Jan 102020
 


Come Homicide or High Water (Welcome Back to Scumble River)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Illinois
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (December 31, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-10: 1492685976
ISBN-13: 978-1492685975
Kindle ASIN: B07Y5NJ48Z

There’s something fishy just below the surface of Scumble River…

School psychologist Skye Denison-Boyd is getting ready to return to work from her maternity leave and hoping for a peaceful year in her job as a school psychologist. But when an elderly woman disappears on her first day back and a disgruntled parent threatens to sue the school, Skye realizes that her return will be anything but quiet.

When the parent suing Skye’s school is found dead and with the missing woman’s case is still unsolved, Skye suspects the crimes are somehow linked. With her chief of police husband, Wally, at her side, Skye dives into the investigations. But as tensions rise and Skye and Wally’s suspect list lengthens, they start to wonder whether a member of their own tight-knit community could be behind it all…

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

We return to Scumble River as work is almost complete on Wally and Skye’s new home. They are both looking forward to moving out of the RV and having plenty of room to spread out. Skye is also nearing the end of her maternity leave which means they have to hire a new nanny soon.  During her leave, she has been going into the school when her intern replacement needs help dealing with school staff or parents. Right now she is trying to explain to a mother than her child is not as gifted as she thinks. The meeting takes a huge left turn that results in the mother threatening to sue the school. Oh boy, does Skye really want to return to all this drama?

Later the woman threatening to sue is found dead and Skye learns she was her contractor’s wife. Skye gets nervous that someone from the school could be responsible. She also worries that the death will halt construction on her home.

Wally has also asked Skye to assist him in the case of a missing woman. Could the two cases be connected? Could the killer be someone they know? Skye and Wally are determined to find out.

______

Denise Swanson is a remarkable storyteller. Her characters have become old friends and I couldn’t wait to get into the pages to see what they were up to this time.

I love the way Skye and Wally really compliment each other. They are excelling at parenting and working together too. Wally asks for Skye’s help and trusts her theories and opinions. They make a great team and I love that we get to see things from both Skye and Wally’s point of review. It is very refreshing to have a cozy mystery written in this way.

The main characters are surrounded by a great supporting cast as well. There is family to pitch in to help with the babies and to give their opinions on just about everything. Oh, May, you are such a treasure but there are times I want to reach in the book and tape your mouth shut 🙂

We have some quirky characters too. The Dooziers are doozies but always make me smile and sometimes laugh out loud. Friends, school staff and town residents round out the wonderful cast. The dialogues are crisp with a lot of humor. Very realistic for the midwest setting.

The main and subplots are very well-written and have a comfortable flow. The author packed the pages full of daily life and drama along with a nice bit of humor too. Twists, turns, red herrings, this story has them all. Ms. Swanson has given us quite an intriguing story. One of the mysteries wraps up in a delightful way. The other kept me guessing to the very end.

Come Homicide or High Water is a marvelous addition to this series. Entertaining characters wrapped in a delightful story that includes mysteries that are interesting and fun to try to solve. I can’t wait for my next trip to Scumble River.

This is the third book in the continuation of Denise Swanson’s Scumble Murder Mysteries. The change happened when the series was picked up by the new publisher. I had gotten behind on the series but was thrilled to jump back in with this new start. I love these characters and do plan to go back with the books I missed. Ms. Swanson has done an excellent job providing background so readers like me with a few books in arrears can pick up books in the continuation without feeling lost. I recommend new readers start with the first book in the continuation, Dead in the Water for maximum enjoyment. You will probably want to go back and read them all.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Dead in the Water here.
You can read my review of Die Me A River here.

About the Author

Denise Swanson is the New York Times bestselling author of the Scumble River Mysteries, the Devereaux’s Dime Store Mysteries, the Change of Heart romances, and the Delicious romances She worked as a school psychologist for twenty-two years before quitting to write full-time. She lives in Illinois with her husband, classical music composer David Stybr.

Check out the publisher’s book page with a list of characters and a Scumble River map here.

 






I am giving away my review copy!

The 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.

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

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If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.
Contest Will End January 24, 2020, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

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Jan 062020
 

Welcome to My Reading Itinerary Monday!

Where are your books taking you this week?

My escapes this week are taking me to Virginia, New York, and Maine!

Here’s what I read and what I have planned for this week.

Escapes Completed


Glitter, Glam, and Contraband (The Delanie Fitzgerald Mysteries)
by Heather Weidner
Release Date – November 19, 2019
Setting – Virginia
The Great Escapes Tour stops here tomorrow!


Theater Nights Are Murder (A Poppy McAllister Mystery)
by Libby Klein
Release Date – December 31, 201
Setting – New Jersey
I will feature this book this week for Cozy Wednesday!


Silenced in Sequins (A Resale Boutique Mystery)
by Debra Sennefelder
Release Date – January 7, 2020
Setting – New York
The Great Escapes Tour stops here Thursday!


Come Homicide or High Water (Welcome Back to Scumble River)
by Denise Swanson
Release Date – December 31, 2019
Setting – Illinois
My Review will post later this week. 

Scheduled Escapes


Bound for Murder: A Blue Ridge Library Mystery
by Victoria Gilbert
Release Date – January 7, 2020
Setting – Virginia
The Great Escapes Book Tour stops here next Tuesday!


Murder Ink (Victoria Square Mystery)
by Lorraine Bartlett
Release Date – December 31, 2019
Setting – New York
I will feature this book next week for Cozy Wednesday!


Hems & Homicide (Apron Shop Series)
by Elizabeth Penney
Release Date – December 31, 2019
Setting – Maine
The Great Escapes Tour stops here next Thursday!

Future Escapes

January 6 – 12, 2020


Click Here to check out my Current Giveaways!

Please Share Your Reading Itinerary in the Comments below!
Happy Reading!!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

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Jan 042020
 

Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book is 11! – – – Let’s Party –
Blogoversary Giveaway – Day 6 –
11 YEARS —11 BOOKS X 2 PAPERBACK GIVEAWAY
1 WINNER

Today we wrap up the Blogoversary Giveaways with
A Big Box of Books! 

22 Paperbacks!!
I am clearing a shelf!

Stowed Away (A Maine Clambake Mystery)
by Barbara Ross

It’s June in Busman’s Harbor, Maine, and Julia Snowden and her family are working hard to get their authentic Maine clambake business ready for summer. Preparations must be put on hold, however, when a mysterious yacht drops anchor in the harbor—and delivers an unexpected dose of murder . . .

When Julia’s old prep school rival Wyatt Jayne invites her to dinner on board her billionaire fiancé’s decked-out yacht, Julia arrives to find a sumptuous table set for two—and the yachtsman dead in his chair. Suspicion quickly falls on Wyatt, and Julia’s quest to dredge up the truth leads her into the murky private world of a mega-rich recluse who may not have been all that he seemed . . .

Steamed Open (A Maine Clambake Mystery)
by Barbara Ross

It’s summertime in Busman’s Harbor, Maine, and the clamming is easy—or it was until a mysterious new neighbor blocks access to the beach, cutting off the Snowden Family Clambake’s supply. Julia Snowden is just one of many townspeople angered by Bartholomew Frick’s decision. But which one of them was angry enough to kill?

