Posted in Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Guest Posts

Cozy Wednesday with Edith Maxwell – Author of Farmed and Dangerous – Giveaway too!

cozy wednesday 2013 640I am so happy to welcome Edith Maxwell here today.
Her new book will be released May 26 and she is here to tell us a bit about it and one lucky reader will win an Advance Copy of Farmed and Dangerous!!!

Maxwell

farmed and dangerousI’m delighted to be your guest today for Cozy Wednesday. New England is just coming off one of the snowiest winters in history, so it’s apt that Farmed and Dangerous is set in January in Massachusetts. My farmer, Cam Flaherty, doesn’t get to escape for a tropical vacation, and instead is keeping her farm share program going despite snow and cold temperatures. She also tends her chickens, and has to deal with an anonymous neighbor dropping off an unwanted rooster named Ruffles for her to take care of.

I didn’t get to escape the cold, either, despite having a farmer son living and working in Puerto Rico. I’m now a full-time writer, though, and since we didn’t lose power in any of this winter’s storms, I just sat up in my second-floor home office, watched the snow fall, and wrote books.

JDmarch2013In past years, though, I did get to escape to the tropics several times. The first year my son was in Puerto Rico, I went for Thanksgiving. Late November is a very dark time of year in the northeast, so it was a total treat to head south. He joined me at a mountaintop bed and breakfast, where our cabin had an outdoor kitchen and I fell asleep to the sound of the Coqui frog chirping, “Ko-kee? Ko-kee?” and the sight of fireflies. The weather was warm during the days and comfortably cool at night. We ate Thanksgiving dinner at the beach with the family who owns the farm – picture doors open to the outside, everybody barefoot and in shorts, and children in and out of the swimming pool. It was heavenly.

CostaRica2009Two other Januaries we went to Costa Rica. Swimming in the warm Caribbean. Eating fresh pineapple and recently caught fish. Zip-lining through treetops. Gazing at splendid colorful birds like Scarlet Macaws and toucans.

Blue_MorphoSpending an afternoon in a butterfly sanctuary and having Blue Morphos land on your arm. Also heaven! On one of those trips I had the best massage of my life on a pavilion with a roof but no walls. Mild fresh air on my skin, a tall strong woman kneading my muscles, and hot oiled rocks warming my back. Now that’s an escape.

IMG_1579Other winter getaways used to be primarily to visit my mother in southern California where I grew up. The last one, in 2012, was especially poignant because she died two months later, but my sisters and I had a lovely time with her and we all felt so grateful to have been there.

PlayaI’m not sure where Cam would go for a winter escape if she could. Her pal, farm volunteer Lucinda DaSilva, is Brazilian, though, so maybe they’ll both go south to solve a farm-related mystery in Rio one of these books!

~Edith

farmed and dangerousFarmed and Dangerous
(Local Foods Mystery)

3rd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Massachusetts
Kensington Books (May 26, 2015)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0758284679
E-Book ASIN: B00ONTR4IU
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Snow is piling up in Westbury, Massachusetts, and Cam Flaherty’s organic farm has managed to survive the harsh New England winter. Unfortunately murder seems to be the crop in season…

Organic farmer Cam Flaherty is struggling to provide the promised amount of food to her customers in her first winter in Westbury, Massachusetts, and her new greenhouse might just collapse from the weight of the snow. Supplying fresh ingredients for a dinner at the local assisted living facility seems like the least of her worries—until a cantankerous resident with a lot of enemies dies after eating the meal.

But while the motives in this case may be plentiful, the trail of poisoned produce leads straight back to Cam. Not even her budding romance with police detective Pete Pappas will keep him from investigating her.

As the suspects gather, a blizzard buries the scene of the crime under a blanket of snow, leaving Cam stranded in the dark with a killer who gives new meaning to the phrase “dead of winter.”

About The Author

Agatha-nominated and Amazon-bestselling author Edith Maxwell writes four murder mystery series, most with recipes, as well as award-winning short stories.

Farmed and Dangerous is the latest in Maxwell’s Local Foods Mysteries series (Kensington Publishing). The latest book in the Lauren Rousseau mysteries, under the pseudonym Tace Baker (Barking Rain Press), is Bluffing is Murder. Maxwell’s Country Store Mysteries, written as Maddie Day (also from Kensington), will debut with Flipped for Murder in November, 2015. Her Quaker Midwife Mysteries series features Quaker midwife Rose Carroll solving mysteries in 1888 Amesbury, with John Greenleaf Whittier’s help, and will debut in March, 2016 with Delivering the Truth.

A fourth-generation Californian, Maxwell lives in an antique house inorth of Boston with her beau and three cats. She blogs every weekday with the other Wicked Cozy Authors (wickedcozyauthors.com), and you can find her at www.edithmaxwell.com, @edithmaxwell, on Pinterest and Instagram, and at www.facebook.com/EdithMaxwellAuthor.

