Jan 262016
 

sweet peppet heroSweet Pepper Hero: A Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mystery
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Tennessee
4th in Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
Published by Penguin Random House, LLC.
Release Date: January 5, 2016
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425279236
E-Book ASIN: B00W2ZKNZ8
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Old rivalries heat up in the fourth Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade mystery from the national bestselling author of In Hot Water.

Fire chief Stella Griffin has been put in charge of judging the annual recipe contest, but Eric—her resident ghost and true culinary genius—has vanished. Before she can track down his latest haunt, she’s called in to investigate a local moonshine distillery that was set ablaze, making her realize there’s more than pies and cakes cooking in Sweet Pepper.

As rumors of a revived whiskey war ignite, Stella turns to the town’s elders to help her find answers. The past might have some clues as to what has sparked the present fires. But when following a lead lands her in buried rubble, Stella realizes she must extinguish this case fast or she might be going down in flames.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Is that a beautiful cover or what? Kudos to Mary Ann Lasher and George Long!

I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book. The authors left us with a cliffhanger at the end of In Hot Water and these characters are some of my all-time favorites. Chief Eric or his ghost is near and dear to my heart because he reminds me so much of my dad. The cliffhanger was resolved but not in a way I ever expected. Pretty dramatic but it had me laughing too.

Aside from the cliffhanger, in this installment, the police have orders from the ATF to investigate stills in the area. It seems that even today people are brewing moonshine illegally. When a still explodes and a man dies it is time for Stella to step in. Then when another still starts on fire along with the house it is hidden in, Stella starts to think it is not a coincidence so she starts her on investigation. But before she can even sort through the evidence she finds herself in peril.

I love the way Stella and Eric work together to solve the mystery. This story is filled with fires, explosions, whiskey wars and other drama. We also meet a few more ghosts that are nothing like Chief Eric. They have their own issues. More members of the community are joining the fire department and the fires and training sessions are quite interesting as all the personnel kinks are worked out.  But in my opinion fire dog Hero, lives up to his name and is the star of the story as the title implies. He is such a smart dog. with keen instincts. The people of Sweet Pepper are fortunate to have him as part of the brigade.

These authors continue to give us absolutely awesome stories time and time again. They can have us on the edge of our seat one moment, laughing out loud the next and even occasionally reaching for a tissue. So much happens in these pages that it truly boggles my mind and everything just flows right together perfectly. The ending was a real surprise and the teaser for the next book has me so anxious that waiting a year is just plain mean 🙂

Sweet Pepper, Tennessee is know for its peppers so of course there are recipes in the back of the book.

This is a great addition to this wonderful series! Start a fire (in your fireplace) and curl up with it as soon as you can.

perfect 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Authors

J. J. Cook is a pseudonym for a married couple who writes mysteries, mostly set in the South, with a touch of paranormal and romance.

Author Links:

Webpage       Facebook      Twitter

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.

This year I am trying to build my Twitter following so for this giveaway 4 Bonus Entries will be awarded by following me on Twitter. @dollycas

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 February 9, 2016 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.”

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Feb 042015
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
Fry Another Day finally hit store shelves yesterday and it was well worth the wait!
Zoe Chase – owner of the Biscuit Bowl food truck is my guest today!

 Fry another day

An Update from the Sweet Magnolia Food Truck Race
By Zoe Chase – owner of the Biscuit Bowl food truck
From Fry Another Day
By J.J. Cook

We’re here in Atlanta – finally! The Sweet Magnolia Food Truck Race has been grueling so far. I was expecting some stiff competition from the other food trucks, but not the kind that comes with murder!

I have to tell you that Uncle Saul, Miguel, Ollie, Delia have worked as hard as I have to make sure things go right. It hasn’t been easy with competitors like Our Daily Bread, Stick It Here, Meggie’s Mushrooms, and Pizza Papa. They have really pushed us to our limits.

Plus the weird things the sponsors want us to do – making biscuits out of sweet potatoes, serving food on roller skates, and finding mystery food judges – have been a challenge.

