Posted in Reviews 2017 You Read How Many Books Challenge

#Review – Cardinal Cabin by Joanne DeMaio


Cardinal Cabin
Women’s Fiction/Contemporary Women
Setting – Connecticut
Self Published
Paperback: 268 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1548161712
Kindle ASIN: B074DZSDFS

 

 

Frank Lombardo’s never been spontaneous. The closest he’s come was accepting a side job chopping firewood for a lakeside community of rustic cabins. But with another lonely holiday season imminent, Frank’s sister urges him to be spontaneous because, seriously, who does he ever expect to meet out in the woods?

With a suitcase in hand and a bit of reluctance, too, Penny Hart arrives at Cardinal Cabin on Snowflake Lake. It’s only for a brief stay, though nobody knows where she is. Not her boss, not her friends…

Only Frank Lombardo. As the two unexpectedly meet at Addison’s hidden hideaway, a spontaneous kiss sets everything amiss. But can the magic of this quaint New England town keep these snowy sweethearts together?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Every time I hear a new book is being released by Joanne I scramble to find room in my reading schedule as soon as possible. All her books have been a complete joy to read, they have tugged at my heartstrings and made me shed a few tears but most have happy heartwarming endings that leave me with a huge smile on my face.

In Cardinal Cabin Penny Hart arrives at Snowflake Lake on a special assignment for her job at the travel agency. It is part of promotion that entails her sending a photo clue each day to be posted in the travel agency’s window for people to submit guesses about where she may be staying.

Frank Lombardo is responsible for chopping wood for the cabins on the lake. He is surprised to find Penny has fallen in a snowbank soon after her arrival. Helping her up he hears his sister’s words in his head “be more spontaneous” and he does something very spontaneous after he gets Penny back on her feet. Something that could change both their lives…

Staying in the Cardinal Cabin on Snowflake Lake as Christmas draws near sounds perfect to me. Penny Hart finds it absolutely delightful, but she can’t venture far from the cabin because someone could see her and the contest would be ruined. The people staying in the other cabins are sworn to secrecy. Frank too must keep their meeting a secret even though his sister and his friends know he is hiding something. The whole premise is absolutely charming.

This story is well written, poignant, and is a perfect holiday read. It is filled with wonderful true to life characters that are fun and engaging. The setting is positively idyllic. I loved the way Penny and Frank’s romance unfolds very quickly, almost love at first sight.

The cardinals have extra meaning for me as a cardinal sighting is said to mean that a loved one who has passed away is nearby. Cardinals have always been a favorite of mine and I have collected many pictures, plates and figurines over the years, but they have a greater meaning for me since my son passed away. Penny has an experience with one in the book that had me laughing and I thought that is a passed loved one clearly trying to tell her something.

This is an excellent addition to Joanne DeMaio’s Addison Cove series. They can all be read as stand alone but I encourage you to read them all. This one should be a the top of your Christmas Reading List!

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

joanne demaio

About The Author

Joanne DeMaio is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary fiction. She enjoys writing about friendship, family, love and choices, while setting her stories in New England towns or by the sea. Currently at work on her next book, Joanne lives with her family in Connecticut.

To learn more about the author, visit Joannedemaio.com. She also enjoys hearing from readers on her Facebook Page.


Also by Joanne DeMaio

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 2017 You Read How Many Books Challenge

#Review – Death Overdue: A Haunted Library Mystery by Allison Brook – @crookedlanebks

Death Overdue: A Haunted Library Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Connecticut
Crooked Lane Books (October 10, 2017)
Hardcover: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683313861
E-Book ASIN: B06XW3MGZC

Carrie Singleton is just about done with Clover Ridge, Connecticut until she’s offered a job as the head of programs and events at the spooky local library, complete with its own librarian ghost. Her first major event is a program presented by a retired homicide detective, Al Buckley, who claims he knows who murdered Laura Foster, a much-loved part-time library aide who was bludgeoned to death fifteen years earlier. As he invites members of the audience to share stories about Laura, he suddenly keels over and dies.

The medical examiner reveals that poison is what did him in and Carrie feels responsible for having surged forward with the program despite pushback from her director. Driven by guilt, Carrie’s determined to discover who murdered the detective, convinced it’s the same man who killed Laura all those years ago. Luckily for Carrie, she has a friendly, knowledgeable ghost by her side. But as she questions the shadows surrounding Laura’s case, disturbing secrets come to light and with each step Carrie takes, she gets closer to ending up like Al.

Now it’s due or die for Carrie in Death Overdue the delightful first in a new cozy series by Allison Brook.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Carrie Singleton never stays in one place too long but when she is offered a job coordinating the library’s programs and events she just can’t turn it down. Her first program features Al Buckley, a retired cop who is trying to solve the 15 year old murder of Laura Foster, a library aide. Before he can get to far into his presentation he falls to the floor, dead. The medical examiner rules his death a homicide by poison and the police have very few leads.

