Posted in Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Reviews 2014 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Jessie Crockett – Author of Maple Mayhem (Giveaway too!)

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!!

I am super excited to welcome Jessie Crockett here today!!

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Escape Artist

By Jessie Crockett

Readers all know the appeal of escaping into a good book. Vicariously living through the ups and downs of someone else’s romance or the heart pounding thrill of a chase you are conducting from the comfort of your armchair are amongst life’s keenest pleasures. Traveling to exotic places or even places in time are part and parcel of the delights readers’ experience.

Writers are the ultimate escape artists. We escape into our own stories and into our characters’ lives and loves, into their secrets as well as their dreams. When I read, I am transported into the heart of someone else’s creation and am thrilled to be along for the ride.

But when I write, it’s more like lucid dreaming. I feel as though the story is running through me and only occasionally do I remember I am the one holding the reins.

maple mayhemWhen I’m working I can see the scenes I am creating unfolding like there is a movie theater screen smack dab in the middle of my forehead. All the action plays out across it, all the dialogue comes through as loudly and clearly as if my ears were a high-end sound system. The air changes temperature and smells fill my nose. My books feature a lot of food and I can taste just what it is that my characters are eating. No matter where my body is actually located, the best parts of me are elsewhere stirring up trouble and having adventures.

Because I am always working, I’m always escaping. The keyboard is not the only place the magic happens. There is just so much out there in the world to be enjoyed, imagined and used as a source of inspiration. Even when I am going about the routine tasks of life I find myself slipping into other realms.

For instance, I very well might escape while squeezing mangoes for ripeness at the grocer. It occurs to me that there is someone in the world who picked those mangoes and I find myself imagining what her life is like. Maybe I give her a name and a beautiful singing voice. Maybe, I decide she is a secret agent using her job as a mango picker to infiltrate a fruit cartel bent on world domination. By the time I make it to the checkout line I’ve no idea how the rest of the groceries made it into the cart.

As the lazy days of summer come upon us I hope you have the opportunity to get lost in a great story, especially if it is one you sit down and write yourself.

~Jessie

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

Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and GoodReads too!

maple mayhemMaple Mayhem
(A Sugar Grove Mystery)

2nd in Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (July 1, 2014)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Mary Ann Lasher
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425260203
File Size: 2048 KB
ASIN: B00HDMMFUQ
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In Sugar Grove, New Hampshire, people are serious about their maple syrup—especially Dani Greene, whose family owns the Greener Pastures sugarhouse.  But when murder disrupts the small-town sweetness, Dani pores over clues to draw out a killer…

Despite being a fourth-generation syrup maker, Dani isn’t stuck in the past. She’s starting a new agricultural cooperative that reduces costs for every syrup producer who joins. Everyone considers it a sweet deal except the die-hard curmudgeon Frank Lemieux—and when a saboteur starts targeting supporters, everyone suspects Frank.

But it turns out they’re barking up the wrong tree when Dani finds Frank murdered in his own sugarhouse. As the sabotage continues, she realizes that Frank was framed. With the help of her family, and a handsome official from the Fish and Game Department, Dani must catch the killer before another syrup maker kicks the bucket.

Recipes Included!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Things are getting very sticky in Sugar Grove and that makes for a fantastic cozy mystery.

Dani is right in the middle of another murder of investigation and the local sheriff is away on a cruise with Dani’s mother. He left Mitch Reynolds in charge. Mitch and Dani dated a few times and she does everything to avoid him. When her fabulous car, that she just got back from the mechanic, is vandalized he tries to ticket her for having broken headlights and taillights instead of being concerned about who wrecked her car. He is definitely in over his head when Dani finds Frank’s body. Of course, she becomes his prime suspect.

Jessie Crockett has created some truly wonderful characters, ones we love like Dani, her grampa, Piper, the owner of The Stack Shack and Dani’s best friend, Graham, the handsome Fish and Game Warden and Celedon, Dani’s sister who is doing anything she can to get Dani settled down and married. And those we don’t love so much like Knowlton and Mitch. I wanted to jump in the pages at more syrup over Mitch’s head more than once.

The mystery is top-notch and the dialogue is so well written. The perfect amount of humor and romance is blooming for more than just Dani. Her phone calls from her mother just cracked me up.  I also enjoy learning all about making syrup and tapping the trees.

This is a fun and entertaining story for those of us who like our whodunits on the cozy side.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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.

Leave a comment for Jessie for 5 Bonus Entries !

