Feb 042016
 

the flood girlsThe Flood Girls
Contemporary Fiction
Setting – Montana
Gallery Books (February 2, 2016)
A Division of Simon & Schuster
Hardcover: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1476797380
E-Book ASIN: B010MH9ZO2
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Welcome to Quinn, Montana, population: 956. A town where nearly all of the volunteer firemen are named Jim, where The Dirty Shame—the only bar in town—refuses to serve mixed drinks (too much work), where the locals hate the newcomers (then again, they hate the locals, too), and where the town softball team has never even come close to having a winning season. Until now.

Rachel Flood has snuck back into town after leaving behind a trail of chaos nine years prior. She’s here to make amends, but nobody wants to hear it, especially her mother, Laverna. But with the help of a local boy named Jake and a little soul-searching, she just might make things right.

In the spirit of Empire Falls and A League of Their Own, with the caustic wit of Where’d You Go, Bernadette thrown in for good measure, Richard Fifield’s hilarious and heartwarming debut will have you laughing through tears.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Needing a little change from the mysteries I usually read I jumped at the opportunity to review this book and am I glad I did.

Growing up in a small town, my family owned and operated a tavern and we even sponsored a baseball team so I felt right at home in Quinn and The Dirty Shame. We meet Rachel who has come home to make amends to the people she wronged in her past. Yes, she’s in Alcoholics Anonymous. Since letters didn’t work she has decided to do them in person. She is not welcomed with open arms but a spot on the baseball team and meeting a boy named Jake may help her to complete this very important step.  She also attends a local AA meeting and receives support from some surprising people.

Rachel left a bit of chaos when she left town. She slept with a lot of guys, single and married. I know growing up in a tavern environment can be difficult, thankfully I had strong, loving parents guiding my way but I gave them some gray hairs too. Rachel’s life was nowhere close to mine. Her mother worked a lot and was emotionally unavailable and Rachel took an unsurprising path. She gets a second chance. The people of Quinn are a tight knit group. Will they accept Rachel’s apologies?

Richard Fifield has hit a home run with this debut. All of these characters, and there are many, are so well developed they positively leap off the pages. At first I had a little trouble keeping everyone straight but soon the vast personalities grew and it became easy. From the main characters to the bar patrons, the ladies on the baseball team, the firemen and everyone Rachel came in connect with, they were all believable characters. They are a pretty rough and tumble bunch. Their lives have not been easy and some tough times take place within the pages. The young man Rachel befriends has been struggling with his identity mostly because of his home life. His step father just can’t accept that he is gay and things take a huge and and very unexpected, at least by me, dark turn. I was afraid something was going to happen and when it did, it stopped me cold.

Fifield also knows to set the scene, the bar, the baseball fields, the trailer parks, his descriptions were fantastic.  His pacing was perfect. The dialogue was great too, whether a phrase filled with sarcasm or a heart warming talk, or anywhere in between.

I enjoy reading stories that make me feel an abundance of emotions and this story truly did that. I can’t say I laughed out loud or say it “hilarious”, but there were some funny moments. There were some uplifting moments as well. It is the heartbreaking ones that are going to stick with me. I have a picture in my head that will be in there a long time. I think this story would be an outstanding choice for a book club. I know there would be some great discussions. I wish I belonged to one because I would love to talk about this book with others.

perfect 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Richard Fifield earned his MFA from Sarah Lawrence College in upstate New York. For the past twenty years he has worked as a social worker for adults with intellectual disabilities, while volunteering as a creative writing teacher in Missoula, Montana. Find out more on his webpage here.

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

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Spotlight/ #Giveaway – Sage’s Eyes by V. C. Andrews

 Giveaways, Spotlights  Comments Off on Spotlight/ #Giveaway – Sage’s Eyes by V. C. Andrews
Jan 232016
 

sage's eyes

Sage’s Eyes (Forbidden)
Gothic/Family Saga/Horror
Pocket Books (January 26, 2016)
An Imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1451650914
E-Book ASIN: B010MHAJNI
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From V.C. Andrews, bestselling author of Flowers in the Attic (the first in a series of Lifetime movie events about the Dollanganger family), comes the tale of a young girl kept under the watchful eye of her adoptive parents, as if they fear who—or what—she’ll become…

Sixteen-year-old Sage is a lonely child. Her adoptive parents watch her obsessively, as if studying her for warning signs of…something. And maybe they’re right to—even she can’t make sense of the strange things she sees and hears. She possesses knowledge that other teenagers don’t, that her parents and teachers—no adult—could possibly have. So when Sage finally makes a friend who understands her alarming gift, he becomes her confidant, a precarious link to the truth about who she really is. For Sage and the alluring new boy at school share many things in common. Perhaps, they’ll learn, far too many things.

