Posted in Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Cozy Wednesday Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Guest Posts Literary Escapes Reviews 2016 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Sheila Connolly – Author of A Turn For The Bad – #Giveaway too!

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
goodreads-badge-add-plusShop Indie Bookstores

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.”

Posted in Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Guest Posts Literary Escapes Reviews 2015 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Special Guest – Sheila Connolly – Author of An Early Wake – Review/Giveaway

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.”

Posted in Giveaways Reviews 2014

Review/Giveaway – Picked to Die by Sheila Connolly

PICKED TO DIE OCTOBERPicked to Die
(An Orchard Mystery)

8th in Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (October 7, 2014)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Mary Ann Lasher
Cover Design by Annette Fiore Defex
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425257111
E-Book File Size: 2091 KB
ASIN: B00ISEOIMG
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A TREE IS KNOWN BY ITS FRUIT

It’s harvest time in Granford, Massachusetts, and orchard owner Meg Corey and her fiancé, Seth, are both racing to beat the New England winter. Meg is bringing in her apple crop with a team of workers, while Seth is working to restore an old building in the center of town. But when his project is set back due to the unexpected discovery of a skeleton under the building—and even worse, a young man related to one of Meg’s former apple pickers is found dead behind the local feed store—the couple’s carefully laid plans are quickly spoiled…

Meg can’t help but wonder: are they just unlucky, or is there something rotten in Granford? If so, she knows she’s got to seek out the bad apple before it ruins the whole bunch…

Includes Delicious Recipes

Dollycas’s Thoughts
I am so excited to be back to Granford and it is the busiest time of the year – Harvest Time!

Meg and Bree and their hired hands are picking apples as fast as they can. Seth is involved in so many projects too. There is definitely no time for them to sit down and discuss wedding plans.

Seth’s biggest project is restoring and adding space to a building on the town square. Meg is excited about seeing just how they are going to add that space as they are planning to add it under the building. But just when things get started everything comes to a halt when something is found in all that dirt. Then one of the migrant workers is found dead. He was not working for Meg but they do have a connection. So if Seth and Meg were not short on time before they really are now as they have 2 mysteries to solve.

I really love these stories because the next one always picks up where the last story left off. Unfortunately that also means Granford is becoming a hotbed of mystery and murder which is starting to effect the residents we have grown to love. The one I think it is effecting the most is Bree. She has her moments when I think she really resents or gets a little angry about all the time Meg spends away from the orchard chasing down clues and checking out the happenings about town. Although she and one of the workers end up doing something really nice for Meg, I think Meg needs to concentrate more on her business. She would be totally lost with Bree by her side.

We meet some new characters this time too as a young history buff teams up with a professor at the university to try to sift out information about the incredible find under the building. The author throws in some history about the area too that was a surprise to many of the people of Granford.

As with all the stories in this series Sheila Connolly packs the pages with not just one but two mysteries and masterfully weaves them together. I love these wonderful characters and the way they interact with each other. Seth and Meg were too busy for much romance in this edition but a strong foundation is being built as they move forward with their life together. I also enjoy what big hearts they have, putting others needs before their own.

I really am sad when these stories come to an end. I can’t wait until my next escape to Granford.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

This is not the only mystery series Sheila writes. Check out her webpage here to stay up to date on all of them.

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.

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 31, 2014 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.”

Posted in Cruisin Thru Cozies Literary Escapes Reviews 2014

Review: Scandal in Skibbereen by Sheila Connolly

Scandal
Scandal in Skibbereen
(A County Cork Mystery)

2nd in Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (February 4, 2014)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration By Daniel Craig
Cover Design By Judith Lagerman
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425252505
E-Book File Size: 1280 KB
ASIN: B00DYX9KFQ
goodreads-badge-add-plus

In this second installment of the County Cork Mysteries Bostonian Maura is beginning to feel settled in her new Irish home and as owner of an Irish Pub. She is anxious to see what kind of business she will have a the summer tourist season begins.

