Posted in 2021 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Chili to Die For (A Willow Crier Cozy Mystery) by Lilly York

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


Chili to Die For (A Willow Crier Cozy Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Oklahoma
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Wide Awake Books (November 18, 2015)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 152 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0692583289
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0692583289
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0186KVBIK

A northerner by birth…

Willow moves south when she inherits her grandfather’s ice cream shop.

From the slow southern dialect to the crazy drivers, Willow finds herself at odds with what most call “southern charm.” She becomes obsessed with cook-offs and bake-offs, wanting those trophies for her mantle. With the chili cook-off just around the corner, Willow manages to provoke one of the judges to a fit of road rage.

When that judge ends up face down, dead, in a bowl of Willow’s chili, police chief Grice looks to the newest town resident as his number one suspect. Willow must find out who wanted Ms. Delonda Posey dead before the good citizens of Turtle, OK run her Yankee bottom out of town.

*Contains NO swearing, sex scenes (maybe a kiss or two), or graphic violence

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I purchased this book because it was set in Oklahoma, a state I needed to fill for my Literary Escapes Challenge.

Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plain, and Willow Crier comes when she inherits her grandfather’s ice cream shop. She also enters cook-offs with a pure drive to win. But the latest chili cook-off comes with a huge hitch. Willow has met one of the judges and that meeting did not end well. When that judge falls dead face down in Willows chili she becomes the police chief’s prime suspect. She becomes close to the chief as she strives to find more viable suspects.


I did not like the way this story began. No introduction, readers just drop in with Willow in an argument with another driver that quickly escalates and is recorded by others and appears on social media. Willow is not alone in her vehicle, a woman who we later learn is her daughter is also a witness to this bit of road rage. This intro leads up to an event in chapter two. Maybe had I had access to the prequel before I read this story instead of after I would have known the main players. I do blame the novella-length for the author not providing a better introduction of her protagonist.

Also due to the shorter length, Willow is quickly cleared of any wrong doing to set up a very friendly relationship with the police chief. We do get to know the characters a little better but I would have appreciated more of a backstory for Willow. There are also several other characters we get to meet as Willow ferrets out the real killer but not to the depth I would like.

What I really liked about this story was the relationship that was built between the Turtle police chief Steve Grier and Willow. He decided she needed a watch dog and knew just where to get her the perfect puppy and it also opened a way for her to meet more of his family. Then together they worked on finding the killer. It turns out the victim has plenty of enemies but I did tag someone quickly for the crime.

This book sorely needed better character development and the mystery was an easy solve but this series does show some promise. I do want to get to know these characters and see where Ms. York takes them.

Chili to Die For was a Satisfactory Excursion. The author did write 6 books in this series so I hope she adjusted to the novella length and provides more details about her characters and stronger mysteries.

 

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Lilly York? How about Lilly Belle; a mis-plant northerner, living in a southern world. Southern charm is lost among late nights with a two-year-old granddaughter, heat flashes competing with hell, copious re-runs of Murder She Wrote with Jessica Fletcher catching the bad guy and a vivid imagination keeping insanity at bay.

In both humor and mystery, Lilly draws inspiration from terrible twos, a 24-year-old daughter who questions her sanity, a son who constantly spews bad puns, and a husband who has selective hearing. Though, that’s perfectly alright with her, because what can you love more than a good laugh and a family so dysfunctional they almost seem functional?

Website

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Posted in E-Book Challenge Giveaways Literary Escapes Reviews 2019 You Read How Many Books Challenge

18 Redbud Lane: Six Generations Build a Legacy of Faith on the Oklahoma Prairie #Review / #Giveaway

When I grabbed this book to fill the Oklahoma spot on my Literary Escapes Challenge I thought it was released last year and eligible for Flashback Friday. On Sunday I realized that was not the case 😥 So I will be skipping Flashback Friday this week.