But what could I expect from a food truck race from Charlotte, NC to my hometown of Mobile, Alabama? Ten food trucks trying to win the $50,000 grand prize that will change our lives!

Of course, the kiss Miguel and I shared could be a life-changer too!

I’m so hopeful to be the last food truck standing, and make sure Miguel knows how I feel about him. It’s an exciting time in my life. I hope you will share it.

See you on the road! Be sure to vote for the Biscuit Bowl!

Spiced Peaches
Spiced peaches were a hit for us during the food truck race. They aren’t hard to make, and have a cool, delicious zing!
Ingredients:

2 cups water
2 cups of sugar
1 tablespoon whole allspice
1 tablespoon whole cloves
4, 3 inch cinnamon sticks
2 pounds of peaches (about 10 medium)
You’ll also need one small square of cheesecloth.
Directions:
Mix sugar and water in a heavy saucepan.
Tie allspice and cloves in the cheesecloth. Add this, and the cinnamon sticks, to the water and sugar.
Cover and boil for 5 minutes.
Peel the peaches while the water and sugar are cooking. After the syrup is done boiling, remove cinnamon sticks and cheesecloth bag. Drop the peaches into boiling syrup, a few at a time
Simmer peaches until tender; about 5 minutes.
Delicious with vanilla ice cream!
~Zoe

I just love this picture of Joyce and Jim

I just love this picture of Joyce and Jim

About The Authors

Joyce and Jim Lavene write award-winning, best selling mystery fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. They have written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon, and Simon and Schuster along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family.

Author  Links 

 Jim’s Facebook Page

Joyce and Jim’s Facebook page

Our Amazon AuthorCentral Page

Joyce’s Twitter

J.J. Cook’s webpage

Fry another dayFry Another Day
(Biscuit Bowl Food Truck)

Cozy Mystery
Setting: Alabama
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (February 3, 2015)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Griesback & Martucci
Cover Design by Jason Gill
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425263464
E-Book ASIN: B00LMGK40W
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With a few loyal friends in tow—including her handsome attorney, Miguel, and her cat, Crème Brûlée—Zoe drives the Biscuit Bowl to Charlotte, North Carolina, to enter a nationally televised food truck race. The contest features challenges across the Southeast, and with a fifty-thousand-dollar grand prize, competition isn’t just fierce—it’s killer.

As everyone gears up for the first challenge, another food trucker from Zoe’s hometown is found dead. The race rolls on, but when the body count rises, police begin to suspect Miguel. Now Zoe must race to catch the killer before her attorney needs an attorney.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Road Trip! Zoe and the Biscuit Bowl crew have entered the Sweet Magnolia Food Truck Race. Ten food trucks from the Southeast are all vying to win $50,000. Sounds like fun and it is until one truck vendors is found dead. What everyone thinks was a crazy accident is soon ruled a murder and Zoe’s attorney friend Miguel seems to be a prime suspect. Now Zoe is after more than 1 prize. The $50,000 and finding the real killer. It couldn’t really be Miguel…could it?

Damn J.J. Cook has done it again! I couldn’t put this book down!

Zoe, Ollie, Uncle Saul, Delia, Miguel and even Zoe’s cat Crème Brûlée are all back and traveling around the Southeastern part of the United States serving up their deep fried bread bowls with some very tasty fillings all to win a prize that would get Zoe a huge step closer to opening up her own sit-down restaurant. They are up for any challenge including wearing roller skates or serving patrons during a torrential rain storm.

This story is just like a show you would see on the Food Network, well maybe not the murder, but you know what I mean. People will go on television and do just about anything for money. The author takes that and turns it sideways to include a murder mystery giving us an extremely entertaining read.

The characters are engaging and all have their idiosyncrasies that cozy readers love. I enjoyed traveling with them from North Carolina to Georgia and home to Alabama. Never a direct route, there was always a monkey wrench or two thrown in along the way. The challenges were interesting and the “seat of the pants” method of producing the show probably happens more often than television viewers realize.

