Jan 112019
 


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

Nipped in the Bud (An Orchard Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
12th in Series
Setting – Massachusetts
Beyond the Page Publishing (October 24, 2018)
Paperback: 212 pages
ISBN-10: 1946069876
ISBN-13: 978-1946069870
Kindle ASIN: B07JFP1BQ4

The New York Times bestselling author of A Late Frost returns with orchard owner Meg Chapin trying to stem the tide of crime . . .

Winter still has a firm stranglehold on the small town of Granford, and newly married orchard owner Meg Chapin is restless to begin her spring pruning and planting, while Seth busies himself with a new project of his own. But their relative peace is shattered when a gunshot breaks the winter silence and they discover the body of a dead woman on their land. What’s just as troubling is that the state police have hushed up the murder and are warning Meg not to investigate.

Never one to sit by idly with a killer on the loose, Meg starts digging for clues and probing for answers as discreetly as she can. When the victim turns out to have been an undercover reporter doing a story on the blossoming trade in illegal drugs in the area, Meg’s stunned to learn that this very modern crime has come to sleepy Granford. Unwilling to accept that the nasty business has put down roots so close to home—and led to a murder that occurred literally in her own backyard—Meg is determined to nip it in the bud before the town she knows and loves turns rotten . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

It is always good to catch up with Meg and Seth. The newly married couple is trying to fill their days as they anxiously await Spring to come to Granford, Massachusetts. Meg has a new orchard manager and he and Seth are building him a “tiny house” to give him and the couple their privacy.

Seth and Meg are out for a walk with their dog Max when they hear a gunshot and Max takes off to investigate. Seth is not far behind. He is stunned when he finds Max standing near a woman’s body. He notifies police, and they first decide it must have been a hunting accident. The warn Meg to stay out of their investigation, but with all the free time on her hands and the fact that the woman was killed on her property, there is no way she is going to sit this one out. She is going to nip this death in the bud come hell or high water.

I am thrilled this series has found a new home!

This is such a comfortable cozy. The characters are friendly, believable, and genuine. Meg and Seth going about their lives, still sorting things out now that they are married and dealing with the downtime of winter. They are still getting to know Larry the new orchard manager. He does not live in their house as Bree did. He is renting a room in Seth’s house along with a few other guys until his tiny house is built. I love that they are using the foundation of the old chicken coop to build the house on.

Not so cozy is finding another dead body. Ms. Connolly has produced a delightful mystery for her readers to enjoy. With this one happening so close to Meg and Seth’s home, it keeps the characters and us readers on high alert. The state police add to the intrigue by trying to keep the murder under wraps but Meg is keen to follow each twist and turn herself. What she finds opens several sets of eyes about things happening in the sweet little town of Granford. The story is so well-written and thought-provoking too.

The story was perfectly paced. I liked that it took place in the offseason for the orchard. It gave Meg plenty of time to snoop, but with Bree gone and Larry being so quiet, she worried a lot about things that needed to get done.

Strong characters and a great mystery. A grand addition to this series. Fill up your bushel basket and enjoy them all!

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

 

About the Author

Sheila Connolly, Anthony and Agatha Award-nominated and New York Times bestselling author, writes mystery series set in Philadelphia (the Museum Mysteries), rural Massachusetts (the Orchard Mysteries), and Ireland (the County Cork Mysteries), as well as a paranormal romance series (the Relatively Dead series). She will introduce a new Victorian Village series set in Maryland in 2018. In addition, her short stories have appeared in multiple anthologies. Formerly a professional genealogist, she lives in Massachusetts, surrounded by many, many departed ancestors, with her husband and three cats, and owns a cottage in West Cork in Ireland, where her father’s family came from.

Author Links

Website Facebook Twitter


GIVEAWAY
I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy sent directly from Amazon. 

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.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

Sign Up For Sheila’s Newsletter for 5 more 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 January 25, 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.”

 

Jan 102019
 


The Lost Traveller: A County Cork Mystery
Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Setting – Ireland
Crooked Lane Books (January 8, 2019)
Hardcover: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1683318900
ISBN-13: 978-1683318903
Kindle ASIN: B07D2J14S8

Danger comes to Cork in the seventh County Cork mystery from New York Times bestselling author Sheila Connolly, and it’s up to Maura Donovan to find a way to protect all she’s worked for.

Pub owner Maura Donovan is settling into a charmed life in Ireland—until a mutilated body on her property ends her lucky streak.

Boston expat Maura Donovan came to Ireland to honor her grandmother’s last wish, but she never expected to stay in provincial County Cork—much less to inherit a house and a pub, Sullivan’s, in the small village of Leap. After a year-long struggle to stay in the black, Sullivan’s is finally thriving, and Maura has even brought back traditional Irish music to the pub. With a crop of new friends and a budding relationship with handsome Mick Nolan, Maura’s life seems rosier than ever—but even in Ireland, you can’t always trust your luck.