315-8qLek-L._UX250_

About V.C. Andrews

V.C. Andrews® has been a bestselling phenomenon since the publication of her classic Flowers in the Attic. That blockbuster novel began her renowned Dollanganger family saga, which includes Petals on the Wind, If There Be Thorns, Seeds of Yesterday, and Garden of Shadows. Since then, readers have been captivated by more than seventy novels in V.C. Andrews’s bestselling series. V.C. Andrews’s novels have sold more than 106 million copies. Cleo Virginia Andrews (June 6, 1923 – December 19, 1986), better known as V. C. Andrews or Virginia C. Andrews, was an American novelist. She was born in Portsmouth, Virginia. Andrews died of breast cancer at the age of 63.

V.C. Andrews Twitter:   https://twitter.com/VC_Andrews

V.C. Andrews FB:             https://www.facebook.com/OfficialVCAndrews

Just Released
MY SWEET AUDRINA, available December 29th, will be a Lifetime movie January 9th, 2016

Al
Buy links for
MY SWEET AUDRINA:

S&S    Amazon
B&N    BAM
INDIEBOUND     IBOOKSTORE
KINDLE   NOOK
GOOGLE PLAY

Upcoming books:
WHITEFERN, the sequel to
MY SWEET AUDRINA, will publish July 26th, 2016


Buy Links for
WHITEFERN
Amazon           B&N             BAM

SAGE’S EYES will publish January 26th, 2016

 Buy links for SAGE’S EYES:

S&S     Amazon     B&N    BAM

INDIEBOUND    IBOOKSTORE   KINDLE    NOOK  GOOGLE PLAY

The Dollanganger series (Flowers in the Attic) books 1, 2, 3 and 4 are Lifetime movies

 The Mirror Sisters, book 1 of 3, will publish October 25th, 2016.

GIVEAWAY

I have 1 copy of Sage’s Eyes 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 February 6, 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

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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Jan 022016
 

angels burningAngels Burning
Trade Paperback Release – January 5, 2016
Suspense/Psychological Thriller
Setting – Pennsylvania
Gallery Books
An Imprint of Simon & Schuster Inc.
Trade Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1476755953
E-Book ASIN: B00UDCNJLC
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From the New York Times bestselling author of the Oprah Book Club pick Back Roads comes this fast-paced literary thriller about a small town police chief who’s forced to dig into her own shadowy past as she investigates the murder of a teenage girl.

On the surface, Chief Dove Carnahan is a true trailblazer who would do anything to protect the rural Pennsylvanian countryside where she has lived all fifty of her years. Traditional and proud of her blue-collar sensibilities, Dove is loved by her community. But beneath her badge lies a dark and self-destructive streak, fed by a secret she has kept since she was sixteen.

When a girl is beaten to death, her body tossed down a fiery sinkhole in an abandoned coal town, Dove is faced with solving the worst crime of her law enforcement career. She identifies the girl as a daughter of the Truly family, a notoriously irascible dynasty of rednecks and petty criminals.

During her investigation, the man convicted of killing Dove’s mother years earlier is released from prison. Still proclaiming his innocence, he approaches Dove with a startling accusation and a chilling threat that forces her to face the parallels between her own family’s trauma and that of the Trulys.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Told from Dove Carnahan’s point of view you quickly find out she is a complex individual. She has not had an easy life and her childhood has left her damaged. She has friends but walls up that prevent her from getting into a real relationship. Her mother was murdered when she was fifteen and the man convicted of the crime has just been released from jail. He is pushing Dove to admit she knows he didn’t do it and she lied when she accused him. Her sister Neely, a dog trainer, is also scarred from the death of her mother. Their brother left town as soon as he turned 18 and they rarely here from him. Dove is the police chief in their rural Pennsylvanian town. She watches over the town and the residents love her. But she has a secret that could change everything. The  death of young Camio Truly has stirred up memories and feelings she thought she left in the past.