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

Contest Will End July 16, 2014 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

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

Posted in Giveaways Literary Escapes Reviews 2014 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Review/Giveaway: Drizzled With Death by Jessie Crockett

drizzled with deathDrizzled with Death
(A Sugar Grove Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
New Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (October 1, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Mary Ann Lasher
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425260005
E-Book File Size: 2139 KB
ASIN: B00BDQ3AGQ
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

 

Welcome to Sugar Grove, New Hampshire. You are just in time for the annual pre-Thanksgiving pancake-eating contest sponsored by the Sap Bucket Brigade, aka the firefighters auxiliary. The Greene family always provides the syrup and Dani Greene—a fourth-generation maple syrup maker in helping her family carry on the tradition. She is even trying to expand the family business, Greener Pastures, by getting their syrup an organic certification and adding to their product line. All her work screeches to a halt when one of the pancake eating contestants, Alanza Speedwell, drops face first into her stack of flapjacks. Of course the syrup is immediately questioned.

Dani knows the police—including her ex-boyfriend—are barking up the wrong tree, and she’s determined to pull her loved ones out of a very sticky situation. The odds may be stacked against her, but she’s got to tap the real killer before some poor sap in her own family ends up trading the sugar house for the Big House…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This is terrific zany debut. It was so much fun to read because in addition to the syrup problems there were a bunch of crazy exotic animals on the loose.  It all starts when Dani sees a mountain lion and the wild ride doesn’t end until the final page.

Dani (there is some secret about her name) is a fantastic protagonist and she sure has that animal magnetism when it comes to tracking down the animals running around, drawing in Graham, the Fish and Game Warden and a killer.  She is a what some would call a petite woman but her height or lack thereof doesn’t hold her back. She is a strong woman and  she is ready to take on anyone to clear her family’s name. Her family’s main concern is to get her married off. I wanted to jump into the pages and slap her sister! She drove me nuts with they way she treats Dani!!

Crockett has really impressed with the mystery she has stacked for us to enjoy. There were plenty of suspects and sticky situations.  I love the humor in this story. The dialogue between Graham and Dani was so well written and enjoyable to read. They are quite a pair. Of course, the New Hampshire setting was beautiful. I wish I had read this book when it came out in October, the story matches that season perfectly. I could almost smell the burning leaves and the ton of food on the Greene Thanksgiving Day table.

The next Sugar Grove Mystery, Maple Mayhem, comes out July 1. It will be one of the first books I grab as soon as it arrives!!

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

You can find out more about Jessie Crockett on her webpage here.

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.

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

Contest Will End May 16, 2014 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

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

Posted in Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Guest Posts Reviews 2013

Cozy Wednesday with Author Lorna Barrett (Giveaway too!)

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!!

I am so happy Lorna had time to drop by today for a little interview!!

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1. You have two books out today, the new hardcover, Not the Killing Type and the paperback of Murder on the Half Shelf, so you are doing double duty promoting both. Tricia is wonderful character, where do you get your inspiration for her adventures?

HALF_SHELF-MMPB_medI have no idea. They just come to me. This is rather odd promoting two books at once. I’m told coming out in hardcover is an honor and shows the publisher has faith in you, but my readers haven’t quite seen it that way. Hardcovers are expensive. So for many people it’s TWO years since they read Tricia’s adventures. I’m happy that many will finally have the opportunity to read Murder on the Half Shelf. And I’m happy that the ebook price for that book will also drop to a more reasonable level. (I still think $7.99 is too a high a price to pay for an ebook, but I have no say over the pricing of these things.) I’ve introduced a few new characters to the series that I hope my readers will enjoy.

NottheKillingType-SMFor those able to pay the hardcover price, I hope they’ll enjoy Not the Killing Type,which was a lot of fun to write. (I think I enjoyed the next one, which won’t come out until July 2014, even more. It’s called Book Clubbed, and I’m highly anticipating starting the 9th book in the series this fall. That will be a joy to write. I love the storyline. No title yet, though.)

2. Is the fictional Booktown based on a real place?

The town was inspired by the real Hay on Wey, but since I’ve never been there … have no idea if it resembles it in any way. (And probably not a bit.) But the idea of a village with a lot of used bookstores was the germ of the idea for the series.

3. You write a couple of different pseudonyms, is this your choice or the publishers? Is it difficult to keep characters and settings straight?

It sure wasn’t my idea. In the beginning, you do what you’re told. My 3rd agent suggested I write under the name L.L. Bartlett. My publisher asked me to write under a pseudonym, and I chose Lorna Barrett hoping one day to have other books with my real name shelved nearby. Yay! It happened!

