal accompanying them on the trip. It’s not enough that she blatantly flirts with Connor, but she will probably flirt with any man she meets. The pairs decide to travel separately but when they arrive they are forced to spend time together and just as expected Chantal causes trouble almost immediately – A Knock Down Fight – with an investor’s wife. O.K.  maybe it was totally her fault but not long after the train leaves the station, it comes to a screeching halt and that investor’s wife is found dead. You guessed it, Chantal, is suspect numero uno. While Penny may not like Chantal she knows Chantal didn’t kill this woman. With Antonia’s gentle shove Penny starts her own little investigation. Someone on that train is a murderer and she needs to figure out who before her caboose it cooked.

This mystery was ripe for the picking and a pure pleasure to read. We leave Cypress Cove behind and arrive at the spectacular Silverado Mission Inn and Spa where we meet the other investors. They are quite a bunch. Bill, the chief engineer for the line, a car dealer and his wife, Big Dave and Tara, from Tennessee, and Jim and Kim from Chicago, in California for the first time. Later we meet Vance Dupont, Big Dave son, Olympio Berninni, owner of one of the local vineyards and a friend of Antonia, and Barb and Seth, who work for both the train line and Berninni. A wonderful mix of personalities and all but Olympio were on the train at the time of the murder along with our group from Cypress Cove.

My favorite character this time was Antonia. I liked the way her relationship with Penny has grown, but Penny still has the secret from the first story. I wonder if she will ever be able to tell Antonia what she knows.

This story moves along at a nice pace as the characters travel the area on train and on foot. In addition to the spa we visit the Berninni Winery. It is much bigger than Antonia’s or Penny’s winery and built in an extraordinary way.

Every chance Penny gets she is asking questions and trying to put the clues together. The story was perfectly plotted because I didn’t have a clue whodunit until the final reveal. The twists and turns along the way were so good. I loved the risk Penny took to bring the case to a conclusion.

After reading this I wish I could really visit the places in this book. I would check in to the Silverado Mission Inn and Spa and probably never leave, I would have to be rich of course, 🙂 and be friends with all the vineyard owners.

Pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy your trip to the California wine country.

perfect 2016

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

GIVEAWAY
Thanks to the people at Penguin 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.

This year I am trying to build my Twitter following so for this giveaway 4 Bonus Entries will be awarded by following me on Twitter. @dollycas

Leave a comment for Carleen for 5 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 April 6, 2016 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.”

Posted in Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Flashback Friday Giveaways Reviews 2016 TBR Pile Challenge What An Animal Reading Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Flashback Friday – Review – One Foot in the Grape by Carlene O’Neil – #Giveaway

9WbGnJTR
On Flashback Fridays I will share with you the books I missed when they were first
released that have been screaming at me from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.

one foot in the grapeOne Foot in the Grape
(A Cypress Cove Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
1st Book in Series
Setting – California
Release Date – May 5, 2015
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Robert Crawford
Cover Design by Danielle Abbiate
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425274019
E-Book ASIN: B00O2BS55U
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

 

In California wine country, the town of Cypress Cove may seem peaceful. But someone’s about to pop their cork…

After losing her job as a photojournalist, Penny Lively is trying to get her life back in focus. Inheriting the family winery from her late aunt may be the fresh start she needs. Thankfully she’s got her niece Hayley and her handsome winery manager Connor to help. But the person in need of more urgent assistance is Antonia Martinelli, the owner of the neighboring winery, who has her own barrel full of problems. Someone’s spoiling her wine, and with the upcoming Autumn Festival, she needs Penny’s nose for clues to sniff out the culprit.

But Penny’s search for answers sours after the body of a staff member is found in a grape crusher. Since Hayley was the last to see him alive, she’s the prime suspect in the case. Now Penny must hurry to find the real killer before Hayley withers on the vine…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Penelope (Penny) Lively has inherited the family winery and after a little dust-up at her last job it is perfect timing. Her cousin Hayley has the degree in Viticulture and Connor manages the day to day tasks of the vineyard. Penny focuses on the business side of things. As a photojournalist she has a keen eye and takes some wonderful pictures that she sells as prints as postcards. Her keen eye is just what is needed to help Antonia Martinelli. The Martinelli winery and Penny’s winery border each other. Antonia asks Penny to help her find out who is sabotaging their wine. With the Autumn Festival just days away, she desperately needs to cork up that issue right way.  Penny agrees to help but before she has a chance to do anything one of the Martineeli staff is literally crushed and her cousin Hayley is the prime suspect.