It begins with Maura’s discovery of a body in the ravine behind the pub. And then, the Irish gardaí reveal that the victim’s face has been battered beyond recognition. Who is the faceless victim? Who wanted him dead? And why was his body dumped in the backyard of Sullivan’s Pub? Even after the dead man is finally given a name, nobody admits to knowing him. In the tight-knit world of Leap, no one is talking—and now it’s up to Maura to uncover the dark secrets that lurk beneath the seemingly quiet town.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

After less than a year in Ireland Maura has been involved in solving several murders. This time the body is found in the ravine behind the pub and the man is unrecognizable due to his face being beaten to a pulp. It is hard to find a killer when you can’t identify the victim but that doesn’t keep Maura from trying.

I love this series, but this installment had a couple of issues for me. First, Maura is a smart woman, she was brave enough to travel to Ireland and take over the pub she inherited, but in this story, she surprised me.  Things she should have known like where her employees live and where Indiana is located within the U.S. were just two examples. Leap is not that big of a town to know where people reside, especially a man she is romantically involved with, and the majority of high school graduates should be able to visualize a map of the country they grew up in. She also seemed muddled about where she wanted to take her business, whether to add a kitchen or not, even though her employee, Rose, is in training to be a cook for the pub.

I love Rose, seventeen and going places. She is filled with ideas, confident, willing to learn, and such a hard worker. I think she has grown so much over this series while Maura seems to be going backward.

I really enjoyed learning about The Travellers and the way they are different from gypsies. A very interesting life, I wish we would have met more Travellers and learned their stories.

The mystery was hard to solve even after the man was identified, virtually no suspects. Maura’s theory kind of came out of blue along with the theme the ran throughout the book. She kept talking about it to everyone, so at times it got a little repetitious, but she didn’t give up and soon all the matters fell into place for a  very unusual ending that I really appreciated. The theme is a current hot topic in the states and it was interesting to learn about it with an Irish twist.

My issues with Maura’s character development aside, this was an entertaining story that kept my attention. It was unique in several ways and I enjoyed that.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Note – The first four of this series were published by Berkley Prime Crime.
The series continues with books 5, 6 and 7 published by Crooked Lane Books.

 About The Author

Sheila is the author of many fantastic reads. She not only writes County Cork Mysteries but the Orchard Mysteries and the Museum Mysteries too. Visit Sheila’s webpage here to find out more about her and her books.

 



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.

Follow Crooked Lane on Twitter on Twitter 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 January 24, 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.”

Jan 162018
 

Many a Twist: A County Cork Mystery
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Setting – Ireland
Crooked Lane Books (January 9, 2018)
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683314530
Kindle ASIN: B072LTRZXS

 

 

Pub owner Maura Donovan hasn’t seen her mother for over twenty years, so when she suddenly shows up in Maura’s pub, Maura’s not sure what to expect. Her mother is trying to find a life for herself back home and has taken up a position working with the new owners of the Crann Mor hotel just outside Skibbereen. Until her new boss is found dead in the gardens, dumped down the hillside behind the hotel.

Now, trying to rekindle the relationship they’ve lost, Maura must investigate in order to clear her mother’s name. It’s not so easy though, as long-time residents of County Cork, including the families of her employee Mick, and the family of the deceased hotel owner, have bottled deep dark family secrets not meant to be uncorked. And someone will kill to keep them that way.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

What a story! Maura Donovan’s mother left her with her grandmother when she was just 2 years old. Now after all these years she shows up in Ireland working on the acquisition of a local hotel. When the head of the company ends up dead Maura’s mother has to tell her who she is before she reveals it to the police. The death has yet to be labeled as a murder but after Maura’s previous relationship with the local garda, she is looped right into the investigation.  She also has her hands full helping her best friend get ready for the birth of her baby, and Mick reveals something about his past that Maura never expected. Family secrets play a major part in this book and as they are revealed things could get dangerous.

Many A Twist is the perfect title for this story. There were twists on top of twists and a few turns thrown in as well. The main plot and the subplots twist up to create a very entertaining story. One that is very hard to put down.

The character development over the span of this series is excellent. Just a year ago Maura arrived in Leap unsure of herself and unsure if she was going to stay in Ireland. Since that time she has made many friends, has expanded her business, and helped out with several police investigations.  She has made herself at home in her little cottage too and learns more about the area every day.

The supporting cast has also grown and changed since the beginning. Their relationships with Maura are stronger but they are also dealing with their own issues. A marriage pending, a young woman looking toward her future, a couple learning all about raising their son, and a man coming to terms with his past. Several more characters round out the cast too.

I have never been to Ireland but the way this author describes the setting of the stories in this series, I can picture it very clearly. The pub, Maura’s cottage, the countryside, a bog or two, and added in this story the Crann Mor hotel and its garden paths.

I have enjoyed this series from the start. I am excited when a new story comes out and sad when it ends much too soon. These literary trips to Ireland remind me of my own little bit of Irish heritage and I can’t wait for my next visit.