Beachcombers, lighthouse buffs, and clammers are outraged after Frick puts up a gate in front of his newly inherited mansion. When Julia urges him to reconsider, she’s the last to see him alive—except the person who stabs him in the neck with a clam rake. As she pores through a long list of suspects, Julia meets disgruntled employees, rival heirs, and a pair of tourists determined to visit every lighthouse in America. They all have secrets, and Julia will have to work fast to expose the guilty party—or see this season’s clam harvest dry up for good.

A Wrench in the Works (A Fixer-Upper Mystery)
by Kate Carlisle

Lights! Camera! Homicide! Contractor Shannon Hammer has to dig through murder suspects in the latest Fixer-Upper Mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of Eaves of Destruction and Once Upon a Spine.

Shannon Hammer’s younger sister, Chloe, left Lighthouse Cove after high school to make it big in Hollywood. And she did it! Chloe is the cohost of a popular home repair show on the Home Builders Network. Now, after ten years, she has returned to their quaint coastal hometown to film several shows featuring her sister, Shannon, along with some special mini-segments on Victorian style and design.

But Shannon quickly realizes that things are not exactly blissful in TV land. Bree, the executive producer of the show, has a knack for stirring up sticky situations, and when she’s found dead, Chloe and the entire crew are under suspicion. Shannon, her thriller writer boyfriend, Mac, and their crime-solving friends soon unearth the real reason Chloe left home. Is that ten-year-old secret connected to Bree’s death? And can Shannon track down the real killer before her beloved sister becomes the next victim?

Marigolds for Malice (An Enchanted Garden Mystery)
by Bailey Cattrell

In the third captivating Enchanted Garden Mystery from Bailey Cattrell, Elliana Allbright will need to dig up clues from the past to weed out a killer…

Elliana Allbright is happy running her perfume shop, Scents & Nonsense, in the charming town of Poppyville, California. And she’s even happier when she can use her inherited abilities to infuse her perfumes with an extra special something that eases woes or solves problems for her customers. But she’ll need those abilities and more when murder comes to town.

Ellie and her women’s business group, the Greenstockings, are helping to open a new museum about local history, and while sorting through the collection of artifacts they discover a time capsule from the days of the Gold Rush. Among the contents is a strange botanical manuscript, recognized by local history professor Eureka Sanford as extremely rare and valuable. When the professor is found dead in the museum, Ellie has no choice but to sniff out the murderer… but this one may have roots that are as old as Poppyville.

Death in the Stacks (A Library Lover’s Mystery)
by Jenn McKinlay

In the latest Library Lover’s Mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of Better Late Than Never, the library’s big fund-raiser leaves director Lindsey Norris booked for trouble….

Lindsey Norris and her staff are gearing up for the Briar Creek Library’s annual Dinner in the Stacks fund-raiser. The night of dinner and dancing is not only a booklover’s dream—it’s the library’s biggest moneymaker of the year. But instead of raising funds, the new library board president is busy raising a stink and making the staff miserable.

Although Olive Boyle acts like a storybook villain, Lindsey is determined to work with her and make the event a success. But when Olive publicly threatens the library’s newest hire, Paula, Lindsey cracks like an old book spine and throws Olive out of the library.

The night of the fund-raiser, Lindsey dreads another altercation with Olive—but instead finds Paula crouched over Olive’s dead body. Paula may have secrets, but Lindsey and the rest of the crafternooners know she’s not the one who took Olive out of circulation. As the plot thickens, Lindsey must catch the real killer before the book closes on Paula’s future….

The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller (Haunted Bookshop Mystery)
by Cleo Coyle

Penelope Thornton-McClure and her bookshop’s ghost-in-residence Jack Shepard are back on a new case in this delightful paranormal mystery from New York Times bestselling author Cleo Coyle.

A big bestseller leads to small town trouble. Bookshop owner Penelope Thornton-McClure didn’t believe in ghosts, until she was haunted by the hard-boiled spirit of 1940s private investigator Jack Shepard. Now Jack is back on the job, and Pen is eternally grateful…

After an elegant new customer has a breakdown in her shop, Penelope suspects there is something bogus behind the biggest bestseller of the year. This popular potboiler is so hot that folks in her tiny Rhode Island town are dying to read it–literally. First one customer turns up dead, followed by another mysterious fatality connected to the book, which Pen discovers is more than just fiction. Now, with the help of her gumshoe ghost, Pen must solve the real-life cold case behind the bogus bestseller before the killer closes the book on her.

Death by Committee (An Abby McCree Mystery)
by Alexis Morgan

When Abby McCree suddenly inherits her favorite relative’s property in small town Snowberry Creek, Washington, she soon realizes that the ramshackle home comes with strings attached—one of which is tied to a dead body!

After a rough divorce, Abby McCree only wants to stitch up her life and move on. But other loose ends appear after her elderly Aunt Sybil passes away, leaving Abby to tend to a rundown estate, complete with a slobbery Mastiff of questionable pedigree and a sexy tenant who growls more than the dog. As Abby gets drawn into a tight-knit quilting guild, she makes a twisted discovery—Aunt Sybil’s only known rival is buried in her backyard!

Despite what local detectives say, Abby refuses to accept that her beloved aunt had anything to do with the murder. While navigating a busy social calendar and rediscovering the art of quilting, she launches an investigation of her own to clear Aunt Sybil’s name and catch the true culprit. The incriminating clues roll in, yet Abby can’t help but wonder—can she survive her new responsibilities in Snowberry Creek and still manage to patch together a killer’s deadly pattern without becoming the next victim?

On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service (A Royal Spyness Mystery)
by Rhys Bowen

Lady Georgiana Rannoch juggles secret missions from the Queen, her beau, and her mother in this mystery in the Royal Spyness series.

When royal sleuth Georgie Rannoch receives a letter from her dearest friend Belinda, who’s in an Italian villa awaiting the birth of her illegitimate baby, she yearns to run to her side. If only she could find a way to get there! But then opportunity presents itself in a most unexpected way—her cousin the queen asks her to attend a house party in the Italian Lake Country. The Prince of Wales and the dreadful Mrs. Simpson have been invited, and Her Majesty is anxious to thwart a possible secret wedding.

What luck! A chance to see Belinda, even if it is under the guise of stopping unwanted nuptials. Only that’s as far as Georgie’s fortune takes her. She soon discovers that she attended finishing school with the hostess of the party—and the hatred they had for each other then has barely dimmed. Plus, she needs to hide Belinda’s delicate condition from the other guests. And her dashing beau, Darcy’s (naturally) working undercover on a dangerous mission. Then her actress mother shows up, with a not-so-little task to perform. With all this subterfuge, it seems something is bound to go horribly wrong—and Georgie will no doubt be left to pick up the pieces when it does.

Yule Be Dead (Victoria Square Mystery)
by Lorraine Bartlett and Gayle Leeson

A Christmas crime shocks the merchants of a quaint shopping district in this latest installment of The New York Times bestselling Victoria Square series.

It’s Christmastime, but not everyone is jolly–especially not Vonne Barnett. Her dead body has been found in Victoria Square. Katie Bonner, the manager of Artisan’s Alley, happens to be at the tea shop Vonne’s mother, Francine, owns when the news is delivered.

Vonne left a trail of men behind her so the suspects are many–but the clues are few. A broken teacup leads Katie to one of the suspects, but before she can investigate, she’s attacked. Katie may be closing in on a murderer, but time is ticking because the murderer is definitely closing in on her.

