Posted in Giveaways Reviews 2014 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Review/Giveaway – Fast Track by Julie Garwood

fast trackFast Track
Romantic Suspense
Dutton (July 29, 2014)
Published by The Penguin Group
Hardcover: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0525954453
E-Book File Size: 1180 KB
ASIN: B00G3L153Q
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Cordelia Kane has always been a daddy’s girl—her father raised her alone after her mother died in a car crash when Cordelia was just two years old. So when he has a serious heart attack, Cordelia is devastated, and the emotion is only intensified by the confusion she feels when he reveals the shocking truth about her mother.

Cordelia can’t suppress her curiosity about the woman who gave birth to her, and when she discovers the answers to her questions lie in Sydney, Australia, she travels there to get them.

Hotel magnate Aiden Madison is Cordelia’s best friend’s older brother. He’s oblivious to the fact that she’s had a crush on him for years. When he gets railroaded into taking her along to Sydney on his company jet, he’s unwittingly drawn into a volatile family drama.

Aiden wants to help Cordelia get answers about her mother, but threats from her wealthy, high-powered family are quickly becoming dangerous. Sparks are flying between Cordelia and Aiden, but after multiple attempts are made on Cordelia’s life, Aiden realizes he must put a stop to the madness before he loses the thing he values most.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I am testing my memory on this story. I believe Aiden and Cordelia’s crush started way back in a previous book. I believe it was Murder List back in 2004 and now 10 years later they come together again.  Aiden was always more of a big brother figure because he was her best friend’s older brother, but she has a huge crush on the guy.  This time they are thrown together due to circumstances beyond their control and her crush is reciprocated in a big way. Now she just has to stay alive and they need to realize they belong together.

The plot of this one was very engaging. After all these years Cordie’s father reveals a secret on his deathbed about her mother.  My heart was breaking for her and she had the courage to uncover the truth even though it put her in mortal danger.

There is also a subplot involving the Madison brothers. Two are very active in the family hotel business and the third brother is more of a playboy who races cars and hooks up with a variety of ladies. An accident has sidelined him and he decides to get involved in a deal his brothers have written off. Spencer and Aiden are not happy about Walker taking on the deal and family drama ensues.  Add this to Cordie’s drama and it makes a helluva story!

Yes, this book is part of the Buchanan / Renard / MacKenna series but what I like it that Julie Garwood writes them so they can each stand alone. Characters have returned from previous books but they are full and fleshed out so that you don’t have to reread or try to remember how everyone got to where they are today. But everyone that I have read has been very entertaining so if you can you should start at the beginning. When writing about family drama, suspense and romance Julie Garwood is one of the best.

I am hoping we don’t have to wait another 10 years to revisit these characters. I would love to Walker have his own adventure soon as he decides whether he wants to concentrate on the family business or on his playboy pleasures.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

To find out more about Julie Garwood and her books visit her webpage here.

I am giving away my review copy!

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Contest Will End August 16, 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 Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Guest Posts Literary Escapes Reviews 2014

Cozy Wednesday with Nancy J. Parra – Author of Engaged in Murder (Giveaway too!)

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!!!

Nancy J. Parra is my guest today and I am so excited about her brand new series!!

SONY DSC

Summer Escape

Hi- thanks to Lori for having me on the blog today. She is featuring escapes on her blog this summer. Like most of you, my childhood escapes were in books. I remember reading Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “The Long Winter” in the middle of an un air-conditioned summer and still shivering from the cold. You know you have great writing when that happens.

DSC00311If you follow me on Facebook you know I travel a lot for my day job. But my favorite escape is to Upper Peninsula of Michigan where my parents have a small house on a lake. It is quiet and calm. The air is fresh and smells of trees and the coolness that can be found in the great white north. My mother says they are rich because they get to live in such a beautiful place. In the morning we drink coffee and listen to the loons call from across the lake. I tease my dad that he is an “Old Poop” like Henry Fonda from “On Golden Pond.”