You can’t go wrong with a story penned by Sheila Connolly. She is an awesome storyteller.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Note – The first four of this series were published by Berkley Prime Crime.
The series continues with books 5 and 6 published by Crooked Lane Books.

 About The Author

Sheila is the author of many fantastic reads. She not only writes County Cork Mysteries but the Orchard Mysteries and the Museum Mysteries too. Visit Sheila’s webpage here to find out more about her and her books.

 


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.”

Nov 222017
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I love this series and am so excited to have Sheila drop by for a visit today!

A Late Frost
(Orchard Mystery #11, Berkley)
(Guest post provided by publicist)

It is truly surprising how many murders seem to take place in small towns, as Meg Corey finds out when she moves to rural western Massachusetts. Downsized out of her Boston banking job, she thinks she’s going to renovate and sell a colonial house her mother inherited, then get back to her “real” life as a financial analyst.

A couple of years later she finds herself married to neighbor Seth Chapin and managing her own orchard. And getting involved in too many murder investigations.

In A Late Frost, it’s winter in Granford, and there’s not much to do in the orchard. Monica Whitman has recently retired to town with her husband, and she’s eager to get involved in her new community, so she suggests that the town create a new festival called Winterfare in the slow season. The event is everything she had hoped, but unfortunately she doesn’t live long enough to enjoy her success: she dies that night. Was it a suspicious death, or simply bad luck?

Meg hardly knew the woman, but when police find no obvious cause for Monica’s death, suspicions flare. The only way Meg can find to help is to learn more about Monica and her past from Monica’s husband, and the results are surprising.

~Sheila

Thank you Sheila for visiting today!


A Late Frost (An Orchard Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
11th in Series
Setting – Massachusetts
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (November 7, 2017)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425275832
Kindle ASIN: B06WGNPM43

 

 

The usually quiet town of Granford, Massachusetts, is even drowsier during the colder months. But this year it’s in for a jolt when Monica Whitman moves into town. She’s a dynamo who wants to make friends fast in her new home, and she throws herself into community activities. Meg Corey, now Chapin after her marriage to Seth Chapin, is intrigued by the new arrival, who has already sold the town board on a new, fun way to bring in visitors during the off-season: WinterFare, which will feature local foods (such as Meg’s apples) and crafts, as well as entertainment.

Tragically, Monica falls ill and dies after the event in what looks like a case of food poisoning. When all the food served at WinterFare has been tested, including Meg’s apples, it becomes clear that there’s a more sinister explanation to the older woman’s sudden demise.

Meg’s investigation uncovers a bushel of potential suspects, one of whom is rotten to the core.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Winter in Granford leaves Meg Corey with a lot of time on her hands. Seth doesn’t have a major job at the moment either.  You would be able to think these newlyweds would be able to enjoy an extended honeymoon, especially after all the chaos they went through with her parents and the dead handyman. Instead a new resident, Monica Whitman, has moved to Granford and has a fun idea to bring tourists to town during the colder months, WinterFare. With Seth on the town council, he plays a major role and Meg has a booth selling apples. This first year it is more about bringing the community together. But it may be the last year because Monica is rushed to the hospital and later dies. It looks like a case of food poisoning, meaning Meg could be a suspect. Anyone who sold/served food at the event is in the same boat. Meg is working closely with Art Preston, the chief of police, to pare down the list and try to figure out who killed this enthusiastic newcomer.

Sheila Connolly brings almost all the old characters back. Bree has taken a new job in Australia, so Meg needs to hire a new manager. Her mentor, Christopher has someone he thinks is perfect for the job. At their first meeting, Meg isn’t too sure. Larry is not a people person, but he knows his apples. Speaking of a people person, Monica Whitman is one, she talks a mile a minute, and has all sorts of ideas but she doesn’t live long enough for us to really get to know her better. After her death we meet her husband, Douglas, a quiet man with monumental challenges. These new characters are as well written as the regulars.

I really enjoy the normal daily life of Seth and Meg. Their relationship is so comfortable. Figuring out about how to handle taxes now that they are married and both with successful businesses. Deciding what to do with Seth’s family home now that he has moved in with Meg. Children in the future. . . maybe? I enjoyed the friendship that they have with Art. He wasn’t in charge of the investigation but he trusted their thoughts and theories, even going beyond his authority to get answers.

The mystery was top-notch and could have played out several ways. Ms. Connolly shocked me with the ending. It made perfect sense but my thinking was never drawn to the person for one instant.

This is a marvelous mystery series. I have enjoyed every visit to Granford and can’t wait to return. This next apple season is going to be very interesting.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

 

About the Author

Sheila Connolly, Anthony and Agatha Award–nominated and New York Times bestselling author, writes mystery series set in Philadelphia (the Museum Mysteries), rural Massachusetts (the Orchard Mysteries), and Ireland (the County Cork Mysteries), as well as a paranormal romance series (the Relatively Dead series). She will introduce a new Victorian Village series set in Maryland in 2018. In addition, her short stories have appeared in multiple anthologies. Formerly a professional genealogist, she lives in Massachusetts, surrounded by many, many departed ancestors, with her husband and three cats, and owns a cottage in West Cork in Ireland, where her father’s family came from.