18 Redbud Lane: Six Generations Build a Legacy of Faith on the Oklahoma Prairie
by Kat Lewis, Vickie McDonough, Shannon Pearson, T.J. Radle, Alanna Rodriguez, Kathryn Spurgeon, and Darlene Franklin
Christian Historical Fiction
Setting – Oklahoma
Independently published (March 7, 2019)
Paperback: 162 pages
ISBN-10: 1798920751
ISBN-13: 978-1798920756
Kindle ASIN: B07PQVPG14

From the dusty chaos of the land run to the present day, these are the tales of loves and legends of people who lived in a small house in Guthrie, Oklahoma. Oh, the stories these walls can tell. . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

18 Redbud Lane takes readers to Guthrie, Oklahoma as we read about multiple generations of a family that made their home there starting in 1889.

Racing for His Dream by Vickie McDonough – tells the story of Reece Redding staking his claim on land for his home and hardware store. 1889 – 1907

The Mail Carrier by Kathryn Spurgeon  – The Redding family story continues with Alice and her dreams. 1935 – 1942

The Choice to Love by Shannon D. Pearson – Robin Redding cuts hair in her parent’s shop but is struggling with the loss of her true love in the war. This one really tugged at my heartstrings, 1946

Nebulous Affairs by Kat Lewis – Stella Redding’s exciting story. 1968 – 1975

Pins ‘n Nails by Shannon D. Pearson and Alanna Radle Rodriguez – Naomi Redding is in the family building with her historical sewing business and just when her dream is about to be realized a monkey wrench is thrown into the works. 1983 – 1985

New Beginnings by Alanna Radle Rodriguez – Naomi’s daughter Cassie gets horrific news that changes her life. This one tugged at my heartstrings too. 2004 – 2007

All the stories are Christian based and feature strong characters facing grueling times. I really enjoyed that one story built from the last and the connection the kept the stories grounded. That being said each author put their own twist on their story and their different styles are evident. Combined together the book is novella length which makes a nice little afternoon escape.

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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.”

Posted in Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes Reviews 2018 TBR Pile Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#Review / #Giveaway – Gone with the Wings (Meera Patel Cozy Mystery Series) by Leena Clover

On FlashbackFridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.
I snapped this book up last year when I saw it took place in Oklahoma. A hard state for me to fill on my Literary Escapes Challenge.

Gone with the Wings (Meera Patel Cozy Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting -Oklahoma
Self Published (June 7, 2017)
Paperback: 269 pages
ISBN-10: 1521448981
ISBN-13: 978-1521448984
Kindle ASIN: B071WHNM6K

Murder strikes a sleepy college town!

Meera Patel has not lived up to her potential. She’s back home after dropping out of grad school. She dishes up spicy food at the local diner and picks fights. Then her old nemesis Prudence Walker turns up dead in the school pond. Meera is accused of murder!

Things get worse for Meera when a new student goes missing. Can Meera convince the incompetent local cops that she is innocent?

Fall in Oklahoma has never been so exciting!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

In this story, we meet Meera Patel and her family. They are a very close family of Asian Indian descent and we see quickly how important their culture is to them. The story takes place in a small college town in Oklahoma. Meera works at the college library and her father is a professor there. His assistant is Prudence Walker, also a professor, and she has a huge crush on the man and that makes Meera positively livid. In fact, they have a huge argument in the stairway of her father’s building. So when Prudence ends up dead, Meera becomes the prime suspect. Then a student from India goes missing right after Meera has words with her and the police believe Meera is responsible for that as well. Meera wants to clear her name but her family believes she needs to leave things to the police. Of course, she does do a little investigating on her own, and that’s a good thing.

I like Meera, her family, and her friends and I really want to know more about them. But I think this book is a prime example of the 1st book in the series “itus” where you have to introduce all the characters, try to engage the reader and give us a great mystery too. This story reads more like Woman’s Fiction with a murder happening on the side. We meet the family and how they all connect, but there are a lot of details left for future books. One thing I quickly learned is this family loves to eat. All the food described sounds wonderful and there are recipes in the back of the book. However, the mystery definitely is playing second fiddle to the family part of the story.

As far as the missing person part of the mystery, Meera really does try to find the girl, which was not an easy task, but in the end, I was underwhelmed by this part of the plot. The conclusion, while plausible, doesn’t fit with the student we met in this story.

