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Dollycas’s Best Reads of 2020

Dollycas’s Best Reads of 2020

There were so many great books this year and many were classified as “Perfect Escapes” by me, but this list contains the books that received a “Paradise Rating”, those that I enjoyed so much I thought they deserved more than 5 star-fish.

They are in no particular order. 

Congratulations to all the authors!

The Book of Candlelight (Secret, Book, & Scone Society)
3rd in Series
Setting – North Carolina
Publisher: Kensington (January 28, 2020)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496712439
ISBN-13: 978-1496712431
Kindle ASIN: B07R4K4DMR

You can read my review here.

The Boy from the Woods
Suspense Thriller
Setting – New Jersey
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (March 17, 2020)
Hardcover: 384 pages
ISBN-10: 1538748142
ISBN-13: 978-1538748145
Kindle ASIN: B07TYBQJBM

You can read my review here.

Lavender Blue Murder (A Tea Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
21th in Series
Setting – South Carolina
Publisher: Berkley (March 3, 2020)
Hardcover: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 0451489667
ISBN-13: 978-0451489661
Digital ASIN: B07SSQ1X4R

You can read my review here.

A Small Town Can Be #Murder (Whistle Stop Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Skye Bridge Publishing (December 21, 2019)
Paperback: 196 pages
ISBN-10: 0578605481
ISBN-13: 978-0578605487
Digital ASIN: B082YLDW43

You can read my review here.

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Southern Sass and a Crispy Corpse (A Marygene Brown Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Georgia Coast
Publisher: Kensington (May 26, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1496721470
ISBN-13: 978-1496721471
Digital ASIN: B07W4MRDKR

You can read my review here.

A Deadly Inside Scoop (An Ice Cream Parlor Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Ohio
Publisher: Berkley (May 12, 2020)
Paperback: 384 pages
ISBN-10: 0593099664
ISBN-13: 978-0593099667
Digital ASIN: B07WJF48NC

You can read my review here.

The Key Lime Crime: A Key West Food Critic Mystery
Cozy Mystery
10th in Series
Setting – Florida
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (August 11, 2020)
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1643853082
ISBN-13: 978-1643853086
ASIN: B07Z2TR2Z2

You can read my review here.

Cake Popped Off (Cupcake Catering Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in the Series
Setting – California
Publisher: Cinnamon & Sugar Press (September 22, 2020)
Print Length: 295 pages
Digital ASIN: B08DZ7Z96H

You can read my review here.

Cold Wind: A Mystery (Alaska Wild Series)
Suspense/Mystery – Some Explicit Language
2nd in Series
Setting – Alaska
Publisher: Minotaur Books (December 8, 2020)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1250295319
ISBN-13: 978-1250295316
Kindle ASIN: B084M26ST6

You can read my review here.

Wine Tastings Are Murder (A Poppy McAllister Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – New Jersey
Publisher: Kensington (December 1, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
ISBN-10: 1496723392
ISBN-13: 978-1496723390
Kindle ASIN: B085LTRQ3P

You can read my review here.

Fields’ Guide to Pharaohs (The Poppy Fields Adventures)
Mystery/Suspense
5th in Series
Setting – Egypt
Publisher: J & M Press (March 31, 2020)
Paperback: 238 pages
ISBN-13: 979-8632308649
Kindle ASIN: B082Z9FLFX

You can read my review here.

Fields’ Guide to Dirty Money (The Poppy Fields Adventures)
Mystery/Suspense
6th in Series
Setting – Cayman Islands
Publisher: Independently published (September 24, 2020)
Paperback: 218 pages
ISBN-13: 979-8690016531
Kindle ASIN: B0867JSW64

You can read my review here.

What were your favorite books this year? Please share them in the comment section below so we can all see them and add them to our wish lists!

I am so excited about the books being released in 2021.
There is no way I will be able to read them all.

I have started a list of 2021 Recommendations, they are mostly cozy mysteries. I will continue to add to the page all year through and announce future escapes on My Monday Reading Itinerary posts.

2021 Recommendations

I hope you have enjoyed my reviews, recommendations, and giveaways. It has been a pleasure to be your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent again this year.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

Posted in 2020 Reviews Cloak and Dagger Challenge E-Book Challenge Finish The Series Challenge Literary Escapes You Read How Many Books Challenge

Fields’ Guide to Pharaohs (The Poppy Fields Adventures) by Julie Mulhern #Review


Fields’ Guide to Pharaohs (The Poppy Fields Adventures)
Mystery/Suspense
5th in Series
Setting – Egypt
Publisher: J & M Press (March 31, 2020)
Paperback: 238 pages
ISBN-13: 979-8632308649
Kindle ASIN: B082Z9FLFX

Poppy Fields, Hollywood IT girl and super-secret spy, travels to Egypt looking for answers.

 

But amidst assassination attempts, money launderers, and missing treasure, answers are hard to come by.

 

Poppy must trust new allies, forgive old wrongs, and find a forgotten pharaoh or the next tomb she enters may be her own.

