Aug 212018
 

As a fan of Julie Mulhern’s Country Club Mystery Series, I knew I had to read this book. I slotted it as fast as I could into my reading schedule. I hate having to wait so long after the release date to share this book with you. 

Fields’ Guide to Abduction (A Poppy Fields Adventure)
Mystery/Suspense
1st Book in Series
Setting – Mexico
J&M Press (May 28, 2018)
Paperback: 248 pages
ISBN-10: 1720872201
ISBN-13: 978-1720872207
Kindle ASIN: B07D4R881K

Poppy Fields, Hollywood IT girl extraordinaire, agreed to a week at the newest, most luxurious resort in Cabo. After all, what’s better than the beach when a girl is feeling blue? When Poppy is abducted, she’ll need all her smarts, all her charm, and a killer Chihuahua, to save herself. 

Dead body #1 found in bed, with me. That was a shock.
Dead body #2 found in bed, not with me. That was a relief.
Dead body #3 died telling me I’m a lousy actress. I already knew that.
Dead body #4 died trying to kill me.
Dead body #5 died kidnapping me.
Dead body #6 died guarding me.
Dead body #7 was a really bad man.
Dead body #8 was an even worse man.

That’s a lot of dead bodies for a girl looking for a week’s relaxation in Cabo. And, I’m probably leaving a few out–math isn’t my thing. Unless I can escape the cartel, I might be the next dead body.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Wow, Wow, Wow! I sat down to start this book last Monday evening and I didn’t look away until I finished the whole thing.

This is not a cozy mystery. This is a wild ride of action and suspense.

Poppy Fields escapes to Mexico after enduring a harrowing event. She plans to lie on the beach, make one public appearance and relax. Well, that didn’t happen. The dead bodies start to pile up at a rapid pace and then she is abducted. And then there are even more dead bodies!

Full of crazy twists and turns poor Poppy finds herself in all kinds of dangerous situations. I love Poppy, that girl needs to think on her feet and she does for the most part, but there are some situations you just need to let happen and hope and pray there will be another way out.

Ms. Mulhern has topped herself and knocked this way out of the park! She partners suspense with humor in a way I believe only she can. She has created a fantastic protagonist. I was cheering for Poppy the whole way. The pace was fast, the plot was fabulous, and the dialogue was fluid. Such as exciting read!

This story has moved to the top of my Best Reads of 2018. I can’t wait for the next installment! Bring on more Poppy Fields as soon as possible!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

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

 


*This book is in my private collection, purchased from Amazon.
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#Spotlight – 43 Missing (Detective Emilia Cruz) by Carmen Amato

 Spotlights  Comments Off on #Spotlight – 43 Missing (Detective Emilia Cruz) by Carmen Amato
May 262018
 


43 Missing (Detective Emilia Cruz)
Suspense/Mystery/Police Procedural
6th in Series
Laurel & Croton (December 14, 2017)
Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0999712207
Kindle ASIN: B07793QCD7

43 MISSING is based on the true events of September 2014,when 43 male students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College went missing in Iguala, Guerrero and have yet to be found.

Given the choice between resigning from the squadroom in Acapulco or taking a new assignment, Detective Emilia Cruz finds herself on a national task force examining Mexico’s most notorious crime.

After 18 months and three inconclusive investigations, the task force is the Mexican government’s last attempt to discover what happened to 43 students who disappeared after being seized by police in a small southern city.

Comprised of cops from across Mexico, the task force lacks technical tools, organized case files, and reliable witnesses. It’s a perfect scenario for failure.

Despite its problems, the task force gives Emilia the opportunity to search for the rapist and murderer known as El Acólito, with whom she has an agonizing family tie. Digging into his past life in Mexico City, she’ll learn a shocking truth about the man she’s determined to kill.

As the task force digs up confusing new leads, a diplomat from the United States embassy offers Emilia $50,000 to end the investigation. It’s a tempting offer that would shift Emilia’s hunt for El Acólito into high gear.

But is the diplomat really who he claims to be?

Does it matter?

When the task force heads to the scene of the crime, Emilia knows her loyalty, conscience, and very future will be put to the test.

About the Author

With a CIA career in her rearview mirror, Carmen Amato is the author of the Detective Emilia Cruz police procedural series set in Acapulco and optioned for television by a US network studio. Emilia Cruz is the first female detective on the Acapulco police force, confronting Mexico’s drug cartels, legendary government corruption and culture of machismo. Kirkus Reviews has called the books “consistently exciting,” with “danger and betrayal never more than a page away.”

