Posted in Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Guest Posts Reviews 2014 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Betty Hechtman – Author of Silence of the Lamb’s Wool (Giveaway too!)

 

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!!

I am thrilled to welcome Betty Hechtman here today!!

BETTY HECHTMAN

Cool Off With Casey
By
Betty Hechtman

There’s nothing better on a sweltering summer day than to escape into Casey Feldstein’s world on California’s Monterey peninsula. The weather is cool year round with white skies and creeping fingers of fog. It makes you want to grab a fleece jacket and go for a bracing walk on the silky sand beach across the road from Vista Del Mar, the moody hotel and conference center where Casey puts on her yarn retreats.

If you want to get away from it all, there isn’t a better place than Vista Del Mar. The Arts and Crafts style buildings are over 100 years old and built with lots of dark wood and local stone. The buildings are sprinkled over 100 acres of sloping grounds dotted with tall, narrow Monterey pines and Monterey cypress trees shaped by the wind. You won’t find any manicured lawns here. The grounds have been allowed to grow wild. If a tree falls, it is left to decompose naturally. Rumor has it that it is the same if an animal dies. Maybe a body, too, who knows? Situated on a small peninsula jutting into the Pacific ocean, it literally is the end of the earth.

What a perfect place to hold a yarn retreat. A group of people with a common interest gather there to spend time on their craft and learn something new. There is always the smell of wood smoke in the air. All the guest room buildings have living room-like lobbies furnished with overstuffed chairs that surround a glowing fireplace. Just the place to gather with some friends, take out your knitting and talk about murder.

19486435In Silence of the Lamb’s Wool Casey has arranged for a retreat that starts with the shearing of some sheep and ends with the knitting of a shawlette, making for a very busy weekend. It only gets more complicated when a key player in the retreat turns up dead and leaves Casey in the lurch.

Lucky for Casey some of her first time retreaters have come back. Her best friend and boss, Lucinda Thornkill is there to help, even if the manager of Vista Del Mar is still trying to give Casey a hard time.

Even with all that is going on, Casey manages to continue her nightly baking of desserts at the Blue Door Restaurant and keeps the coffee spots in the town of Cadbury by the Sea supplied with her delicious freshly made muffins, though she is shocked when one of the muffins turns out to be a clue.

And the two men in her life – will her ex, Dr. Sammy win her back with his bagful of tricks, or will Dane, the adorable cop down the street, ever get to first base with her?

Want to truly feel apart of the story? There is a pattern for the shawlette and recipes for some of Casey’s specialties included.

Enjoy!

~Betty

About The Author

Silence of the Lamb’s Wool is the second book in the national bestselling Yarn Retreat series that features dessert chef Casey Feldstein who puts on yarn retreats at a slightly sinister hotel and conference center on California’s Monterey peninsula. Betty Hechtman also writes the national bestselling Crochet mystery series. All books in both series include patterns and recipes. She says it is like a dream come true to be able mix her love of mystery with her love of making things. She grew up in Chicago and has a degree in Fine Art. In addition she has studied everything from improv comedy to magic. She has written newspaper and magazine pieces, short stories and scripts. She lives in Southern California and Chicago and has yarn stashes in both cities.

For more information check out BettyHechtman.com, Facebook and her Friday blog for Killerhobbies.blogspot.com

silence of the lamb's woolSilence of the Lamb’s Wool
(A Yarn Retreat Mystery)

2nd in Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (July 1, 2014)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Patricia Casteleo
Cover Design by Rita Frangie
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425252581
E-Book File Size: 1476 KB
ASIN: B00HDMMF56
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Dessert chef Casey Feldstein has learned one end of a knitting needle from the other after inheriting her aunt’s yarn retreat business, but a murder threatens to unravel her latest event . . .

Casey’s running a new retreat called “From Sheep to Shawl” at a resort on the atmospheric Monterey Peninsula. Participants will learn about sheepshearing, fixing up the fleece, and spinning, and will eventually knit a lovely shawl.

Nicole Welton has been hired to teach the fleece-to-fiber portion of the retreat. She’s an expert spinner, and her small shop in Cadbury by the Sea houses a beautiful assortment of spinning wheels and drop spindles. But when the new teacher fails to show up for class and is found lying dead on the boardwalk, it leaves everyone’s nerves frayed.

Now Casey has to knit together clues faster than she can count stitches before someone else at the retreat gets dropped . . .