Author Links

Website Facebook Twitter

GIVEAWAY
Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 2 copies to give away!
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.

Click the Like Button at the top of this post for a Bonus Entry.

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

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

Leave a comment for the author for 5 Bonus Entries.

Sign Up For Sheila’s Newsletter for 5 more 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 December 6, 2017 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.”

 

Mar 112017
 

Note – Previous installments of this series were published by Berkley Prime Crime.
I am thrilled they are continuing at Crooked Lane Books.

Cruel Winter: A County Cork Mystery
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – Ireland
Crooked Lane Books
Release Date – March 14, 2017
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683311003
Kindle ASIN: B01MU8WVIL

 

 

Snow is a rarity in Maura Donovan’s small village in County Cork, Ireland, so she wasn’t sure what to expect when a major snowstorm rolled in around Sullivan’s pub. But now she’s stranded in a bar full of patrons–and a suspected killer in a long-ago murder.

Maura’s been in Ireland less than a year and hasn’t heard about the decades-old unsolved crime that took place nearby, let alone the infamous suspect, Diane Caldwell. But the locals have, and they’re not happy to be trapped with her. Diane, meanwhile, seeks to set the record straight, asserting her innocence after all this time. And since no one is going anywhere in the storm, Maura encourages Diane to share her side of the story, which she’d never had a chance to do in court.

Over the next few hours, the informal court in Sullivan’s reviews the facts and theories about the case–and comes to some surprising conclusions. But is it enough to convince the police to take a new look at an old case?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

What happens when it snows in Ireland? Like Maura I had not really thought about it but Sheila Connolly gives us and Maura just a little taste of the Irish lands covered in snow.

The snow is falling and friends and strangers are gathering at Sullivan’s Pub to wait out the storm.  They have plenty of ale and fuel for the fire. Food is a little sparse but with a little creativity from Rose she stretches what she has enough to feed everyone. One of the strangers is Diane Caldwell, like Maura she had family that lived in the area, but she hasn’t been back to Leap in years. The local authorities had her pegged as the prime suspect in the murder of another young woman several years ago but never has enough evidence to make an arrest. Most of locals recognized her immediately.  So because of the snow storm she has a captive audience. Could there be a better time to tell her side of the story? Heck, her listeners may even be able to shed light on something that had been missed all those years ago.

At first I thought this was going to be a closed room type mystery where the real guilty party just happened to be in the room too, but Ms. Connolly gives the story a nice twist showing fresh sets of eyes and ears can uncover new clues on an old cold case. She lets Diane tell her story and Maura and the other patrons ask questions and test out theories trying to find some way to prove Diane really is innocent and maybe give the garda a new lead on this old crime.

The characters in this story are so rich. I love Maura, but I really love Billy. He is an elderly man that basically holds court in the pub each day telling stories. This time his knowledge of the history and the land in the area help Maura and the others to keep pushing forward with new ideas. The author has set the scene so well in all the books in this series it is so easy to picture him in his overstuffed chair in front of the fire regaling everyone with his thoughts about the case.

Connolly also describes the rest of the pub, including the basement, in such detail readers are given a bird’s eye seat for the whole story. Even the snow falling outside and the drafts around the windows are easy to see and feel. They were so real I found myself pulling a blanket around my shoulders to keep away the cold.

In addition to the main plot, Gillian has some changes coming in her life and she is getting near to having her baby. Jimmy has a new woman in his life and Rose is growing up so fast.

I have enjoyed every book this author has written and this one is no different. I am so glad Maura decided to stay in County Cork. That little bit of the Irish in me anxiously awaits for each trip to Sullivan’s where Maura pours me a pint and I can sit and relax among friends.

Thank you Sheila for another wonderful escape!

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 About The Author

Sheila is the author of many fantastic reads. She not only writes County Cork Mysteries, but the Orchard Mysteries and the Museum Mysteries too. Visit Sheila’s webpage to find out more about her and her books.

 
 
 
 

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.”

Oct 132016
 

seeds-of-deception

Seeds of Deception (An Orchard Mystery)
by Sheila Connolly
Cozy Mystery
10th in Series
Setting – Massachusetts/New Jersey
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (October 4, 2016)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425275825
E-Book ASIN: B01AHKXJF0
goodreads-badge-add-plusShop Indie Bookstores

 

The New York Times bestselling author of A Gala Event returns with newlyweds Meg and Seth Chapin who should be worried about writing thank you notes, not taking a juicy bite out of crime…

With the bushels of time they spent organizing their wedding, Meg and Seth didn’t have a chance to plan a honeymoon. But now that winter has arrived, there’s not much to do at the orchard. So with their shared love of history and all things apple, they pick Thomas Jefferson’s orchards at Monticello as the perfect getaway.