Carrie feels his death is partly her fault. Her boss had reservations about the program but Carrie pushed for it to go on as planned. Carrie is sure his death is connected to the library aide’s death all those years ago. Determined to find the killer and with a little help from her new library friend, who happens to be a ghost, she strives ahead with her own investigation. The closer she gets to the truth  the closer she gets is to finding herself “checked out” permanently.

I really enjoyed this story. I liked Carrie and her aunt and uncle immediately. They are good people that try to see the best in everyone. Evelyn, the library ghost stole my heart. She appeared whenever Carrie needed her. I could picture her so clearly she felt as real to me as the living characters. We meet several of the library employees, they are quite a group. We also meet the family of Laura Foster and Carrie’s new landlord. The author twists things up a bit in the romance department for our protagonist and I loved it.

The library where most of this story takes place sounds amazing. It is a happening place with all kinds of programs and events, more than any library I have been to. I wish we had a library like it nearby. A secondary scene is the guest house Carrie is renting. It also sounds amazing with its rooms, amenities and views. One view being the hunky landlord.

The entire story is very well written. It flows nicely and at times is very hard to put down. I liked the interesting and unexpected twists and the edge of your seat moments.

Ms. Brook is off to a great start with this series and I am very excited for the next installment.

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

 

About The Author

Allison Brook is the pseudonym for Marilyn Levinson, who writes mysteries, romantic suspense and novels for kids. She lives on Long Island and enjoys traveling, reading, watching foreign films, doing Sudoku and dining out. She especially loves to visit with her grandchildren on FaceTime.

Author Links

Website Amazon page  Facebook  Goodreads  Twitter  Pinterest

Purchase Links

Amazon   B&N

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 Giveaways Reviews 2017 You Read How Many Books Challenge

#Review / #Giveaway – Wagging through the Snow (A Melanie Travis Mystery) by Laurien Berenson @KensingtonBooks


Wagging through the Snow (A Melanie Travis Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
21st in Series
Setting – Connecticut
Kensington (September 26, 2017)
Hardcover: 224 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496712981
Kindle ASIN: B01N9NEDRF

 

Melanie Travis needs a little peace from her busy life this Christmas. But the usual holiday hubbub is a joy compared to the killer surprise she finds tucked underneath the tree . . .

With a demanding teaching job at Connecticut’s elite Howard Academy and five poodles scampering around the house, Melanie barely has energy for the upcoming Christmas rush. But she unwraps an unexpected challenge when her brother and ex-husband, elated by the recent success of their country café, make a spontaneous bid on a dilapidated pine tree farm. Although the ten-acre lot had been a popular seasonal destination while the original owner was still alive, it’ll take some sprucing up—and a small miracle or two—before the neglected place is in shape for December.

Unfortunately, the impromptu business venture goes cold when the group discovers a purebred Maltese whimpering in the snow-covered grove—right beside a dead body. Pete, a squatter who camped out on the land, apparently met his end after a fallen fir tree branch knocked him on the head. But as Melanie and Aunt Peg investigate Pete’s history and the terrible habit that cost him everything, it’s clear his death was no accident. Now, Melanie must run through a flurry of likely suspects and muzzle a dogged murderer in time—or she’ll be next on someone’s deadly list.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Look at the cute little face on the cover. I want one! but am restraining myself because my two canine companions would not like another dog in our house. At 14 years old, they are pretty set in their ways.

Melanie Travis is counting down the days until the holiday break at Howard Academy while taking care of the usual Christmas things at home. When her brother announces he has brought a Christmas tree farm without consulting his partner, Melanie’s ex husband, she is very surprised. Even more surprising in that her brother wants her to inform her ex about this “great deal”.  The extended family all gathers to check out the place and discovers it needs a bit of work to open in time for the Christmas shoppers but together they think they can handle it. That is until they find a dead man in the woods. They also find a cute little dog by his side. The police rule it an accidental death but Melanie and Aunt Peg aren’t sure that is the case. They start their own investigation and find their aren’t too many people sad that the man is dead. Their suspect list seems to grow as each day passes until the killer turns their sights on Melanie, she stuck her nose into something that was not her business and she may be the next cold body her family finds.

This is a doggone great story especially if you love dogs like I do. Melanie and her husband, Sam have enough dogs in their house to form a doggie basketball team. They also have two sons, Davey and Kevin, so to say life at their house is busy is a huge understatement, but she still finds time to help her brother and tag along with her Aunt Peg at a moment’s notice.  She is also close to her ex, Davey’s dad, and his new wife. I am always amazed at their organizational skills and patience as they juggle all these balls in the air. The character development is outstanding. The characters are real and so engaging. A strong blended family portrayal like this is heartwarming.