In truth my parents try to lure me up there for good as a perfect writer’s retreat, but I am so spoiled. The internet in the north is spotty at best. Cellphone reception is best up the hill, across the street and on top of a very large rock in the middle of the woods.  (Okay, truthfully, they discovered that there is a new cell tower by the lake so you can also go down to the laIMG_20131013_142249_720ke and get good reception.) Meanwhile, I am hooked on social media and stopping to do an internet search for research on a story point the moment it comes to me. Things that can’t be done easily there.

We won’t talk about the fact that this January my parents lived in the coldest place On the planet – based on statistical norms. It was even colder than both poles. Then the snow was well over the top of the cars-and that wasn’t the plowed drifts that was simply what fell from the sky. I think I’ll keep my escapes to the better weather months.DSC00324

In my opinion, if you live in a place you can no longer use it to escape.  At least that is what I learned in my twenties when I lived on a tropical pacific island for 18 months.  That completely ruined me for places like Hawaii.

Engaged in Murder coverMy books are all based on places I’ve lived. This month’s release-Engaged in Murder , book 1 in the Perfect Proposal series from Berkley is set in the Chicago, Illinois suburbs. Close enough to the big city to enjoy the museums and night life and theaters. Except that our heroine,  Pepper Pomeroy,  is far too busy building her new business and sleuthing out dead bodies to even think about nightlife.  Murder Gone A RyecoverToni Holmes, lead in the Gluten free “Baker’s Treat” Mystery Series from Berkley, lives in small town Kansas where the locals know everything about everyone and the kids cruise Central for their nightly entertainment. Last of all is Allie McMurphy, of the Candy-To Fudge or not to fudgeCoated Mystery Series set on Mackinac Island Michigan. Mackinac is one of the best treasures in the USA. It is a small island that time forgot as cars are not allowed. People get around by foot, or bicycle or horse drawn carriage. The tourists come for the quaint Victorian summer homes, the genteel perfection of the manicured grounds and the world’s best fudge.

I wouldn’t  trade any of the settings as they all bring me back to a time and a place that tugs at my heart and I hope you find the communities and the stories a wonderful  escape.  Of the three settings, which is your favorite?

Happy Reading!

Nancy

About This Author
Nancy J. Parra’s discovered she had a severe gluten allergy and had to give up her second favorite passed-time, baking. Six months into her forced new diet, she was back in the kitchen figuring out how to make her own gluten-free baked goods and soon posted delicious pictures on the web. When a good friend suggested she mix her two loves-baking and writing, she wrote her first cozy mystery, Gluten for Punishment (A Baker’s Treat Mystery), was released in 2013 and Murder Gone A-Rye was released May 6, 2014.

On a happy roll, she soon sold a Mackinac Island Fudge Shop mystery series. All Fudged Up was released in 2013. To Fudge or Not to Fudge will be out September 2.

Engaged in Murderthe first in a Brand New Series by set in the Chicago Suburbs featuring a wedding proposal event planner turned amateur sleuth.  Available now!!

With an MA in Writing Popular Fiction, Ms. Parra has written articles on writing, and has given workshops on writing techniques to various library and writers groups.

Visit her website at www.nancyjparra.com for more information, a list of her books and full reviews.

She can also be found on:
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Engaged in Murder cover
Engaged in Murder
(Perfect Proposals Mystery)

A Brand New Cozy Mystery Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (June 3, 2014)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Ben Perini
Cover Design by George Long
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425270356
E-Book File Size: 2527 KB
ASIN: B00EOARZC8
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There’s no planning for murder…

Pepper Pomeroy has found herself unemployed after being let go from her job as an event planner. Her sister’s boyfriend, Warren, asks her to help him plan the perfect way to propose to her sister. It just another event. She can handle this, no problem. She does such a great job he tells her she should open her own business. When he tells her this he doesn’t know about the drunk guy she found in the bathroom, who wasn’t so much drunk as he was dead. Or does he?? Before that marriage takes place Pepper needs to be sure her sister isn’t marrying a murderer.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Pepper is a fantastic protag, red unruly hair, a little jealous of her sister’s life, but she is an independent, creative woman determined to get her life back on track. Even if she has to solve a murder while she does it. She does put herself in a few dangerous situations.

