Posted in Giveaways Reviews 2014

Review/Giveaway – By Cook or By Crook by Maya Corrigan

by cook or by crook By Cook or by Crook
(A Five-Ingredient Mystery)

New Cozy Series
Kensington Books (November 4, 2014)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1617731389
E-Book File Size: 957 KB
ASIN: B00JVW6H8M
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Take one burned-out city girl. Add a crusty codger, a dash of romance, and a twist of humor. Stir in a generous helping of murder, and you’ve got the ingredients for one truly delicious mystery …

Haunted by the car accident that ended her career as a cookbook publicist, Val Deniston has traded in the chaos of New York City for a quieter life near the Chesapeake Bay. Living with her curmudgeonly grandfather in the tourist town of Bayport is hardly glamorous, but she enjoys running the Cool Down Café at the local fitness club, and she finally has time to work on her long-planned cookbook. After a club patron is murdered, Val cooks up a scheme to find the killer who framed her best friend. While Val investigates five suspects and uncovers five key clues, Granddad takes up cooking, creating havoc in the kitchen even when trying recipes that have only five ingredients.

Includes 8 five-ingredient recipes!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

The number 5 is the key here.

  • 5 ingredient recipes
  • 5 suspects
  • 5 key clues

Maya Corrigan is off to an excellent start with this mystery! Val Deniston is a great character with a tragic past. She is trying to get on with her life but is haunted with nightmares of the night when a car accident changed her life. She thought coming to Bayport would make things easier but a recent murder that has her best friend pegged at the prime suspect has her remembering that fateful night again and again as she tries to find the real killer.

I love the relationship Val has with her grandfather. She thinks he needs her there to take care of him and he does to a certain point but that man has more going on than she gives him credit for. He even turns the table on her and it was so much fun to read. Brought back a few memories of my own grandfather.

The other characters were great too. I think everyone in town has a secret and Val considered them all suspects at one time or another, even the one whose kisses gave her that warm and tingly feeling.  The reason for this is a masterfully plotted mystery. There were several red herrings in this mystery’s recipe and they all needed to be sifted through to find the real killer and I figured it out just as Val did. Isn’t that what we readers want?

The author has served up a wonderful story with more than mystery to solve, a pinch of romance and a morsel of humor. It also contains a huge “hang on to your seat” moment that had my heart pumping.

I am truly excited for the next book in this series. I think the author has just given a tidbit of what she can dish up. “What are the chances of another murder in a peaceful small town?” We shall have to wait and see…

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

maya corrigan

About This Author

Maya Corrigan lives near Washington, D.C., within easy driving distance of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, the setting for this series. She has taught courses in writing, detective fiction, and American literature at Georgetown University and NOVA community college. A winner of the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery and Suspense, she has published essays on drama and short stories under her full name of Mary Ann Corrigan. Visit her at mayacorrigan.com.

 Author Links

WebPage: mayacorrigan.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Maya-CorriganBooks/305167769636032

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.

Leave a comment for Miranda 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 November 28, 2014 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Posted in Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Guest Posts Reviews 2014

Cozy Wednesday with Nancy Coco – Author of To Fudge or Not To Fudge (Giveaway too!)

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am so happy to welcome Nancy Coco to Escape With Dollycas this week!!

Nancy Coco talks about
Mackinac Island Michigan and the Glories of Fall

114I grew up in part in the great State of Michigan with its sweeping, softly sanded coastline. The deciduous forests with trees so tall you have to back up to look at them. Waterfalls, lakes, sand dunes and the glorious orchards of apples, cherries, and peaches, plus fields of veggies and blueberries give the state its natural paradise feel. There is nothing better than to take an Autumn trip up the coast to the Mackinaw suspension bridge that connects the upper and lower peninsulas of the State. Between the peninsulas in the straits, lies Mackinac Island. Yes, they are spelled differently, but pronounced the same.

fall-2012-mackinac-island-067 (1)The Island itself is lost in time with its “no automobile” rule and its lovely painted-lady Victorian cottages. Main Street is filled with the sound of horse hooves clipping along from the horse drawn carriages. The bells from the bicycles going by and the sound of crowds of happy tourists here to take in the old fort, the old fashioned way to get around and the lovely fresh lake breezes. There is a beautiful calm in the crisp air of Fall. The trees are bright in their Autumn dresses of red, orange, yellow and burgundy. Rich chocolate scents waft out of fudge shops along with the caramel and apple scents of popcorn and candied apples.