Althea Melville arrives from the U.S. but she is not on a pleasure trip. She is on a mission to find a rare painting and she believes she may find it in County Cork, not far away from Maura’s pub. Althea is not use to Irish traditions and comes across as “a bull in a China shop” as she tries to get Maura and others to help her find the painting. When a gardener is found dead outside of a local manor house Maura starts to question Althea’s motives and thinks there is much more to her story than just local for a piece of art.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Finding out I have a bit of Irish heritage myself makes me love these mysteries.

Connolly has created some wonderful characters. Maura is still finding her way in her new surroundings but she has something every barkeep needs, the gift of gab. She is friendly and outgoing and really strives to get to know the people around her. Her relationship with Billy reminds me of myself so much. When my parents owned a tavern there was always a group of elders there each day to play cards and share old stories and new. I could sit and listen to them for hours and they taught me how to win at cards too.

I also love the recurring characters and the way Maura’s relationships with all of them are evolving. Especially the relationship she has with Garda Officer Sean Murphy.

The new character that captured my heart was Eveline Townsend, the owner of Mycroft House. This is a woman that is aging gracefully living in a Manor House with only 2 other people and a nephew that helps to pay the bills and visits on a rare occasion, like when one of the employees has been murdered. This woman is much more alert and has a better memory than anyone thought and she knew many secrets that gave this story a few twists and turns.

The mystery of the lost painting and the murder were very well plotted.  The location was sublime. I have been told Spring and Summer are the best times to visit Ireland. You can tell the author loves her setting and has researched it thoroughly. Her love for the Irish countryside just glows throughout the story.

a perfect escape
5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent
About This Author

Sheila Connolly has taught art history, structured and marketed municipal bonds for major cities, worked as a staff member on two statewide political campaigns, and served as a fundraiser for several non-profit organizations. She also managed her own consulting company providing genealogical research services. Now a full-time writer, she thinks writing mysteries is a lot more fun than any of her previous occupations.

She is a member of Sisters in Crime-New England (president 2011), the national Sisters in Crime, and the fabulous on-line SinC chapter, the Guppies. She also belongs to Romance Writers of America and Mystery Writers of America.

Sheila is Regent of her local DAR chapter, and a member of the Society of Mayflower Descendants. She’s also the grandchild of Irish immigrants (in case you’re worried that she’s a snob). In addition to genealogy, Sheila loves restoring old houses, visiting cemeteries, and traveling. She is married, and has one daughter and two cats.

She blogs with Poe’s Deadly Daughters and Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen on Fridays, and Killer Characters the 25th of each month.
Check out her webpage: www.sheilaconnolly.com

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: Relatively Dead by Sheila Connolly

relatively dead
Relatively Dead
Historical Mystery
Published by Beyond the Page (May 16, 2013)
E-Book File Size: 497 KB
Print Length: 211 pages
ASIN: B00CUEGU4E
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Abby Kimball moved to New England with her boyfriend when he accepted a new job. He made a good salary which gave her some time to settle in and decide whether to return to teaching or take some of her other experience and try something new. Boyfriend Brad spent a lot of time working or hanging out with his other coworkers that left Abby with a lot of alone time on her hands.

Abby decides to take a tour of historic homes in the area where she meets Ned. He was the docent for the last home on the tour. He also was a witness to a very strange experience she had in the house. As she entered one of the rooms she saw a family scene but it wasn’t a recreation using actors it was a haunting vision of a family who had lived in the house nearly a century ago. Having never had anything like that happen before she was positive something was very wrong with her. Thankfully Ned was helpful and encouraging and open to what she described to him. He even offered to help her investigate the vision and why she was seeing it in the first place. Abby leery at first eventually decides to spend her free time exploring and she finds out these visions may be connected to her own past.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
If you are familiar with Sheila Connolly or her books at all you know history is a major theme that runs trough her stories and that she is very interested in genealogy. That is what first drew me to this story but she is also a fantastic storyteller and that is what kept me reading.

