Oct 102014
 

special guest blue
I am really excited to have Miranda (Dean) James here today
talking about these wonderful Southern Ladies and their new cozy series!

miranda deanBelles of Steel
By Miranda James

Every small Southern town has them – those indomitable women who run all kinds of organizations, from garden and bridge clubs to charitable agencies. Often they come from the town’s oldest families, generation after generation of club women who oil the wheels of the social engine. These were exactly the women I needed when I was working on Out of Circulation, the fourth book in my “Cat in the Stacks” series.

The story revolved around fund-raising efforts for the local public library – in this case, the fictional Athena (Mississippi) Public Library. I needed strong characters for the Friends of the Library Board of Directors, and I counted on disagreements among the members. Has there ever been a committee when members didn’t butt heads over even the most minute of details? Perfect starting point for conflict in a murder mystery, I thought.

BLESS HER DEADLITTLE HEART OCTOBERIn the spring of 2011 I attended the first-ever Daddy’s Girls Weekend, an event put together by my friend and fellow writer, Carolyn Haines, author of the Sarah Booth Delaney series. There I met two sisters, An’gel Ducote Molpus and Dickce Ducote Little, who inspired me to create their fictional counterparts, Miss An’gel and Miss Dickce Ducote.

The fictional sisters are several decades older, unmarried, and childless, yet their characters owe much to their real-life inspirations. The Ducote sisters are the true grandes dames of Athena society, intelligent, hard-working, and intolerant of pretention and snobbery. The conflict between them and the character of Vera Cassity was an essential element of the story, and I had great fun with the scenes involving these characters.

Not long after I finished Out of Circulation I was working on ideas for a second series, one that would feature two older women characters. After discussion with my agent and my editor, we settled on making the Ducote sisters the main characters. I loved them, my editor loved them, and evidently so did my readers. Thus was the new series born.

The first book in the “Southern Ladies” mysteries, Bless Her Dead Little Heart, was released on October 7th.

The Ducote sisters are on their own as amateur detectives, because Charlie Harris and his family are in France on vacation. They do have the assistance of Diesel, the Maine Coon cat, who makes a cameo appearance in the book. An old sorority sister, Rosabelle Sultan, turns up on the sisters’ doorstep one August afternoon and claims that someone in her family is trying to murder her. Miss An’gel and Miss Dickce know that Rosabelle loves being the center of attention, but this sounds a bit over-the-top even for this self-absorbed socialite. When Rosabelle’s family members follow her to Athena, however, the sisters quickly discover that one of them does have murder in mind.

I had great fun writing this book, letting the sisters have their way. I hope readers will have fun, too, getting to know Miss An’gel and Miss Dickce.

~Miranda

Find out more about Miranda (Dean) James and their books on their webpage here.

BLESS HER DEADLITTLE HEART OCTOBERBless Her Dead Little Heart
(A Southern Ladies Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
Brand New Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (October 7, 2014)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Dan Craig – IT IS GORGEOUS!
Cover Design by Lesley Worrel
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425273043
E-Book File Size: 2067 KB
ASIN: B00ISEOMQS
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

An all-new mystery featuring Miss An’gel and Miss Dickce Ducote, two snoopy sisters who are always ready to lend a helping hand. But when a stressed socialite brings murder right to their doorstep, even they have trouble maintaining their Southern hospitality…

With the Mississippi sun beating down, An’gel and Dickce are taking a break to cool off and pet sit their friend Charlie Harris’s cat, Diesel, when their former sorority sister, Rosabelle Sultan, shows up at their door unexpectedly, with her ne’er-do-well adult children not far behind.

Rosabelle’s selfish offspring are desperate to discover what’s in her will, and it soon becomes clear that one of them would kill to get their hands on the inheritance. Suddenly caught up in a deadly tangle of duplicitous suspects and deep-fried motives, it will take all of the sisters’ Southern charm to catch a decidedly ill-mannered killer…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!

These Ducote sisters are as sweet as the tea they serve. Miss An’gel and Miss Dickce were introduced to us in Out of Circulation the 4th Cat in the Stacks Mystery. I loved them then and am thrilled that they have been spun off into their own series. My favorite cat Diesel even makes a guest appearance in this first installment along with Chief Deputy Kanesha Berry.

Let’s just say these two sisters have the patience of saints as their former society sister and her whole crazy family show up at their door without so much as a phone call. These people have no manners let alone any of the Southern variety. There was only one that I liked, the rest were deplorable house guests and so very selfish. But Miss An’gel and Miss Dickce take it in stride and with the help of their housekeeper, Clementine and her granddaughter, Antoinette make the entire bunch as comfortable as possible.  Even when one of them ends up dead, these charming Southern ladies stay calm and in control and do whatever then can to catch the killer so that they can get the rest of this horrible family out of their house.