To Fudge or not to fudge_snipped coverIt is my pleasure and honor to set the Candy Coated Mystery Series on this magical island. Alli McMurphy’s Historic Inn and Fudge Shop is a fun place for the magic of community, candy making, and, of course, the who dunnit. To Fudge or Not to Fudge is set in the month of June when the lilacs come out and the Island is awash in Spring smells and a gorgeous explosion of pastel color. Whether you have a chance to visit in the Spring, Summer, or Fall, I hope you get an opportunity to visit the “Island that Time Forgot.” At the very least I hope that Allie, Mal, and the Candy-Coated Mystery series can depart a tiny bit of the flavor and feeling that you find in any season in Mackinac Island, Michigan.

Mackinac_Bridge_SunsetTell me, what is your favorite vacation spot and would you want a mystery series set there?

~Nancy

About This Author

Best known for writing plucky heroines Nancy Coco AKA Nancy J. Parra has 15 books published- Most recently Nancy has three cozy mystery book series going.Gluten for Punishment and Murder Gone A-Rye are both part of the Gluten Free Baker’s Treat Mystery series. (Berkley Prime Crime)All Fudged Up and To Fudge or Not to Fudge are part of the Candy Coated Mystery series (Kensington) -which Nancy writes as Nancy Coco. Then there is Engaged in Murder – the first in the Perfect Proposal series from Berkly Prime Crime.

All Fudged Up was Nancy’s first National Best seller.

Find out more about Nancy and her books on her webpage here.

To Fudge or not to fudge_snipped coverTo Fudge or Not to Fudge
(A Candy-coated Mystery)

2nd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Kensington (September 2, 2014)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0758287120
E-Book File Size: 1150 KB
ASIN: B00IUPCL0E
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With summer in bloom and tourists afoot, Allie is out walking her pup, Mal, when the curious canine digs up a bone from under a flowering lilac bush. The bone leads to a toe that’s missing a body. For the successful confectionaire it’s only the first in a series of sour events in the middle of the island’s Lilac Fest. When her stint on a cooking reality show swirls up a trail of foul play, Allie will have to outwit a cunning killer if she wants to continue living la dolce vida…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This was quite a book. A reality cooking show has come to Mackinac Island and it bring Allie’s former mentor Chef Peter Thomas to town.  He even talks her into appearing on the show! Mal also finds an interesting item while out for a walk.  A bone buried in a bit of mulch, wait is that nail polish, OMG, that’s a toe bone!!

Nancy Coco has written a magnificent mystery! I was engaged from the first page until the last. She has created fun and entertaining characters and there are quite a few suspects. I also loved that there were 2 dogs involved in the story. One very well behaved and one not so much. I was laughing as the police were chasing the one who refused to drop his sensational find.  Again Allie is under  suspicion but she is hot on the trail to clear her name.

I love the setting too. It has been many years since I visited Mackinaw Island but I remember the great time we had. It is a truly a unique place and if you are in the area one you should definitely visit. Because of its location it is a great place to have a mystery or two or more.

This cozy has it all – a well plotted mystery, fantastic characters, the perfect amount of humor, all set in a beautiful place.

Oh and don’t forget the recipes and the fudge making knowledge we gain by reading about Allie’s daily demonstrations!! There’s a Dark Chocolate Peppermint Fudge I can’t wait to try for the upcoming holidays.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

GIVEAWAY

I am giving my review copy away!

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

Leave a comment for Nancy for 5 Bonus Entries.

