Posted in Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Reviews 2012

Cozy Wednesday with Author Elaine Viets (Giveaway too!)

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am thrilled to welcome Elaine Viets here today. I am a big fan of both of her series!

Hi Elaine!

Hi Everyone!

Faking It on Your Wedding Day
By Elaine Viets

Mystery shopper Josie Marcus is finally getting married. But she won’t have an easy time before she walks down the aisle. Lenore, her future mother-in-law, flies into St. Louis from Boca by private jet. Josie thinks Ted’s meddling mother should come in on a broom.
Josie loves Ted and wants to avoid an argument, but her patience is sorely tried. Lenore “helps” – read that as “tries to control” – their simple wedding until Josie wishes someone would lock up Lenore.

She gets her wish, all right. Lenore is arrested for murder. Dr. Ted has a woman stalker, and she winds up shot. Lenore is arrested for murder one.

Now Josie can’t marry Ted unless she finds the real killer.

 

Jewel Box – Interior
Jewel Box St. Louis

 

 

Ted and Josie do get married in the flower-filled Jewel Box in St. Louis, an art deco conservatory beloved by generations of brides. She has a traditional wedding cake with swags of white butter cream frosting.

Josie figured their wedding cake would cost about $400, but she hadn’t figured in a $50 delivery fee. She has to mystery shop wedding cakes and flowers to pay for the unexpected extra cost.

A wedding cake can cost a week’s salary or more. Way more, up into the hefty four figures. But some couples have their cake and eat it, too: They rent fake cakes for the wedding.

Those impressive cakes on display at the receptions are layers of iced Styrofoam. Some fake cakes have a top layer of real cake for the bride and groom to stage the cake cutting ceremony.

Other fake cakes have a secret compartment to hide a slice of real cake for the cutting photos.

Once the cake cutting is over, the fake cake is hustled away and the wedding guests are served slices of cheaper sheet cake.

Fake cakes can save couples real money, especially at big weddings. They just have to slice into the right layer for the cake cutting photos.

For couples who consider a traditional wedding cake a big, fat waste of money, a fake cake rental starts at about $125, plus shipping.

One major online company is cakerental.com (http://www.cakerental.com/index2009.html)

Who gets fake cakes?

Hollywood celebrities. Corporations celebrating major milestones, including the Ford Motor Company. Even celebrity chef Duff Goldman had a fake cake for his book signings.

The TV show, “Whose Wedding Is it Anyway?” rented a fake cake. And so do couples who want a sweet show on their wedding day. After the wedding, the fake cake is shipped back to the rental company.

There’s only one drawback:
Make sure drunken Uncle Ray doesn’t try to snitch a slice of the fake cake.

~Elaine

Murder is a Piece of Cake:
Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper

Obsidian (November 6, 2012)
Publish by New American Library
A Division of The Penguin Group
Cozy Mystery
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451238511

Murder is a Piece of Cake (Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper, #8)

Mystery Shopper Josie Marcus is thrilled to be getting married to Dr.Ted. Her boss gives her an early wedding present/assignment. Josie gets to investigate wedding cakes and flowers. She is also busy finalizing her own wedding plans as her future mother-in-law starts to drive her a little crazy with her “minor” changes. Still it is good to have “pistol packing” Lenore around when she comes to the rescue when a homicidal bridezilla named Molly threatens to kill Ted unless he agrees to marry her.

Josie thinks the pre-wedding drama is behind her and there will be smooth sailing ahead. Then Molly is found dead and the pistol packing mama is the prime suspect. Lenore is behind bars and the wedding is on hold. Josie has no choice but to track down the bridezilla killer so that her and Dr. Ted can get married and start their wonderful life together.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I love this series!

Josie Marcus is an amateur sleuth everyone will love.  In this 8th installment to the Mystery Shopper Mysteries she pulls out all the stops. Planning a wedding, dealing with a bridezilla while not becoming one herself, and catching a killer. Then there’s her future mother-in-law and her helpful suggestions. While she was behind bars Josie felt obligated to accept every one, but she needs to keep her wedding  from becoming an over the top extravaganza.

This story will have you laughing out loud, following the clues, and wishing and hoping Josie’s dream wedding comes true. This is a fast paced mystery that will keep you guessing until the final clue is uncovered. 