A Just Clause (A Booktown Mystery)
by Lorna Barrett

Just when things are getting back to normal in Booktown, Tricia and Angelica have their lives turned upside down by a shocking visitor from their past in this latest entry in Lorna Barrett’s New York Times bestselling series.

Tricia Miles, mystery bookstore owner and amateur sleuth, is in for a surprise when her ne’er-do-well father, John, comes to town—and promptly becomes a prime suspect in the murder of a woman with her own scandalous past. Even Tricia’s faith in the old man is shaken when the Stoneham police break the news that her father is a known con man who has done jail time.

But what about bestselling thriller author Steven Richardson? Is it a coincidence that he arrived for a book signing just before the crime or that the victim was found with a signed copy of his latest bestseller?

From merlot to murder, Tricia is determined to clear the family name before another body shows up and ruins Stoneham’s first—and highly anticipated—wine and jazz festival.

Walking on My Grave (A Death on Demand Mysteries)
by Carolyn Hart

In the latest Death on Demand Mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of Don’t Go Home, book seller Annie Darling learns murder and money go hand in hand…

Annie’s friend and fellow shop owner Ves Roundtree is a very wealthy woman. Her rich brother entrusted her with his estate, and upon her death, his fortune is to be divided. Several cash-strapped islanders are in line to collect life-changing inheritances. The problem is, Ves is very much alive.

Ves hosts a dinner for the prospective beneficiaries and feels a chill in the air that has nothing to do with the wintry season. Not long after, she suffers a bad fall that was no accident. Everyone at the table had a motive but not a shred of evidence was left behind.

When one of the suspects is found floating in the harbor and Ves disappears, Annie and her husband Max spring into action to catch a calculating killer before greed takes another life.

Just Plain Murder (An Amish Mystery)
by Laura Bradford

Claire Weatherly and her beau, police detective Jakob Fisher, learn that when it comes to murder, evil can hide in plain sight in this all-new addition to the national bestselling Amish Mysteries.

Jakob and Claire have been enjoying more time together in lovely Heavenly, PA. With Claire’s help, the detective is making slow progress reconnecting with the members of his Amish family who shunned him when he left to pursue a career in law enforcement. Jakob’s mentor, Russ Granger, the long-retired police chief who inspired him to become a cop, is back in town. Claire has always wanted to meet the man who changed the course of Jakob’s life. But not long after he arrives in Heavenly, Russ is murdered.

Jakob can only imagine that his old friend must have been killed by someone outside of the Amish community. He and Claire soon find that things are not as they seem–and that Russ may have stumbled into something sinister before he was killed. The answers they uncover are closer to home and more shocking than they ever expected.

A Killer Carol (An Amish Mystery)
by Laura Bradford

Heavenly, PA has been transformed into a Christmas wonderland, and Claire is delighted to celebrate the season…but a fiendish killer has other plans in this all-new installment in the national bestselling series.

As the owner of Heavenly Treasures, the local gift shop, Claire is busier than ever helping her English customers (and even a few of her Amish friends, like Esther and Ben) find the perfect gift for the special people on their shopping list.

Claire makes sure she has time for her boyfriend, Detective Jakob Fisher. But the man, who was raised and then shunned by the Amish over his choice of career, has been unusually secretive lately. She tries not to worry, to trust their relationship, but trying and doing aren’t exactly matching up.

Before she can figure out what’s going on with Jakob, word comes that Ruth and Samuel Yoder are being questioned in the death of an elderly Amish couple, found murdered not long after the newlyweds were seen leaving the victims’ farm. Ruth, in turn, seeks Claire’s help in convincing the police that she and Samuel had nothing to do with what happened. But when Claire comes across a cryptic note tucked inside the wedding gift the victims had given the newlyweds no more than an hour before their murder, she finds herself in dire need of a little convincing as well.

Can Claire get to the bottom of things in time to ensure a merry Christmas for all?

Die Me a River (Welcome Back to Scumble River)
by Denise Swanson

The chips are down in Scumble River

School psychologist Skye Denison-Boyd had hoped that her maternity leave would be at least a little relaxing, but when she and her husband, Wally, meet with the priest to discuss their newborn twins’ christening, an explosion at the nearby bowling alley rocks the rectory. And although the business was closed at the time of the blast, there’s a body inside.

As police chief, Wally is inevitably drawn into the investigation, which seems to indicate that foul play is afoot again in Scumble River, and Skye can’t help but do a bit of her own sleuthing. But the clues come fast and furious, ranging from an odd new stranger in town to animosity toward the gambling machines that had recently been installed at the bowling alley, and Skye finds herself wondering if this could be the puzzle that stumps her for good.

New York Times bestselling author Denise Swanson has penned another hit for cozy fans with Die Me a River, the latest installment in her beloved Welcome Back to Scumble River mystery series.

Death in a Budapest Butterfly (A HUNGARIAN TEA HOUSE MYSTERY)
by Julia Buckley

Hana Keller serves up European-style cakes and teas in her family-owned tea house, but when a customer keels over from a poisoned cuppa, Hana and her tea-leaf reading grandmother will have to help catch a killer in the first Hungarian Tea House Mystery from Julia Buckley.

Hana Keller and her family run Maggie’s Tea House, an establishment heavily influenced by the family’s Hungarian heritage and specializing in a European-style traditional tea service. But one of the shop’s largest draws is Hana’s eccentric grandmother, Juliana, renowned for her ability to read the future in the leaves at the bottom of customers’ cups. Lately, however, her readings have become alarmingly ominous and seemingly related to old Hungarian legends…

When a guest is poisoned at a tea event, Juliana’s dire predictions appear to have come true. Things are brought to a boil when Hana’s beloved Anna Weatherley butterfly teacup becomes the center of the murder investigation as it carried the poisoned tea. The cup is claimed as evidence by a handsome police detective, and the pretty Tea House is suddenly endangered. Hana and her family must catch the killer to save their business and bring the beautiful Budapest Butterfly back home where it belongs.

Crepe Factor (A Scrapbooking Mystery)
by Laura Childs and Terrie Farley Moran

The Winter Market in the French Quarter is in full swing, but murder isn’t taking a holiday in this festive mystery in the New York Times bestselling Scrapbooking series.

The holidays are a busy time for scrapbook shop owner Carmela Bertrand—but not so hectic that she doesn’t have time to enjoy browsing the booths at the Winter Market with her best friend, Ava. The last thing the ladies expect to see is a lurching man stabbed by a serving fork, dying in front of them.

The victim is loathed restaurant critic Martin Lash, who posted his scathing reviews on the Glutton for Punishment website. And the prime suspect is New Orleans restaurateur Quigg Brevard—who was seen giving the critic a tongue-lashing minutes before someone stuck a fork in him. An old flame of Carmela’s, Quigg asks for her help, which does not please her current beau, Detective Edgar Babcock, to say the least.

Before her relationship is the next victim, Carmela needs to find a murderer who had no reservations about punishing the culinary curmudgeon…

Silent Night, Deadly Night (A Year-Round Christmas Mystery)
by Vicki Delany

Residents of Rudolph keep the spirit of Christmas alive year-round—but their joy is threatened when a group of grinches visits the town, in the charming fourth installment of the Year-Round Christmas series.

It’s the week before Thanksgiving, and Merry Wilkinson, owner of Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, is preparing for a weekend reunion of her mother’s college friends. But when the group of women comes into Merry’s shop, Merry is met with frosty attitudes and cold hearts.