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Usually, trouble finds Poppy Fields but this time she goes looking for trouble. To get the answers she needs she flies off to Egypt by herself. Mark aka Thor can’t go with her but he hooks her up with Ethan Alexander from the C.I.A. Poppy isn’t sure if she can trust him but when bullets start to she realizes she doesn’t have a choice.


This story is a little different because all the normal supporting characters, Mark, Mia, Chariss, Yurgi, and even Consuela are not around to assist Poppy through all her trials and tribulations. Okay, some do show up in the nick of time near the end of the book, but Poppy really had to hold her own before that with just a couple of surprising assists.

She was there on her own private personal mission but she runs into someone that her boss, Mr. Brown is very interested in. He puts her on the case of surveilling his target until he can send another agent to help.  This adds a nice twist but also puts a huge target on her back. The action is truly non-stop with the perfect amount of Julie Mulhern’s signature humor.

I really enjoyed the way the author describes everywhere Poppy travels, from the hotels, the ship on the Nile, the desert, the temples, the tombs, the marketplace, and everywhere in between. Of course, Poppy wasn’t on your typical vacay but it was an incredibly fun virtual trip to the home of the Pharaohs.

Like every other book in this series, the book was just impossible to put down. I would have read the entire thing in one evening but my breast cancer therapy had my eyes slamming sooner than I would have liked.

I absolutely loved this Poppy Fields adventure. Julie Mulhern never disappoints. Like the 4 previous books, Fields’ Guide to Pharaohs receives my Paradise rating. To get know Poppy and all the other characters I recommend reading them all in order and enjoy all their adventures! You can thank me later 😀

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

I am reading Fields’ Guide to Dirty Money right now.
Watch for my review next week!

Read my reviews of  Fields’ Guide to Assassins
here, 
Fields’ Guide to Voodoo here,
Fields’ Guide to Fog here. Field’s Guide to Abduction here

About the Author

Julie Mulhern is the USA Today bestselling author of The Country Club Murders and the Poppy Fields Adventures She is a Kansas City native who grew up on a steady diet of Agatha Christie. She spends her spare time whipping up gourmet meals for her family, working out at the gym and finding new ways to keep her house spotlessly clean–and she’s got an active imagination. Truth is–she’s an expert at calling for take-out, she grumbles about walking the dog and the dust bunnies under the bed have grown into dust lions.

 

Also by Julie Mulhern



*This book is in my private collection, purchased from Amazon.
Posted in 2020 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Killer Queen (The Country Club Murders) by Julie Mulhern #Review


Killer Queen (The Country Club Murders)
Cozy Mystery
11th in Series
Setting – Missouri
Publisher: J & M Press (June 30, 2020)
Paperback: 228 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1732755949
ISBN-10: 1732755949
Kindle Page Numbers Source ISBN: B08BRH2QVP

Another day, another dead woman in Ellison Russell’s study.

 

Only this one claimed to be Mrs. Anarchy Jones.

 

As Ellison juggles mothers, daughter, unhappy wives, and near-miss murder attempts, one thing is clear—someone will go to any lengths to hide the truth.

 

Can Ellison and Anarchy catch a killer before the body count rises? Or will Ellison be the next corpse in the study?

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

 

She keeps Moët et Chandon
In her pretty cabinet
‘Let them eat cake,’ she says
Just like Marie Antoinette
A built-in remedy
For Khrushchev and Kennedy
At anytime an invitation
You can’t decline

Caviar and cigarettes
Well versed in etiquette
Extraordinarily nice

She’s a Killer Queen
Gunpowder, gelatine
Dynamite with a laser beam
Guaranteed to blow your mind
Anytime

Ellison Russell comes home to find a dead woman in her study. She has been through this drill before, but this one identified herself to Aggie as Mrs. Anarchy Jones about 20 minutes ago and now she was dead. Worse her mother arrives before she can even call Anarchy. “Now strangers are coming to your house to die?”


Julie Mulhern is one of my favorite authors and her imagination continues to amaze me. She effortlessly takes readers back to the 1970s with no cell phones, avocado green appliances, and Ellison’s love affair with her Mr. Coffee.

The characters were strong in book 1, The Deep End, and they are still fresh and engaging in this 11th installment. The great thing is they continue to evolve and have plenty of room to grow.

Ms. Mulhern also knows how to serve up humor generously. The scene where Ellison’s and Anarchy’s mothers meet is absolutely priceless. I read most of this book during one of my chemo treatments and really tried to hold the laughter in but couldn’t help myself.

The author brings more than wonderful characters and fabulous humor, she also gives her readers an interesting and complex mystery with plenty of twists and turns. Killer Queen is no exception. Pop the cork on a bottle of Moët et Chandon or get your Mr. Coffee out and brew up a cup then sit back and enjoy Killer Queen.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

Read my Reviews for:
The Deep End
Guaranteed to Bleed
Clouds In My Coffee
Send In The Clowns
Watching The Detectives
Cold As Ice
Back Stabbers
Shadow Dancing
Telephone Line
Stayin’ Alive
The Rest of the Books in the Country Club Murders Humorous Mystery Series:


Also by Julie Mulhern

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 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Stayin’ Alive (The Country Club Murders) by Julie Mulhern #Review

Kindle Copy Available Today!