Carmen’s books reflect her travels around the world, as well as her expertise in international negotiations and intelligence collection, translation, and analysis. She is a recipient of both the National Intelligence Award and the Career Intelligence Medal.

Originally from upstate New York, Carmen was educated there as well as in Virginia and Paris, France. Her family tree includes a mayor, a Mensa genius, and the first homicide in the state of Connecticut with an automatic weapon. The perpetrator, her great-grandfather, eluded a state-wide manhunt after killing two people–one of whom was his wife. He was never brought to justice. *

Visit Carmen’s website at http://carmenamato.net to get a free copy of the Detective Emilia Cruz Starter Library. With two novellas, the first chapters of the first 3 novels in the series. 

*From Amazon

The Detective Emilia Cruz Series
Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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Dec 012017
 

Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder – Andi Anna Jones Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Mexico
Imajin Qwickies (November 30, 2017)
Paperback: 188 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1772233452
Kindle ASIN: B076N6KBM3

 

 

Andi’s step-mother is a real piece of work!

But is Ruby a murderer?

Andi Anna Jones, so-so travel agent/amateur sleuth, puts aside her resentment of her father’s widow and books a 60th birthday cruise to Cancun for Ruby and three friends. Never does Andi imagine the cruise will lead to the murder of a has-been lounge singer—or that Ruby will be the main suspect.

Flirting with more than danger after arriving in Mexico, Andi connects with the charming local sheriff, Manual Rodriquez. After an embarrassing night involving the sheriff, too many margaritas, and a Mariachi band, a chance to check out an eyewitness to the murder leads her to Las Vegas.

In Vegas, a mysterious meeting in the Bodies Exhibition, a body preserving in the prep-room, and an evasive owner of a dance studio, give Andi clues to help Ruby. But when Andi is mercilessly drugged and locked in a storage room, she realizes dear old step-mom isn’t the only one in jeopardy.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Imajin Qwickies brings us the first Andi Anna Jones mystery. A quick mystery that packs a punch.

Travel agent Andi Anna Jones has sent her stepmother, Ruby, on a cruise for her 60th birthday hoping for a few quiet days for herself. Instead, she receives a middle of the night phone call telling her the woman is in jail held on suspicion of murder. Andi Anna thinks for a moment of just going back to sleep and letting Ruby fend for herself, but then she remembers her father and books a flight to Cancun. The eye candy, I mean sheriff, that meets her at the airport almost makes her forget what she is there for and a few margaritas leave her wondering what kind of evening the two of them shared. But, getting back to getting her stepmom out of jail, she calls a lawyer and starts her own investigation that puts her on another plane to Vegas. If she survives the trip she just may find the real killer.

A lot happens within the 188 pages. Plenty of action and drama and a fair bit of romance. With the “qwickie” format the story developed quickly and for me, everything happened a bit too fast. The romance between sheriff Manual Rodriquez and Andi was truly “love at first sight”. The mystery has Andi in Cancun, then at the cruise ship, then in Las Vegas. The girl hardly had time to catch her breath. Aside from the rushed pace, this was a good mystery. There were twists and turns and Andi did uncover more suspects. The motive was surprising and made the ending very exciting.

I did enjoy these characters and do want to get to know them better. Ruby is quite a woman, she is enjoying life and driving Andi crazy. Andi also has an assistant at her travel agency and I would like to get to know her better too. She seems to be the brains behind that business.

I had vacationed in Cancun several years ago and I would have liked to spend more time there will Andi. Hopefully, she will be returning there in a future story.

This was a fun, fast read and an enjoyable getaway.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Author, Mary Cunningham, grew on the northern side of the Ohio River in Corydon, Indiana. Her first memories are of her dad’s original bedtime stories that no doubt inspired her imagination and love of a well-spun “yarn”.

Childhood experiences, and a recurring dream about a mysterious attic, inspired characters, Cynthia and Augusta Lee, for her award-winning middle-grade series, Cynthia’s Attic.

Through the author’s horrifying stint as a travel agent, protagonist, Andi Anna Jones, travel agent/amateur sleuth, sprang to life. This series gives extra meaning to the phrase, “Write what you know.”

Cunningham is a member of The Georgia Reading Association, and the Carrollton Writers Guild.

When she gives her fingers a break from the keyboard, she enjoys golf, swimming and exploring the mountains of West Georgia where she makes her home with her husband. Together they’ve raised three creative children, have 2 granddaughters, a grandson, a great grandson, and an adopted, four-legged, furry daughter, Lucy.

