Posted in Giveaways Reviews 2014 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Review/Giveaway – A Sense of Entitlement by Anna Loan Wilsey

a sense of entitlementA Sense of Entitlement
(A Hattie Davish Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
3rd Book in Series
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Kensington (June 24, 2014)
ISBN-13: 978-0758276384
E-Book File Size: 866 KB
ASIN: B00I2W157A

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Traveling secretary and dilettante detective Hattie Davish is bringing her talents to a small New England town whose wealthy residents have more secrets than they do money. . .

When Hattie Davish’s job takes her to Newport, Rhode Island, she welcomes the opportunity for a semi-vacation, and perhaps even a summer romance. But her hopes for relaxation are dashed when she learns that members of the local labor unions are at odds with Newport’s gentry. Amidst flaring tensions, an explosion rocks the wharf. In the ensuing turmoil, Mr. Harland Whitwell, one of Newport’s most eminent citizens, is found stabbed to death, his hands clutching a strike pamphlet. All signs point to a vengeful union member bent on taking down the aristocracy, but Hattie starts digging and finds a few skeletons in the closets of the impeccable Whitwell mansion. As she strikes down the whispers spilling out of Newport’s rumor mill, she’ll uncover a truth more scandalous than anyone imagined–and a killer with a rapacious sense of entitlement. . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I was late to the party on this series. I am usually a stickler for reading series books in order but when I booked the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for this one and I read the synopsis above my interest sure was piqued!!

I absolutely love Hattie Davish. What a wonderful and strong character.  Her adventure to Newport turns out to be totally different than she expected but she perseveres and gets through it with more grace than any woman above her stature.

Miss Lucy and Miss Lizzie are charming characters who met Hattie in one of the previous books and are her true champions. They stand up for her several times in this story and do all the can to help her romance with a certain doctor continue to evolve.

I truly enjoyed the labor union tie-in to the plot. It is interesting to read that even way back in the 1890’s people were fighting for better pay and better working hours and we are still fighting some of those same battles today. This theme ties quite well with the mystery and serves up the required twists that make mysteries like this so much fun to read.

The author also uses her words to paint pictures in our mind of the summer playground for the American socialite families with names like Astor and Vanderbilt just wonderfully. I have never been to Rhode Island but after this story I can see it clearly in albeit a simpler time.

It was a delight to travel to Newport with Hattie. I need to catch up on the first two books in this series so I am ready to go along with Hattie on her next adventure.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Loan_Wilsey_headshot

About The Author

As a biologist, librarian and then information specialist, Anna Loan-Wilsey tracked down mysteries every day.  Now as the author of the Hattie Davish Mysteries Series, featuring a traveling Victorian private secretary, she enjoys creating them.  Anna earned her B.A. at Wells College in Aurora, NY and had several poems published in their literary magazine, The Chronicle. She earned her M.L.I.S. from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. She has worked in academia much of her life including Syracuse University, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, Texas A&M University-Commerce and most recently, Iowa State University, publishing in several scientific peer-reviewed journals. A Lack of Temperance, her first novel and first in the Hattie Davish Mysteries series, was the #1 bestselling historical mystery on Amazon.com. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. A Sense of Entitlement, the third in the series, is due out in June. Anna lives in a Victorian farmhouse near Ames, Iowa with her inquisitive four year old, her old yellow dog and her very funny, very patient husband, where she is happily working on Hattie’s next adventure.

Author Links:

www.annaloanwilsey.com

www.facebook.com/pages/Anna-Loan-Wilsey-Author/226850674036259

www.goodreads.com/author/show/5810152.Anna_Loan_Wilsey

www.kensingtonbooks.com/author.aspx/26131

 

 I Spotlighted this book last week as part of the Great Escapes Book Tour.

The contests are still running!

In addition to the Rafflecopter I have 1 Print Copy to Giveaway!

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 Anna for 5 Bonus Entries !

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

Contest Will End June 15, 2014 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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Posted in Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Guest Posts Literary Escapes Reviews 2014 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Alyssa Maxwell – Author of Murder at the Breakers (Giveaway too!)

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am delighted to welcome Alyssa Maxwell here today.

Alyssa outside (2)

Escape with Alyssa Maxwell to the world of The Gilded Newport Mysteries…

 

cover frontIn the Gilded Age New York’s wealthiest escaped the heat, grime, and yes, pestilence of the city’s summer months by loading up their steamships with those priceless objects they simply couldn’t live without and making a mass pilgrimage to bright, breezy, seaside Newport, RI. They brought carriages and servants and countless trunks and even their safes, packed with jewels and important documents. They bought the best land, built palaces, and claimed as their own the finest Newport had to offer. They turned a sleepy, artsy village into the posh summer resort. The men sailed their yachts and rode horses and played golf and tennis. The women held teas and parties and balls, married their daughters to rich, powerful men, and wore a different gown from House of Worth, Paris, for each daily activity – mornings at home, social calls, promenading, carriage riding, tea, supper….

