Posted in Reviews 2012

Review: Ocean Beach by Wendy Wax

Ocean Beach
Berkley Books
Published by The Penguin Group

Release Date: June 26,2012

Ocean Beach

In this sequel to Ten Beach Road, Madeline, Avery and Nicole arrive in Miami’s South Beach neighborhood set to redo a grand home hoping to bring it back to its original splendor. It is all for a new television show called Do Over. Since the last house they remodeled has not sold yet they all need this show to be their big break. Their lives all need a Do Over!

It doesn’t take long for these unlikely friends to realize their idea for the show and the network’s are as different as night and day. The network wants a reality show with emphasis on personal lives with the home as the background and setting, rather than the makeover being the star of the show.

All their relationships will be tested as they know how important this is to each of them. Plus a mystery from the past changes the whole scope of project and something unexpected happens that can put all of them in danger. The network soon becomes the least of their worries.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Wendy Wax has packed this book with a wonderful characters in an awesome setting and a story that grabs you from the first page. I have not read Ten Beach Road yet but I had absolutely no problem becoming invested in their characters quickly. They are all struggling with something that the reader knows is genuine.

My favorite character was not one of these wonderful women though. It was Max, the homeowner. What a wonderful life he had with his wife. Their lives were far from perfect, they had the share of problems and they were dealt with a terrible emotional blow. His wife Millie has passed on but you can actually feel their love in his stories. He wants the house fixed up because she wanted it done and he made her a very special promise before she passed on. A very extraordinary gentleman.

I love the way this author writes. She writes about strong women. Women that are facing life’s changes with perfect amounts of reality, humor and intrigue. Women who are trying to realize their dreams. Women who care about each other. Fate brought these women together and they are making the best of it. Come hell or high water these are friendships that will endure.

Thank you Wendy for writing a perfect escape! I hope to see these friends together again soon!

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About This Author*

A native of St. Petersburg, Florida, Wendy read voraciously as a child, was a regular at her local library, and became fast friends with Nancy Drew and Anne of Green Gables. Her love affairs with language and storytelling paid off beginning with her first shift at the campus radio station while studying journalism at the University of Georgia.

After returning to her home state and graduating from the University of South Florida she worked for the Tampa PBS affiliate, WEDU-TV, behind and in front of the camera. Her resume includes on air work, voiceovers and production of a variety of commercial projects and several feature films. She may be best known in the Tampa Bay area as the host of Desperate & Dateless, a radio matchmaking program that aired on WDAE radio, and nationally as host of The Home Front, a magazine format show that aired on PBS affiliates across the country.

The mother of a toddler and an infant when she decided to change careers, she admits it was not the best timing in terms of productivity. “I’m still not certain why I felt so compelled to write my first novel at that particular time,” she says, “but that first book took forever.” Since then she’s written seven more, including Magnolia Wednesdays, The Accidental Bestseller and Single in Suburbia. Her work has been sold to publishers in ten countries and to the Rhapsody Book Club. Her novel, Hostile Makeover, was excerpted in Cosmopolitan magazine.

Wendy lives in the Atlanta suburbs with her husband John and her baseball-crazy teenage sons, whom she says have turned her into the shortest person in their family. A former broadcaster, she spends most of her non-writing time on baseball fields or driving to them. She continues to devour books. For more information, visit her website at

*From Amazon

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 Reviews 2012

Review: Final Sail by Elaine Viets

Final Sail: A Dead-End Job Mystery
11th in Series
Published by New American Library
A Division of The Penguin Group

Coronado Investigations is in demand. Helen and Phil are married and working together just not necessarily on the same case at the same time. Phil is trying to catch a young gold digger who may have killed her elderly spouse for his money. He will be using a variety of disguises to reel her in.

Helen starts out helping Phil but now she has her own case. She is hitting the high seas as a stewardess on an luxury yacht to try to catch a jewel smuggler. Sounds like a dream job right, but she has to be extra careful or she may end up swimming with the fishes.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
I absolutely love this series. Cruising on a luxury yacht with Helen may just be the perfect escape if it wasn’t for all the washing and ironing and cleaning toilets. What started out sounding fun was real work and then to track down a smuggler in her spare time made for a wild boat ride.

