Posted in Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Reviews 2014

Review – Volunteer For Murder by Tim Myers

volunteer for murderVolunteer for Murder
Mystery
E-Book File Size: 347 KB
Print Length: 182 pages
ASIN: B004I43TKM
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

When Vera Hobart stumbles into the soup kitchen, most folks think she’s drunk. When they take a closer look though, they realize that she’s been stabbed. As volunteers Seth Jackson and Gillian Graywolf dig into the murder, they find more than they ever could have imagined, or bargained for.

 

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I was looking for a book to complete my Alphabet Soup Challenge and found this book by Tim Myers. I have enjoyed books he has written as himself and under his various pseudonyms so I grabbed this one.

When Vera Hobart is killed the police turn immediately to the homeless community the soup kitchen serves for suspects because the knife used looks like one Penny, a soup kitchen regular carries. When Penny doesn’t show up that day for her meal it makes her look even more guilty. Seth, a retired cop and Gillian can’t believe Penny would kill anyone and with the help of a homeless man, Penny’s friend Ace, they are going to prove it.

Myers takes us into the homeless world but also into Vera’ Hobart’s richer world where they find quite a few more suspects. He has created characters with many layers. I really enjoyed Seth and Gillian’s relationship.  Gillian’s father was a cop too and he taught her well. The make a fantastic investigating  team much to the dislike of the detective assigned to the case. Seth retired early from the force after he had been shot on the job and that happened around the same day his first wife passed away and you can tell the wounds are still deep.  The rest are the characters are fully developed too.

Tim Myers is an expert at keeping us readers guessing.I changed my mind on the guilty party several times.

He does add this caveat an the Amazon for this book: This traditional mystery is just a little racier than my standard fare, but it still should be acceptable to many of my cozy readers! and he is right but it was more than acceptable. I really enjoyed this story. This is a stand alone book but I would love to revisit Seth and Gillian when they return from their vacation. This book was written back in 2011 so that is probably pretty unlikely. I an glad I “met” them for this story.

just you and a friend4 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about Tim Myers and his stories on his webpage here.



*This book was from my personal collection.

Posted in Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Reviews 2014

Undertaking Irene by Pamela Burford – Great Escapes Book Tour – Review/Giveaway

undertaking irene large banner 640Today I am thrilled to host the stop for Undertaking Irene on
the Great Escapes Book Tour!

undertaking-ireneUndertaking Irene
(Jane Delaney Mysteries Book 1)

Cozy Mystery
Self Published
E-Book File Size: 821 KB
Print Length: 260 pages
ASIN: B00MD5VDNS
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

Jane Delaney does things her paying customers can’t do, don’t want to do, don’t want to be seen doing, can’t bring themselves to do, and/or don’t want it to be known they’d paid someone to do. To dead people.

Life gets complicated for Jane and her Death Diva business when she’s hired to liberate a gaudy mermaid brooch from the corpse during a wake. Well, a girl’s got to make a living, and this assignment pays better than scattering ashes, placing flowers on graves, or bawling her eyes out as a hired mourner.

Unfortunately for Jane, someone else is just as eager to get his hands on that brooch, and he’s even sneakier than she is. Just when she thinks her biggest problem is grand theft mermaid, things take a murderous turn.

But hey, when you’ve teamed up with a neurotic seven-pound poodle named Sexy Beast, how can you go wrong?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

There are so many things I liked about this book. Quirky characters, an intriguing mystery, and snappy dialogue all drew me in to this story.

Jane Delaney is quite a character and she has a very interesting job. She is a Death Diva. I had heard of hiring mourners to cry at funerals but never a Death Diva. She has quite a vast array of services that she offers, like stealing a brooch off of a dead lady during the wake. She has one client that keeps her quite busy or has in the past. If you think these are unusual characters there are more, a “priest” who is very easy on the eyes, a concierge doctor named Jonah, Patrick O’Rourke, son of the deceased who happens to have a huge secret, his daughter, his wife and let’s not forget Sexy Beast, a tiny apricot poodle who needs a trip to a groomer and soon.

The mystery starts when Jane finds a dead body that is ruled as a death from natural causes, but Jane just can’t accept that and decides if the police are not going to investigate she will. The plot is full of twists and diversions. At times I wasn’t sure if  it was really a murder or not, but Jane kept digging and then the chase was on to figure out just which suspect was guilty.

