Posted in Reviews 2014

Review – Treacherous Tart by Ellie Grant

treacherous tartTreacherous Tart
A Pie in the Sky Mystery
2nd Book in the Series
Publisher: Pocket Books (October 28, 2014)
A Division of Simon & Schuester Inc.
Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1451689563
E-Book File Size: 2315 KB
ASIN: B00IWTWRWK
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In this second charming novel in the Pie Shop cozy mystery series, a modern-day Lothario is shot dead, and it’s up to Maggie to clear her aunt and partner-in-pie from the suspect list.

It’s Christmastime at Pie in the Sky, Aunt Clara’s pie shop, and she has a new beau, Donald Wickerson, who loves her Marvelous Mince Pies.

Unfortunately, it seems that this holiday, Donald might only be interested in Aunt Clara for her money. Ryan and Maggie research his background and find he’s had several wives who met with unfortunate “accidents” that left him wealthier. Now they have to convince Aunt Clara that her boyfriend is after more than just her pie recipes.

When Donald stumbles into Pie in the Sky and dies after being shot, Aunt Clara is devastated—and also a suspect, since everyone in Durham knows about Donald from Ryan’s newspaper article. Now Maggie and Ryan will have to prove that someone else in the long list of people he’d wronged finally got the courage to end his life.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Pies, kittens and MURDER…OH MY!!

Ellie Grant has served up another awesome story for readers to devour!

Aunt Clara and Maggie Grady run Pie in the Sky, a shop featuring tasty delights like Evie’s Elegant Eggnog Pie, Marvelous Mince Pie and Pumpkin Pizzazz Pie. The are even going to start offering savory pies to bring in a lunch crowd. These two ladies are at work baking pies before the sun comes up and serving pie until late in the day. I don’t know how they do it and still find time to not only sleep but have boyfriends. Aunt Clara’s new beau, Donald, has quite a checkered past that she didn’t know about until right before he fell dead right in the middle of Pie in the Sky. Maggie has Ryan but he may have a little competition. Bring on the romantic tension…  But the police looking much too closely at Clara as a suspect so romance aside Maggie needs to find out who really killed philandering  Donald. She sees plenty of suspects, why can’t the police?

I love these characters.  Aunt Clara reminds me of my mother who also ran an eatery that was as important to her as Pie in the Sky is to Clara. Clara heart is huge and she always finds the “silver lining” to every situation. I felt so bad that she was falling for such a despicable man and then to have him die and her being suspected of killing him just broke my heart. But she persevered knowing she was innocent and handled it all with grace and dignity. Even some very scary situations. She is a wonderful woman.

Maggie had a lot on her plate. She not only had to keep the Pie in the Sky up and running and meet the commitment they had for a huge fundraiser,  she  also had to find the real person responsible for dastardly Donald’s death.

We also were introduced to some fun furry felines. You will love their names.

The author penned a fine mystery as well with quite a variety of suspects. Donald Wickerson had not only left behind scorned women but families and friends of those former wives who died due to “accidents” where he inherited all their money. The killer really could have been so many different people. The pages just flew by as we followed the clues until the awaited “aha moment”.

A very entertaining read. You will be craving pie by the end so be sure to check out the included recipes, perfect for the upcoming holiday season.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author
Ellie Grant writes award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook and Joyce and Jim Lavene. 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.

Author Links:

www.elliegrant.net

www.romanceofmystery.blogspot.com

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16130461-plum-deadly

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ellie-Grant/409736699080379?ref=hl

https://twitter.com/AuthorJLavene

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 Reviews 2014

Review/Giveaway – Lethal Letters by Ellery Adams

lethal lettersLethal Letters
(A Books by the Bay Mystery)

6th book in the Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (November 4, 2014)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Kimberly Schamber
Cover Design by Rita Frangie
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425270837
E-Book File Size: 1279 KB
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Restaurant owner and aspiring novelist Olivia Limoges is busy planning a delicious menu for Oyster Bay’s biggest soiree of the spring. But she’ll need to serve some justice as well after one resident gets eighty-sixed…

Everyone’s got their hands full in Oyster Bay, North Carolina. Aside from two upcoming weddings, there’s also the historical society’s annual fund-raiser: the Secret Garden Party and Candlelit Ball. Adding to the excitement, Olivia witnesses the discovery of a time capsule in the foundation of a local church. The historical society president hopes to display its contents at their party, but when the items are finally revealed to the public, Olivia notices one of them has vanished.