Phil with his hats and wigs posing as everything from Rastafarian to an air conditioning repairman to follow around the new Mrs. Zerling was a hoot and Helen got back from her voyage just in time to put herself back in the middle of the fun.

Elaine Viets never disappoints, she delivers mysteries that are fast paced and always entertaining! Helen and Phil make a heck of a team. Each edition tops the last and there is always that little trickle keeping us tied to Helen’s past which always leaves the reader wanting more. I can’t wait for my next adventure with the gang from The Coronado Tropics Apartments!

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. For more about Elaine check out her web site

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 Guest Posts Reviews 2012

Cozy Wednesday With Author Nancy Cohen (Giveaway Too!)

I have been anxiously awaiting the release of the next Bad Hair Day Mystery so I was thrilled when I connected with Nancy and she sent me an advanced copy. She also made my day when she said she would stop by here for a Cozy Wednesday visit, so today is definitely a Very Good Hair Day!!!

Welcome Nancy!!

Thanks Lori, I am happy to be here.

Weddings and Murder by Nancy J. Cohen

Weddings always make Marla Shore shed a tear of joy, and that goes for me too. Even if I don’t know the couple, I’ll get choked up seeing the veiled bride in her ivory gown facing the altar alongside her groom. During Kate and William’s royal spectacle, I was glued to the TV. So it comes as no surprise that I had to write a wedding story.

Shear Murder, the tenth book in my Bad Hair Day mystery series, finds hairdresser Marla Shore as a bridesmaid at her friend Jill’s ceremony. Things go terribly wrong when Marla finds the matron of honor—Jill’s sister—dead under the cake table.

What is it about weddings that can bring out the worst in people? Is it that their passions are aroused? That they’re reminded of their own disappointments? That their envy of the happy couple’s joy drives them to despair? Certainly, weddings are a popular setting for murder mysteries, often becoming the theme for an entire series.

Since it’s been thirty-five years since my own nuptials, I had to update my knowledge about current customs. Bridal wear, music, flowers, party favors, catering menus, ceremonial and religious details, all of these were necessary to research. I was amazed at the size of this industry. At 2.5 million weddings a year, it fuels a forty billion dollar business. Magazines are devoted to bridal wear and advice on all aspects of this exciting day in a woman’s life. Bridal boutiques offer everything from gowns and shoes to evening bags and tiaras. The selection of bridal dresses itself is staggering. No wonder planning a wedding is the subject of every girl’s dreams.

Flowers may be only one aspect, but they play an important role in my mystery. Marla, wishing to question Jill’s florist, pretends she’s scouting decorators for a friend. The florist seats her down in his shop and shows her some albums.

“Here are some pictures of the most common bouquet styles.” He pulled another book from the stack and flicked open the pages to a classic all-white collection. “The round nosegay is always popular. People used these back in the fourteenth century to mask odors. That’s where the nosegay got its name. Get it? Nose?” He giggled.

“I see.” What she saw was that he made her lose concentration. If she didn’t focus their conversation, she’d never get out of there.

“If your friend chooses to wear a formal gown, I’d suggest this cascade bouquet.” He showed her another picture. “Or for a more contemporary design, we can do wonders with calla lilies, orchids and anthuriums. These can be simple but sophisticated.”

“How about candles, like at Jill’s wedding?” she said in a desperate attempt to steer the conversation.

“At the ceremony, she can have flowers alone, or flowers plus candlelight. We have lots of options for the dinner tables, depending on the look she wants. Also, I can suggest colors for the table linens and chairs. It would help if your friend brings in swatches from the bridal dresses.”

Mute, Marla merely nodded.

“We can do gifts, too. You know, for the bridal party, as well as small remembrances for the wedding guests.” He twirled his hand in the air. “It depends on how elaborate your friend cares to go. Who’s doing the cake? We can scatter rose petals on the cake table, or we could use orchids, my favorite.”