This was a quick read, told from Jane’s point of view, and I enjoyed very much! The author has laid a firm foundation for the series to unfold. I look forward to the next  job Jane undertakes!

just you and a friend

4 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

pam-burford

About This Author

Pamela Burford is the best-selling author of 15 works of mystery, contemporary romance, and romantic suspense. She has received four RITA and Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award nominations and is a frequent speaker at writers’ conferences and workshops. Her books have sold millions of copies, received outstanding reviews, and been translated into more than a dozen languages. Pamela is the founder and past president of Long Island Romance Writers, a chapter of Romance Writers of America. Fun fact: her twin sister Patricia Ryan, a.k.a. P.B. Ryan, is also a published novelist

Author Links

http://www.pamelaburford.com

http://www.facebook.com/pamelaburford

https://twitter.com/PamelaBurford

https://www.goodreads.com/PamelaBurford

http://pinterest.com/pamelaburford

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to check out the rest of the tour!!
Tour Participants

August 18 – readalot blog – Review
August 19 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Interview
August 20 – Queen of All She Reads – Review
August 21 – Kelly P’s Blog – Interview
August 22 – StoreyBook Reviews – Review
August 23 – Mystery Playground – Interview
August 24 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Review
August 25 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – Interview
August 26 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review
August 27 – rantin’ ravin’ and reading – Review
August 28 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – Interview
August 29 – Brooke Blogs – Review, Interview
August 30 – deal sharing aunt – Spotlight
August 31 – Dalene’s Book Reviews – Review

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 Finish The Series Challenge Giveaways Reviews 2014 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Review/Giveaway – Class Reunions Can Be Murder by Susan Santangelo

class reunionsClass Reunions Can Be Murder –
Every Wife Has A Story. A Carol and Jim Andrews Baby Boomer Mystery

4th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Baby Boomer Mysteries Press (June 30, 2013)
Mass Market Paperback: 240 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0985779917
E-Book File Size: 2947 KB
ASIN: B00DVLLK0Y
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

Class Reunions Can Be Murder — Every Wife Has A Story continues the humorous Baby Boomer mystery series featuring Carol Andrews and her beloved husband, Jim, as they navigate their way along life’s rocky highway toward their twilight years. In this fourth book, Carol has no interest in her upcoming fortieth high school reunion. Her memories of days at Mount Saint Francis Academy are mixed, to put it mildly. But BFF Nancy convinces her to join the reunion planning committee, so she’ll have some say in how the event is organized. All is going smoothly until the dead body of one of their classmates is found the night before the reunion — in Carol and Nancy’s room!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I recently attended my 35th Class Reunion so it was easy to relate to this story. Thankfully no dead bodies were found at our party so it was much more fun than Carol’s.

Satangelo tells the story from Carol’s point of view, in fact Carol talks directly to reader throughout the story.

Jim and Carol are finding their way through retirement. They each sort of do their own thing, but Jim is a little put out when he finds spouses are not invited to the reunion. It was an all girl’s school but he did know one of Carol’s classmates, he even dated her for awhile, so he kind of wanted to see her, and there must be other husbands that wanted to attend too. When the reunion starts with a dead body Jim is more concerned with keeping Carol from sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong.

Santangelo tells a fine story. We have gotten to know these characters quite well over the span of the series. I really didn’t like Jim at first but he has grown on me.  Carol doesn’t seem to call him her “Beloved” as often and that really helps. I really enjoy Sister Rose. She reminds me of Sister Paulette that I knew during my teenage years. Those sisters can lay on guilt and get us to do almost anything. I have almost forgiven Carol for not letting us share in her daughter’s wedding in Marriage Can Be Murder. She was a little more forthcoming this time about the reunion.

This has been an entertaining series, I think baby boomers will enjoy all four books.

just you and a friend4 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about Susan Santangelo on her webpage here.

I am giving away my review copies of
Marriage Can Be Murder and Class Reunions Can Be Murder.

There will be 2 Winners!!

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.

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

Contest Will End August 30, 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 Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Reviews 2014 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Bewitching Boots by Joyce and Jim Lavene Great Escapes Book Tour – Review/Giveaway

bewitching boots large banner640I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS SERIES!!