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 19, 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 To Enter

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 New Release Tuesday

New Release Tuesday – November 2014

NEW RELEASE TUESDAY 2014New Release Tuesday – November 2014

These wonderful books are available today
wherever fine books are sold.
Click on the book covers below to order from Amazon.com

Chorus Lines, Caviar, and Corpses (A Happy Hoofers Mystery)

I reviewed this last week.
My Review Giveaway still open!!
Great Escapes Book Tour starts today!

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Lethal Letters (A Books by the Bay Mystery)

I will be reviewing November 6th with giveaway!!

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Knot In My Backyard (A Quilting Mystery)

I will be reviewing November 11 with giveaway!
Great Escapes Book Tour starts today!
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Suede to Rest (A Material Witness Mystery)

Diane Vallere will be my guest for Cozy Wednesday on November 12!
Great Escapes Book Tour is running now!
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The Chocolate Clown Corpse: A Chocoholic Mystery

Joanna Carl will be my Special Guest on November 13!
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By Cook or by Crook (A Five-Ingredient Mystery)

I plan to review this book on November 14.
Great Escapes Book Tour Starts today!
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Knot Guilty: A Crochet Mystery

Betty Hechtman will be my Special Guest on November 15!
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A High-End Finish: A Fixer-Upper Mystery

Kate Carisle will be my Special Guest on November 20th!
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On Borrowed Time (A Library Lover’s Mystery)

Jenn McKinlay will be my Guest for Cozy Wednesday on November 26.
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Dae’s Christmas Past (A Missing Pieces Mystery) (Volume 6)

Great Escapes Book Tour Starts Today!
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More Books Out Today

Books Out Later This Month

Tradition of Deceit (A Chloe Ellefson Mystery)

Kathleen Ernst will be my guest for Cozy Wednesday November 19!
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Fatal Brushstroke (An Aurora Anderson Mystery) (Volume 1)

Release Date November 18!
Great Escapes Tour starts November 19!
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Plus

I am an Amazon Associate so purchases made at Amazon.com originating from my
blog earn me a small commission which I use for giveaway prizes.

HAPPY READING EVERYONE!!

 

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

Review/Giveaway – Chorus Lines, Caviar and Corpses by Mary McHugh

Chorus Lines, Caviar, and Corpses
Chorus Lines, Caviar, and Corpses
(A Happy Hoofers Mystery)

New Cozy Mystery Series
Kensington Books (November 4, 2014)
Kensington Publishing Corporation
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1617733598
E-Book File Size: 1194 KB
ASIN: B00JVW6H3C
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

There’s no pussy-footing around murder . . .

It’s never too late to kick up your heels. Just ask Tina, Janice, Pat, Mary Louise, and Gini–aka the Happy Hoofers. After posting a video of their tap-dancing routine on the Internet, the leggy ladies find themselves booked to perform on a Russian river cruise up the Volga from Moscow to St. Petersburg.

But when murder cuts in, the five fabulous friends find it’s not so easy to tap their troubles away. A crew member has been killed, and a passenger is missing. With a killer on board, the Hoofers need to watch their step. But with a little fancy footwork, these soft-shoe sleuths may get a leg up on a killer who’s cruising for a bruising. . .

Includes Travel Tips And Tasty Recipes

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Meet the Happy Hoofers: 

  • Tina is leader of the group. She keeps everything organized. She is the Travel Editor at Perfect Bride magazine.
  • Janice is an actress and director in community theater. She is divorced with a daughter in college.
  • Pat is a family therapist and the mother hen of the group.
  • Mary Louise and Tina have been friends for over 30 years. She has 3 children and a very trying husband named George.
  • Gini is a redhead with a temper to match. She is a documentary filmmaker and while making a film in India fell in love with a little girl she hopes to adopt.

They are “all different, all great looking, and fierce friends forever.” They also all love to tap dance. What started out as exercise to keep their 50-something bodies in shape has taken off and landed them a gig on a Russian Cruise as the headline entertainment. Let’s just say it is quite an adventure with a drill sergeant like cruise director, a British chef who can’t cook worth a darn, and accommodations built for extremely small individuals. When the chef ends up dead no one is really surprised but is bad food something that would drive someone to commit murder?