I really enjoyed the relationship she has with her parents and her sister. They are a typical mid-western family. Her parents want to help Pepper get her business going even offering her old room back and half of another room for an office. They also want to pay for her sister Felecity’s engagement party. Pepper handles her parents offers perfectly.

The mystery was well plotted as well. It really kept me guessing and when the clues started to come together I didn’t think there were enough pages left to solve it. I almost thought we were going to have a cliffhanger. Thank you Nancy for not doing that to us.

This is a truly awesome start to a new cozy series. I could actual picture in my mind the entire story and I can imagine the plethora of directions Parra can take us with Pepper and her family.

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 Nancy 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 June 25, 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 Cozy Wednesday Reviews 2013

Cozy Wednesday – End Me A Tenor by Joelle Charbonneau

cozy wednesdayWelcome to Cozy Wednesday!

We are still unpacking from our move so there is no special guest today. Sorry. But I do want to tell you about the next Glee Club Mystery by Joelle Charbonneau. I will be giving my review copy away in an upcoming giveaway because right now I can’t put my hands on it and I want to make sure it is still in giveaway condition 🙂

end me a tenor

End Me a Tenor (A Glee Club Mystery)
2nd in Series
Cozy Mystery

A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (April 2, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425252161
E-Book File Size: 917 KB ASIN: B0099CUMNU

End Me a Tenor (Glee Club, #2)


High School Show Choir Coach Paige Marshall has her hands full. She has just learned that two other high schools are performing the same number as her choir in the upcoming competition season. She needs to quickly replace that song, complete with choreography, with another before they debut at the holiday concert in just a few days.

Paige has also been selected as one of the soloists in a production of the Messiah and is rehearsing daily to prepare. She is so excited, but the man singing the tenor part is world-renowned tenor David Richard and his overblown ego is hitting all the wrong notes. When the tempestuous tenor drops dead during rehearsal Paige finds herself investigating another murder and finds out the tenor was certainly no choirboy.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

What a wonderful encore to Murder for Choir. Charbonneau hits all the right notes!

The author combines mystery with a romantic triangle that reads like a marvelous melody. Should Paige be with Devlyn or Mike? The hunky detective or the talented teacher? Paige is extraordinary as she deals with keeping her current job while trying to further her singing career plus she is  dealing with her love life, her students, and her boss Larry, and trying to catch a killer.

The story has layers and is full of humor.  The characters just draw you right into their lives.  It is easy to see the author is a performer but she is also a terrific storyteller. Her insight into the musical arena shines through this entire literary score.

As I said in my review of Murder for Choir…

Like Glee, you will love this book!

Like cozy mysteries, you won’t be able to put this one down!

 I can’t wait for the next performance. It must almost be time for the Show Choir Competitions to begin. a perfect escape 5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about Joelle Charbonneau on her website here.  

Follow 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.”

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Posted in E-Book Challenge Reviews 2013

Review: The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society by Darien Gee

AVALON LADIES

The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society
Women’s Contemporary Fiction
Ballantine Books (January 29, 2013)
An Imprint of The Random House Publishing Group
Hardcover: 448 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0345525376
E-Book File Size: 1184 KB
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 034552537X
ASIN: B008WONV0M

The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society

Darien Gee, the author of Friendship Bread takes us back to Avalon, Illinois, population 4243.

Madeline’s Tea Salon is the place residents meet and catch up and even occasionally get together as a group like the members of The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society founded by Bettie Shelton. Under Bettie’s guidance, even the most reluctant of Avalon’s residents come to terms with their past and make bold decisions about their future.

Isabel Kidd is fixing up her ramshackle house while sorting through the complications of her late husband’s affair. Ava Catalina is mourning the love of her life and helping her young son grow up without his father. Local plumber Yvonne Tate is smart, beautiful, and new to Avalon, but finds that despite a decade of living life on her own terms, the past has a way of catching up—no matter where she goes. And Frances Latham, mother to a boisterous brood of boys, eagerly anticipates the arrival of a little girl from China—unprepared for the emotional roller coaster of foreign adoption.