The mystery this time deals with a homeless man and his alcoholism that has driven almost all of his friends and family away. The plot leads us back in time to see how his life progressed until he was found dead. Melanie’s compassion shines as she tries to find answers and justice for a man she never met. While the story handles serious issues it is also full of laugh out loud moments. Ms. Bererson manages to merge everything together masterfully.

This series has been going strong for several years but don’t let that stop you from jumping in with this holiday story. Each mystery is contained to its book and the author gives you enough character information to never feel lost. I can’t promise that you won’t want to read previous installments though after reading this one. In fact I would be surprised if you didn’t. It is a terrific series.

Wagging Through the Snow is a perfect escape and the perfect holiday gift for any dog lover on your list. Don’t wait for the snow to fly before you get your copy!

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author

Laurien Berenson is an Agatha and Macavity Nominee, winner of the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, and four time winner of the Maxwell Award, presented by the Dog Writers Association of America. She and her husband live on a farm in Kentucky surrounded by dogs and horses.

Find out more about her and her books on her webpage here. Find her on Facebook here and on Twitter here.


Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!
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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.”

Posted in Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Guest Posts Reviews 2017 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Sadie Hartwell – Author of A Knit Before Dying – #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

I am so happy to have Sadie drop my for a visit today! 

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A Moment with Sadie Hartwell

Thanks for helping me celebrate the release of A KNIT BEFORE DYING. In this book, Josie gets to solve two mysteries—one cold case and one right next door to Miss Marple Knits. But she doesn’t do it alone. She needs the help of her sidekicks Lorna, Helen, Evelyn, and Mitch. Even her crusty old great-uncle Eb and his canine companion Jethro play a part in bringing a killer—or killers—to justice this time.

Just like Josie needs some assistance, writers do too. I think there’s a perception that writers work in a solitary attic room somewhere, slaving away over their computers (or parchments, if you want to be even more fanciful) while adoring servants bring them trays of food, then emerge blinking, haggard, and in need of a shower only when the manuscript is completed. It’s true that writing can be a solitary business. After all, I’m the only one who can actually write Josie’s stories the way I write them and I’m the only who can put words on the page (or into the computer).

But for me, and for every other writer I know, writing is also a collaborative process. I am beyond blessed to have a large, supportive group of writer friends whom I trust without reservation. We write in different genres (women’s fiction, romance, young adult) but are always available to each other to brainstorm, work out plot problems, lift each other’s spirits when we get discouraged, and celebrate our victories, no matter the size. A few times a year, we go away on retreat together (one of us—not me, unfortunately—has a beautiful ski house that she is generous enough to let us use). We collaborate, commiserate, and work. And every one of us would agree that our friendship/partnership makes us better writers and better people.

I hope each of your has a tribe—whether it’s a big group like mine or a single friend you can always count on. If you’re so inclined, pop over to my author page and tell me about your people. And if you get the chance to read A KNIT BEFORE DYING, I’d love to hear what you think about that too! Hugs, and thanks for stopping by.

~Sadie


A Knit before Dying (A Tangled Web Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Connecticut
Kensington (August 29, 2017)
Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1617737206
E-Book ASIN: B01CMGW66U

A new business might add some much-needed charm to downtown Dorset Falls—and draw tourists to Josie’s yarn shop. But when someone gets murdered, a close-knit community could come undone . . .

Shop owner Josie Blair is finally settling into the pace of living in Dorset Falls, Connecticut. Between running Miss Marple Knits, jumpstarting a blog, and handcrafting items with the help of her knitting pals, Josie’s too preoccupied to worry about her past in New York. And thanks to Lyndon and Harry, the owners of the brand-new antique shop next door, she has another project in her midst—repurposing a box of vintage crocheted doilies adorned with the most curious needlework . . .

But before Josie can formally welcome her neighbors, she discovers Lyndon on the floor of his shop stabbed to death by a rusty old pair of sheep shears. Police have pinned Harry as the killer, but Josie isn’t so sure. Now, she’s lacing up for another homicide investigation—and no eyelet or stitch can go unexamined, lest she herself becomes ensnared in the criminal’s deadly design . . .

INCLUDES ORIGINAL KNITTING PATTERNS!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I have been anxiously awaiting the release of this book.

This second installment takes us back to Dorset Falls where Josie is getting more comfortable running Miss Marple Knits even though she still has knot learned how to knit a stitch. She and Uncle Eb are also getting used to living together, him creating his “thingamajigs” and she making sure he eats and taking care of the house. She also has new tenants in the store next to hers. Lyndon Bailey is opening an antique store. His partner Harry Oglethorpe will be on the road searching for more items to sell.

While welcoming Lyndon she notices a box of vintage doilies. She doesn’t know what she’ll do with them yet but she can’t resist especially at the price Lyndon is asking.

But before any other customers can gaze at his treasures Josie finds Lyndon dead the next day. A pair of sheep shears protruding from his chest. His partner, Harry, has arrived in town just in time to become the police’s prime suspect. Josie disagrees and quickly finds herself tangled up in another murder investigation.

