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.”

Posted in What's In A Name Challenge

Review: Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews

summer rental

Summer Rental
St. Martin’s Press (June 7, 2011)
Woman’s Fiction
Hardcover: 416 pages
ISBN-10: 0312642695

Summer Rental

Sometimes, when you need a change in your life, the tide just happens to pull you in the right direction….

Ellis, Julia, and Dorie. Best friends since Catholic grade school, they now find themselves, in their mid-thirties, at the crossroads of life and love. Ellis, recently fired from a job she gave everything to, is rudderless and now beginning to question the choices she’s made over the past decade of her life. Julia—whose caustic wit covers up her wounds–has a man who loves her and is offering her the world, but she can’t hide from how deeply insecure she feels about her looks, her brains, her life.  And Dorie has just been shockingly betrayed by the man she loved and trusted the most in the world…though this is just the tip of the iceberg of her problems and secrets. A month in North Carolina’s Outer Banks is just what they each of them needs.

Ty Bazemore is their landlord, though he’s hanging on to the rambling old beach house by a thin thread. After an inauspicious first meeting with Ellis, the two find themselves disturbingly attracted to one another, even as Ty is about to lose everything he’s ever cared about.

Maryn Shackleford is a stranger, and a woman on the run. Maryn needs just a few things in life: no questions, a good hiding place, and a new identity.  Ellis, Julia, and Dorie can provide what Maryn wants; can they also provide what she needs?

Five people questioning everything they ever thought they knew about life. Five people on a journey that will uncover their secrets and point them on the path to forgiveness. Five people who each need a sea change, and one month in a summer rental that might just give it to them.*

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Reading this book in December warmed me right up. While pretty predictable it is well written with engaging characters set in one of my favorite places in the United States.

The surprise element was the addition of Maryn. At first she really didn’t fit in with the story but Andrews made it work. Like the rest of the woman she was at a crossroads in her life – a dangerous one. Since I usually read mysteries I enjoyed this character being inserted into the group of life long friends.

Friendship, romance, humor with a bit of mystery makes this an entertaining beach read at any time of year. You really can’t go wrong with a Mary Kay Andrews novel.

just you and a friend

4 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Mary Kay Andrews is the New York Times bestselling author of The Fixer Upper, Deep Dish, Blue Christmas, Savannah Breeze, Hissy Fit, Little Bitty Lies, and Savannah Blues.  A former journalist for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, she lives in Atlanta, Georgia.  Visit www.marykayandrews.com//

Amazon.com Widgets

* Synopsis from Amazon.com
This book was from my private collection.
WIN5

Posted in Reviews 2012

Review: Emilie’s Christmas Love by Jim and Joyce Lavene

emilie christmas love

Emilie’s Christmas Love
Contemporary Romance
E-Book Self Published
File Size: 399 KB
ASIN: B00A6VHADI

Emilie and her aunt live in a huge house and have plenty of money. She is a teacher that works with at-risk youth. The one thing Emilie wants more than anything is to adopt a child. But it is so hard for a single woman to adopt. She thought her dreams were about to come true but yet again she is denied because the person giving the child up will only allow a two parent household to adopt the child.

Nick is a mechanic and he has taken in his niece and nephew after his sister’s tragic death. He promised her he would give her children the one thing she and Nick didn’t have: two parents.

Nick and Emilie meet when he tows her car. She soon learns that he is the man offering the little girl for adoption. He doesn’t know she is the rich woman wanting to adopt his niece. When she finds out they need a place to stay over the holidays she invites them to stay with her. She hopes to convince him she is the perfect person to adopt his niece and his nephew as well.

Neither of them expected what happened next.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Cozy mystery authors Jim and Joyce Lavene bring us a wonderful Christmas love story.

Emilie’s heart had been broken before by a man who couldn’t deal with her disability. She just was so afraid to open herself up to that kind of pain again. She knew she could make a good home for a child on her own and that was what she planned to do. Then Nick entered her life and as she tried to prove to him she didn’t need a man in her life they just kept getting closer and closer. It was so easy to connect with these characters.