Whether writing at J.J. Cook or their pseudonyms you can’t go wrong reading anything they write. They have something for everyone to love and always have a new book right around the corner. Happy Reading!

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

GIVEAWAY

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.

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

Leave a comment for J.J. Cook 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 February 18, 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.”

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Jan 072015
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to the 1st Cozy Wednesday of 2015!!

Joyce Lavene, half of J.J. COOK, is back

I just love this picture of Joyce and Jim

I just love this picture of Joyce and Jim!

and I am hitting her with

20 quick questions1. Favorite Color – blue

2. Favorite Candy – chocolate

3. Favorite Snack – hush puppies

4. Favorite Soft Drink – root beer

5. Favorite Hard Drink – rum

captain-morgan-rum-435218

6. Favorite Ice Cream Flavor – chocolatechocolate-ice-cream-scoop

7. Favorite Movie – The Avengers

8. Favorite TV Show – Game of Thrones

9. Favorite Book – The Dark Hand of Magic by Barbara Hambly

10. Favorite Fictional Character – Dr. Strange

11. Favorite Super Hero – Dr. Strange

12. Favorite Singer/Group/Band – Enya

13. Favorite Carnival Ride – tilt-a-whirl

14. Favorite Spring Activity – gardening
GARDENING

15. Favorite Summer Activity – swimming
SWIMMING

16. Favorite Fall Activity – hiking
HIKING

17. Favorite Winter Activity – reading
READING

18. Favorite Place to Read – the library
LIBRARY

19. Favorite Place to Write – our office

2o. Dream Vacation Destination – Scotland

Find out more about Joyce and Jim and their books on their webpage here.

Like them on Facebook too!

hot waterIn Hot Water (A Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade)
3rd Book in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting: Tennessee
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (January 6, 2015)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Mary Ann Lasher
Cover Design by George Long
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425252628
E-Book ASIN: B00KWG5YNA
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Sweet Pepper, Tennessee, has the world’s hottest and sweetest peppers—as well as a ghost that cooks and a fire chief who fights crime…

SPARK OF INTEREST

Stella Griffin should be bubbling over with joy now that she’s the full-time fire chief of Sweet Pepper, except trouble is brewing on her doorstep. An angry resident has purchased her cabin, and—with a bulldozer in tow—is ready to tear it down. But as Stella worries over the fate of her home and Eric, her ghostly roommate, there’s soon an even greater cause for alarm.

A suspicious house fire in the pricey Sunset Beach community at Sweet Pepper Lake claims the life of ex-state representative Barney Falk. The nature of the death has Stella feeling out of her depth, so she teams up with the state’s arson investigator. Moving full steam ahead with the case, they must smoke out a killer before the firebug strikes again…

INCLUDES RECIPES!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I have to start out by saying that Joyce and Jim Lavene are some of my absolute favorite storytellers but they did it again!! This story ends with another cliffhanger!! That last page was a killer!! Oh my stars!!

Okay well let’s talk about In Hot Water. Stella has decided to make Sweet Pepper her home but her actual home, Chief Eric Gamlyn’s cabin, has been purchased out from under her and the new owner plans to demolish the place. What will happen to Eric’s ghost if his home disappears? The bulldozer has been temporarily stopped but Stella has her hands full with a house fire that looks like arson and the ex-politician owner that was killed. The investigation goes awry and Stella finds herself “in hot water” as she tries to catch the killer before it’s too late.

These characters are fantastic. Eric reminds me so much of my dad, who was also a fire chief. I would have loved to follow in his footsteps but that just wasn’t meant to be. Eric’s and Stella’s relationship is complicated and the biggest obstacle is that he is a ghost. They have grown quite dependent on each other. I think it is so funny that he loves to cook but he can’t eat. Circumstances in the story create a huge change for Eric and it adds a whole new dimension to their relationship.