Bettie has helped so many people and now she is facing a trial of her own. Everyone needs to come together and create something truly memorable just for her.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Darien Gee writes about friendship and she does it masterfully. I was actually sad when I reached the last page. Bettie may not be adored by everyone in Avalon but she sure is the glue that holds the town together. She believes the answer to every problem is scrapbooking and saving memories. It is also the community of scrapbookers and their families that gather together to share their projects and support each other through good times and bad.

While Bettie is the main character of this story, the supporting characters are written just as well. A few characters return from Gee’s first story but we are introduced to new ones as well. There are several prominent supporting characters. You need to take your time, this is not a book to rush through, so you can really get to know these fabulous. characters and their stories.  I said in my review of Friendship Bread that is was a story to be savored and the same is true with this story. The characters are rich and their stories feel real. One story line reminds me of similar circumstances in the Miss Julia Series by Ann B. Ross.

Gee has written another heartwarming and inspiring story that you will want to share with all your friends. I can only hope that this is not our last trip to Avalon. Both books are fabulous and can be read as stand alone but you will want to read both and then you will want to bake bread, start scrapbooking and get together with all your friends and family. The recipes and scrapbooking tips are a real added bonus.

a perfect escape 5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

To find out more about Darien Gee check out her webpage here.

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

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Posted in Cozy Wednesday Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Guest Posts Literary Escapes Reviews 2013 What's In A Name Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Author Kylie Logan (Giveaway too!)

cozy wednesday

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am so happy to welcome back Kylie Logan for Cozy Wednesday!

Casey for Library

 

A Charming Old Custom

At the risk of sounding old-fashioned, I have a confession to make. I think charm strings are simply . . .
image0-1[1]kyliewell, charming!

What’s a charm string? Ah, settle back and get ready to hear the story of these delightful antiques.

Creating charm strings was a fad in the late 1800s and early 1900s. That’s when young girls collected buttons and put them on long strings. There were rules to the game:

1. No two buttons should be the same

2. The buttons should come as gifts from friends or be traded with other stringers, they should never be bought

3. The more brilliant and beautiful each button, the better

4. Buttons with shanks are best because they nest together well

panic buttonA young girl would begin her string with what was called a “touch button,” one button that was usually a little bigger than the rest. From there, she would collect for years, always in pursuit of one more button, until the charm string reached 1000 buttons. Then, legend took over. Some stories said that 1000th button would be presented by the man who would become the girl’s husband. Another story said that after she strung that last button, a girl would meet her Prince Charming. In a total turn-around from those legends, some stories said that if a girl collected all 1000 buttons, she’d end up being a spinster.

Charm strings are also called memory strings, and it’s no wonder why. Each button came with a story, and families would gather with the charm string and trade memories. “This is a button from the coat I was wearing when I met your father,” a mother might say. “And here’s one from Grandpa’s Army uniform.” In the days before the distractions of TV, internet and cell phones, charm strings sparked conversation and help pass along family traditions and tales. In fact, an unfinished charm string was always left out in full view so visitors could contribute buttons (and stories) to it. It was also common to find non-button items on charm strings, things like religious amulets, coins and charms.

Charm strings of any size are nearly impossible to find these days. Most have been scooped up by collectors or broken apart by family members who each wanted a keepsake of the memories. But that doesn’t mean we couldn’t revive the tradition. Stringing buttons is a great way to encourage fine motor skills in young children, and sorting the buttons, too, helps them learn analytical skills. As for adults, there is endless delight in old buttons, and I’ve seen charm strings (of less than 1000 buttons, of course) used as one-of-a-kind bracelets and necklaces.

So get started. All it takes it a little string…and a few buttons!