I’ll bet you’re thinking, “Wow, that’s a lot of research to do. Must be hard.” To which I say, “No way, I love it!” Digging around in the past is my way of stepping into a time machine and escaping from whatever has me gritting my teeth in the present. And sometimes that’s a lot! Or maybe it’s a past life thing. Whatever it is, I’ve always been this way and some days I’d much rather be there than here.

The truth is, I sometimes spend way more time researching than I need to. But how to stop oneself from poring through the Metropolitan Museum’s collection of Worth Gowns? For instance, there are these two:

DRESS 2DRESS 1

Do these not make your heart beat faster? Can’t you imagine the feel of that lustrous, embroidered silk against your skin? I literally gasped out loud when I first saw them. I covet! And you can bet I used them in describing dresses worn by my sleuth, Emma Cross, and her friend, Grace, to a ball in Murder at Beechwood, the third book in my series, which is still a work in progress. Rest assured there are plenty more drool-worthy masterpieces where these came from in the Museum’s database, and one can easily while away a good hour or two without even realizing it. Ooh, here’s another, in glorious gold:

DRESS 3

 

Obviously I can’t help myself. But don’t even get me going on the shoes, handbags and jewelry women wore during the Gilded Age! Seriously, don’t!

SHOESSHOECROWN

Are these not exquisite?

HANDBAGNECKLACE

Unfortunately, I also discovered the website of the American Carriage Association. I say unfortunately because here again, I can become lost studying styles and details. Here’s one I imagine my sleuth driving, though hers wouldn’t be quite so shiny and new:
CARRIAGE

Her wealthy Vanderbilt relatives would probably drive something more like this:
CARRIAGE2
Oops, did I say drive? I meant chauffeured around town in. Emma’s aunt Alice is forever telling her it isn’t seemly for her to be driving her own rig. Does Emma listen? Of course not! Sometimes a girl’s just got to get where she’s going, and she doesn’t have time to wait around for someone else to drive her. Like when she gathering clues to solve a murder.

I believe I mentioned yachts? For that there’s the New York Yacht Club website. The NYYC set up a satellite headquarters in Newport in 1894, paving the way for future Americas Cup Races to be held there. Wouldn’t it be awesome to be sitting in the shade at, say, The Breakers or Marble House, watching those majestic vessels cutting through the waves?
SHIPYACHT RACES

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or maybe we could sail to Europe on Willie K. Vanderbilt’s private steamship, The Valiant:
SHIP 2

Bet we could fit lots of trunks filled with gowns, shoes and jewelry on that ship! Not to mention a complete staff to see to our every need and desire.

Sailing to Europe might have been the thing to do in fall and spring, but when summer came around Newport was definitely the place to be. Who needs Europe anyway when your house looks like this:

THE BREAKERS
(The Breakers, styled after the Italian Palazzos of the Renaissance)

Or this?

(Marble House, inspired by The Petit Trianon at the Palace of Versailles)
(Marble House, inspired by The Petit Trianon at the Palace of Versailles)

Or when your view is this:
VIEW

This is the world I love to spend my time in. It’s my own comfy gilded cage, my haven and my escape.

Thanks for escaping with me today! If you’d like to spend more time in Newport’s Gilded Age, no problem! Stop by my website where there’s lots to see, including an excerpt from book one in the series, Murder at the Breakers. Here’s where to find me online: http://alyssamaxwell.

You can also explore:

Metropolitan Museum – House of Worth: http://www.metmuseum.org/search-results?ft=house+of+worth&x=0&y=0

The American Carriage Association: http://www.caaonline.com/

New York Yacht Club: http://www.nyyc.org/

The Preservation Society of Newport: http://www.newportmansions.org/

(All pictures provided by Alyssa Maxwell.)