The Lavene’s have written a captivating love story that will pull at your heartstrings. It unfolds at a perfect pace with the expected misunderstandings and drama but there is humor and more depth than usually found in romance novel today. Emilie’s work just with Adam – striving to get to the bottom of his behavior. She is a very special teacher. 

If you are looking for a book to curl up with this holiday season this is one I highly recommend!

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Amazon.com Widgets

This book was from my personal collection.

Posted in Giveaways Reviews 2012

Review: The Buzzard Table by Margaret Maron (Giveaway too!)

The Buzzard Table
(A Deborah Knott Mystery)

18th in Series
Mystery
Grand Central Publishing (November 20, 2012)
Hachette Book Group
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0446555821

The Buzzard Table

Maron’s two series’ collide again just like they did in Three-Day Town, the last book in this series. This time New York police detective Sigrid Harald travels to Cotton Grove with her award-winning photographer mother, Anne Lattimore Harald, to visit Sigrid’s ailing grandmother. They get together with Judge Deborah Knot and her husband, Sheriff’s Deputy Dwight Bryant for dinner at Mrs. Lattimore’s Victorian home. This is where they meet Mrs. Lattimore’s long lost nephew, Martin Crawford, an ornithologist researching a book on Southern vultures. Anne is charmed by her newly found cousin but something makes her believe they have met before.

When a string of suspicious murders hit the county Deborah, Dwight, and Sigrid once again work together to catch a killer, uncovering long-buried family secrets along the way.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I am a long time fan of Margaret Maron. She plots a mystery masterfully. She keeps the reader engaged from the first word until the last. I love the way she has blended both of her protagonists in these last two stories.

These characters are still fresh and evolving even as we finish this 18th book. Dwight has some things in his past that he has not shared with Deborah that will see the light of day in future editions and in this story had him facing some tough decisions. Deborah’s relationship with Cal took a turn that made this reader actually shed a tear. Sigrid’s connection to Colleton County gives her reason to visit and help Dwight and Deborah in the future now that her series has ended. Cameo or surprised appearances are always nice.

The buzzard theme was a little strange at first and I probably learned much more about turkey vultures than I ever wanted to, but true to Maron’s style she brings it all together in a way her readers will love.

This book could be read as a stand alone but this series is best when you start at the beginning. Deborah has a huge family and without the background from previous novels it can be hard to keep them all straight. You will also see the way family is really the tie that binds all of these wonderful books together.

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Check out Margaret Maron’s website to find out more about this wonderful author here.

The publisher sent me a digital copy of The Buzzard Table so I am unable to give my review copy away but I am giving away my gently read hardcover copy of

U.S. and CANADIAN RESIDENTS
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something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

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

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Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

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

Posted in Reviews 2012

Review: Written In Stone by Ellery Adams

2012 contempoary cozy

Written in Stone
(A Books by the Bay Mystery)

4th in Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (November 6, 2012)
A Division of The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425251737
Cover Illustration by Kimberly Schamber
Cover Design by Rita Frangie

Written in Stone (A Books by the Bay, #4)

Olivia Limoges has been summoned to see Munin Cooper, known as the witch of Oyster Bay. Munin tells Olivia that death is coming. Neither woman realized that is was Munin’s death that was imminent. When her body is found Olivia instincts tell her there is something more sinister than a mystical force at work.

Finding Munin’s killer takes top priority for Olivia even though she needs to be getting ready for the Coastal Carolina Food Festival. Munin had given Olivia a memory jar that she had made and Olivia knows that if she can just figure out what the keepsakes mean she will be able to identify the killer. She enlists the help of the Bayside Book Writers to help her solve the pottery puzzle and help her to catch the culprit before he claims another victim.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Ellery Adams just keeps topping herself. Each book is better than the last. This is definitely one of the best books I have read this year.

One of the mysteries of this series has been the star character herself and we are finally really getting into the heart of her life in this installment. Plus the character is evolving and moving forward in the most wonderful ways.