In addition to the two main characters there are several supporting characters and as the arson investigation starts and halts abruptly Stella starts to wonder who in the town she can actually trust. The fire brigade gets some new members too. I was thrilled to see another female, Nancy Bradford join the team. There are also a few members returning after leaving for family reasons and that causes a little dust up within the brigade as the people that filled in have grown comfortable with their assignments. All these little subplots fire up the story as the main plot becomes the combustible backdraft leading to the extrication of the arsonist/killer.

Each A Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mystery tops the last one. I can’t wait to don my virtual turnout gear and jump on the truck for the next fire and whatever else Stella gets herself into. All I can tell you is that that cliffhanger has me burning hot to get my hands on the installment.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 GIVEAWAY

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.

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

Leave a comment for Joyce 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 January 21, 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.”

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Apr 022014
 

great escape tour banner large death on eat street large banner640

Death On Eat Street
by J.J. Cook

death on eat street

Death on Eat Street
(Biscuit Bowl Food Truck)

A Brand New Cozy Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (April 1, 2014)
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425263457
E-Book File Size: 1949 KB
ASIN: B00F9EZAUW
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Zoe Chase always wanted to own her own restaurant—but first, she’ll have to serve up a heaping helping of meals on wheels, with a side of mystery…

When she’s once again passed over for a promotion at work, Zoe decides to take the big leap and go for her dream. She quits, gives up her fancy digs, and buys a fixer-upper diner in a shady part of town. To keep above water during the renovation, she buys a used food truck to serve the downtown and waterfront of Mobile, Alabama.

Zoe starts to dish out classic Southern food—but her specialty is her deep-fried biscuit bowls that blow traditional bread bowls away.

After a promising start, things start to go downhill faster than a food truck without brakes. First, someone tries to rob the cash register. Next, Zoe is threatened by the owner of a competing food truck for taking their spot. And when the owner ends up dead inside Zoe’s rolling restaurant, Zoe and her sole employee, Ollie, find themselves hopping out of the frying pan into the fryer. They need to find the real killer, before both of them get burned.

(Recipes Included)

Dollycas’s Thoughts

For a great cozy series to be a success you have to have great characters that readers can get comfortable with and invest themselves in. J.J. Cook has introduced us to some truly wonderful characters in this new series.

Zoe is a leading character readers will fall for quickly. Passed over time and time again for jobs that went to men, men she had trained, she chucks the easy paycheck and goes after her dream. She wants to open a restaurant and to make enough money for that she starts out with a food truck selling some awesome biscuit bowls with delicious fillings.

Her parents, who are divorced, think she has lost her mind. Her mom is a bit over the top but her dad seems to understand but won’t stand up to his ex-wife. This couple plus her Uncle Saul  brings  much of the comedy to this story.

Then there is Zoe’s boyfriend that soon becomes her ex-boyfriend who may be banking smart but is relationship stupid.

Her friend Ollie has her back and helps out with the food truck. He is a homeless man she met at a shelter where she donates any food not sold at the end of the day. There is much more to his story and we just scratch the surface in this installment.

To top things off there is Miguel, the lawyer that comes to Zoe’s rescue more than once and makes her heart rate increase. I can’t wait to see how this relationship progresses.

And I mustn’t forget Crème Brûlée, Zoe’s fabulous feline. He plays a key role!

Added to this characters is a fantastic mystery. As the body count rises Zoe does her best to try to sort out the clues and find the real killer.

J.J. Cook has cooked up a real winner with this series debut. I read it all in one serving, I mean sitting. I could not put it down!!

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About J.J. Cook

J.J. Cook writes award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as themselves, Joyce and Jim Lavene, and Ellie Grant. They have written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon, and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family. Visit them at www.jjcook.net.

 Author Links

www.tellingstoriesthrupictures.blogspot.com

www.jjcook.net

@authorjlavene

https://www.facebook.com/BiscuitBowlFoodTruckMysteries

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18492486-death-on-eat-street

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 J.J. Cook 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 April 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.”

 

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Jan 152014
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am especially excited today to Welcome Jim Lavene.

Joyce has dropped by before but this is his first visit.