The author also includes great tips if you are planning a wedding too whether you are the bride or even the future mother-in-law. 

Elaine Viets always gives us mysteries that  are fun and entertaining!  Keep them coming Elaine.

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author

A woman I can identify with! Elaine writes her novels with the help of Harry, a striped cat who sleeps by her computer and lashes the keyboard with his tail. He whips her into a writing frenzy. Harry collaborates on two series, the Dead-end Job mysteries and the Josie Marcus Mystery Shopper series. She’s won the Anthony, Agatha and Lefty awards. For more about Elaine check out her web site http://elaineviets.com

Would you like to win a copy of this wonderful book?

Thanks to the people at Penguin
I have 2 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 Elaine for 5 Bonus Entries !

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

Contest Will End December 5, 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.”

Posted in Reviews 2012

Review: If Mashed Potatoes Could Dance by Paige Shelton

If Mashed Potatoes Could Dance
(A Cooking School Mystery)

2nd Book in Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (October 2, 2012)
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425251614
Cover Illustration by Robert T. Barrett
Cover Design by Laura K. Corless

If Mashed Potatoes Could Dance (Gram’s Country Cooking School Mystery #2)

Broken Rope, Missouri is home to Gram’s Country Cooking School and a few very special ghostly guests. Isabelle “Betts” Winston and her grandmother “Miz” seem to have the unique ability to see and communicate with the deceased residents of the town but keep that under your hat. It’s supposed to be a secret.

In this installment Gram and Betts receive an unusual request. Some foodie tourist’s local reservations have been messed up and to help out they agree to put them up overnight at the cooking school and keep them busy with a few cooking lessons.  At the same time ghost Sally Swarthmore, one of Broken Rope’s legendary murderers, shows up wielding her ax and begging Betts to help her find her diary. She thinks it may prove she was not the one responsible for those ghastly murders.

It isn’t long before one of the tourists ends up dead and two others are missing. Cooking takes a back burner as Betts tries to solve not just one mystery but two and rope a cold blooded killer.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Fun! Fun! Fun! Two Mysteries In ONE!!

A mystery from the past, a mystery in the present, a blonde, top heavy ghost swinging an ax, an eclectic group of tourists, a couple of residents who can talk to dead people in a town dedicated to reliving the wild past for tourists on a daily basis. What a great place to visit!!

I immediately got a picture in my head of Sally. Dolly Parton brandishing an ax! I am not sure if that is how Opie portrays her or her exact ghostly image but that is the picture in my head. I fell for her in an instant. I knew right away there was so much more to her story and this author didn’t disappoint. She was definitely my favorite character in this book.

But the main and supporting characters are growing and evolving too. We are learning more and more and they are quickly becoming friends we will want to visit again and again. Betts works both mysteries with a little help from her friends. Sometimes those ghosts really do come in handy.

If Mashed Potatoes Could Dance definitely had me chair dancing so bring on the potatoes. Twice Baked sounds good to me! This story and the bonus recipes are a delectable delight!

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

To Find Out More About Paige Shelton Visit Her Webpage

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 Literary Escapes Reviews 2012

Cozy Wednesday with Author Denise Swanson (Giveaway too!)


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

When you hear the name Denise Swanson and think cozy mystery you immediately think of her Best Selling Scumble River Mystery Series featuring school psychologist Skye Denison. Murder of a Creped Suzette,the 14th book in the series, was released back in October. But today she is here to tell us about her brand new Devereaux’s Dime Store Mystery series. 

Little Shop of Homicidewas released on March 6 and it is a wonderful debut but I ‘ll post my review after we visit with Denise. Pour a cup of coffee and let’s hear how Devereaux Sinclair’s life was born onto the pages for all of us to enjoy!

Welcome Denise!

Hi Everyone, I am happy to be here.

Writing a Second Series

It took me a long time to decide to write a second mystery series. I was happy writing about Skye and her gang in my Scumble River series and didn’t really have an idea (at least not a good unique one) for another mystery series. I had lots of ideas for contemporary romances, paranormal romantic mysteries, and even one for a suspense thriller and an end of the world book—all of which I wrote several hundred pages on before having to turn back to Skye because of a looming deadline.