Mary McHugh has penned quite a mystery. Unlike other cozy mysteries the Happy Hoofers really do not do much investigating they just seem to find themselves in dangerous situations that force them to stick together. When they get separated bad things happen.

The Hoofers meet some interesting people cruising up the Volga. Some that are sure to appear in upcoming stories.

They visit some beautiful places in Russia but learn quickly they have arrived at the wrong time of year. This tour company needs to use Tina to help them organize things.  If I went on a cruise like this it would be my last cruise. It was pretty bad before any of the corpses showed up. The Happy Hoofers were definitely the best thing about the whole adventure.

Put on your dancing shoes and get ready to tap your toes with these ladies Moscow to St. Petersburg. This is a great start for this series.

just you and a friend4 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

bookstorephoto

About This Author

Mary McHugh graduated from Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, with a B.A. in English Literature and studied at the Sorbonne in Paris. She is the author of nineteen nonfiction books and two novels. She was a contributing editor for Cosmopolitan, an articles editor at Woman’s World, Travel Holiday, and Bridal Guide, and has written articles for The New York Times, Good Housekeeping and Family Circle.

She loves to tap dance and to travel -two passions that inspired her to write the Happy Hoofers series.

She lives in the New York area. Visit her at http://marymchugh.org/index.html

 

Author Links
WebPage: http://marymchugh.org/index.html
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mary.mchugh.77

 

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 13, 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

 

Mary McHugh is touring with Great Escapes Book Tours staring next Tuesday.

Please check out the stops and enjoy the
Reviews, Guest Posts, Interviews and Giveaways!

Tour Participants
November 4 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review, Giveaway
November 5 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review, Giveaway
November 6 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – Review, Giveaway
November 7 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Interview
November 8 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post, Giveaway
November 9 – Girl Lost In a Book – Review, Giveaway
November 10 – Tea and A Book – Review, Guest Post , Giveaway
November 11 – Griperang’s Bookmarks – Review
November 12 – Kelly P’s Blog – Guest Post
November 13 – Brooke Blogs – Review, Interview, Giveaway
chorus lines caviar and corpses   large banner 640
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 New Release Tuesday

New Release Tuesday – October 2014

NEW RELEASE TUESDAY 2014New Release Tuesday – October 2014

These wonderful books are available today
wherever fine books are sold.
Click on the book covers below to order from Amazon.com

Black Thursday (A Mrs. Frugalicious Shopping Mystery)

The actual release date on this one is tomorrow
and the author will be my Cozy Wednesday guest this week!

The Forgotten Girl

I will be reviewing this book on Thursday!!

Bless Her Dead Little Heart (A Southern Ladies Mystery)

New Series from Miranda James!
She will be my Special Guest on Friday!

Picked to Die (An Orchard Mystery)

I will be reviewing this book Friday, October 17!

Murder Off the Beaten Path (A Search and Rescue Mystery)

M.L. Rowland will be my guest for Cozy Wednesday on October 22.

Off Kilter (A Scottish Highlands Mystery)

New Series from Hannah Reed. She will be my guest on October 20 for Cozy Wednesday!

A Crafty Christmas (Cumberland Creek)

Mollie Cox Bryan is touring with Great Escapes Book Tours October 7 – 20, 2014

More Books Out Today!

More Books Out Later This Month

I am an Amazon Associate so purchases made at Amazon.com originating from my
blog earn me a small commission which I use for giveaway prizes.

HAPPY READING EVERYONE!!

 

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

Review/Giveaway – All Fudged Up by Nancy Coco

all fudged upAll Fudged Up
(A Candy-coated Mystery)

New Cozy Mystery Series
Kensington Books (November 5, 2013)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0758287106
E-Book File Size: 1234 KB
ASIN: B00CSX8UQI
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

Welcome to the Historic McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop–where life is sweet, revenge is sweeter, and murder is here to to stay…

You Can’t Fudge An Alibi

Allie McMurphy is taking over the family business but first she has to do some major renovations and make sure her plans for the grand Victorian meet the approval of the Historical Committee. You see this place is one of Mackinac Island’s most beloved landmarks.