Tawni O’Dell has created some amazing characters. Dysfunctional families with some huge secrets. From the children to the adults, they are all unique characters and so fleshed out. Derk Truly, Camio youngest brother, is a little boy with no fear and ability to traverse to surprising places. Camio’s mother seems to be in a trace most days, gazing at a television screen while life goes on around her. Even the death of her daughter can’t draw her out. Neely has several dogs herself, all very well behaved. She trains other dogs for many things and she rules her classes strictly, she is a perfectionist. Her way to bring order to at least one part of her life. Dove also needs order in her life so her life has become her job. She tries to keep her past in the past but it comes spilling out all over.

The death of Camio Truly was horrifying. Who would have done this? Who gains by having her dead? Each little twist and each big turn draw us deeper into the well written story. I was truly surprised by the final revelations and the way the past and the future interconnected.  I felt a myriad of emotions while reading this book, sadness, sympathy, empathy and more. This was a book that was hard to put down, I appreciated the small minutes of humor because this was a really heavy story. A story of life, lives I am sorry these characters had to endure, but that is what makes it a great read.

enjoyable 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about author Tawni O’Dell on her webpage here.

Tawni O’Dell on Amazon


Click on covers to order from Amazon.

GIVEAWAY
I am giving away my review copy!
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 January 14, 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

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Jan 022016
 

my sweet audrina
My Sweet Audrina
(The Audrina Series Book 1)

Gothic/Family Saga/Horror
Pocket Books; Media Tie-In edition (December 29, 2015)
An Imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Mass Market Paperback: 560 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1501138843
E-Book ASIN: B004DI7TUE
goodreads-badge-add-plusShop Indie Bookstores

V.C. Andrews has enthralled millions with her suspenseful, gothic family sagas, including the bestselling Dollanganger series that began with Flowers in the Attic. Now, one of her strangest, most beloved classics My Sweet Audrina—a haunting story of love and deceit, innocence and betrayal, and the suffocating power of parental love—is soon to be a major Lifetime movie event.

The idea of her sister hovered above them all.

Audrina fiercely desired to be as good as her sister. She knew her father could not love her as he loved that other girl, for her sister was so special, so perfect—and dead.

Upstairs in a locked room awaited her sister’s clothes and dolls, her animals and games—and her sacred rocking chair. Now Audrina will rock and rock and rock to reclaim all of her gone sister’s special gifts.

And then finally she’ll learn the secrets everyone else knows but her.

315-8qLek-L._UX250_

About V.C. Andrews

V.C. Andrews® has been a bestselling phenomenon since the publication of her classic Flowers in the Attic. That blockbuster novel began her renowned Dollanganger family saga, which includes Petals on the Wind, If There Be Thorns, Seeds of Yesterday, and Garden of Shadows. Since then, readers have been captivated by more than seventy novels in V.C. Andrews’s bestselling series. V.C. Andrews’s novels have sold more than 106 million copies. Cleo Virginia Andrews (June 6, 1923 – December 19, 1986), better known as V. C. Andrews or Virginia C. Andrews, was an American novelist. She was born in Portsmouth, Virginia. Andrews died of breast cancer at the age of 63.

Upcoming books:
MY SWEET AUDRINA, available December 29th, will be a Lifetime movie January 9th, 2016


Buy links for
MY SWEET AUDRINA:

S&S    Amazon
B&N    BAM
INDIEBOUND     IBOOKSTORE
KINDLE   NOOK
GOOGLE PLAY


WHITEFERN, the sequel to
MY SWEET AUDRINA, will publish July 26th, 2016


Buy Links for
WHITEFERN
Amazon           B&N             BAM

SAGE’S EYES will publish January 26th, 2016

 Buy links for SAGE’S EYES:

S&S     Amazon     B&N    BAM

INDIEBOUND    IBOOKSTORE   KINDLE    NOOK  GOOGLE PLAY

The Dollanganger series (Flowers in the Attic) books 1, 2, 3 and 4 are Lifetime movies

 The Mirror Sisters, book 1 of 3, will publish October 25th, 2016.