However, about a year ago, a character named Devereaux Sinclair popped into my head and started telling me her story. Dev, which is what most people call her, was a financial advisor for six years before buying her hometown dime store. Her boss viewed the glass ceiling as a protective barrier and her colleagues committed most of the seven deadly sins before their first coffee break.

Dev lives in the fictional town of Shadow Bend, Missouri with her grandmother, Birdie. With her father in jail for vehicular manslaughter and her mother hiding in California, Dev has no other family. She does have two best friends—a cynical bad girl named Poppy Kincaid who owns Gossip Central, the local bar, and Boone St. Onge a small-town lawyer who handles the local divorces and real estate deals.

When I realized I finally had an idea that was sufficiently different from Skye, but still with enough similarities to make me want to write about it—small town setting, quirky family and friends, and murder—I decided to give it a try.

The Devereaux’s Dime Store books offer me a chance to spread my wings and write about some edgier situations, while still keeping my same voice AKA writing style. My goal is to continue to give my readers a satisfying mystery, but add a tiny bit spicier romance and more complicated family relationships. Not to mention, the nostalgia that only an old fashion dime store can truly provide.

In a way, it’s like having a second child. I wanted to do all the things that I had done right with the first series, but try some new things as well—and avoid some of the mistakes. And while I love my first-born, and am continuing to write about her adventures, (the next Scumble River comes out in September) I also love Dev and her town and I hope you will, too.

–Denise Swanson, New York Times bestselling author
www.DeniseSwanson.com

Denise, I am so glad Dev popped into you head along with all her friends. As you will see below I LOVED this story!!

Little Shop of Homicide
(Devereaux Dime Store Mystery)

New Series!
An Obsidian Mystery
Published by New American Library
A Division of The Penguin Group

Welcome to Devereaux’s Dime Store and Gift Baskets complete with a 3 stool soda fountain and a glass candy case. The best thing Dev ever did was quit the rat race, move home and buy this store.

Today she is rethinking her big decision as Kansas City Detective Woods arrives before the store is even open to accuse her of murdering her ex-boyfriend’s fiancée Joelle Ayers. Just because some items from a gift basket she created were used as murder weapons didn’t mean she had anything to do with the woman’s death and he surely doesn’t have enough evidence to arrest her. He makes a few threats and leaves.

Panicked Dev gets her friends Poppy and Boone to help her investigate. Then, hunky Jake Del Vecchio, a U.S. Deputy Marshall in town recovering from an injury, enters the picture. Seems his uncle and Dev’s grandmother are old friends and he has been encouraged to help her clear her name. Only one problem, this guy Jake is hot, and Dev is finding it difficult to concentrate on finding the real killer. If she is not careful to keep her mind on the tasks at hand she may find herself doing time behind bars instead of behind the counter of her five-and-dime.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
I keep breaking my own rules. I used to say I couldn’t give the first book in a new series 5 stars because it takes time for the characters to develop. However, I started this book and couldn’t put it down. The characters, while new, grabbed my heart immediately. The romantic tension was fabulous, a new twist to the typical cozy and I think it is wonderful. Plus the small town setting and the dime store evoke memories of a store from my childhood, a place I adored and drank quite a few cherry cokes.

Denise Swanson has created a marvelous debut for this new series. The mystery is top-notch, with several twists of its own.  She has taken a small risk adding a bit of spice to the romance and this reader absolutely loved it. These are characters I am invested in and I can’t wait to tag along on their journeys. Bravo Denise!!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Thanks to the folks at Penguin
I have 2 copies of this book to give away!!

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 Denise for 5 Bonus Entries !

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

Contest Will End April 4, 2012 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here.


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

Posted in Cozy Wednesday Guest Posts Reviews 2012

Cozy Wednesday With Author Paige Shelton! (Giveaway too!!)


Welcome to the first Cozy Wednesday of 2012. I am so excited about today’s guest. Paige has been a friend to me and a supporter of my blog for almost the whole two years. She even sponsored a Blogoversary Giveaway. (There is still time to enter.) The real excitement for me today is that yesterday she premiered a whole New Series, The Country Cooking School Mysteries. The first book If Fried Chicken Could Fly had me right from the title. I have been anxiously awaited this book ever since I heard Paige was working on it. It was well worth the wait, it is fabulous, but I’ll post my review at the bottom.

Now please help me welcome the guest of honor. Welcome Paige!!!! I am so glad you are here and so are my readers!!!