The women argue amongst themselves constantly, and the bickering only intensifies after one of the friends is poisoned. With her father’s role as Santa in danger due to his proximity to the crime, Merry will need to use all of her investigative gifts to wrap this mystery up and save Santa and her favorite holiday.

Last Pen Standing (Stationery Shop Mystery)
by Vivian Conroy

Will this paper trail run cold?

As the new co-owner of Tundish Montana’s stationery shop WANTED, Delta Douglas knows how to organize a killer crafting event. Creativity and cardstock are all she needs to move one step closer to her ultimate dream: developing her own line of crafting products. But on the night of the workshop, at the swanky hotel venue, glitter isn’t the only thing found sprawled on the floor. A hotel guest is discovered dead in the bar, and amid the confusion, Delta’s best friend is suspected of the crime.

Enlisting the help of her Paper Posse and Spud, her canine sidekick, Delta dives into the investigation. But with many high-powered suspects on the line, Delta soon realizes her sleuthing may come with deadly consequences.

Dying for Devil’s Food (Cupcake Bakery Mystery)
by Jenn McKinlay

As the New York Times bestselling series continues, it’s going to take every recipe the Fairy Tale Cupcake crew has to whip up a quick defense for Mel Cooper when her high school reunion goes from a cake walk to a car wreck…

Melanie Cooper has zero interest in catering her fifteen-year high school reunion, but Angie insists it’s only right that they bask in the success of Fairy Tale Cupcakes–and Mel’s engagement to the delicious Joe DeLaura is the cherry on top!

Everything is going better than expected until Cassidy Havers, resident mean girl and Mel’s high school nemesis, picks a fight. No longer willing to put up with Cassidy’s bullying, Mel is ready to tell the former homecoming queen to shut her piehole and call it a night. But as Mel and Joe prepare to depart, Cassidy is found dead in the girl’s bathroom, next to a note written in lipstick that points right to Mel–making her the prime suspect.

Now, Mel must follow the clues to find the real killer and keep her reputation from being frosted for a crime she didn’t commit.

Tide and Punishment (Seaside Café Mysteries)
by Bree Baker

No one dreams of a killer Christmas…

It’s Christmastime in Charm, North Carolina, and while Everly Swan would prefer to focus on decorating her iced tea shop for its first holiday season, Great-Aunt Fran has decided to run for mayor against her long-time nemesis. But when the other candidate turns up dead just before the first scheduled debate, all eyes turn to Fran as the suspect with the most obvious motive.

Everly knows her sweet, elderly Aunt Fran couldn’t have murdered anyone, but as she struggles to find the real killer, it begins to seem like this may be the last merry Christmas her family may ever have.

Bewitched and Betrothed (Witchcraft Mystery)
by Juliet Blackwell

A supernatural force on the loose in San Francisco and a family reunion keeps witch and vintage storeowner Lily Ivory on her toes as she prepares to walk down the aisle…

When Lily Ivory stumbles on the uniform of a former prisoner from Alcatraz and SFPD inspector Carlos Romero’s cousin is kidnapped, Lily suspects something dangerous has been unleashed on the ghost-ridden island of Alcatraz. She’ll have to sleuth out the culprit—when she’s not busy entertaining her visiting relatives and resolving romantic conflicts as her wedding date approaches. Could recent omens be pointing to the magical threat in her adopted city? If so, she’ll have to line up her allies to change the fate of the Bay Area. Because no matter what, Lily’s determined to celebrate her marriage with her friends by her side—even if it means battling a demonic foe before she can make it to the altar.

The Dog Who Knew Too Much (A Paws & Claws Mystery)
by Krista Davis

When a famous pooch comes to Wagtail for some downtime, inn owner Holly Miller learns that murder never rests in this all-new Paws & Claws mystery in the New York Times bestselling series.

America’s favorite dog comes to pet-friendly Wagtail for some rest and relaxation, but Holly quickly discovers that this perfect pup is a total scamp who takes every opportunity to run off and misbehave. During an outdoor treasure-hunting game, the star dog and Trixie, Holly’s beloved Jack Russell terrier, stumble across a dead body.

Holly has more than murder to worry about, though, when a man shows up after reading an article featuring Trixie in a magazine and claims that he is the dog’s rightful owner. Holly will need to prove that she is her pup’s only parent and catch a killer to restore peace to her pet-loving happy place.

This giveaway is sponsored by Escape With Dollycas!

The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US 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.
See Follow Me Links Up in the Sidebar.

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

Contest Will End January 11, 2020, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

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Oct 292019
 

Available Today!


Can’t Judge a Book By Its Murder (Main Street Book Club Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Mississippi
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (October 29, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1492687774
ISBN-13: 978-1492687771
Kindle ASIN: B07VVT2LFF

Not every murder is by the book…

As Sugar Springs gears up for its all-class high school reunion, Mississippi bookstore owner Arlo Stanley prepares to launch her largest event: a book-signing with the town’s legendary alum and bestselling author, Wally Harrison. That’s when Wally is discovered dead outside of Arlo’s front door and her best friend is questioned for the crime.

When the elderly ladies of Arlo’s Friday Night Book Club start to investigate, Arlo has no choice but to follow behind to keep them out of trouble. Yet with Wally’s reputation, the suspect list only grows longer—his betrayed wife, his disgruntled assistant, even the local man who holds a grudge from a long-ago accident.

Between running interference with the book club and otherwise keeping it all together, Arlo anxiously works to get Chloe out of jail. And amidst it all, her one-time boyfriend-turned-private-eye returns to town, just another distraction while she digs to uncover the truth around Wally’s death and just what Sugar Springs secret could have led to his murder.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Arlo and Chloe’s Books & More is set for a book signing for bestselling author Wally Harrison as part of the Tenth Annual All Class Reunion. Then Arlo receives a phone call that will bring that event to a screeching halt. Arlo has been summoned to the store because a dead body has been found on the sidewalk directly in front of the bookstore. The man has been identified as Wally Harrison and the death is classified as suspicious.  Suicide? Murder? It looks like Arlo’s best friend and business partner Chloe may be involved.

It isn’t long before the ladies of the Friday Night Book Club decide to start their own investigation. Unable to stop them Arlo finds herself investigating too if only to keep the book club members safe. When Chloe is arrested, Arlo is given ten days to prove someone else did the job or Chloe will be transferred to a bigger jail until her trial. Arlo hopes to get a little help from an old boyfriend who is now a P.I. but he may be working the case for another client. All she knows is Chloe didn’t do it and she is going to make sure the right person is booked for murder.

______________

Sugar Springs, Mississippi is full of the requisite quirky characters. We are introduced to a fantastic group of core characters in this first Main Street Book Club Mystery. Arlo and Chloe own and operate the bookstore. Arlo takes care of the books and Chloe takes care of the coffee. Chloe is the mother of the deceased Wally Harrison’s son. We also meet Camille, Fern, and Helen, an elderly group of friends and the original members of the Friday Night Book Club. A spunky group of women who are ready for whatever comes their way. Then there is Chief Matthew “Mads” Keller, Officer Jason Rodgers, and Private Investigator Sam Tucker. Sam and Mads both make Arlo’s heart race. I can’t forget Faulkner, the very vocal Amazon parrot that resides at Arlo and Chloe’s Books & More. All the characters nicely fleshed out for the first book in a series but are left with plenty of room to grow as the series continues.