While they enjoy the beautiful sights, there’s a rotten addition to the agenda when Meg’s parents discover their handyman dead in the backyard. With a bitter police chief eyeing Meg’s father as a suspect, Meg and Seth have to cut their honeymoon short to find the root of the problem.
 
 
Includes Delicious Recipes

Dollycas’s Thoughts

It’s honeymoon time for Meg and Seth and they set off on a road trip. The trip gets a huge detour when they get a call from Meg’s mom saying when they returned home to New Jersey there was a dead body in their backyard. Seems the police chief and her dad have a bit of a conflict so Meg and Seth head to Jersey to aid in the investigation, who am I kidding, Meg butts her way into the investigation to follow the seeds of deception as only she can.

We really don’t know too much about Meg and her parents or her life before coming to Granford. Her parents married right after her dad received his law degree. He eventually went to work for the New York firm, Blackwell, Hyzy and Cates 🙂 (Love this cozy author tie in.) He commuted on the train every day.  Her mother kept house and volunteered. When Meg left for college he opened his own firm and moved to the home where they now reside. Much too large for just 2 people but it sounds like a fabulous home. I really enjoyed getting to know her folks and I think they saw a whole different side to their daughter.

This has been a strong series from book 1 , One Bad Apple,  because the author has not only created fantastic characters that have continued to grow throughout the series, but she always plots a fabulous mystery around those characters. This time she takes the story out of Granford and the mystery really focuses on Meg, Seth and Meg’s parents, Elizabeth and Phillip. We learn a lot about all four characters. Seth hangs back a little in this story as he lets Meg lead the way and deal with her parents. That is not to say he is not involved. Staying quiet and listening helps him to ask the right questions at the right times to move closer to finding out whodunit and why.

I have enjoyed every book in this series. Winter in the orchard has a lot of downtime so this was the perfect time for Seth and Meg’s wedding and honeymoon and taking them on a trip. They get some news when they get home that means some changes are ahead and leaves me excited to see what Sheila Connolly has planned next.

I recommend you pick this one up and take a nice juicy bite. But why stop there, if this is a new series for you then you are going to want to read the whole bushel.

perfect 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author

Sheila is the author of many fantastic reads. She not only writes County Cork Mysteries, but the Orchard Mysteries and the Museum Mysteries too. Find out all about Sheila  and her books on her webpage here.

GIVEAWAY
Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 1 copy to give away!
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.

Click the Like Button at the top of this post for a Bonus Entry.
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 publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End October 27, 2016 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.”

Sep 162016
 

9WbGnJTR
On Flashback Fridays I will share with you the books I missed when they were first
released that have been screaming at me from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.

gala-event

A Gala Event (An Orchard Mystery)
by Sheila Connolly
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Massachusetts
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (October 6, 2015)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Cover Illustration by Mary Ann Lasher
Cover Design by Annette Fiore Defex
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425275818
E-Book ASIN: B00SI02DVI
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Wedding bells are ringing for Meg and Seth in the latest Orchard Mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of Picked to Die

The fall harvest may be just about over, but orchard owner Meg Corey is busier than ever planning her wedding to Seth Chapin. Who knew picking apples would be less work than picking out rings and a dress? And even though the happy couple has invited most of Granford, Massachusetts, to the ceremony, they might have to make room for one more guest…

Ex-con Aaron Eastman has unexpectedly reappeared in his hometown, searching for answers to the tragic fire in his family’s past that put him behind bars twenty-five years ago. Moved by his sincerity, Meg vows to do everything she can to help him solve the cold case. As she cobbles together the clues, it becomes increasingly clear that Aaron may have been considered the bad seed of the family, but someone else was one bad apple…

Includes Delicious Recipes!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I have loved this series from the start and absolutely think this one has the best cover so far. Yes, those are alpacas!

Almost all the apples have been picked and it is time for Meg and Seth to get into high gear for their upcoming nuptials, but when Aaron Eastman comes to town Meg is drawn into his story like a moth to a flame. Oh and Seth decides to overall the plumbing and add two bathrooms and update the existing one. At least he is on hand if Meg needs any help.

The plot to this one was different and interesting as Meg tries to solve a mystery from the past and reunite what it left of a family and give them some closure. I was ready for the expected twist and thought I knew what had happened and I was partially right but I picked the wrong bad apple.

I did enjoy the mystery and the way Meg, Seth, their family and friends all worked together to solve it, but was left just a little disappointed that the Gala, the Wedding, the Big Event was lost until the final chapter. Meg and Seth were just so low key about the whole thing, Meg hadn’t even picked out a dress and the reception planning was so last minute. I felt I was looking more forward to the wedding than the bride and groom. I understand this is a mystery novel not a romance novel and the author has to find balance, but with a title A Gala Event, I was hoping for a little more GALA.

Now don’t get me wrong, the mystery was well plotted and the story was very well written and I did enjoy it. The visiting alpacas were so funny, especially Meg’s first reaction. So it did have everything that usually makes for a perfect escape, if it just had a few more wedding elements then it would be perfect.