The characters I loved are all back in this one. Josie, a smart and determined woman is an wonderful leading lady. Her Uncle Eb plays a major prank on his neighbor Roy, and Mitch is there to help Josie get to the bottom of it. Their relationship also takes a small step in the right direction in a surprising and absolutely perfect way.

The author has added some interesting new characters as well. Harry trying to prove his innocence. Lyndon’s niece, Taylor arrives in town with a television producer claiming to be her uncle’s heir.  We also learn about Bea Ryder, the woman who made the doilies. She disappeared from town many years ago and the case is still open.

Ms. Hartwell blends a old mystery with a new one and cleverly draws the reader into both. I was so impressed with how she connected everything together while giving us so many delightful twists. Life around Dorset Falls in knit right into the mysteries too. I found this book very hard to put down and would have read it all in one night had I not needed to get a little sleep.

The story contains enough of a backstory and would read well all on its own, but I recommend reading Yarned and Dangerous too!

I totally enjoyed my return trip to Dorset Falls. The characters are so engaging and the mysteries were quite a test to solve.  Maybe by the next visit Josie may have learned to knit and maybe even purl. I hope we don’t have to wait too long.

 

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About The Author –

Sadie Hartwell grew up near the Canadian border in northern New York State, where it’s cold, dark, and snowy almost half the year—a perfect environment for nurturing a simultaneous love of mystery fiction and needlework. She attended St. Lawrence University, graduating with a degree in history, and has worked as a waitress, handbag designer/manufacturer, paralegal, and copy editor before turning to writing full time. Now she gets to play with yarn and make up stories whenever she wants, and wishes everyone had a job as much fun as hers.

Webpage     Twitter – @SadieHartwell    Facebook

Purchase Links

Amazon  B&N  kobo  GooglePlay

Sadie also writes the Greek to Me Mysteries as Susannah Hardy.

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August 28 – Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf – INTERVIEW
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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.”

Posted in E-Book Challenge Reviews 2017

#Review – The Beach Inn by Joanne DeMaio


The Beach Inn by Joanne DeMaio
Women’s Fiction
Continuing Series
Setting – Connecticut
Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1544762814
Kindle ASIN: B06XRHJCX9

It was going to be exquisite: a rambling, shingled New England cottage converted into a grand beach inn. Nestled among hydrangeas and swaying dune grasses, this seaside haven would welcome guests on the Connecticut shore. Except the little beach town of Stony Point is no longer feeling like a haven to its residents. Residents including a brooding Jason Barlow, the esteemed architect in charge of the inn’s renovation–until a stubborn, grief-induced For Sale sign puts an end to that.

But with a little help from the beach friends, anything is possible. In an effort to save the inn and convince its cherished owner to stay, the friends band together to stage an inn-tervention, shaking up their own lives in the process.

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

…grieving comes from love… It’s the love that gives us the strength to go on without somebody.
~The Beach Inn by Joanne DeMaio

As soon as I read that line, a line I have learned to live by, I knew I was going to love this story.

We arrive at Stony Point to continue our visit. Elsa still grieving the lost of her son has put the Inn up for sale, taking a huge chunk of work out of Jason’s schedule. He is also grieving not for just Sal but his brother Neil as well. He has been able to hear Neil’s voice from heaven and feel him nudging things a certain way in his construction plans. Neil has been oddly quiet since Sal died. All of the characters are dealing with their grief and trying not to make any rash decisions. They all agree that getting Elsa to stay in Stony Point and to have her keep renovating the inn is their #1 priority. Then many other things will fall into place.

This story like the one before hits me on all emotional levels but things are getting a little easier for me and they can for Elsa. I am coming up on 28 months since my son’s death and I just take it one day at a time.  In fact, I have taken on my own Operation Smile to help me through my loss.

I have enjoyed all the books in this series, the journeys we take with these characters are powerful. They share memories, take on new things, and together have such true friendships that keep them afloat when times get tough and when there are joys to share. The last book in this series just crushed my heart but this installment things start to turn around. The realistic ebb and flow of life continues making this another heart warming and heart healing story. I am glad it followed quickly after Beach Breeze.

These stories need to be read in order. Load them all up on your Kindles for some wonderful summer reading. I can’t wait for the next one!!

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

joanne demaio

About The Author

Joanne DeMaio is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary fiction. She enjoys writing about friendship, family, love and choices, while setting her stories in New England towns or by the sea. Currently at work on her next book, Joanne lives with her family in Connecticut.

To learn more about the author, visit Joannedemaio.com. She also enjoys hearing from readers on her Facebook Page.

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 Finish The Series Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Reviews 2017 TBR Pile Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Flashback Friday – Iced to Death by Peg Cochran – #Review / #Giveaway


On Flashback Fridays I will share with you the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.


