Oct 312017
 

The Secret, Book & Scone Society
Cozy Mystery
New Series
Setting – North Carolina
Kensington (October 31, 2017)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496718563
Kindle ASIN: B01N4W09GF
Audio CD ISBN-13: 978-1520079691

 

 

From New York Times bestselling author Ellery Adams comes the first in an intriguing new series set within a quirky small-town club where the key to happiness, friendship—or solving a murder—can all be found within the pages of the right book . . . 

Miracle Springs, North Carolina, is a place of healing. Strangers flock here hoping the natural hot springs, five-star cuisine, and renowned spa can cure their ills. If none of that works, they often find their way to Miracle Books, where, over a fresh-baked “comfort” scone from the Gingerbread House bakery, they exchange their stories with owner Nora Pennington in return for a carefully chosen book. That’s Nora’s special talent—prescribing the perfect novel to ease a person’s deepest pain and lighten their heaviest burden.

When a visiting businessman reaches out to Nora for guidance, she knows exactly which novels will help. But before he can keep their appointment at Miracle Books, he’s found dead on the train tracks.

Stunned, Nora forms the Secret, Book, and Scone Society, a group of damaged souls yearning to gain trust and earn redemption by helping others. To join the society, members must divulge their darkest secret—the terrible truth that brought each of them to Miracle Springs in the first place.

Determined to uncover the truth behind the businessman’s demise, the women meet in Nora’s cramped and cozy bookstore to share stories and trade support. And as they untangle a web of corruption, they also discover their own courage, purpose, and a sisterhood that will carry them through every challenge—proving it’s never too late to turn the page and start over . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Nora Pennington has come to Miracle Springs, North Carolina to escape a terrible tragedy. She feels safe in her bookstore helping her customers find their own healing in the books she chooses for them. Hester runs the Gingerbread House bakery. Customers tell her a little bit about their lives and what brought them to Miracle Springs. Then she bakes them up a “comfort scone”. She and Nora work together by sending their customers to each other’s stores. June works at the hot springs spa where people come to rejuvenate themselves and Estella is a beautician who tries to help her clients find their true selves. These 4 women were very introverted, had no friends, and barely knew each other until a man left Hester’s bakery on his way to Nora’s bookstore and never arrived. Soon after, he is found dead on the railroad tracks. The local police quickly rule the death a suicide but these ladies can’t believe that is true. Together they form the Secret, Book & Scone Society and decide that together they can find the truth and get justice for a man they didn’t even know.

This is such a special story, so much more than a cozy mystery, but a story where the characters bring hope to others while examining their own lives. They are each in places of needing healing themselves and over the course of this story a heartwarming bond is formed. These characters are written with a loving hand as we learn throughout the book the traumas they have endured to become the woman they are today. At first they read as timid characters but their strength grows with the turn of each page. Ellery Adams is known for creating characters that readers want to know better. These character are absolutely wonderful. They are compassionate, engaging and relatable and believable. Characters you would want to be friends with if you could jump into the book.  I want to join their society.

The mystery itself was a curious one. Neil Parrish was a business man clearly at a crosswords that he was unsure how to handle. Knowing nothing of the man Nora and the rest of Secret, Book & Scone Society had to do some research and legwork including sneaking around in places that put them in danger. For me it was like a huge puzzle with too many pieces. Some information moved their investigation forward, some sent them in circles, or was just interesting but may not have anything to do with Parrish’s death. I was intrigued and entertained following along for each new discovery. I was holding my breath for the climatic scenes. Wow!

Miracle Springs is a very interesting place and a fantastic setting for this series. I think we have barely scratched the surface of the potential stories that can be gleaned from the town and its residents. As someone trying to heal myself from a variety of things in my life I wish I could actually travel there for my “comfort” scone and my bag of books that would set my healing on a clear course.

I have loved everything I have read by this author. She is such a talented writer and she has created something truly magical in this story. I am excited to see where she takes this series. This amazing story was a true trip to PARADISE. What a extraordinary escape!

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

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Feb 112016
 

DRAWING BLOOD large banner640

Drawing Blood
by Deirdre Verne

drawing blood
Drawing Blood
(A Sketch in Crime Mystery)

2nd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – New York
Publisher: Midnight Ink (February 8, 2016)
Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738742281
E-Book ASIN: B019KKTX0I
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Synopsis

CeCe Prentice returns with her band of Dumpster-diving pals in this fast-paced mystery that puts the eco-friendly heroine back on top—of a pile of trash.