Stayin’ Alive (The Country Club Murders)
Cozy Mystery
10th in Series
Setting – Missouri
Publisher: J & M Press (January 30, 2020)
Paperback: 268 pages
ISBN-10: 1732755914
ISBN-13: 978-1732755918
Publisher: J & M Press (February 25, 2020)
Print Length: 270 pages
Kindle ASIN: B082RFCMY6

Springtime. Love is in the air. So is murder.

 

When Ellison Russell, reluctant finder of bodies, chairs a gala in conjunction with the museum’s Chinese funerary exhibit, she expects disaster. So, she’s not remotely surprised when a body turns up.

 

Ellison is willing to leave the investigation to the police till an attempt is made on her life.

 

Now she’s juggling evading a killer, her aunt’s overly-amorous beau, her dog’s new love interest, and Mother’s displeasure.

 

With bodies piling up, if Ellison’s not careful, staying alive might be impossible.

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Tap into your inner BeeGees –
Whether you’re a brother or whether you’re a mother
You’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive
Feel the city breaking and everybody shaking, people
Stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive

and sit back and prepare to have your funny bone tickled and your mind tested by the latest Country Club mystery from Julie Mulhern.

Ellison Russell is in charge of the museum’s Chinese Exhibit Gala and she has vowed to her mother there will be no dead bodies found this time. Well, when she sneaks away for a few minutes with her boyfriend, Detective Anarchy Jones, that plan goes terribly awry. They find a body in one of the closed exhibits. No matter how much money Ellison has raised the body will be the only thing people focus on. Ellison agrees to stay out of the investigation and let Anarchy handle it.  She does a great job at that until the killer comes after her. If she plans on Stayin’ Alive she needs to find out who is trying to take her down.

____

Julie Mulhern is one of my favorite authors and I wait as patiently as possible for each new book. She never disappoints. What really makes these stories sing is the genuine characters and their fantastic dialogue.

Protagonist Ellison gets stronger in each story. She still has her mother who gets upset about every body she finds (like she plans to find them), that Anarchy is not right for her, the clothes she wears, the friends she hangs out with, well you get the point, but Ellison is learning to deal with the overbearing woman and that makes me happy. Her relationship with Anarchy is progressing in an interesting way and that makes me happy too. This time her Aunt Sis played a major role and she was my favorite character.

All the other characters I love have returned too and some really bring the funny.

“Sorry, I’m late!” Daisy burst into the card room like a whirlwind. Her slip showed. She needed a comb. A lollipop and multiple tufts of hair stuck to her sweater (the candy on the sleeve, the hair everywhere). “I’ve had a morning.”

“Sit.” Libba held out her wine glass.

Daisy sat, took the glass, gulped, and handed it back. “Thank you.”

“Which kid, and what did he do?” asked Jinx.

Daisy closed her eyes. “How bad can it be?”

Libba didn’t have children. She’d never experienced bad.

“David snuck into our bathroom. He knows it’s off-limits, ever since the lipstick incident.” The lipstick incident had translated into new wallpaper for most of the house. “He stole my razor from the shower and—” She paused for a shuddering breath.

“And?” I asked. One of Daisy’s offspring running loose with a razor was a terrifying proposition.

“He shaved the cat.”

“He what?” Jinx’s brows touched her hairline.

“The cat fell asleep on his lap and he shaved off its fur.” Daisy rubbed her face. “There’s cat hair everywhere. And the poor cat, it’s hiding under the bed.”

“He shaved the whole cat?”

“The side that was exposed.”

“So the other side still has hair?” Jinx’s mouth twitched.

“Yes. The poor cat is humiliated.”

“It’ll grow back.”

That wouldn’t comfort the cat.

In addition to the humor, Ms. Mulhern writes a complex mystery filled with intrigue and mayhem. The pace is fast. Ellison is involved up to her neck. Reliant on her friend Mr. Coffee, Aggie to keep the house in order, Anarchy doing his best to keep her safe, Grace sometimes being the adult in the room,  her friends being there to bounce ideas off of, and an unexpected guest to keep her on her toes, Ellison does her best to solve more than one mystery.

Mulhern is not afraid to fictionalize heavy topics to shine a light but give her readers an entertaining story as well. Fabulous twists kept me totally engrossed and guessing right up until the end.

I love stepping back to the ’70s and hanging out with the ladies who lunch and play bridge. Julie Mulhern has done her research and brings the time to life in her own unique way.

I highly recommend every book in this series and her Poppy Fields Adventures too. Stayin’ Alive was a Perfect Escape and I can’t wait for the next book in this series!

 


Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

stayin alive

Read my Reviews for:
The Deep End
Guaranteed to Bleed
Clouds In My Coffee
Send In The Clowns
Watching The Detectives
Cold As Ice
Back Stabbers
Shadow Dancing
Telephone Line

The Rest of the Books in the Country Club Murders Humorous Mystery Series:


Also by Julie Mulhern

Coming March 31!


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.”