GIVEAWAY

I have 1 copy of My Sweet Audrina 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 January 16, 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

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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Nov 212013
 

death overdueDeath Overdue
(Librarian Mysteries)

2nd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Gallery Books (November 5, 2013)
A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc
Trade Paperback: 256 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1451684667
E-Book File Size: 2471 KB
ASIN: B00BSB2C2Y
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Librarian Karen Nash has returned to London with B & B owner Caldwell Perkins to pursue both their relationship but also the feasibility of opening a bookstore. They are barely back when Caldwell’s old girlfriend and business partner, Sally, shows up with her new boyfriend, Alfredo. She left him in the lurch 7 years ago and after all this time she wants to reclaim her half of the business or have Caldwell buy her out. She seems to have forgotten emptying their bank account and leaving him on his own to run the Bed & Breakfast all these years.

That night Karen is jolted out of bed by a loud crash. She rushes into the hallway to find Caldwell standing there in the doorway of the library with a horrific look on his face. Karen peers in the door and all she can see is one of the huge bookcases has toppled. That’s when she notices a woman’s hand under the enormous pile of books. She soon realizes it is Sally and that she is dead. This has to have been an accident, right? The detective thinks it was murder and Caldwell is his prime suspect.

Karen is determined to find the real culprit that caused this bump in the night because she knows Caldwell is definitely not going to be booked for this murder.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
In this followup to Killer Librarian, we find Karen back in London. I admit I wish the characters would have spent a little more time in Minnesota but hopefully they will in a future installment.

This reads like an old fashioned mystery, like a game of Clue where we know the weapon and the room we just need to determine the killer.  It seems all it takes is a “cuppa” tea to get people talk. Do they really drink this much tea in England? 🙂

The main characters continue to emerge and there is the expected twist in this genre. The story does flow nicely. It was a fun read but it was just missing that little something. Karen is a very intelligent woman and her relationship with Caldwell just seems a little whirlwind for me. She just came across very pragmatic in the first book. It was her first trip abroad and she was reeling from her broken relationship. I realize she is in her 40’s and the start of the romance between her and Caldwell was a large part of the first book but they are already so familiar with each other and making huge future plans. I just feel like we missed out on the courtship building between them.  They haven’t even had much of a disagreement on anything. I hope the author slows things down and adds a little real life conflict that happens in all relationships as I am sure they will be working together to not only open a bookstore but solve another mystery or two or many.

The author has a handle on the mystery aspects. There is plenty of room for character growth and development in this new series.  I will be watching for book 3.

just you and a friend4 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author
Mary Lou Kirwin has lived in France, Belgium, England, and New York City. She now lives a quiet life in the wilds of Minnesota and Wisconsin. She feels she owes a great deal to all the librarians in her life—for handing her the right book at the right time. Find out more about this author here.

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

literary road trip 2012

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Aug 222013
 

YOU CANNOLI DIE ONCEYou Cannoli Die Once
(Miracolo Mysteries)

New Series
Cozy Mystery
Pocket Books (May 28, 2013)
A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1476709352
E-Book File Size: 890 KB
ASIN: B00A6CM4YC
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From Back Cover

At Miracolo Northern Italian restaurant, one can savor brilliantly seasoned veal saltimbocca, or luscious risotto alla milanese, but no cannoli. Never cannoli. Maria Pia Angelotta, the spirited seventy-six-year-old owner of the Philadelphia-area eatery that’s been in her family for four generations, has butted heads with her head chef over the cannoli ban more than once. And when the head chef is your own granddaughter, things can get a little heated.

Fortunately, Eve Angelotta knows how to handle what her nonna dishes out. But when Maria Pia’s boyfriend is found dead in Miracolo’s kitchen, bludgeoned by a marble mortar, the question arises: Can a woman this fiery and stubborn over cream-filled pastry be capable of murder?

The police seem to think so, and they put the elder Angelotta behind bars, while Eve, sexy neighborhood attorney Joe Beck, and the entire Miracolo family— parenti di sangue and otherwise—try every trick in the cookbook to unravel a tangle of lies and expose a killer.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
What a tasty debut!!  Eve and her Nonna don’t agree with what’s on and not on the menu but she knows her grandmother didn’t kill anyone. Eve pulls her friends and family together to do whatever they have to so she is cleared of the crime and back at the restaurant where she belongs. Even if it means breaking and entering!

When you pick up this book be prepared to laugh and laugh a lot. This is a true group of quirky characters and I was surprised at their depth for this being the first book in the series. This is a big Italian family so there are many characters to keep straight but as the story progresses they each come into their own and are very easily pictured in the reader’s mind. Don’t be scared off by the hard to pronounce or long Italian names, soon you will feel right at home at Miracolo’s.