After a frightening find beneath the pier—the body of Ruthie Holcomb—Olivia is certain there’s a connection between the young woman’s death and the missing piece from the time capsule. With the help of her fellow Bayside Book Writers, Olivia sets out to uncover some clues and ensure a killer has no reason to celebrate…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Ellery Adams weaves a tangled web of mystery and secrets along with not one but two weddings and big fundraiser in this sixth installment to this wonderful series!

Opening a time capsule starts a chain of events, including a murder that Olivia just has to solve. She was the one that found young Ruthie Holcomb’s body and is not going to stop until she finds out who killed Ruthie and why. She knows the time capsule is key and she also knows that something from that capsule disappeared between its original opening and the public unveiling. She just needs to find out what and it should lead her right to the killer.

I love this series, the characters have grown so much since the first book, A Killer Plot, when I sit down to read each story it is like I am visiting old friends. Olivia was a little hard to warm up to a first but she has a huge heart and it  took her awhile to really let it show, now it is shining. Her relationship with Rawlings has progressed at a perfect pace for both the readers and Olivia and she finally realizes it.  Her constant companion is Captain Haviland, a black standard poodle, I just love their dedication to each other. I was also so happy that Harris has returned to Oyster Bay and all the  Bayside Book Writers were together again.

The story grabbed my attention from page one and the new characters had my emotions flowing. No spoilers here but there will be those characters that you just hate and one that broke my heart. I will leave it at that.

Ellery is a spectacular storyteller. We vacationed for week in North Carolina several years ago and I absolutely fell in love with the place. Ellery takes me back there in each of the books. I can feel the sun on my face, the sand between the my toes and smell the ocean. The people there were open and welcoming just like most of the residents of Oyster Bay.  The food was delicious and I can almost taste the food Chef Michel prepares at Olivia’s restaurant.

This is a series you have to read from the beginning so if this is a new series to you please start with A Killer Plot and then continue on. They would be fantastic all read in a row.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

To find out more about Ellery and all her books visit her webpage here.

GIVEAWAYThanks to the people at Penguin I have 2 copies of Lethal Letters 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.

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 20, 2014 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 Cruisin Thru Cozies Literary Escapes Reviews 2014 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Review: Books, Cooks and Crooks by Lucy Arlington

book cook crook feb 2014
Books, Cooks, and Crooks
(A Novel Idea Mystery)

3rd in Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Art by Julia Green
Cover Design by Lesley Worrell
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425252246
E-Book File Size: 1619 KB
ASIN: B00DYX9M8Q
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The national bestselling Novel Idea Mysteries are back, as Lila Wilkins—literary agent and sleuth—is setting up a delicious cookbook fair. But the tension in the kitchen is about to boil over…

The Taste of Town Festival has Inspiration Valley, North Carolina overflowing with people. The Novel Idea Literary Agency has its own event featuring Celebrity Chefs and their books. There are cooking demonstrations, cookbook giveaways, and even a culinary writing contest.

What happens what you get a group of Celebrity Chefs together? You find out they really don’t like each other very much but is one of them a murderer? We find out as an explosion rocks the demo kitchen and kills one of the chefs.  Lila quickly finds herself in the middle of the investigation that has way too many suspects. Is one of her clients really a killer?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Let’s face it, I want to be Lila, even with exploding kitchens and dead bodies! 🙂

This writing team continues to amaze me. Their characters jump off the pages. Even the new ones, these chefs, their families and their assistants are so credible and real. Some real crazy but still real.

There is a bit of romance for Lila’s friend Makayla, she has a secret admirer. Sean and Lila romance is heating up too in more ways than one. Lila’s son Trey comes home from college after hearing of all the trouble in Inspiration Valley. What a wonderful young man. I also appreciate the relationship Lila has with her mother.

Of course the mystery itself is complex and I completely devoured it. With the foodie theme came terrific description of several tasty treats too.  This story keeps the reader fully engaged from the first word until the last. I was following the clues right along with Lila and we both had that “aha moment” together.