This was an impressive debut for this series. I would have thought competing wineries would be more cutthroat but in this story the neighboring wineries work closely together. Not only does Penny try to help Antonia, they work together planning the festival and even seem to share temporary help. The victim was someone very well liked with a bright future. Penny was not only investigating to save her cousin but to find the killer of someone she respected.

The characters in this story were very interesting. Penny, Hayley and Connor are solid, relatable characters that will allow the series to succeed. The Martinelli family is quite a bunch. Antonia is ready to pass the winery on to her family, specifically to her son, but she isn’t sure he is ready. Her oldest daughter, a lawyer, has a huge chip on her shoulder and thinks the winery should be hers. The youngest daughter has a set of problems all her own. This was a great supporting cast. I hope we see them again in future stories.

The plot of the story is a unique one with some clever and surprising twists, although it did go a little bit awry at that start. It was the little clues that I almost wrote off that pulled this whole mystery together.  I was on the right track but it turned out to be much more than I ever imagined.

The author has left Penny holding back a very important tidbit and I wonder how long it will be before it is revealed to everyone.  This has me anxious to read the next installment, Ripe For Murder, out on March 1. I was late to the party for this book. That won’t be the case with the next one.

enjoyable 2016

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

Find out more about Carlene O’Neil on her webpage here.  Like her on Facebook. Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.


GIVEAWAY

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.

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.

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 March 4, 2016 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.”

Posted in Cozy Wednesday Crafty Cozy Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Reviews 2016 What An Animal Reading Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Bailey Cattrell – Author of Daisies For Innocence – #Giveaway too!

cozy wednesday 2013 640

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am pleased to welcome Bailey Cattrell to Escape With Dollycas today!

McRae_Cricket pic

 

Daisies For Innocence is first in the Enchanted Garden Mystery series and features Elliana Allbright, aromatherapist extraordinaire and owner of Scents & Nonsense. A thirty-something recent divorcee, Ellie has lived in Poppyville, California her entire life.

In fact, her great, great grandfather was one of the founders of the town – along with Pauline “Poppy” Thierry, the local madam in 1849. Originally settled in order to cater to the miners headed into the Sierra Nevada Mountains during the California Gold Rush, modern-day Poppyville is a tourist town chock full of Old West flavor and offering nearby hot springs, mountain biking, horseback riding, and fly fishing.

Ellie lives with Dash, her Pembroke Welsh corgi, in a super-efficient Tiny House at the back of the Scents & Nonsense property. The shop is guarded day and night by a Russian blue shorthair named Nabokov who regularly attracts clusters of blue butterflies when he ventures out to sun himself in the garden. By the end of the book, Ellie’s growing menagerie is joined by a beta fish named Leonard.

daisies for innocenceThe space between Ellie’s home and work is packed with garden beds connected by winding stone paths. There are seating areas and cozy alcoves interspersed with fairy houses, gnome doors and miniature tableaus tucked in surprising nooks and crannies. An etched boulder in the center of the space declares it The Enchanted Garden, and over time it has gained a reputation as a place for children to come explore the tiny “fairy” worlds while their parents have a cup of tea and nibble on the cookies Ellie’s best friend, Astrid Moneypenny, brings into the shop each morning.

However, the Enchanted Garden also provides the flowers and plants Ellie distills down into custom “perfumes” that do more than just smell good. She learned about plants and their essences from her gamma, who left behind a dog-eared but beautifully illustrated garden journal and an ancient, copper alembic. An alembic is a kind of still (think moonshine), but much smaller and used for distilling essential oils.

Her whole life, Ellie always had a fine-tuned sense of smell, which, combined with a natural ability to know how scents can help other people, uniquely qualifies her to create her special perfumes. When Astrid calls it a superpower, Ellie just laughs, but it turns out Astrid might be more right than Ellie realizes!