Kylie Logan is the author of the Button Box mystery series. Book #3 in the series, “Panic Button,” is on store shelves now. It features Josie Giancola who owns the Button Box, an antique and vintage button shop, and a charm string brought to her by a customer who insists that the buttons on it are cursed. Impossible, Josie thinks. That is, until the customer is found murdered, strangled with the charm string. You can reach Kylie at: kylielogan@rocketmail.com

Thank you so much Kylie for dropping by. My grandma left behind several strings of buttons. I believe that was how she sorted them and then hung them on hooks on the door of her sewing room. She never told me anything about a charm string but I could definitely see her as a young girl making one of her own.

panic button

Panic Button
(Button Box Mystery)

3rd Book in Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (December 31, 2012)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Jennifer Taylor
Cover Design by Annette Fiore Defex
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425251836
E-Book File Size: 610 KB
ASIN: B0095ZMQG2

Panic Button (Button Box Mystery, #3)

Josie Giancola, owner of the Button Box shop, knows her buttons. But when she comes into contact with a rare charm string, she never imagines it will lead to murder…

In Victorian times, girls would string buttons, no two alike, in long chains to make charms. When the string reached 1000 buttons the legend was that the owner would meet the love of her life. A customer of Josie’s is not looking for love. She inherited a charm string and she will do anything to get rid of it. She believes the string is cursed. She has decided to donate it to a local museum as soon as Josie can appraise its value. Unfortunately before she can deliver it to the museum the owner is found strangled with the charming string of buttons. Josie doesn’t know if the curse is real but there is a real killer on the loose.

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

My favorite in this series so far!!! I have to be careful because I don’t want to give anything away but the history of the small town Ardent Lake was so interesting and plays a major role in this story. I really enjoy books that take us a few steps back into the past even for fictional places.  As a reader I become more engaged in the setting and characters. The charm string history was intriguing as well. Manna for button lovers.

Josie’s ex Kaz was mostly absent in this installment. I did miss his antics a bit, but the character that stole my heart this time was Stan. He has helped out Josie is the store before but after Josie is almost mugged outside her store Nev and Stan feel she needs a little protection and Stan steps up to stay with her at the store. While Josie is a little miffed that they think she needs a babysitter she realizes it’s nice to have someone around. They are very comfortable around each other and have each other’s back. A wonderful friendship.

Nev and Josie’s relationship continues to grow. Some of the residents of Ardent Lake are a little more than peculiar and by the end of the story LaSalle makes a new friend.

Kylie Logan strings words together to create a masterful mystery that is a pure pleasure to read.

a perfect escape 5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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

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

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

Leave a comment for Kylie for 5 Bonus Entries !

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

Contest Will End January 30, 2013 at 11:59 PM CST

Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

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

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Posted in Reviews 2013

Review: Hot Button by Kylie Logan

I had to read this to catch up on this series because Kylie Logan is coming to visit. She will be here on January 16 for Cozy Wednesday!!

hot button

Hot Button (Button Box Mystery)
2nd in Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (June 5, 2012)
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 292 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425251355
Cover Illustration by Jennifer Taylor
Cover Design by Annette Fiore Defax
E-Book File Size: 497 KB
ASIN: B0072NWIRQ

Hot Button

Button collector Josie Giancola has a sharp eye for detail, and a love for keeping things together. But when a murder interrupts her button business, she’s always ready to snap into action…

Josie is the chairwoman of an international button conference and she has hit the ground running – Picking up the key-note speaker at the airport, welcoming collectors, attending events and just trying to stay ahead of the next problem. She isn’t happy at first when her ex-husband shows up but when the guest of honor is found dead and his historic button is missing she is thankful he’s around. Detective Nevin Riley wants her help with the investigation and she can’t do that and handle the conference details too. She quickly appoints her ex as her assistant to handle things while she is tracking down clues. Who knew one man could have so many enemies? She has to act fast – before she becomes history herself.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Another wonderful mystery from Kylie Logan!

I love the history woven throughout this mystery. A part of history I never learned in school. Did you know Geronimo sold buttons from his shirts? What a treasure for a button collector!

Logan gives us quite a set of quirky characters in the button conference attendees from the former chairwoman to the pompous guest of honor. I was not surprised he ended up dead. Josie again is the strong woman, other women would have crumbled under all the problems she encountered without the dead body. Thankfully Kaz was on his best behavior most of the time and her “maybe boyfriend” Nevin is starting to step up.

Twists keep us guessing and as the clues evolve the culprit becomes clear. Kylie Logan has created another mystery cozy fans will enjoy.

just you and a friend

4 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

To Find Out More About Kylie Logan check out my post from the last time she paid us a visit here.