In this story we also learn about the Lumbee Indian Tribe. The Lumbee are one of eight state-recognized Native American tribes in North Carolina. The author took the history of this tribe and wove it right into Olivia’s world. I really love the way she does this because added to the enjoyment of the story we get a little education as well. The memory jug with the keepsake clues added that additional element every great mystery needs. The puzzle to figure out, not just trying to pick up clues from what the characters say or remembering something at at that climatic moment.

To fully appreciate this story it is necessary to read all of the books in order. Only then can the reader enjoy the growth of all the characters.

Kudos Ellery!!! Bring on Poisoned Prose!! I can’t wait!!

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

To find out more about Ellery Adams visit her webpage here.

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

Posted in Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Guest Posts Reviews 2012

Cozy Wednesday with Author Casey Mayes (Giveaway too!)

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

Today I get to welcome back one of my favorite guests. It is always a treat when he or one of his alter egos stops by for a visit. Today he is sharing some surprising information about this wonderful series. The life of an author is never dull. I will let him tell you all about it. 

Hi Casey!

Hi Everyone!

Talking about A Grid for Murder by Casey Mayes (aka Tim Myers)

It might interest you to know that A Grid for Murder( along with its predecessors, A Deadly Row and A Killer Column, in the puzzle mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime) began life as a very different thing entirely.  The series itself was originally based on a brand new popular puzzle-making technique, with my plots woven directly into my own puzzles and their included solutions, structured in a very specific way to mesh puzzle with mystery.

And then, out of nowhere, a mere handful of months before the first book in the series was set to be released, my publisher received a letter from the puzzle’s creator, demanding that we ‘cease and desist’ from publishing the entire mystery series!  I was understandably troubled by the news, since I’d even learned how to create the puzzles myself, and had included several in each book.

There was no time for disappointment, though.  I had to come up with an entirely new theme for the series, create new puzzles of my very own, and restructure three novels that had already been written, all in a very limited amount of time!

After much toil at the computer and more than a few sleepless nights, I finally had something I was proud of to replace my former submissions.  It was interesting to me, in retrospect, that the reworking of the stories gave me new opportunities to choose other directions for the novels to take than I had picked before, and I did my best to restructure them in a way that seemed fresh and alive.  They were accepted, each in their own right, and published right on schedule.  Looking back now, the roadblock wasn’t quite as dire as I’d originally believed, and I feel the books are , in their own way, stronger than they were before.

There are a few interesting things about this book in particular.  I chose Asheville as a setting for this novel in order to revisit a city I love that’s close enough to be an easy drive from where I currently live.  It didn’t hurt that I had family nearby as well.  The site of the murder occurs in a restaurant near Pack Square downtown, and the obelisk shown in the background of the cover is a monument dedicated to former NC Governor Zebulon Vance.

This series itself offered several firsts for me.  It was the first time I chose real places for my books (Charlotte, Raleigh, and Asheville NC) which was quite a challenge, and I blended cozy with police procedural, with Savannah creating her puzzles, and her husband, Zach, a former cop, solving crime right alongside her.  I also added several subplots to each of the books to add some depth, and tried to make each ending a bit more suspenseful than is my norm.  I hope my readers have enjoyed this foray into a different style of storytelling.  I know I have!

Finally, I added a succinct section at the end of each of Savannah’s puzzles called snippets.  They offer a brief glimpse of how she views the world, and they were some of the most enjoyable things I’ve ever written.

~Casey

It is so interesting to know the stories behind the stories. This series has been quite an adventure for the author and wonderful escapes for the readers. Casey/Tim you know the door id always open! I hope you will come back again soon!!!

p.s.  Savannah’s snippet in this edition touched my heart. Unbelievable how perfect it was for something my family is struggling with right now.

About This Author

Tim Myers has been writing mysteries since 1992. He is the Agatha Award nominated author of over 30 novels with Penguin/Berkley/Prime Crime, Penguin/NAL/Signet, St Martin’s Press/Minotaur, and Kensington. He is a New York Times bestselling author under one of his pseudonyms, and ten of his novels have been IMBA National Bestsellers, landing as high as #2. Tim has written under his own name, as well as Elizabeth Bright, Chris Cavender, Casey Mayes, and others.