In Daisies For Innocence, Ellie’s part-time employee, Josie Overland, confesses that she has been dating Ellie’s ex-husband for a month or so. Ellie is surprised and worried at this news, as she doesn’t want Josie to get hurt the same way she did. But when she finds Josie dead on the boardwalk in front of Scents & Nonsense the next morning, she is unable to convince Detective Max Lang that she had no motive to kill Josie. After all, Max and Ellie’s ex, Harris, are best friends, and Harris has painted Ellie to be a jealous shrew.

Fortunately, Max’s partner, Detective Lupe Garcia is open to looking for other suspects. Unfortunately, Garcia’s new to town, and so it’s up to Ellie and Astrid to ferret out the real killer. Ellie also gets help from members of the Greenstockings, her women’s business group, and Ritter Nelson, an old high-school crush who is back in town visiting his sister.

And then there’s the mysterious plant that sprouted under the birdbath the same day Josie was killed – a plant that grows faster than anything Ellie has ever seen and that she can’t identify anywhere except in her gamma’s journal. As she looks into the life of a woman she thought she knew while hunting for her murderer, Ellie waits for the chance to distill the strange plant’s heady essence – and whatever memories it might bring – for herself.

The book includes a recipe for Astrid’s Chewy Double Chocolate Chunk Hazelnut Cookies, aromatherapy tips, and essential oil blends for things like relaxations and concentration. There’s also the first chapter of Brownies and Broomsticks, the first of the NYT bestselling Magical Bakery Mysteries that I write as Bailey Cates.

Next up? Spells and Scones, the sixth Magical Bakery mystery, will release in July, 2016, and I’m currently working on the second Enchanted Garden Mystery, Nightshade for Warning.
For more information about all my books, please visit www.baileycates.com, Like my page on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter.

~Bailey

daisies for innocenceDaisies For Innocence:
An Enchanted Garden Mystery

New Cozy Mystery Series
Setting – California
An Obsidian Mystery
Published by New American Library (January 5, 2016)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451476883
E-Book ASIN: B00W2ZKKM4
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Shop Indie Bookstores

From Bailey Cattrell—who writes the New York Times bestselling Magical Bakery Mysteries as Bailey Cates—comes the first Enchanted Garden Mystery featuring custom perfume maker Elliana Allbright…

The Enchanted Garden behind Elliana Allbright’s perfume shop draws people of all ages with its fragrant flowers and lush greenery. But when the magical serenity is interrupted, it’s up to Ellie to sniff out a killer.

Ellie’s life has blossomed in Poppyville, California, since she opened Scents & Nonsense, a custom-made-perfume store. Her skills with aromas and botanical essences—some from her very own garden—seem almost…supernatural. Her perfumes can evoke emotions,  bring about change, or simply make people happy. Customers are flocking to the store to buy her wares or just to sit in her beautiful garden, sip tea and enjoy homemade cookies.

But she smells trouble when she learns that her part-time assistant Josie is dating her ex. And before she can tell the young woman to beware of his charms, she finds Josie dead in the Enchanted Garden. Now the prime suspect in Josie’s murder, Ellie must search for the real culprit in Josie’s past—because it’ll take a miracle to nip this problem in the bud….

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Elliana Allbright has a fantastic place in Poppyville, California. At the front of her lot is Scents & Nonsense, her store, where she sells items scented from the flowers in her very own garden. The Enchanted Garden fills the side and back yards right up to the front of her tiny house. I can picture it so clearly in my mind with her bird bath and other whimsical touches surrounded by flowers that bloom all year. Even a few extra special varieties.

Ellie has a gift of matching the right scent to each person for any occasion and her Gamma’s journal is the guidebook to everything growing in the garden.  Everything is coming up roses until her friend and employee, Josie Overland, is pushing up daisies, dead in the garden. Not so enchanting.

The was a fun read. Because of the location of the body, Elliana is the prime suspect. One of the officers on the case is best friends with her ex so she knows she isn’t going to get much help there but his partner, Detective Lupe Garcia, has a more open mind and actually investigates. I liked that Ellie didn’t just jump into the investigation. She stayed in touch with Garcia and they shared infomation. We meet several unique characters throughout the book. Friends from her high school days, friends that Ellie made before her divorce and new friends since opening her store. Ellie shop also has a resident feline and she has a Welsh Corgi named Dash too.