Includes a knitting pattern and a recipe!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Casey’s retreat sounds like a lot of fun. Seeing the sheep getting sheared, cleaning and combing the fleece and spinning and then knitting with wool we made ourselves would be a blast. Too bad she had to face one roadblock after another including the death of the woman that was supposed to lead the whole retreat. Casey channels her aunt and does what she would have done and handled each problem head on, even chasing down a killer.

I really love these characters. Casey has landed on her feet pretty well and following in her aunt’s footsteps continuing the yarn retreats while challenging definitely keeps her busy. Even though her mother still thinks she needs to get a “real job”.  What I really enjoyed was the friendships she continues to make. Three retreaters from the last retreat return in this story and they really step up and help Casey with this retreat. Her best friend Lucinda and her husband Tag are back too as is her ex. Dr. Sammy has moved to town and has found an unusual way to stay close to Casey.

Betty Hechtman has spun a fine mystery too. Was it suicide or murder? If it was murder who did it? She keeps trying to get her handsome neighbor who happens to be a cop to see things her way but she leaves each meeting with him either hot and bothered or furious that he is not taking her seriously.

If you are knitter you will want to grab your needles, if you are not you will wish you were. This is a captivating page turner and I  thoroughly enjoyed it!!

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

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.

Leave a comment for Betty for 5 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 30, 2014 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 Reviews 2014 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Review – Scared Scriptless by Alison Sweeney

SCARED SCRIPTLESSScared Scriptless: A Novel
Hachette Book Group, Inc
Published by Hyperion (June 3, 2014)
Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1401311056
E-Book File Size: 1054 KB
ASIN: B00GR5N9LE
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Synopsis
Maddy Carson is a mass of contradictions. She loves her job as Script Supervisor on a hit TV show, but hates “Hollywood.” Super-organized and down-to-earth, Maddy is clearly one of the best at her job, and her strict dating rule – “No Actors!” – helps her keep focused on her career. However, a budding relationship with Craig, one of the executives at her company, may even propel her into the big leagues. Could Wolf County, her beloved hometown in the mountains, be saved from a financial crisis by creating a reality show featuring the eccentrics in the small ski village? Maddy is determined to try, even when she learns that Craig’s agenda doesn’t exactly line up with her altruistic goal.

Meanwhile, Maddy still has a full-time job to manage, her family to deal with, and a gorgeous new actor, Adam Devin, determined to wear down her resistance. Eventually Maddy must learn to break all her self-imposed rules and simply follow her heart.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Alison Sweeney has been on television for over twenty years, from starring as Sami Brady on Days of Our Lives to hosting The Biggest Loser and recently in the Hallmark Movie Second Chances and much more. She is definitely writing what she knows. This is her second novel following last year’s release The Star Attraction. Again she gives us a look behind the scenes of the world of television.

I loved Maddy Carson. Hyper organized and a very strong woman. She has a strong sense of family that carried her though the ups and downs she faced in this story. Dating Craig was probably not the smartest decision but I loved the way she fought back with just a bit of help from her friends and family.

Wolf County sounds like a wonderful place. I wish there really was a reality show featuring Maddy’s family and the quirky residents there. Seeing how the economy dip and financial crisis affected the area would mirror other communities across the U.S.

The budding romance between Maddy and Adam, AN ACTOR!, was fun to read. He wasn’t giving up and she was not going down that road easily.

Sweeney is wrapping up her final year on Days of Our Lives and that just breaks my heart. I am a true fan of the show. I think I watched it from the start with my mom with a short break for school before VCRs and DVRs. Many of us at college planned our schedules so we could gather to watch the show as often as possible. I don’t think I have missed an episode in years. We get attached to these actors and the roles they play. There will never be another actress that could fill Alison’s shoes as Samantha Jean Brady.

I do wish her well and hope that while I may not see her on my television every day that she will continue the write fun and entertaining stories like this one. This story is a perfect escape, a terrific summer read, a lighthearted book to read on the beach.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

You can find out more about Alison Sweeney 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 Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge E-Book Challenge Reviews 2014 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Review: Guidebook to Murder by Lynn Cahoon

guidebook
Guidebook to Murder
A Tourist Trap Mystery
New Cozy Series!
Published by Kensington Trade (April 17, 2014)
Paperback: 226 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1601833044
E-Book File Size: 1128 KB
ASIN: B00FY54N72
B&N ISBN-13: 9781601832382
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South Cove California is a tourist stop along the coast. Jill Gardner owns Coffee, Books, and More  and she just wants to make enough to keep the business open. She is relatively new to the town. It was meeting Miss Emily one day that convinced her to move to South Cove. Miss Emily is an elderly woman who has had a bunch of businesses crop up around her home. Her house needs a lot of work but when she receives a letter telling her the town council is going to condemn her home or force he to sell to a big developer she calls Jill in a panic. Jill calms her down and tells her they will work things out. But before that can happen Miss Emily passes away very unexpectedly. She leaves her home and all its problems to Jill, but Jill thinks Miss Emily was murdered and sets out to prove it even as the killer tries to puts Jill out of business permanently.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I knew I was going to love this book and I sure did. Jill Gardner is a great character. She is down to earth and her confidence while shaky at the start continues to grow throughout the story. She also likes food and she features some tasty treats in her shop. There will be even more if Aunt Jackie has her way.