A  truly terrific story with the perfect amount of murder and mayhem and of course the perfect amount of southern charm.  I was amazed at what wonderful amateur sleuths these grande dames made. They had a plethora of suspects under their roof and with just a bit of innocent snooping they had some excellent leads. They cut things pretty close though and I was afraid this first book in the series was going to be their last. James plotted a fabulous mystery that kept me guessing until the very end.

I also was so happy to have Diesel visit, he is quite a cat,  but as you can see from the cover there are some new pets in town. I am ready for the next installment right now but see that Arsenic and Old Books (Cat in the Stacks Mystery) hits stores January 27, 2015 so I will be returning Athena, Mississippi very soon!

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 Miranda for 5 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 24, 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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Nov 202013
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640
Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!!
It is my pleasure to welcome Krista Davis back here today!!!

How Smart Is Your Dog or Cat?
by Krista Davis

Krista_Buttercup4 smallMany years ago, as I prepared to leave on a date, I told my dog I would be home in a few hours. Apparently, that upset my date. At dinner, he began with, “You know your dog doesn’t understand what you say, don’t you?” Then he launched into a lengthy lecture. He told me dogs have brains the size of walnuts and can’t think. He explained in some detail that dogs merely react to tones of voice. According to him, they can distinguish between angry and happy tones, but nothing more.

I recall trying to be polite. I remember trying to change the subject. But the guy would not let go. It must have really bothered him that I talked to my dog. When he persisted, I finally asked the big question, “Have you ever had a dog?”

Available December 3

Available December 3

Of course he hadn’t! You can imagine my laughter when he confessed. It was our one and only date. Clearly, we weren’t right for each other. No big loss. He was a pretty bright guy (about other things) whom I saw at social occasions now and then, but the dog conversation is the only thing I remember about him.

Anyone who has ever had a dog can tell you how smart they are. My golden retriever tricks one of my dogs when he’s sleeping where she wants to be. She stares at him first. I can see the annoyance building. Next, she goes to the door and asks to go outside. The minute she’s outdoors, she barks. The other dog wakes, rushes outside and before he’s fully out the door, my golden retriever races back in and makes herself comfortable where he was sleeping. What amuses me so much about this little trick is that it takes planning. She knows exactly what she’s doing.

Researchers at the Max Plank Institute determined that a dog understood about 200 words. And now there’s another dog, named Chaser, who understands over 1,000 words. That probably won’t come as a surprise to dog owners. Or to cat owners, for that matter. My cats know what “squirrel” and “bird” mean.

My dogs know people’s names, too. There are names I can’t say without all the dogs barking and running to the front window to look for that person. I think they’re much smarter than we give them credit for. In my new book, Murder, She Barked, the animals don’t speak, but they help the protagonist solve crimes.

What clever things do your dogs and cats do?

street crew 1

To celebrate the launch of Murder, She Barked, Krista’s dogs and cats are looking for dogs and cats to join their street crew. They’re giving away Murder, She Barked bandanas to two lucky dogs or cats who leave comments here today (it’s okay if their people leave comments for them)! Photos of winners (hopefully wearing their new Murder, She Barked bandanas) will be posted on Krista’s website (http://kristadavis.com/paws-and-claws-mysteries/murder-she-barked-street-crew.html) and on Pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com/kristadavisbook/murder-she-barked-street-crew/) so your dogs and cats can share with their friends.

Krista Davis’s new series for animal lovers debuts on December 3rd, with Murder, She Barked. Like her characters, Krista has a soft spot for cats, dogs, and cupcakes. She lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with three dogs and two cats. The Diva Frosts a Cupcake  is the seventh book in her Domestic Diva Mystery series. Three of those books have been nominated for Agatha awards and three have made the extended New York Times Bestseller list.

kristadavis.com

www.facebook.com/KristaDavisAuthor

pinterest.com/kristadavisbook

mysteryloverskitchen.com

twitter.com/kristadavis

killercharacters.com

murder she barked dec Murder, She Barked:
A Paws & Claws Mystery (A Paws and Claws Mystery)

Brand New Series
Release Date: December 3, 2013
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Mary Ann Lasher
Cover Design by Diane Kolsky
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425262559
E-Book
ASIN: B00BTRDHNK
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

 

The Sugar Maple Inn in Wagtail, Virginia, is the country’s premiere vacation hot spot for pet owners who can’t bear to leave their furry friends behind. But this tourist town smells trouble when a killer goes on the prowl….