Before she barely get started she finds a dead body. The deceased is Joe Jessup, a man who had a feud going with Allie’s grandfather forever and everyone knew it. The police think this makes Allie a prime suspect and that fudges up all of her plans. Instead of getting ready for the grand reopening she has to clear her name and catch the real killer.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Wow, what an awesome debut!!

Allie is a terrific protagonist and a very determined woman. She is focused on her task and no one is going to stop her. Even those on the island that call her a “fudgie”, meaning she isn’t one of them because she only spent summers there growing up.  She needs to earn everyone’s trust and respect so they know she is there for the long haul to bring the McMurphy back to the way is was in its heyday.

The author adds a great supporting cast starting with Charlene, the crazy emergency dispatcher, to Frances Wentworth, who worked for Allie’s grandfather for years and came along with the business, to a fluffy white puppy named Mal. There are also a group of local that are the most unwelcoming group I people I have ever read about. Thankfully I have been to Mackinac Island and know that is just for the story or maybe there are only super nice to tourists. 🙂 We will see as the series continues if Allie can continue to win them over.

As I said the story takes place on Mackinac Island, a truly beautiful place. It is also a place rich in history and the perfect setting for a cozy mystery series.

The mystery plot was very interesting with a plethora of suspects in addition to Allie. I suspected the whole cranky bunch.

Warning: Yummy fudge recipes are interspersed throughout the book. I hope Nancy puts them all up on her webpage. That’s the problem with foodie cozies. I don’t know if I should keep them on my regular bookshelf or in the kitchen with the cookbooks.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

Find out more about Nancy and her books on her webpage here.

To Fudge or Not to Fudge (A Candy-Coated Mystery with Recipes)
will be out September 2, 2014.

I am giving away my review copy!!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Contest Will End May 31, 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 author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Guest Posts Literary Escapes Reviews 2014 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Alyssa Maxwell – Author of Murder at the Breakers (Giveaway too!)

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am delighted to welcome Alyssa Maxwell here today.

Alyssa outside (2)

Escape with Alyssa Maxwell to the world of The Gilded Newport Mysteries…

 

cover frontIn the Gilded Age New York’s wealthiest escaped the heat, grime, and yes, pestilence of the city’s summer months by loading up their steamships with those priceless objects they simply couldn’t live without and making a mass pilgrimage to bright, breezy, seaside Newport, RI. They brought carriages and servants and countless trunks and even their safes, packed with jewels and important documents. They bought the best land, built palaces, and claimed as their own the finest Newport had to offer. They turned a sleepy, artsy village into the posh summer resort. The men sailed their yachts and rode horses and played golf and tennis. The women held teas and parties and balls, married their daughters to rich, powerful men, and wore a different gown from House of Worth, Paris, for each daily activity – mornings at home, social calls, promenading, carriage riding, tea, supper….

I’ll bet you’re thinking, “Wow, that’s a lot of research to do. Must be hard.” To which I say, “No way, I love it!” Digging around in the past is my way of stepping into a time machine and escaping from whatever has me gritting my teeth in the present. And sometimes that’s a lot! Or maybe it’s a past life thing. Whatever it is, I’ve always been this way and some days I’d much rather be there than here.

The truth is, I sometimes spend way more time researching than I need to. But how to stop oneself from poring through the Metropolitan Museum’s collection of Worth Gowns? For instance, there are these two:

DRESS 2DRESS 1

Do these not make your heart beat faster? Can’t you imagine the feel of that lustrous, embroidered silk against your skin? I literally gasped out loud when I first saw them. I covet! And you can bet I used them in describing dresses worn by my sleuth, Emma Cross, and her friend, Grace, to a ball in Murder at Beechwood, the third book in my series, which is still a work in progress. Rest assured there are plenty more drool-worthy masterpieces where these came from in the Museum’s database, and one can easily while away a good hour or two without even realizing it. Ooh, here’s another, in glorious gold:

DRESS 3

 

Obviously I can’t help myself. But don’t even get me going on the shoes, handbags and jewelry women wore during the Gilded Age! Seriously, don’t!