His first story, My Late Aunt Hattie, was an 800 word short-short that combined elements of comedy, mystery, and the supernatural. It was published in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and went on to be included in The Haunted Hour anthology. The author has also had stories included in the Mystery Writers of America Anthology A Hot and Sultry Night for Crime, as well as the hardcover anthology Murder Most Crafty. He is also the author of over 80 short stories, and has been nominated three times for the Derringer Award for Excellence is short mystery fiction.

For more information on Tim, please visit www.timmyers.net

A Grid for Murder
(A Mystery by the Numbers)

3rd Book in Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (October 2, 2012)
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425251645
Cover Illustration by Sawsan Chalabi
Cover Design by Rita Frangie

A Grid for Murder

Savannah Stone makes her living creating puzzles for logic lovers but her life hardly follows a logical course. Who could have dreamed that Joanne Clayton would get a job for a local newspapers creating puzzles? A newspaper that has repeatedly turned down Savannah’s work. Joanna Clayton knows nothing about making puzzles, all she knows how to do is spread gossip. There is no way this makes any sense but Savannah heard it directly from Joanne herself. Right there at the Cafe Noir. Savannah just wanted to have a little lunch alone, by herself, but Joanne barreled right up and sat right down at her table and took complete joy in telling Savannah her news. Thankfully a phone call from her husband Zach allowed her to make a hasty but graceful exit.

The real bad news arrived later when Zach calls Savannah to tell her Joanne is dead. She had been poisoned. Retired police chief Zach has been asked to assist in the investigation. Will the police think “puzzle envy” is a strong enough motive for murder? Savannah decides to do a little assisting in the investigation herself to find out which of Joanne’s many enemies may have wanted to get rid of the prospective puzzle maker permanently.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I love the dynamic duo of Zach and Savannah. Think cozy mystery with a bit of police procedural added to the mix. While Zach follows the clues with Captain North, Savannah tries to logically sort through the facts and rumor. Together they seem to come to the correct solution albeit just not at the time. Savannah is a woman who will follow the lead, put herself in danger and scare her husband to death. These two even add to my gray hair and I love it. 

This third Mystery By The Numbers has the twists and the turns, a little southern charm and humor, fantastic characters in a beautiful setting, but it may have you rethinking that tea you love to drink. 🙂 


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 Casey for 5 Bonus Entries !

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

Contest Will End October 31, 2012 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

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

Posted in Just For Fun Challenge Reviews 2012

Review: Swapping Paint by Joyce and Jim Lavene

Swapping Paint
(Stock Car Racing Mysteries)

Book 1
Published by Midnight Ink (May 7, 2007)
An Imprint of Llewellyn Publications
Cover Design by Kevin R. Brown
288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738710204

Swapping Paint

Glad Wycznewski lives for three things: NASCAR, cold beer and his passionate wife Ruby. Glad is a retired cop from Chicago and Ruby has left her job as a beautician so that they can follow the racing circuit in their RV. The newlyweds, married last year at the racetrack in Somona, have just arrived in North Carolina for the Coca-Cola 600. The track is just down the road from Ruby’s hometown.They are excited because Ruby’s brother, Bobby, a rookie driver, may be one of the lucky 43 racing in the 600.

The race week excitement hits the wall when another rookie driver is found dead and Bobby becomes the number one suspect. Glad wants to stay out of the locals way but Ruby has other ideas. She is determined to track down the real killer. They throw caution to the wind and shift their investigation into overdrive so they can put the murderer behind bars before the checkered flag waves.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I am a huge NASCAR fan and this series had been on my wish list for way too long. There was no Cup race last Sunday so I spent my time reading this book instead of watching a race. I loved this book and it is going on my keeper shelf.

Glad and Ruby make an awesome team. Ruby is sassy, stubborn and her mouth has no filter. These traits can all mean trouble when investigating a murder. Thankfully Glad is smart with wonderful detective skills and very patient. They are perfectly suited for each other even if they are a generation apart in age. They clearly adore each other and their dialogue is funny and natural.