Ah, there’s the opening she needed. “Speaking of wedding cakes, I’m wondering where Jill and Arnie bought their cake knife. Was it from a gift shop or did you supply it?”

“Arnie gave the knife to me beforehand. I brought it in my van along with everything else.”

“So you placed it on the table beside the cake, before the ceremony even started?”

“My dear, I finished doing the ballroom before the bride even arrived.”


The sad thing is the bride might have the most beautiful bouquet at her ceremony, but she has to toss it at the reception. Then she’s off to her honeymoon and never sees the gorgeous flower arrangement again. According to my wedding photos, I had a cascade bouquet with white roses and carnations. What kind of flowers did you have at your wedding? Centerpieces alone can be an expensive proposition or a place to save money toward catering instead. With so many details to manage, it’s no surprise the happy woman often turns into bridezilla. And other than funerals and bar mitzvahs, this may be the only time extended relatives draw together. Who knows what dangerous secrets some of them might be hiding? With hidden passions at bay, weddings are perfect settings for murder mysteries.

Shear Murder
Weddings always make Marla Shore shed a tear of joy, and she’s elated to attend her friend Jill’s reception. Marla’s own nuptials are weeks away, and she’s busy following her frenetic to-do list. Her plans go awry when she discovers Jill’s matron of honor dead under the cake table, a knife embedded in her chest. Lots of folks aren’t sorry to see Torrie go, especially since the bride’s sister knew their deepest secrets. But when suspicion falls upon Jill, Marla wonders if her dear friend is truly innocent. She’d better untangle the snarl of suspects and iron out the clues before the killer highlights her as the next victim.


Follow Nancy on her Social Networks:

Nancy writes romance novels too! Here’s a direct link to that page of her web site.

Leave a comment during Nancy’s blog tour and enter to win a set of Paua shell jewelry and a signed copy of Shear Murder.
Nancy will announce the winner.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Shear Murder (Five Star Mystery Series)
A Bad Hair Mystery
10th in the Series

This whole series has been a lot of fun.

In this installment, Marla not only does hair for a wedding, but is a bridesmaid and finally a bride. At crunch time for her own wedding plans she is also trying to solve a murder. Marla takes multitasking to a whole new level. Dalton really understands her need to be in the middle of things and his daughter Brianna has a great relationship with Marla. I am so happy this new family is coming together.

The family dynamics at work in both Marla’s case and Jill and Torrie’s are very entertaining. Marla knows just how to handle her own relatives and her future in-laws. Torrie’s family and friends are so dysfunctional the suspects in her death are many and when the culprit was revealed this reader was quite surprised.

This is an ideal cozy mystery full of murder, mayhem, humor and romance. It is so fast paced you will read it in one sitting, just as I did. This book is definitely the perfect book to “escape into” this winter, it will warm you right up!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author
Nancy J. Cohen is an award-winning author who writes romance and mysteries. Her popular Bad Hair Day series features hairdresser Marla Shore, who solves crimes with wit and style under the sultry Florida sun. Several titles in this series have made the IMBA bestseller list, while Nancy’s imaginative sci-fi romances have garnered rave reviews. Her latest book, and tenth in her mystery series, is Shear Murder from Five Star. Active in the writing community and a featured speaker at libraries and conferences, Nancy is listed in Contemporary Authors, Poets & Writers, and Who’s Who in U.S. Writers, Editors, & Poets.

Posted in Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Cozy Wednesday Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Literary Escapes Reviews 2012

Cozy Wednesday With Author Lucy Burdette (Giveaway too!)

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I saw the cover of Lucy’s An Appetite For Murder: A Key West Food Critic Mystery and knew I was going to love it. The idea of escaping to Key West during a cold Wisconsin winter sounded like a grand idea. Plus the cat on the cover resembles my Sherlock 🙂

I was so excited that Lucy agreed to be a guest here. I had read her other series and enjoyed them so much. I am so happy she is back with a new series and here today to tell us a little bit about it.

Hi Lucy!