Aunt Jackie is a lot like my mom was, do things now and get permission for them later. Jill asks Aunt Jackie to help her with the store as she deals with Miss Emily’s house and all that entails and Jackie took “help” to a whole new level. I was laughing out loud.

I was sad that Miss Emily became the murder victim. She was quite a woman and she has a few secrets. I would have loved to spend more time with her.

South Cove is also home to Detective Greg King. A handsome guy that just keeps running into Jill. The sexual tension is thick enough to cut with a knife. It is going to be fun watching this relationship progress.

The mystery is great too, I just wish I had Jill’s energy, not only does she find out what happened to Miss Emily and why, she also makes substantial repairs to Miss Emily house. Of course she has outside contractors to help but just pulling everything together while painting and decorating was miraculous and a joy to read.

There is a lot going on in this book. The pages just flew. I have been trapped by this Tourist Trap mystery and can’t wait to be trapped again by Mission to Murder coming July 31, 2014.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about Lynn Cahoon 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 Reviews 2014

Review – Inherit The Word by Daryl Wood Gerber

inherit the wordInherit the Word
(A Cookbook Nook Mystery)

2nd in Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (March 4, 2014)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Teresa Fasolino
Cover Design by Jason Gill
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425258071
File Size: 1416 KB
ASIN: B00EOARZMI
B&N: ISBN-13: 9780698137967
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Jenna Hart moved back to Crystal Cove, California, to recapture her joie de vivre and to help her aunt Vera run the local culinary bookshop and café. But it’s hard to follow a simple recipe for relaxation when murder gets thrown in the mix…

The Cookbook Nook and Cafe has been asked to host this year’s Grill Fest. The theme is GRILLED CHEESE!! Eight local chefs plan to win the judges favor with their sandwich creations. This is not a friendly battle, it is a grudge match and tempers are as hot as the stoves they are cooking on. A break is taken before Round 1 and it proves deadly. The 8 time Grill Fest Champ is found dead in the alley behind the Nook. It doesn’t take long for one of the other competitors to be named the prime suspect.  Jenna know the woman wouldn’t hurt a fly and she is bound and determined to find the real killer before they get away with another murder.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

The second Cookbook Nook Mystery is even better than the first. I don’t know why but it took be awhile to get in touch with Jenna in Final Sentence, the first book in this series. This time she had be from page one. She jumped right in to prove her friend’s mother was innocent and sort through a ton of clues to catch the killer. I also was happy that more about Jenna’s husband death came out but I think there is more to that story.

My favorite character again was Aunt Vera, she is so funny and takes everything in stride. She can also give you a tarot card reading on the spur of the moment.  There are plenty of the required quirky characters in this cozy and level headed ones as well. Jenna’s dad is a former FBI analyst, and Rhett Jackson, former chef and now owner of a sporting goods store, both are easy on the eyes.

The mystery was extremely well plotted and kept me guessing until the very end. I had a twist in my head that didn’t play out at all. I will say the final twist Gerber threw at us did really throw me for a loop.

I also like the bookstore setting and the wide range of books and other products they carry, including a kids corner.  Much more than cookbooks, culinary mysteries too. It is fun to see some of my favorite cozies are on the shelves at The Cookbook Nook.  Another plus is the Nook Cafe. I would love a few cooking lessons from Katie myself.