Thank you, Lori and your readers, for letting me stop by today. Happy New Year!

Sometimes you don’t even know you’re getting ideas for books.

A few years ago, my son and I were tromping through a small, old cemetery outside Rolla, Missouri, in search of the grave of one of our ancestors. The day was sunny and warm, but the cemetery was shadowed by trees and the long white-washed church building located next to it. It was both wonderfully peaceful and kind of spooky.

This ancestor, my great-grandmother, someone I’d only recently learned about because of a new interest in genealogy, had died a horribly tragic death. Sadly, we didn’t find the grave, but the experience created a foundation for something I would write a few years later – and it published just yesterday.

When I first started If Fried Chicken Could Fly the cooking school in the story materialized in my mind as a long white building that had at one time been a church. It was located out in the country and next to a cemetery that was a hot summer tourist spot because of the infamous criminals who’d been buried there. Honestly, at that point I didn’t even realize I’d plucked the church building and adjoining cemetery from my memory.

However, once I met the ghost (a ghost who wasn’t originally supposed to be a part of the story, by the way) of Jerome Cowbender, infamous dead bank robber who couldn’t shoot straight enough to hit the side of a building, I realized I was putting this story together with other stories – stories I’d heard from my family about my ancestors. Thankfully, they’re a pretty colorful group.

Of course, I should have realized that when I started writing a book about Gram’s cooking school, my subconscious would go to that place where my own grandmother had been. My parents and their parents grew up in and around Rolla, and when I was little that’s where we went for holidays and vacations. My grandmother’s kitchen will always remain the stuff of legend. She cooked fried chicken like no one else, whipped up holiday dinners that I’d start craving in July, knew how to add a little of this and a little of that and somehow bake chocolate chips cookies I’m sure I’ll never taste the like again. Her home and her kitchen were all about good food, good times and family.

Gram’s personality in If Fried Chicken Could Fly isn’t much like my grandmother’s, but they share some of the same cooking and baking ideas. If keeping a container of bacon grease next to the stove or cooking with cast iron skillets sound familiar to you, Gram’s ideas might remind you a little of your grandmother. I hope I’ve at least partially done justice to that amazing generation of women.

So, I’d like to welcome you to Broken Rope, Missouri, and Gram’s Country Cooking School. We’ve got ghosts and a slew of strange and mysterious deaths, but mostly we’ve got Gram and her down home and delicious cooking methods. Come on in and sit a spell.

~Paige

Thank you so much Paige.  I need to mention that, yes, there are recipes in the back of the book.  My son and his friends made the Red Velvet Cupcakes this past weekend and they were so yummy.  As a mom here though I think every recipe should end with “Clean Up Your Mess!”  I am sure Gram teaches that at her Cooking School, whether the mess comes from regular baking, a small fire or a dead body. 

Want to find out how Paige got her start at writing mysteries This is a great article. To find out more about Paige and her books this is a link to her web site.

If Fried Chicken Could Fly (Country Cooking School Mystery)
A Berkley Prime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
A Country Cooking School Mystery
Brand New Series
Cover Illustration by Dan Andreasen
Available Now!

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Everyone loves their grandma’s cooking. My grandma even ran a restaurant for awhile. Gram reminds me a lot of my Grandma Lue. She also made the best fried chicken. The whole idea of a country cooking school fascinates me. I was just a teenager when my grandma passed away so I never really had a chance to learn from her but do have a few of her recipes in my recipe box.

I have to say the appearance of Jerome Cowbender did surprise me but as he became a major player in the plot I couldn’t imagine the story without him. I now understand how sometimes characters just appear in these stories without the author’s control. He was a brilliant addition to a wonderful story.

The story has a perfect mix of cozy fixings, with a “surprise ingredient”, blended expertly to make a culinary masterpiece for our reading pleasure.

The town of Broken Rope seems to have more than it’s share of quirky residents, which means plenty of fodder for future installments of this new smokin’ series!!!!


Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Thanks to the people at Penguin I have
2 copies of this wonderful book to giveaway
so be sure to fill out the form below to enter!!

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.

***Remember GFC is going away March 1, 2012
so be sure you are following in a different way if you want to
continue to follow Escape With Dollycas.

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 anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End January 18, 2012 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here.

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