Posted in Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Reviews 2015

Review/Giveaway – The Jamie Quinn Mysteries by Barbara Venkataraman Great Escapes Book Tour

jamie quinn large banner640

The Jamie Quinn Mysteries
by Barbara Venkataraman

51newvUFzlL._UY250_Death by Didgeridoo
(Jamie Quinn Mystery Book 1)

Self Published
Setting – Florida
Print Length: 111 pages
ASIN: B00GVJ4WOY
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Reluctant lawyer, Jamie Quinn, still reeling from the death of her mother, is pulled into a game of deception, jealousy, and vengeance when her cousin, Adam, is wrongfully accused of murder. It’s up to Jamie to find the real murderer before it’s too late. It doesn’t help that the victim is a former rock star with more enemies than friends, or that Adam confessed to a murder he didn’t commit.

 

41t5kxOzGbL._UY250_The Case of the Killer Divorce
(Jamie Quinn Mystery Book 2)

Self Published
Setting – Florida
Print Length: 109 pages
ASIN: B00HJE3UES
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Reluctant lawyer, Jamie Quinn, has returned to her family law practice after a hiatus due to the death of her mother. It’s business as usual until a bitter divorce case turns into a murder investigation, and Jamie’s client becomes the prime suspect. When she can’t untangle truth from lies, Jamie enlists the help of Duke Broussard, her favorite private investigator, to try to clear her client’s name. And she’s hoping that, in his spare time, he can help her find her long-lost father…

 

416l3TXtSxL._UY250_Peril in the Park
(Jamie Quinn Mystery Book 3)

Self Published
Setting – Florida
Print Length: 140 pages
ASIN: B00KRQ0E1M
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There’s big trouble in the park system. Someone is making life difficult for Jamie Quinn’s boyfriend, Kip Simons, the new director of Broward County parks. Was it the angry supervisor passed over for promotion? The disgruntled employee Kip recently fired? Or someone with a bigger ax to grind? If Jamie can’t figure it out soon, she may be looking for a new boyfriend because there’s a dead guy in the park and Kip has gone missing! With the help of her favorite P.I., Duke Broussard, Jamie must race the clock to find Kip before it’s too late.

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

If Barbara Venkataraman had not contacted me about doing a Great Escapes Book Tour I would have missed these books and that would definitely been my loss.

Jaime Quinn is a wonderful protagonist.  We meet her as she is trying to recover after her mother’s death. She doesn’t feel like going to the office at all. She has a Family Law practice dealing mainly with couples getting divorced and she just can’t deal with that right now.  Then she received a frantic phone call from her aunt. Her cousin has been arrested for murder. Well that would shake the cobwebs out of anyone’s brain but Jaime’s cousin has Asperger Syndrome and Jaime knows there is no way he killed anyone.  She hooks up with an old client,  a P.I. named Duke and together they are going to find the real killer and make sure her cousin is kept safe.

Then in The Case of the Killer Divorce, one of Jamie’s clients becomes the prime suspect in a murder investigation. In Peril in the Park, Jamie’s boyfriend Kip needs her help and before she can get to the bottom of his problem he goes missing.

In all three stories she teams up with P. I. Duke to solve the case before the police can. There is also a subplot running through all 3 books of Jaime trying to find her father. Her friend Grace has the right contacts in the right places that moves this along very quickly.

These stories are short, the 3 together are just 338 pages so they are a very fast read but they are not short on details. The characters and plot-lines are fully developed and very well written.  With each story we get to know Jamie, Duke, and Kip better. The supporting characters are fleshed out as well.

The author takes on some issues too, Aspergers, political corruption, mental illness. She does this all without being heavy handed or preachy. Jamie is always fighting for wrongs to be righted. I really enjoy this character.

While these stories have a bit of suspense they are balanced well with humor and romance. Duke is quite a character and can always make Jamie laugh.

These stories ended much too soon. I am thrilled to learn Engaged in Danger will be released soon.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Authorbarbara new pic
Award-winning author, Barbara Venkataraman is an attorney and mediator specializing in family law and debt collection.

She is the author of “Teatime with Mrs. Grammar Person”; “The Fight for Magicallus,” a children’s fantasy; a humorous short story entitled, “If You’d Just Listened to Me in the First Place”; and two books of humorous essays: “I’m Not Talking about You, Of Course” and “A Trip to the Hardware Store & Other Calamities,” which are part of the “Quirky Essays for Quirky People” series. Both books of humorous essays won the “Indie Book of the Day” award.

Her latest works are “Death by Didgeridoo,” first in the Jamie Quinn series, “The Case of the Killer Divorce,” the second Jamie Quinn mystery, and, just out, “Peril in the Park,” the latest in the popular Jamie Quinn series. Coming soon, “Engaged in Danger“–the next Jamie Quinn mystery!

Author Links

GIVEAWAY

The author is giving away 1 copy wither E-Book or Audio!
Winner’s Choice!

Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Leave a comment for Barbara for 5 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End August 4, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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 Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Guest Posts Literary Escapes Reviews 2015 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Lucy Burdette – Author of Fatal Reservations – Giveaway too!

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
Lucy Burdette is my Special Guest today!
Her new book, Fatal Reservations was released yesterday!
Courtesy Carol Tedesco
Courtesy Carol Tedesco

 

LUCY BURDETTE: Pop quiz cozy readers! What’s the most important question for a writer to ask when she starts a new book?

I’ll pause for a minute while you mull things over…

Okay, time’s up. If you said: Why is that nutty amateur sleuth involved in yet one more murder investigation?…you get an A+ for the day! Anyway, that’s where I usually begin. Hayley Snow, the food critic character in the Key West mysteries, has no earthly reason to be solving crimes. Unless of course someone she cares about deeply is involved. And unless they beg for her help…or demonstrate how deeply mired they are in trouble so that good-hearted Hayley can’t help but step up.

Lorenzo with Trimmings
Lorenzo with Trimmings

As I began to write Fatal Reservations, that’s exactly the question I asked. And the answer came from a character who’s appeared in each book and who has become more and more important to Hayley, Lorenzo the tarot card reader. Lorenzo made his debut in the Key West series with AN APPETITE FOR MURDER. While writing that first book, I’d seen a tarot card reader on Mallory Square among the throng of street performers, and knew he belonged in the story. I imagined my protagonist Hayley Snow taking her mother’s lead, preferring a reading to a psychotherapy session. I had no idea how important Lorenzo would become. And how he’d also become a friend, and a muse.

Fatal ReservationsIn FATAL RESERVATIONS, he moves from being a sidekick to the main focus of the mystery. Usually mild-mannered and calm, in the way of a man who can see into the future, Lorenzo is attacked in a City Commission meeting and later accused of murder when one of the other street performers from the Mallory Square sunset celebration is found dead. Rather than stay and face the music, he disappears, leaving Hayley to take care of his new kitten and save him from a future of reading cards in the Florida State Penitentiary.

About FATAL RESERVATIONS: Food critic Hayley Snow sets aside her knife and fork when her dear friend Lorenzo the tarot card reader is accused of murdering his flaming-fork-juggling nemesis. If Lorenzo could read his own cards, he might draw The Hanged Man. He can only hope that Hayley draws Justice as she tries to clear him of murder.

“This strong series continues a unique blend of island mayhem and sparkling characters surrounding a layered mystery.”— Booklist

About Lucy: Lucy Burdette (aka Roberta Isleib) is the author of 14 mysteries, including FATAL RESERVATIONS the sixth in the Key West series featuring food critic Hayley Snow. Her books and stories have been short-listed for Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards. She’s a past president of Sisters in Crime. Like her food critic character in the Key West series, she is passionate about food.

You can read more about the books on Lucy’s website, www.lucyburdette.com. Follow her on Facebook, or Twitter @LucyBurdette, or Pinterest, or Instagram.

Fatal ReservationsFatal Reservations:
A Key West Food Critic Mystery

Cozy Mystery
6th Book in Series
Setting – Florida
An Obsidian Mystery
An Imprint of New American Library (July 7, 2015)
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451474827
E-Book ASIN: B00PT4IYYG
Shop Indie Bookstores
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In the latest Key West Food Critic mystery, Hayley Snow’s beat is reviewing restaurants for Key Zest magazine. But she sets aside her knife and fork when a dear friend is accused of murder…

Hayley Snow looks forward to reviewing For Goodness Sake, a new floating restaurant that promises a fresh take on Japanese delicacies like flambéed grouper with locally sourced seaweed. But nearby land-based restaurateurs would rather see their buoyant competition sink.Sent to a City Commission meeting to cover the controversy, Hayley witnesses another uproar. The quirky performers of the daily Sunset Celebration are struggling to hold onto their performance space. The fight for Mallory Square has renewed old rivalries between Hayley’s Tarot-card reading friend Lorenzo and a flaming-fork-juggling nemesis, Bart Frontgate—but things take a deadly turn when Bart is found murdered.

If Lorenzo could read his own cards, he might draw The Hanged Man. He can only hope that Hayley draws Justice as she tries to clear him of murder…

INCLUDES RECIPES

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Hayley, Miss Gloria, Lorenzo and all the other characters we have grown to love are back in this 6th installment of the Key West Food Critic Mysteries.

This time Lorenzo lands in the soup when one of the performers from the Sunset Celebration is murdered. Seems they were not the best of friends. There is also a bit of a shake up at Key Zest as Palamina tries to put her own touches into both the office and the e-zine. Miss Gloria becomes a tour guide at the cemetery, there is a thief police are trying to catch and a new floating restaurant has many locals all in a tizzy. There is so much packed into 320 pages and it all flows together perfectly.