About Alyssa Maxwell
I began a love affair with the city of Newport while visiting friends there back in my high school days. Time and again the harbor‑side, gas‑lit neighborhoods drew me back, and on one of those later visits I met the man who would become my husband. Always a lover of history, I found that marrying into a large, generations‑old Newport family opened up an exciting world of historical discovery. From the graveyards whose earliest markers read from the seventeenth century, to original colonial houses still lived in today, to the Newport Artillery Company whose curator for many years was my husband’s grandfather, Newport became a place of fascination and romantic charm. Today, my hubby and I reside beneath the palms and bright skies of Florida, but part of my heart remains firmly in that small New England city of great historical significance. The first in the Gilded Newport Mysteries, Murder at the Breakers, AVAILABLE TODAY!! to be followed by Murder at Marble House in October of this year.

cover frontMurder at the Breakers
(A Gilded Newport Mystery)

A Brand New Series
Historical Cozy Mystery
Kensington Books (March 25, 2014)
Published by Kensington Publishing Corp.
Trade Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0758290823
E-Book File Size: 1188 KB
ASIN: B00FH1IBYE
Nook: ISBN-13: 9780758290830
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Newport, Rhode Island, August 1895:

She may be a less well-heeled relation, but as second cousin to millionaire patriarch Cornelius Vanderbilt, twenty-one-year-old Emma Cross is on the guest list for a grand ball at the Breakers, the Vanderbilts’ summer home. She also has a job to do—report on the event for the society page of the Newport Observer.

But Emma observes much more than glitz and gaiety when she witnesses a murder. The victim is Cornelius Vanderbilt’s financial secretary, who plunges off a balcony faster than falling stock prices. Emma’s black sheep brother Brady is found in Cornelius’s bedroom passed out next to a bottle of bourbon and stolen plans for a new railroad line. Brady has barely come to before the police have arrested him for the murder. But Emma is sure someone is trying to railroad her brother and resolves to find the real killer at any cost…

Dollycas’s Thoughts
What an awesome debut!!!

Emma Cross inherited much more than Gull Manor from her Aunt Sadie. She inherited her wit and her spunk as well. Her parents have traveled abroad to follow their own dreams and left her to handle everything on her own.  Using the small annuity left to her by her Aunt and the wages she earns writing about social events for the local paper she keeps up what she can at Gull Manor. She really is not Cornelius Vanderbilt’s niece. She is actually his second cousin “twice or thrice removed” but she calls him Uncle because she could never call the shipping magnate or his wife by just their first names. They invite her to parties, try to watch over her and hope to find her a suitable husband even though that is the furthest thing from her mind. She is very independent and has little fear of anything and seems to be wise beyond her years. She is a wonderful protagonist. I was engaged by her story immediately.

The author introduces us to many wonderful characters, the local Vanderbilt’s of course, Emma’s step brother Brady, her “cousin” Neily,  Nanny, who has been at Gull Manor forever, Emma’s maid, Katie, Officer Jessie Whyte, and Derrick “Anderson”. I look forward to getting to know more about all of them and their stories in future installments.

What I really loved about this book is that while the story is fictional it is based on fact. A party similar to the one in book actually took place. The author used her research to craft a mystery that was interwoven into a story of a family most of us are familiar with on some level, maybe not back to 1895, but they were one of the riches families in American history.

The mystery was a good one too. Emma was not afraid to keep digging and observed many things the local authorities either missed or ignored. She was not afraid to ask the hard questions even when those questions put her own life in danger. She also found an unexpected ally.

There was so much I loved about this book. It takes us back in time to a slower lifestyle when visiting meant harnessing up the horse to the buggy and traveling down a dirt road going house to house or manor to manor.

This is definitely an author to watch.  I can’t wait for Murder at Marble House (A Gilded Newport Mystery) out September 29.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Thanks to the author I have 2 copies to give away!

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

Leave a comment for Alyssa for 5 Bonus Entries !

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

Contest Will End April 9 , 2014 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 author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in Literary Escapes Reviews 2013

Review: Social Insecurity by Kate Eileen Shannon

Social Insecurity cover
Social Insecurity
(The Brigid Kildare Mystery Series)

1st book in the series
Cozy Mystery
Self Published
Paperback: 242 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1481099134
E-Book File Size: 323 KB
ASIN: B00C2DW8VW
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Brigid Kildare is a private eye, but not the typical chase down criminals and cheating husbands private eye. Brigid does the softer stuff, background searches, computer security, pre-employment screening, any investigation that can be done via the computer. She is also unique in that she is an amputee so the running with a prosthetic leg after “perps” just isn’t her thing.

Until now. Some of the elderly ladies in the neighborhood are disappearing. Women who have become friends with Brigid and she knows they wouldn’t just up and move away and not tell her. When she can’t get the police to believe her, even her own father who is the chief!, she launches an investigation on her own. She is a woman on a mission and she is not going to let anything or anybody hold her back.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Being a woman with a disability myself,  having grandmother that was an amputee, and a cozy lover  I just had to read this book. I found myself envying Brigid.  I was amazed by her prosthetic legs. My grandmother was an amputee after a car accident and her “new” legs were nothing like these. Science has come along way.