GIVEAWAYThe author is giving away 1 Advance Copy!!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US 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 Edith 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 May 13, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent
Posted in Giveaways Reviews 2014

Review/Giveaway – Twisted Threads by Lea Wait

twisted threadsTwisted Threads
(A Mainely Needlepoint Mystery)

New Cozy Mystery Series
Setting: Maine
Kensington Publishing
Release Date: January 6, 2015
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1617730047
E-Book ASIN: B00LCDSPQK
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Returning to the quaint coastal town of Harbor Haven, Maine—a place she once called home—Angie Curtis finds her memories aren’t all quite pleasant ones…

After leaving a decade ago, Angie has been called back to Harbor Haven by her grandmother, Charlotte, who raised her following her mother’s disappearance when she was a child. Her mother has been found, and now the question of her whereabouts has sadly become the mystery of her murder.

The bright spot in Angie’s homecoming is reuniting with Charlotte, who has started her own needlepointing business with a group called Mainely Needlepointers. But when a shady business associate of the stitchers dies suddenly under suspicious circumstances, Charlotte and Angie become suspects. As Angie starts to weave together clues, she discovers that this new murder may have ties to her own mother’s cold case…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This is the first book I have read by Lea Wait. I didn’t know about her other series. I was on Amazon searching for books to add to my Books Coming Soon page and the cover just pulled me right in. The book arrived and story picked up right where the cover left off.

Angie is quite a woman as is her grandmother, Charlotte. To survive having your mother/daughter disappear without a trace is just tragic. Then all these years later her body is found so very close to her home. That is heart wrenching. Angie and Charlotte had moved on with their lives but they had grown apart. Angie ended up in Arizona and didn’t visit very often. When her grandmother call her home her number one mission is to find the person who killed her mother. But her grandmother needed her help with another matter as well. Once she is home the women pick up like they were never apart and Angie starts to feel at home again in Harbor Haven. There have been some changes, some good, some bad, but Angie learns you can go home again.

These are 2 extraordinary characters and I was able to relate to them so easily. The needlepoint thread that pulls the plots together is a strong one. I loved that both men and women were part of the Mainely Needlepointers. Needlepoint can be very relaxing and challenging at the same time. Angie is barely a beginner and her grandmother is the expert and the rest of the group falls everywhere in between.

The murder from the past collides with the murder in the present and Angie is like a dog with bone as tries to untwist all the threads to solve both cases. As she does this she reacquaints herself with the people of Harbor Haven. She gets together with her old friends and meets several new residents.

The town is a hot spot for tourists so it is the perfect setting for a new cozy series.  The author has really grabbed my attention with this first book. I am so excited for the next one. Charlotte has a big day to plan for and Angie has a new job. Threads of Evidence comes out in September.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

GIVEAWAY

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.

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

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End January 15, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Posted in Giveaways Reviews 2014

Review/Giveaway – Knot In My Backyard by Mary Marks

22095637Knot In My Backyard
(A Quilting Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series

Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Kensington (November 4, 2014)
ISBN-13: 978-0758292070
E-Book File Size: 1226 KB
ASIN: B00JVW6HPK
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Baseball may be America’s official favorite pastime, but for Martha Rose and her friends, quilting is far more fun…and a lot less dangerous.

A diamond brocade pattern is more quilter Martha Rose’s style than a baseball diamond—especially when it comes to the new eyesore of a stadium ruining her lovely San Fernando Valley neighborhood. Martha doesn’t know a bunt from a bundt cake, but when she stumbles upon the battered body of baseball coach Dax Martin, she doesn’t need a scorecard to know it’s foul play. LAPD homicide detective Arlo Beavers is convinced one of her neighbors is responsible. But Martha and her fellow quilters Lucy and Birdie soon discover a whole field of suspects who might have wanted to take the coach out of the game permanently…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I liked Martha Rose the minute I met her in Forget Me Knot, the first book in this series. I can relate because I am 50ish, overweight, love food, hate to cook and a horrible failure when it comes to dieting. This time she gets herself in trouble just by taking a walk. She knows she needs to be more active but finding a dead body just a few minutes from her house may make her reconsider the whole exercise thing.

The police of course determine that Martha’s neighbor is the killer because he had an argument with the victim over a monstrosity of a baseball diamond that was built behind their houses. None of the neighbors is happy about all the extra traffic or the noise but Martha knows none of them would commit murder because of it. With a little help from her friends Lucy and Birdie they come up with enough suspects to fill a baseball roster. Martha Rose is on a mission and detective Beavers is not going to stop her from finding who really hit Dax Martin out of the park – permanently!