Inspiration Valley is a town everyone would love to visit, from Walden Woods Circle  to the Expresso Yourself Coffee Shop to the Magnolia B & B and everywhere in between. Lucy Arlington has created the perfect setting for this cozy series. I look forward to returning soon.

*There is also a peek at Ellery Adams new cozy series. The first chapter of Murder in the Mystery Suite (A Book Retreat Mystery) has me very intrigued.

,

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author

Lucy Arlington is the nom de plume for the writing team of Ellery Adams and Sylvia May, two friends who collaborated on an idea that became A Novel Idea Mystery Series. Both are authors in their own right; Ellery writes cozy mysteries and Sylvia women’s fiction.

Ellery Adams currently writes the Books by the Bay Mysteries and the Charmed Pie Shoppe Mysteries. To learn more about Ellery and her books, visit her website at www.elleryadamsmysteries.com.

Sylvia May’s first novel, The Unraveling of Abby Settel, received an Honorable Mention in the 2011 Reader Views Literary Awards. To learn more about Sylvia and her novel, visit her website at www.sylviamay.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 Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Reviews 2013

Review – Quilt Trip by Elizabeth Craig

quilt trip
Quilt Trip: A Southern Quilting Mystery
3rd in Series
Cozy Mystery
An Obsidian Mystery (December 3, 2013)
Published by New American Library
An Imprint of The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451240637
E-Book File Size: 1228 KB
ASIN: B00BDQ397G
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As a quilter, retired folk art curator Beatrice Coleman likes to have all the seams stitched together—but her plans keep getting tangled up in unexpected ways…

In this third installment Meadow is dragging Beatrice to meeting they were not even invited to attend.  Meadow has no qualms about “crashing the party”, but the sky looks like it is cooking up a storm and Beatrice would just like to stay home safe and sound. But there is no stopping Meadow so off they go to find the Victorian mansion in the mountains beyond Dappled Hills, North Carolina, that belongs to Muriel Starnes. Muriel is an elderly eccentric woman who wants to start a foundation to introduce and teach quilting to young people in the area. Meadow is on a mission to get her to choose the Village Quilters Guild over everyone else at the meeting to administer the foundation.

As expected the storm Beatrice was worried about strikes just as they arrive at the mansion. The rain soon turns to sleet and then ice. It isn’t long before an old tree limb falls blocking the driveway which it now just a thick sheet of ice, the power goes out, and of course there is no cell phone reception.

They have no choice but to bed down for the night. At least Muriel has plenty of beds and quilts to keep everyone warm. But everyone does not survive the night. They find in the morning that Muriel has passed away. She was in poor health but Beatrice sees she did not die of natural causes. She was murdered and they have a houseful of suspects. They are also all trapped in the house with a killer. Beatrice and the Village quilters are on the case to figure out just who is responsible for their host’s early demise.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
These are some of my favorite fictional characters. Beatrice, calm, cool, collected, and just so darn nice. She can’t say “no” to anyone especially Meadow. Meadow, “bless her heart”, it is always in the right spot, but she is like “a bull in a china shop” and her brain does not filter what comes out of her mouth. Miss Sissy is battling Alzheimer’s so she has her good times and bad but she always seems to be on the right track when it comes to figuring people out. Posy is sweet as can be and she handles Miss Sissy perfectly.   And when they are all stuck together, with barely enough food, the all pull out their works in progress and quilt.

The author has written a very Christie-esque mystery where all the suspects are trapped together and someone (Beatrice) figures out the Who – Why and How. It all takes place is a mansion with all the turrets and attic complete with hidden rooms and spaces. It also seems the deceased had a pretty big secret. 

The was a really fun mystery to read. With the bitter wind blowing outside my own window I felt like I was right in the story with them. All I needed was the fire to warm my toes. I enjoyed this Quilt Trip very much and can’t wait for my next trip to Dappled Hills.

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author

Elizabeth writes the Memphis Barbeque series for Penguin/Berkley (as Riley Adams), the Southern Quilting mysteries for Penguin/NAL, and the Myrtle Clover series for Midnight Ink and independently.
Facebook: Riley Adams Author and Elizabeth Spann Craig Author.

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.”

a-z challenge 2013large

Posted in E-Book Challenge Reviews 2013

Review: Plum Deadly by Ellie Grant

PlUM dEADLY SEPT

I was so lucky to receive an
Advance Review Copy of the book!!!