Iced to Death
(A Gourmet De-Lite Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Connecticut
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
Published by The Penguin Group
Release Date – March 4, 2014
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425252543
Kindle ASIN: B00EOAS0E0

 

 

Gigi Fitzgerald, owner of Gigi’s Gourmet De-Lite, knows how to put her clients’ cravings on ice. But catching a slippery killer is more of a challenge…

Gigi’s business may be hot, but her home life is leaving her cold. Her sister, Pia, has dropped in for an unannounced visit and, much to Gigi’s chagrin, has immediately fallen for handsome bar owner Declan McQuaid. So when Declan asks Gigi to help him prep for a big engagement party, she’s not only dealing with the heat of the kitchen and her own feelings for Declan, but Pia’s jealousy.

However, Gigi’s rising temperature quickly chills when the host of the party is found stabbed to death with an ice pick in back of the pub. Now, as Gigi’s beau, Detective Mertz, hones in on Declan as a possible murderer, Gigi will have to shave down the growing list of suspects quickly, before Pia’s newfound love interest finds himself locked in the cooler…

INCLUDES DELICIOUS—AND HEALTHY—RECIPES!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Gigi’s Gourmet De-Lite has added several new customers but it is helping out Declan McQuaid with an engagement party at his bar that gets Gigi in hot water this time. Leaving the bar after the party and a drink with the hunky Declan, she finds the the father of the groom dead in the parking lot. She has to call her boyfriend Detective Mertz to report the body and when he arrives she is going to have to explain why she was still at the bar. To make matters worse the murder weapon was from the bar and Declan is the police’s prime suspect.

Gigi also has a house guest. Her sister Pia has unexpectedly come to town and has no definite plans on when she is leaving. But Pia met this handsome bar owner (Declan) and thinks he just may be Mr. Right.

Gigi starts investigating to help Declan and her sister’s heart. She has many more suspects than Mertz, she just needs to grill the right one.

I really like these characters. Gigi is all about healthy eating but even she breaks down to share a pizza with her sister (using a paper towel to remove as much of the grease as possible). Declan, the local tavern owner would love to get much closer to Gigi, not Pia, but her heart right now belongs to the good detective. Mertz and Gigi are taking things slow. Even when things start to move a little faster they are always interrupted by something. It was fun seeing how this romantic triangle progresses. Pia is an artist and never stays in one place for long and there is usually a man involved when she decides to hit the road. All these relationships are very believable.  Ms. Cochran’s character building is top-notch, including the new characters brought together for the mystery in this book.

The author has cooked up a way to not only keep readers on our toes but gives us an outcome that made perfect sense.  The plots and subplots in Iced to Death blend together very naturally. Most of the suspects are either Gigi’s clients or connected to one of them. This enables her to conduct her “investigation” through her normal activities. I don’t know how she juggled everything and never missed a meal or a delivery but she did. The woman does have a lot on her plate.

Another tasty mystery from Peg Cochran. I loved it!

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author

Mystery writing lets Peg indulge her curiosity under the guise of “work” (aka research). As a kid, she read the entire set of children’s encyclopedias her parents gave her and has been known to read the dictionary. She put pen to paper at age seven when she wrote plays and forced her cousins to perform them at Christmas dinner. She switched to mysteries when she discovered the perfect hiding place for a body down the street from her house.

When she’s not writing, she spends her time reading, cooking, spoiling her granddaughter and checking her book’s stats on Amazon.

A former Jersey girl, Peg now resides in Michigan with her husband and Westhighland white terrier, Reg. She is the author of the Sweet Nothings Lingerie series (written as Meg London), the Gourmet De-Lite series, the Lucille series and now the Cranberry Cove series. Her newest series, the Farmer’s Daughter, debuted with No Farm, No Foul in September 2016. Sowed to Death was released July 4, 2017.

Find all of Peg’s books on Amazon here.


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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.”

Posted in Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Reviews 2017 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Early #Review / #Giveaway – Murder at the Puppy Fest by Laurien Berenson @KensingtonBooks

This book comes out next Tuesday!


Murder at the Puppy Fest (A Melanie Travis Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
20th in Series
Setting – Connecticut
Kensington (June 27, 2017)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496703422
Kindle ASIN: B01M0NOIZK

 

 

Frolicking with dogs is Melanie Travis’s idea of heaven. So when she’s invited to be a “puppy wrangler” at a benefit for a local dog rescue, the last thing she expects is to be chasing after a tricky killer…

As a busy mom and pedigree Poodle owner, Melanie has little time to spare. Still, she doesn’t mind helping out at Puppy Fest, an annual fundraiser to benefit Puppy Posse, a local dog rescue organization. Considering the venue—Belle Haven mansion, owned by wealthy philanthropist Leo Brody—it’s shaping up to be the can’t-miss charity event of the summer. Unfortunately, when Melanie’s breeding background lands her in the doghouse with Jane, Leo’s snappy daughter who runs the rescue, Melanie finds herself simultaneously managing Puppy Fest and the millionaire’s hopelessly fractious family.