Margaritas, Mayhem, & Murder: Andi Anna Jones Mystery #1 will be released NOV 30, 2017 by Imajin Books. Book # 2 is in process.

Author Links:
Website Facebook Facebook author page Twitter: Pinterest LinkedIn: Goodreads Amazon Author Page Imajin Books:

Purchase Links –

Amazon 
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Praise for Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder – Andi Anna Jones Mystery
by Mary Cunningham

. . . an enjoyable escape read and sets things up for potential continuation.
~Laura’s Interests

. . . a comical investigation that introduces us to some crazy characters that really keep the story flowing.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

Andi is a charming and delightful character even though she isn’t such a great sleuth or travel agent.
~My Reading Journeys

TOUR PARTICIPANTS– Please visit all the stops!

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

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Oct 212016
 
x-dames
X Dames: A Lucy Ripken Mystery
International Mystery & Crime
*2nd in Series
Self Published
Setting – California/Mexico/New York
Paperback: 148 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1533562982
E-Book ASIN: B015YOQZUA
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An old friend calls Lucy Ripken out of the blue to offer her a job writing for a new reality TV show: The X-Dames, an all-female extreme sports competition, starting with a surfing contest. Lucy jumps at the chance—the pay is great and means she gets to travel down to the colorful little beach town of Sayulita and get out on the waves again.

While scouting the talent, Lucy makes a friend, an impulsively charismatic young surfer with a gift for both painting and self-destruction named Marcia. Winning the competition means she might be able to pay for art school… or rehab. Either way, it’s a win.

But things take a sudden, nasty turn, when one of the contestants turns up dead. It looks like an accident, but Lucy’s seen that movie before and suspects it was only made to look that way. One drugged drink later, and Lucy’s not only sure it was murder, she’s pretty sure she’s gonna be next.

With her reality show suddenly skewing less X-Games and more X-Files, Lucy and Marcia hit the beach to save lives, stop bad guys, and maybe work on a tan.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

While Lucy is an amateur sleuth, this is not a cozy mystery. The book has explicit language and adult themes.

Lucy Ripken heads back to Mexico after a brief stop in California with the crew of a new television reality show featuring female extreme sports competitors. The first episode covers some extreme surfing, and when one contestants dies the first day of filming Lucy knows it wasn’t any accident. With a little help from her friends she is going to prove that. While she is in Mexico, her landlord is trying to get her booted from her rent control apartment and her boyfriend is in Florida on his own adventure.

I know some sites show this as the 3rd book in the series and others show it as the 2nd. The first book was not available so I jumped in with Mexican Booty last week and this one this week. They do read well as stand alone but in this installment there were more references to things I assume happened in book 1 but the author gives us plenty of background to keep us in the loop, but it does make me wish I could read book 1.

Again J.J. Henderson pack a lot into these 150 pages. We are getting to know Lucy Ripken a little better but I think we have just scratched the surface. I love that she gets a call and goes where the job is and this time it sounds like a great opportunity and very well paying.  I also liked the reality show aspect, you know when you bring a group of people together vying for a prize there is going to be drama. Unfortunately this time the drama included murder and the more Lucy digs the more suspects come to light. I was totally caught by surprise how everything connected.

I have started to get invested in these characters and the author surrounds them in a good mystery. I like that we meet new characters too in each installment. I also enjoy the way he describes the setting and action. Excellent for the reader to visualize without getting too wordy.

 I originally grabbed this book when it was free and I needed n “X” book for my Alphabet Soup Challenge. I am glad I decided to read the one before this one because now I want to read them all. I have added the rest of the series to my wish list.

enjoyable 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

You can find out more about author J.J. Henderson on his webpage here.

*The book was from my private collection.

GIVEAWAY

I am giving away 1 e-copy of your choice in this series,
delivered directly from Amazon! 

Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old

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.

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Click the Like Button at the top of this post for a Bonus Entry.

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Oct 142016
 

9WbGnJTR
On Flashback Fridays I will share with you the books I missed when they were first
released that have been screaming at me from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.

I had purchased the 2nd book in this series X-Dames, for my Alphabet Soup Challenge. Since I recently read a series starting with the 2nd book and regretted it I decided to purchase this one to read first. There was another book listed as 1st in the series on Amazon and GoodReads from several years ago but that title has been taken down.

mexican-booty

Mexican Booty: A Lucy Ripken Mystery
1st in Series
International Mystery & Crime
Explicit Language
Setting – New York/New Mexico/Mexico
Self Published (September 10, 2015)
Paperback: 156 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1533562760
E-Book ASIN: B0157QLY06
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Lucy Ripken is 30-something, single, and struggling to make it as a photographer in New York City.