Brigid is out there, doing good things for good people. Her disability may slow her down just a bit,  but she just keeps right on going, sometimes putting herself in danger. You totally forget this woman is handicapped at all. Growing up with a dad on the police force and her other investigative work have taught her  how to follow the clues and put the puzzle together. A great sleuth!

Brigid is also surround by quite a group of eclectic characters. Her friends want to help and try to keep her out of trouble. The police just want her to let the whole thing go and then something happens and they realize she just may be right.

Earl, who is rumored to look like Rick Fox, is a detective who is trying to keep the whole thing in perspective. He has known Brigid almost his whole life and he knows she is not going to back away from this investigation. He recognizes that to keep her safe he needs to know what information she has and try to stay one step ahead of her.

This story is part of a serial so as the clues come together and this mystery is solved the next one is being set up.  The author has built a nice foundation in this debut for the characters to move forward.  The next book in the series, Meditated Murder, can’t hit my Kindle soon enough. Shannon has definitely left this reader wanting more!!

just you and a friend

4 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

 

About Kate Eileen Shannon
Kate Eileen Shannon is a Writer, Artist, and sometimes Real Estate Agent – as she says, ‘a purveyor of ephemera and bagatelle’. Trifles. Little things. Here today, gone tomorrow. In other words, a little of this, a bit of that.

She has had three husbands and two children; lived in Ireland, Rhode Island, and Florida; owned a brake repair shop, an art gallery, a farm, and a boat building business; been a Realtor, a title examiner, a real estate closer, and a government employee which led her straight to being unemployed, laid off, made redundant.

Kate is currently living in Rhode Island overlooking the water and a lighthouse; with her husband, Dick Thomas (who won’t let her have a cat); where she spends her time painting, drawing, and of course working on the next book in the Brigid Kildare mystery series, MEDITATED MURDER.

Online links:
Webpage http://kateshannon.com/
Blog http://kateeileenshannon.wordpress.com/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Brigid-Kildare-Mystery-Series/114105325364455
Twitter https://twitter.com/_KateShannon

The e-book is free for Amazon Prime Members right now!

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

Posted in Literary Escapes Reviews 2012

Review: Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult

Sing You Home
Emily Bestler Books
Washington Square Press
A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Reprint edition (October 18, 2011)
Contemporary Fiction
Paperback: 496 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1439102732

Sing You Home


 

Every life has a soundtrack. All you have to do is listen.

Music has set the tone for most of Zoe Baxter’s life. There’s the melody that reminds her of the summer she spent rubbing baby oil on her stomach in pursuit of the perfect tan. A dance beat that makes her think of using a fake ID to slip into a nightclub. A dirge that marked the years she spent trying to get pregnant.

For better or for worse, music is the language of memory. It is also the language of love.

In the aftermath of a series of personal tragedies, Zoe throws herself into her career as a music therapist. When an unexpected friendship slowly blossoms into love, she makes plans for a new life, but to her shock and inevitable rage, some people—even those she loves and trusts most—don’t want that to happen.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This book sat on my To-Be-Read shelf way too long and I am kicking myself. What a fantastic story! Picoult again shines as she takes on several hot topics, gay rights, alcoholism, Evangelical Christian beliefs, divorce, troubled teens and more. Same-sex marriage/definition of family was the main issue and the author showed all sides. This book came out in early 2011 and people’s views on the main premise of the story continue to evolve and had the outcome of the election been different this evolution may have stopped and took a giant step backward.

Zoe Baxter battle with infertility was heartbreaking and after 10 years of in vitro fertilization, several miscarriages, and a stillborn baby, her marriage just crumbles. Her husband, Max, is ready to give up on having a child and Zoe just can’t.

This story took me on a emotional roller coaster which is what this author’s stories always do. I become heavily invested in these character’s lives. I really wanted to hate Max but couldn’t. I hated the bigotry of the people around him and the way they used him to promote their own agenda at a time in his life when he was weak and needing guidance. Zoe’s life from her music therapy clients to her life with Vanessa warmed by heart. After all she had been through to be strong enough to still put other people’s needs first was so inspiring.

Sadly the accompanying CD did not come with my copy but it was not necessary to have music for me to be moved by this story. I devoured the almost 500 pages very quickly. I am sure many excellent book club discussions have taken place about this book as people’s feeling on these issues will run the gambit.

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

*This book was from my private collection.