The book started a little slow for me but soon I was fully engaged and stayed up until early in the morning  to finish. The mystery has its share of plot twists to keep readers guessing and I was surprised to learn I had picked the right culprit from the bunch.

I loved the aromatherapy theme and was thrilled to see the blends at the end of the story.

Bailey Cattrell has planted all the seeds to get this series off to a blooming start.

enjoyable 2016

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Writing as Bailey Cates


Writing as Cricket McRae


GIVEAWAY

Thanks to the people at Penguin 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.

This year I am trying to build my Twitter following so for this giveaway 4 Bonus Entries will be awarded by following me on Twitter. @dollycas

Leave a comment for Bailey for 5 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 February 3, 2016 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.”

Posted in Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes Reviews 2016 TBR Pile Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Flashback Friday – Review/ #Giveaway – Killer Run by Lynn Cahoon

9WbGnJTR

On Flashback Fridays I will share with you the books I missed when they were first
released that have been screaming at me from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.

This week I chose a book from my Kindle shelf.

killer runKiller Run (Tourist Trap Mysteries)
5th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – California
Publisher: Lyrical Underground (August 18, 2015)
Paperback: 198 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1601834188
E-Book ASIN: B00TNBLXX0
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 Jill Gardner—owner of Coffee, Books, and More—has somehow been talked into sponsoring a 5k race along the beautiful California coast. The race is a fundraiser for the local preservation society—but not everyone is feeling so charitable…

The day of the race, everyone hits the ground running…until a local business owner stumbles over a very stationary body. The deceased is the vicious wife of the husband-and-wife team hired to promote the event—and the husband turns to Jill for help in clearing his name. But did he do it? Jill will have to be very careful, because this killer is ready to put her out of the running…forever!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

We return to California and the Coffee, Books, and More shop in South Cove. Jill and Greg are all set to take off on an Alaskan Cruise right after the Mission Run Event. Well there plans go South when a dead body is found during the race next to the running trail. The dead woman is part of a public relations firm that was hired to promote the event. Between you and me, I was so happy she was the victim. She was a real witch that rubbed me and others the wrong way quickly. She must have really ticked someone off to get killed.

If that isn’t enough to force Greg to cancel their getaway, there is a vandal on the loose and their only target seems the model train store. They are pretty persistent and damage is escalating. While Jill has the week off and Greg is tied up at the station, she decides to get a little redecorating done on the house she inherited. Of course, she is going to stick her nose into both investigations, this is Jill we’re talking about. The trouble is she may push someone too far and end up on a permanent vacation cruising right on up to the pearly gates.

All our favorite characters return and again the dialogue is spectacular. Aunt Jackie continues to bring the humor. Her gentleman friend Josh is the one the found the body and ends up in the hospital himself. That doesn’t slow Jackie down much at all. She has plans for him, plans for Jill, Jill’s home, the bookstore/coffee shop, and plans to keep Sasha, their part time employee busy too. All with a big smile on her face. This is a great set of characters.

As someone that helped organize events like the Mission Run, this story rang pretty true to life. The corporation or the group running the show gives just enough information for local groups to set up their individual event. Then they show up on the day the event is to take place and complain about the way things are set up or doesn’t meet their expectations. Been there, done that, and like in this story the local event was a great success in spite of corporate’s ideas. Well, except for the dead PR woman 🙂

Lynn Cahoon has written another story that draws the reader in from the start and entertains us thoroughly. The plot twists are tight and truly unexpected. I was totally caught off guard by some of the guilty parties. The two cases intertwined so well.  A nice blend of daily life, romance, mystery and mayhem. I really enjoy this series.

Murder on Wheels comes out February 2 and now I am all caught up and ready for it!

enjoyable 2016

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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

 Author Links

Goodreads  – Twitter 

Facebook –Website – Amazon Author Page


Just Click on Covers to Order from Amazon
GIVEAWAY
Since I read this from a Kindle Copy I don’t have a paperback to giveaway, but I will give 2 e-copies away.
I will gift them from Amazon, so if that works for you you are eligible to enter.

Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old

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.

This year I am trying to build my Twitter following so for this giveaway 4 Bonus Entries will be awarded by following me on Twitter. @dollycas

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 January 29, 2016 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.”

Posted in Giveaways Spotlights

Spotlight/Giveaway – Swag Bags and Swindlers by Dorothy Howell

swag bah and swindlers
Swag Bags and Swindlers
(A Haley Randolph Mystery)

11th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Kensington (September 29, 2015)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0758294982
E-Book ASIN: B00RRT30HM
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Haley Randolph’s 25th birthday is just around the corner, and the full-time fashionista knows it might be time to edge into being an “adult.” All she has to do is ace the upcoming performance review for her hot L.A. event-planning gig, and she can finally quit her credit card-paying job at Holt’s Department Store. She just has to make sure absolutely nothing goes wrong with the big party she’s planning for a Hollywood retirement home…
It really should be a fun bash—Hollywood Haven is home to a spunky group of retired actors, screenwriters, musicians, dancers, and other entertainers who have been in the biz for their whole lives. But when Haley finds Derrick Ellery, the home’s assistant director, sprawled on his bloody office floor, she sees her hope of keeping her job—not to mention the dream of owning a Sassy, the season’s hottest handbag—vanishing before her eyes.

Quietly finding the killer is Haley’s only hope…but it turns out the list of suspects is longer than her last credit card statement. It seems Derrick made a lot of enemies and had somehow become wealthy far beyond what was possible with his salary—but how?

To make matters worse, Haley’s kind-of-ex-boyfriend Ty is now a suspect in a different murder, and she just knows he couldn’t have done it. Solving two murders while planning the perfect party—and always keeping her sights on a Sassy—won’t be easy…especially now that there’s more than one killer ready to select Haley’s final outfit!

Dorothy_Howell_Photo_1_400x400About The Author

Dorothy Howell is the author of 39 novels.  She’s written for three major New York publishing houses.  Her books have been translated into a dozen languages, with sales approaching 5 million copies worldwide.

Dorothy currently writes for two publishing houses, in two genres, under two names.

HANDBAGS AND HOMICIDE, which launched her Haley Randolph cozy mystery series from Kensington Books, was a Publishers Weekly starred review.  The series has sold in the U.K., France, Thailand, and Poland, and is available in hardcover, large print, paperback, and e-book editions.

Meet Dorothy’s newest amateur sleuth in her Dana Mackenzie cozy mystery series.  The trilogy is available in paperback and e-book editions.

Dorothy has also written 25 historical romance novels, most under her pen name Judith Stacy.  Her titles include Harlequin Historical’s Top Seller of the Year, a No.1 on the Barnes & Noble historical list, and a RITA Award Finalist.

Dorothy is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and Romance Writers of America.  She’s a requested speaker at writing, civic, and women’s organizations, and has appeared on television and radio promoting her work.

Dorothy lives in Southern California. She’s eternally grateful for the love and support of family and friends, her hard working agent and publisher, and her extreme good fortune.

Visit her Webpage      LIKE her page on Facebook      Follow her on Twitter

 

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to the people at Kensington I have an ARC copy of
Swag Bags and Swindlers 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, Facebook, Pinterest or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End October 24, 2015 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

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent
Posted in Cozy Wednesday Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Guest Posts Reviews 2015 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with M.L. Rowland – Author of Murder On The Horizon – Giveaway too!

cozy wednesday 2013 640I am super excited to welcome M.L. Rowland back
to Escape With Dollycas today.

I love her Search and Rescue Mysteries.

 

ml rowlandCheap Thrills
by M.L. Rowland

Because I write adventure mysteries and base much of what I write about on my own experiences, I was asked recently, “What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?”

Since the answer to that question was long and involved and complex, and included some boring topics like “perceived risk” and “managed risk,” I decided to rewrite the question into “What’s the earliest adventurous thing you remember doing? What’s the one experience that started it all?”

When I was fourteen, my father, who at the time was working as a marine zoologist, accepted a research assignment on the island of Tutuila, American Samoa. My mother–not to be left behind for the summer–plucked my two older sisters and me out of our cocoon in a conservative western-Michigan town and flew us 5700 miles west to the tiny island in the south Pacific.