I didn’t like the way the murder part of the mystery evolved either. The police officer was a family friend, dating the deceased and decided Meera was guilty immediately.  His harassment of Meera was very uncomfortable and he should have been removed from the case. The way it wrapped up just didn’t feel right to me, it was a stretch to believe.

I did enjoy learning more about Indian culture and the food.

The authors writing style is unique, it really needs some editing to tighten it up. I hope I am right and that the mystery will be more primary in book 2 because I would like to visit this family again.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about Leena Clover and her books HERE.

I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy.

Sent directly from Amazon,

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Easy Entry 

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and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Posted in Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Spotlights

#Spotlight / #Giveaway – Gone with the Wings (Meera Patel Cozy Mystery Series) by Leena Clover – Great Escapes Book Tour

Gone with the Wings (Meera Patel Cozy Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Self Published
Publication Date: June 3, 2017
Paperback: 269 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1521448984
E-Book ASIN: B071WHNM6K

Author Leena Clover announces a brand new cozy mystery series set in a small Oklahoma college town. Mystery readers will enjoy this culinary cozy murder mystery featuring plenty of yummy recipes like Masala Fried Chicken and Shish Kabob Blue Plate Special.

Meera Patel is back home with the family after she dropped out of graduate school. Now she shelves books for a living and rustles up fusion recipes at Sylvie’s Cafe & Diner. Everything is fine until her old nemesis Prudence Walker floats up in the local pond. Meera is accused of murder! Well, she did publicly declare Prudence would drop dead.

Meera cries foul and screams police harassment. But she has no defense when she is accused of a second crime. Flanked by pals Tony and Becky, Meera puts in the leg work, trying to solve clues and discard red herrings.

Fall in Oklahoma has never been more exciting.

Cozy mystery fans will love this new mystery series featuring an Asian American amateur sleuth. There is a full cast of characters with a professor father, young sibling, old grandparents, loyal friends and a candid glimpse into South Asian culture.

Praise for Gone with the Wings (Meera Patel Cozy Mystery Series)
by Leena Clover

If you could smell the story inside books, you would be able to smell “Gone with the Wings” from across the bookstore when you walked in. And it would make you very hungry! Meera’s family dynamics are centered in the kitchen, and the author does a fantastic job of setting a plate for the reader and making them one of the group.
~Student of Opinions

Meera Patell and her pals are entertaining and provide the reader with a look into a loving and close knit family…Gone With The Wings was a fun introduction to a new series.
~My Reading Journeys

This book had some good twists and turns…and it has a great story line.
~Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting

About The Author

Leena Clover is the author of the brand new Meera Patel Cozy Mystery Series, starring a 20 something Desi girl as the protagonist. The series is set in a small Oklahoma college town Meera calls home.

Leena Clover offers plenty of clues for her readers so that they can solve the mystery as they read along. Readers can expect a unique look into Indian/ South Asian culture and plenty of yummy recipes.

Author Links

Twitter Facebook  Goodreads

Purchase Link:

Amazon

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

September 18 – Student of Opinions – REVIEW
September 19 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW
September 19 – Readsalot – GUEST POST
September 20 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
September 20 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW
September 21 – Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting – REVIEW
September 21 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT  
September 22 – Cozy Up With Kathy – INTERVIEW
September 22 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
September 23 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
September 23 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT
September 24 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
September 25 – Book Babble – REVIEW
September 25 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
September 26 – Laura’s Interests – SPOTLIGHT
September 26 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST
September 27 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW
September 27 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

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Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent
Posted in Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Literary Escapes Reviews 2016

Review/ Guest Post/ #Giveaway – Gunfight at Grace Gulch by Darlene Franklin – Great Escapes Book Tour

grace gulch large banner640

Gunfight at Grace Gulch
by Darlene Franklin

 

gunfight
Gunfight at Grace Gulch
(Christian Cozy Mystery)
(A Dressed For Death Mystery Book 1)