Like most first books in the series, the murder mystery was interesting but not as complex due to the time needed to introduce readers to the characters and setting. That being said there were some nice twists. Chloe does have motive but Arlo quickly finds others with motive too. I was able to solve this one before Arlo and Mads but found myself very entertained from beginning to end.

I love the small-town ways and feeling. The fact that the book clubbers were able to provide the meals for Chloe reminded me of Mayberry from the Andy Griffth Show. Sugar Springs is full of Southern charm and appealing residents.

This series is off to a terrific start. I see a lot of potential for these characters and the mysteries they could get involved in. Can’t wait for book #2.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Amy Lillard

Amy Lillard is the award-winning author of more than twenty novels, including the Wells Landing series, The Quilting Circle novels, the Sugarcreek Amish Mysteries and the Kappy King Mysteries. Born and raised in Mississippi, she now lives with her husband and son in Oklahoma. Please visit her online at www.AmyWritesRomance.com.

Author Links:


Cozies also by Amy Lillard

Find more books by Amy Lillard here.


I am giving away my Advance Review Copy!
The 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.

Follow Poisoned Pen Press on Facebook for 2 Bonus Entries.

Follow Poisoned Pen Press on Twitter for 2 Bonus Entries.

Follow Poisoned Pen Press on Instagram for 2 Bonus Entries.

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End November 12, 2019, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

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Oct 282019
 

Welcome to My Reading Itinerary Monday!

Where are your books taking you this week?

I will be visiting West Virginia and Connecticut!

Here’s what I read and what I have planned for this week.

Escapes Completed


Can’t Judge a Book By Its Murder (Main Street Book Club Mysteries)
by Amy Lillard
Release Date – October 29, 2019
Setting – Mississippi
My Review will be up tomorrow! 


Silent Knit, Deadly Knit (A Knit & Nibble Mystery
by Peggy Ehrhart
Release Date – November 1, 2019
Setting – New Jersey
I will feature this book on Cozy Wednesday this week!


Haunted House Ghost: Death At The Fall Festival (Braxton Campus Mysteries)
by James J. Cudney
Release Date – October 1, 2019
Setting – Pennsylvania
Watch for my review on Halloween!

A Catered Murder (A Mystery With Recipes)
by Isis Crawford
Release Date – November 1, 2004
Setting – New York
My Flashback Friday Read!

Scheduled Escapes


Apple Cider Slaying (A Cider Shop Mystery)
by Julie Anne Lindsey
Release Date – October 29, 2019
Setting – West Virginia
The Great Escapes Book Tour stops here next Tuesday!


Three Widows and a Corpse (A Food Blogger Mystery)
by Debra Sennefelder
Release Date – October 29, 2019
Setting – Connecticut
The Great Escapes Tour stops here for Cozy Wednesday next week!


A Woman of Two Minds
by Bourne Morris
Release Date – November 9, 2019
Setting – ??
For Review
Not up on GoodReads yet 🙁

Future Escapes

October 28 – November 3, 2019


Click Here to check out my Current Giveaways!

Please Share Your Reading Itinerary in the Comments below!
Happy Reading!!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

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Sep 252019
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

It is my pleasure to welcome Bree Baker to Escape With Dollycas today!

 

A Charming Escape
by Bree Baker

As a fifth-generation Midwesterner, I come from a long line of people who escape annually to the beach. We rent condos, hotel rooms and often entire houses where the clan (or circus depending on perspective) can shake off the confines of life’s daily expectations and live for a week or so on island time. I’ve been all over the East Coast, but find the stretch of barrier islands along the Carolinas, aka the Outer Banks, to be most completely perfect for my crew, with Virginia’s costal islands, Chincoteague and Assateague, as tight seconds. We go off-season and enjoy the quiet. The beaches. Maritime forests. Deep sense of history, museums. Architecture. Lighthouses and wild horses. And don’t even get me started on all the amazing food. It’s heaven, and if you’ve never visited the Outer Banks, I hope you will. It’s a whole other world. I wish I never had to leave.

This is how my Seaside Café Mysteries were born. Eventually, I’d spent one-too-many decades on a rented deck, wondering what it would be like to live in a quaint seaside town, and I decided to write about it. Now, I live vicariously through my main character, Everly Swan, owner, operator and sole proprietor of Sun, Sand and Tea, a seaside iced tea shop and café in her hometown of Charm, North Carolina. (I couldn’t choose a favorite Outer Banks town, so I took all my favorite parts of other area towns and created Charm instead. – That’s a fun perk of writing. Don’t like something? Make up something else instead.)

Now I escape to one version of the islands I love each day while I write about Everly and her fantastic escapades, but, it got me thinking… If I escape to the islands, where do islanders escape? I decided to ask Everly and it turns out she had quite a bit to say on the subject.

As it turns out, Everly is a bit of an escape artist. She often sometimes escapes into nature, walking the boardwalk, digging her toes in the sand or wading through the surf. Other times, especially once she’s in her jammies, she escapes into a book. She frequently borrows novels from the Little Libraries her best friend, Amelia, has set up throughout the town and on the boardwalk. If her great-aunts are home, Everly escapes to the Swan family homestead where they share midnight pancakes and endless glasses of sweet tea around a table that has been in their kitchen for more than a hundred years. But her most common and favorite escape of all is to her café. If not to eat her secret stash of lemon cake, then to create something new and magnificent to share.

Everly grew up at the counter, mixing potions from bags and bowls of homegrown ingredients, chopping produce from the family gardens and sweetening secret recipes with honey from their hives. To Everly, there’s magic in the process of creating or perfecting something spectacular in the kitchen. And there is no better experience than seeing her friends, family, and neighbors truly become enchanted by her spells.

In honor of Everly and her many culinary escapes, I thought it would be fun to share the recipe that got her into trouble (and started all my fun) in book one, LIVE AND LET CHAI. Iced strawberry and peach tea. I hope you will enjoy! And if you’re in the mood for an island escape, but can’t make it over to the Outer Banks just yet, feel free to join Everly on an adventure in Charm. She’d sure love to have you, and spending a few days in her life is certain to make you smile.

 

Summer Strawberry & Peach Tea

Nothing compliments a hot summer day like this
Swan Family Favorite, so dive in and enjoy!

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Yields: 16 servings

Ingredients:

10 cups of cold water divided

1 cup strawberry preserves

8 herbal peach tea bags

12 fresh strawberries, cored and sliced

Ice

Directions:

Add 4 cups of water, strawberry preserves and peach tea bags to a saucepan and bring to a boil

Remove from heat and steep 15 minutes.

Pour in remaining 6 cups of cold water

Remove tea bags and cool completely

Add strawberry slices and stir

Refrigerate until ready to serve

Pour over ice

Enjoy!

Thank you, Bree, for visiting today! 

Keep reading for my thoughts about Tide and Punishment. 


Tide and Punishment (Seaside Café Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – North Carolina
Poisoned Pen Press (September 24, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
ISBN-10: 1492664812
ISBN-13: 978-1492664819
Kindle ASIN: B07T7YSLGT

No one dreams of a killer Christmas…

It’s Christmastime in Charm, North Carolina, and while Everly Swan would prefer to focus on decorating her iced tea shop for its first holiday season, Great-Aunt Fran has decided to run for mayor against her long-time nemesis. But when the other candidate turns up dead just before the first scheduled debate, all eyes turn to Fran as the suspect with the most obvious motive.