But once Puppy Fest kicks off, Leo is nowhere to be found—until Melanie discovers his current mistress crouching over his dead body. According to police, the father of nine’s severe nut allergy went into overdrive after he accidentally consumed a contaminated cookie. However, Libby, one of Leo’s children and a friend of Melanie’s Aunt Peg, believes someone deliberately put him down for good. And now, she’s begging a reluctant Melanie to unearth the secrets hidden by the Brody pack. But the closer Melanie gets to fetching answers, the higher the stakes become—and the more she realizes that she’s chasing a criminal who’s been groomed to win…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

A Puppy Fest sounds like a great fundraiser and a lot of fun, until the the millionaire hosting the gala is found dead and Melanie is the one that finds him with his mistress right next to his body.  He appears to have had a severe allergic reaction to nuts in some cookies. (Same allergy I have.) The man, Leo Brody not only had millions, he had 3 ex-wives and 9 children and several grandchildren too. All of who will be inheriting his millions. One of his offspring believes his death was no accident and she wants Melanie to find out who did him in.

A subplot involving a dog rescue also brings a new four legged friend to Melanie’s house too.

I get a huge smile on my face when I start reading these stories. Melanie, husband Sam, sons Davey and Kevin, along with their Standard Poodles, Faith, Tar, Augie, Eve and Raven, make a pretty full household but they seem to have everything down to a science. Melanie and Sam are very organized because they have to be. They are pretty easy going and most of the time the boys a very well behaved. Melanie’s Aunt Peg stops by almost daily. She is a little pushy for my tastes but her heart is in the right place.

In this installment, Melanie has been recruited to help wrangle puppies as they get ready for the puppy bowl, part of the Puppy Fest raising money for a local dog rescue. She doesn’t get off on the right foot with the rescue owner and is set on various errands were she meets most of the Brody family. They are quite a bunch. When their father/grandfather ends up dead she is forced to meet with each of them again. Yes, they are all suspects but she finds herself stumped as to who actually would have killed the man. The author has created very unique characters. Their tumultuous upbringing has effecting each of them in a different way.

The story moves right along because Melanie and her family have a very busy life with work, soccer camp, dog shows and preparation, and general family things. Add trying to solve whether Joe Brody death was accidental or murder isn’t really her first concern, especially when she really has no skin in the game. She is not a suspect and no one she loves is a suspect, but she does love to try to solve this mysteries. But her investigation can put her and the people she loves in danger.

Again Laurien Berenson’s characters and their situations keep us engaged from the very first page. The subplot I mentioned above starts the whole story and while I really enjoyed the mystery, this was my favorite part of the book. Davey wrapped himself right around my heart and when the story ended I wanted to reach right into the pages and give him a huge hug.

Cozy lovers and dog lovers this book should be on your summer reading list. Whether you are a fan of the series or it is brand new to you the story can be read on its own. Warning – After that you may want to read the whole series 🙂

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author

Laurien Berenson is an Agatha and Macavity Nominee, winner of the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, and four time winner of the Maxwell Award, presented by the Dog Writers Association of America. She and her husband live on a farm in Kentucky surrounded by dogs and horses.

Find out more about her and her books on her webpage here. Find her on Facebook here and on Twitter here.

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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.”

Posted in E-Book Challenge Giveaways Reviews 2017 You Read How Many Books Challenge

#Review / #Giveaway – The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green


The Sunshine Sisters
Contemporary Women’s Fiction > Sisters
Setting – Connecticut
Berkley (June 6, 2017)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House
Hardcover: 384 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0399583315
Kindle ASIN: B01LWRVCS1

 

As soon as possible, tomboy Nell fled her mother’s overbearing presence to work on a farm and find her own way in the world as a single mother. The target of her mother’s criticism, Meredith never felt good enough, thin enough, pretty enough. Her life took her to London—and into the arms of a man whom she may not even love. And Lizzy, the youngest, more like Ronni than any of them, seemed to have it easy, using her drive and ambition to build a culinary career to rival her mother’s fame, while her marriage crumbled around her.

But now the Sunshine sisters are together again, called home by Ronni, who has learned that she has a serious disease and needs her daughters to fulfill her final wishes. And though Nell, Meredith, and Lizzy have never been close, their mother’s illness draws them together to confront the old jealousies and secret fears that have threatened to tear these sisters apart. As they face the loss of their mother, they will discover if blood might be thicker than water after all…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

The Sunshine Sisters is about a DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILY. (Yes, all caps). Ronni is concerned about herself and her career. Her daughters learned at an early age how to read her moods and when to “duck and cover”. As soon as they were old enough they got out of her house, rarely visited, and didn’t really stay in touch with each other. Nell still lives nearby with her son and has the most contact with Ronni. Meredith is in London pretending to be happy. Lizzy landed in New York as a chef. She is married with a son but her marriage is rocky. When their mother calls them all home they assume it is for one of her big dramatic displays but are shocked by her appearance and they know there is something really wrong with her this time. This pulls the girls together until they learn her final wishes.