BEWITCHING BOOTSBewitching Boots
(Renaissance Faire Mystery)
(Volume 8)

Paperback: 222 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1500683412
E-Book File Size: 381 KB
ASIN: B00M9NZN4E
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

Jessie Morton is thrilled when she finds Bill Warren, an old fashioned shoemaker, and he agrees to come back to Renaissance Faire Village with her. She’s not so thrilled when claims to have elf magic, and he falls for Princess Isabelle. The dancing slippers Bill makes for Isabelle make him a suspect when the princess takes a leap from the castle terrace. Now, Jessie must find the lady or lord who helped the princess with her last dance before she loses her star attraction.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Do you believe in magic? Bill Warren believes and after this story you may believe magic really happens at the Renaissance Faire.

This is one of my favorite cozy series. I love visiting Adventureland’s Ren Faire because there is always fun mixed in with the mystery.

This story starts out after Jessie and Chase’s wedding and already rumors are spreading that they are breaking up. Chase is training new knights and Jessie is wrapped up with the museum but as soon as they find time they are going to nip those rumors in the bud.  When Princess Isabelle is found dead catching the killer becomes their #1 priority. Detective Almond is trying to catch a killer with Chase’s assistance but Jessie is doing her own investigation.

All our favorite characters are back including Wanda, the blue ghost, and they are joined by some great new characters too! It is that time of year when new people are auditioning to became actors or acts at the faire and there are some very unusual “creatures” roaming the cobblestones.

The story is so well written and contains such vivid detail that you feel like you are right there and all the drama is happening right around you. You can almost taste the jumbo turkey legs and ale,  hear the minstrels playing all over the grounds and smell the bread the monks are baking.   I can clearly see the jousting matches and the secret tunnels in the castle. There are also some things that only certain people can see like a certain dragon and we get to see them all through Jessie’s eyes.

The Lavenes are excellent storytellers. Mystery, humor, romance, with a bit a paranormal are all blended together perfectly. This entire series has been pure pleasure to read.

I recommend highly everything written by these authors. You just can’t go wrong with a Joyce and Jim Lavene mystery. (Or a J.J. Cook or an Ellie Grant, yep, that’s them too!)

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the authors:
Joyce and Jim Lavene write award-winning, best-selling mystery fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook and Ellie Grant. They have written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon, and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family. Visit them at www.joyceandjimlavene.com.
Plus
Website: http://www.renaissancefairemysteries.com/
Blog: www.romanceofmystery.blogspot.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joyceandjimlavene
Twitter: @authorjlavene
Amazon : amazon.com/author/jlavene

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the rest of the tour!!!

Tour Participants

August 5 – Booklady’s Booknotes – Review, Guest Post
August 6 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review
August 7 – readalot blog – Review
August 8 – deal sharing aunt – Interview, Giveaway
August 9 – a chick who reads – Review
August 10 – Books-n-Kisses – Review, Guest Post, Giveaway
August 11 – Bea’s Book Nook – Review
August 12 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review
August 13 – Chloe Gets A Clue – Interview
August 14 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Review
August 14 – Victoria’s Pages of Romance – Guest Post
August 15 – Back Porchervations – Review
August 15 – Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf – Guest Post
August 16 – Brooke Blogs – Review
August 17 – Teresa Trent Author Site – Interview
August 18 – Community Bookstop – Review
August 19 – Cicero’s Children – Interview
August 20 – dru’s book musings – Guest Post

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 Literary Escapes Reviews 2014

Review – Dakota Blues by Lynee M. Spreen

DAKOTA BLUESDakota Blues
Women’s Fiction
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (July 17, 2012)
Paperback: 306 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1475191332
E-Book File Size: 2240 KB
ASIN: B008RCZGU2
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

Workaholic Karen Grace is fired after attending her mother’s funeral in her Midwestern hometown. Now Karen is fifteen hundred miles from home, just one more middle-aged worker out of a job in a tough economy. To make matters worse, her husband recently left her for his pregnant girlfriend.