Everly knows her sweet, elderly Aunt Fran couldn’t have murdered anyone, but as she struggles to find the real killer, it begins to seem like this may be the last merry Christmas her family may ever have.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Christmas in Charm is plagued by snow, wind, ice, and murder this year. Everly Swan has planned a big holiday party where her sweet Great Aunt Fran plans to announce her run to become the town’s next mayor. When the current mayor steals her thunder with his own announcement she holds it together for a while but then she needs to get some air. When she finds her nemesis dead in the snow with no other witnesses she becomes the top suspect for his murder. Everly knows Fran is innocent and she thinks Detective Grady Hays knows it too. Christmas gnomes Great Aunt Clara has been painting and leaving in front of their shop, Blessed Be becomes debris as the killer is doing their best to frame Fran and Everly just isn’t having it no matter how many gnomes are lost trying to scare her away. Jailing her aunt on Christmas is not an option. Everly is “tea’d” off and will not rest until the real culprit is behind bars.

____

Bree Baker’s stories are much more than mysteries, they are stories of family, friends, and community too. Bree has a strong bond with her aunts, she has a strong bond with best friend Amelia who owns Charmed Reads, and she would like to have a stronger bond with Detective Hays. Having her ex in town and now the good detective’s deceased wife’s mother moving to Charm that may be difficult. The core characters have continued to develop more in each book. Everly’s Sun, Sand and Tea has become a gathering place that really brings residents new and old together. I loved that the town had a holiday progressive dinner. What a fabulous idea for a beach town to stay connected even in the winter. The Giving Tree was also very heartening to read about. We had something in our town similar when our children were young.

The author strikes a quick pace in this well-plotted mystery. Everly really has her hands full but still finds time to do plenty of snooping. But key clues can be found just doing normal activities and keeping her eyes and ears open. Of course, there were those distracting clues that diverted her thinking and my thinking too. The story builds to a very exciting climax with the perfect holiday weapon. I loved it!

The best vacation our family ever experienced was to Caswell Beach, North Carolina many years ago. With a beach that matches our last name, we couldn’t resist. Books like this one take me back to those days. This installment had a rare winter snowfall and unseasonably cold weather but being from Wisconsin I would not be deterred by that at all. Charm is a place I would love to visit, heck it would be a place I would love to live.

A fabulous setting filled with charming characters and a multifaceted story that includes a great mystery, Tide and Punishment was a wonderfully entertaining story. Each book in this series has left me excited for the next. I hope I don’t have to wait too long for my next virtual vacay to Charm! I highly recommend all three of the books that have been released so far!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of No Good Tea Goes Unpunished here and Live and Let Chai here.

Bree Baker is a Midwestern writer, obsessed with small-town high jinks, sweet tea, and the sea. She’s been telling stories to her family, friends, and strangers for as long as she can remember, and more often than not, those stories feature a warm ocean breeze and a recipe she’s sure to ruin. Now, she’s working on those fancy cooking skills and dreaming up adventures for the Seaside Cafe mysteries. Bree is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers and the Romance Writers of America. She is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.

Find out more on her website here. 


Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to giveaway!

The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US 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.

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

SIGN UP FOR BREE’S NEWSLETTER FOR 5 BONUS ENTRIES!

Leave a comment for the author for 5 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End October 9, 2019, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

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Sep 182019
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am thrilled to welcome Vivian Conroy to Escape With Dollycas! 

Hi Vivian! 

Escape to Tundish, Montana: The Town with a Heart of Gold!

So nice to be on Escape with Dollycas to tell a bit about my brand-new mystery, Last Pen Standing, first in the Stationery Shop Mysteries.

Don’t you just love to explore a new place and discover its historic buildings, great food, and friendly locals? Let me take you to Tundish, my very own wild west town! If there was a leaflet promoting it, it would say something much like this:

In the Bitterroot Valley, home to crystal clear lakes and snowcapped mountains, there’s a little town with a heart of gold, called Tundish.

Famous for its gold-mining history, today it caters to tourists coming to explore the historic buildings and the great outdoors, especially during the leaf-peeping season when the trees turn a stunning golden, orange and red. If you’re dropping by to snap a few shots of the fall glory, don’t miss these four highlights:

1) The former sheriff’s office on Mattock Street, containing many original elements such as old cells, the sheriff’s desk, and hitching posts! Now a stationery shop, aptly called WANTED, it provides wrapping paper, notebooks, calligraphy sets and washi tape for all your crafting needs. You can also take a workshop to develop your hand lettering or paper crafting skills.

2) The restaurant Mine Forever, where everything refers back to Tundish’s history: from the mining equipment on top of the building to the gold-lump shaped doorknob. Their coffee has won lots of prizes and the waitresses are always there for a friendly chat.

3) The Lodge Hotel, located on the edge of a beautiful lake. You can go boating, horse riding, mountain biking, or bird watching with experienced guides. They offer regular live entertainment on weekends and a high tea on Sunday afternoons. Special tip: the annual gold miners’ party in the Golden Age style is famous in the region.

4) The gold mining museum where volunteers dressed up in authentic 19th-century clothing tell-all about the pull of that sparkly metal, cheating with claims and family life on the goldfields. Bring home a cute souvenir in the shape of a tiny mining cart filled with nuggets of what looks a lot like the real thing.

Eager for more detail on these lovely places? Come along with Delta Douglas, her friends from the Paper Posse and retired K9 officer Spud as they navigate new beginnings, smalltown gossip, and murder in Last Pen Standing, the start to an exciting crafting-themed series set against a charming western backdrop.

Thank you, Vivian, for stopping by today and introducing us to Tundish.

Keep reading for my thoughts about Last Pen Standing. 

 

Last Pen Standing (Stationery Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Montana
Poisoned Pen Press (September 24, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 1492684031
ISBN-13: 978-1492684039
Kindle ASIN: B07PX3QYC9

Will this paper trail run cold?

As the new co-owner of Tundish Montana’s stationery shop WANTED, Delta Douglas knows how to organize a killer crafting event. Creativity and cardstock are all she needs to move one step closer to her ultimate dream: developing her own line of crafting products. But on the night of the workshop, at the swanky hotel venue, glitter isn’t the only thing found sprawled on the floor. A hotel guest is discovered dead in the bar, and amid the confusion, Delta’s best friend is suspected of the crime.

Enlisting the help of her Paper Posse and Spud, her canine sidekick, Delta dives into the investigation. But with many high-powered suspects on the line, Delta soon realizes her sleuthing may come with deadly consequences.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Delta Douglas has come to Tundish, Montana to follow her dreams. Her grandmother has gifted her inheritance early so she can go into business with her best friend Hazel as co-owner of a stationary store set up in an old sheriff’s office, complete with jail cells. Hazel has fittingly named the store WANTED. Delta’s plans include developing her own line of crafting supplies and products.

Delta arrives in town just in time to help Hazel host a workshop at The Lodge Hotel. The hotel is a busy place with a huge party in the ballroom while the WANTED workshop takes place in a large conference room. The hotel manager is adamant the two groups remain separate clearly favoring the well to do guests attending the party. One of the exclusive guests apparently didn’t get the memo because she wanders into the workshop clearly taken with the crafts especially some very special notebooks. She asks that they are set aside for her until she can return to pay for them.