Lucy Burdette writes a story that not only includes a mystery or two but shines a beautiful light on Key West and its delicious food. The author’s passion for food is clear with all the yummy descriptions sprinkled throughout the book. Yes, she does include recipes too.

Friendship also is a key theme. Hayley will do anything for her friends. She does her best to keep them safe and puts herself in peril to find the truth when one of them is wrongly accused. Her romantic life has been a little rocky but this time the author took the step in that department I was hoping and praying she would take.

What more can I say, I loved this story. Burdette has served up another delightful feast of mayhem and mystery for us readers to enjoy. I really can’t wait for my next escape to Key West with Hayley and all her friends.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

GIVEAWAYBrooke as Fan of the Month will receive a copy of Fatal Reservations
so I have 1 more copy to give away!

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Leave a comment for Lucy for 5 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End July 22, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Posted in Giveaways Spotlights

Spotlight/Giveaway – Murder Ties The Knot by Christy Fifield

murder ties the knot
Murder Ties the Knot
(Haunted Souvenir Shop)

4th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Florida
Release Date – March 3, 2015
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425279243
E-Book ASIN: B00LMGLYGA
goodreads-badge-add-plus

A Haunted Souvenir Shop Mystery from the author of Murder Sends a Postcard–featuring Down-Home Dinner Menus.

It’s winter in Keyhole Bay, Florida, and while the tourist trade is slow, souvenir shop owner Glory Martine is busy with her best friend’s wedding. But between managing preparations, the bride’s in-laws, and a haunted parrot named Bluebeard, Glory makes plans to catch a killer.

As her friends Karen and Riley approach their wedding day, Glory could use a break from the nuptial madness. She takes a peaceful drive to Alabama’s piney woods to pick up the wedding quilt she ordered from a supplier. But the supplier, Beth, has disappeared along with the quilt and her husband, Everett.

Glory learns that two men were found murdered near Beth and Everett’s home and that the couple is wanted for questioning. Believing they are innocent, Glory convinces them to cooperate with authorities. But when they’re thrown in jail, Glory vows to catch the real killer before one happy couple walks down the aisle and another gets sent up the river.

About this Author

Christy Fifield is pseudonym for Christy Evans.

Christy Evans is a mystery pseudonym used by northwest writer Christina F. York.

Chris/Christy also writes under other names, including her own and Christy Fifield, depending on the genre and series. Chris has never met a genre she doesn’t like, and has published mystery, romance, adventure, fantasy and science fiction.

Mystery has always been her favorite though, since her great uncle introduced her to the “Perry Mason” books when she was a child. She read each new book as he finished with it and passed it on. The die was cast, she either had to become a lawyer, or a mystery writer. As fate would have it, mystery writer won.

Chris lives on Oregon’s Pacific shore with her writer-husband J. Steven York and two cats, Oz, and “Bad Agent” Sydney T. Cat.

GIVEAWAY

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End March 14, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent
Posted in Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Guest Posts Reviews 2014

Cozy Wednesday with Lucy Burdette – Author of Death With All The Trimmings – Giveaway too!

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am so excited to have Lucy Burdette as my guest today!!
I love it when she stops by for a visit!

LucyBMileZeroGuest Post from Lucy Burdette

Like my character Hayley Snow in the Key West mysteries, I was born and raised in New Jersey. We had sledding parties, and ice skating parties, and a real Christmas tree cut from a neighborhood farm. We served hot chocolate and sugar cookies to Santa, and carrots to Rudolph and company. There was a candlelight service on Christmas Eve and piles of presents and many relatives and a roast turkey on Christmas day.

Death with All the Trimmings copy 2Hayley and I are getting adjusted to Christmas in our Key West paradise. Though we miss the snow and the snappy cold air and our friends and family most of all, there’s something pretty magical about lights on a palm tree.

I’ll let Hayley describe one of her favorite holiday displays from Death With All the Trimmings:
We stopped to admire the Christmas lights on Southard Street that had won second place in the town-wide competition. A school of blue fish flashed by, lighting up in sequence across two sides of the home. Above the faux water line—a string of blue lights—Frosty the Snowman manned a rowboat, dipping his oars into the sea over and over. And finally at the far right corner of the house, Santa reeled in one of the bright blue fish. Every inch of the property was decked out with lights, ending with a carpet of white bulbs on the sidewalk that led to the street. Snow!

As you can see, the Key West folks are pretty good at decking out their island for the holiday season. We’ll show you just a couple:

KWxmaslightsA lighted house seen in Old Town.

afterhoursOne of our favorite holiday events, the lighted boat parade.

4cookiesAnd Hayley’s specialty this year–sugar cookies in the shape of palm trees, sunglasses, and roosters!

We send our love to everyone, wherever you may be spending the holidays. We are grateful for each reader and fan of the Key West mysteries. We can’t wait for you to read about Hayley and company’s adventures in Death With All the Trimmings!