Ellie Grant will be my Special Guest on September 5
but I couldn’t wait to share my review with you!

Plum Deadly
New Cozy Mystery Series!!!!
Publisher: Gallery Books (September 3, 2013)
A Division of Simon & Schuster
Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1451689556
E-Book
ASIN: B00A28H4PO
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CHOCOHOLIC CREAM. BOUNTIFUL BLUEBERRY. LOTSA LEMON MERINGUE. even DANGEROUSLY DAMSON.

Who could resist such pies? Who would even want to resist the pie shop that makes them? Certainly not the residents of Durham, North Carolina, and the little bakery and café called Pie in the Sky is one of the most popular meet-up places in town.

Unjustly accused of cooking the books, Maggie Grady is forced to retreat from her high-flying New York financial career to the town where she grew up. Her aunt Clara greets her with open arms and a job at the family-owned business that has baked the best pies in the South for over forty years. Unfortunately, while Maggie is determined to return to banking, her reputation there seems permanently in the pits. That is, until her old boss, Lou, visits with news that he’s found the real crook. Before he can reveal the details, though, Maggie finds his body right behind the pie shop.

With only her own word that Lou planned to exonerate her, Maggie is in the spotlight. The police seem to suspect that Aunt Clara’s damson pie may not be just dangerously delectable, but downright deadly. Maggie doesn’t just have her own name to clear; she has to make sure that her aunt’s beloved business isn’t harmed, either. Yummy local reporter Ryan Summerour appears eager to help, and Maggie can’t help hoping that it’s not just the police who find her a person of interest—but Ryan, as well. She’d thought it challenging to make the perfect pie crust that Aunt Clara demands, but that turns out to be nothing compared with finding a murderer. . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts
WOW!!!! Cozy lovers are going to go crazy for Maggie Grady and Aunt Clara!! and probably gain a couple of pounds too!!

Ellie Grant is really popular cozy authors Joyce and Jim Lavene writing under a pseudonym. I don’t know how this team writing thing works but these two  have it mastered. They always give us superb characters and put them in wonderfully sticky situations.

Maggie is fabulous. She was fired from her dream job for something she didn’t do. Something that could drive a lot of people over the edge or into a deep dark place. Instead she goes home to North Carolina to her Aunt Clara and she just may find her bliss. She couldn’t wait to leave there years ago and had rarely returned but this time she realizes this is where she belongs.

Aunt Clara reminds me a lot of my mom. Clara’s business is her life and without it she would be lost. It was something she had done with her husband. They ran the business together and when he passed away she did her best to carry on with business as usual. Maggie finds a few things that fell through the cracks but quickly sets things right. Aunt Clara is the type of woman that always has a smile on her face and finds something good in even the worst situations. When it comes to her niece, all she wants is Maggie to be happy.

This story is an excellent debut to what I know is going to be a fabulous cozy series. They have filled this pie, I mean story, with sweet characters, a plum of a mystery, sifted in some smart dialogue, a pinch of romance and a heaping spoonful of humor.  You will devour the whole thing in one sitting!! Oh and did I mention, the book includes recipes!!!!! This book is worthy of a blue ribbon at any fair!

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

You can pre-order a copy today!

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.”

**Synopsis from author/back cover of book**

2013EbookChallengereadalattechallenge_zps01d248d0

Posted in Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Reviews 2013

Cozy Wednesday with Author Carol Ann Martin (Giveaway too!)

cozy-wednesday.jpg

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am so pleased to welcome Carol Ann Martin to Escape With Dollycas today!

Carol Ann MartinDear Reader,

You have no idea how thrilled I am to be here. All my life I’ve wanted to be an author, and here I am at last, sixty one years old and my first novel just coming out. This should be good news for all you wannabe authors out there. If I could do it, so can you. See? I’m the proof that it’s never too late.

There was a time when I thought I’d missed the boat, that I would never achieve my dream of being published. That was when a local author who was shortlisted for the governor general award (That’s a big deal in Canada.) insisted that age is good thing for a writer. The more life you’ve lived, the more you will have to write about. That was probably what gave me the courage to go for it, and give it my all. But what to write about?