SHOESSHOECROWN

Are these not exquisite?

HANDBAGNECKLACE

Unfortunately, I also discovered the website of the American Carriage Association. I say unfortunately because here again, I can become lost studying styles and details. Here’s one I imagine my sleuth driving, though hers wouldn’t be quite so shiny and new:
CARRIAGE

Her wealthy Vanderbilt relatives would probably drive something more like this:
CARRIAGE2
Oops, did I say drive? I meant chauffeured around town in. Emma’s aunt Alice is forever telling her it isn’t seemly for her to be driving her own rig. Does Emma listen? Of course not! Sometimes a girl’s just got to get where she’s going, and she doesn’t have time to wait around for someone else to drive her. Like when she gathering clues to solve a murder.

I believe I mentioned yachts? For that there’s the New York Yacht Club website. The NYYC set up a satellite headquarters in Newport in 1894, paving the way for future Americas Cup Races to be held there. Wouldn’t it be awesome to be sitting in the shade at, say, The Breakers or Marble House, watching those majestic vessels cutting through the waves?
SHIPYACHT RACES

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or maybe we could sail to Europe on Willie K. Vanderbilt’s private steamship, The Valiant:
SHIP 2

Bet we could fit lots of trunks filled with gowns, shoes and jewelry on that ship! Not to mention a complete staff to see to our every need and desire.

Sailing to Europe might have been the thing to do in fall and spring, but when summer came around Newport was definitely the place to be. Who needs Europe anyway when your house looks like this:

THE BREAKERS
(The Breakers, styled after the Italian Palazzos of the Renaissance)

Or this?

(Marble House, inspired by The Petit Trianon at the Palace of Versailles)
(Marble House, inspired by The Petit Trianon at the Palace of Versailles)

Or when your view is this:
VIEW

This is the world I love to spend my time in. It’s my own comfy gilded cage, my haven and my escape.

Thanks for escaping with me today! If you’d like to spend more time in Newport’s Gilded Age, no problem! Stop by my website where there’s lots to see, including an excerpt from book one in the series, Murder at the Breakers. Here’s where to find me online: http://alyssamaxwell.

You can also explore:

Metropolitan Museum – House of Worth: http://www.metmuseum.org/search-results?ft=house+of+worth&x=0&y=0

The American Carriage Association: http://www.caaonline.com/

New York Yacht Club: http://www.nyyc.org/

The Preservation Society of Newport: http://www.newportmansions.org/

(All pictures provided by Alyssa Maxwell.)

About Alyssa Maxwell
I began a love affair with the city of Newport while visiting friends there back in my high school days. Time and again the harbor‑side, gas‑lit neighborhoods drew me back, and on one of those later visits I met the man who would become my husband. Always a lover of history, I found that marrying into a large, generations‑old Newport family opened up an exciting world of historical discovery. From the graveyards whose earliest markers read from the seventeenth century, to original colonial houses still lived in today, to the Newport Artillery Company whose curator for many years was my husband’s grandfather, Newport became a place of fascination and romantic charm. Today, my hubby and I reside beneath the palms and bright skies of Florida, but part of my heart remains firmly in that small New England city of great historical significance. The first in the Gilded Newport Mysteries, Murder at the Breakers, AVAILABLE TODAY!! to be followed by Murder at Marble House in October of this year.

cover frontMurder at the Breakers
(A Gilded Newport Mystery)

A Brand New Series
Historical Cozy Mystery
Kensington Books (March 25, 2014)
Published by Kensington Publishing Corp.
Trade Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0758290823
E-Book File Size: 1188 KB
ASIN: B00FH1IBYE
Nook: ISBN-13: 9780758290830
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Newport, Rhode Island, August 1895:

She may be a less well-heeled relation, but as second cousin to millionaire patriarch Cornelius Vanderbilt, twenty-one-year-old Emma Cross is on the guest list for a grand ball at the Breakers, the Vanderbilts’ summer home. She also has a job to do—report on the event for the society page of the Newport Observer.