Many thanks to Lori for inviting me to talk about my brand new Key West food critic mystery, An Appetite For Murder, written by Lucy Burdette (formerly known as Roberta Isleib.) I’m truly thrilled to be joining the ranks of other culinary mystery writers, including the renowned Diane Mott Davidson. (I have to brag a little–her blurb is on the front cover of my new book!) So I thought it would be fun to talk a little about food, glorious food, as they sang in Oliver!

This is the launch of my third mystery series, but the first one focused on food. (Although any readers of the advice column mysteries will remember that the main character, Dr. Rebecca Butterman, was an excellent cook.) It’s such a pleasure to write about things I love–and food is certainly one of them. I love to eat, to read about new recipes, to cook, to eat out in restaurants, to read about food in both memoirs and fiction. This series has given me license to do all that with a vengeance! My husband likes to tease that “Isleib” means “is stomach” in German. His other fictionalized translation for my family name is “large lunch followed by a restful nap.” No telling what he’ll make up for Burdette…

Anyway, I don’t think I’d like to be a food critic in real life–when I go out to eat, I like to choose what I feel like eating, not what I think other folks want to hear about. And there are places where I’d draw lines that my character Hayley Snow, cannot. For instance, tentacles. Raw fish and meat. Slimy things. Like that:). That said, all the restaurants in the book really exist in Key West and I’ve had wonderful meals in each of them. The only fictionalized establishment is the one Hayley visits in Miami Beach. I suppose if she’s going to start writing bad reviews or if someone is actually poisoned in a future book in a restaurant, I’ll have to do more inventing.

One of the first readers of An Appetite For Murder commented on the way I have chosen to lead off each of the chapters with a quote about food, chefs, or eating. Finding the quotes was so, so much fun. I started with more standard citations that would be familiar to many people, for example Miss Piggy’s famous “don’t eat more than you can lift.” But then the more I read, the more possibilities I found so I could tailor the quote to fit the action and the characters in each chapter–foreshadow what’s to come in many cases. And I came across gems like this one from Dwight Garner: “It is possible to imagine him having a small meal of minor critics for breakfast, as if they were kippers…

I so hope you all enjoy An Appetite For Murder –would love to hear your feedback!

You can read more about the book and the series on my website:, or Facebook And I’m always happy to see my writing and reading friends on twitter!


Thank you so much for being here today. Don’t you just love Miss Piggy!!!

An Appetite For Murder: A Key West Food Critic Mystery
Published by New American Library
A Division of The Penguin Group
A Brand New Series
A Key West Food Critic Mystery

Available Now

Haley Snow leaves New Jersey to follow the man of her dreams to Key West, Florida. Things don’t go as planned when Hayley learns she’s not the only woman in his life. She is determined to stay in Key West and since her entire life has revolved around food, cooking it, eating it, and writing about it, she decides to apply to be the food critic for a brand new magazine. Sounds good until Hayley learns her new boss would be the other woman in her ex-boyfriend’s life. Things get crazy when the police show up at her door to question her about a murder. The other woman is dead and Haley’s career as a food critic could be over before it has even begun.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Key West – Paradise – The perfect setting!! for mystery and mayhem!!!

Lucy Burdette weaves us through the streets of this small island, a popular tourist spot, and a place loved by both Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams. Key West’s culinary influences and offerings are as diverse as its population. Hayley has a variety of eateries to critique.

I have absolutely fallen for this character. I want to be this character. Even with the suspicion of being a murderer. She lives in a beautiful place, has wonderful friends and even lives on a boat. Her days are filled with eating yummy food, visits with chefs, a cat herder, a tarot card reader and did I mention she lives on a boat!

The mystery is divine, it is perfectly paced and the ending is a surprise. I have an appetite for much more from Lucy Burnette and the awesome life of Hayley Snow. This is very delicious debut of what will definitely be a delectable series.

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Thanks to the people at Penguin I have
2 copies of this wonderful book to giveaway
so be sure to fill out the form below to enter!!

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

***Remember GFC is going away March 1, 2012
so be sure you are following in a different way if you want to
continue to follow Escape With Dollycas.

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

If you publicize the giveaway anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End January 25, 2012 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted 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.”