At a crossroads, Karen must find the courage to change her life. Needing time to think, she agrees to take an elderly neighbor on one last road trip, but on a deserted highway in Wyoming, Karen is forced to make a lethal and life-changing decision.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

It is hard to believe that someone can be fired for attending their mother’s funeral and taking care of final details but it happens and it happens way too often. Thankfully Karen is a strong woman and confident in her skills. Losing her job gave her a huge wake-up call. Life was passing her by and she was just letting happen. Her marriage fell apart and her mother passed away. How many other things did she miss while she buried in work and at her boss’s beck and call? She was a caring person but she forgot to care about herself and her family.

It does take courage to move on and courage to take some time for yourself and help someone you barely even know. Frieda was quite a woman and truthfully she reminded me a bit of my mother. There are things woman over 80 can get away with.  Frieda at 90 was a woman with a mission and just because her best friend had died wasn’t going to stop her from getting where she wanted to go. I love the way she just kept at Karen until she got her way.  The trip was short and did have a few challenges and a scare but both women grew on this journey.

This story really touched me personally. As many of you know I am paralyzed on my right side and several years ago there was an added complication where the doctor told me to live each day like it could be my last. Thankfully I am still here and there is still time. Unfortunately I am unable to take off the way Karen does in this story but she sure has given some hope and ideas.  There is a group of ladies in this story I wish I could join. Maybe someday.

This book won the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Finalist Award for Women’s Issues. It was well deserved. I can’t believe this was Lynne Spreen’s debut novel.  She has written a wonderful story. I enjoyed the German references, several immigrants ended up here in Wisconsin, including my ancestors. She also gave me a different picture in my mind of North Dakota.  I was inspired by the book and think you will be too!!

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

To Find out more about Lynne visit her blog here.

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

Posted in Reviews 2014

Review: Marriage Can Be Murder by Susan Santangelo

Marriage Can Be Murder, Every Wife Has A Story
3rd Book in Series
Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Baby Boomer Mysteries Press (July 1, 2012)
Mass Market Paperback: 237 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0985779900
E-Book File Size: 455 KB
ASIN: B008LC1OK4
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

 

Empty-nester Carol Andrews is thrilled when daughter Jenny announces her engagement. She’s dreamed of planning her daughter’s wedding since the day Jenny was born. But with only two months to pull together a destination wedding on Nantucket, Jenny insists on hiring Cinderella Weddings to organize the event. Father-of-the-bride Jim objects to the cost, and Carol objects to having her opinion ignored. When Carol finds the wedding planner dead at the bottom of a creepy staircase at a Nantucket inn, and the cheating husband of Carol’s BFF Nancy is accused of her death, Carol has more to worry about than getting to the church on time!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I have really enjoyed the Baby Boomer Mystery Series. I really enjoyed this one until the last few chapters too.

Carol Andrews is a great character and her “Beloved” Jim wasn’t even driving me crazy this time as he had in previous installments.  I enjoy that the story is told from Carol’s point of view and the reader is even treated to what she is thinking. She also converses directly with the reader at times. This really makes her sense of humor shine and makes us chuckle as well.

I love the idea of a destination wedding and Nantucket sounds like an ideal place to have one.

Santangelo crafted a great murder too and was very clever to connect the current murder to another death that happened  in the exact same place many years ago. The book was well written and was flowing perfectly.

Then suddenly the topic of cyber-bullying is introduced and the whole thing started to fall apart for me. I just didn’t believe the final outcome of the mystery. This theme needed to be developed more and sooner in the story to make it credible for me.

But the thing that really turned me off was the way two very important parts of the story, events that were building throughout  the entire book are wrapped up in the final chapter with Carol basically telling us what happened or what her “beloved” allowed her share with us. I really felt cheated. Like I was one of the wedding guests cut from the final list of invitations but was invited over to look at the pictures months after the event happened. This isn’t meant to be a spoiler but it really fits one of the two important things that happened.

I have the next book in the series, Class Reunions Can Be Murder, coming up in my reading schedule soon and I sure hope it doesn’t end like this one. I really like Carol and her family including her canine kids.

still at the beach but not as tranquil3 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent


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

Posted in Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge E-Book Challenge Reviews 2014 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Review: Organized For Murder by Ritter Aames

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000031_00001]Organized for Murder:
Organized Mysteries book #1 (Volume 1)

New Cozy Mystery Series
Gemma Halliday Publishing (February 23, 2014)
Paperback: 254 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1495379956
File Size: 1728 KB
Amazon – ASIN: B00ILBRNXC
BN ID: 2940148290353
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

Organization expert Kate McKenzie is on track to make her new business, STACKED IN YOUR FAVOR, a hit in small-town Vermont. But when her first client, the wealthy Amelia Nethercutt, is found dead, the job takes a decidedly sinister turn.