I started reading this book and couldn’t put it down. Mary Marks has hit a home run with this one. She pitched us a slew of suspects and we followed the clues together striking out one of them at a time until we are totally surprised by who is left on deck. Can you tell I like baseball too? 🙂

The book was so much fun to read. Martha, Lucy and Birdie have their weekly quilting sessions where they talk about everything from quilt squares to politics to the homeless population in their neighborhood. They come up with a fantastic plan to not only help people but a way to hopefully flush out the killer and they get all kinds of attention. Martha even makes a new friend that sort of turns her life upside down in a really good way.

Fabulous characters, excellent plot and subplots, some romance, the perfect amount of humor and a setting that is so easy to picture all add up to a grand slam of a mystery. I absolutely loved it!

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About Mary Marks

Born and raised in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, Mary Marks earned a B.A. in Anthropology from UCLA and an M.A. in Public Administration from the American Jewish University in Los Angeles. In 2004 she enrolled in the UCLA Extension Writers Program. Her first novel, Forget Me Knot, was a finalist in a national writing competition in 2011.
Find out more on Mary’s webpage here.

GIVEAWAY 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.

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 November 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 Giveaways Reviews 2014

Review/Giveaway – Murder at Marble House by Alyssa Maxwell

murder at marble houseMurder at Marble House
(A Gilded Newport Mystery)

2nd in Series
Historical Cozy Mystery
Kensington Books
Kensington Publishing Corp. (September 30, 2014)
Trade Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0758290847
E-Book File Size: 1290 KB
ASIN: B00J7W1E52
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With the dawn of the twentieth century on the horizon, the fortunes of the venerable Vanderbilt family still shine brightly in the glittering high society of Newport, Rhode Island. But when a potential scandal strikes, the Vanderbilts turn to cousin and society page reporter Emma Cross to solve a murder and a disappearance. ..

Responding to a frantic call on her newfangled telephone from her eighteen-year-old cousin, Consuelo Vanderbilt, Emma Cross arrives at the Marble House mansion and learns the cause of her distress–Consuelo’s mother, Alva, is forcing her into marriage with the Duke of Marlborough. Her mother has even called in a fortune teller to assure Consuelo of a happy future.

But the future is short-lived for the fortune teller, who is found dead by her crystal ball, strangled with a silk scarf. Standing above her is one of the Vanderbilts’ maids, who is promptly taken into police custody. After the frenzy has died down, Consuelo is nowhere to be found. At Alva’s request, Emma must employ her sleuthing skills to determine if the vanishing Vanderbilt has eloped with the beau of her choice–or if her disappearance may be directly connected to the murder. . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This second story in the Gilded Newport Mystery series picks up just a short time after Murder at the Breakers leaves off. This time it takes place at the other Vanderbilt Castle, Marble House.  Emma’s “cousin” Consuelo is being forced into an arranged marriage and even a fortune teller has been summoned to explain to the young woman that this marriage is meant to be. Emma isn’t convinced but before the crystal ball can even be consulted the fortune teller is dead and a young maid has been arrested. Soon after the bride to be goes missing. Emma soon finds herself searching for Consuelo and a murderer too.

I could almost cut and paste my review of the previous book here because again Alyssa Maxwell has given us a fantastic mystery with fabulous characters in a fascinating time and place. Again this story is based on many actual facts. Marble House is a real place. Consuelo Vanderbilt was not happy with the marriage that was arranged for her. And her mother was known for her temper and keeping Consuelo’s friends from seeing her.  Maxwell took these facts and a few more and created a wonderful story with suspense, mystery and intrigue.

Emma is a very strong woman in a time where women basically tended to social matters and attended teas. But is was the time when the temperance and women’s suffrage movements were  just starting and that plays into part of the story. Emma is trying to earn a living as a newspaper reporter but again that is considered a man’s job.  She also tries to carry the torch passed to her by her Aunt Sadie, who bequeathed her Gull Manor. Her aunt always had policy of helping women in need no matter what the circumstances.  All of this drives her need to not only help her cousin but the young maid that was arrested.

I absolutely loved this story. The author’s words let me escape back in time and enjoy the story through Emma’s eyes. I could feel Emma’s emotions as she tries so hard to find her cousin and catch a killer all while dealing with her own problems she is facing. She tries to make the right decisions but sometimes her heart and her head are at odds with each other. Her life is not what she thought it would be and she has been let down yet again by people who should be there to support be she perseveres through it all.

Now we wait until next Spring for Murder at Beechwood.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

To find out more about Alyssa Maxwell and her books visit here webpage here.

I am giving away by Advance 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.

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 October 14, 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 Reviews 2014 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Review – Mission to Murder by Lynn Cahoon

The Great Escapes Book Tour for this book starts July 31.

I loved Guidebook to Murder and couldn’t wait to read this one.

Be sure to check out the tour and enter the giveaways!!