This is a fun and entertaining story. It will have your mouth watering in no time. Good thing the author includes some recipes!! Stirring the Plot, the next book in this series hits stores September 30.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about Daryl Wood Gerber 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 Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Great Escapes Book Tours Reviews 2014 Virtual Book Tour What An Animal Reading Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

The Sinister Sitcom Caper by Sally Carpenter – Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour

great escape tour banner large sinister sitcom caper large banner 640Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00070]

The Sinister Sitcom Caper
(Sandy Fairfax Teen Idol Mysteries)

Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Cozy Cat Press (October 4, 2013)
Paperback: 252 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1939816238
E-Book File Size: 571 KB
ASIN: B00H3KTDVM
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Sandy Fairfax, former teen idol and star of the ‘70s hit TV show “Buddy Brave, Boy Sleuth,” is now a middle-aged recovering alcoholic who realizes that making a comeback can be murder. He’s the guest star on “Off-Kelter,” a corny family situation comedy, and the lowest rated TV show of the 1993 fall season. Before rehearsals barely begin one of the actors drops dead at Sandy’s feet. He investigates, enlisting the aid of two of his new cast mates: a dwarf and an animal actor. During his snooping, we meet Sandy’s ex, his parents and his teenage son, all with their own “situations” going on. During rehearsals Sandy also encounters a beautiful choreographer—could this be love? Will Sandy solve the murder before the Friday night taping of “Off-Kelter” or will the elusive killer cancel our hero before the final credits? This book was inspired by the author’s experience working as a tour guide/page at Paramount Pictures in Hollywood.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Sally Carpenter has penned quite a mystery. This story is full of humor from start to finish.

Those of us of a certain age remember the posters of those teen idols hanging on our walls and anxiously awaiting the next issue of Tiger Beat.  We still swoon when the much older Shawn Cassidy appears on one of talk shows. This story brings back all those memories including some of the crazy sitcoms that have appeared on our televisions over the years.

Sandy Fairfax is quite a character trying to get his life together and stay sober so his ex-wife will allow him to spend time with his kids. His parents had a much different plan for him and he strives to raise himself just a little bit in their eyes.  He hopes this guest appearance will lead to more work but before the show is even taped one of the actors drops dead right in front of him. What is even worse he seems to the only concerned that a person died. The show continues to go on and the cops hardly even investigate.  He becomes consumed with the need to find out what happened and why. He gets help from 2 very unlikely places.  An actor from the show who happens to be a little person and a dog that is also on the show.

Very interesting characters is a unusual setting. There are twists, turns, fire and rain to add to the excitement.  This is the first book I have read by Sally Carpenter but I know it won’t be the last.

just you and a friend4 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author
Sally Carpenter is native Hoosier now living in Moorpark, Calif.

She has a master’s degree in theater from Indiana State University. While in school her plays “Star Collector” and “Common Ground” were finalists in the American College Theater Festival One-Act Playwrighting Competition. “Common Ground” also earned a college creative writing award and “Star Collector” was produced in New York City.

Carpenter also has a master’s degree in theology and a black belt in tae kwon do.

She’s worked as an actress, freelance writer, college writing instructor, theater critic, jail chaplain, and tour guide/page for a major movie studio. She’s now employed at a community newspaper.

She blogs at http://sandyfairfaxauthor.com.

She’s a member of Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles chapter. Contact her at Facebook or scwriter@earthlink.net.

Links: (blog) http://sandyfairfaxauthor.com

(Facebook) https://www.facebook.com/sally.carpenter.54

(Goodreads) https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19140606-the-sinister-sitcom-caper?from_search=true

great escape tour banner large sinister sitcom caper large banner338

Check out the rest of the tour!!

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

February 17 – Chloe Gets a Clue – Interview
February 17 – Christa Reads and Writes – Review
February 18 –StoreyBook Reviews – Review
February 19 – Kelly P’s Blog – Interview
February 20 –Queen of All She Reads – Review – Guest Post – Giveaway
February 21 –rantin’ ravin’ and reading – Review – Guest Post
February 23 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Interview
February 24 – Books-n-Kisses – Review
February 25 – Omnimystery News – Interview
February 26 – readalot blog – Review
February 27 – Community Bookstop – Review – Giveaway
February 28 – Read Your Writes – Spotlight
March 1 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Review
March 2 –off
March 3 –Brooke Blogs – Review

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 Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Guest Posts Literary Escapes Reviews 2014 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Forget Me Knot Author Mary Marks (Giveaway too!)

 

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

This book caught my attention on NetGalley and when I was contacted to do organize a Great Escapes Book Tour I was chair dancing. Then I “met” Mary via emails and we just clicked. This is one of the reasons I love being a blogger. Meeting authors that write these wonderful stories is just wonderful. I am thrilled she is my guest today!!

Mary Marks Publicity Photo - CopyI didn’t start writing until I reached my sixties. I had an unusual life and wanted to tell my story for my children and grandchildren. So I took memoir writing classes at the UCLA Extension Writers Program. For four years I recorded my memories over and over again in an attempt to hone the craft of writing.

After all that time, my life’s story began to sound like a self-indulgent whine fest. So I took a break and, since I loved reading mysteries, enrolled in a mystery writing workshop. To my great surprise I discovered writing fiction was fun. To my even greater surprise I discovered I could write humorous fiction, a welcome contrast to the heavy drama of my memoir.