Kate thought she and her family were making a fresh start in her husband’s hometown, but she quickly learns that small towns can hold big secrets. When her first client is poisoned just after Kate leaves her mansion, she knows she’s gotten off to a bad start. But things only get worse when the police find Kate’s fingerprints on the murder weapon, suddenly putting her in the position of suspect number one. The stopwatch is ticking for Kate to prove she had nothing to do with the murder, and the odds are further stacked against her when items stolen from the Nethercutt mansion start showing up in the McKenzie home. Now, Kate must trust her methodical skills and expert eye to sort out who is trying to frame her and to find the real killer before she’s organized right into a jail cell.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

A nice start for this new series!

Kate is a very likeable protagonist. Her first organization job turns out to be huge and she needs to bring in her friend Eve and her nemesis Valerie as well to help her inventory the vast collections at the Nethercutt mansion. I enjoyed Eve and Kate friendly relationship and the way they dealt with Valerie, who was really there as a spy for Sophia, Amelia Nethercutt’s stepdaughter. The entire Nethercutt family are all very interesting characters. They all made viable suspects.

The plot was well paced and I enjoyed the way Kate followed the clues in a very organized fashion. The author added some great twists, I was surprised by the actual murderer.

I enjoyed all the organizational tips that started each chapter. They could easily be spun off into another book. Several will be introduced into my own household.

just you and a friend4 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About The Author

Ritter Ames lives in a small town in the middle of America, but spends each day globe trotting the art world from her laptop, with her cat riding shotgun and Pandora blasting from the speakers. COUNTERFEIT CONSPIRACIES is her first full-length fiction. A second cozy mystery series, starting with ORGANIZED FOR MURDER will be released by Gemma Halliday Publishing in January 2014. She tries to blog regularly at http://ritterames.wordpress.com/ and uses her Pinterest boards at http://www.pinterest.com/ritterames/ to capture great places and ideas she wants to use in both series. Follow her blog and boards to learn more about Ritter and her upcoming books.

Author Links:

Web page: http://ritterames.wordpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ritter.ames

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RitterAmes

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/ritterames/


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

Posted in Just For Fun Challenge Literary Escapes

Review: Ms. America and the Offing on Oahu by Diana Dempsey

ms. america
Ms America and the Offing on Oahu
(Beauty Queen Mysteries)

First in the Series
Cozy Mystery
Self-Published (December 6, 2012)
Paperback: 296 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1480209923
E-Book File Size: 830 KB
ASIN: B0055DJOEU
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

Ms. Ohio Happy Pennington finds out it’s not all sequins and silicone when she competes on Oahu for the Ms America crown—the first national title of her life.

When her fiercest competitor tumbles dead out of the isolation booth during the televised pageant finale, Honolulu PD gets to thinking Happy might have killed her.

Happy has to clear her name and catch the killer and make sure they are very UN -Happy!!!

Dollycas’s Thoughts
This book was my choice for my December Just For Fun Reading Challenge and it really was a fun read! It reminded me of the Miss Congeniality movies staring Sandra Bullock. A behind the scenes look at Beauty Pageants with older contestants who still can fit into a pageant bathing suit and embarrass their kids like crazy.

Happy Pennington was a sassy protagonist and the rest of the characters run the gambit – a varied group of beauty queens, a chopper pilot, the pageant emcee with a huge secret, Happy’s hubby and her mother who doesn’t think much of Happy’s hubby.

The mystery was full of suspects starting with several contestants and their handlers. Happy needed a spreadsheet to track them all. Very well plotted.

A great read to take your mind off the cold weather. A virtual trip to Hawaii in December should warm you up nicely.
just you and a friend
4 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

To find out more about Diana Dempsey and her book visit her webpage here.

*This book was from my private collection.

just for fun 20132013where are you reading

Posted in Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Reviews 2013

Cozy Wednesday with Chicken Caccia-Killer Author Liz Lipperman (Giveaway too!)

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!!