Desperate to keep the roof over her head and caffeine in her cup, she takes a job on the Upper East Side, photographing some mind-bogglingly expensive pre-Colombian sculptures. But something is off about the woman she’s working for, and something is off with the pieces she’s photographing.

Overpaid and under stimulated, Lucy decides to bite the suspicious hand that feeds, travelling first to Santa Fe, and then to Mexico to unravel the mystery. Her part time paramour Harold Ipswich might have been able to help, but he’s fallen off the wagon and into a bottle, and much like his drink of choice, he and Lucy are on the rocks.

No man, no problem, though, as Lucy relies on her best friend, the recently engaged (but always up for adventure) Rosa. They’ve got spunk, and they’ve got style, but spunk and style only take you so far when you’re neck deep in shark infested waters, metaphorically… and literally, too. Can Lucy and Rosa make it through the choppy seas of conspiracy, betrayal, and apex aquatic predators?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I like Lucy Ripken, she is down but she is not out when she gets the call to photograph some Pre-Colombian pieces for a gallery catalog. When a friend she brings along to the shoot tells her the pieces are fake and the gallery owner assures her they are not she feels there is a story there. She pitches the story and gets funding to research the pieces. She jets off to Santa Fe and Mexico to find the truth never realizing the danger she has put herself in.

The author gives in depth and colorful descriptions of every place Lucy travels. It was so easy to picture them vividly. From beauty to ruins, each was crystal clear.

Lucy does have a friend in Santa Fe, Rosa, in fact Rosa’s fiancee recommended Lucy for the job at the gallery. Rosa along with a pre-Columbian collector go with Lucy to Mexico where we are introduced to more interesting characters. All these characters seem to be portrayed realistically, or at least realistic enough for fiction or television. The dialog between the characters is very well written.

This is a novella at 156 pages and an extremely fast read. The plot is intense but but there is a bit of humor in places too. The pages were turning very rapidly and I was surprised at how quickly we reached the end. I am ready for another Lucy Ripken adventure and I already have the next book ready to go on my Kindle.

enjoyable 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

You can find out more about author J.J. Henderson on his webpage here.

Watch for a giveaway next week when I review book #2.

*The book was from my private collection.

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Jul 072016
 

special guest blue

I am super excited to have Marla Cooper visit today!

marla cooper

 

Help me plan my next escape!
By Marla Cooper

I always knew I’d have fun writing a mystery series about a destination wedding planner. Sending my main character off to far-flung places with people she barely knew? All with the stress and drama that a wedding brings about? And everyone expects her to be able to fix things? I knew I’d found the perfect setup for chaos and mayhem.

TERROR IN TAFFETAWhat I didn’t realize is how much fun I’d have living vicariously through my main character’s travels. Each book is set in a different location, and so far, I’m loving our adventures together.

The first book, Terror in Taffeta, is set in San Miguel de Allende, a small and exceedingly romantic colonial village in central Mexico. (Think cobblestone streets, strolling mariachis, and a 17th-century church bordering the town square.)

Book two is set in the California Wine Country, with rolling hills covered in vineyards and beautiful wineries that include Victorian farmhouses, gothic mansions and regal chateaus. It’s a beautiful place to get married, and as an added bonus, I get to drink wine “for research.”

So now comes the fun part: choosing a destination for book three! Let’s take a moment to daydream together, shall we? So far, my nominees are:

Hawaii: White sand beach fringed by swaying palm trees. Remote waterfalls that can only be accessed by helicopter. Crystal-clear lagoons where sea turtles frolic in the water. And umbrella drinks! I think having my main character plan a beach wedding at some point is practically mandatory. The only question is, should it be Hawaii or someplace more exotic, like the Cayman Islands?

Reykjavik: I talked to a library group and the conversation turned to future destinations. One woman nominated Reykjavik, and I have to say, I’m intrigued! It seems like everyone is going there—but since I’ve never been, I’d have to go on a research trip before I even got to start writing. Of course the Northern Lights would play a part. Maybe someone disappears while everyone’s busy staring up at the sky?

Florida Keys: There are two places in the Florida Keys that would be great for a mystery novel because they’re so remote. One is the Dry Tortugas (terrible name, fascinating location) which is the United States’ most remote national park. The other is Little Palm Island, a super luxurious (and expensive!) resort that can only be reached by boat. Instead of a locked-room mystery, it would be an inescapable-island mystery!