I hope it won’t be his last 🙂

A Guy’s Guide to Writing Cozy Mysteries (with his wife)

By Jim Lavene

Jim Lavene biopicOkay. People ask a lot about Joyce and me working together every day. Let’s go ahead and get that one out of the way.

I can’t tell you how many women are just plain glad that they don’t have to work with their husbands. Ladies: Men feel the same way.

Joyce and I have a weird kind of symbiotic relationship. You all knew that already, right? We both grew up with our heads in books, living on other planets and meeting incredible people.

Now we can create those interesting places and people. I can’t start to tell you how much fun that is. And when you can do it with your best friend – that makes it all the better!

I never knew what they were called when I was a kid – but I loved reading Agatha Christie novels. Now I know they’re cozy mysteries.  I also have a thing for the old Gothic novels. But I admit that my favorite books are fantasy and/or science fiction.

When Joyce and I aren’t writing, we have some individual hobbies we like to do. I like to fix computers. All of our friends and family know where to bring their computers when they aren’t working. It took me a year once to find the right program to recover my daughter’s hard drive (it had all her pictures on it) but eventually, I got them all back for her. That was satisfying!

playing with fireWhen I was a kid, I wanted to go into space. That was really the only thing I wanted to do. We all grow up and find other things, but that was always my dream. I’m hoping I can still accomplish that.

As far as escaping somewhere to write, I can’t imagine doing that by myself. I’m happy doing what I’m doing, with the person I’m doing it with, in the place we are.

I’m a Virgo, so we don’t think of escaping much. We dig our feet into the earth, and build on what we know, and what we have.

Oh, and I really like how many letters we get from women saying they are in love with Eric, our ghost in the Sweet Pepper series. Eric is totally patterned after me (except for the cooking part and the dead part). So keep those letters coming, ladies. I enjoy reading them!

Thanks for having me here, Lori!

~Jim

Jim you are welcome to drop by anytime!!!

About J.J. Cook

J.J. Cook’s first mystery, That Old Flame of Mine, became an instant bestseller in 2013. Playing with Fire is the second book in that series. They write award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as Joyce and Jim Lavene, and Ellie Grant. They have written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon, and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family.

www.jjcook.net

@authorjlavene

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17938369-playing-with-fire?ac=1

https://www.facebook.com/authorsj.j.cook?ref=hl

 

playing with fire
Playing with Fire(A Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade)
2nd in Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (January 7, 2014)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Mary Ann Lasher
Cover Design by George Long
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425252451
E-Book File Size: 2197 KB
ASIN: B00D7Z4GT6
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

Welcome to Sweet Pepper, Tennessee. Nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains, it’s home to the hottest and sweetest peppers in the world—as well as at least one ghost and a hotbed of secrets…

GETTING WARMER

Fire Chief Stella Griffin is working to solve the mysterious death of her predecessor, Eric Gamlyn—who also haunts her cabin. Yet the more she learns, the more burning questions she must answer. Just as Stella thinks she has a lead from Deputy Chum, someone snuffs her hopes—and the lawman.

Adding fuel to the fire, Stella’s parents soon arrive—with her ex-boyfriend—hoping to persuade her to return to Chicago. Now Stella is torn between the life she left behind and uncovering what happened to her ghostly friend. But she’d better think fast or more than her investigation could go up in flames…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Another excellent story from these authors. They continue to top themselves and exceed my expectations. They are amazing storytellers.

This series always touches my heart because Eric Gamlyn makes me think of my dad who was also a fire chief who left this earth too soon. The words that come out of Eric’s mouth, his thoughts, everything he does reminds me of my dad. I wouldn’t doubt my dad still haunts his station as well since firefighting and training firefighters were his life.

Eric is just one of the wonderful characters in this series. Stella is a strong woman in a profession many people still believe only a man can do. It is awesome to read about a woman fire chief. There are more women entering this field every day so it makes me so happy to see her as a main character in this series. The relationship between Stella and Eric is what makes this story soar.