I’d always loved murder mysteries, but at the same time I was tired of all the blood and gore in many of them. I was attracted to a gentler kind of murder mystery, more of the Miss Marple, or Jessica Fletcher type. I wrote a fun little manuscript and sent it out, fully expecting to get a few dozen rejections, but to my great surprise, I landed an agent on my first try. If somebody were to ask me what was the happiest day in my life? That day would be right up there. And then, a short time later, I was offered a three-book deal by Obsidian. My husband couldn’t get me off the chandelier for days. When I finally came down as set about writing, the Looming Murder Series was born.

looming murderWhat I wanted was to create characters that readers would want to get to know better, characters that they might want as friends in their own lives. The first novel in the series, introduces the main character Della Wright, a thirty-something brunette with a passion for weaving, high heels and fashion, and for snooping out clues. Della has just left a successful career as a business analyst to follow her dream of owning and operating her own weaving shop and studio. She has moved from Charlotte, to quaint Briar Hollow, a peaceful town at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. But, as it turns out, Briar Hollow is not quite as peaceful as she first imagined, because she soon stumbles upon the murdered body of a local business man.

Della’s main sidekick is long-time family-friend Matthew, who also happens to be a criminology professor. Della has feelings for Matthew, but she might have a better chance at capturing his interest if his mother wasn’t working so hard at bringing them together. I mean, really, what self-respecting man will let his mother choose his girlfriend?

Della’s best friend is the beautiful, tall, blonde, Jenny, who is convinced she can predict the future by reading tea leaves and tarot cards. Della only wishes Jenny would have warned her about some dangerous characters masquerading as upstanding citizens.

And last but not least, there is Winston, Matthew’s twenty-five pound French bulldog, who is completely taken with Della. At least one man in her life loves her, right? Too bad it’s Winnie and not Matthew.

My early readers tell me I’ve woven together a great little mystery with just the right amount of chuckles and shivers. I hope you’ll all agree.

All my best,

Carol Ann Martin

 About This Author

Carol Ann Martin is a pen name for Monique Domovitch. She borrowed the name from her children, combining her daughter’s—Carole Ann—and her son’s—Martin. Monique lives with her physician husband and their three dogs. They divide their time between their homes in Canada and La Jolla.

Find out more here on her webpage.

looming murderLooming Murder:
A Weaving Mystery

A Brand New Series
Cozy Mystery
An Obsidian Mystery
Signet Eclipse (June 4, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451413604
E-Book File Size: 548 KB
ASIN: B009RYL36K
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A LOOM WITH A VIEW

Della Wright jumped at a unique opportunity and has moved to Briar Hollow to open Dream Weavers. Her dream has always been to own a weaving studio. She is so excited when a half dozen people show up for her first class and some are already proficient weavers. She quickly learns that like every small town anywhere, people  here love to gossip.

She sees a different side to her quiet, little, new hometown when she trips over a dead body and one of her new students becomes the prime suspect. With a little help from an old friend and a couple of new ones she finds herself weaving together clues to catch the a killer and try not to become their latest victim…

Dollycas’s Thoughts
I was very impressed with the debut of this series!

Funny Della has my mother or a mother just like mine.  Until she died she called me at least once a day to offer “advice”. 🙂

The characters are a diverse group, teenager to retired, all with their own little quirks. Della seems to act first and think later, a quality I happen to like in a protagonist. Keeps the reader on their toes. Her relationships with the men in her life give a little Chick Lit vibe to this whodunit.

I was very drawn to Mercedes, a teenager that was practically dragged to the first weaving class. She grew by leaps and bounds in this first story. I can see her as an integral character as she continues to grow up and evolve.

The author has constructed a wonderful warp in the story for her to weft with characters and situations for many future mysteries. I can’t wait for my next escape to Briar Hollow.
just you and a friend
4 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!!

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 Carol Ann 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 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.”

Posted in Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Reviews 2013

Review: Raveled by Anne McAneny

raveled

Raveled
Mystery
Published by Farrington Press (January 28, 2013)
Trade Paperback: 332 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0988846906
E-Book File Size: 629 KB
ASIN: B00B1SRBHK

Raveled

Allison Fennimore has tried to put her life in Lavitte behind her. Sixteen years ago her father was accused of killing two teenagers. He committed suicide in jail. Now Allison’s brother reaches out from rehab to beg her to dig into her father’s conviction. She knows she will not be welcomed with open arms in Lavitte bit agrees to review the case. Once she starts digging she can’t stop. One lie leads to another and then a key source of information turns up dead and the revelations start to get ugly. Alison may wish she never started down this path but she can’t stop until she knows the truth.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

When I read the Ibsen quote at the start of the book, It was then that I began to look into the seams of your doctrine. I wanted only to pick at a single knot; but when I had got that undone, the whole thing Raveled out, I knew I was headed for a suspenseful journey.