The story unfolds slowly with delectable dialogue, a few bites of tongue in cheek moments,  some crumbs of sarcasm, and references of some great operas.  Then it picks up steam as the clues start to come together. There is also a little romantic tension we all love too.  All together a yummy cozy mystery.  I can hardly wait for my next reservation at this wonderful Italian eatery.

just you and a friend

4 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about Shelley Costa on her webpage here.

I would love to share my review copy with one lucky winner!!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Contest Will End September 5, 2013 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

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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Jun 252013
 

A DIET TO DIE FOR
A Diet to Die For:
A Skinny Mystery

Brand New Series
Cozy Mystery
Pocket Books (June 25, 2013)
A Division of Simon & Schuster
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1451684681
E-Book File Size: 964 KB
ASIN: B008J4ROWQ

Does this murder make my butt look big?

Meet Jen Stevens—a hungry New York City event planner who’s 31 years old, 30 pounds overweight, and flirting with disaster when it comes to sticking to her diet. Working for the food-centric Yummy Channel, it’s hard to resist temptation. But when there’s a crime for Jen to solve, it’s easy as pie. . . .

Baker extraordinaire Bess Brantwood is one of the Yummy Channel’s brightest stars—and biggest divas. Despite the off-camera drama, Jen has to admit that Bess’s chocolate buttercream cupcakes drizzled with caramel are simply to die for—and kill for, as it turns out—when Bess’s body, like a baked good gone bad, is discovered . . . in a Dumpster.

Who iced the cupcake queen? Jen is determined to find out. With the help of her BFFs—fab foodblogger Gabby and lively life coach Elizabeth—she starts sifting for clues. She’s got all the ingredients to solve the perfect crime, including one delectable detective, one divalicious diary, and enough industry rivals for a battle of the network stars. But is Jen prepared to risk her life as well as her waistline? No matter how you slice it, revenge is sweet—and loaded with carbs.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
A girl after my own heart. Yes, I love the foods that are bad for me, and have walked the same path as Jen, but I have never ended up in the middle of a murder investigation.

Steding has created extraordinary characters and let readers get to know them while leaving plenty of room for growth. I love Jen.  The true friendship she has Gabby and Elizabeth just shines, even a bump or two in the road. My favorite character was “Officer Hazel Eyes”. He just kept popping up everywhere Jen went and hopefully that will continue in the next installment.

She also created a great whodunit. It was easy to identify the method of murder but the suspects all had motive and opportunity for icing the Yummy Channel diva. The killer could have been any one of them.

The story is a very entertaining read, definitely written by someone who has to have lived through the diet cycle a time or two. She is able to tell give us a clever mystery, sprinkled liberally with humor and just a touch of romantic tension.

I am looking forward to the next Skinny Mystery!

just you and a friend4 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author
Sarah Steding has cut carbs, calories, white foods, yellow foods, packaged foods, and fatty foods (not all at the same time, or any for more than a few well-intentioned days). She’s tried grapefruit, cayenne-spiced lemonade, macrobiotics, and even gummy bears. While crusading against thunder thighs, she has developed quite a sense of humor about the whole ordeal. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with three little boys and a husband who has learned to say she looks quite slender in those jeans.

 

A DIET TO DIE FOR

Low-carb Chocolate Mousse

2 tbsp cold water
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
4 tbsp boiling water
1 cup granulated zero-calorie sugar substitute-try Truvia
1/2 cup unsweetened powdered cocoa
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp whipped cream

Servings: 4

Total carbs for serving: 7.3 grams

sarah steding recipe

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 

Thanks to the people at Pocket Books
I have 2 copies to giveaway!!

My Advance Review Copy and 1 Brand New Paperback!!!

U.S. and CANADIAN RESIDENTS
You must be a follower of this blog to enter. 

2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page

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

Contest Will End July 9, 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.”

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May 142013
 

the s word

The S-Word
Teen Fiction
Gallery Books (May 7, 2013)
A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Trade Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1451695168
E-Book File Size: 609 KB
ASIN: B007Z4S22M

Lizzie wasn’t the first student at Verity High School to kill herself this year. But the difference is, she didn’t go quietly.