I am excited for the next book, Seeds of Deception, out next month to see how they start their married life together and what kind of trouble they get involved in next.

enjoyable 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author

Sheila is the author of many fantastic reads. She not only writes County Cork Mysteries, but the Orchard Mysteries and the Museum Mysteries too. Find out all about Sheila  and her books on her webpage here.

GIVEAWAY
Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 1 copy 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.

Click the Like Button at the top of this post for a Bonus Entry.
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If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
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Contest Will End September 30, 2016 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.”

Feb 252016
 
Earlier today I reviewed a book inspired by Walt Whitman, where Edgar Allan Poe made a cameo appearance. Now let me share this book of short stories with you inspired my Edgar Allan Poe.

edgar allan cozy
Edgar Allan Cozy: Wicked Short Stories
Cozy Anthology
Setting – Maine

Print Length: 55 pages
Wicked Cozy Press (January 16, 2016)
ASIN: B01AQ77TBY
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When cozy mystery writers meet Edgar Allan Poe, the result is Edgar Allan Cozy. Each story in this suspenseful new anthology is inspired by the work of Poe. “The Raven,” “The Lighthouse,” “MS. Found in a Bottle,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” and “Annabel Lee” have been updated and set in the fictional town of Raven Harbor, Maine.

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

As soon as I heard about this collection I was so excited to read it. A modern spin on classic Poe, sign me up!

The book starts with a wonderful introduction of how these poems and stories can to be. They all take place in Raven Harbor, Maine. It was fun to have the stories all tie together in the same setting.

First up Barbara modern take on The Raven. I loved it!!!

Next Sherry Harris gives us The Lighthouse, a story where Madeline Wilson tries to find out what happened to her great-great-great grandfather, Barnabas, all those years ago. The residents seem to know the story but are pretty tight lipped. It has a nice twist that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Then Sheila Connolly gives us Found in a Bottle. This is a dark tale. A story were a romantic weekend turns into a true mystery. The romance of the story quickly fizzles but what continues is very interesting.

An Intolerable Intrusion by Edith Maxwell comes next. She gives us her modern twist on A Tell-Tale Heart. This was an entertaining read and if I was forced to choose my favorite I would have to pick this one.

Sadie Hartwell’s Within These Walls is next. What do you do when your husband cheats? This story has an intriguing idea. I knew where it was going but I loved it none the less.

The book wraps us with Anna, Belle and Lee by Sherry Harris. She has crafted quite a poem of a twisted love triangle.

Whether you are a fan of Poe or not, I know you will enjoy this little collection. It was a nice mini escape at only 55 pages. It will also be a keeper to be read again and again.

perfect 2016

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.”

Feb 032016
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

Sheila Connolly is back for a visit!  Let’s give her a warm welcome! 

sheila connolly

Hi Everyone, and thank you Lori for hosting me today.

When I started writing about murders in Ireland, everybody told me I had to meet Sergeant Tony. Sergeant Tony is a garda (that’s policeman in Irish, and the national police force is An Garda Síochána, or The Guardian of the Peace). It wasn’t easy to track him down, because the local garda station is small and its officers are often busy, but I kept trying. And I’m very glad I did.

a turn for the badYou see, there’s not a lot of crime in Ireland. Well, maybe in Dublin or Cork or Limerick, but get outside of the cities it’s a very peaceful place. This is both good and bad for me, since I’m trying to write about crimes in Ireland—not Ireland in general, but in one of the safest parts of Ireland, West Cork. There aren’t a lot of murders there (I’ve read the statistics), and I feel guilty about increasing the murder rate by a couple of hundred percent by now, in my books (no, I haven’t killed anyone personally). But that’s why it was important to talk to someone who knows, so I could get the details right.

Sergeant Tony was a gift from the heavens (or if there’s a patron saint of writers, from him or her). He’s had postings all over Ireland, including Northern Ireland, but he’s come back to Cork, where his wife’s family came from. Apart from police procedures, this is an important point: in Ireland, family matters.

He has told me lots of great stories, which I’m going to hoard until I can use some of them in a book. In any case, it’s great to have someone who can answer my stupid questions like, “What time do pubs really close?” Anyone can look up the official times online these days, but what’s the reality? Or, “How do you arrest someone?” In fact, it has to go through the Dublin office, to get a warrant. And more recently, I’ve asked him, “How do you reopen a closed case, or one that’s been dormant for a long time?” That’s for the next book.

A Turn for the Bad grew out of one of the stories Sergeant Tony told me. He was referring to a case from several years ago (long since solved), but I discovered other related cases when I looked it up. It involves smuggling, a time-honored tradition in an area with a lot of coves and beaches that nobody is watching. But in the modern world, it’s hard to turn a blind eye when there are millions of euros worth of illegal drugs arriving on Ireland’s shores (on their way to Europe, not for local consumption!). Still, people might look the other way—until one of their own gets entangled, through no fault of his own.