This small town is an epitome of everything that go can wrong when secrets roll out of control. Allison’s quest for the truth puts herself in danger along with those that try to help help her. All the secrets and lies are Raveled together and as she works to untangle them she starts to wish she never would have opened this can of worms.

Anne McAneny brings a unique writing style to this complex mystery. She has a very descriptive way of telling a story that gives readers a vivid picture of time and place. It could be a very dark tale but she drops little tidbits of humor in the dialogue and characterization that refreshes the scenes.

I enjoyed my first McAneny experience. This is an author I will be watching.

just you and a friend

4 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author
As often as possible, Anne McAneny uses her writing as an excuse not to cook dinner. Her children learned the words bland and flavorless as soon as they graduated from Cheerios, so they were thrilled when Anne decided to follow her passion and write.

Anne also got certified as a Personal Trainer recently, but is not actually training anyone in a personal manner. No dummy, however, she knows that exercise serves as a perfectly valid reason to avoid that pesky dinner thing. Anne lives in Virginia with her husband and three hungry boys, a well-fed cat, and a newly adopted puggle whose energy dwarfs hers. When she’s not at her laptop, you will find her on her bike, pounding the pavement, or eating Goobers in front of the TV—but rarely in the kitchen. To read more of Anne’s slightly askew thoughts, check out her blog at www.AnneMcAneny.blogspot.com.
Follow her on:

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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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Posted in Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Guest Posts Reviews 2013 What An Animal Reading Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Author Elizabeth Craig (Giveaway too!)

cozy wednesdayWelcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am thrilled today to welcome Elizabeth Craig to Escape With Dollycas.
Her Southern Quilting Mysteries are so much fun!

Hi Elizabeth!

ESC Head Shot (riley)Hi Everyone!

Writing the South? 

You’ve Got Heaps of Material

By Elizabeth S. Craig

Why do I pick Southern settings for my books?  Well, for one thing, it’s the only area of the world that I can write about with any degree of authority.  As a lifelong Southerner, and an observer of all the South’s fun and foibles, it’s only natural I’d pick the settings I do.

For another—let’s face it.  There’s just a lot of material to write about here.  Everyone has at least one relative who’s a little bit batty (I claim several), there are family secrets, gossip, interesting diction choices, and quite-involved traditions and customs.

In many ways, the South is very old-fashioned. Most ladies of a particular age still adhere to the no-white-shoes-after-Labor Day rule.  Even if you don’t wear pantyhose to work, you should wear it to church and funerals. And nobody wears white at weddings but the bride (wearing black at weddings is considered bad luck.)  Take down the Christmas tree by New Year’s Day or else you’re cursed with bad luck for the year.  Actually, there are a whole bunch of traditions related to luck and superstition.  Eating black-eyed peas at New Year’s is another (this is one you should do, instead of avoid.)

Am I the only one here who was threatened with charm school when I used bad manners as a child?  Children are cajoled and scolded into good behavior with plenty of ma’ams and sirs thrown in for good measure—and charm school is still around.  Except now I think they call it etiquette class or something. Which doesn’t have the same appeal, to me, somehow.

knot what it seamsSo for this new book, Knot What It Seams, I figured I’d have to include a smattering of Southern funeral tradition.  It might also be tradition where you live, and if it is, I’d love to hear it…or how your traditions differ. Although I only touched on this in the new book, most of my books include Southern funerals. They’re just so distinctive and such occasions for both grief and celebration that it’s tough to leave them out.

Funerals here in the South are occasions for food.  Food is considered an amazing balm for the troubled spirit, here.  The interesting thing is how heavy the food typically is—you’d think we’d all be a lot more health-conscious since we’ve got funerals on the brain.  But there are no antioxidant super foods to be found after Southern funerals.  There are plenty of casseroles, brought over by your neighbors, coworkers, church friends, family, and friends—thoughtfully put in throwaway containers with reheating instructions on them. My character in the new books, Meadow, mentions “a cornucopia of lovingly donated casseroles.”