But Emma observes much more than glitz and gaiety when she witnesses a murder. The victim is Cornelius Vanderbilt’s financial secretary, who plunges off a balcony faster than falling stock prices. Emma’s black sheep brother Brady is found in Cornelius’s bedroom passed out next to a bottle of bourbon and stolen plans for a new railroad line. Brady has barely come to before the police have arrested him for the murder. But Emma is sure someone is trying to railroad her brother and resolves to find the real killer at any cost…

Dollycas’s Thoughts
What an awesome debut!!!

Emma Cross inherited much more than Gull Manor from her Aunt Sadie. She inherited her wit and her spunk as well. Her parents have traveled abroad to follow their own dreams and left her to handle everything on her own.  Using the small annuity left to her by her Aunt and the wages she earns writing about social events for the local paper she keeps up what she can at Gull Manor. She really is not Cornelius Vanderbilt’s niece. She is actually his second cousin “twice or thrice removed” but she calls him Uncle because she could never call the shipping magnate or his wife by just their first names. They invite her to parties, try to watch over her and hope to find her a suitable husband even though that is the furthest thing from her mind. She is very independent and has little fear of anything and seems to be wise beyond her years. She is a wonderful protagonist. I was engaged by her story immediately.

The author introduces us to many wonderful characters, the local Vanderbilt’s of course, Emma’s step brother Brady, her “cousin” Neily,  Nanny, who has been at Gull Manor forever, Emma’s maid, Katie, Officer Jessie Whyte, and Derrick “Anderson”. I look forward to getting to know more about all of them and their stories in future installments.

What I really loved about this book is that while the story is fictional it is based on fact. A party similar to the one in book actually took place. The author used her research to craft a mystery that was interwoven into a story of a family most of us are familiar with on some level, maybe not back to 1895, but they were one of the riches families in American history.

The mystery was a good one too. Emma was not afraid to keep digging and observed many things the local authorities either missed or ignored. She was not afraid to ask the hard questions even when those questions put her own life in danger. She also found an unexpected ally.

There was so much I loved about this book. It takes us back in time to a slower lifestyle when visiting meant harnessing up the horse to the buggy and traveling down a dirt road going house to house or manor to manor.

This is definitely an author to watch.  I can’t wait for Murder at Marble House (A Gilded Newport Mystery) out September 29.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Thanks to the author I have 2 copies to give away!

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

Posted in Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Reviews 2014 Virtual Book Tour You Read How Many Books Challenge

Review: I’ll Take Care Of You by Caitlin Rother

I'LL TAKE CARE OF YOU
I’ll Take Care of You
True Crime
Pinnacle Books (January 7, 2014)
Published by Kensington Publishing Corp.
Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0786032556
E-Book File Size: 2143 KB
ASIN: B00DV1IVIS
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Nanette Johnston Packard, a sexy divorcee, liked to meet men at the gym and through personal ads. Soon after she began dating millionaire Bill McLaughlin, he moved her and her kids into his bay-front home in Newport Beach. But one man was never enough for Nanette…Eric Naposki, her NFL linebacker lover, fulfilled Nanette’s wilder cravings. Together they schemed to make her fiance’s fortune their own. When McLaughlin was gunned down, authorities had suspicions – but no proof. Pulitzer-nominated writer Caitlin Rother explores this chilling story of a woman who seemed to have it all – until justice finally had its day.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Rother is excellent at what she does with these stories, her book Dead Reckoning made my Best Reads of 2011 and Lost Girls was another awesome read.

I was not familiar with this case until I picked up this book. The author starts with a Prologue that gets everyone up to speed and I appreciate this.

Nanette Johnson Packard may not have completed high school but she was smart enough to draw several men into her web of lies. She even convinced one of them to kill for her.  The scary thing is the way she lies reminds me of someone I personally know, which has me imagining the destruction this person could cause. That is what makes books like this so chilling, these are real people. People whose neighbors say they never noticed anything or there was no way that person would do that. 