Italy: Okay, maybe it’s just because I REALLY want an excuse to go back to Italy, but this one appeals to me a lot. If I were picking where in Italy I would like to go to a wedding… the Amalfi Coast comes to mind. (I was invited to a wedding there once and am still kicking myself that I didn’t go.) But from a mystery standpoint, I think Venice would be an amazing setting, what with the gondolas, the architecture, and the sublimely twisty streets. (You know there’s going to be a chase scene!)

Las Vegas: I think this could be a lot of fun, but there wouldn’t really be much for Kelsey to plan. Maybe someone elopes and she’s invited as a guest. I’m thinking novella here: quickie wedding, quickie book!

Okay, I want to hear what you think! Leave me a comment telling me your top pick—and if you have any more nominations, I’d love to hear them!

~Marla Cooper

TERROR IN TAFFETA

Terror in Taffeta: A Mystery
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Mexico
Minotaur Books (March 22, 2016)
Hardcover: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1250072566
E-Book ASIN: B014PELGRW
goodreads-badge-add-plusShop Indie Bookstores

 

 

Wedding planner Kelsey McKenna is just a few hours away from wrapping up her latest job: a destination wedding in the charming, colonial Mexican town of San Miguel de Allende. The reception is all set up, the tequila donkey is waiting outside, and the bride and groom are standing on the altar, pledging their eternal love. But just as the priest is about to pronounce them husband and wife, one of the bridesmaids upstages the couple by collapsing into a floral arrangement, a definite wedding “don’t.” Kelsey soon discovers that the girl hasn’t just fainted–she’s dead.

Losing a bridesmaid is bad enough, but when the bride’s sister is arrested for murder, the demanding mother of the bride insists that Kelsey fix the matter at once. And although Kelsey is pretty sure investigating a murder isn’t in her contract, crossing the well-connected Mrs. Abernathy could be a career-killer. Before she can leave Mexico and get back to planning weddings, Kelsey must deal with stubborn detectives, a rekindled romance, and late-night death threats in this smart, funny cozy mystery debut.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Kelsey McKenna is a wedding planner and is dealing with a “momzilla” of the bride. The couple decided on a destination wedding in Mexico much to the mom’s dismay and now she is trailing after Kelsey to make sure the wedding goes as planned. She even seems to blame Kelsey when one of the bridesmaids faints during the service. But the girl didn’t just faint, she died… as in murdered… and the police arrest the bride’s sister. Momzilla places the whole thing firmly on Kelsey’s shoulders, expecting her to get her daughter released, find a killer, and cater to every whim while they are detained in Mexico.

This was a wonderful mystery, Kelsey is a great protagonist. I was very impressed with the way she ran her business and truly tried to do everything that was demanded of her. In fact all the primary and supporting characters were so realistic as was their dialogue. Momzilla, Mrs. Abernathy, was an absolute nightmare as a client and her demands just had me shaking my head. The bride and groom were pretty laid back, sometimes this made Kelsey’s job harder. Wedding photographer, and best friend, Brody Marx, makes a good Watson to Kelsey’s Holmes. They worked so well together.

The story flows so well, there was always something happening. The plot is complex with several twists and surprises. It is also a story that is not short on humor.

San Miguel de Allende sounds like an ideal place for a wedding or vacation. The villa the family had rented came complete with chef, Fernando, and I could almost taste all the delicious treats he created. He was also a good ally for Kelsey.

I am surprised this is Marla Cooper’s first novel, she is definitely an author to watch. Terror in Taffeta is a perfect escape filled with fantastic characters. I am looking forward to Dying on the Vine which be will be released in March 2017.

perfect 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author

Marla Cooper was astonished when, at the age of 18, she realized people could actually get paid to write things. So she switched her major from business to advertising—much to the relief of her accounting professor—and began her career as an advertising copywriter.

After moving to San Francisco, she became a freelancer so she could take advantage of perks like working in her pajamas, and now she writes a little bit of everything, including travel writing, web copy, and even the occasional haiku. While ghostwriting a book on destination weddings, she found inspiration for her first novel, Terror in Taffeta—the first in a series about a destination wedding planner.

Originally hailing from Texas, Marla lives in Oakland, California, with her husband and her polydactyl tuxedo cat.

To learn more, visit www.marla-cooper.com or visit her blog at http://www.chicksonthecase.com. She is also on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Google+.

GIVEAWAY
Marla is giving 1 copy of the book 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 Marla for 5 Bonus Entries.  Leave me a comment telling me your top pick—and if you have any more nominations, I’d love to hear them!