Lizzie’s reputation is destroyed when she’s caught in bed with her best friend’s boyfriend on prom night. With the whole school turned against her, and Angie not speaking to her, Lizzie takes her own life. But someone isn’t letting her go quietly. As graffiti and photocopies of Lizzie’s diary plaster the school, Angie begins a relentless investigation into who, exactly, made Lizzie feel she didn’t deserve to keep living. And while she claims she simply wants to punish Lizzie’s tormentors, Angie’s own anguish over abandoning her best friend will drive her deep into the dark, twisted side of Verity High—and she might not be able to pull herself back out.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This was a heart wrenching story to read. Our family has been personally touched by a teenage suicide and then as here a young life was lost because of secrets, lies, and misinformation. 

The book is told from Angie’s point of view and questions, guilt, and anger over her best friend’s death are just eating her alive. Her personal journey through the grieving process while trying to hold herself and others responsible drive this story while at the same time as teaching several lessons about bullying and judging people.  Actions do have consequences.

The author walks the fine line with subjects that could go very dark but by adding real high school behaviors in a very ingenious way she has escaped that trap. A plot full of surprises and realizations make this a hard book to put down. The diary entries added immensely to the story as we learned Lizzie’s  way of not even naming names in a place where she kept her private thoughts.

This is heavy read with some expected and unexpected resolutions. I think it would be a great book to add to high school reading lists.

just you and a friend

4 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Chelsea Pitcher is a native of Portland, Oregon, where she received her BA in English Literature. The S-Word is her first novel. Visit her website at ChelseaPitcher.com.
Follow her on: 

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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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Apr 182013
 

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Christina grew up in rural Wisconsin so I am thrilled to have her visit today. She has a new book out, The Edge of the Earth, was released April 2. Check out my review after Christina’s post and be sure to enter the giveaway.

  118930089_Christina_Schwarz             In An American Childhood, Annie Dillard writes about how the books she read as a girl led her away from the Midwest that had nourished her and that she loved with its “big hardwood trees outside the windows, and the terrible Midwest summers, and the terrible Midwest winters.”  She says that the Midwest lovingly wills its children to “stay and find a place among its familiar possibilities.”  In the end, though, she sorrowfully left it, “having grown strong and restless” in the very act of opposing that will.  The theme in The Edge of the Earth that feels most tightly tied to my real life is the idea of feeling compelled to leave a loving world of familiar possibilities for who knows what.  When I decided that my character was going to travel to a strange and isolated lighthouse in California, I knew instantly that the other side of that story—the known and civilized world that she would leave—would be Milwaukee.

the edge of the earthHowever long I live in California—or elsewhere (I’ve flitted back and forth across the country several times)—I will forever identify myself first as a Midwesterner.  Perhaps distinctions of geography are less powerful than they once were, but to me there’s still a detectable difference.  The Easterner has a degree of sophistication and the Westerner conveys an uncomplicated self-confidence that I will forever lack.  Instead, I possess the down-to-earth quality of the Midwesterner, a trait I’m convinced is not unrelated to a matter-of-factness that comes from thinking that it’s perfectly normal to move through air chilled to 40 below and then superheated to 97 humid degrees within a six month period.

Wisconsin settings are key elements in three of my four novels, and even in the book that has no scene in the literal Midwest—All Is Vanity —I deliberately incorporated a California town, Glendale, that has for me a Midwestern flavor.  The Midwest is where I learned to see and appreciate the world.  That its beauties are often subtle, softened by rolling hills and dense layers of green, has made me a careful observer, alert to fine detail.  That drama in the Midwest is often understated, cloaked by polite cheerfulness, gives me a keen understanding of the complexity of people’s motives and behavior.

In The Great Gatsby, Nick Carroway finds himself unable to fully enter into the excesses of the east coast, but because he has the perspective of a Midwesterner, which in his case might boil down to a clear sense of who he is, he’s able to clearly perceive and tell the story of Gatsby, Daisy and Tom (other Midwesterners who lose their way).  For me, too, the Midwest is the grounding place, the essence of home.

~Christina

About This Author
Christina Schwarz, author of three previous novels, including Oprah Book Club pick Drowning Ruth, grew up in rural Wisconsin. She has lived in Washington D.C., New York City, England and New Hampshire, and now lives in Pasadena, California. To capture the atmosphere of the central California coast for The Edge of the Earth, she dragged her husband and son (along with a passel of dogs and a cat) to Big Sur for months at a time.

the edge of the earth

The Edge of the Earth: A Novel
Historical Fiction
Atria Books (April 2, 2013)
A Division of Simon & Schuster
Hardcover: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1451683677
E-Book File Size: 741 KB
ASIN: B008J2BZVY

The Edge of the Earth


In 1898, a woman forsakes the comfort of home and family for a love that takes her to a remote lighthouse on the wild coast of California. What she finds at the edge of the earth, hidden between the sea and the fog, will change her life irrevocably.