The workshop ends without the woman returning so Delta and Hazel decide to leave the notebooks at the front desk. Before they can leave the building they learn someone has been murdered. Hazel and Delta find themselves wrapped up in the chaos and the crush of people as the police arrive. The police pay special attention to Hazel and her brother Finn, who is employed by the hotel and involved with the owner’s daughter. In fact, the siblings are quickly loaded into police cars and taken in for questioning.

Not sure what has really happened Delta enlists the help of the ladies from the workshop, also known as the Paper Posse. They are familiar with the town and its residents but she can get away with being the new girl in town to ask some pointed questions too. She knows she is on the right track when she receives her first threat.

___

Welcome to Tundish, Montana. The author introduces readers to a vast number of characters keeping each one unique and memorable. Delta Douglas in a talented artist ready to make her break into the world. She and Hazel were college roommates then quickly became best friends. Hazel was not fully truthful with Delta on a very important topic and that gave me pause. We also meet Jonas Nord, a retired Detective, and his dog Spud also retired from law enforcement. He seems to have a good head on his shoulders, the opposite of the police chief who just wants to arrest someone. There is a large number of supporting characters, mostly the owners, staff, and guests at the hotel. People with secrets make fabulous suspects.

I really didn’t have a favorite character in this story, they are just too new. But I am looking forward to the next book to get to know them better. I especially want to get to know that Paper Posse better, they seem to be a very interesting group.

I love where this story takes place. A wild-west town that tourists love to visit. I am not sure yet if I have a complete picture of the stationery store in my head yet. Hazel has tried to keep the sheriff’s office intact as much as possible while displaying some artifacts to show the town’s history while also displaying all the goods for sale in a way to draw her customer in and entice them to make a purchase. The hotel was easy for me to envision and I would love to visit the gold mining museum.

The mystery had its share of twists and turns to keep those pages turning. The flow dipped a few times though and some of the characters actions were a little out there, but the author pasted everything together for a satisfactory ending.

The first book in a series is always a heavy lift because readers need to meet the characters and learn their place, get to know the setting, and still demand a mystery we can tear apart and wrap back together all within a set number of pages. In my opinion, the author does a great job of that in this debut novel of this series.

Last Pen Standing gives this series a strong start. I am excited to see what Ms. Convoy comes up with next.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The Stationery Shop Mysteries are the latest addition to Vivian Conroy’s expanding mystery range. She also writes the contemporary Country Gift Shop Mysteries and the historical Murder Will Follow Mysteries, paying tribute to her favorite mystery author Agatha Christie. Away from the keyboard, Vivian loves to hike, craft, and hang out on Twitter where readers can connect with her via @VivWrites.


Also by this Author





Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

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

Leave a comment for the author for 5 Bonus Entries.

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End October 2, 2019, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Share
Jul 092019
 

This book will be released on July 30!! 


Penne Dreadful (Italian Chef Mysteries)
1st in Series
Setting – New York
Poisoned Pen Press (July 30, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
ISBN-10: 1492684252
ISBN-13: 978-1492684251
Kindle ASIN: B07NVT2Z56

Tomato sauce isn’t the only thing that runs red…

Local chef Tessa Esposito is struggling to get back on her feet following her husband’s fatal accident. And when the police knock on Tessa’s door, things just get worse. They’ve discovered Dylan’s death wasn’t an accident after all, and they need Tessa to start filling in the blanks. Who would want her beloved husband dead, and why?

With the investigation running cold, Tessa decides it’s time to save her sanity by reconnecting with her first love-cooking. And maybe the best way back into the kitchen is to infiltrate Dylan’s favorite local pizza parlor, which also happens to be the last place he was seen before he died. But the anchovies aren’t the only thing that stink inside the small family business, and with suspects around every corner, Tessa finds that her husband’s many secrets might land her in hot water.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Was local chef Tessa Esposito’s husband not the man she thought he was? A few weeks have passed since he was killed in a fatal accident and now police have decided he may have been murdered. Her cousin, Detective Gino Mancusi brings her the news and has an idea for her to help solve the case. He wants her to apply for a job at her husband’s favorite pizza place, a place he spent quite a bit of time,  and work undercover keeping her eyes and ears open. Tessa agrees but she does more than that. She starts asking questions and nosing around on her own. Her husband was a successful accountant, why would anyone what him dead?  She better be careful or she could be next.

I am shocked to see this is the first book I have read by this author. It sure won’t be the last.

Catherine Bruns has created wonderful three-dimensional characters. Tessa is a protagonist I get really get on board with. A chef with a dream of having her own Italian restaurant for families. She loves to cook for others. Her dream was shared by her husband Dylan and his death rocked her to her core. When she learns his death was not an accident she turns into a woman with such strength and courage to bring his killer down. She does make some poor decisions but she is hellbent on getting justice for her husband even as she learns the man had more secrets than she ever could ever imagine.

Her cousins Gino and Gabby play a major part in her life. Gino’s quest is to keep her safe and best friend Gabby is a great partner and sounding board. They stick together through thick and thin and scary.

The story the author has created has more of an edge than your typical cozy mystery. Right after one scene occurred I had to check to see if the story was actually classified as cozy. After that scene though we mostly get back to that cozier feel. I would rather have a scene like that in my cozy than the curse words that are seeming to pop up more and more these days in this genre.

Ms. Bruns does set a lively pace with plenty of action and twists. The closer we get to the end the pace accelerates more making it impossible to put this book down until the last page is reached. Tense moments prevail that truly did keep me right on the edge of my seat.

Oh my goodness, the food described throughout this mystery was absolutely mouthwatering. From pizzas to Tessa’s Tantalizing Tomato Sauce I was craving Italian food for days. Thankfully my husband has some great recipes up his sleeve. The author does include some recipes at the end of the story too.

I love the theme and these characters. I am beyond excited for the next book in this series.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Catherine Bruns

Catherine is the USA Today bestselling author of the Cookies & Chance mysteries. She lives in New York with her very patient husband, three sons, and several spoiled pets. Catherine has a B.A. in English and is a former newspaper reporter and press release writer. She also writes the Cindy York real estate and the Carrie Jorgenson (Aloha Lagoon) culinary mysteries. Penne Dreadful, the first book in her Italian Chef Mysteries, debuts in July 2019.

Follow Catherine on Facebook and Twitter and check out her Website too!

Also by Catherine Bruns



I am giving away my Advance Review Copy!
The 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.

Follow Catherine Bruns on Twitter for 2 Bonus Entries!

Follow Catherine Bruns on Facebook for 2 Bonus Entries!

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End July 23, 2019, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Share
Jul 012019
 

Welcome to My Reading Itinerary Monday!

ITS MY BIRTHDAY

Where are your books taking you this week?

I will be visiting New York, Georgia, and Massachusetts!

Here’s what I read and what I have planned for this week.

Escapes Completed


Mistaken Identity Crisis: Death On The Cable Car (Braxton Campus Mysteries)
by James J. Cudney
Release Date – June 30, 2019
Setting – Pennsylvania
The Great Escapes Tour stops here tomorrow!


Strangled Eggs and Ham (A Country Store Mystery)
by Maddie Day
Release Date – June 25, 2019
Setting – Indiana
The Great Escapes Tour stops here for Cozy Wednesday!

