Feb 012019
 

On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.

This is a book I downloaded last year to meet the New Mexico stop for my Literary Escapes Challenge but it didn’t get read until last week. This is the 1st of 12 books in this series so I shouldn’t have any trouble filling that stop for years to come.  😀 The author’s Charlie Parker Mysteries are set in New Mexico too. (Book 1 of both series (Kindle) are free on Amazon right now.)


Sweet Masterpiece: A Sweet’s Sweets Bakery Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – New Mexico
Self Published (September 8, 2010)
Paperback: 242 pages
ISBN-10: 1453797688
ISBN-13: 978-1453797686
Kindle ASIN: B00413QQ1E

Samantha Sweet breaks into houses for a living. But when she encounters a dying woman in one such house and a backyard grave at another, handsome deputy Beau Cardwell shows up and—well, things get complicated.

A small mural painted inside a closet in the abandoned house provides clues and Sam is caught up in Beau’s investigation. A fortune in artwork, a bogus will, and a wooden box that seems to give Sam powers she never dreamed she possessed— it all adds up to a dynamic paranormal romantic mystery.

Then, there is all that chocolate! Sam’s real goal in life is to use her elegant baking skills to open her own pastry shop, Sweet’s Sweets. She’s gaining quite the reputation as a baker with a magical touch, but a few obstacles stand in her way. Her grown daughter shows up on her doorstep—jobless and homeless; her bank account is at an all-time low; and trying to work from the tiny cramped kitchen in her home is becoming impossible.

Somehow, Sam copes and she finds that her dreams might just have a chance of coming true.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Samantha Sweet has a unique occupation. She breaks into foreclosed abandoned homes for the USDA to get them ready for resale. She is never sure what she will find but she never expected to find a bedridden dying woman in one house and a grave in the backyard of another all in one day. The upside is meeting Deputy Beau Cardwell. She gets to see more of him as she uncovers major clues to help identify the backyard body. There is a spark between them that is undeniable.

Sam’s true passion is baking and she is working hard to make her dreams of opening her own shop Sweet’s Sweets come true. Her coffers are filling nicely until her daughter “borrows” some cash and then returns home after quitting her job before she finds another. With her baking orders, a daughter to encourage, a police investigation, and oh, an unusual discovery with magical powers Samantha Sweet has her hands full.

This was a fun read. A protagonist close to my own age it was a pleasure to meet Samantha Sweet. She has a few insecurities but she is a hard worker who is driven by her quest to own a pastry shop. Her relationship with her daughter is typical, I could identify, and her budding relationship with the handsome deputy was heartwarming.

The plot was very interesting. First, Samantha is given a gift from the dying woman. The woman dies shortly after Sam finds her but that gift is much more than it appears. Then she makes an amazing discovery in a closet in the home with the backyard grave. With the help of one of her friends, she not only uncovers the name of the deceased but their incredible story. Blended into the mysteries are all her baking adventures and the first step she takes in making her dream a reality.

The story is very well plotted and nicely paced. It has a great flow. The characters are introduced and pretty fleshed out for the first book in a series. The mystery of the man in the shallow grave is wrapped up nicely by the end of the book. There were really few suspects and with a few twists the investigation concludes with quite a surprise. The mystery about the gift Sam received is still open. We know a little but hopefully, more will be revealed in the next book.

Sweet Masterpiece was a sweet read. An intriguing mystery with the perfect amount of romance. I chose to read this book because it is set in New Mexico for a reading challenge. I have added the next story, Sweet’s Sweets to my wishlist and plan to read it soon because I enjoyed this one and I want to know what happens next.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

This book is free on Amazon right now.

From the Author

The character of Samantha Sweet first appeared in one of my Charlie Parker mysteries, Gossip Can Be Murder, almost as a walk-on. She had one scene and would have vanished, but I was already thinking of a new series that would feature a baker (anyone who has been around me or read any of my books has a pretty good idea how I feel about chocolate!).

By the time I did the final edits on Gossip, Sam had become a real person to me, complete with her quirky day-job of breaking into houses for a living. I expanded her role in the original Charlie book, giving readers a tiny glimpse of the magical powers that become such a part of Sam’s personality in this new series. My editor was a little unsure about my letting my two fictional heroines cross over into each other’s territories, but readers seem to like it.

About the Author

Connie Shelton is the author of more than two dozen books in her bestselling Charlie Parker mystery series and now in the paranormal romantic Samantha Sweet mystery series. She taught writing for several years and is the creator of the Novel In A Weekend writing course. Visit her website at www.connieshelton.com to sign up for her free email mystery newsletter. She and her husband live in northern New Mexico with their two dogs.


Find more books by Connie Shelton here.

*This was an Amazon Purchase for my private collection.