Other than the main characters I would have to say Ruby’s dad, Zeke, was my favorite character in this story. Zeke’s only love besides his family is fast cars. He has worked for almost every race car driver in the business. That was until he broke his back 5 years ago. He is now confined to a wheelchair and doesn’t even go to the races anymore. Like me he is worried about how people will treat him in his disabled state. I hope he realizes like I did that the those that care about you, won’t care about the chair, and those that treat you differently weren’t your friends in the first place. I really identified with this character.

Jim and Joyce Lavene are wonderful writers. This is just one of their mystery series. I have enjoyed everything I have read that they have written and plan to read them all. I hope you will join me! Their current mystery series’ are the Missing Pieces Mysteries and the Renaissance Faire Mysteries. Both series have new installments coming soon.

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About These Authors

Jim and Joyce will be Guest Posting Here on September 19!!

Check out the webpage for a complete list of books here.

Like them on Facebook here.

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

Posted in Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Reviews 2012

Review: Quilt or Innocence by Elizabeth Craig

Quilt or Innocence
A Southern Quilting Mystery

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

Available Now!

Quilt or Innocence: A Southern Quilting Mystery


Beatrice Coleman has retired and moved to Dappled Hills, North Carolina to be close to her daughter. She had worked as a folk art curator and knows everything there is to know about valuing and displaying quilts. But she has never made a quilt herself and never really planned on ever making one.

Quilting is a big thing in Dappled Hills, in fact Beatrice’s new home is right next to the Village Quilters guild president Meadow Downey. Meadow insists Beatrice join the guild. She doesn’t even have time to get settled before Meadow is dragging her to a guild meeting. It is there that she meets Posy, the owner of Posy’s Patchwork Cottage and learns about Judith, the landlord everyone loves to hate. She wants to raise Posy’s rent and if Posy does want to pay she will just find a new tenant.

When Judith is found dead there certainly isn’t a shortage of suspects. Beatrice may be able to use her fine attention to detail to help figure out who killed Judith. Hopefully before someone else gets pinned permanently.

Dollycas Thoughts
Quilters are passionate people, extremely passionate about quilting and they want to share their joys with everyone. I know because before my accident I was a very passionate quilter. I loved going shopping for fabric. I love the smell of a fabric store and rubbing the material between my fingers. Finding the perfect combination of fabrics and deciding on the pattern. The creative part, the construction, the quilting and completing the project can give you a personal high. It’s addictive. I understand completely.

That’s why I actually felt sorry for Beatrice. She was ambushed by a group of crazy quilters who expected just because she knew about quilts she would want to make not just one but many quilts. They pushed and pushed, trying to get her to be just like them. They expected her to make a block for a group quilt when she had never picked up a needle. They thought she would be bored unless she was involved in everything happening around town. I found myself really not liking these characters through most of the story. I wanted to jump into the pages and defend Beatrice. Slow down, she hasn’t even finished unpacking.

As the story evolved there was one character that saved the entire story for me. Yes, she is quirky, opinionated and she will definitely keep you guessing whether she is all there or not, but circumstances threw her and Beatrice together and she took the time to get to know Beatrice and let Beatrice do things in her own time frame.

The who-dun-it played out really well as Beatrice used her analytical skills to see things in strangers that long time residents completely missed. It’s always those little things that trip a criminal up. Beatrice was on the spot to blow the whistle on the murderer.

I am looking forward to the next book in the series and getting to know the characters and Dappled Hills better. Hopefully Beatrice will be more settled before the next tragedy strikes and she has had a little time to adjust to her new life. Dappled Hills may be small but with this cast of characters I am sure it will never be boring.

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 (2012) for Penguin/NAL, and the Myrtle Clover series for Midnight Ink. She blogs daily at Mystery Writing is Murder, which was named by Writer’s Digest as one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers for 2010, 2011, and 2012.

Elizabeth is active in the online writing community. She shares writing-related links on Twitter as @elizabethscraig and posts on craft and the publishing industry on her blog, Mystery Writing is Murder.