When Big Bob, manager of the town dump, goes missing, CeCe is worried about more than where she’ll score her next salvaged car. First at the scene when Bob’s body is recovered from under the weekly recycling haul, CeCe is quick to identify potential witnesses and provide crucial scene sketches. But when CeCe is uncharacteristically startled by an unidentified woman at Bob’s abandoned house, her artistic talents are challenged, and her drawings, much to her frustration, come up short.

With CeCe’s observational talents on the fritz, Detective Frank DeRosa, CeCe, and her network of Freegans are forced to recreate Big Bob’s life from the garbage up. The team is soon thrust into the underworld of recycling where what appears to be junk could actually be the clue that saves a life.


Dollycas’s Thoughts

As I ended my review of Drawing Conclusions, the first book in this series, I was wondering how this author was going to keep up to the excellence she reached in that story. I just finished Drawing Blood and let me tell you she a drawn up another story that will keep you totally entertained.

Cece and her friends are “freegans“, a unique lifestyle. They dumpster dive for food, have a huge garden, and visit the local recycling center and thrift stores for most of their needs. In this installment Cece’s friend and housemate Katrina is due to have her baby any day, her friend, Big Bob, manager of the local recycling center in missing, and Cece is looking for a child that could be hers that would have been carried by a surrogate. And that is just how the story starts, there is so much more. The synopsis tells you Big Bob’s body is found under a pile of garbage and that Detective Frank DeRosa in on the case but when Cece and her friends join the investigation it all leads to something you have just have to read for yourself. I really enjoyed that Frank knows he can ask for and get help from Cece and the others.

As with the first story, this author’s distinct writing  style shines. The plots and subplots twist all together throughout the story and each twist has its own little “wow” factor.  Cece’s  unique ability to see people in her mind so clearly and pick up their nuances and put the images down on paper is key to solving the case. She has trouble with the facial details for one person that she knows is so important. She works so hard to try to grasp that image. The investigation seems to be turning up more questions than answers but Frank, Cece, Charlie and even a very pregnant Katrina each help to put things together and details start to fall into place. This sets up a very suspenseful and dramatic ending that had me sitting up straight in my chair.

Excellent from start to finish. A story that deserves more than 5 stars!

This story does build on the first book so I do recommend reading that one first. In fact a perfect winter weekend curled up with both books is something I recommend wholeheartedly.

I will not wonder about Verne’s next book because I just know if will be as amazing as the first two. I just hate that we will probably have to wait a year for it.

paradise 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent


 

deidre

About This Author

Deirdre Verne (Lower Westchester, NY) is a mystery writer, college professor, and an active college blogger. Deirdre’s interest in green living inspired her to create an off-the-grid character who Dumpster dives her way through the “Sketch in Crime” mystery series. Verne’s second book, Drawing Blood, is available in February 2016. “A dysfunctional functional family to die for…[CeCe Prentice’s] second case is every bit as twisty and surprising.”-Kirkus Reviews.

A member of Sisters in Crime, Deirdre’s short stories appear in all three New York chapter anthologies – Murder New York Style, Murder New York Style: Fresh Slices and Family Matters. Visit her online at DeirdreVerne.com.

 

Author Links

Webpage   Blog 

Twitter – @deirdreverne         GoodReads 

Purchase Links:

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February 8 – Babs Book Bistro – Guest Post
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February 12 – Celticlady’s Reviews – Spotlight
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Dec 302015
 

best reads 2015
2015 was a great year for books. All the books below received my Paradise rating, meaning I wanted to give them more than 5 stars. Some were the first books in a new series, while others were from series I have loved for years. This year a short story even makes the list.

I read almost 200 books again this year. So many received 5 star reviews. The authors continue to impress me with their fantastic stories. 

2015 was also a year of shock and sadness. My son passed away in March and my friend, author Joyce Lavene, passed away in October. Both are hardly ever out of my thoughts. I have found some comfort escaping into good books like these. 