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 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 July 21, 2016 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

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Review – Sweetheart Deal by Linda Joffe Hull

 Cruisin Thru Cozies, E-Book Challenge, Literary Escapes, Reviews 2015  Comments Off on Review – Sweetheart Deal by Linda Joffe Hull
Nov 192015
 

sweetheart dealSweetheart Deal
(A Mrs. Frugalicious Shopping Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Mexico
Midnight Ink (November 8, 2015)
Paperback: 312 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738734910
E-Book ASIN: B016NABPUE
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Now the star of her own reality show, The Family Frugalicious, Maddie Michaels heads south of the border with her family to cover bargain destination weddings at a swank, but budget friendly, Mexican resort. Things get a little too real when timeshare sales manager Alejandro Espinoza makes a play for Maddie one evening and ends up floating dead in the pool the next. Was it an accident or a preplanned part of the Mrs. Frugalicious storyline?

When the show’s producers extend the trip so she, her all-but-ex Frank, and the kids can investigate—not to mention get enough footage for a two-part, Emmy-worthy episode—Maddie fears she’s in way more agua caliente than she ever bargained for.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This is a hard review for me to write. I really enjoyed the first 2 books in this story, Eternally 21 and Black Thursday. This one just really missed the mark for me.

Mrs. Frugalicious, Maddie, and her family now have their own reality show. The episode they are filming in Mexico is of the producer’s destination wedding, basically one big commercial for the resort and it’s timeshares. After Maddie meets with the timeshare manager they start to exchange secret messages. They set up a time to meet and when Maddie arrives she finds the man doing the dead man’s float in the pool, but he’s really dead. Maddie and the kids extend their stay to investigate the accident which Maddie thinks may have been set up my the show’s director. Of course the reality show continues to accumulate footage for a special episode. Would they really murder someone for ratings?

Again this story is probably better in print and hopefully fixed digitally. (I read an Advance Reader Copy from NetGalley.) It was a very frustrating read because the shopping hints and tips fell right in the middle of the paragraphs. That and the cue cards Maddie and others have to read while filming really slowed the flow of action throughout the story. It seemed the tips were more important than the mystery.

I really didn’t like the characters this time either. They seemed to be all over the place and didn’t engage me as a reader.  By the time the actual murder took place I was already disconnected and it was hard to stay tuned into the story. I truly didn’t like that Maddie didn’t even seem tuned in herself. Things were happened behind her back that just felt wrong. I found myself almost skimming the text rather than fully reading it. I just wanted it to be over.

I did finish the book but it was a chore. There are some helpful hints throughout the story. I would recommend that maybe in future installments this information be at the end of the book so the author focuses on the story content first and make is easier for the reader to enjoy.

should have stayed home  2 STARFISHDollycas

Links to my reviews from other books in this series:

Eternally 21   Black Thursday

To find out more about Linda and her books visit her webpage here. You can also be her Fan on GoodReads. Follow her on Twitter and Follow her on Facebook.

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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Aug 232014
 

just for fun 2014This is a challenge to help us get some of those books on out To-Be Read stacks read without the pressure of a review (unless we want to) or meeting any other challenge. These books are read totally Just For Fun.  I have given just a brief review because I read the book JUST FOR FUN!!

I needed this challenge so bad this month. So many books are screaming from my shelves and this one has been on the top of my Kindle List for too long. It kept getting passed over for review deadlines. Last Sunday I decided it was a “ME” day and I was going to read what I wanted to read, review reading could let me let me have this one day!!!

THE CORPSE WITH THE EMERALD THUMB jpegThe Corpse with the Emerald Thumb
(A Cait Morgan Mystery)

3rd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Publisher: TouchWood Editions (April 22, 2014)
Paperback: 240 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1771510639
E-Book File Size: 797 KB
ASIN: B00HUBWC5S
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A dream vacation at a Mexican beach resort swiftly dissolves into a nightmare for criminologist and foodie Cait Morgan when her significant other, Bud Anderson, is wrongly arrested for the murder of the local florist, a gifted plantswoman.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Again Cathy Ace channels Agatha Christie to bring us another fantastic mystery.

In this 3rd Cait Morgan Mystery, Bud and Cate head to Mexico for a vacation to take their relationship to the next level. A simple trip for some snacks lands Bud in jail accused for murder before they even unpack their bags. Cait is in a place where she doesn’t know a soul. Not knowing who she can trust Cait has to keep her relationship with Bud a secret, and she soon discovers she’s not the only one with something to hide. Worried about Bud she follows where the clues lead putting herself in danger. She knows time is not her friend as the Federales can show up at any minute to take Bud away. It is up to her to save him and herself too!!