~Lucy

About This Author

Lucy Burdette (aka Roberta Isleib) is the author of 13 mysteries, including the latest in the Key West series featuring food critic Hayley Snow. Her books and stories have been short-listed for Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards. She’s a past president of Sisters in Crime.

facebook: www.facebook.com/lucyburdette

twitter: www.twitter.com/lucyburdette

pinterest: www.pinterest.com/robertaisleib

website: www.lucyburdette.com

blogs: www.mysteryloverskitchen.com and www.jungleredwriters.com

Death with All the Trimmings copy 2Death With All the Trimmings:
A Key West Food Critic Mystery

5th in Series
Cozy Mystery
An Obsidian Mystery
An Imprint of New American Library
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451465900
E-Book File Size: 2448 KB
ASIN: B00JJXHKK2
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

The only snow in Key West this Christmas is Hayley Snow, food critic for Key Zest magazine, who is not getting time off for the holiday…or time off from murder.

It may be Christmastime, but thoughts of peace on earth, good will toward men, don’t seem to extend to the restaurant biz. Hayley has been assigned to interview Edel Waugh, chef/owner of Key West’s hottest new restaurant. But off the record, Edel reveals someone’s sabotaging her kitchen and asks Hayley to investigate.

Things heat up fast when the restaurant is set on fire—and a body is discovered in the charred wreckage. Is someone out to destroy the chef’s business—or actually kill her? Amid holiday festivities like the lighted boat parade and visiting relatives who stir up mixed emotions, Hayley needs to smoke out an arsonist and a killer who may turn up the heat on her next…

INCLUDES RECIPES!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Oh I wish I was spending the holidays in Key West!! Even with Murder and Mayhem trying to ruin Christmastime for Hayley and the rest of our friends.

Lucy Burdette has created such wonderful and vibrant characters from Hayley Snow to her roommate, 80 year old Miss Gloria, to chef of the newest restauranteur in Key West. Edel Waugh is a woman that wants everything exactly perfect and she rides her staff hard to make sure everything is up to her standards. Could that be why her restaurant is in the center of all the action? Hayley is bound and determined to figure that out.

The plot continues to thicken as the story continues. Hayley’s mother gets involved and and even Miss Gloria finds herself in trouble. There is so much happening in this story. Key Zest Magazine may be faces some changes, Hayley’s significant other Wally has his hands full not only with the magazine, but his mother is facing a serious health crisis as well. Hayley is trying to help as much as she can but she meets Edel Waugh and gets wrapped up in all the drama surrounding her that she barely has any time to herself at all. Her relationship with Wally is basically at a stand-still, but it not because they want it that way. She does find time to meet with Lorenzo, the tarot card reader. He warns her there is trouble brewing but that doesn’t stop her from “investigating” the happenings at Bistro on the Bight. There are also several events taking place like the holiday lighted boat parade and the town wide decorating contest and there are tourists everywhere. You will not be able to put this book down.

Lucy’s stories are more than just mysteries. There are some serious issues stirred within the mix of the story and the quotes at the beginning of each chapter can be wise or comical.

“We must have pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of pie.” ~David Mamet, Boston Marriage

or

Revenge is like serving cold cuts. ~Tony Soprano

Lucy Burdette has topped herself with this story. I love the setting. I love these characters. I enjoyed everything about this book.   I gobbled it right up and am hungry for more. Fatal Reservations: A Key West Food Critic Mystery will be out next summer.

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 Miranda for 5 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End December 17, 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

This stop is also part of the Death With All the Trimmings Great Escapes Book Tour.

death with all the trimmings  large banner 640Be sure to check out all the stops for more guest posts, reviews and giveaways!

Tour Participants

December 1 – Back Porchervations – Review
December 2 – Chloe Gets A Clue – Interview
December 3 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Cozy Wednesday 
December 4 – Community Bookstop. – Review
December 5 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Review, Guest Post
December 6 – Mystery Playground – Interview, Giveaway
December 7 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review, Giveaway
December 8 – off
December 9 – Brooke Blogs –Guest Post, 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 Cruisin Thru Cozies Literary Escapes Reviews 2014 What An Animal Reading Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Special Guest Lucy Burdette – Author of Murder With Ganache (Giveaway too!)

special guest blue

I am so happy to welcome Lucy Burdette here today.

“One cat just leads to another. . . . The place is so damned big it doesn’t really seem as though there were many cats until you see them all moving like a mass migration at feeding time. . . .” Ernest Hemingway

LucyBMileZeroI’m so pleased to be invited to post today on Dollycas’s blog in celebration of Murder With Ganache-the fourth book in my Key West foodie mystery series. Following along with the theme of “escapes,” I thought I’d chat about my idea of a perfect escape on this island.

murder with ganacheKey West, where I live most of the year and where my food critic series takes place, is a busy, lively town, chock full of tourists, and artists, and homeless folks, and people yearning to dodge a dreary winter. Oh yes, it can be crowded and noisy. But there are several spots visit when I need a little peace to unwind.