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

Posted in Reviews 2012 Wisconsin Author

Review: You’ve Got Murder by Karin Tabke and Edie Ramer

You’ve Got Murder
E-Book
Cozy Mystery
File Size: 409 KB
Print Length: 398 pages
ASIN: B006O5IIXQ

Meet the Shady Ladies. Wherever they go murder follows.

Six mystery writers who exchange emails, instant messages and texts discussing plot lines, sex and murder for their books, get a dose of non-fiction when one of their own is suspected of doing in a wife-beating killer.

Aristair is tough and strong, won’t date men but having sex with them is just fine. Hope is the caring mother of the group. She looks out for all of them and always tries to do the right thing. Megan is the fiery one, you don’t want to get on her bad side. Veronica is busy with her kids but does her best to keep up with all the happenings and drama. Kate is the most published of the bunch and that brings its own problems. Shelby is from the South recently transplanted to the Midwest. She won a contest to become a member of the Shady Ladies.

The heat cranks up when another member’s crooked literary agent is killed, and their newest member’s husband is looking more and more like a serial killer.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This was such a fun read. I could so picture a group of authors doing this, without the actual murder of course. Cozies authors seem to be a tight bunch whether it be The Cozy Chicks, The Stiletto Gang, Jungle Red Writers, Mysteries and Margaritas, or Mystery Lovers Kitchen, cozy authors love to congregate together and we all love to see what they are up to, the stories behind the stories.

It did take a bit to get used to the different format of texts and emails but soon the pages were flying by making this a very quick read. I was afraid that we would lose the background or the depth needed to follow the mystery but this was not the case at all. We get to know the characters and the plot was very easy to follow. Each character is very unique. I cannot pick a favorite.

Social media is taking over the world. I read Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park back in August of 2011 and loved it. It was filled with Facebook statuses. People today Facebook, E-mail, and text  so why not a mystery written the way we now communicate. I wouldn’t be a fan of many books in this format but it was a nice change of pace.

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About Karin Tabke
National bestselling, award-winning author Karin Tabke isn’t just another author with steamy stories to tell, but a cop’s wife who has “seen it all and heard it all.” Some of the hottest stories come from behind the blue wall of law enforcement rather than from in front. Married to a street cop, now retired, Karin is intimate with both and proves it with her sizzling tales of hot cops. Not only are her cops hot, but so are her sexy knights and bad boy werewolves. Karin’s Blood Sword Legacy series is a must read for anyone who loves tales of yore when men were men and women were women, and love did conqueror all. Her dark, erotic Blood Moon paranormal trilogy is best described as “Sons of Anarchy meets Rise of Lycans.” Her L.O.S.T. series (w/a Karin Harlow) is paranormal romantic suspense at its “chilling and sizzling”* best. You don’t want to miss any of Karin’s deliciously edgy tales of danger and passion!
Check out her website http://karintabke.com/
About Edie Ramer
Edie is funnier on the page than in real life. A multiple award-winning writer, she writes stories with heart, attitude and magic. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband, two dogs, and one important cat.

You can visit Edie at edieramer.com, and she blogs every other Monday at Magical Musings (magicalmusings.com), which has frequent giveaways.

This book was free on Amazon*

Posted in Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Guest Posts Reviews 2012

Cozy Wednesday with Author Joelle Charbonneau (Giveaway Too!)

Welcome to this Special Thursday Edition of Cozy Wednesday!


I hope those of you in the U.S.A. had a wonderful holiday and those of you hailing from other great places forgive me for pushing the festivities off for one day.

We had a wonderful holiday but I really can’t wait to share this book with you. Joelle has given us a mystery every “GLEEK” can love! I was in Chorus in Junior High and High School but was far from a shining star. I was one of those in the back row that sang just enough to pass the class and did my best to not ruin the songs we were singing. Today I sing-a-long with the radio and my kids and grandkids cover their ears. So I promise not to burst into song today. I will just sit here quietly with my glass of lemonade and let Joelle tell you all about her new series and Murder for Choir (A Glee Club Mystery).  Of course my full review can be found at the bottom of this post along with a giveaway.