Cait and Bud make a great team but this time Cait shows she can solve a mystery on her own, well almost. Her eidetic memory and wakeful dreaming technique are her best resources even if she doesn’t understand how all the parts of the puzzle fit together at first.

I love following the clues along with Cait but never figure it out who the killer is until she gathers all the suspects for her big reveal. Then everything makes perfect sense.  That in addition to the fleshed out characters make these stories so much fun to read.

The location was a small tourist town in Mexico and I really enjoy learning about how tequila is made and the different versions. All I knew before this story was tequila was the main ingredient in my margaritas 🙂

I have enjoyed all 3 books in this series. The Corpse with the Platinum Hair is coming out soon, I can’t wait.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent


Cathy Ace’s The Corpse with the Platinum Hair (A Cait Morgan Mystery) Great Escapes Book Tour starts September 1.

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Jan 312013
 

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Cross the Line
Genre: Suspense Thriller
Publisher: Hangman Books
Paperback: 256 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1938848148
E-Book File Size: 481 KB
ASIN: B00AA49Y2Q

Cross the Line

The Seattle Seahawks are going to the Super Bowl. For quarterback Noah Larson it is dream come true. The perfect way to end his NFL career would be with a Super Bowl win and all the glory that goes with it. Then he gets the call that stops his heart — his 6 year old son has been kidnapped. If he wants to get his son back alive all he has to do is throw the game and let the Miami Dolphins win.

Sports reporter Cal Murphy, who has covered Larson for years, knows something isn’t right. He knows how the quarterback prepares for games and he is not following his normal routine at all. This is the biggest game of his life, why would he change his prep now? He has an interview scheduled with Larson and is going to find out what is going on.

Cal quickly gets involved over his head and takes friend and photographer Kelly Mendoza with him as they try to save Larson’s son, the Super Bowl and themselves.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I did not know this was the second book in the series when I agreed to take part in this tour and my regular readers know I am a stickler for reading books in order. The book held up well as a stand alone but I missed the build up of Cal and Kelly’s history. Putting that aside it was the perfect time of year to read this book and I am a huge football fan.

The premise of the story was very interesting although you need to suspend reality a bit to think Cal and Kelly could do what they did.  Jack Patterson makes this easy to do as the reader is drawn right into the drama especially in Mexico along the desolate roads and to the scary cartel compound. There is also a very surprising twist or two as the story plays out. 

The book is a very fast read. Like another author with the same last name the short chapters just keep those pages turning. You still have a couple of days to pick up your copy to enjoy before the Super Bowl. It may change the way you watch the game.

just you and a friend

4 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author
The first signs that I might like writing about sports — and be slightly competitive — appeared when my year two (or first grade) teacher, Mrs. Holland, asked my class to write and illustrate our day. Mine read like this: “The Red team beat the Blue team, 1 to nil. And I won.” The next 47 entries covered my exploits on the soccer pitch while growing up in Ipswich, England.

In South Carolina as a teenager, my dad told me that I could get paid to watch sports provided I could write about it. Sounded easy enough and by the time I was 16, I landed a job at my town’s daily newspaper and had a column on Major League Baseball players from our area. I also covered my first riot there at a sporting event — and it’s safe to say I was smitten with journalism.

After graduating from one of the best journalism schools in the country, I took a job as a sports editor in South Georgia and learned firsthand about the passion of high school sports in rural America. I thought I knew before, but I didn’t. This was another world.

I also had the opportunity to cover major sporting events like the Olympic Games, the World Series, the Super Bowl, and the Final Four. It was a thrill!

But nothing was as thrilling to me as uncovering the truth in investigative assignments. I once broke a story about a prominent southern football team’s NCAA violation — and found out the violating coach had committed suicide only a few months earlier. The story won a national writing award and stoked my desire to write about these issues. It made me realize that the sports world was just another fantastic backdrop for drama.

After writing non-fiction books with athletes, for athletes, and ghost writing for many others, I decided to enter the world of fiction writing. It had been something I wanted to do but never found the time. So, I made the time–and am now having a blast. I hope you enjoy reading my novels as much as I enjoy writing them!

Find Jack Patterson on Facebook, Twitter or on his website.