And there will be ham. If you’ve lost a loved one here, the church ladies will descend upon your house with fiercely tender efficiency. They’ll organize the food, freezing some and putting others in the fridge.  After your funeral when everyone drops by your house to be fed (does this happen elsewhere, too?), the church ladies will command your kitchen for you, shooing you out gently but firmly as they create a buffet line and serve plates of food to your grieving guests.  Eventually, a party-like atmosphere may commence (particularly if the deceased was of an advanced age and the death was not an especially tragic occurrence.)  It will be the first time many have seen their cousins and great aunts for years and they can’t resist the temptation to celebrate, despite their grief. Besides, Me-maw would have celebrated, too.

What about where you live?  Have you got special customs related to weddings or funerals? What are they like?

~Elizabeth

Thank you so much Elizabeth for visiting today. Ham and church ladies run rampant here after funerals here in Wisconsin too:)

About This Author

Elizabeth’s latest book is Knot What it Seams, which released February 5. Elizabeth writes the Memphis Barbeque series for Penguin/Berkley (as Riley Adams), the Southern Quilting mysteries for Penguin/NAL, and the Myrtle Clover series for Midnight Ink and independently.
Facebook: Riley Adams Author and Elizabeth Spann Craig Author.

knot what it seams

Knot What It Seams:
A Southern Quilting Mystery

2nd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Obsidian (February 5, 2013)
Published by New American Library
A Division of The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451239617
E-Book File Size: 716 KB
ASIN: B0099CURF8

Knot What It Seams: A Southern Quilting Mystery

When former folk art curator Beatrice Coleman retired to Dappled Hills, North Carolina, for peace and quiet and quilting, she never expected that murder would disturb the peace…

Meadow Downey is on a quest to recruit new members for the Village Quilters Guild. She sets her sights on Jo Paxton, mail carrier, quilter, and judge for many of the nearby quilting contests. She is a much better quilter than mail carrier but all that mail gives her just enough information to cause trouble wherever she goes. Beatrice wonders if Jo is the right fit for the close knit Village Quilters. Before she can voice her concerns to Meadow Jo is killed in a car accident. Evidence shows that Jo’s crash was no accident – someone tampered with her vehicle. Meadow is sure someone is out to kill off the members of her guild. It is time for Beatrice to piece together some clues and pin down the killer before another quilter’s life is cut short.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Never a dull moment in Dappled Hills. Thankfully Police Chief Downey can filter his wife’s comical hysteria and has an open enough mind to listen to Beatrice’s theories. 

Beatrice has quickly made herself at home in her new town and is even learning to quilt. Meadow and Ramsey are the perfect couple. She is absolutely as crazy as the quilts she creates and always up to something. Ramsey is calm, cool and collected, and reads poetry to relax after a hard day of fighting crime. Miss Sissy is my absolute favorite character. She is off beat and unpredictable and I love her. Jo was a fabulous character as well. A true troublemaker. Too bad she had to die.

Craig’s whodunit was full of misdirection and curves with bits of humor sewn right in. There is a true Southern feel to the characters and events. More like Southern chaos instead of Southern charm. A fun and entertaining story. These are characters I can’t wait to visit again.

a perfect escape5 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!!

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 Elizabeth for 5 Bonus Entries !

Answer her question:

What about where you live?
Have you got special customs related to weddings or funerals? What are they like?

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

Contest Will End March 13, 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.”

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Posted in Cruisin Thru Cozies Reviews 2013

Review: Every Trick in the Book by Lucy Arlington

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Every Trick in the Book
(A Novel Idea Mystery)

2nd In Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (February 5, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Julia Green
Cover Design by Lesley Worrell
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425251676
E-Book File Size: 680 KB
ASIN: B0095ZMFW2

Every Trick in the Book (A Novel Idea Mystery, #2)

You have heard it said that all of us has a twin somewhere out there. What would you do if you came face to face with yours? and then they end up murdered! at an event you have helped organize!!