My Top 13 Books of 2015

Dead to the Last Drop: A Coffeehouse Mystery

My Review
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Move Your Blooming Corpse: An Eliza Doolittle & Henry Higgins Mystery

My Review
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Looking for Mr. Good Witch (Retired Witches Mysteries)

My Review
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The Reckoning Stones: A Novel of Suspense

My Review
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A Fatal Chapter: A Booktown Mystery


My Review
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Death & the Redheaded Woman (An Auction Block Mystery)

My Review
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Suspendered Sentence (An Amish Mystery)

My Review
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One Garish Ghost & Blueberry Peach Jam (Dead by the Numbers Mysteries Book 1)

My Review
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The Glassblower’s Wife

Short Story
My Review
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The Paris Key

My Review
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Miss Ruffles Inherits Everything: A Mystery (Miss Ruffles Mysteries)

My Review
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Murder Fir Christmas (Christmas Tree Valley Mysteries) (Volume 1)

My Review
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Bridges Burned (Zoe Chambers Mystery Series Book 3)

My Review
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What were your favorite books this year? Please share them in the comment section below so we can all see them and add them to our wish lists!

Looking ahead to 2016 I see so many wonderful books in our future. New stories from our favorite authors and new authors bringing us their stories. Sadly some of my favorite series have ended or we will see the last books in 2016. The publishing world continues to evolve. I used to think I would only read print books, but this year I read more than 70 books on my Kindle and some of them made this list.

I hope you have enjoyed my reviews, recommendations, and giveaways. It has been a pleasure being your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent this year. I am excited for the new year as I start my 7th year blogging! I hope to book many more literary escapes for you all to enjoy!

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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Oct 022015
 

looking for mr. good witchLooking for Mr. Good Witch
(Retired Witches Mysteries)

2nd in Series
Paranormal Cozy Mystery
Setting – North Carolina
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (October 6, 2015)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Mary Ann Lasher
Cover Design by Lesley Worrell
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425268261
E-Book ASIN: B00SI0279Q
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Everyone’s favorite retired witches from Spell Booked have returned and are diving into troubled waters to find a sinister sea witch…

WITCHY WOMAN

A sea witch has been leaving bodies in her wake up and down the Carolina coast, baffling authorities who are finding drowning victims with no water in their lungs. The fin-icky female will continue to kill young male witches until she finds her perfect man—the one who survives her mating ritual—so she can live for another hundred years. And now coven hopeful Brian Fuller is about to be ensnared in her net.

Retired witches Molly and Elsie, along with the ghost of Olivia and her daughter Dorothy, need all the help they can get to stop the sea witch. Aided by a selkie and a crème puff–craving mermaid, they’re determined to keep Brian out of her murky clutches. But are they all about to get in over their heads?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Molly, Elise Olivia, and Dorothy are back and trouble is brewing. Their spell book is still missing, Olivia is not happy as a ghost, and young male witches are dying at the hands of a very feisty witch. Even their own Brian may not be immune. The elderly witches are still hoping to retire and were hoping that with Brian and Dorothy they only needed to recruit just one more witch to join their coven. They need to free the coast from this wet witch and hang her out to dry but they may seal their own fate in the process.

Fantasy has never been my genre and things like werewolves and selkies would usually have me running for the hills but Joyce and Jim Lavene eased me into their paranormal stories slow and easy, a ghost or two here, then a witch or two there, then Larry the werewolf in this series, how could you not like a werewolf named Larry.  The witches in this story are charming as well. They are like Samantha and Endora on the old Bewitched television show. Living and even working in the world among us mere mortals. There powers are to be kept secret but with a shop like Smuggler’s Arcane and all the events taking place it is easy to forget to keep their abilities on the Q.T.

This story was fun and entertaining. I must say my favorite character was a mermaid named Muriel who is quite fond of pastry, even her sharp little teeth didn’t scare me away. But Muriel is just one of many amazing characters the Lavene’s bring to life on these pages, even though a few of them are dead 🙂 or living their second or third or more lives in other bodies.

So much happens in this story but the pace isn’t rushed. I usually spread a book over 2 evenings but I couldn’t do that with this one. I kept thinking, just one more chapter, just one more and soon it was way past my bedtime but I couldn’t stop until I reached the end. To say I was totally engaged would be an understatement. This story had me spellbound.

Kudos to Joyce and Jim, they had me completely captivated!

paradise

5 STARFISH5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

I just love this picture of Joyce and Jim

I just love this picture of Joyce and Jim

About The Authors –

Joyce and Jim Lavene write award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. They have written and published more than 70 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.joyceandjimlavene.com 

www.facebook.com/joyceandjimlavene 

http://amazon.com/author/jlavene 

https://twitter.com/AuthorJLavene

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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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