My friend, Liz Lipperman, has a new Clueless Cook Mystery out
and you are going to love it!!

I am so happy she could squeeze in time to visit tight before the holidays!!!

DIFFERENT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT FOLKS
By Liz Lipperman

 

liz lippermanFirst of all, I want to thank Dollycas for having me on her blog today. She’s such a diversified reader, and I love her reviews. Now onto the post.

Last week we had an arctic storm blow into the Dallas area that crippled the entire Metroplex for three days. I posted this picture on my Facebook page because it is so funny — and true about Texans and snow. But in our defense, we don’t see many snow/ice storms, and consequently, DOT has a limited number of snowplows to routinely clean up the roads the way you northerners have.

pic for 12182013

Plus we can go from sleeveless one day to ski clothes the next — which is exactly what happened here. It was 80° on Wednesday and 28° on Thursday after the storm arrived.

I tell you this because I had a rude awakening when I went into the grocery store Thursday morning intending to buy the food for our weather-related house arrest.

chickenThe grocery store I use didn’t look as bad as the one above, but it was severely depleted. They didn’t even have green peppers, for heaven’s sake. No red, orange, or yellow either. It made me wonder what people were eating while they were stuck in their houses. Since I live in Texas where we have a large Hispanic population and I was planning on making chicken fajitas and figured everyone else was, too, that explained the no peppers.

All this got me thinking about what stores in different areas around the country would look like in this situation. Would there be no oranges in Florida? No pizza in Chicago? No Kolaches  in West, Texas, where there’s a big Czech population? No hot dogs in New York?

Again this got me thinking — which is dangerous all by itself. Here in the United States, we have so many different cultural groups that influence what is marketed in different areas of the country.

So I did some more thinking about how this might relate to reading books— geez! (It’s a wonder I didn’t blow a brain fuse.) What if everyone only liked to read literary fiction? Or biographies? Or how-to books?

First of all, I would be dead meat, since I write mystery/suspense. But wouldn’t the world be a dull place if you walked into a Barnes & Noble with only those types of books. No Clive Custer, Janet Evanovich, or Nora Roberts. I, for one, would be devastated. Although my TBR pile is composed mostly of mysteries and thrillers, occasionally I venture out into other genres, especially those written by my friends.

Thank heavens we have so many choices, and the world is filled with people like you guys who read a book just because it’s good. Who get invested in the story because you fall in love with the characters and not because it’s a certain genre.

In the New Age of publishing there is so much more out there in all genres. Sometimes it’s even free. And prices have come down on a lot of books, especially digital downloads, all of which is conducive to trying new stuff and new authors.  I love that. It’s really all about good characters and good writing, anyway. The only difference between a paranormal mystery and a regular mystery, for example, is the way the story is presented. A killer is a killer even though he may be a dragon or have supernatural powers. Am I making my point or just confusing you?

I’ll close with a little story about my six-year-old grandson, who always gives me lots of material to work with. We were on a family vacation last summer, and I had popped a bag of popcorn that had been on the shelf for a long time. I followed the microwave directions to a T, but somehow, I ended up with burnt popcorn — and you know how bad that can smell. Anyway here’s the conversation between my grandson and me.

Him: “Nana, why’d you burn the popcorn?”

Me: “I did exactly what they told me to do.”

He crinkled his brow and asked, “Someone told you to burn the popcorn?”

See how words can be interpreted differently? And with that, I’ll end with a question. Are you eclectic with your reading preferences, or do you stick to one or two genres only? One lucky commenter will receive a copy of CHICKEN CACCIA-KILLER, my latest cozy release.

~Liz

Liz is one busy author with several books coming in 2014 too!! Check out her webpage here to find out more about Liz and all her books.

chicken
Chicken Caccia-Killer
(A Clueless Cook Mystery) (Volume 4)

4th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Self Publshed (December 5, 2013)
Paperback: 236 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1494286064
E-Book File Size: 498 KB
ASIN: B00H2DZLHA
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

 

Forced to fight to keep her job as the culinary reporter at the Ranchero Globe, Jordan must cover the International Italian Festival coming to town. But along with the festivities and great Italian food, she has to deal with meeting her boyfriend Alex’s mother and sister for the first time.