Mission To Murder (eBook)
Mission to Murder
A Tourist Trap Mystery
2nd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Kensington Trade (July 1, 2014)
Paperback: 238 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1601833051
E-Book File Size: 1196 KB
Publisher: eKensington (July 31, 2014)
ASIN: B00IO3QR98
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In the California coastal town of South Cove, history is one of its many tourist attractions, until it becomes deadly. Jill Gardner, proprietor of Coffee, Books, and More, has discovered that the old stone wall on her property might be a centuries-old mission worthy of being declared a landmark. But Craig Thomas, the obnoxious owner of South Cove’s most popular tourist spot, The Castle, makes it his business to contest her claim. When Thomas is found murdered at The Castle shortly after a heated argument with Jill, even her detective boyfriend has to ask her for an alibi. Jill decides she must find the real murderer to clear her name.

But when the killer comes for her, she’ll need to jump from historic preservation to self-preservation.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Jill is a fabulous character. And yes, she let Craig Thomas have it, but it was with words, no foul play here. But she doesn’t have an alibi and she and the mayor do not see eye to eye, in fact he would like to see her in jail. Thankfully she is now dating Detective Greg King and he knows she didn’t do it. Now if he could just figure out to keep Jill from investigating on her own and let him catch the killer. But us fans of cozy mysteries know that is just not going to happen.

Lynn Cahoon has given us another wonderful story. The owner of the antique store next to Coffee, Books and More, Josh and junk dealer Ray are the quirky and creepy characters respectively. I love Aunt Jackie and even Esmeralda with her “woo-woo” predictions.  But my favorite character in this story was cop/barista Toby. He works for both Jill and Greg and is a great friend to both of them. The customers like him and  so do I.

The setting is also special. South Cove sounds like a wonderful place to visit and The Castle sounds like a fantastic tourist attraction.

Cahoon takes the characters in this town and creates a story full of mystery, romance and humor. This is a perfect book to add to your Summer Reading list. Fun and entertaining with just a few hold your breath moments.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

To find out more about Lynn Cahoon and her books visit her blog 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 Giveaways Reviews 2014 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Review/Giveaway – Scene of the Climb by Kate Dyer Seeley

First I want to thank Book World for giving me a copy of this book to review!!

SCENE OF THE CLIMB
Scene of the Climb
(A Pacific Northwest Mystery)

First In A New Series
Cozy Mystery
Kensington Publishing Corp. (June 3, 2014)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0758295316
E-Book File Size: 1158 KB
ASIN: B00GYLVTO0
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Portland, Oregon, is the perfect fit for someone like Meg Reed. It’s a city with a small town feel, where she can crash on the couch of her best friend Jill, now that she’s graduated from journalism school. . .

But a girl needs a job, so Meg bluffs her way into writing for Northwest Extreme magazine, passing herself off to editor-in-chief Greg Dixon as an outdoor adventure enthusiast. Never mind that Meg’s idea of sport is climbing onto the couch without spilling her latte. So when she finds herself clawing to the top of Angel’s Rest–a two-thousand-foot peak–to cover the latest challenge in a reality TV adventure show, she can’t imagine feeling more terrified. Until she witnesses a body plummet off the side of the cliff. Now Meg has a murder to investigate. And if the climbing doesn’t kill her, a murderer just might. . .

Includes Adventure Guides!

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Meg Reed is a fantastic new heroine on the cozy scene. She embellished her “adventure lifestyle” just a bit to land the job but in the day and age you do what you have to do to get hired. Like Meg my sense of adventure is from a watching standpoint but she sure did give it the old college try.  Her father was an investigative reporter and like him she keeps digging until she get answers and in this case she needs to  find out why one of the reality show contestants took a dive off the top of Angel’s Rest. She is certain it was not an accident.

The author has created a great cast of supporting characters as well. Meg is camped out on her friend Jill’s couch until she can afford a place of her own. Her friend Matt is a great friend but there is a little romantic tension there. Her boss Greg seems to a great guy but he could also be a suspect, no spoilers here. Meg is always so nervous around him and their interactions add a bit of humor. Like me, Meg tends to spill things and is a bit of a klutz, especially around her new boss.

The setting for the story is a character in itself. Kate Dyer-Seeley is very descriptive in her writing making it very easy to see what the characters see. The beautiful skylines, the rocks, the cliffs, and the trails through the woods. Oregon has some very beautiful places for adventure enthusiasts and she sure does them justice in this story.

The mystery plot is also really good. It has the expected twists but there is one in the woods that had me on the edge of my seat and when the details were revealed all the hair stood up on my arms.

Kate also gives us a little cliffhanger!!! I hope the book comes out in 6 months, waiting a year would be torture 🙂

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

Find out more about Kate Dyer Seeley on her webpage here.

I am giving my review copy from Book World 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.