Stella’s  parents and her ex play a major part in this installment. They are ready for her to come home and Stella faces a huge decision. Can she leave Sweet Pepper and the life she is making for herself there?

The mystery started in the first book continues and we learn a bit more Stella’s grandfather, Ben Carson. There is a lot of smoke and a bit of fire as we start to untangle the clues to Eric’s death. The reader quickly becomes engaged in trying to solve the mystery right along with Stella and while some questions are answered others remain and the author leaves us with a cliffhanger to boot. I reached the last page and screamed NO!! I need the next book as quick as possible, with red lights and sirens!!!

Great Job Joyce and Jim!!!

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Be sure to check out Hero’s Journey (Novella) (A Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade). A wonderful short story about the fabulous HERO!! The dalmatian that has found a home with Eric and Stella. You can read my review here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  I will also choose one commenter to receive my review copy!!!

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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Nov 292013
 

HERO'S JOURNEY
Hero’s Journey (Novella)
(A Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade)

1.5 in the Series
Cozy Mystery
E-Book File Size: 1031 KB
Print Length: 79 pages
Publisher: Berkley (December 3, 2013)
ASIN: B00CX5V5DG
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

 

 

A hot dog and a hot head are on the loose in Sweet Pepper, Tennessee, and it’s up to Fire Chief Stella Griffin to collar them both...

We met Stella Griffin in That Old Flame of Mine, the first installment of this series, back in April. Stella accepted a temporary position in Sweet Pepper to train the local residents to be firefighters. The former fire chief had passed away and she needed to get out of Chicago and away from her cheating boyfriend. She starts to think maybe Chicago was better than one of her current roommates, a dalmatian puppy named Hero,  and the ghost of Eric Gamlyn, the former fire chief. She loves Hero but living with a ghost is a major adjustment.

In this novella, Hero disappears and while everyone is searching for him they also have to deal with a string of fires and burglaries. The strange thing is Hero been seen at these fires but is gone by the time Stella and the other firefighters arrive. The fires also appear to be deliberately set.  So now Stella is not just looking for her lost dog but an arsonist too.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Being a daughter of a Fire Chief these stories just capture my heart. This novella was just what I needed to tide me over until Playing with Fire comes out January 7.

We never had a dalmatian, even though I begged for one for years. Hero is a truly special dog and has earned his name.  Stella is feeling more at home in Sweet Pepper and her relationship with a certain police officer seems to be growing. I continue to be drawn to Chief Gamlyn. I tend to forget he is ghost.  He reminds me a lot of my dad who I miss each and every day. These authors know how to write characters readers love and root for, characters that engage us and pull us right into the story.

Time to light the fire in the fireplace and curl up with this short cozy mystery. Enjoy!!

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author
Joyce Lavene, and her husband/partner, Jim, write the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mysteries as J.J. Cook. They have written and published more than 60 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family. Visit them at www.joyceandjimlavene.com or www.jjcook.net plus 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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Mar 272013
 

cozy wednesdayWelcome to Cozy Wednesday!

Today I am pleased to welcome new author J.J. Cook to tell us about their new series.
Cozy fans will be pleased to know that while this is a new name
this author team is very familiar to us.

Jim and Joyce Lavene have written several fantastic mysteries and other genres as well.

One half of J.J. Cook is here today!
Hi Joyce!!

Hi Everyone!

Stella Griffin and the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mysteries

clip_image001Our main character in the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mysteries is Fire Chief Stella Griffin. Stella is part of a strong Irish family that has served the fire department in Chicago, Illinois for many years. She understands the rigors of the life, but when it came time for her to make her choice of career, she knew it was what she wanted.

404367_452465988129034_528250595_n (1)Firefighters are a strange breed of men, my grandfather used to tell me. They run into the fire instead of away from it. My grandfather, Henry Koch, was a firefighter. He was part of the team that fought the Our Lady of the Angel’s Fire, one of the most devastating because it killed so many children in a Catholic school. That was one fire he wouldn’t talk or joke about.

fire badge croppedMy great-grandfather, Michael Sebastian, was also with the CFD. In the late 1800s, he drove a team of white horses that hauled the fire wagon. The job was even harder when he was a firefighter because they had no special equipment, no protection.