When an arrogant Italian playboy falls to his death from a suite at a swanky hotel during a pre-festivities party and Alex’s sister Kate is charged with his murder, Jordan springs into action to find clues that could prove her innocence. But the real killer doesn’t appreciate that she getting too close. Can Jordan and her motley crew of friends thwart his efforts and catch the killer before he succeeds?

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Liz Lipperman writes some of the funniest stories I have ever read and this one is no exemption. She puts Jordan is some of the craziest predicaments, dangerous and hilarious. Jordan is always right in the middle of the trouble, even when she doesn’t even have to cook.

Meeting Alex’s mother and sister had her nervous to begin with but then his sister just happens to have a fight with a guy right before he topples to his death. Jordan knows there has to be more to the story so she has to get involved in the investigation. She just can’t help herself. She also has a sidekick to help her investigate, Alex’s mother, which both hastens and hampers her efforts. Natalie is a hoot!!

This whodunit has plenty of twists and turns. Secrets are revealed and there are plenty more suspects that just poor Kate. It seems the dead guy’s playboy status more than rivals Hugh Hefner’s. He was one busy fella!  Although some of enemies were also male! 

Chase away those winter blues with this wonderful cozy. Be sure to try out recipes too!! Carlita’s Italian Cake Balls sound scrumptious. There is also one for Ginny’s Braided Spaghetti Bread made with Rhodes Dinner Rolls. This put quite a smile on my face as this reviewer worked for Rhodes for almost 15 years 🙂

a perfect escape
5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Thanks to the author I have 1 copy to give away!

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

Answer Liz’s Question!

Are you eclectic with your reading preferences,
or do you stick to one or two genres only?

One lucky commenter will receive a copy of CHICKEN CACCIA-KILLER, my latest cozy release.

Contest Will End January 1, 2013 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.

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

Posted in Reviews 2013

Review: Snowflakes and Coffee Cakes by Joanne Demaio

snowflakes and coffee cakes
Snowflakes and Coffee Cakes
Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (November 14, 2013)
Paperback: 208 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1492933175
E-Book File Size: 473 KB
ASIN: B00FXXY4UG
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

 

Vera Sterling has gone home to Addison Cove for her sister’s wedding. There is really no reason to return to the “big city”. She has lost her job as a journalist and doesn’t know what she wants to do next. Then she passes this big old house and barn on her way out of town and it has a FOR SALE sign in front of it. She impulsively turns around and uses most of her severance pay to purchase the house. Her sister thinks she has lost her mind but likes the idea of having her sister close by.

It isn’t long before a course of events change Vera’s life and that of a few others in Addison Cove in unexpected ways.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Heartwarming is the very best way to describe this book. I had to be careful in my synopsis of this book because some times they just seem to give too much away. Part of the magic of this book is discovering the connections and the relationships and the lives of the characters as you read the story.

Vera’s relationship with her dad just plain made me smile. He is a meteorologist who loves winter and will have you looking at snowflakes in a whole different way. Yes, we know no 2 are alike and when piled together they can be used to make snowmen and snow angels. They can also drift together and be back breaking to move. But this story shines them in a whole new light. I am not a winter person but I love watching it snow and snowflakes coming down  can be beautiful.

Addison Cove is full of wonderful people and there is something special that brings them together at this time of year. Vera finds there is a way for her to make the occasion even more special.

Love, loss, forgiveness, understanding, friendship and the power of a snowflake come together to make this magical season oh so special, You just have to believe “because snowflakes can grant very special wishes …”

A perfect holiday book. One that you will want to read every year about this time. Definitely one for the “keeper shelf”.
a perfect escape
5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

 

About This Author

Joanne DeMaio is the award-winning author of Snowflakes and Coffee CakesBlue Jeans and Coffee Beans and the bestselling novel Whole Latte Life, which won First Place in the 2012 Discovery Awards and was named a Kirkus Reviews Critics’ Pick. It has also been featured in USA Today, The Huffington Post and other outlets. Blue Jeans and Coffee Beansis her second novel. Both books explore the intricate relationships between mothers and daughters, sisters and friends. In addition, her music essays have appeared in literary journals, celebrating her passion for song. Joanne lives with her family in Connecticut and is currently at work on her next book.

Find out more at her webpage here.

Connect with her on: 25 (2)

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.”