MURDER ON THE HORIZONIt didn’t take long for my sisters, ages 18 and 20 and, to pal up with some of the island palangis (whites)–university students manning a satellite tracking station. If anyone minded little sister tagging along, no one ever said anything to me.

It was a summer of adventure firsts for me: my first close encounter with a shark–while snorkeling the airport lagoon, my first mountain climb–to the top of Matafao, the island’s tallest peak (only 2100 feet of elevation gain, but, hey, it was my first one). But one adventure stands out above the rest.

At that time, only one plane departed the island each day–at 1 o’clock in the morning. I don’t remember why or how I was out so late at night, but I do remember crouching beside my sisters and three or four young men behind the heavy vegetation lining Pago Pago airport’s one runway. Off to our left, the Pan Am jet moved into position, its lights brilliant white starbursts in the darkness. The jet lumbered forward, engines growing louder and louder until it rolled by us. As a group, we ran from our hiding places and lay down half-on, half-off the runway pavement. At the end of the runway, the jet made its turn, then surged back toward us for take-off. I squeezed my eyes closed and pressed my hands over my ears to shut out the screaming engines.

I can still feel the blast of heat and stones from the massive jet engines as the wing passed right over our heads.

~M.L. Rowland

You can find out more about M.L. Rowland on her webpage here and on her blog here.

MURDER ON THE HORIZONMurder on the Horizon
(A Search and Rescue Mystery)

3rd Book in Series
Mystery/Suspense
Setting – California
A Berkley Prime Mystery (August 4, 2015)
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
SBN-13: 978-0425263686
E-Book ASIN: B00QH83240
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The Search and Rescue mystery series returns readers to Timber Creek, where the hot, dry Santa Ana winds are blowing. But more than just the threat of wildfire endangers the tiny mountain community…

Gracie and her Search and Rescue teammates are searching along the highway in the middle of the blisteringly hot Mojave Desert when they make a grisly discovery—a trash bag containing human body parts. Not long after, Gracie’s growing friendship with a ten-year-old runaway draws her unwittingly into the secretive, hate-filled world of the boy’s family—a group of gun-toting extremists. As a wildfire roars into Timber Creek, Gracie finds herself caught up in an explosive plot that, unless she stops it, will destroy countless innocent lives.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

M.L. Rowland continues to top herself.

With the wildfires and drought in the news this third installment of the Search and Rescue Mysteries is especially topical. Gracie and the other team members are on standby and the community is on high alert as the Santa Ana winds could shift at any moment and put Timber Creek  and Camp Ponderosa right in the path of the wildfire that is ravaging the nearby mountains.

In addition to the fires, the SAR crew makes an heart stopping discovery in the desert and a 10 year old boy is a frequent cause of concern as he keeps running away from home with the team being called out to search for him. Gracie befriends the child and his grandmother to try to get to the bottom of his story. What she learns will have readers glued to the pages.

Gracie has just become the manager of Camp Ponderosa after the huge shake up that took place in Murder Off The Beaten Path. She is working with a smaller crew to finish out this season and that keeps her pretty busy without much spare time. The reason I truly enjoy this character is because she always goes above and beyond expectations. She makes time for people in need and works hard to earn their trust and really get to know them.

We meet several new characters in this story and some will truly touch your heart, others will have you thinking twice and some are just downright scary. Rowland brings them all roaring to life in a way that will totally grab onto you and not let go.

The suspense in this story builds and builds as we follow Gracie down several paths we wish she wouldn’t travel. At one point she gets herself into such a dire circumstance I was literally cringing as I was reading.

Rowland not only writes a fantastic suspense filled story but she describes the Timber Creek area so perfectly that it is so incredibly easy to escape right into this book. You are driving down the roads or hiking up the paths or running along plateau right along with Gracie and sometimes her dog, Minnie. Sometimes you wish you were really there to protect or help her.

I have enjoyed all 3 books in this series very much. Each one even more than the last.  This one ends with Gracie at a crossroad in a her life and I am really looking forward to her next adventure wherever it takes her.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to the people at Penguin 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.

Following the new Google+ Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book Fan Page
will earn you 3 Bonus Entries.

