Posted in Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Reviews 2015 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Review/ #Giveaway – The Candy Cane Cupcake Murder by Livia J. Washburn

candy cane cupcake killerThe Candy Cane Cupcake Killer:
A Fresh-Baked Mystery

Cozy Mystery
10th in Series
Setting – Texas
An Obsidian Mystery (November 3, 2015)
Published by New American Library
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Trade Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451416711
E-Book ASIN: B00SI028H2
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In the latest from the national bestselling author of Trick or Deadly Treat, Phyllis Newsom returns with a festive Christmas recipe that’s to die for…

‘Tis the season in Weatherford, Texas, and everyone in town is gearing up for the annual holiday parade and tree-lighting ceremony in the town square, where Phyllis Newsom will be serving her much-anticipated candy cane cupcakes. Local rancher Barney McCrory manages to charm one away from her before the ceremony begins. But unfortunately, when the minty confection is finished, so is he.

This isn’t the first time someone has dropped dead after eating one of Phyllis’s treats. But when the paramedics determine the rancher was shot, suspicion swiftly falls on McCrory’s daughter and her husband—who both stand to reap some sweet rewards from his death. Though Phyllis doesn’t want to get mixed up in another murder investigation, something about this case doesn’t sit right with her. With a little help from a tabloid TV news crew, Phyllis must unwrap the truth and restore good cheer to Weatherford before it’s too late…

Includes recipes!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

It’s Christmastime in Weatherford and it starts with the annual holiday parade. The crowd has turned out but a Grinch destroys the day. Barney McCrory, a local rancher, whose horse team is pulling Santa’s sleigh drops dead after the parade just gets started and Phyllis panics, Barney has just eaten one of her cupcakes. When the chaos clears it is determined Barney was shot. Who would benefit with the rancher out of the picture?  His daughter and her husband seem to gain the most landing them in the hot seat. Phyllis soon finds herself in the middle of another investigation. This time she gets help from a very surprising group but can they save Christmas and save Barney’s family?

I purposely saved this book to read closer to Christmas because a trip to Weatherford always puts a smile on my face.

After 10 stories these characters feel like old friends. Phyllis, Eve, Carolyn and Sam live together in a good size home and it seems the door is always open. Not only do visitors get a nice meal or a cupcake, they also get a shoulder to cry on, or a hug, but they also get an amateur sleuth in Phyllis or as the tabloids call her “Texas’s Elderly Angel of Death”. But calling her that will get the door slammed in your face, as Felicity Prosper from Inside Beat quickly found out. I would love to visit them myself without anyone having to be dead.  They may be retired but they definitely aren’ t tired. They are always on the go doing something.

This story started out with a bang that no one heard and continued its quick pace right up to the last page. I thought I had the who of the whodunit figured out a time or two, but I was completely wrong. That is the way it is supposed to be, right. Phyllis had her own way of investigating and sometimes she has all the clues she just needs to think things through a few times to get them to all fall together. Sam makes a great sounding board and sometimes even goes off on his own to chase down a clue.

This author tells a great story with dialogue that rings true and the characters’ wit comes shining through. Weatherford is the perfect setting too for this wonderful mystery. This was an exciting  story and so much fun to read.

We are given just a hint of what is in store for this cast of characters and I am excited to see it play out.

Now I think I need to bake some Candy Cake Cupcakes. Our family truly believes in the saying “Eat Dessert First” and these cupcakes will do nicely.

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about Livia J. Washburn on her 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 January 7, 2016 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Posted in Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Reviews 2015 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Review/Giveaway – Trick or Deadly Treat by Livia J. Washburn

trick or deadly treatTrick or Deadly Treat:
A Fresh-Baked Mystery

Cozy Mystery
Setting – Texas
9th in Series
An Obsidian Mystery (Reprint Edition) (October 6, 2015)
Published by New American Library
An Imprint of Penguin Random House
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451416704
Trade Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451416698
E-Book ASIN: B00INIXQRA
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It’s Halloween in Weatherford, Texas—which means Phyllis Newsom is baking up a storm of yummy seasonal treats…but she’s about to get even busier unmasking a killer…

While Phyllis and her friend Carolyn are preparing for a baking contest, her housemate Sam adopts Buck, an adorable Dalmatian who was hit by a car. To thank local veterinarian Hank Baxter for helping the dog, Phyllis and Carolyn bake a batch of doggie treats for his other four-legged patients.

But when they arrive at the clinic, the vet is in the process of being arrested—for the murder of his wife! Convinced that the police are barking up the wrong tree and that someone’s been burying evidence, Sam begs Phyllis to help find the real killer. Joined by Buck, the friends engage in a dogged pursuit of the murderer, who will stop at nothing to muzzle them…permanently.

INCLUDES RECIPES!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

In this 9th Fresh Baked Mystery the tables are turned a bit as Sam is the one leading the investigation.  Sam met Dr. Hank Baxter when he rescued a wonderful dalmatian after it had been hit by a car. The vet takes such good car of the dog, who Sam has named Buck, that when Hank is arrested Sam feels the great need to help him. Sam seems to hit one brick wall after another so Phyllis agrees to help him out. Carolyn and Phyllis are trying to win another cooking contest for a national magazine. They have a personal competition to see who can make the best doggie treats too.   Eve is in the background of this story so all the roommates are accounted for. Let the fun begin!

Okay let’s get it out of the way. Hank Baxter’s wife was a first class snob and I instantly disliked her so when she ended up dead I was not surprised. What truly surprised was the way the mystery played out.  We know the spouse it always the first suspect and the police are usually wrong on that assumption. Ms. Washburn took us through many twists and turns on the highways through Texas and in finding the actual killer as well.