I struggled a bit with Abby and Brad’s relationship at first but things started to click into place there for me rather quickly. As an avid mystery reader I kept waiting for Ned to show his ulterior motives and be the bad guy. Ned does have secrets but in a whole different direction than I originally thought.

What I really enjoyed was the process Abby followed to dig in to the local history and the visions she continued to have and the emotions she felt. People are investigating into exploring their family trees and history right now. With so much information being made available on the internet and the several websites created to help people connect the story is very current. Granted not everyone has visions like Abby but it is not beyond the realm of possibility. I have decided to keep an open mind on anything of that nature. My parents have both passed away and while I have never “seen” them or any of my other relatives there are times I just “feel” their presence. I think it would be cool to have way to really connect with them and learn more of my family history to pass on to my kids.

I thought this was a very original story tying a little paranormal activity into a different type of mystery with a bit of romance thrown in too. Connolly’s  writing is very descriptive and I love it.  

It was a nice, light,  easy read and a perfect book for me to curl up with on a dark rainy evening.

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 To find out more about Sheila Connolly visit her webpage here.

~I had received a copy of this book from NetGalley but when I went to read it the file would load on my Kindle correctly so I purchased a new copy from Amazon.

Posted in Reviews 2013

Review: Monument To The Dead by Sheila Connolly

Monument to the deadMonument to the Dead
(A Museum Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery  (June 4, 2013)
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Ross Jones
Cover Design by Rita Frangie
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425257128
E-Book File Size: 657 KB
ASIN: B009NY87RW

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As president of the Pennsylvania Antiquarian Society in Philadelphia, Nell Pratt relies on the generosity of philanthropists. But when someone starts killing benefactors, it’s Nell’s turn to come to their aid…

The fourth book in the Museum Mystery series has FBI Agent James Morrison asking Nell for some help. Some local members of the cultural community have been dying of “natural causes,” but with the recent death of Adeline Harrison James has started to see a pattern that makes him believe the causes were definitely not “natural” . So with James’ blessing she starts to pull clues together and finds even more deaths for him to add to his list. Someone is killing elderly philanthropists, but who and why? If she can figure out the motive, hopefully it will lead her to the killer before another benefactor finds themselves gone before their time.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Sheila Connolly has topped herself with this one. This is one of the best stories I have read this year.

The tables being turned so Nell is asked to investigate is pure genius! James asking for her help and then working with her, Marty, and Shelby to find enough evidence to open an FBI case made this a book I could not put down. It is a very complex mystery and the characters even had to use spreadsheets to help figure it out but I found myself immersed right into the story following each little tidbit as everything started to come together.

In addition to a wonderful mystery, Connolly has away of educating readers in a fun and entertaining way. This time it was a behind the scenes of the boards and benefactors of a historical museum. I was amazed at the snippets of information staff collects to match the right person to the right project and how much is gleaned from conversations at fundraisers. There were also a pieces of Philadelphia’s little known history wrapped into this mystery. Very interesting.

Watch for this one to hit my Best of 2013 list! Kudos Sheila!!!
a perfect escape
5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent
About This Author

sheilaSheila Connolly has taught art history, structured and marketed municipal bonds for major cities, worked as a staff member on two statewide political campaigns, and served as a fundraiser for several non-profit organizations. She also managed her own consulting company providing genealogical research services. Now a full-time writer, she thinks writing mysteries is a lot more fun than any of her previous occupations.

She is a member of Sisters in Crime-New England (president 2011), the national Sisters in Crime, and the fabulous on-line SinC chapter, the Guppies. She also belongs to Romance Writers of America and Mystery Writers of America.

Sheila is Regent of her local DAR chapter, and a member of the Society of Mayflower Descendants. She’s also the grandchild of Irish immigrants (in case you’re worried that she’s a snob). In addition to genealogy, Sheila loves restoring old houses, visiting cemeteries, and traveling. She is married, and has one daughter and two cats.