Forget Me Not Romances
A Division of Winged Publications (February 28, 2015)
Paperback: 216 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1508946991
E-Book B00U4XPROW
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

Synopsis

The feud between the Graces and the Gaynors is still going strong more than a century after its inception in the 1891 Oklahoma land run. Newspaper editor Penn Hardy is murdered during the reenactment of the most famous gunfight in the history of Grace Gulch, Oklahoma. Cici Wilde, owner of a vintage clothing store, feels compelled to investigate when police suspect people close to her. She soon discovers her talent for sleuthing equals her flare for wearing period clothing. Theater director Audie Howe never expected the reenactment to end in a real murder. He cares too much for the future of the Magda Grace Mallory Theater – and the charming Cici Wilde – to let her face danger alone. Cici and Audie take a dangerous gamble to nail the killer – and lay their lives on the line.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Most people that live in Grace Gulch, Oklahoma, are either a Grace or a Gaynor, or are related to one of the families, or side with only one of the families. The Grace/Gaylord Feud dates back to the late 1800’s as two men fought over the same piece of land. There are 2 churches and 2 newspapers in town still today.

During the Land Rush Days celebration one of the newspaper editors is killed during a reenactment of the Grace/Gaylord gunfight. Vintage clothing store owner, Cici Wilde, along with everyone else watched it happen but no one saw who fired the shot. She find herself in the middle of the investigation when the police start questioning people close to her as suspects.

What I truly liked about this story was that we were treated to letters from Robert Grace to his fiancee, Mary, while trying secure land west to homestead. We hear his words as the town of Grace Gulch today reenacts his story today. History passed down from generation to generation is not always that accurate and each side tends to have their own version of the story.

We meet like Cici Wilde and Audie Howe, theater director at Magda Grace Mallory Theater, as they find themselves quite drawn to each other, much to Cord Grace’s dismay. He and Cici have been friends for a long time but he wishes they were closer. Cici thinks she wants to keep him as her friend and treads lightly to not ruin the relationship they do have. Truthfully either man seems to be a great catch. I don’t envy having to decide between the two.

As far as the shooting, there are quite a few people that could have pulled the trigger. Everyone is hoping it is tourist and not someone they know.

Darlene Franklin takes us to a quaint small town and introduces us to some wonderful characters that are very strong in their faith. She mixes romance and mystery together in a most enjoyable way. Cici’s family dynamic was very interesting. I would love to shop at her store. As someone that loves to sew and create Cici’s talents were delightful. The Christian tone is very balanced and natural. The mystery was so well written. The pace was pleasant and I was surprised at fast I read this book.

I hope we get to visit Grace Gulch again soon.

enjoyable 2016

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

guest post

OKLAHOMA LAND RUNS

Once you’ve seen it, you can’t forget it. Thousands of people lined up, held at bay by marshals and guns. People on horseback, on foot, on bicycles, in wagons. All ready for the moment the guns are fired and the thousands of hopefuls rush to find the hundreds of plots. Only one out of every four hopeful will win his chance for a 160-acre plot of land.

The scenes from Cimarron (1960) and Far and Away (1992) give us a hint of the excitement on that day. People made the run from trains, on feet and horseback, by bicycle and wagon. By the time 47 states and territories filled the United States map, more and more people hungered for the lush grasslands at the crossroads of the nation, in Indian Territory.

With the passage of the Dawes Severalty Act, pressure was placed on the Indian tribes to make settlements with the United States government. The 1889 land run only made the nation hungry for more: the experience was repeated in 1891, 1892, 1893 and 1895. The 1893 land run was actually the largest, known as “Cherokee Strip.”

The land run behind the history of Gunfight at Grace Gulch opened the Sac and Fox, Potawatomi and Shawnee “unassigned lands” in 1891. The lands later became Potawatomi and Lincoln counties. Grace Gulch is located in Lincoln County, near Route 66. It’s a fictional town, in case you were wondering.

Grace Gulch founder, Bob Grace, is tempted to be a Sooner—that is, to camp out on the lot he wants to claim instead of making the run. He already tried and failed in 1889 and desperately wants to claim land and wed his precious Mary. His struggles with the decision, revealed through letters to Mary at the beginning of each chapter, lie at the heart of the Grace Gulch legacy.