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

Contest Will End July 22, 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. 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.”

book world2

Posted in Giveaways Reviews 2014 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Review/Giveaway – A Sense of Entitlement by Anna Loan Wilsey

a sense of entitlementA Sense of Entitlement
(A Hattie Davish Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
3rd Book in Series
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Kensington (June 24, 2014)
ISBN-13: 978-0758276384
E-Book File Size: 866 KB
ASIN: B00I2W157A

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Traveling secretary and dilettante detective Hattie Davish is bringing her talents to a small New England town whose wealthy residents have more secrets than they do money. . .

When Hattie Davish’s job takes her to Newport, Rhode Island, she welcomes the opportunity for a semi-vacation, and perhaps even a summer romance. But her hopes for relaxation are dashed when she learns that members of the local labor unions are at odds with Newport’s gentry. Amidst flaring tensions, an explosion rocks the wharf. In the ensuing turmoil, Mr. Harland Whitwell, one of Newport’s most eminent citizens, is found stabbed to death, his hands clutching a strike pamphlet. All signs point to a vengeful union member bent on taking down the aristocracy, but Hattie starts digging and finds a few skeletons in the closets of the impeccable Whitwell mansion. As she strikes down the whispers spilling out of Newport’s rumor mill, she’ll uncover a truth more scandalous than anyone imagined–and a killer with a rapacious sense of entitlement. . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I was late to the party on this series. I am usually a stickler for reading series books in order but when I booked the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for this one and I read the synopsis above my interest sure was piqued!!

I absolutely love Hattie Davish. What a wonderful and strong character.  Her adventure to Newport turns out to be totally different than she expected but she perseveres and gets through it with more grace than any woman above her stature.

Miss Lucy and Miss Lizzie are charming characters who met Hattie in one of the previous books and are her true champions. They stand up for her several times in this story and do all the can to help her romance with a certain doctor continue to evolve.

I truly enjoyed the labor union tie-in to the plot. It is interesting to read that even way back in the 1890’s people were fighting for better pay and better working hours and we are still fighting some of those same battles today. This theme ties quite well with the mystery and serves up the required twists that make mysteries like this so much fun to read.

The author also uses her words to paint pictures in our mind of the summer playground for the American socialite families with names like Astor and Vanderbilt just wonderfully. I have never been to Rhode Island but after this story I can see it clearly in albeit a simpler time.

It was a delight to travel to Newport with Hattie. I need to catch up on the first two books in this series so I am ready to go along with Hattie on her next adventure.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Loan_Wilsey_headshot

About The Author

As a biologist, librarian and then information specialist, Anna Loan-Wilsey tracked down mysteries every day.  Now as the author of the Hattie Davish Mysteries Series, featuring a traveling Victorian private secretary, she enjoys creating them.  Anna earned her B.A. at Wells College in Aurora, NY and had several poems published in their literary magazine, The Chronicle. She earned her M.L.I.S. from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. She has worked in academia much of her life including Syracuse University, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, Texas A&M University-Commerce and most recently, Iowa State University, publishing in several scientific peer-reviewed journals. A Lack of Temperance, her first novel and first in the Hattie Davish Mysteries series, was the #1 bestselling historical mystery on Amazon.com. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. A Sense of Entitlement, the third in the series, is due out in June. Anna lives in a Victorian farmhouse near Ames, Iowa with her inquisitive four year old, her old yellow dog and her very funny, very patient husband, where she is happily working on Hattie’s next adventure.

Author Links:

www.annaloanwilsey.com

www.facebook.com/pages/Anna-Loan-Wilsey-Author/226850674036259

www.goodreads.com/author/show/5810152.Anna_Loan_Wilsey

www.kensingtonbooks.com/author.aspx/26131

 

 I Spotlighted this book last week as part of the Great Escapes Book Tour.

The contests are still running!

In addition to the Rafflecopter I have 1 Print Copy to Giveaway!

Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US 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 Anna 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 15, 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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Posted in Giveaways Reviews 2014 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Review/Giveaway – Boiled Over by Barbara Ross

boiled overBoiled Over
(A Maine Clambake Mystery)

2nd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Kensington Publishing (May 6, 2014)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0758286871
E-Book File Size: 1209 KB
ASIN: B00G9ABZL8
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

For Julia Snowden, the Founder’s Day summer celebration in Busman’s Harbor, Maine, means helping her family’s clambake company to prepare an authentic taste of New England seafood. Any Mainer will tell you that a real clambake needs wood for the fire . . . so why is there a foot sticking out of the oven?

The townspeople want to pin the murder of the RV park owner on Cabe Stone, a new employee of the Snowden Family Clambake Company–who bolted from the crime scene and disappeared.