She and Mike Fleming of Hiveword also manage the Writer’s Knowledge Base–a free search engine to help writers find resources. As the mother of two, Elizabeth writes on the run as she juggles volunteering, referees play dates, drives carpools, and is dragged along as a hostage/chaperone on field trips.

You can find out more about Elizabeth and her books here.

 

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

Posted in Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Guest Posts Reviews 2012

Cozy Wednesday With Author Julie Hyzy (Giveaway too!)

Welcome To Cozy Wednesday!

It’s been about a year since Julie stopped by for a visit and then it was over at Dollycas’s Thoughts. I am thrilled to welcome here today. I love the way she writes! Whether it be Ollie at The White House or Grace at Marshfield Manor, I am always excited when a new book comes out. Those ladies always have a unique way of getting right in the middle of the mayhem.  

It’s a little hot and sticky in the Midwest today so help yourself to a glass of ice cold lemonade and pull up a chair as we visit with Julie today.

Hi Julie!!

Hi Everyone! I am happy to be here.

My love affair with Marshall Field’s

By Julie Hyzy

From time I was very little, I’ve loved Marshall Field’s. The flagship State Street department store in Chicago loomed large in my life especially around Christmas when my mother would take me and my little brother there to visit Santa, marvel at the decorated (and animated) windows, and stroll through the toy store.  We didn’t eat under the enormous Christmas tree in the Walnut Room back then, mostly because such a luxury was out of my parents’ reach at that point. Honestly, my brother and I never thought twice about it. We got to see the sparkling tree through the windows in the floor above the restaurant, and really—what more did we need?

When I started college at Loyola University I got a part time job at a bank on State and Wacker after classes each day—just about a block away from Field’s. That job turned into summer employment and an eventual full time position after graduation. I spent almost every lunch hour at Marshall Field’s. I loved that store and grew to know it very, very well. From the cosmetics and fragrances on the first floor, through the furniture high on eight and nine, I had the place memorized. Back then I had an aunt who worked in the candy kitchen making delicious Frango Mints. She invited me to come up to the very top floors to visit—and to watch the chocolates being created—and it was my first time up in the off-limits areas of the massive store. It’s an experience I’ll never forget.

When my husband and I got engaged, we registered at Field’s. There was no other serious contender to my mind. When our daughters  were born—and then old enough­—we took them to Field’s at Christmastime, thus bringing traditions full circle. And trips into the city weren’t complete without lunch in The English Room, a loving gaze up at the Tiffany ceiling, and a purchase of Frango Mints to enjoy on the ride home.

Things change. We all know that. And as much as I like Macy’s in New York, I sincerely wish it had remained there. It’s a great destination—a real jewel of the city. But it belongs in New York. Not in Chicago, and not in our former flagship store. Marshall Field’s was taken over by Macy’s in 2005 and the State Street store was renamed in 2006. Some good news: The brass nameplate on the State Street store’s building is considered an historic landmark. It can’t be removed. That’s something. And the iconic Marshall Field clocks on the building’s corners are still there. Also good. But the store, as we all knew and loved it, is gone.

Why am I telling you all this today—and what does it have to do with my newest Manor House Mystery, Grace Among Thieves?

Well, if you’ve read any of the books so far, you know that Grace’s boss is Bennett Marshfield—of Marshfield Manor. Yep, I named the estate in honor of my beloved store, in gratitude for all the wonderful memories it’s provided to me and my family over the years.

 

When you read Grace Under Pressure, Grace Interrupted,or the new Grace Among Thieves, you can feel how much Marshfield means to Grace. I drew on my own deep love for Marshall Field’s to write that part of the story. Although the mansion doesn’t resemble the store in the least, the feel is the same. There’s so much to explore, so much to experience. History and mystery. In abundance.

I know that the store is gone, but the happiness it brought me lives on. And, in my own small way, I’m hoping to keep the memory alive, not just for myself but for everyone who still misses our beloved Marshall Field’s.

I hope you’ll come visit my Marshfield Manor. Come for the tour… stay for the murder!