My husband and my father have both been volunteer firefighters. Basically, this means they get all the danger and the hard work without getting paid. Volunteers have to train for hours every week, as much as the professional firefighters. They have to go out at all hours of the day and night, in every kind of weather, never knowing what’s waiting for them. They do it for their communities.

I wanted to be a firefighter when I was 14. I thought it was the noblest profession in the world. Everyone laughed because GIRLS weren’t firefighters. I cried for days. That’s changed now, for the better of the firefighting community, and probably the food!

Smoky MountainsNow, I’ve found a way of honoring the people in my family who have fought fires, lost some, and grieved over victims. Stella is the chief of a volunteer fire brigade in the Smoky Mountains. She is who I imagined I could be, at one time. She’s strong and brave, loyal to her volunteers, concerned about people.

She came to life for me in Sweet Pepper. In the first book, That Old Flame of Mine, she goes to the small town in Tennessee after a bad break-up with her boyfriend and an injury that has put her off the job. She doesn’t realize how raw her recruits are or how different being a volunteer firefighter is, but she learns.

She always plans on going back to Chicago, but Sweet Pepper, and the resident ghost in her log cabin there, may change her mind.

I hope this book will be something that would’ve made my family of firefighters proud.

~Joyce

About This Author
Joyce Lavene, and her husband/partner, Jim, write the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mysteries as J.J. Cook. They have written and published more than 60 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family. Visit them at www.joyceandjimlavene.com or www.jjcook.net plus on

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404367_452465988129034_528250595_n (1)

That Old Flame of Mine
(A Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade)

Brand New Series
Release Date: April 2, 2013
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Mary Ann Lasher
Cover Design by George Long
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425252048
E-Book File Size: 738 KB
ASIN: B0099D4B3Q

That Old Flame of Mine
NO MATCH FOR MURDER

After knocking the lights out of her boyfriend when she catches him cheating on her, Chicago fire fighter Stella Griffin hops on her Harley and heads for Sweet Pepper, Tennessee, where she ends up becoming the small town’s fire chief. When her dear friend Tory Lambert dies after her gingerbread-style house is set ablaze, Stella suspects arson and foul play.

As Stella investigates, she gets help from a most unlikely source—the ghost of Eric Gamlyn, Sweet Pepper’s old fire chief. And if that isn’t enough to rattle her, attractive police officer John Trump seems to have taken an interest in her. But Stella’s got to stay focused if she hopes to smoke out a killer before her own life is extinguished.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
As the daughter of a firefighter I was thrilled with this book. My dad passed away 25 years ago and it still seems like yesterday. I wish he would haunt his old firehouse, maybe he does? He did not die on “a scene” but he was a chief too just like Eric Gamlyn and I so wanted to be a firefighter and work side by side with him. At that time female firefighters were few and far between. Ladies were on the auxiliary and handled bake sales and delivered food and drink to the big fires. I would have loved Stella’s life even with the crummy boyfriend.

The story is so well written and full of wonderful real characters. The drill/practice sessions ring true to me as someone who has observed many. Chief Eric’s haunts struck my heart. Another firefighter lost too soon with so many plans and dedication. Stella has a lot on her plate in Sweet Pepper and with a bit of “help” she comes out on top. A sassy, smart, sleuth that this reader plans to enjoy tagging along with for a very long time.

J.J. Cook has written an extraordinary debut. This book will be burning up bookstore shelves next Tuesday.  It’s hotter than a 5 alarm fire!! Respond and extricate your copy as soon as possible.

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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

Thanks to the people at Berkley Prime Crime
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 J.J. Cook 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 April 10, 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.”

404367_452465988129034_528250595_n (1)readalattechallenge_zps01d248d0mystery challengeWIN62013where are you readingcozymysterybooktours

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