First I have to say the cover of the book is very misleading. Reading the synopsis I thought this would be a story about a family coming back together after a dysfunctional upbringing with a happy ending but it took a dark turn with a trigger theme for me – suicide.  While different than what my family experienced it still gave me pause.

The characters were all so different, each had their own ways of dealing with things. The sisters fit the stereotype many believe of children. The eldest being the strongest, steady, independent, but in Nell’s case she closes herself off from so much, happy on her farm, alone. The middle child, Meredith, is the people pleaser with low self esteem, thinking she needs to settle for what is offered. Lizzy is the baby of the family and most like her mother. She got everything she ever wanted and she inherited a drive from her mother to pursue her dreams while following in her footsteps of putting her family last.

The pace of the book was a little slow in the beginning. It didn’t really grab me until about halfway through. It picked up near the end but that was where the theme became problematic for me. The saving grace for me was that that the sisters were starting to evolve and look at themselves and their relationships differently. When they were together they were more engaging than the parts of the story when they were on their own.

This is the first Jane Green novel I have read and while it was not an off the charts read for me it was still a good story. There are some heavy topics so for me this is not the summer beach read I expected from the cover. It ended the exact way I thought it would which made me a little sad. I do want to read more by this author because I think the subject matter just weighted me down this time.

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author

Jane Green is a bestselling author of popular novels. She has been featured in People, Newsweek, USA Today, Glamour, and Cosmopolitan. She lives in Connecticut with her family.

Find more books by Jane Green at Amazon here.

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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.”

Posted in E-Book Challenge Literary Escapes Reviews 2017 You Read How Many Books Challenge

#Review – Beach Breeze by Joanne DeMaio


Beach Breeze
Women’s Fiction
Continuing Series
Setting – Connecticut
Self Published (March 8, 2017)
Paperback: 346 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1543115277
Kindle ASIN: B06WD4QFZ2

 
 
 
 
 

After a heartbreaking summer on the Connecticut shore, a group of beach friends is as adrift as an unmoored rowboat. When a dismayed Jason Barlow drives as far away from the sea as he can, leaving behind his wife, Maris, as well as their stately cottage on the bluff, that news hits like a sudden wave. Gathering over an intimate meal in a coastal diner, the friends make a solemn pact to lean on each other and not make any more rash decisions.

Which is all well and good, until each friend wavers–testing relationships, commitments, and especially love in the little beach community of Stony Point. But can the magic of the weathered boardwalk, whispering lagoon grasses, and sweet salt air cure what ails them?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I have loved this series, in fact I have loved all Joanne’s books. I knew this book would pick up right where the last one left off from the synopsis but I never imagined how difficult it was going for me to read. As Beach Blues ends Sal DeLuca had just died and left the gang at Stony Point reeling. Elsa lost her son, Celia lost her true love, Jason lost a man that he had grown as close to as a brother and the rest lost their friend.

I clearly identified with Elsa, she has just lost her son. I know that raw pain and her grief brought mine careening back. I was shaken and found myself sobbing. At first I thought I need to just put the book away, I just wasn’t ready to read something so vivid that was making my responses so raw. But I kept on thinking just maybe Elsa would help me see a way through my own pain. We didn’t make it there yet but maybe as her story continues we will both continue to heal.

I was also moved by how each character dealt with their grief differently, just like in real life. My husband, my children, his child, his nephews, our extended family, and my son’s friends. Everyone of us is still grieving all in our own ways. By dealing with this close death so recently I can say the author has written this story so truthfully. People try to move forward, some making huge decisions that shouldn’t be made quickly or at a stressful time like this. Others want to just hide away and be alone, they is where I started my journey too. Others seem perfectly fine until something triggers a memory that can take you right back to the beginning all over again. These characters show how necessary it is to be there to support each other. It doesn’t have to be a major undertaking, sometimes a hug, a little joke that can bring a smile. You may not always get it right but it is important to keep trying.

Joanne DeMaio has taken us on a journey with these characters that is far from complete. She takes us through the good times, this group has had many good times. But she also takes us through the bad. They have had their share of those too. This is the first book though that was dealing with a really bad time for the entire book. Yes, there is just a little bit of uplifting at the end. Like real life though the death of someone special sticks with you forever. You hear all about the stages of grief but I now know they do not stay true to any order and you do not work through them and get over it. I know this author will remember that as the series moves forward.

A moving, heartfelt story. Have the tissues ready.

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

joanne demaio

About The Author

Joanne DeMaio is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary fiction. She enjoys writing about friendship, family, love and choices, while setting her stories in New England towns or by the sea. Currently at work on her next book, Joanne lives with her family in Connecticut.