Hemingways+studioOne of these special places is the estate where Ernest Hemingway lived from 1931-1939. It’s a gorgeous, private piece of land, including a wonderful old home, the attached studio that housed Hemingway’s office, and an amazing pool with tropical gardens. One of the most-loved features of the property is the colony of cats who live on the premises, allegedly descendants of Hemingway’s felines.

When I met a woman who worked as one of the cat caretakers at the Hemingway House and began to learn more about the cats, I knew I’d want to use this place in my next book. Here’s how my main character Hayley describes it in Murder With Ganache:

Rudy+ValentinoIt’s almost impossible to enter the grounds inside the wall surrounding Hemingway’s house without feeling your blood pressure drop a few points. The house is gorgeous–a two story white structure with tall arched windows flanked by lemon-colored shutters and porches that wrap all the way around both floors. And the landscape is green and tropical, a haven for the fifty plus glossy, polydactyl felines that make their home here. My favorite vacillated between Rudy Valentino, a yellow tiger, and Duke Ellington, a gray striper who spent his afternoons stretched along a railing near the entrance so visitors could admire him. Evinrude hated it when I came home smelling of Hemingway cats, turning his nose and whiskers up at my feeble explanations.

DukeGanacheIf you look carefully at this photo of the new book (shown here with one of Hayley’s favorite cats, Duke Ellington), you’ll see that the Hemingway House made the cover! In Murder With Ganache, Hayley’s best friend Connie is getting married and all of Hayley’s family has come to help her celebrate. That includes her father, stepmother, mother, mother’s boyfriend, and her grumpy teenage stepbrother. Juggling the personalities and making sure everyone gets enough of what they need–let’s just say Hayley’s got a very full plate.

This book may be about Hemingway cats, and cupcakes, and wedding angst, and a murder mystery, but in the end, it’s also about finding and embracing family in whatever form they come. I hope you’ll settle in and enjoy a few hours of tropical escape–but fix yourself a snack first–you’re going to need it!

~Lucy

About This Author

Lucy Burdette (aka Roberta Isleib) is the author of 12 mysteries, including the latest in the Key West series featuring food critic Hayley Snow. Her books and stories have been short-listed for Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards. She’s a past president of Sisters in Crime.

facebook: www.facebook.com/lucyburdette

twitter: www.twitter.com/lucyburdette

pinterest: www.pinterest.com/robertaisleib

website: www.lucyburdette.com

murder with ganache
Murder With Ganache:
A Key West Food Critic Mystery

Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
An Obsidian Mystery (February 4, 2014)
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451465894
E-Book File Size: 1598 KB
ASIN: B00DYX9NLC
goodreads-badge-add-plus

Hayley Snow, the food critic for Key Zest magazine, has her plate heaped high with restaurant reviews, doughnut and sticky bun tastings, and an article on the Hemingway cats. But this week she’s also in charge of her best friend’s wedding. And then someone adds a side of murder…

Connie and Ray are getting married. Connie’s family is Hayley’s family since her mom passed away and she hasn’t seen her father in years. So Hayley’s parents and their significant others have arrived in Key West for the wedding and brought all the family drama with them. That includes  Hayley’s teenage stepbrother Rory. The last thing a teenage boy want to do is attend a bridal shower or go sightseeing with his mother and stepfather. He convinces his mother to let him go off my himself for just a couple of hours but of course he misses his curfew. In fact he still has arrived back my morning. This sets off a search for him and leads to all kinds of trouble. Will Hayley be able to get Rory out of the hot water he has gotten himself or will be extending his stay in a Florida jail cell.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Oh I would love to be in Key West right now instead freezing here in Wisconsin. Thanks to Lucy Burdette I was able to have a mini escape there. She really has outdone herself with this installment.

Hayley is a super strong character that just jumps off the page but really struck me with this story was the interaction between her mom and step-mom. The usual angst was there of her mom being jealous of the relationship Hayley has with her step-mom but the way a tragedy brings these women together just warmed my heart. In this day and age it is sometimes hard for divorced couples to put their children first whether the children are 2, 15, or 30. I was really happy to see the two sides of the family come together.

The story had a wonderful mystery and plenty of twists in both the main plot and the subplot. There were a lot of characters in this story but it was very easy to follow. I missed the tarot card reader that was prevalent in the previous books. We had a glimpse of him but not the usual Hayley visits.

Lucy Burdette is a great cozy author. I look forward to my visits to Key West. I can’t wait for my next trip.

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 Lucy 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 February 21, 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 Giveaways Guest Posts Spotlights

Special Guest – Author of Mama Gets Trashed – Deborah Sharp

special guest blue

 

This is a new series for me.
I am thrilled to have Deborah here today!!

Mama Gets TrashedThanks to Lori for the chance to be here today. I’m thrilled to meet everyone!

Like all writers, I’m often asked a question by an earnest aspiring author that goes something like this:

“How do I write a book that will make high-minded literary critics swoon and college professors assign serious essays?”