There are 3 more stops on the Special Super Bowl Edition Tour
Feb 1st – Review by Teena in Toronto

Feb 2nd — Interview by Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews

Feb 2nd — Nicole @ Bless their Hearts Mom

Then the tour returns in March:

Mar 15th — Guest Post by Jersey Girl Book Reviews

Mar 16th — Review by Gina @ Hott Books

Mar 18th — Guest Post & Review with Beth Art From The Heart

Mar 19th Review with Krystal @ Live To Read

Mar 26th — Review by Fenny @ Hotchpotch

Mar 27th — Review & Interview at Martha’s Bookshelf

Mar 29th –Review & Interview @ Kimberly’s Bookshelf

Mar 30th — Review by Wendy @ The Minding Spot

Apr 1st — Review by Mary’s Cup of Tea

Apr 2nd — Review by Suzie @ My Cozie Corner

Apr 3rd — Review at Vic’s Media Room

Apr 4th — Teview by Tina @ Smoochiefrog Reviews

Apr 5th — Guest Post @ Writers and Authors

Apr 8th — Review by Carrie @ Sweet Southern Home

Apr 15th — Review by True Media Solutions LLC

Apr 17th — Review by Yvonne @ Socrates’ Book Review Blog

Apr 18th — Review by Vicky @ Deal Sharing Aunt

May 1 — Review by Heather @ Proud Book Nerd

May 10th — Review by Ashna @ Wanted Readers

 

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the tour host. 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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Sep 212012
 

The Xibalba Murders
(Archaeological Mysteries, No. 1)

Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (April 1, 1997)
A Division of the Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425157220

The Xibalba Murders (An Archaeological Mystery, #1)


Lara is obsessed with the Mayan culture. She loves finding rare and beautiful artifacts. She has just sold her Toronto antiquities store and is unsure of the direction her life will take. Then she receives a cryptic phone call from Dr. Hernan Castillo, an expert in Mayan history, to help him with a mysterious project. But when she arrives in Mérida the good doctor is nowhere to be found –until his lifeless body is found in his office.

Lara knows she must retrace the doctor’s steps to find out what he was working on if she wants to find his killer. This takes her into the lush paradise of the Mayan temples and the camps of those trying to save their Mayan heritage. This is when  “the mysteries of the past meet the dangers of the present” putting Lara in a perilous position.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I never dreamed that an A-Z book challenge would help me find this wonderful mystery series.

The story is rich with Mayan and Mexican history told in a fun and entertaining way. This style reminded me of the current Cats and Curios series by Rebecca M. Hale where the mystery is interwoven with true history and events. I can tell the author did plenty of research to make the story authentic.

Like all books that are first in a series time is spent laying the character foundation for upcoming installments. I can tell we just scratched the surface of Lara’s story. She grew a lot just within this first adventure.

The theme of the series has endless possibilities and the author created 11 novels before her death in 2009. According to her obituary the books reflect her passion for heritage and culture, her sense of humour and her love of travel. I hope to read them all.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

   About This Author

LYN ELIZABETH HAMILTON August 6, 1944 – September 10, 2009 Smart, funny, creative, strong, loyal and brave – Lyn was all these and more.  Lyn kept her battle with cancer private, but the few friends who knew provided wonderful support during her illness. She had a great career, moving back and forth between public service and the private sector, working in public affairs, communications and program management.

Then at the age of 50, she decided to add a writing career, using her lifelong interest in archeology to create a mystery series. The first of 11 novels, The Xibalba Murders, was published in 1997 and was nominated for an Arthur Ellis Award for best first crime novel in Canada. The eighth, The Magyar Venus, was nominated for an Ellis for best crime novel. These books feature feisty heroine Lara McClintoch, who owns an antiques store in Lyn’s hometown of Toronto and travels the world for her business, solving murders along the way. Lyn managed to write and promote most of her novels during vacations, unpaid leaves and weekends. The books reflect her passion for heritage and culture, her sense of humour and her love of travel.

She was Director of Public Affairs for the Canadian Opera Company, where she worked with many others to bring a new opera house to reality, an accomplishment that gave her much joy. Before that, she was Director of the Cultural Programs Branch in the Ontario government. In her earlier days in the government, she worked on women’s issues and was particularly proud of a ground-breaking public awareness campaign on domestic violence.

She was involved in education and mentoring of new writers. Over the years, she worked with over 100 authors on their manuscripts. She was writer-in-residence for the public libraries in North York and Kitchener. She taught a mystery and suspense writing course at the School for Continuing Studies at her alma mater, University of Toronto.

*Published in the Toronto Star from September 12 to September 14, 2009

This book is from my private collection.
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