And that’s where Maura Donovan comes in, helping to put the pieces together to make a daring rescue, with the help of some unlikely friends. Because that’s what people do in Ireland.

~Sheila

Thank you Sheila for visiting today. I hope you come back soon! 

a turn for the badA Turn for the Bad:
A County Cork Mystery

4th in Serie
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Ireland
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (February 2, 2016)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Cover Illustration by Daniel Craig
Cover Design by Judith Lagerman
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425273425
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The New York Times bestselling author of An Early Wake returns to Ireland where Sullivan’s Pub owner Maura Donovan gets mixed up with smugglers.

After calling Ireland home for six months, Boston expat Maura Donovan still has a lot to learn about Irish ways—and Sullivan’s Pub is her classroom. Maura didn’t only inherit a business, she inherited a tight-knit community. And when a tragedy strikes, it’s the talk of the pub. A local farmer, out for a stroll on the beach with his young son, has mysteriously disappeared. Did he drown? Kill himself? The child can say only that he saw a boat.

Everyone from the local gardai to the Coast Guard is scouring the Cork coast, but when a body is finally brought ashore, it’s the wrong man. An accidental drowning or something more sinister? Trusting the words of the boy and listening to the suspicions of her employee Mick that the missing farmer might have run afoul of smugglers, Maura decides to investigate the deserted coves and isolated inlets for herself. But this time she may be getting in over her head…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I couldn’t wait to return to Ireland and Sullivan’s Pub. In this 4th book, Maura just blooms. People are coming to the pub to await news about a local farmer that has gone missing. He was walking on the beach with his 4 year old son when he disappeared. All the little boy can offer is that he saw a boat. The sea has taken many men, did it take this man too?

As the days go by and she listens to the people around her, including the farmer’s brother, she starts to realize what may have happened. She decides to do a bit of investigating to see if what she is thinking could have happened, and if it did, is there any way to save the man and bring him back from his family.

Like An Early Wake, this story has a slow build to draw us in and lets us get to know these very appealing characters. Gillian who usually summers in the area is back due do some upheaval in her life and she moves in with Maura and they become very close. They are also great sounding boards for each other. Maura meets several new people too and learns all about true Irish Whiskey. It is these new people that help her test her theory of what happened to the farmer. There is just a bit of romance too. Both Maura and Gillian are trying to sort out their hearts.

About midway through the book the suspense ratchets up as a plan starts to come together. At this point the book became glued to my hands and the pages turned much faster.  Again we see that crime can be anywhere, even in County Cork. The area around Leap seems to be a prime area for an unsavory time-honored tradition and we find out about it right along with Maura.

This is my favorite book is the series so far. I loved the suspense and the way the author set the groundwork. I loved the humor as Maura learns more about the area, the pub and even her home. I especially enjoy the community feel of Sullivan’s Pub, the way people gather in good times and when things taken A Turn For The Bad. This was an absolutely wonderful read. I want to book my next escape to Ireland today!

perfect 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author

Sheila is the author of many fantastic reads. She not only writes County Cork Mysteries, but the Orchard Mysteries and the Museum Mysteries too. Visit Sheila’s webpage to find out more about her and her books.

GIVEAWAY
Thanks to the people at Penguin 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.

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

Leave a comment for Sheila 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 February 17, 2016 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.”

Feb 272015
 

special guest blueI am thrilled to welcome Sheila Connolly to Escape With Dollycas today!
The 3rd County Cork Mystery came out this month and
I was so ready to visit Maura and her Irish Pub!

sheila connolly

I’m amazed to find that I’ve been writing for 14 years now, although I didn’t have a published book to hold until 2008. I had no idea what I was doing when I started writing—I just jumped in. But I always knew I wanted to write about Ireland.

The second book I ever completed was a sweet romance set in West Cork. I hadn’t even dabbled in mystery at that point, but it was the setting that came first: a small pub in a small town on the coast in a far corner of the country. The real place was called Connolly’s. It must have been fate, right?

I found it by accident the first time my family and I traveled to Ireland, mainly looking for where my father’s family had come from. We allowed all of one week for that trip, and part of that was spent in Dublin, so we moved fast. I had done enough research to know that my father’s father’s family had come from someplace north of a village called Leap (which it’s pronounced “lep”—it got its name from O’Donovan’s Leap, where one of the head men of the village escaped pursuing Englishmen by urging his horse to leap over a small river there. He and his horse survived, and the village got its name.)

buried in a bog

We rented a car and pulled into the village (one street, population 210) in the pouring rain, late in the afternoon. We hadn’t made reservations, but we found a B&B with a room, and ate dinner at the local hotel. And when we made our way to the main road the next (sunny!) morning, there was the pub, across the road. Of course we went over and introduced ourselves, and I’ve been going back ever since.

In Buried In a Bog, the first book in the County Cork series, I used the setting of the pub and the town, and then dipped into all the genealogy I’d done on my own family. Then I threw in a body. Where better to solve mysteries than in a pub, where everyone stops in to talk at one time or another? But there’s one problem with writing murder mysteries set in Ireland: there are very few murders. Worse, for most of those that happen, the local police (or gardai in Irish) have a pretty good idea who did the deed. Not a lot of detective work needed!