Website page with Marshall Field Clock
http://www.juliehyzy.com/ebooks.html

~Julie

Thank you so much Julie for sharing that wonderful story!

All About Julie*
Julie Hyzy is the New York Times bestselling author of the White House Chef Mysteries and the Manor House Mysteries. She won the Barry and Anthony Awards for Best Paperback Original for State of the Onion in 2009, and the Lovey, the Derringer, and the Phobos awards for her novels and short stories. Her first Manor House Mystery, Grace Under Pressure, earned a Starred Review from Publishers Weekly. Julie loves to read, eat out, and watch old movies and TV shows with her husband and three daughters.

 

Grace Among Thieves

Grace Among Thieves
(A Manor House Mystery)

3rd in Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group

Cover Illustration by Kimberly Schamber
Cover Design by Rita Frangie

 

Grace has her hands full. There is film crew making a souvenir movie of Marshfield Manor and the owner’s stepdaughter has dropped by for an unexpected visit. The last thing she needs is the news she received from former professor. Apparently historic places like Marshfield Manor are being targeted by thieves. She is confident in their security team until a guest is murdered and another one shot. There is just not enough manpower to spread around.

Grace has reason to believe the killer and thieves are lurking about. The two things may even be connected. She will do anything for Marsheild Manor and its owner even if it means putting herself in danger.  Grace my just find herself armed and dangerous.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
I couldn’t wait to read this story. I have become invested in the people at Marshfield Manor. Grace, Frances, Bennett and even Hillary. They is never a dull moment when she is around.

Grace again gets involved in all the drama with all the best intentions. Frances tries to keep everyone in line and Bennett watches over everyone.

The author reeled me in with this one and had me hook, line and sinker. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. So much excitement and suspense I forgot it was a cozy!

Julie Hyzy writes wonderful stories and each one is better than the last. If you were waiting for this one like me you will really enjoy it. If this is a new author for you start at the beginning, read them in order, and enjoy. I can’t wait to she what kind of trouble Grace gets into next!!


Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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

Thanks to the people at Berkley Prime Crime
I have 2 copies to giveaway!!

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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.”

*From Amazon.com

Posted in Literary Escapes Reviews 2012

Buried in a Book by Lucy Arlington

Buried in a Book (A Novel Idea Mystery)
Brand New Series!!

The Berkley Publishing Group
Publish by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Julia Green
Cover Design by Lesley Worrell
Release Date: February 7, 2012

Meet Lila Wilkens, former newspaper journalist and the newest employee of A Novel Idea. She is a 45 year old intern, but she not only accepts the position because she really needs the job, but also because it is a thriving business in the Utopian town of Inspiration Valley, North Carolina.  Lily is an avid reader and can imagine no job better than getting paid to read.

Her first day is quite eventful as she meets her eccentric coworkers, receives a huge stack of query letters to review, and is assigned an extremely small desk. Of course none of that compares to finding a dead body in the waiting room. Even more amazing is that none of her new coworkers seem the least bit concerned that a man died in their office. Most of them just continue on with their day leaving Lila to handle the aftermath including the police.

The journalist in Lila can’t believe that this man died at A Novel Idea randomly so using skills from her previous job she is determined who killed this man and why.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
First things first, I want Lila’s job, I wouldn’t even mind dealing with the dead body. Being paid to read story ideas and novels would be absolutely awesome. Doing it in a place like Inspiration Valley would be caramel on top of my latte!

Lucy Arlington has a winner with this debut. Readers will love to read about the beginning of the publishing process with a murder or two wrapped in a great mystery. The setting is a place everyone will want to visit, from the coffee cafe to the sandwich shoppe. I want to jump right into the cover of the book and tool around the cobblestone streets on my bright yellow scooter.

Lila is quick to make friends, some friendlier than others, her mother is has a unique gift, her son Trey needs a little redirection that the changes in Lila’s life will help create.  We are just starting to get to know all the characters and I am very anxious to see where the author takes them.

A first-rate whodunit all cozy fans will enjoy!!

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.”