Rother investigates this story so completely and writes so well at times you forget this story is not fiction. The people she brings to life on these pages are REAL!!! These things actually took place. This time it was a cold case and they almost got away with it.  The author takes us in depth into the case. The science that has evolved that helped solve the case.  The truth the came to light because of hours of exhaustive investigation when the case was resurrected in 2008.

With true crime stories, you know the criminal(s), the killer(s), the outcome. Because I wasn’t familiar with this case though I was waiting for the final twist. This entire story was twisted. The lies, the deception, the greed. Thankfully the victim’s family finally received justice. But had someone not chosen to dig into this case more thoroughly the outcome could have been so different.  This is family that truly suffered and deserved closure.

I started this book and it was after 2 in the morning when I finished. I just couldn’t put it down. I highly recommend this one and anything else written by this author.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent


Check out the rest of Caitlyn’s Tour

2014 Blogger Review Tour
I’LL TAKE CARE OF YOU

1/6/14: Truecrimezine

1/7/14: Psychotic State

1/8/14: Café of Dreams Book Reviews

1/9/14: Escape With Dollycas Into a Good Book

1/10/14: Jersey Girl Book Reviews

1/13/14: Maureen’s Musings

1/15/14: As I Turn the Pages

1/16/14: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews

1/17/14: Destiny’s Book Reviews

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

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Posted in Reviews 2012

Review: Mistletoe, Merriment and Murder by Sara Rosett (Giveaway too!)

Mistletoe, Merriment, and Murder
(Ellie Avery Mysteries)

A Mom Zone Mystery
7th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Published by Kensington (October 2, 2012)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0758269218

Mistletoe, Merriment, and Murder

Ellie Avery is a military wife and an expert at moving. She has turned her skills into a business that can travel with her wherever she goes. She is a professional organizer.

In this installment she takes a job helping first rate hoarder eliminate stuff that is beyond repair, donate what she doesn’t need, and organize the things she wants to keep. She was really nervous taking on this job but with Gabrielle Matheson, another professional organizer, trying to poach her clients and underbid her on the new ones she has no choice.

Trying to enjoy a little holiday cheer the squadron spouse club gets together for a party. The highlight of the night besides the little argument between Ellie and Gabrielle was the Elephant Swap Gift Exchange. When the gift Ellie receives ends up as a murder weapon she becomes the prime suspect. Ellie now “has to solve this ho-ho-homicide …and find a killer who wishes her a very deadly Christmas”.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I love the television show Army Wives and this series could be a spin-off – Air Force Wives.

I immediately loved the characters and the setting. The mystery was well written and fast paced. Once I started reading I couldn’t put it down. The holiday theme was a real treat as I have attended a few Christmas parties myself with a White Elephant Gift Exchange. My favorite character definitely was Ellie’s husband Mitch. He reminded me a lot of my husband. The quiet man behind the scenes until you are just about to take things too far and he steps in to try the voice of reason. It’s doesn’t always work but these guys try.

I will admit this is my first Ellie Avery mystery. The author sent me a copy telling me it could be read as a stand alone, which was true. I am usually a stickler for reading series books in order but Sara Rosett was very smart. I enjoyed this story very much and now I will be reading the rest of the books in this series as soon as possible. 🙂

This is a wonderful holiday read. Several organizational tips are included too! So whether this is a new series to you or you already love Ellie and her family, this is definitely a book to add to your pre-Christmas list!!

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About This Author
A native Texan, Sara is the author of the Ellie Avery mystery series and the On The Run travel thrillers. As a military spouse, Sara has moved around the country (frequently!) and traveled internationally, which inspired her latest travel thrillers. Publishers Weekly called Sara’s books, “satisfying,” “well-executed,” and “sparkling.”

Sara loves all things bookish, considers dark chocolate a daily requirement, and is on a quest for the best bruschetta. Connect with Sara at www.SaraRosett.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Goodreads.

Thanks to Sara I have a copy to share with you!!

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Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
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If you publicize the giveaway anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

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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 author. 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.”