Leave a comment for M.L. for 5 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 September 9, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners 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.”

Posted in Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Guest Posts Reviews 2015 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Special Guest – J.J. Chow – Author of Seniors Sleuth – Review & Giveaway too!

special guest blueI am so happy to welcome J.J. Chow to Escape With Dollycas today!
Seniors Sleuth, the first Winston Wong Cozy Mystery was released on May 9.

 

mystery book headshot

Behind the Crime (Writing) Scene

seniors sleuthThere is always an escape waiting for you—even in the most urban of places. For example, my Winston Wong mystery series takes place in San Jose, the heart of the tech-savvy Silicon Valley. Yet there is a stretch of beautiful Victorian houses in the city. Some of these elegant buildings have been converted into businesses, which is the case with the senior home featured in Winston’s first mystery, SENIORS SLEUTH.

I worked and lived in San Jose for years, but have now relocated to an even more urban area: Los Angeles. Besides the beaches, where’s a mystery writer to go to relax? Answer: The California Crime Writers Conference. Sponsored by Sisters in Crime Los Angeles and SoCal Mystery Writers of America, the exciting CCWC happens only every other year.California Crime Writers logo

Let me give you a look into what a crime writing convention is like. Along with workshops, there is an agents and editors cocktail party, a noir movie night, and a silent auction with raffle.

Besides the formal events, mingling occurs during session breaks (or sometimes while waiting in line for the ladies’ room—you know how it is).

 With Gigi Pandian
With Gigi Pandian

Personal Connections
At lunchtime, I found myself seated next to mystery writers whom I really respect. Meeting USA Today bestselling author Gigi Pandian especially touched my heart. She published the first book in her Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Series as a celebration for wrapping up a year’s worth of breast cancer treatments. My own cozy mystery is dedicated to my mom, who struggled against a very aggressive type of cancer.

Besides the personal connections, I also enjoyed the professional insight from excellent workshops, which covered the following categories:

Craft: tips for specific genres and advice for the writing life
Forensics: talks about crime scenes and unique information from specialists
Industry: information about the book industry, including various traditional and self-publishing options
Marketing: advice on selling books

Here are a few interesting tidbits I gleaned from those sessions:

Workshops
Amazon
• There are micro-genres for everything, so you can find things like a nice cozy mystery with a female sleuth happening in outer space
• On the Amazon author page, you can “follow” your favorite writer and stay in touch with their latest activities

Bookstores and Libraries
• There are dedicated book buyers in stores, ready to scout out new releases
• A recent book only has a small window of opportunity (4-6 weeks) to make a splash; indie bookstores, though, are often more lenient in promoting works they enjoy beyond that specific period
• Librarians listen to patron requests, so feel free to suggest books to your local branches
• Vendors charge libraries more for ebooks than print copies because of the multiple use involved in electronic versions

GunsForensics
• Even small guns are quite heavy and intimidating to hold!
• The Secret Service started out as an agency to combat counterfeit money (this session could not be recorded because it was too top-secret)
• Bugs can be used to determine a range of time for a victim’s death

Traditional Mysteries
Agatha Christie once compared the mystery to a “medieval morality play”
• At the core of the traditional and cozy mystery is the puzzle and its deduction
• Current mysteries have moved away from armchair detectives, and now involve a lot of excitement with diverse characters in varied settings

Finally, the major highlight of a crime writing convention is hearing well-known authors speak.

Charlaine Harris,  moderator Craig Faustus Buck, and Anne Perry
Charlaine Harris, moderator Craig Faustus Buck, and Anne Perry

Keynote Speakers
This year, the keynote speakers were Anne Perry and Charlaine Harris. They spoke separately over the two days, and then came together on the last day for a moderated discussion on Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing. Both authors agreed with most of Leonard’s rules, except for rule number nine, which involved using detailed descriptions. The writers would include more information if the plot needed something to be fully described (e.g. the layout of a room), and for things like clothes (which speak volumes about a person). There was also resounding support for Leonard’s tenth rule: “Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.”