Beats me, I always answer. I’m not that kind of writer.

Don’t get me wrong. I work hard, and I’m proud of my Mace Bauer Mysteries. But so far, Sweden has not phoned to notify me I’ve been awarded the Nobel Prize in literature. It’s impossible to take yourself too seriously when one reviewer describes your main character as “a redneck Stephanie Plum,” and another calls your series “a humorous bit of fluff, perfect for the beach.”

I’m okay with that. When I left newspaper reporting to write funny, Southern-flavored fiction, fluff was exactly what I was seeking.

DeborahSharpTRASHED2I’m not sure what the authors of serious literature are doing the month before their books come out. But this was the scene with my husband, Kerry, in our South Florida yard on a sweltering day a couple of weeks before the publication date of my newest book, Mama Gets Trashed:

“It looks better if you’re smooshed deeper into the garbage can.” Hands on my shoulders, Kerry pressed down like he was trying to squeeze ten tubes of toothpaste back into one tube.

The toothpaste was getting a bit cranky.

”It won’t matter how it looks if my legs are broken in half at the knees.”

Gingerly, I edged a Hefty trash bag off my shoulder and onto the ground for a smidge more room.

It was photo day. We were getting creative with title-related props to go with the theme of TRASHED. I wondered if William Faulkner (Nobel Laureate, 1949) ever considered posing with a tombstone to promote “As I Lay Dying.”

Probably not.

My husband has been a reporter on TV for 30 years. He has strong opinions about what makes a visually interesting picture. I was also in journalism for many years, and have my own ideas about how pictures can tell a story. We don’t always agree, but I did refrain from whomping him with the rubber lid of the can.

After 25 years of marriage, I’m used to Kerry encouraging me to leap out of my comfort zone. The author photo on the back of my books is pretty standard, even staid. Kind of like me. But when it comes to playing off the theme of the books for photos on social media or to go along with personality profiles, he’s encouraged me to cut a little looser. So, it was a feather boa and Hollywood bling for the movie-set theme of Mama Sees Stars.  For Mama Gets Hitched, which detailed Mama’s fifth try at tying the sacred knot, I donned hideously tacky wedding wear. And, to promote Mama Rides Shotgun and its trail ride setting, I showed up in the saddle on TV, sporting a cowboy hat. At least this latest session did not involve horse manure.

With my knees jutting into the side of a 40-gallon can, I tugged at my trash collector’s neon safety vest and smiled for the camera.

Click.

How about you? Are you already wild and crazy, or do you have to be pushed to find that side of yourself? Would you ever climb into a trash can for art?

~Deborah

I don’t know how I missed this series! I am so glad Deborah and I connected on Facebook because I am started at the beginning with Mama Does Time (A Mace Bauer Mystery) as soon as possible!! 

Mama Gets Trashed
Mama Gets Trashed (A Mace Bauer Mystery)
5yh in Series
MIDNIGHT INK (September 8, 2013)
Cozy Mystery
Paperback: 360 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738736150
E-Book File Size: 825 KB
ASIN: B00EA117KM
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After a tipsy Mama tosses out her wedding ring with the trash, she drags daughter Mace to the city dump to search. When they stumble upon the body of librarian Camilla Law, the straitlaced town is scandalized: Not only is a killer on the loose, but prudish Camilla is all done up in sexy black leather. Foul play and fetish wear in little Himmarshee, Florida? Mama’s blushing fifty shades of pink!

About Deborah Sharp

A former USA Today reporter, Deborah Sharp traded sad news stories for funny fiction with her Mace Bauer Mysteries, featuring Mace’s wacky Mama. Deborah rode a horse across Florida for one book. For another, she was interviewed by Al Roker on the Today show. She was a lot less nervous about the horse. Married to TV reporter Kerry Sanders, she lives in South Florida, where she spends her spare time chasing iguanas out of her hibiscus. Mama Gets Trashed, out Sept. 8 from Midnight Ink, is the series’ fifth book. Visit her online at www.DeborahSharp.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/deborah.sharp1.

Mama’s on Facebook, too: https://www.facebook.com/groups/32030252049/

You can read an excerpt from TRASHED, here:  http://www.mamagetstrashed.com/

Thanks to the wonderful Deborah Sharp I have 1 copy of
Mama Gets Trashed 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 Deborah for 5 Bonus Entries !

How about you? Are you already wild and crazy, or do you have to be pushed to find that side of yourself? Would you ever climb into a trash can for art?

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

Contest Will End September 20, 2013 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

Posted in Reviews 2013

Review: Board Stiff by Elaine Viets

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Board Stiff:
A Dead-End Job Mystery

12th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Obsidian (May 7, 2013)
Published The Penguin Group
Hardcover: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451239853
E-Book File Size: 665 KB
ASIN: B00BYLQO4K

Husband and wife PI team Helen Hawthorne and Phil Sagemont won’t be sparing the sunscreen on their latest assignment, but they’re about to find out murder is no day at the beach….