When I first retired I spent a number of years sewing quilts by hand while listening to books on tape. The art of quilt making and storytelling became my universe. My quilts even got good enough to win a couple of awards. So when I turned my creative efforts to writing mysteries instead of listening to them, it felt natural to make my characters quilters. These were people I knew.

Forget me knot.inddI also chose to set my stories in Encino, California, the suburb of Los Angeles where I live. Encino is familiar and I and feel comfortable here. When I write about the sidewalks broken by tree roots, the falafel restaurants and strip malls on Ventura Boulevard, readers who live here will know just what I’m talking about. Readers who live outside the area will get a picture of Valley living.

My main character, Martha Rose, is Jewish. So aside from the recurring quilting theme of my stories, I also write about Judaism. Much of Martha’s thoughts and behavior are informed by her background and heritage. I know I always enjoy reading books set in cultures that are unfamiliar to me. I hope my readers who are not Jewish will also enjoy learning about different customs and practices.

Martha is overweight. She struggles with a love of food, an aversion to cooking, and a history of failure when it comes to dieting. As a consequence she has what she calls a “typical Jewish figure,” an ample bosom and large hips. But at the age of fifty-five, she’s rather philosophical about the whole weight thing. Better to enjoy a slice of her friend Birdie’s applesauce cake now and worry about the calories later.

Martha is also divorced and living in an empty nest. Her only family is her daughter who lives in Boston, and her elderly uncle Isaac. Although she has serious trust issues and she’s not actively looking for anyone, men seem to come into her life just the same.

Social inequalities seem to pop up as recurrent themes in my books. So many people have common experiences with abuse and injustice whether it takes the form of racism, sexism, ageism, financial or social class. I spotlight these problems in my stories as a way to advocate for those who endure these struggles on a daily basis.

Writing cozy mysteries has been a way for me to draw on my life’s experiences without all the angst that went into writing my memoir. I believe it’s never too late to tell a story, whether it is real, fictionalized, or pure imagination. And having a debut novel at the age of seventy has been an extraordinary confirmation of that.

 ~Mary Marks

About Mary Marks

Born and raised in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, Mary Marks earned a B.A. in Anthropology from UCLA and an M.A. in Public Administration from the American Jewish University in Los Angeles. In 2004 she enrolled in the UCLA Extension Writers Program. Her first novel, Forget Me Knot, was a finalist in a national writing competition in 2011.
Find out more on Mary’s webpage here.

Forget me knot.indd
Forget Me Knot
(A Quilting Mystery)

A Brand New Cozy Series
Published by Kensington (January 7, 2014)
Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0758292056
E-Book File Size: 1254 KB
ASIN: B00DV1IVCE
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Welcome to San Fernando Valley, California, where Martha Rose and her coterie of quilters are enjoying life on the good side of retirement—until murder pulls a stitch out of their plans…

Martha and her besties Lucy and Birdie are set to expand their Quilty Tuesdays by inviting newcomer Claire Terry into their group. Though at forty Claire’s a tad younger than their average age, her crafty reputation could perk up their patchwork proceedings, especially as they prepare for the fancy quilt show coming to town. But when they arrive at Claire’s home and find her dead inside the front door, and her exquisite, prize-winning quilts soon missing, Martha is not one to leave a mystery unraveled. Especially if she wants to stop a killer from establishing a deadly pattern…

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Before my accident I was a avid quilter and it is one of the things I miss most but reading books like this let me escape back into the world of quilting with the mystery of a dead body thrown in just for fun. I would love to be part of Martha, Lucy and Birdie’s Quilty Tuesday group.

I can’t believe this is the author’s first cozy, she has nailed it perfectly.

Fabulous, real characters. I love Martha. I can relate because I am 50ish, overweight, love food, hate to cook and a horrible failure when it comes to dieting. She also has great friends, loves to quilt and likes to solve mysteries. But she does put herself in danger and does break a few laws which even land her behind bars. Something I have thankfully not experienced 🙂

Marks also tackles some powerful issues in this story. There is a mystery behind the mystery that just broke my heart. I was impressed how this subplot was presented and revealed. As a quilter I know that many quilts tell a story but after reading Forget Me Knot I will never look at a quilt the same way again.

This is a perfectly plotted and paced story with some very surprising twists that have stuck with me well beyond the final page.

A wonderful way to start 2014!!

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent
Thanks to the people at Kensington I have 5 copies 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.