4. What authors do you enjoy?

I reread Barbara Michaels and Dick Francis a lot. For fun, I like Mary Kay Andrews, and I enjoy cozies by my friends: Julie Hyzy, Leann Sweeney, Deb Baker, Ellery Adams, just to name a few. Julie and Deb and I have recently formed The Story Sisters as a way to introduce our readers to our indie published works. We’d love it if people visited our website: http://storysisters-innercircle.blogspot.com/

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5. What are reading for fun right now?

When I’m writing, I tend to read non-fiction. Right now I’m reading Dining at Monticello. I got to go there again in March and bought this big coffee table book that recalls how our second president entertained at his beautiful mountain home. I’m reading every word and savoring it. I read a lot of cookbooks and entertaining books, and like my Victoria Square character, Katie Bonner, am a frustrated innkeeper at heart. (One drawback about coffee table books: they get heavy when you’ve got a cat on your lap, too.)

6. If money was no object and you could escape to anywhere in the world to write where would you go and what do you think the book would be about?

15761016I’ve been on three cruises in the last two years and spent most of my time writing. Getting away from the Internet is great for productivity. (Sadly, I don’t have that kind of discipline at home.) On the last two cruises, I wrote the first two books in the Tales of Telenia (fantasy) series: THRESHOLD and JOURNEY. I need to plan a vacation for this winter so that I can write the next book in the series, TRECHERY. That will be fun to write.17827442

I must admit I’m a bit disappointed that more of my readers haven’t yet found these stories. I can understand if they aren’t huge fantasy fans, but I like to think of them as fantasy lite, and not bound by the rules of traditional fantasy. (Mostly because I really don’t KNOW the rules of traditional fantasy.) All I know is that my character, astronaut Amanda Shelton, showed up one day and demanded I tell her story. I sure had a lot of fun doing it, and so far those you have tried them have found that she’s a character they can relate to. There’s a little fantasy, a little SF, a little romance, and a lot of adventure in the stories.

I can (and have and will again) write anywhere at any time. But if I had a choice, I’d go back to England, to the Cotswolds, and stay a few months. I have no idea what I’d write, but I’d write something. (Have laptop, will travel.)

About Lorna Barrett

The immensely popular Booktown Mystery series is what put Lorraine Bartlett’s pen name Lorna Barrett on the New York Times Bestseller list, but it’s her talent — whether writing as Lorna, or L.L. Bartlett, or Lorraine Bartlett — that keeps her there. This multi-published, Agatha-nominated author pens the exciting Jeff Resnick Mysteries as well as the acclaimed Victoria Square Mystery series, and now the Tales of Telenia saga, and has many short stories and novellas to her name(s). Check out the links to all her works here: http://www.lorrainebartlett.com

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NottheKillingType-SMNot the Killing Type
(A Booktown Mystery)

7th in Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (July 2, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Teresa Fasolino
Cover Design by Diana Kolsky
Hardcover – 320 Pages
ISBN-13 978-0425252222
E-Book File Size: 581 KB
ASIN: B009RYL1US

goodreads-badge-add-plus-d700d4d3e3c0b346066731ac07b7fe47

November in Stoneham means a Chamber of Commerce election. The members have gathered at the Brookview Inn to cast their votes. This year is different because Bob Kelly actually has opposition. Both Tricia’s sister, Angelica and local small business owner Stan Berry are running against the long time president. But before the election can even take place the ballot shrinks to just two contenders. During a short break Tricia finds Stan Berry dead just down the hall from the meeting room. The murder weapon is a letter opener belonging to the hotel’s receptionist. Tricia can’t believe that sweet woman could kill anyone.

So now in addition to helping Angelica win an election Tricia has to track down a killer. Could it be someone she knows? She barely knew the victim but someone not only wanted him off the ballot but permanently voted out. With a hotel full of suspects she has her work cut out for her…

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Murder on the Half Shelf really left us hanging with Tricia’s ex back in town. This story didn’t pick up exactly where that one left off but Christopher is sure bringing a bit of strife to Tricia’s life. Also complicating her life is a new man in town and her on and off relationship with Police Chief Baker. Hard to keep this relationship going with Tricia so close to all these investigations.

Add to this her friend Ginny’s wedding with a planner I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, the Chamber election, the holidays with Pixie’s decorating ideas and another murder this story becomes one you just can’t put down.

Lorna Barrett has given us one of her best with this installment. I love this series and each one is better than the last and the first one was excellent. If this series is new to you start at the beginning and enjoy every one. Fans of this series will fall for the residents of Stoneham, New Hampshire all over again.

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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

Thanks to the people at Penguin
I have 2 copies to giveaway!!

Plus 1 Paperback copy of Murder on the Half Shelf

That Means 3 Winners!!!

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 Lorna for 5 Bonus Entries !