To learn more about the author, visit Joannedemaio.com. She also enjoys hearing from readers on her Facebook Page.

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 Flashback Friday Giveaways Reviews 2016 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Flashback Friday – #Review / #Giveaway – The Bark Before Christmas by Laurien Berenson

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On Flashback Fridays I will share with you the books I was not able to review when they were first released that have been screaming at me from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.


The Bark Before Christmas
(A Melanie Travis Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
18th in Series
Setting – Connecticut
Kensington (September 29, 2015)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0758284587
Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0758284594
E-Book ASIN: B00RRT30B8

 

 

 

The Bark Before Christmas by Laurien Berenson – Melanie Travis has her hands full with her two young sons, a part-time job, and a half dozen Poodles to her name. But even with the busy holiday season approaching, she still has time to sniff out a Christmastime killer…

There’s nothing lovelier than Christmas in Connecticut, but Melanie can scarcely find a moment to enjoy the festivities. With her youngest son approaching toddler-hood, she’s decided to return to her old job at Howard Academy, a posh private school attended by the children of Greenwich’s well-heeled gentry. Balancing work, motherhood, and the hectic dog show circuit takes some fancy footwork, especially when the headmaster taps her to be the chairman of the school’s Christmas Bazaar.

The Christmas Bazaar is Howard Academy’s biggest and most important fundraiser, so Melanie feels the pressure to make it a huge success. She even enlists her long-suffering sister-in-law Bertie to help with the Santa Claus and Pets Photo Booth. But everything goes awry when a prize show dog goes missing and Santa turns up dead. The dog’s owner is one of the school’s most perfectly pedigreed alums, and she enlists Melanie to help find the purloined pooch. But just as Melanie starts pawing at the truth, she digs up a sleighful of sinister secrets that leaves everyone feeling less than merry…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I jumped into this series late, reviewing Live and Let Growl in July. Since then I found this book on my TBR shelf and have been looking forward to reading it during the holidays. Again the author gives us plenty of information about the characters to make this book easily read all on its own.

Christmas for Melanie Travis also includes stepping in to chair the Christmas Bazaar fundraiser at Howard Academy. The main event at the bazaar is the Santa Claus and Pets Photo Booth. With her family’s ties to the dog show community they are able to spread the word and she hopes many will bring their show dogs and pets for a picture with Santa making the whole event a huge success. But when Santa is found dead and a pricey show dog goes missing things get out of control. The dog’s owner and her Aunt Peg hold Melanie responsible for the lost dog and demand she find it immediately. The school also hopes she finds out why and how the Santa ended up dead. This whole thing could tarnish the school’s reputation. If she expects to be able to celebrate the holidays with her family she needs to solve both parts of this case faster than Santa travels on Christmas Eve.

What a story but I have mixed emotions about the story as a whole! First I was drawn in my Melanie’s dedication to the school and her students. She is the teacher that helps the kids that get behind and need a little help or that have learning disabilities and need to learn differently. She also brings her large Standard Poodle, Faith, to class with her everyday. The dog helps her reach students in a delightful way. One of these student’s parents are splitting up and dealing with that has made things difficult for her at school. Her mother is the owner of the dog that goes missing at the bazaar. This girl’s story just ripped open my heart.

Berenson took this girl’s story at tipped it on its ear and wove a very creative mystery around it with plenty of turns. I started to figure out the clues just a bit before Melanie.

Maybe because I am new to this series Aunt Peg really made me pause. Overbearing, yes, but to me she did come off as rude and uncaring a few times. Thankfully Melanie has much more patience than I. Had my mother or aunt shown up in my home uninvited at 7 a.m. on a Sunday morning, complaining that I and my children were still in our pajamas I would have exploded. SUNDAY AT 7 A.M.! Then another time she took Melanie to task for her plans to go pick out a Christmas tree with her family instead of looking for the missing dog.

Truthfully I still don’t see how Melanie is responsible for the missing dog or the dead Santa. She was not the person that hired the Santa and it was the owner’s choice to keep the dog in a crate while she worked at the bazaar. I do admire the way Melanie handled the whole situation and the way she figured out the truth and solves the mystery.

I enjoyed reading about Melanie, Sam, Davey, Kevin, and even Aunt Peg when she isn’t ripping Melanie apart. Plus I really love reading about the dogs and the dog shows. I hope to be able to start this series from the beginning and she how they got where they are now.

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About Laurien Berenson

Laurien Berenson is an Agatha and Macavity Nominee, winner of the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, and four time winner of the Maxwell Award, presented by the Dog Writers Association of America. She and her husband live on a farm in Kentucky surrounded by dogs and horses.

Find out more about her and her books on her webpage here. Find her on Facebook here and on Twitter here.

GIVEAWAY
I am giving away an Advance 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.

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads 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 6, 2017 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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