Julia knows having another murder associated with her family’s business is a recipe for disaster . . . but who is the killer? Cooking up a proper investigation doesn’t leave much time for the rest of Julia’s life, and this is one killer who’ll do anything to stop her from digging up clues . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Barbara Ross has cooked us up another fine mystery in Boiled Over. In this follow-up to Clammed Up Julia is still trying to make sure the Snowden Family Clambakes are back on the right track. She thinks serving their food sat the Founder’s Day celebration will be the perfect way to advertise and put a little more money in the business account. Of course she didn’t plan for the dead body.

Ross introduces us to some new characters who are not all who they seem to be. This leads the reader on quite an adventure. We even learn about the true founder of Busman’s Harbor and how the town got its name. We also traveled with Julia through a good bit of Maine tracking down clues.

Julia is not only trying to save the family business,  she is at a crossroads of her life. Does she want to go back to New York City? Or stay in Maine with her family and a very important man in her life? Did she wait too long to share her true feelings?

Ross has served us a great mystery with a perfect amount of humor and romance. She has given us rich characters that continue to evolve and a nice little cliffhanger to bring us back for more when Musseled Out hits shelves in 2015.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

Find out all about Barbara Ross and her books on 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.

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 May 23, 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 Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Cozy Wednesday Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Guest Posts Literary Escapes Reviews 2014 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Forget Me Knot Author Mary Marks (Giveaway too!)

 

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

This book caught my attention on NetGalley and when I was contacted to do organize a Great Escapes Book Tour I was chair dancing. Then I “met” Mary via emails and we just clicked. This is one of the reasons I love being a blogger. Meeting authors that write these wonderful stories is just wonderful. I am thrilled she is my guest today!!

Mary Marks Publicity Photo - CopyI didn’t start writing until I reached my sixties. I had an unusual life and wanted to tell my story for my children and grandchildren. So I took memoir writing classes at the UCLA Extension Writers Program. For four years I recorded my memories over and over again in an attempt to hone the craft of writing.

After all that time, my life’s story began to sound like a self-indulgent whine fest. So I took a break and, since I loved reading mysteries, enrolled in a mystery writing workshop. To my great surprise I discovered writing fiction was fun. To my even greater surprise I discovered I could write humorous fiction, a welcome contrast to the heavy drama of my memoir.

When I first retired I spent a number of years sewing quilts by hand while listening to books on tape. The art of quilt making and storytelling became my universe. My quilts even got good enough to win a couple of awards. So when I turned my creative efforts to writing mysteries instead of listening to them, it felt natural to make my characters quilters. These were people I knew.

Forget me knot.inddI also chose to set my stories in Encino, California, the suburb of Los Angeles where I live. Encino is familiar and I and feel comfortable here. When I write about the sidewalks broken by tree roots, the falafel restaurants and strip malls on Ventura Boulevard, readers who live here will know just what I’m talking about. Readers who live outside the area will get a picture of Valley living.

My main character, Martha Rose, is Jewish. So aside from the recurring quilting theme of my stories, I also write about Judaism. Much of Martha’s thoughts and behavior are informed by her background and heritage. I know I always enjoy reading books set in cultures that are unfamiliar to me. I hope my readers who are not Jewish will also enjoy learning about different customs and practices.

Martha is overweight. She struggles with a love of food, an aversion to cooking, and a history of failure when it comes to dieting. As a consequence she has what she calls a “typical Jewish figure,” an ample bosom and large hips. But at the age of fifty-five, she’s rather philosophical about the whole weight thing. Better to enjoy a slice of her friend Birdie’s applesauce cake now and worry about the calories later.

Martha is also divorced and living in an empty nest. Her only family is her daughter who lives in Boston, and her elderly uncle Isaac. Although she has serious trust issues and she’s not actively looking for anyone, men seem to come into her life just the same.

Social inequalities seem to pop up as recurrent themes in my books. So many people have common experiences with abuse and injustice whether it takes the form of racism, sexism, ageism, financial or social class. I spotlight these problems in my stories as a way to advocate for those who endure these struggles on a daily basis.

Writing cozy mysteries has been a way for me to draw on my life’s experiences without all the angst that went into writing my memoir. I believe it’s never too late to tell a story, whether it is real, fictionalized, or pure imagination. And having a debut novel at the age of seventy has been an extraordinary confirmation of that.

 ~Mary Marks

About Mary Marks

Born and raised in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, Mary Marks earned a B.A. in Anthropology from UCLA and an M.A. in Public Administration from the American Jewish University in Los Angeles. In 2004 she enrolled in the UCLA Extension Writers Program. Her first novel, Forget Me Knot, was a finalist in a national writing competition in 2011.
Find out more on Mary’s webpage here.