Phil is working undercover at Sunny Jim’s Safety First Parasailing and Stand-Up Paddleboarding business on Florida’s Riggs Beach while Helen plays the tourist with her trusty video camera. They have been hired to figure out who was trying to put Jim out of business when stakes get raised considerably. A client was killed and Jim knows it was no accident.

There are no shortage of suspects, a cutthroat competitor wants Jim’s prime beach location, the nearby restaurant owner wants the space to enlarge his parking lot, and the victim’s husband seems pretty shady himself and more so after he files a wrongful death suit.

But Phil and Helen uncover much more as they investigate. Dirty politicians, dirty cops and many secrets seem to be the norm at this beach. Helen and Phil need to catch the culprit before the tide turns and they all get washed away.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
One of my favorite series. Viets tops herself this one with a big surprise. I had a little inkling at the end of Final Sail but never imagined that it would play out the way it did.

Valerie Cannata finds herself right in the middle of the investigation and my favorite lady in purple, Margery, plays a key role as well. That Margery is one wise woman who never fails to put a smile on my face. 

The time we had more than just one character to hate. Daniel was a terrible husband, Cy was a terrible boss, Frank was on the take and Randy was out for revenge.  The author has readers paddling at a fast pace to uncover the killer.  

A smart mystery that is fun and very entertaining. I recommend reading the series in order because each builds to the next.  Helen’s evolution from the beginning of the series until now is remarkable. All the books would make great Summer Reads!!!

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author

A woman I can identify with! Elaine writes her novels with the help of Harry, a striped cat who sleeps by her computer and lashes the keyboard with his tail. He whips her into a writing frenzy. Harry collaborates on two series, the Dead-end Job mysteries and the Josie Marcus Mystery Shopper series. She’s won the Anthony, Agatha and Lefty awards.

For more about Elaine check out her web site here.
Find her on:
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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 Reviews 2013

Review: Topped Chef by Lucy Burdette

topped chef

Topped Chef:
A Key West Food Critic Mystery

3rd Book in Series
An Obsidian Mystery (May 7, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451239709
E-Book File Size: 528 KB
ASIN: B009UYXNSS

Hayley Snow loves her job as the food critic for Key Zest magazine, tasting the offerings from Key West’s most innovative restaurants. She’d rate her life four stars, until she’s forced into the spotlight…and another murder investigation.

Hayley’s boss has volunteered her to be a judge for the Key West Topped Chef contest hoping to score some extra publicity for his magazine.  Hayley is both nervous and excited until she realizes one of the other judges is Sam Rizzoli. She just slammed his restaurant in her very first negative review.

When Rizzoli ends up dead speculation is one of his business rivals is responsible but Hayley has a feeling maybe someone is taking the chef contest a little too seriously. Hayley sees the police are not following the right leads so she decides it is up to her to serve up the actual killer.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Lucy Burdette has me in love with Key West. Life on a boat in nice sunny Florida eating her way through all the delightful cuisine the area has to offer. Hayley better watch out I want to steal her job!

Burdette is such a strong writer and creates really lively characters and puts them in spectacular situations. The plots are tight and the twists are plenty.

The murder takes us from the docks to the inner workings of a reality tv show and even into the world of drag queens. I absolutely loved it. The new characters turned the story on its ear while they recurring characters continue to steal out hearts. Hayley’s mom even appears in Key West via Skype and Gloria becomes Hayley’s sidekick in the investigation.. 

A new character to this story is someone returning to Key West. She has disrupted Hayley’s life with her return and I am very interested to see how she effects it in future installments. Maybe a new direction is just what Hayley needs. 

Add this one to your Summer Reading Lists! An impressive read that will tickle all of your senses. There are recipes included too!! so you can actually tickle your taste buds!!

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author

New Jersey born clinical psychologist Roberta Isleib took up writing mysteries to justify time spent on the links. Her first series, featuring a neurotic professional golfer and a sports psychologist, was nominated for both Agatha and Anthony awards. Roberta is now writing the Key West food critic mystery series as Lucy Burdette.

Check out Lucy’s blog here.

Her alter ego’s website here.

Follow her on Facebook on Twitter or an Pinterest

She is one of the Jungle Red Writers.

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 2013

Review: Right Where I Belong by Krista McGee

right where i belong

Right Where I Belong
Young Adult Christian Fiction
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (December 11, 2012)
Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1401684907
E-Book File Size: 502 KB
ASIN: B008GVYWJU

Right Where I Belong

Natalia’s about to discover her place in the world . . . and it’s not following in her father’s footsteps.