Holly Miller’s life has gone to the dogs. She has no job and her boyfriend’s old girlfriend wants him back and since she is his boss’s daughter she is always around.  Then she gets a phone call to return home to Wagtail from her grandmother’s friend saying her grandmother needs her. She wastes no time, hops into her boyfriend’s car, tells him she will call when she knows more and heads to Virginia.  She makes a quick stop for gas before heading up the mountain and picks up a “hitchhiker” –  A Jack Russell Terrier who has been left behind by someone makes himself right at home in the car. 

When they reach Wagtail both are welcomed with open arms.  Her grandmother seems fine but Holly decides to stick around. It’s been a long time since they have spent time together and she thinks her grandmother is keeping something from her.

Then she learns there was a hit and run accident and one of the Inn’s employees was killed. Holly thinks it may not have been so much of an accident. She is like a dog with a bone as she and her furry friends do their best to sniff out the killer.

Dollycas’s Thoughts 
What a wonderful idea for a cozy mystery series – Paws & Claws!! Wagtail sounds like an animal lover’s paradise. Imagine a town dedicated to pets and their humans. Because you know we don’t own out pets, they are part of our family and they each have their own person/s. My husband is definitely our 2 dogs person. They tolerate being left here with me while he is at work but when he gets home I no longer exist unless they want to lick my ice cream bowl. The Jack Russell and a cute little calico kitten have both chosen Holly as their person.

Krista Davis has created a wonderful setting in Wagtail. There is no way to describe this idyllic place in this review, you will just have to read the book. I would love to live there 365 days a year.

She has also given us a wonderful group of characters both 2 legged and 4 legged. Unique, colorful and real and they span all ages.  Add to that a well-plotted mystery that keeps us guessing to the finish.

If I had a tail it would be wagging in pure delight. I loved this story!!  A fantastic series debut!! I cannot wait for my visit to The Sugar Maple Inn. 

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

In addition to Krista’s giveaway I have 2 copies of Murder, She Barked
courtesy of Penguin 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 Krista for 5 Bonus Entries and an entry to win a bandanna!

What clever things do your dogs and cats do?

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

Contest Will End December 4, 2013 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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Aug 272013
 

clothe and dagger august
Cloche and Dagger
(A Hat Shop Mystery)

Brand New Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group August 6, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Robert Steele
Cover Design by Diana Kolsky
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425258897
E-Book File Size: 679 KB
ASIN: B009RYS39A
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

Not only is Scarlett Parker’s love life in the loo—as her British cousin Vivian Tremont would say—it’s also gone viral with an embarrassing video.

Scarlett agrees with Viv that it is time to get out of Florida for awhile so she jets across the pond to visit her cousin and check in on the business they share.  Mims’s Whims was left to them by their grandmother. Viv has the perfect touch of creating outstanding and outlandish hats just like her grandmother, Scarlett is a novice when it come to creating any type of chapeau.  So when Scarlett arrives in London only to find her cousin not in residence she is like a fish out of water.

Harrison Wentworth is the business manager for the hat shop and is used to Viv taking off on whims of her own. But when one of Viv’s hoity-toity clients ends up dead people including Scarlett and the coppers start to wonder if she is really off on a buying trip or in hiding.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Jenn McKinlay has done it again!!! Scarlett is a fantastic character! I absolutely love her. She spent most of the book worried about her missing cousin and I did too.

With all these viral videos hitting the internet lately, and I know a couple from one of the latest personally, Scarlett’s story is current and believable and hilarious!! I didn’t need to see it with my eyes this author made me see it in my mind perfectly.

It was fun to follow the murder mystery too along with a couple other unusual happenings. No spoilers here!!

Jenn has laid the foundation for another wonderful series. Harrison has captivated me with his stories of infatuation for Scarlett when they were young and she still holds a place in his heart. After recent events she is not ready to see that yet. Viv was missing for most of the story but these three together along with Fiona “Fee”, Andre and Nick are going to take us on some wild rides. Death of a Mad Hatter can’t be released soon enough for me!! I wonder what part Ferd the Bird will play in that one.

a perfect escape
5 STARFISH

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.”

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Mar 272013
 

cozy wednesdayWelcome to Cozy Wednesday!

Today I am pleased to welcome new author J.J. Cook to tell us about their new series.
Cozy fans will be pleased to know that while this is a new name
this author team is very familiar to us.

Jim and Joyce Lavene have written several fantastic mysteries and other genres as well.

One half of J.J. Cook is here today!
Hi Joyce!!

Hi Everyone!