Forget me knot.indd
Forget Me Knot
(A Quilting Mystery)

A Brand New Cozy Series
Published by Kensington (January 7, 2014)
Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0758292056
E-Book File Size: 1254 KB
ASIN: B00DV1IVCE
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

Welcome to San Fernando Valley, California, where Martha Rose and her coterie of quilters are enjoying life on the good side of retirement—until murder pulls a stitch out of their plans…

Martha and her besties Lucy and Birdie are set to expand their Quilty Tuesdays by inviting newcomer Claire Terry into their group. Though at forty Claire’s a tad younger than their average age, her crafty reputation could perk up their patchwork proceedings, especially as they prepare for the fancy quilt show coming to town. But when they arrive at Claire’s home and find her dead inside the front door, and her exquisite, prize-winning quilts soon missing, Martha is not one to leave a mystery unraveled. Especially if she wants to stop a killer from establishing a deadly pattern…

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Before my accident I was a avid quilter and it is one of the things I miss most but reading books like this let me escape back into the world of quilting with the mystery of a dead body thrown in just for fun. I would love to be part of Martha, Lucy and Birdie’s Quilty Tuesday group.

I can’t believe this is the author’s first cozy, she has nailed it perfectly.

Fabulous, real characters. I love Martha. I can relate because I am 50ish, overweight, love food, hate to cook and a horrible failure when it comes to dieting. She also has great friends, loves to quilt and likes to solve mysteries. But she does put herself in danger and does break a few laws which even land her behind bars. Something I have thankfully not experienced 🙂

Marks also tackles some powerful issues in this story. There is a mystery behind the mystery that just broke my heart. I was impressed how this subplot was presented and revealed. As a quilter I know that many quilts tell a story but after reading Forget Me Knot I will never look at a quilt the same way again.

This is a perfectly plotted and paced story with some very surprising twists that have stuck with me well beyond the final page.

A wonderful way to start 2014!!

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent
Thanks to the people at Kensington I have 5 copies to give away!

Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US 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 Mary 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 22, 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

FORGET ME KNOT LARGE BANNER 640Check out the rest of Mary’s Tour!!

Tour Participants

January 6 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – Review – Guest Post – Giveaway
January 7 – Books-n-Kisses – Review – Giveaway
January 8 – Escape With Dollycas – Review – Guest Post – Giveaway
January 10– Community Bookstop – Review – Giveaway
January 10 – Dru’s Book Musings – Guest Post
January 11– Dr. Pepper Diva – Review – Giveaway
January 12– A Blue Million Books – Interview – Giveaway
January 13 – rantin’ ravin’ and reading – Review – Guest Post – Giveaway
January 14 – My Recent Favorite books – Review – Giveaway
January 15 – Thoughts in Progress – Review – Giveaway
January 16 – Mochas, Mysteries  and More – Guest Post – Giveaway
January 17 – My Devotional Thoughts – Review – Giveaway

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

Posted in Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Guest Posts Reviews 2013

Cozy Wednesday with Author Barbara Ross (Giveaway too!)

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!!

I am so excited to have Barbara Ross here today! 

Her new book Clammed Up is sure to be a hit with all over you!!

The Alpha and the Omega: Continuing Characters in Series

barbfordollycasLori, thanks so much for having me for Cozy Wednesday.

 It’s an interesting time for me as an author. On September 1, I handed in the manuscript for Boiled Over,  the second book in my Maine Clambake Mystery series. And on September 3, Clammed Up,  the first book in the series was released.

 As you can imagine, it’s been an interesting time. In fact, as I switched on September 2, from writing to promotion mode, my mother-in-law said, “It seems like all summer it’s been Boiled Over, and now it’s Clammed Up !

Boiled Over is my first time writing a second book in a series. So it got me wondering, how do people feel about continuing characters? Not the main characters, but the other people who populate the book?

 I admit to being a full-out series fan. Nothing makes me happier than finding a book I love and then discovering there are four or six or ten more to read in the series. Once I’m caught up, and have to wait a full year for the next one (as I just did with Louise Penny), it kills me.

17239894Part of the reason I love series is because of the way characters and settings can develop over time. I’m a huge fan of Ruth Rendell’s Wexford series. I love the way Kingsmarkham, the town where her Chief Inspector Reg Wexford works, evolves from being a small market town the first book, From Doon to Death (1964) to an ever growing suburban city in the latest books. And how along the way, Wexford has to deal with increasingly complex, modern issues of race, immigration, and environmental activism—not to mention the baffling personal lives of his grown daughters. (The latest book in the series, No Man’s Nightingale is out in the UK, but won’t be here until November. I am trying to restrain myself from ordering it from Amazon UK.)