Leave a comment for Mary for 5 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 22, 2014 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

FORGET ME KNOT LARGE BANNER 640Check out the rest of Mary’s Tour!!

Tour Participants

January 6 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – Review – Guest Post – Giveaway
January 7 – Books-n-Kisses – Review – Giveaway
January 8 – Escape With Dollycas – Review – Guest Post – Giveaway
January 10– Community Bookstop – Review – Giveaway
January 10 – Dru’s Book Musings – Guest Post
January 11– Dr. Pepper Diva – Review – Giveaway
January 12– A Blue Million Books – Interview – Giveaway
January 13 – rantin’ ravin’ and reading – Review – Guest Post – Giveaway
January 14 – My Recent Favorite books – Review – Giveaway
January 15 – Thoughts in Progress – Review – Giveaway
January 16 – Mochas, Mysteries  and More – Guest Post – Giveaway
January 17 – My Devotional Thoughts – Review – Giveaway

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

Posted in Reviews 2013

Review: Yarn to Go by Betty Hechtman

yarn to goYarn to Go
(A Yarn Retreat Mystery)

Brand New Series!!
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (July 2, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Patricia Castelao
Cover Design by Rita Frangie
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425252215
E=Book File Size: 670 KB
ASIN: B009NY4906
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Dessert chef Casey Feldstein doesn’t know a knitting needle from a crochet hook. But after her aunt dies unexpectedly, leaving Casey to run her yarn retreat business, the sweets baker finds herself rising to the occasion—and trying to unravel a murder mystery…

Casey has history of not completing what she starts but decides to complete something her aunt started even though she hasn’t a clue on how to run a yarn retreat.  With the help of her friend, Lucinda, and master teacher, Kris, she just may be able to pull it off and close her aunt’s business with no strings left hanging.

But then one of the retreat regulars is found dead in her hotel room.  Casey has an inkling the police are missing something. Let’s face it they still have not caught the person who committed the hit and run that killed her aunt, so she doesn’t have much faith in their abilities. She starts to knit the clues together and she plans to unravel all the knots and catch the killer herself if she has to…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Set in Monterey, California, Betty Hechtman’s new series is off to a fantastic start.

Casey Feldstein is a 35 year old woman whose life has taken several different directions much to her parent’s dismay. The latest turn has taken her to California to her aunt’s guest house. She has a job doing what she loves baking desserts for a local restaurant and baking muffins for several other businesses. Then her aunt is killed and she is left handling the details of her estate.

I fell for this character very quickly along with all the supporting characters. Lucinda is the perfect sidekick, her husband Tag is ultra obsessive compulsive and it drives Lucinda crazy but she loves him. Casey’s old boyfriend arrives on the scene with her parents in hopes are getting her to settle down and do something they approve of. Dane, the neighbor, who is also on the police force, adds to the romantic tension and the humor in the story.

The mystery is extremely well presented and woven through the entire story with ease. There really are three deaths and they may or may not be connected. It was really very interesting to follow all the clues and put everything together.

Hechtman is also the author of The Crochet Mysteries that feature Molly Pink, and an avid crafter so she knows what she is doing in the cozy mystery department. She has not only given us a wonderful story to kick off this series but has laid the groundwork for many more installments.

If you are not familiar with her work you can start with this one and then you can get started on her other series. The eighth book in that series, FOR BETTER OR WORSTED.,comes out in November.
a perfect escape
5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author
Betty Hechtman was born in Chicago, Illinois and on a particularly eventful weekend graduated college, got married and moved to Los Angeles, California. She has a degree in Fine Arts and has had a variety of professions including being a volunteer farm worker on a kibbutz, Sunday school teacher, waitress, retail sales, editor of a finance company newsletter, telephone operator, associate publicist and freelance writer.

Her love of mysteries started with Nancy Drew and blossomed when she began to read Agatha Christie’s books. She has been doing handicrafts since she was a child. It is like a dream come true to be able to mix mystery and yarn craft in her books.

Find out more about Betty and her books on her webpage here and check out posts on Killer Hobbies.
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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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Posted in Giveaways Guest Posts Reviews 2013

Special Guest – Author of The Lemon Orchard – Luanne Rice (Giveaway too!)

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the lemon orchard

I am thrilled to have Luanne stop by today for a little interview!

Picture courtesy of Penguin Publishing
Picture courtesy of Penguin Publishing

1. This novel is very much a love story between two people from completely different worlds – Julia is an affluent American living in Malibu and Roberto is Mexican, living in California illegally. What inspired you to create such a unique relationship? How were these characters able to overcome their differences?