Stella Griffin and the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mysteries

clip_image001Our main character in the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mysteries is Fire Chief Stella Griffin. Stella is part of a strong Irish family that has served the fire department in Chicago, Illinois for many years. She understands the rigors of the life, but when it came time for her to make her choice of career, she knew it was what she wanted.

404367_452465988129034_528250595_n (1)Firefighters are a strange breed of men, my grandfather used to tell me. They run into the fire instead of away from it. My grandfather, Henry Koch, was a firefighter. He was part of the team that fought the Our Lady of the Angel’s Fire, one of the most devastating because it killed so many children in a Catholic school. That was one fire he wouldn’t talk or joke about.

fire badge croppedMy great-grandfather, Michael Sebastian, was also with the CFD. In the late 1800s, he drove a team of white horses that hauled the fire wagon. The job was even harder when he was a firefighter because they had no special equipment, no protection.

My husband and my father have both been volunteer firefighters. Basically, this means they get all the danger and the hard work without getting paid. Volunteers have to train for hours every week, as much as the professional firefighters. They have to go out at all hours of the day and night, in every kind of weather, never knowing what’s waiting for them. They do it for their communities.

I wanted to be a firefighter when I was 14. I thought it was the noblest profession in the world. Everyone laughed because GIRLS weren’t firefighters. I cried for days. That’s changed now, for the better of the firefighting community, and probably the food!

Smoky MountainsNow, I’ve found a way of honoring the people in my family who have fought fires, lost some, and grieved over victims. Stella is the chief of a volunteer fire brigade in the Smoky Mountains. She is who I imagined I could be, at one time. She’s strong and brave, loyal to her volunteers, concerned about people.

She came to life for me in Sweet Pepper. In the first book, That Old Flame of Mine, she goes to the small town in Tennessee after a bad break-up with her boyfriend and an injury that has put her off the job. She doesn’t realize how raw her recruits are or how different being a volunteer firefighter is, but she learns.

She always plans on going back to Chicago, but Sweet Pepper, and the resident ghost in her log cabin there, may change her mind.

I hope this book will be something that would’ve made my family of firefighters proud.

~Joyce

About This Author
Joyce Lavene, and her husband/partner, Jim, write the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mysteries as J.J. Cook. They have written and published more than 60 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family. Visit them at www.joyceandjimlavene.com or www.jjcook.net plus on

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404367_452465988129034_528250595_n (1)

That Old Flame of Mine
(A Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade)

Brand New Series
Release Date: April 2, 2013
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Mary Ann Lasher
Cover Design by George Long
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425252048
E-Book File Size: 738 KB
ASIN: B0099D4B3Q

That Old Flame of Mine
NO MATCH FOR MURDER

After knocking the lights out of her boyfriend when she catches him cheating on her, Chicago fire fighter Stella Griffin hops on her Harley and heads for Sweet Pepper, Tennessee, where she ends up becoming the small town’s fire chief. When her dear friend Tory Lambert dies after her gingerbread-style house is set ablaze, Stella suspects arson and foul play.

As Stella investigates, she gets help from a most unlikely source—the ghost of Eric Gamlyn, Sweet Pepper’s old fire chief. And if that isn’t enough to rattle her, attractive police officer John Trump seems to have taken an interest in her. But Stella’s got to stay focused if she hopes to smoke out a killer before her own life is extinguished.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
As the daughter of a firefighter I was thrilled with this book. My dad passed away 25 years ago and it still seems like yesterday. I wish he would haunt his old firehouse, maybe he does? He did not die on “a scene” but he was a chief too just like Eric Gamlyn and I so wanted to be a firefighter and work side by side with him. At that time female firefighters were few and far between. Ladies were on the auxiliary and handled bake sales and delivered food and drink to the big fires. I would have loved Stella’s life even with the crummy boyfriend.

The story is so well written and full of wonderful real characters. The drill/practice sessions ring true to me as someone who has observed many. Chief Eric’s haunts struck my heart. Another firefighter lost too soon with so many plans and dedication. Stella has a lot on her plate in Sweet Pepper and with a bit of “help” she comes out on top. A sassy, smart, sleuth that this reader plans to enjoy tagging along with for a very long time.

J.J. Cook has written an extraordinary debut. This book will be burning up bookstore shelves next Tuesday.  It’s hotter than a 5 alarm fire!! Respond and extricate your copy as soon as possible.

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 Berkley Prime Crime
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 J.J. Cook 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 April 10, 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

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.”

404367_452465988129034_528250595_n (1)readalattechallenge_zps01d248d0mystery challengeWIN62013where are you readingcozymysterybooktours

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For a Good Paws (A Barkery & Biscuits Mystery) by Linda O. JohnstonOrder Your Copy Today!
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