Mr . Dollycas in on vacation this week and he made some yummy cookies for me to share. So help yourself to a glass of lemonade and enjoy the cookies, then relax and help me welcome Joelle.

Hi Joelle!

Hi Everyone!

I’ve had lots of opening nights.  Standing on stage behind the closed curtain you can hear the buzz of the audience.  The orchestra tunes up.  The energy is electric.  No matter how many rehearsals you’ve had or how well you know the show, there is a rush of nerves.  A burst of adrenaline.  Under the excitement there is always the worry that the show might not be ready for the audience – the press – the world.

Then the curtain goes up.  The orchestra plays and there is no time for doubts.  No time to worry about whether you’ll remember your lines, lyrics or dance steps.  The show starts and there is nothing to do but enjoy the ride.

July 3rd was opening night (or day as the case would be) for Murder for Choir, the first in the Paige Marshall Glee Club mystery series.  The story involves a classically trained singer who is struggling to make it in the performing world.  She takes a job as a local show choir coach to make ends meet and finds a rival show choir director strangled with a microphone dead.

Don’t you hate when that happens?  I know I do.

This is only my third opening curtain in the publishing world and I think I’m more nervous this time that I was for the other two.

Why?

Because when writing this book I used my own life for inspiration.  Oh, my heroine Paige doesn’t look a thing like me.  My students are a joy to teach and I don’t have a large standard poodle threatening to starve me.  But the core of Paige – the performer searching for a way to deal with rejection and still remain hopeful that someday she’ll get her big break – that’s me.  I can’t tell you how often I sat near the phone after an audition.  Sometimes it rang. More often it didn’t.  Rejection is part of the business.  I knew that going it.  So did Paige.  But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt when the part goes to someone else and when your dreams don’t look like they will ever come true.

So, on this opening of this Murder for Choir show, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that readers fall in love with Paige, her determination and the ability she has to pick herself up when she gets knocked down.  I also hope they enjoy laughing with the colorful cast of characters that make up Prospect Glen and the Music in Motion show choir.  If so, I am hopeful that the curtain will be allowed to come up again.  Paige and I would love to perform an encore.

~Joelle

Joelle, I am so happy you could be here with us today! I am positive readers are going to absolutely love Paige. I hope you will come back when she puts on her next performance!

About This Author
Joelle Charbonneau has performed in a variety of opera and musical theatre productions across Chicagoland. She now teaches private voice lessons and uses her stage experience to create compelling characters in her books. She is the author of two mystery series: The Rebecca Robbins mysteries (Minotaur Books) and the Glee Club mystery series, Murder for Choir (Berkley). Joelle is also the author of the Graduation Day young adult trilogy that will debut with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s in Spring 2013. Learn more at www.joellecharbonneau.com


Murder for Choir
(A Glee Club Mystery)

Brand New Series

A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Paul Hess
Cover Design by Rita Frangie
Available Now!

Paige Marshall has taken a job as a Glee Club Coach at Prospect Glen High School as she waits for the next big break to come along in her opera career. She thought professional auditions were rough but she quickly learns how cutthroat competition is for high school show choirs. These students expect to win a championship and don’t believe Paige is the right coach for the job.

Finding a rival coach dead does not help matters. Then one of her students becomes the prime suspect in the investigation. Paige decides she must do everything she can to help clear his name even if it means never hitting a high note again.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
What a musical debut! This story has the perfect tempo and deserves a standing ovation.

Like Glee, you will love this book!
Like cozy mysteries, you won’t be able to put this one down!
Hate your choir director, this is the book for you!

You can tell the author is very familiar with this subject matter, it just sings with that personal touch.

Joelle Charbonneau has created a great cast of characters in a high school setting which as anyone knows is always full of drama. Paige has her hands full not only with the show choir kids, but her boss Larry, the Costume Designer Felicia, Detective Mike Kaiser, and her Aunt Millie too. Aunt Millie’s antics will have you laughing until you are crying. Who knew one little cosmetics party could get so out of hand? Paige is also trying to make friends with her aunt’s standard poodle that she calls “Killer”. She has to get him to like her if she ever expects to eat again. Good thing she is a very determined woman. It will take more than a dead body and a dog poised to attack to knock her out of the spotlight.