Roberto is inspired by someone I know. Both characters have lost daughters. No matter how different the external facts of their lives may be, inside their feelings of grief and desire are the same. They drop the labels and connect as human beings.

2. The Lemon Orchard is set in the beautiful Santa Monica mountains of Malibu, where you live now. What is it about this landscape that inspired you to set your novel there?

After a lifetime of living on the east coast I found myself moving to California. This surprised me and everyone I know. But I’d been in the city for too long and craved the ocean, mountains, nature. I have a lemon tree in my yard, and the air smells of salt and coastal sage. That one lemon tree became an orchard in my imagination.

3. I have read that during the writing of The Lemon Orchard you were inspired by music. Can you tell us a bit about the music that inspired you?

I listened to a lot of Mexican and Irish music, and songs about immigration. The music put me in touch with my Irish roots, and reminded me of the immigrants in my own family. I listened to the albums San Patricio by Ry Cooder and the Chieftains, The Ghost of Tom Joad by Bruce Springsteen, and The Crossing by Tim O’Brien. The friend who inspired Roberto played me love songs by Juan Gabriel. I asked friends for favorite music about immigration and Becky suggested Americano by Lady Gaga and Orphan Train by Alison Moorer. You can listen to the whole playlist at Spotify: http://spoti.fi/11GRucd

4. When you get the chance to curl up with a book what type of book would we find you reading? Do you have a favorite author?

A few books I’ve been reading lately are Sparta by Roxana Robinson, The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature by David George Haskell, The Long Shore by Jane Hollister Wheelwright and Lynda Wheelwright Schmidt, and Rockall by Amelia Onorato.

5. If money was no object and you could escape to anywhere in the world to write where would you go and what do you think the book would be about?

I’d go to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and touch that fragile environment, then to Laguna San Ignacio where California gray whales migrate each winter, then to the little town near Puebla, Mexico, where “Roberto” is from and I’d see the volcanos Popocatepetl and Iztacciihuatl from the fields where he worked, then to Zimbabwe to see where a young friend was born and lived till she was 10. As for what the book would be about…I’ll tell you when I get back!

Thank you Luanne for letting us see about the author
behind the pages of this wonderful story!

the lemon orchard

The Lemon Orchard
Pamela Dorman Books
Viking (July 2, 2013)
Published by the Penguin Group
Contemporary Fiction
Hardcover: 304 Pages
ISBN-13 978-0670025275
E-Book File Size: 637 KB
ASIN: B00AEBESK8
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In the five years since Julia last visited her aunt and uncle’s home in Malibu, her life has been turned upside down by her daughter’s death. She expects to find nothing more than peace and solitude as she house-sits with only her dog, Bonnie, for company. But she finds herself drawn to the handsome man who oversees the lemon orchard. Roberto expertly tends the trees, using the money to support his extended Mexican family. What connection could these two people share? The answer comes as Roberto reveals the heartbreaking story of his own loss—a pain Julia knows all too well, but for one striking difference: Roberto’s daughter was lost but never found. And despite the odds he cannot bear to give up hope.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
What a moving story! Two people brought together through fate only to realize how much they have in common and how they can rescue each other from the fragmented lives they are living.

Luanne Rice describes time, place and circumstances so perfectly that our minds can see in detail each cacti needle, grain of sand, and tear shed. I felt like I was there or at the very least watching a movie instead of reading a book. I was thirsty just reading Roberto and Rosa’s long journey through the desert and could smell the fires that were burning in the canyon.

The Lemon Orchard is a multifaceted story and very timely with a focus on immigration and what people do to provide the best lives possible for their family. Interwoven are losses of both Julia and Roberto with just a thread of hope. Their friendship turns romantic at the perfect pace. 

I reached the last page way too quickly and can only hope and pray that some time in the future Rice will bless us with a sequel.

This is a book that should be on everyone’s summer reading lists.  An entertaining story that will make a lasting impression on everyone that reads it. 

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

To find out more about Luanne Rice visit here webpage here.
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Would you like to win a copy of this wonderful book?

Thanks to the people at Penguin
I have 2 copies to giveaway!!

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

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

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

Contest Will End July 16, 2013 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 Just For Fun Challenge Reviews 2013

Peril in Paperback by Kate Carlisle – My May Just For Fun Book!

peril in paperback

Peril in Paperback:
A Bibliophile Mystery

6th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Obsidian (August 7, 2012)
Published by New American Library
A Division of The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451237620
E-Book File Size: 683 KB
ASIN: B007HU7M70

How to become the life of the party? First, survive the celebration…

Rare books and antiquities expert Brooklyn Wainwright is thrilled to be invited to the fiftieth birthday party of her neighbor Suzie’s aunt Grace. A retired founder of a major video game corporation, Grace is a larger-than-life character who’s turned her Lake Tahoe mansion into a fun house, full of everything from pinball machines and giant props to secret passageways and trap doors. Brooklyn is most excited to catalog Grace’s extensive collection of rare paperback pulp fiction.