~Darlene

Darlene (1)

About the Author

Best-selling author Darlene Franklin’s greatest claim to fame is that she writes full-time from a nursing home. She lives in Oklahoma, near her son and his family, and continues her interests in playing the piano and singing, books, good fellowship, and reality TV in addition to writing. She is an active member of Oklahoma City Christian Fiction Writers, American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Christian Authors Network. She has written over forty books and has written more than 250 devotionals. Her historical fiction ranges from the Revolutionary War to World War II, from Texas to Vermont.

Author Links

Blog          Amazon Author Page                   Facebook                @darlenefranklin

Purchase Links
Amazon

Your can find more Books by Darlene Franklin here.

GIVEAWAY
I have 1 e-book copy to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old

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.
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This year I am trying to build my Twitter following so for this giveaway 4 Bonus Entries will be awarded by following me on Twitter. @dollycas

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Be sure to check out the rest of this Great Escapes Book Tour.
Tour Participants

January 11 – StoreyBook Reviews – Review, Giveaway
January 12 – Babs Book Bistro – Spotlight, Giveaway
January 13 – Laura’s Interests – Review, Giveaway
January 14 – Island Confidential – Interview, Giveaway
January 15 – Tour Page Promotion
January 16 – The Girl with Book Lungs – Guest Post, Giveaway
January 17 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Interview
January 18 – Christa Reads and Writes – Review
January 19 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Review, Guest Post, Giveaway
January 20 – deal sharing aunt – Interview
January 21 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy,  &, Sissy, Too ! – Spotlight, Giveaway
January 22 – Book Babble – Review
January 23 – LibriAmoriMiei – Review
January 24 – dru’s book musings – Guest Post, 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.”

Posted in Giveaways Literary Escapes Reviews 2012

Review & Giveaway: What The Cat Saw by Carolyn Hart

What the Cat Saw
Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (October 2, 2012)
Published by The Penguin Group
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425252741
Jacket Design by George Long

What the Cat Saw

Nela Farley can’t really understand what that cat is thinking, can she? Nela knows that what she’s experiencing is completely irrational and tries to convince herself that she is simply transferring her own thoughts that she doesn’t want to face.

Nela is doing her sister Chloe a huge favor by filling in for her at her job while she goes off on vacation. Chloe has even arranged a place for Nela to stay. A woman she worked with has recently passed away and Chloe has been taking care of her cat. When she arrives she meets the cat and immediately she has “. . . dead . . . dead and gone . . . She loved me . . . board rolled on the second step . . .” pop into her head. She then realizes the previous tenant’s death may not have been an accident as everyone had thought.

Nela just can’t ignore the feeling she has. Was Marian Grant murdered? As Nela looks into Marian’s life and starts work at the Haklo Foundation she realizes she has more questions than answers. When another body is found and the police start to point fingers at Chloe Nela realizes she needs to figure out “what the cat saw” before anyone else takes a not so accidental fall.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Carolyn Hart is one of the master’s of the cozy mystery. This new series debut is classic Hart, a tight plot with great characters in an interesting setting and don’t forget Jugs the cat.

I am not sure if knowing or thinking you know what a cat is thinking really can be classified as paranormal. Cats and humans just have a way of communicating. They can cut you with a certain look, bring you joy with just the right “chirrup”, and their purrs say so much. Well probably not as much as “board rolled on the second step” but cat lovers will know what I mean.

Nela and Chloe are as different as two sisters can be. Nela’s life is in flux at the moment but she seems to be a very orderly and structured person. Chloe is much more carefree, going from job to job as the mood strikes. She was on vacation in this installment so I look forward to learning more about her in the future.  The best characters evolve at the perfect pace so they readers catch the nuances and the traits they carry forward book to book.

The groundwork has been well laid and I know this series will be a successful as all her others. Whenever in doubt about something to read just pick up something by Carolyn Hart, you can’t go wrong with this wonderful author.

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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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.”