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Mar 022017
 

No Way Home
by Annette Dashofy

No Way Home (A Zoe Chambers Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – Pennsylvania/New Mexico
Henery Press (March 14, 2017)
Paperback: 256 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1635111774
Kindle 9781635111798

 
 
 
 
 

Synopsis

A relaxing trail ride turns tragic when Paramedic and Deputy Coroner Zoe Chambers discovers the body of a popular county commissioner in her Pennsylvania woods. Inconsistencies surround the horrible accident, but before she can investigate further, she’s pried away by a plea for help from her best friend whose son has been deemed a person of interest in a homicide over a thousand miles away. When he vanishes without a trace, his mother begs Zoe to help clear him and bring him safely home. The task takes Zoe out of her comfort zone in a frantic trip to the desolate canyons and bluffs of New Mexico where she joins forces with the missing boy’s sister and a mysterious young Navajo.

Back at home, Vance Township’s Chief of Police Pete Adams must deal not only with the commissioner’s homicide, but with an influx of meth and a subsequent rash of drug overdoses in his rural community. Bodies keep turning up while suspects keep disappearing. However little else matters when he learns that half a continent away, a brutal killer has Zoe in his sights.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

First,  Paramedic and Deputy Coroner Zoe Chambers finds a dead body near her home in Pennsylvania. Before she even has time to get in  the middle of the investigation she is on a plane to New Mexico to find the son of her best friend. He isn’t answering his cell phone and his girlfriend body has been found near a canyon outside of Aztec. She has left Chief of Police and her boyfriend, Pete Adams,  to handle the death at home as she gets in way over her head in New Mexico.

I am a huge fan of this series. This author continues to amaze me with each story topping the last. Every time I reach the end I find myself saying “WOW”.

In this installment the pace is quick, a lot is packed into 256 pages. There are two mysteries to solve 1000 miles apart from each other. Zoe and Pete stay connected with daily phone calls until Zoe stops answering her phone and definitely not by her choice. Ms. Dashofy edges right up to the cozy/thriller line that will have her readers glued to the page. This makes for a very exciting read.

Zoe is a strong intelligent woman and she needs both if she is going to survive the trouble she has landed smack in the middle of. She and Pete usually have each other’s back. Where Zoe is more impulsive, he is more measured. They both have the determination for justice to prevail. Separated this time they are dependent on others. But Pete is working with other professionals and Zoe is working with the sister of the guy she is trying to find and one of her friends. So many things could go wrong and do.

Dashofy’s No Way Home is off the charts fantastic! Fantastic characters, fantastic mysteries, fantastic book!! Get your copy and hold on tight, it is going to be a bumpy ride as you find out if everyone make their way home.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Books in the Zoe Chambers Mystery Series:

CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE (#1)
LOST LEGACY (#2)
BRIDGES BURNED (#3)
WITH A VENGEANCE (#4)
NO WAY HOME (#5)

Dashofy-1559 (534x800)About The Author –

Annette Dashofy is the USA Today best-selling author of the Zoe Chambers mystery series about a paramedic and deputy coroner in rural Pennsylvania’s tight-knit Vance Township. CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE, published by Henery Press, was a finalist for the Agatha Award for Best First Novel and for the David Award for Best Mystery of 2014. LOST LEGACY, was released in September 2014 followed in April 2015 by BRIDGES BURNED, which has been nominated for the Agatha for Best Contemporary Novel. WITH A VENGEANCE, the fourth in the series, was released May 3, 2016.

Author Links

Website— Blog— Facebook— Twitter– @Annette_Dashofy 

Purchase Links

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

March 1 – Lori’s Reading Corner – SPOTLIGHT
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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 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
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

 

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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Sep 232016
 

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.

This author was not on my radar until he contacted me earlier this year about a book tour for the sequel to it Murder on the Mother Road. After reading it I added this book which released back in July 2011 to my To Be Read list immediately.

murder-on-route-66

Murder on Route 66
Cozy Mystery/ Amateur Sleuths
Setting – New Mexico
Mainly Murder Press (July 1, 2011)
Paperback: 240 page
ISBN-13: 978-0982795293
E-Book ASIN: B006PGKBHK
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Bobby Navarro, bad-boy biker with a big heart, interrupts a cross-country trip on his Harley to help the cook of a New Mexico cattle ranch. New challenges, an “adoptive family”, even a new girlfriend—life seems perfect. Then, Bobby finds his boss robbed, beaten and stabbed to death.

Bobby lets himself be talked into staying on as cook for the ranch until a replacement can be found, and promises Tim, the victim’s son, he’ll find the killer. His attempt at sleuthing angers the detective in charge of the case, infuriates Ned, the ranch foreman, who resents Bobby’s friendship with the family, and raises major concerns on the part of Bobby’s girlfriend, Sally.

Police focus on the cook of a neighboring ranch, owner of the murder weapon, but who Bobby believes to be innocent, and on Bobby himself. Bobby looks for evidence against a pack of three bikers who admit to the savage beating preceding his boss’s murder, and a bum who has come into extra spending money following the murder/robbery.

Before Bobby solves the murder, Ned fires him, his girlfriend dumps him, and somebody rams into the back of his Harley, hurtling him off into the desert night—a bundle of cuts, bruises, and twisted steel wreckage. Worse, someone wants to kill Tim as well.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I read Mr. Nilson’s books in reverse order but that is not an issue because they are perfect as stand alones.