At the conference, I found that even the most famous individuals (like the speakers above) were so down-to-earth. I mean, I was rubbing shoulders with folks who had been nominated or had won the Agatha, Anthony, Edgar, Shamus…the list of awards go on. Every author I met was super sweet. I wonder if it’s because we write all the animosity out of ourselves. It’s like free therapy when you’re a writer. Or perhaps it’s what Charlaine Harris said—we don’t need to get revenge on people in real life because we can do it on the page.

Silent auction
Silent Auction

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed a peek behind the scenes of a mystery writing convention!

~Jennifer

About J.J. Chow

Jennifer J. Chow, an Asian-American writer, holds a Bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a Master’s in Social Welfare from UCLA. Her geriatric work experience influences her stories. She lives in Los Angeles, California.

Her short fiction has appeared in Yay! LA Magazine, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, Mouse Tales Press, and IdeaGems. Her debut novel, The 228 Legacy, won Honorable Mention in the 2015 San Francisco Book Festival and was a 2013 Finalist for Foreword Reviews’ Book of the Year Award. She also writes the Winston Wong mysteries under the name of J.J. Chow. The first in the series, Seniors Sleuth, won Runner-Up in the 2015 Beach Book Festival.
Writing awards
•Runner-Up in the 2015 Beach Book Festival for Seniors Sleuth
•Honorable Mention in the 2015 San Francisco Book Festival for The 228 Legacy
•Finalist for the 2013 IndieFab/Foreword Reviews’ Book of the Year Award for The 228 Legacy
•Second round of the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award for The 228 Legacy
•Second place in The Sacrifice Anthology Contest
•Honorable mention in the Project Keepsake Contest
•Finalist standing in Writer Advice’s 7th Annual Flash Prose Contest
•Honorable mention in the 2012 Whispering Prairie Press Writers ContestLike her on Facebook and Follow her on GoodReads and Twitter.

seniors sleuthSeniors Sleuth
(Winston Wong Cozy Mystery) (Volume 1)

1st in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – California
Self Published (May 9, 2015)
Paperback: 224 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1511733786
E-Book ASIN: B00X4PAISW
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Winston Wong used to test video games but has left his downward spiraling career to follow in the footsteps of Encyclopedia Brown, his favorite childhood detective. When the Pennysaver misprints his new job title, adding an extra “s” to his listing, Winston becomes a “Seniors Sleuth.” He gets an easy first case, confirming the natural death of a ninety-year-old man. However, under the surface of the bingo-loving senior home is a seedier world where a genuine homicide actually occurred. Winston finds himself surrounded by suspects on all sides: a slacker administrator, a kind-hearted nurse, and a motley crew of eccentric residents. To validate his new career choice (and maybe win the girl), he must unravel the truth from a tangle of lies.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
J.J. Chow introduces us to Winston Wong, a man trying to start over after his investments dry up and his sister bails him out by buying him a house to live in. He decides to become a sleuth like his favorite childhood detective. He is not licensed but takes out an ad in the Pennysaver to get his new business off the ground. A typo in the ad changes his plan just a bit. Instead of a Senior Sleuth he becomes a Seniors Sleuth and his first case has him investigating a death at an assisted living center.

The author gave us the requisite quirky characters for a cozy mystery. The residents of the Sweet Breeze are certainly unique, from the bejeweled Anastasia Templeton, to the dapper gent who plays the piano, Jazzman, and the curmudgeonly amputee Pete Russell. Nurse Kristen Blake seems to be the only staff outside of the manager of the place who spends more time playing video games than spending time with the residents. This part of the story didn’t ring true for me. A place like this would be required to have more staff. The meals are delivered by Meals on Wheels and that was odd to me too. Maybe things are different in California.

Winston’s first case starts out being just a small matter of easing someone’s mind but snowballs when he learns the man that died did not die of natural causes. Yet he kept stays on the case to find the killer. This was quite a mystery for his first case.

This is a very light mystery with all the cozy elements. A really good first effort to start this series. I enjoyed it but some of the details held me back from loving it. I am interested to see where the author takes her Senior Sleuth next.

just you and a friend
4 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

GIVEAWAY

The author is giving away a copy of the book and I am giving away my review copy.

There is also a SPECIAL GIVEAWAY for this beautiful necklace!

Anastasia would love this!!
Anastasia would love this!!

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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.”