She blogs with Poe’s Deadly Daughters and Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen on Fridays, and Killer Characters the 25th of each month.
Check out her webpage: www.sheilaconnolly.com

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

Posted in Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Guest Posts Literary Escapes Reviews 2013

Special Tuesday Edition of Cozy Wednesday With Author Sheila Connolly (Giveaway too!)

cozy wednesdayWelcome to this special edition of Cozy Wednesday.
There are just so many wonderful cozies coming out each month
that we have to add some extra cozy days.

I am thrilled to welcome Sheila here today because she has a brand new series – The County Cork Mysteries set in Ireland – having a few Irish ancestors myself I couldn’t wait to read this book!

Hi Sheila!

Commerical Portraits for promotional material and novelHi Everyone!

Things have been a little hectic lately as I just launched my third series. Yes, third. Actually it’s my fourth, but the first one was written under a pen name and went away after three books. The others are ongoing (I hope!).

I’ve always read fast, and when I started writing, I found I write fast too. I had no idea what the right speed was, so I just sat down and did it. I like the pace, and besides, when I’m not writing or at least thinking about writing I feel kind of lost. And for most people, including me, writing is not just about slapping down a bunch of words and sending it off to your publisher—there’s a lot of editing and rewriting involved, so often I find myself writing one new one, editing an earlier one, and proofing a third. Yes, it can get confusing!

Warner house with HerbertWhy three series? Because they all reflect parts of my life, linked by the common thread of genealogy. My first series, the Orchard Mysteries, take place in a small town in western Massachusetts, in a colonial house. The house is one I know personally, because my six-times-great-grandfather built it around 1760, and I stayed there when it was a bed and breakfast. The town is real too—a classic New England town with the green in the center, the old white church at one end, and a lot of people whose families have lived there for many generations and whose names are on the road signs. So for the series, the location came first, and then I started adding people to it. I threw in my protagonist, an out-of-work Boston banker, and told her to manage an orchard. Neither of us knew much about orchards when I started, but we’re learning together.

Phila City HallThe second series, the Museum Mysteries, came about because I worked for several years at The Historical Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, first as a fundraiser and then as a researcher for hire. I loved working there, in part because it gave me access to amazing collections rich with local history. When I started writing I realized that while most cozies are set in small towns, the cultural community in Philadelphia is like a small town itself, where everyone knows everyone else. Plus there are all sorts of wonderful institutions there to dump a body in.

The most recent is the County Cork Mysteries. The series is based on one of the first books I ever wrote, over ten years ago. Over time some of the characters changed, but the setting never did. My father’s family came from Ireland, but I never had a chance to travel there until about fifteen years ago. He knew very little about the family’s history in Ireland, so I wanted to fill in the blanks. What I never expected was to gobsmacked by the place, in particular West Cork—also known as The Wild West of Ireland—where my grandfather was born. It’s picture postcard pretty, but just a bit wilder. And it’s not a quaint tourist attraction; there are vibrant towns and interesting people and a lot of history there.

Connollys 2000Of course, I was hooked the moment I saw that the small town where we were staying had a pub called Connolly’s. I didn’t know then that Connolly’s was legendary, not for its drinks or its atmosphere, but because it was a mecca for musicians in that part of the world—performers whose names you would recognize. I was privileged to be there at the tail end of its heyday. Alas, the man who was the spirit behind it died a few years back, but the family still owns the place and there’s talk of bringing back the music, and I can promise you I’ll be there.

Ireland is kind of like a cozy setting on steroids. Remember that the population of the entire country is still under five million people, and a lot of them are concentrated in Dublin and Cork city. In the more rural areas, everybody knows who’s who, and who their grandparents were, and who they bought the land from. It’s unsettling to an American used to a sort of anonymity. One example: recently I was in a cemetery in County Cork and ran into a stranger, and we got to talking (as everyone does). It turns out that he knows my second cousin Catherine, one of the only other people I know in Ireland—and she hasn’t lived in the neighborhood for fifty years. Things like that keep happening in Ireland.

buried in a bogI have been so happy with the response to the first book in this series, Buried In a Bog. People write to tell me they want to get on a plane for Ireland immediately. I was so worried that I’d make it sound trite or superficial, but instead I did what I’d hoped to do: convey the spirit of the place. Reviewers have said that my love for Ireland shines through.