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

Contest Will End July 24, 2013 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

Posted in Reviews 2012

Review: Murder On The Half Shelf by Lorna Barrett

Murder on the Half Shelf
(A Booktown Mystery)

6th in Series

A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group

Jacket Illustration by Teresa Fasolino
Jacket Design by Diane Kolsky

We return to Stoneham, New Hampshire just when a man from Tricia’s past also arrives in town. Tricia, owner of the Haven’t Got A Clue Mystery Shop and her sister Angelica have received a free night at the town’s new Bed & Breakfast, Sheer Comfort. They join some other members of the Chamber of Commerce so the hosts can have a trial run before they open to the public. Pippa and Jon Comfort are new in town but it seems they already know some of Stoneham’s prominent residents.

Of course Angelica couldn’t leave her dog at home even though the inn has a strict no pets policy. As usual she cons Tricia into sneaking him outside for a comfort walk. That’s when what should have been a relaxing overnight stay turns into nightmare. Sarge sniffs out a dead body in the backyard. Tricia has too much experience in this kind of discovery so it takes her only seconds to realize that Pippa has been murdered. If that isn’t enough, Tricia meets Pippa’s husband Jon and discovers he is actually Harry Tyler, a man Tricia loved and thought was dead for the past twenty years.

Harry needs to answer a lot of questions for Tricia but he has become the prime suspect in his wife’s murder. Tricia may not have seen this man for 20 years but she knows he wouldn’t murder his wife. There is much more to Pippa’s story and Tricia can’t help herself, she just needs to follow the clues and catch the real culprit.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Lorna Barrett is one of the best at writing a cozy mystery and I believe this is the best story she has written yet.

This is a tight, well written fast moving mystery with well developed characters readers have grown to love, including Miss Marple the cat and now Sarge the dog. We are also introduced to some new very interesting characters in this edition. I can’t wait to see how Pixie impacts the next installment. You know characters are wonderfully created when you as the reader want to reach into the pages and slap one of them up aside the head. C’mon Grant, seriously!!

The story is also chock full of humor. Angelica has quite a harrowing experience but it had me laughing out loud and quickly turning the pages. Also when Tricia meets Pixie, priceless.

This wonderful mystery is filled with plenty of suspects, more twists and turns that a carnival ride, and a few surprises. Barrett has also gone the way of television drama. This book has a cliffhanger! Yes, a cliffhanger. I was already anxious for a return trip to Stoneham but Lorna this is just cruel 🙂 I will be baking some of the delicious recipes included in the book while I wait not very patiently.

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About This Author Lorna Barrett is the Agatha-nominated, New York Times bestselling author of the Booktown Mystery Series. She also writes under the name of Lorraine Bartlett with the Victoria Square Mysteries, and L.L. Bartlett, for the Jeff Resnick suspense series.

Lorna lives in Rochester, NY with her husband and three felines. To find out more about Lorna visit her website at  lornabarrett.com

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 Literary Escapes Reviews 2012

Review: Following Atticus by Tom Ryan

Following Atticus:
Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship

William Morrow
An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Available Now

Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship


 

Tom Ryan describes himself as middle-aged, overweight and an acrophobic newspaperman. He and his canine companion, miniature schnauzer, Atticus M. Finch, are an unlikely pair of mountaineers. Tom was drawn to the New Hampshire peaks by some childhood memories. When a close friend dies of cancer he decides to climb all 48 four thousand foot peaks twice in one winter as a tribute to her and to raise money for charity. It is an adventure of a lifetime and will test both the man and the dog’s endurance. They trek miles on the dangerous trails covered in snow and ice. The weather becomes an enemy as snow and cold can keep them off the trails as they try to complete this difficult challenge.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
What an inspiring story!!! An incredible journey, just a man and his dog. Perseverance, determination, strength of mind and body. This 5 pound little puppy worked its way into Tom Ryan’s heart and they will both work their way into yours.

I found several interesting things in the book. The first was the breeder’s advice to Tom to carry the pup wherever he went for the first month to bond with the pup. I had never heard that before but Tom and Atticus’s relationship proves how well it works.

 

The second was the education of The White Mountains. Living in Wisconsin I didn’t know much about them at all except that they were there 🙂 After reading the book I checked out some sources online and there is a lot of information about hiking and the The Appalachian Mountain Club. After reading this book I wish I was able to hike the mountains myself.

Tom Ryan changed his life and his story could change yours. Whether it be climbing actual mountains or the mountains we all face in every day life. Attitcus was like “The Little Engine That Could”, he didn’t know he was so small and he led Tom up those mountains like an animal 100 times his size.

This is not a story you will soon forget. You will want to share the wonder of it with your friends and family. It receives my highest recommendation!

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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.”