Part of the fun involves a séance, but after the lights flicker, one guest is dead, poisoned by a cocktail intended for Grace. It seems someone is determined to turn Grace’s playful palatial estate into a house of horrors. Brooklyn suspects the key to the killer’s identity may lie in the roman á clef Grace has written about her life. With Grace in great peril, “must-read” takes on a whole new meaning, as Brooklyn tries to stop a murderer who’s through playing around…

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Grace’s house is amazing! If I had a room like the one Brooklyn stayed in I would never leave!! My kids are all gamers so they would love the entire house and my sports nut hubby would make himself right at home in front of the huge television. Oh if it were only real it would be a fantastic place to visit!!

In addition to our cast of favorites we meet Grace’s “friends” and family. They take quirky or eccentric to a whole new level. A couple are downright mean. Derek is off an assignment and only appears in the last few pages but he makes quite an impact. It also turns out Gabriel knows Grace so he shows up just in time to help Brooklyn deal with another dead body. 

This killer wasn’t an easy one to catch, so many suspects and a few secrets too. Add a snowstorm to the mix which keeps the police from responding and you have real mystery on your hands. 

I have enjoyed every book in this series and am mad at myself for taking to long to read this one. A Cookbook Conspiracy,the next book in the series hits bookstores a week from today. In fact Kate Carlisle will be my guest on June 6 to tell us all about it!

just you and a friend

4 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

*This book was from my personal collection.

just for fun 2013

Posted in Giveaways Reviews 2013

Review & Giveaway: The Star Attraction by Alison Sweeney

star attraction

The Star Attraction
Release Date: May 14, 2013
Women’s Fiction
Hyperion
Bookmark Entertainment Productions
Trade Paperback: 272 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1401311049
E-Book File Size: 569 KB
ASIN: B009R9RGU2

Sophie is a Hollywood publicist who has a fabulous job, a fabulous boyfriend, and a fabulous life. She even scores her PR firm’s most important actor client and every woman’s dream—Billy Fox.

But will a steamy make-out session in a restaurant alley with her big-name client cost Sophie her job? And does she really want an escape from her life and her loving, if imperfect, relationship with her investment banker boyfriend?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Alison Sweeney takes us behind the scenes into the life of a very successful Hollywood publicist and we find her days could be featured on any daytime drama. Being tempted by a new actor she is supposed to be representing could ruin everything she has worked years to obtain.  

Sweeney writes what she knows. She has worked on Days of Our Lives for 20 years and knows the job of a publicist as she has probably worked with more than a few herself. I have a hard time accepting this is her first foray into the world of fiction publishing. I hope it is the first of many! The story flows perfectly and she has created a leading lady readers will love. We also get wrapped up so easily in the romantic triangle. I was glad I didn’t have to choose which man she would spend her life with.  

Sophie Atwater is a 31 year old publicist headed for the top. She is addicted to her Blackberry and she calls herself a “glorified babysitter”. That’s what her job is – holding the client’s hands and keeping them out of trouble. She is on the red-carpet, at fundraisers and sitting in on interviews.  She is far from the perfect woman she strives to be and truthfully can be quite a klutz, especially when Billy Fox is around. Her mishaps will have you absolutely laughing out loud.

This debut has it all drama, comedy, romance and even a bit of mystery. A fun-tastic read! It is the book you will see everyone reading this summer at the beach! 

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

alison sweeneyAbout This Author

Alison Sweeney is the host of NBC’s hit reality series “The Biggest Loser,” an award-winning actress who plays Sami Brady on NBC’s hit daytime drama “Days of our Lives,” and author of The Mommy Diet.She also makes time to give back to the community, serving on the Entertainment Council for Feeding America and annually co-hosting the Muscular Dystrophy Association Labor Day Telethon.

Ali lives in Los Angeles with her husband, a California Highway Patrol officer; their son Ben; and daughter Megan.

Alison is taking a break from her webpage right now but you can follow her on:

25 (2)and
twitter
 
 
 
 
 

Would you like to win a copy of this wonderful book?

Thanks to the people at Hyperion
I have 2 copies to giveaway!!

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

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

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

Contest Will End MAY 24, 2013 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.”

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