I get invested in the secondary characters, too. I spent a long time reading every Rendell short story I could get my hands on, because I was convinced there was a story in which Wexford’s faithful no. 2, Detective Mike Burden’s first wife dies. It turns out, she dies off stage. But reading all those stories was great, because it brought back my childhood love of short fiction and got me writing my own. Now I’m a co-editor of an annual short crime fiction anthology for Level Best Books. www.levelbestbooks.com

But I have to confess, there are some series I’ve given up because the author couldn’t seem to let go of a single secondary character. So every last person from the first book gets pulled into the second book and so on, until by the fourth book, I’m thinking, “Who are all these people and why does the author think I care about them?”’

maineclambakefordollycas

 In Boiled Over, I tried to use the “bar story” principle. Pretend you’re meeting an old friend for a drink, the kind of friend you can not see for years and then pick the conversation right up where you left off. You say to her, “You wouldn’t believe what happened to me!” As you tell the tale, you introduce her to all the people she needs to know about for the story, plus a few other people who were really important in your life at the time and were giving advice, and so on. You don’t tell her what happened to every person you’ve met since you last saw her. The other people in your life are presumably going about their business, and may show up in another bar story some other time, but we don’t have to talk about them now.

Plus, some readers don’t get to read the series in order. (I love to read in order, but I’ll go out of order in a pinch.) So if you have someone who was a suspect in the first book wandering through the next one, doesn’t that give it away?

How do you feel about series characters? Less is more, or the more the merrier? Let me know, because I have to start Book 3 next week!

~Barbara

 Thank you Barbara for dropping by today! I think a great group of core characters visited by new characters each book is great but then the twist after a few books when one of those core characters gets in trouble always adds to the suspense too!  I am sure my readers will help you tackle this question too!

About This Author
Barbara Ross’ novel Clammed Up, first in a new series of Maine Clambake Mysteries, will be published by Kensington in September 2013. Barbara and her husband own the former Seafarer Inn at the head of the harbor in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. From her perch on the Seafarer’s wide front porch, Barbara’s had a chance to observe the quirks of life in a small resort town, along with the stunning harbor views. Barbara and Bill no longer run the inn as a Bed & Breakfast. Barbara is notoriously not a morning person. They considered a Bed-and-Get-Your-Own-Damn-Breakfast, but there didn’t seem to be much of a market.

Barbara is the 2013 co-chair of The New England Crime Bake. She is a co-editor/co-publisher at Level Best Books, which produces an award-winning anthology of crime and mystery stories by New England authors every November. Barbara also blogs with a wonderful group of Maine mystery authors at Maine Crime Writers.

Barbara’s first mystery novel, The Death of an Ambitious Woman, was published by Five Star/Gale/Cengage in August, 2010. In her former life, Barbara was a co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of two successful start-ups in educational technology. When they aren’t in Boothbay, she and her husband live in Somerville, MA.

17239894
Clammed Up
(A Maine Clambake Mystery)

Brand New Series
Cozy Mystery
Kensington Publishing Group (September 3, 2013)
Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0758286857
E-Book File Size: 551 KB
ASIN: B00C6BFTZ2

goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

 

Summer has come to Busman’s Harbor, Maine, and tourists are lining up for a taste of authentic New England seafood, courtesy of the Snowden Family Clambake Company. But there’s something sinister on the boil this season. A killer has crashed a wedding party, adding mystery to the menu at the worst possible moment. . .

Julia Snowden returned to her hometown to rescue her family’s struggling clambake business–not to solve crimes. But that was before a catered wedding on picturesque Morrow Island turned into a reception for murder. When the best man’s corpse is found hanging from the grand staircase in the Snowden family mansion, Julia must put the chowder pot on the back burner and join the search for the killer. And with suspicion falling on her old crush, Chris Durand, the recipe for saving her business and salvaging her love life might be one and the same. .

Dollycas’s Thoughts
A delightful debut that has me hungry for more!!!

The story is set in a beautiful part of this country and every bit of it was clear in my mind’s eye. From the island to the ferry trip to the town of Busman’s Harbor. Sounds like a great place to vacation.

Julia’s homecoming being marred by murder is awful but this girl is up for the challenge. She uses skills she has learned while away to whittle down the suspects and it isn’t easy. She makes mistakes. She is scared and worried about losing her family business and is so real and credible. It is so easy to identify with her which makes her a great protagonist.

The supporting cast is strong as well. I personally wanted to take on Sonny. He had just given up and if Julia would not have come back the business would have been history, but his support of Julia was truly lacking. Family drama! I love it! This is a group of characters that will surprise you. Ross has filled this Clambake Mystery with plenty of red herrings!

It seems Julia and Livvie’s dad had put together a wonderful business. There will be some changes going forward but I know the family will come out on top and the clambakes will be even more popular. I am ready to buy my ticket today. Boiled Over (A Maine Clambake Mystery) will be served up May 6, 2014!

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

I am giving away my Advance Copy
and the author is giving away a published 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.

Leave a comment for Barbara 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 September 25, 2013 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

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.”