ScandalActually, Buried In a Bog involves two murders: one that took place a long ago, and a mugging gone wrong in the present—but they’re connected. The second book, Scandal in Skibbereen, brings an American curator to the corner of the country hunting for a lost painting she isn’t even sure exists, and someone dies. Related? It’s not clear, but it was events in the past that led to the truth about the present death.

AN EARLY WAKEThe third book, An Early Wake, is about music in the pub. When most people say “music” and “Ireland” in the same breath, they’re thinking about the traditional style, the Clancy Brothers and the like, with tin whistles and fiddles. But there’s more to it than that—think about U2 or the Cranberries or more recently, Glen Hansard (who wrote the Academy Award winning song Falling Slowly from Once). Irish music lives on in the modern world—and in West Cork, a lot of it happened at Connolly’s (and, yes, Glen Hansard played there). It’s hard to believe when you look at the place, which has all of two rooms that hold (legally) only 200 people, but it was a major attraction up until the last decade, and people still remember.

And that’s what I wanted to capture in An Early Wake. How did that happen, at that time and in that place? How did the word get out, before the Internet? My protagonist Maura Donovan is struggling to figure out a way to keep the pub she’s inherited in the black, so she lets herself be persuaded to try a night of music bringing together some of the players who’d performed there in the past, because local people who remember the old glory days promise her it can happen again. Unfortunately, one of the former performers dies. And once again, the police have to look at the past and the present to understand the death.

There is always a temptation to write about Ireland as though it is all about men in tweed caps with a foaming pint of Guinness in one hand, spinning stories for friends and tourists alike with a charming brogue, with rainbows overhead and sheep frolicking in the very green meadows. I won’t say that’s not true—now and then. But Ireland is both a modern country (with very real modern problems) and a place with long memories of a less than happy past. I try to weave these together in a way that makes the place come alive, in more than one dimension. So I go and I sit in pubs and I listen, and I talk to strangers, and stories drop into my lap. There’s a bit of magic there.

That’s what I fell in love with, the first time I saw Ireland. That’s why I keep going back, and why I write this series.

~Sheila

Find out all about Sheila and her books on her webpage here.

AN EARLY WAKEAn Early Wake
(A County Cork Mystery)

3rd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Ireland
Release Date: February 3, 2015
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Daniel Craig
Cover Design by Judith Lagerman
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425252536
E- Book ASIN: B00LMGK6LY
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Pub owner Maura Donovan may have Irish kin, but she doesn’t seem to have the luck of the Irish. Who could have foreseen that bringing live music back to Sullivan’s Pub would lead to a dead musician?

Summer is ending in County Cork, Ireland, and with it the tourist season. Expat Maura Donovan is determined to keep Sullivan’s Pub in the black as the days grow shorter—but how? When she hears that the place was once a hot spot for Irish musicians who’d come play in the back room, she wonders if bringing back live music might be Sullivan’s salvation.

As word gets out, legendary musicians begin to appear at the pub, and the first impromptu jam session brings in scores of music lovers. But things hit a sour note when Maura finds a dead musician in the back room the next morning. With a slew of potential suspects, it’s going to take more than a pint and a good think to force a murderer to face the music.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

With this 3rd installment Maura realizes she has just been going through the motions of owning her pub. She doesn’t know if she is going to be able to keep it open now that the tourists are gone. She voices her concerns to her friend Bridget who assures her things will work out. When a college student comes around telling her the pub was a place musicians used to come just to “jam” she is totally taken by surprise. But Billy, resident historian and storyteller confirms it to be true and even gets word out that musicians are again welcome and they really start to show up she realizes Bridget was right. Then one of the musicians dead in the back room. Maura realizes the music may have died with him.

The author took a different approach to this mystery. There was so much discussion and build up of the music and musicians from years gone by that I suddenly realized that I was 100 pages into the story and we didn’t have a murder yet. I was caught up in the history so that wasn’t a bad thing, just unusual for a cozy mystery. In fact I was prepared for the murder to be more of a subplot which I feel it turned out to be. Maura’s journey was the main plot, life running the pub she inherited, her relationships with Billy, Mick, Rose, Bridget, Jimmy and Sean. Is there more romance ahead? and with who?, and realizing she is starting to finally be accepted by the people of Leap. I enjoyed this.

There was the drama of the dead musician and finding out why he died and excitement as things played out but to me it wrapped up pretty quickly.

I do love these characters and was quite surprised by the direction the author is taking some of them. I am sad that I have to wait a year to find out what happens. She teases us nicely at the end so wait we will, until out next trip to County Cork.

just you and a friend4 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to the people at Penguin 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.

Following the new Google+ Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book Fan Page
will earn you 3 Bonus Entries.

Leave a comment for Sheila 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 March 13, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners 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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