Capturing a place on a page is one of the joys of writing. Filling it with characters that people can identify with and care about is another. I feel very lucky to be doing what I do.

~Sheila

Sheila, Thank you so much for visiting today! I don’t know how you do it, keeping all this series going, but I am so glad you do!!!

About This Author

Sheila Connolly has taught art history, structured and marketed municipal bonds for major cities, worked as a staff member on two statewide political campaigns, and served as a fundraiser for several non-profit organizations. She also managed her own consulting company providing genealogical research services. Now a full-time writer, she thinks writing mysteries is a lot more fun than any of her previous occupations.

She is a member of Sisters in Crime-New England (president 2011), the national Sisters in Crime, and the fabulous on-line SinC chapter, the Guppies. She also belongs to Romance Writers of America and Mystery Writers of America.

Sheila is Regent of her local DAR chapter, and a member of the Society of Mayflower Descendants. She’s also the grandchild of Irish immigrants (in case you’re worried that she’s a snob). In addition to genealogy, Sheila loves restoring old houses, visiting cemeteries, and traveling. She is married, and has one daughter and two cats.

She blogs with Poe’s Deadly Daughters and Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen on Fridays, and Killer Characters the 25th of each month.
Check out her webpage: www.sheilaconnolly.com

buried in a bog

Buried In a Bog
(A County Cork Mystery)

A Brand New Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (February 5, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Daniel Craig
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425251898
E-Book File Size: 531 KB
ASIN: B0095ZMHUW

Honoring her late grandmother’s wish, Maura Donovan sets off on an adventure that could change her life. She travels to the small Irish village where her grandmother was born to connect with one of her grandmother’s friends and maybe learn a bit about her ancestors. The small community welcomes her with open arms and she even start to work in the local pub. 

The pub is bursting at the seams as people gather to talk about the body found in a nearby bog. They speculate he may have been in there for more than 50 years. Maura realizes she man know something about the dead man but before she can talk to the authorities her own life is put in jeopardy. She starts to get that sinking feeling she just may be getting in over her head.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

With an Irish grandfather myself that I never was able to meet I was so excited to read this book. It is a delightful debut to a series that I know I will love.

The author lets us escape to the beautiful countrysides of County Cork. Even when it is raining or foggy it sounds like charming place. She also gives us the history of the townlands and the people. She takes the time to explain the traditional naming patterns found in Ireland like the first born son is named for the father’s father. This custom could get quite confusing in large families. It gives an interesting twist to the story.

We are with Maura just as she starts on her journey to discover Ireland and its people. I am really looking forward to getting to know all the characters better in the next installments, especially Rose. She seems to have led a life very similar to Maura’s. Life runs at a much faster speed in Boston than it does in Leap but both stuck pretty close to home and put family needs ahead of their own. I look forward to a time of awakening for both young ladies. 

Maura’s adventure to Ireland was quite a treat, the mysteries added were just icing on the cake. I am ready for my trip back to County Cork today. I can’t wait for book #2.

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Thanks to the people at Penguin
I have 2 copies to giveaway!!

PLUS 1 COPY DIRECT FROM SHEILA CONNOLLY!

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

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

Leave a comment for Sheila for 5 Bonus Entries !

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

Contest Will End March 12, 2013 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.”

readalattechallenge_zps01d248d085941mystery challenge2013where are you reading1st in a series

Posted in Reviews 2012

Review: Sour Apples by Sheila Connolly

Sour Apples
(An Orchard Mystery)

6th in Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Company
Published by The Penguin Group (August 7, 2012)
Cozy Mystery
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages ISBN-13: 978-0425251508
Cover Illustration by Mary Ann Lasher
Cover Design by Annette Fiore Defex
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!