Layover
by David Bell
Release Date – July 2, 2019
Setting – Kentucky
Review will be posted later this week! 

Scheduled Escapes


Penne Dreadful (Italian Chef Mysteries)
by Catherine Bruns
Release Date – June 30, 2019
Setting – New York
For Review


Peach Clobbered: A Georgia B&B Mystery
by Anna Gerard
Release Date – July 9, 2019
Setting – Georgia
The Great Escapes Tour stops here next Wednesday!


Murder’s No Votive Confidence (Nantucket Candle Maker Mystery)
by Christin Brecher
Release Date – June 25, 2019
Setting – Massachusetts

Future Escapes

July 1 – 7, 2019


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BIRTHDAY

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

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Jun 032017
 


I am so pleased to welcome Jane Tesh to Escape With Dollycas today!

Worth the Wait

 

            It’s been a long trip for me to get published, and I want to encourage everyone out there who’s wondering if it will ever happen to keep trying!  So escape with me back to the Sixties B.C. — Before Computer—to see how it happened for me.

           I’ve been writing all my life and started sending out manuscripts when I was 18. Here’s what you had to do. You typed your novel, made a copy at the local copy shop, found a box the manuscript would fit in, and mailed it to New York City.  Then you waited for months and months, and when it came back, if it looked okay, you sent it to the next publisher or agent on your list.  Self publishing was very expensive, and the product did not look as good as it does today, so that was not an option for me, plus I wanted to be traditionally published.

            Wow, was I happy when computers arrived!  Now I could cut and paste and delete!  It was like magic!  No more re-typing pages or using correcting tape or white out goo.  Now I could send my queries by email, save tons of money on postage, and have a rejection in weeks instead of months.  And still I persisted.  Finally, I got an agent!  I was on my way!  Money!  Fame!

            Roadblock.

             My agent was certain she could sell my book if I changed my hero to a woman.  Women detectives had become a hot trend, so I understood where she was coming from.  However, my entire Grace Street Mystery series, twelve books, all written, all ready to go, involve a private investigator, David Randall, dealing with the death of his little daughter; his best friend, a reluctant psychic named Camden who owns a boarding house at 302 Grace Street in the fictional city of Parkland, North Carolina where all the characters live, including many colorful Southern types who move in and out; Randall’s love interest, Kary Ingram, a young woman unable to have children due to a disastrous teen pregnancy; and Camden’s girlfriend, high-powered career woman, Ellin Belton, head of the Psychic Service Network.  I think you can see the relationship problems I’d need to solve if Randall suddenly became a woman.  So I wrote another book with a female detective, ex beauty queen Madeline “Mac” Maclin and her con man boyfriend, Jerry Fairweather. I set this book in a small fictional North Carolina town much like my town of Mt. Airy.  Besides having trouble being taken seriously as a detective, Mac had to deal with Jerry’s sketchy friends who often showed up to complicate her investigations.

           I think you can guess what happened. My agent didn’t like it. So I had long hard talks with myself.  Did I want to change Randall to a woman?  Change his relationship with his best friend, his love interest, his entire world?  Did I want compromise that much to get published?  The hardest decision I’ve ever had to make was telling the agent no, thanks, and we parted ways.  Back to square one.  Back to the endless lists and emails.

        That’s when I found Poisoned Pen Press.  I didn’t need an agent to submit to them.  After the manuscript went through several readers and revisions, it was accepted.  I got the contract two months after I had retired from thirty years as a media specialist at Jones Elementary School.  I was 55.

        Since then, PPP has published ten of my mystery novels, five in the Grace Street series (male PI), and five in the Madeline Maclin series (female PI).  I’ve also had three fantasy novels published by Silver Leaf Books.  Both companies are great to work for and exactly what I had hoped to find.

          Would I have liked to have been published at 18?  Of course.  But I’m a better writer now than I was then, and wise enough to know that some things are deal breakers, and you have to be true to your characters and the world they live in.

        So to all the writers out there who are hoping to get published, you will!  There are so many opportunities available now.  I’ve learned how to manage a web page, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube—things that weren’t around when I was younger, things that reach more people than I can imagine.  These days, writers can afford to self publish, write ebooks, record their own audio books, or even start their own online publishing companies.

            Speaking as someone who decided to never give up, whatever route you choose or however long it may take, I assure you it will be worth the wait.

 ~Jane

Jane’s latest book was just released in April.

Baby, Take a Bow (Grace Street Mysteries Book 5)
Poisoned Pen Press (April 4, 2017)
Hardcover: 238 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1464207969
Paperback: 238 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1464207983
Kindle ASIN: B01N3COR8U

Camden’s friend Rufus Jackson receives a letter from his ex-wife, Bobbi, and he’s surprised to learn he’s the father of a baby. When Bobbi is found murdered in her home and her baby stolen, Rufus becomes suspect number one. PI David Randall immediately takes the case.

But Randall is almost sidetracked from the case by a series of what appears to be never-ending favors. When he takes his friend Cam to the Carlyle House to sing for a concert, Cam encounters Delores Carlyle, a troubled spirit trapped inside a huge mirror, who wants to see her daughter, Beverly, one last time. Beverly Carlyle will come to the house on one condition: that Randall find a home for her surly teenage son, Kit, and a band for her obnoxious daughter, Frieda. Kit is welcome at 302 Grace, but to secure a spot for Frieda, Randall has to get a local girl group a gig at a local nightclub. The owner agrees, if Cam will pose as a teenager and spy on a rival club. Cam agrees if Randall will take him to Green Valley to answer some questions about his past. And another ghost is haunting the hot dog restaurant, refusing to talk to Cam.

In addition to the tangle of deals, Randall has to contend with Rufus being hell-bent on revenge, the return of Cam’s telekinesis, and growing concern that if the baby-a girl named Mary Rose, as it turns out-is found, Rufus, might not want to keep her.

But where is Mary Rose?

About The Author

Jane Tesh, a retired media specialist, lives in Mt. Airy, North Carolina, Andy Griffith’s hometown, the real Mayberry.  She is the author of the Madeline Maclin Mystery series featuring former beauty queen, Madeline “Mac” Maclin and her con man husband, Jerry Fairweather, as well as the Grace Street series, featuring struggling PI David Randall, his friend Camden, a reluctant psychic, and an ever-changing assortment of tenants who move in and out of Cam’s boarding house on Grace Street. Her mysteries are set in fictional North Carolina towns and are on the light side with a little humor and romance.  They are published by Poisoned Pen Press. She is also the author of three fantasy novels, Butterfly Waltz, A Small Holiday, and The Monsters of Spiders’ Rest, published by Silver Leaf Books.  When she isn’t writing, Jane enjoys playing the piano and conducting the orchestra for productions at the Andy Griffith Playhouse.

Jane’s website is www.janetesh.com

The Facebook page for the series is www.facebook.com/GraceStreetMysterySeries

Jane’s Amazon author page is www.amazon.com/author/janetesh

Jane’s blog can be found at www.janetesh.wordpress.com

I don’t tweet often, but when I do I tweet at www.twitter.com/janetesh

Follow Pearl, my spokesdog’s adventures on Instagram at tesh.jane

Watch trailers for Jane’s books on her YouTube channel Jane Tesh



The author is giving one signed paperback copy of Baby, Take a Bow away!

Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.

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Contest Will End June 17, 2017 at 11:59 PM CST
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and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

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