That’s what happens to Lila Wilkens in this second installment of the Novel Idea Mysteries. She has helped organize the Book and Author Festival and she was hoping to discover some talented new authors but she never imagined there would be one dead body and then another. Lila finds herself hunting down another killer and the clues that bring everything together are found in a very familiar place for this new literary agent. Can she catch the culprit before she is written out of the story?

Dollycas’s Thoughts
There is so much to love about this story!

A behind the scenes glimpse at book publishing from the agents point of view set in an enchanting place. Inspiration Valley, North Carolina –  sounds like a perfect escape for me. I would never want to come back. Lila’s job would delight me as well.

The author has her hands full because she is not only writing the plot and sub-plots, she also has to come up with snippets of manuscripts and proposals for stories so that Lila can do her job. She does this with a precision that makes them all blend together and flow seamlessly for the reader. A lot happens in this story but it happens so naturally that before you know it you are on the last page and sad to have the story end.

The characters are superb and Lila’s new hire could prove to very interesting in the next editions. The rest of the agents at Novel Idea Literary are starting to gel. Lila’s son Trey’s path is changing. Lila is getting settled in her cottage after a little moving day drama and her relationship with Sean, the policeman, is moving forward even as he wishes she would just stay out of his cases.

I am excited for the next story, Books, Cooks and Crooks to be released in December. I am sure Lila will find “in the soup” again and I will devour every word.

a perfect escape
5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author
Lucy Arlington is the nom de plume for the writing team of Ellery Adams and Sylvia May, two friends who collaborated on an idea that became A Novel Idea Mystery Series. Both are authors in their own right; Ellery writes cozy mysteries and Sylvia women’s fiction.

Ellery Adams currently writes the Books by the Bay Mysteries and the Charmed Pie Shoppe Mysteries. To learn more about Ellery and her books, visit her website at www.elleryadamsmysteries.com.

Sylvia May’s first novel, The Unraveling of Abby Settel, received an Honorable Mention in the 2011 Reader Views Literary Awards. To learn more about Sylvia and her novel, visit her website at www.sylviamay.com.

Find out more at http://lucyarlington.com/

I want to thank the authors and the people at Berkley Prime Crime! Escape With Dollycas Into A New Book is quoted on the Praise page for Every Trick In The Book. Thank you so much!!

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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Posted in Cruisin Thru Cozies Literary Escapes Reviews 2013

Review: Playing With Poison by Cindy Blackburn

playing with poison

Playing With Poison
A Cue Ball Mystery
First in Series
Cozy Mystery
Self Published (October 31, 2012)
Paperback: 250 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1480092686
E-Book File Size: 428 KB
ASIN: B009D99R0I

Playing With Poison

Jessie Hewitt is a pool shark that usually can run the table and knows where the balls will fall. She had no idea that a body would fall on her couch or that a cop would show up in her kitchen and accuse her of murder. How is she going to get out of this mess?

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Best first line ever: “Going bra shopping at age fifty-two gives new meaning to the phrase fallen woman,” I announced as I gazed at my reflection.

I knew I was going to like Jessie right away! She is smart and fun and I would love to hang out with her and shoot a little pool. She is also a romance novelist and her work as Adelé Nightingale is steamy but told to us readers in the most hilarious way. Her agent Louise is “fantastical”! These characters are a hoot!! and their dialogue is at times side splitting.

A good plot, a fun setting and engaging characters come together to make the a lighthearted cozy that will put a smile on your face. A very entertaining debut! I am looking forward to Double Shot and Three Odd Balls.

just you and a friend

4 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author
Cindy Blackburn has a confession to make-she does not play pool. It’s that whole eye-hand coordination thing. What Cindy does do well is school. So when she’s not writing silly stories she’s teaching serious history. European history is her favorite subject, and the ancient stuff is best of all. The deader the better! A native Vermonter who hates cold weather, Cindy divides her time between the south and the north. During the school year you’ll find her in South Carolina, but come summer she’ll be on the porch of her lakeside shack in Vermont. Cindy has a fat cat named Betty and a cute husband named John. Both are extremely lovable. When Cindy isn’t writing or grading papers, she likes to take long walks or paddle her kayak around the lake. Her favorite travel destinations are all in Europe, her favorite TV show is NCIS, her favorite color is orange, and her favorite authors (if she must choose) are Joan Hess and Spencer Quinn. Cindy dislikes vacuuming, traffic, and lima beans.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author. 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.”