Our protagonist Bobby Navarro is on road trip along Route 66 when he decides to stop a while and work on a ranch in New Mexico as the cook’s assistant. He feels right at home and quickly becomes friends with the cook, his wife and son. Then Bobby find his new boss dead in a parking lot. He vows to the man’s family to find the killer. He also stays on at the ranch to cook until a new one can be hired. Police have set their sights on a cook from another ranch but after meeting the man Bobby thinks they’re wrong and delves into his own investigation. The detective in charge of the case and the ranch foreman are both upset about that. His investigation takes him into some scary situations and there is even an attempt on his life. But there is too much at stake for him to give up.

Bobby Navarro has a heart as big as all outdoors, not your typical bad-boy biker. He makes friends at the ranch and a new girlfriend in town. Both put him in precarious straights as the girlfriend’s ex is the detective on the case and there is more going on at the ranch than meets the eye.

As with the author’s other book, the reader is drawn in immediately by Navarro’s real down to earth personality. This is just a temporary stop along the highway for him. He has no real set plans and a job that he can go back to at any time. A job that he needed a break from because it is a dangerous one. Who knew a road trip could be more dangerous? I love this man’s persistence and his fight to right wrongs and get to the truth for people he basically has just met.

The author has laid out quite a plot with twists that turn the story upside down. I had an inkling but never expected the whole way the story actually wrapped up.

Nilson’s stories are unusual because there are not too many cozies out there with male leads and Bobby is edgier than the few I can think of off the top of my head, but his books take place in small towns, have its share of quirky characters and the murders take place without any gory details and the romance never gets explicit. There is also the necessary humor to life the reader away from the tragic situations from time to time. The author calls his work ” a man’s cozy”, but I have really enjoyed both books.

If you are in the mood for something a little different I encourage you to try either of this author’s books. I just hope we don’t have to wait another 5 years for his next one.

perfect 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Author Photo

About The Author –

Glenn grew up on a farm in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California, hiking, hunting, even panning for gold.  After college, he served as an officer in the Navy, then earned a doctorate in sociology and taught at a branch of the State University in Connecticut. There, he developed, directed and taught a criminal justice program. Upon retirement, the West drew him back, this time to New Mexico, the setting for his first novel, Murder on Route 66. Currently, Glenn divides his time between living in rural Florida and up-state New York, writing and refurbishing an 1870’s-era, creek-side cottage.  Whenever possible, he enjoys cooking, riding his own motorcycle and camping.

Author Links

Webpage – Blog 

Purchase Links


Click on covers to order from Amazon 

GIVEAWAY
I am giving away 1 e-copy – Winner’s Choice
– Murder on Route 66  OR Murder on the Mother Road
Book will be sent direct from Amazon so open internationally.

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.

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

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 October 7, 2016 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.
Click Here For Entry Form

Note if the book prices rise you will receive a $2.99 Amazon gift card instead.

*This book was from my private collection.

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Oct 252014
 

death at the black bullDeath at the Black Bull
(A Sheriff Virgil Dalton Mystery)

New Mystery Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (October 7, 2014)
Published by The Penguin Group
Trade Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425274293
E-Book File Size: 1724 KB
ASIN: B00INIXQ66
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Hayward is a sleepy Southwestern town full of cattle, trucks, and tumbleweeds. Virgil Dalton’s been the sheriff for over a dozen years and has lived there all his life. It’s a place where everybody pretty much knows everybody—but they don’t know each other’s secrets…

Buddy Hinton is just a good ole boy. So when he disappears after a night drinking at the Black Bull, his friends just figure he went down to Mexico to find himself a girlfriend and eventually will come back. But this case quickly becomes a homicide after the sheriff discovers the missing man floating in one of his stock tanks.

For a man who wasn’t known to have enemies, Buddy clearly upset someone. Figuring out who that was will require Virgil and his deputy, Jimmy, to retrace Buddy’s last steps—and to remain a step ahead of a murderer who may have no qualms about killing again …

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This is a great debut from Frank Hayes!

He has created a wonderful character in Virgil Dalton. Virgil is half Native American and in addition to being the Sheriff of Hayward he is also a rancher and a lawyer. When Buddy Hinton disappears he thinks the guy has just run off but when his body is found he soon realizes big town trouble has come to the little town of Hayward.

All the clues lead back to the Black Bull, a local watering hole for ranch hands on and off for 30 years. With the help of his small band of deputies and insight from his ranch manager, Cesar, and his grandfather that lives on the reservation, Virgil starts to put the pieces together and uncovers more than a few secrets.

I was in the mood to read something a little different so I grabbed this book and once I started reading I couldn’t put it down. Hayes is a terrific storyteller. He is a very descriptive writer. I felt like I was watching a movie instead of reading a book.  He also fleshed out his characters in a way that truly engaged me as a reader. The final twist was a real shocker too! This really can’t be Frank Hayes first novel. He is definitely an author to watch.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 About The Author
Frank Hayes is a high school teacher who has started a new career as a novelist. He lives and writes in New York’s mid-Hudson River valley. Death at the Black Bull is his first book.

GIVEAWAYI 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.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End November 8, 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.”

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One Feta in the Grave (A Kebab Kitchen Mystery) by Tina Kashian Order Your Copy Today! MMP Just $5.03
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