Meg Corey has settled in nicely in Granford and her future looks bright with her orchard a success and even expanding. She has made many new friends and her relationship with Seth Chapin is growing as well as her apples.

Then Meg’s friend Lauren blows into town. She has left the bank and is now running the congressional campaign for a former football star from Granford. Seth has some reservations about the candidate and his campaign but there is no time to delve into those details as a local dairy farmer, Joyce Truesdell is found dead. It is first ruled accidental as she was thought to have been kicked my one of her cows, but the autopsy shows that fatal blow came not from a hoof but from a weapon of some sort.

The husband is pegged as the prime suspect but Meg thinks someone else may have had a beef with the dairy farmer. She intends to milk everyone she can think of for clues to finding the real culprit without churning too much attention her way.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
This book is a bestseller for a reason. The entire series in extraordinary. Each book picks up almost where the last one left off so you feel as if you never left Granford or missed any detail.

The plot of the story is clever and timely as the entire nation is a hotbed of politics right now and environmental issues have been in the news for years.

The characters have become friends and and you just want to see them succeed and grow. Meg is a feisty protagonist that can admit when she is wrong and fight for what she knows is right. Her life took a very unexpected turn when she came to town to take over the orchard but her life has bloomed in Granford. With Bree by her side helping to managing the orchard and Seth at the ready for anything Meg needs, her life is and will continue to be very fruitful.

Connolly plants the seeds allowing the clues to unfold at a perfect pace. The readers are treated to a juicy and appealing mystery. The recipes, apple and orchard tips are the ala-mode to a tart and tasty pie of a story. I cannot wait to bite into the next orchard mystery.

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent
Sour Apples

About This Author

Sheila writes the Orchard Mysteries and the Museum Mysteries and Buried In a Bog (A County Cork Mystery)comes out February 5, 2013. To find out more about Sheila visit her webpage at http://sheilaconnolly.com

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 2012

Fire Engine Dead by Sheila Connolly

Fire Engine Dead (A Museum Mystery)
A Museum Mystery
3rd in the Series

A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Ross Jones
Cover Design by Rita Frangie

Release Date: March 6, 2012

Nell Pratt, the new president of the Pennsylvania Antiquarian Society, is busy trying to hire staff and keep The Society running in these hard economic times, but when The Fireman’s Museum loses most of it’s collections to a fire she realizes things could be much worse. She tries to help by gathering all the information The Society has about local fire history to help them tally their losses and file an insurance claim. It is a picture that makes Nell understand there is much more to the story that meets the eye. When the smoke clears she knows she has to help find the truth. Hopefully she will not go down in a blaze all her own.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Being a daughter of a firefighter this story really touched by heart. The fire department where I grew up has many treasures from the past including an antique engine that travels around to nearby parades and events throughout the summer. My father was the chief for many years before he passed away. The department was an integral part of my life. There is even a Fire Training Facility dedicated to my dad at a nearby college. So growing up you could say fire fighting and all that goes with it was the family business.

Because of that I know Sheila Connolly has created a very accurate picture of the dedication of the men and women in this dangerous profession. Arson is a horrible crime and the reactions of all the characters are realistic and true. She also takes the saying of “a picture is worth a thousand words” to a very practical level, the key to the mystery.

I enjoy this series because Nell takes us into a museum full of paper and books that unless you are doing research could be quite boring but all the interplay with the characters and where their lives take us is anything but boring. It’s exciting, entertaining, and fun. It’s amazing what can happen in rooms full of ledgers, letters and legal documents. Connolly has created a complex and complicated mystery that will keep your feet to the fire as you follow the clues that will slam the door shut on those who ignited the flames. Sit back and enjoy this one, just stay back from the fire, we don’t want any readers to get injured during the reading of this book 🙂


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.”