Natalia’s father is about to get divorced again. His business is his top priority and plans for her to take over his business. Her mother is more concerned with her career and doesn’t have much time for her daughter. Natalia has really bonded with her current stepmother. Maureen has introduced Natalia to Christ and Natalia wants to learn more. When Maureen tells Natalia she will be moving home to Florida after the divorce she is devastated. She needs Maureen and actually decides to move from Spain to Florida too. Her parents think living in the States would be wonderful for her college prospects so they put no obstacles in her way. It is not long before Natalia realizes Maureen needs her too. Together they embark on a journey following the paths set by a higher power.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
This was a beautiful story of a woman’s continuing journey with Christ and a young woman’s awakening in the awesomeness of the Lord. The behavior of her parents seriously marred her outlook on life. She never wanted to date or fall in love because she has a bird’s eye view of the heartbreak that occurs when someone falls out of love. Her father treated woman as things not humans with feelings. Moving away was just what she needed to open her eyes and her heart to the joy the world can provide.

Perfect way for today’s teens, Right Where I Belong is loosely based on the Bible’s story of Ruth. Her stepmother brought her the Good News of Christ and Natalia is still learning about her faith. She does want to share her awakening with everyone.

In Florida, she attends a Christian High School that is so different from her school in Spain. There were few Christians in Spain and they rarely discussed their faith. But the real adjustment was the language. Natalia spoke English well but she didn’t speak American teenage slang. It was a treat to learn the ways of American teens from the way they dress to the way the speak including the phases that roll so easily off our tongues but are truly confusing when words are dissected.

The story is brilliantly written with rich, warm, real characters. It is a Christian novel but it doesn’t preach. It is a perfect book for teenagers and those of us who are young at heart. It was an amazing fast read and I recommend it highly. I found JOY within the pages of Right Where I Belong. and think you will too.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author
Krista writes for teens, teaches teens, and more often than not, acts like a teen. She and her family have lived and ministered in Texas, Costa Rica, and Spain. Her current hometown is Tampa, FL.

Find out more on her webpage here.

Be her Fan on GoodReads here.

Like her Author Page on Facebook 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.”

readalattechallenge_zps01d248d0a-z challenge 2013large2013EbookChallenge

Posted in Reviews 2012

Review: Death in Four Courses by Lucy Burdette

Death in Four Courses:
A Key West Food Critic Mystery

2nd Book in Series
Cozy Mystery
Obsidian (September 4, 2012)
Published by New American Library
A Division of The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451237835

Death in Four Courses (Key West Food Critic Mystery, #2)

Hayley Snow is the new food critic for Key Zest magazine. The annual Key West literary conference is featuring food writing this year. This is bringing all the famous food writers from across the country to Key West. Hayley is excited to be attending the conference and has asked her mom to join her. They are both such “foodies”.

Superstar food critic Jonah Barrows is the keynote speaker. Hayley hopes to glean some knowledge to make her reviews more modern and cutting edge. But his address is like nothing she or any other attendee or speaker had imagined. He has recently released his memoir and has included many secrets that have many of his colleagues up in arms and in his speech he promises many more secrets will be revealed. He has decided honesty at all costs in his new mantra.

When Jonah is found dead the suspects are many and Hayley is right in the middle of the action. She needs to grill everyone involved and find out who had the biggest beef with Jonah. She has to do it carefully or she could be the one getting burned.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I love this amateur sleuth! In my review of the first book of the series, An Appetite For Murder, I gushed that I wanted to be this character. Well that feeling has grown with this next installment. It is even better than the last.

Lucy Burdette takes us on a trip to Key West from the seat of out comfy chairs. She has created wonderful characters in an very engaging mystery that kept me guessing whodunit until the end. 

My favorite character was Hayley’s mom. The apple did not fall far from the tree there. We can see clearly where Hayley gets her spunk and drive. The also both love food. I had no trouble at all picturing her mom cruising around Key West on that little pink scooter. 

The topic of reviews whether they be for food or books have a lot in common and this installment makes me want to continue to make my reviews better and better. I honestly felt for Hayley when she was “scooped” by another critic from a large newspaper. Reviewers work hard to keep their thoughts original, meaningful and informative. The feeling is awful when you go to post your review around the blogosphere and see other reviewers used the exact same words you did to express their feelings about the book. Sometimes it means a major rewrite in a hurry. Thankfully though most book reviews don’t add to your waistline the way food reviews do 🙂 o.k. some do but darn I try hard to stay away from cookies, cupcakes and Hot Fudge Pie. Yes, there is a super easy recipe for Hot Fudge Pie in the back of this book! Who knew reading could be so delicious

There is no question that this story deserves 5 stars! I am just sad that we have to wait until May for our next Key West adventure!!

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author

New Jersey born clinical psychologist Roberta Isleib took up writing mysteries to justify time spent on the links. Her first series, featuring a neurotic professional golfer and a sports psychologist, was nominated for both Agatha and Anthony awards. Roberta is now writing the Key West food critic mystery series as Lucy Burdette.

Check out Lucy’s blog here.

Her alter ego’s website here.

Follow her on Facebook on Twitter or an Pinterest

She is one of the Jungle Red Writers.

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.”