I am hoping Murder for Choir (A Glee Club Mystery) is the prelude to many more performances for Paige Marshall and her show choir.  I have fallen hard for this cast and definitely demand an ENCORE!! 


Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent
Murder for Choir

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

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

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

Leave a comment for Joelle for 5 Bonus Entries !

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

Contest Will End July 18, 2012 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ENTRY FORM!

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

Posted in Reviews 2012

Review: Life Without Parole by Clare O’Donohue


Life Without Parole:
A Kate Conway Mystery (Kate Conway Mysteries)

2nd in Series
A Plume Book
Published by The Penguin Group

We first met Kate Conway, free lance television producer in Missing Persons, her soon to be ex-husband was killed and she was the prime suspect. Of course, she didn’t do it.

In Life Without Parole Kate is actually a little bored as her life returns to “normal”. Then she is offered two new jobs. One is a documentary about prison inmates sentenced to life without parole and the other is a reality show about a new restaurant.

She accepts both jobs and works out a schedule. Things go awry when one of the investor’s in the restaurants is murdered. Then become even poor intense as she digs deeper in to the minds of the prisoners. Can what she learns from these death row killers help her solve the murder mystery?

Dollycas’s Thoughts
I adore the way Clare O’Donohue writes. These stories are of the edge of your seat variety, face paced, exciting and can’t put down.

Kate Conway knows her job and she does it well. She gets in the heads of both the investors and the prisoners. There are a lot of mind games happening here giving this story some unexpected psychological elements. 

Clare O’Donohue is writing what she knows as she has worked in television. Her experience helps draw some awesome characters and plausible  plots. The dialogue rings true as do the relationships, even the most unlikely friendship between Kate and Vera.  In my review of Missing Persons I said I felt like I was watching a television drama and almost forgot I was reading a book. The same is true in this installment. 

Kate Conway continues to develop at a perfect pace. With her chosen profession the material for future stories is endless. That makes this reader very happy.


Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

To Find Out More About Clare Visit Her Website http://clareodonohue.com

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 Reviews 2012

Breach of Trust by David Ellis

Breach of Trust
Berkley Prime Crime
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group

A Jason Kolarich Novel
Available Now In Paperback


Jason has lost his wife and baby daughter. He should have been in the car with them. He was more familiar with road. Instead he was waiting for a call that never came. He was waiting for an informant to call with vital information, but the informant was murdered before he could place the call. Jason carries the guilt of not only losing his family but the informant had a wife and kids too.

Jason now has the opportunity to find the killer and bring him to justice. But the FBI is on to his plan as it collides with a probe of their own. He is forced into a game of wiretaps, listening devices, and danger, to help get the answers he needs and the information the FBI wants. The informant was just the tip of the iceberg. Corruption runs deep and wide, hopefully he can make it out alive.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
A corrupt governor in Illinois, no way. Ellis writes this book after serving as House Prosecutor that convicted Governor Ron Blagojevich in the impeachment trial before the Illinois Senate. He writes what he knows. This is quite a political drama.

We were introduced to Jason in Ellis’ The Hidden Man. I was really looking forward to this story after reading that one. Jason Kolarich is a guy trying to do the right thing so you are naturally rooting for the truth to prevail.  

My only reservation about this story is that while very entertaining,  the book was written so that it could be read as a stand alone. A lot of pages were filled with things from the previous book with few real necessary additions. Coming in at 546 pages the repetition took away in places what could have been a tight page turning novel. It was wonderful that the truth was revealed and came together, but having read the first book it dragged in spots. The last third of the book was completely page turning and exciting. The suspense part came through  a little more in this one. 

Truthfully these books could be read in any order. I would start with this one and if you want, check out The Hidden Man.  I see The Wrong Man (Jason Kolarich) is coming out June 28, 2012. I will look forward to the next installment. David Ellis is also teaming up with James Patterson for the anxiously awaited Guilty Wives out on March 26.


Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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.”