Phyllis, Carolyn, Eve and Sam are a very engaging group of characters. They all live together and muddle through day to day life but trouble just seems to follow them. They appear to be unflappable most of the time. Phyllis and Sam are smart and have a very methodical way of investigating. Sam was on the right track he just needed to be able to talk things through with Phyllis to go forward.  The dialogue between the characters is top-notch. I love that they have added a dog to their little family.

Livia J. Washburn has penned a delightful story. This is a perfect book to curl up on these cool Autumn nights especially with Halloween just a week away.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

This was a reprint of a story released last year. Livia has a brand new story coming November 3. The Candy Cane Cupcake Killer  finds everyone in town is gearing up for the annual holiday parade and tree-lighting ceremony in the town square and you know there will be trouble. You can find out more about Livia and her books on her webpage here

GIVEAWAY
Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 2 copies to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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 7, 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 Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Reviews 2012

Cozy Wednesday with Author Livia J. Washburn (Giveaway too!)

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am thrilled to have Livia return to Escape With Dollycas! Last year she was here talking about holiday pies and cookies and promoting The Gingerbread Bump-Off. I knew then I would have to invite her back when the next book, Wedding Cake Killer, was released. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. When it arrived in the mail I did a little chair dancing. For me the holiday season has to include a book from this series and a visit from Livia! Please help me welcome her here today!!

Hi Livia,

Thank you for having me here again! I always enjoy it.

My new book Wedding Cake Killer is the seventh book in the Fresh Baked Mystery series. When I first started writing the books I had no idea how many of them there would be, but I hoped the series would run for quite a while because I really love developing characters, watching them grow and change over the course of a number of books. There was a time when most mystery series could be read in any order because significant, life-altering changes seldom if ever happened to the main characters. Of course there were exceptions to this, but for the most part the protagonist and the supporting characters didn’t change much from the first book in a series to the last, for example Miss Marple or Nero Wolfe or Perry Mason.

Today it’s much more common for series characters to have major things going on in their personal lives, along with the mysteries they have to solve. Which brings us to Wedding Cake Killer, which features the marriage of Phyllis Newsom’s friend Eve Turner to Roy Porter, who was introduced a couple of books earlier. This is a big event not only in Eve’s life but also in Phyllis’s, because the wedding takes place in her house and she has the responsibility of making sure that everything goes smoothly.

To be honest, I put a lot more thought and effort into planning Eve’s wedding than I did my own! When I got married it was long before the Internet and there were no bookstores in the small town where I lived. I didn’t have any wedding books or magazines to go by. I just did what friends and family suggested and what made sense to me. (I must have done something right, because more than 36 years later, I’m still married to the same guy!)

So I actually had a lot of fun coming up with all the details of Eve’s wedding, but I also enjoyed getting the chance to share more of her background with the readers. We learn a lot about Eve’s history in this one, and trust me, there are some surprises in store! I’ve always liked taking the long-term approach to character development and plotting. Years ago I collaborated with my husband on a series that contained a major twist at the end of the sixth book. We knew exactly what that twist was going to be before we ever wrote a word of the first book, so all along we were able to set it up and plant clues. The Fresh Baked Mystery series is very similar. All along I’ve known things about Eve that weren’t readily apparent and have been waiting for the right time and the right book to reveal them.

Wedding Cake Killer is that book. I hope the readers enjoy it, and I hope as well that they’ll come back to see how the events of this novel play out in the lives of Phyllis and all her friends in the future. Because life is change, and my characters are alive to me. If I’ve done my job, they will be to the readers, too.

~Livia

 Thank you so much Livia for being my guest today! Same time, next year, o.k.? I can’t wait for my next visit with Phyliis, Eve, Sam and Carolyn.

Wedding Cake Killer:
A Fresh-Baked Mystery

7th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Obsidian (November 6, 2012)
Published by New American Library
Trade Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451238092

Wedding Cake Killer (A Fresh-Baked Mystery, #7)

The big day has arrived! Wedding Bells are ringing for Eve and Roy! Even the forecast of a snowstorm can’t ruin this special day. Phyllis, Carolyn, and Sam have everything under control. The whole day is wonderful.

When Eve and Roy return from their honeymoon they move to a local B&B while they continue to look for their own place. Who could have guessed that Eve would be moving back in with Phyllis? She has no choice when Roy is found dead in their room at the B&B and Eve is the prime suspect.

Phyllis has been warned to leave the investigation to the police but she has to prove that Eve is innocent. She needs to find out who iced Roy before Eve ends up with a life sentence.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I loved this story. We learn about the men of Eve’s past, I knew there was more to her story. The author tempted us a bit in the last book and I couldn’t wait for this installment. Washburn did not disappoint. This character’s development was perfect.

Livia J. Washburn is quite a storyteller. She brings her characters to life and readers become invested in their lives effortlessly. She has the perfect recipe to keep those pages turning and readers wanting to know how these retired teachers will get out of trouble this time. A cup of murder, a tablespoon of intrigue, a teaspoon of humor and a pinch of romance,  mix together with fabulous characters and it bakes up to the perfect cozy mystery readers just can’t wait to bite into. A delectable delight!! with another temptation that has me anxiously awaiting book #8. 

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

  To Find Out More About Livia J. Washburn Vist her Webpage HERE!

Thanks to the people at Penguin
I have 3 copies to giveaway!!

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

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

Leave a comment for Livia for 5 Bonus Entries !

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

Contest Will End November 28, 2012 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

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