Trudy has been raised to marry her childhood sweetheart and make her home in Milwaukee but she yearns for a more adventurous life and she falls in love with Oskar. He plans to travel far away from the Midwest and she believes she has found an escape to her preordained life.

But she never imagined a life like this. Alienated from friends and family the couple moves to Point Lucia, California. A desolate outcropping between the ocean and inaccessible wilderness. Oskar is the new assistant lighthouse keeper and the only other inhabitants of the area are the Crawleys who are very set in their ways. Trudy will find that nothing is as she might have predicted, especially as she discovers what hides among the rocks.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Schwarz is a truly gifted storyteller. Her descriptive style of writing gives this poignant story a life that was pure pleasure to read.

She has created rich and realistic characters and placed them in an extraordinary place. Imagine days filled with talking with 4 other adults and 4 children for months and months on end. The tender only brings supplies every few months.

Trudy goes from a life where practically everything was done for her to taking care of herself and her husband and even teaching the children. Oskar is a stubborn, selfish man. He has dreams for a great invention but he loses interest before any come to fruition. Euphemia Crawley is a woman hardened by her isolated life. She tries to keep rein on 4 wild, rambunctious children who have frequent “mermaid sightings”.

The story takes some unexpected turns and this reader was surprised by the ending. I enjoyed The Edge of the Earth. It is a story that will stick with you.

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

I am giving my gently read review copy to one lucky winner.

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 Christina 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 May 2, 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.”

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Apr 032013
 

cozy wednesdayWelcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am so excited to welcome Chrystle here today.  Her books pack a punch with clever mysteries and so much information about Natural Remedies. Check out her post, then brew yourself a cup of tea and escape into a cozy mystery!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATHE JOYS OF DRINKING TEA AND READING COZY MYSTERIES

By Chrystle Fiedler

Nothing warms the body and soul like holding a fragrant steaming cup of herbal tea, inhaling its subtle scents as you slowly sip, while you enter the world of a cozy mystery. Not only does tea bring you flavor, variety, and easily digested nutrients, it also provides numerous health benefits from soothing a sore throat with fennel to easing anxiety and stress with chamomile. Making herbal tea is a unique way to use the benefits of aromatherapy, the theme of my latest cozy Scent to Kill: A Natural Remedies Mystery.

I like to brew a nice cup of tea in the late afternoon, what the Brits call “tea time” and drink it as I am writing my cozy mysteries. Use this guide to make the perfect cup of tea the next time you’re planning on reading one!
Here’s how:

iStock_000004128612XSmallMaking the Perfect Cup of Tea

Herbal tea is an infusion of leaves, seeds, roots or bark, whose goodness is extracted in hot water and sipped for its benefits, both mental and physical. To begin, use pure water, distilled, spring filtered, or well water. Use one heaping teaspoon of dry herbs per cup of hot water. Dried herbs available in loose bulk form are often less expensive and offer a wider variety of flavors. Health food stores offer muslin tea bags and tea balls, which can be filled with herbs and used to steep to make herbal tea.
You can also try using a conventional teapot. Here’s how:

Teapot Method

Fill a china or porcelain tea pot with hot water and allow it to stand for a minute or so. This warms the pot so that the tea you pour into it will not cool down quickly because of a cold pot and impede the steeping process.
Then pour off the water, add loose herbs (1 heaping teaspoon for each cup plus one extra one ‘for the pot’) and fill the pot with boiling water. Cover and allow the herbs and water to steep for ten to fifteen minutes. This also allows the herbs to cool to a comfortable drinking temperature. To serve the tea, simply hold a strainer over each cup as you pour.

The Infusion Method

The Infusion method is ideal for herbal leaves, flowers and seeds and even roots (such as ginger, osha, and valerian) that have delicate essential oils that would be diminished if boiled. The best way to prepare this type of tea is to lightly bruise seeds with a mortar and pestle to help release their flavor and properties.

Next, simply boil a cup of water and remove it from the heat. Add one heaping teaspoon of herb, cover (to prevent the delicate essential oils from
evaporating) and allow it to steep for ten to twenty minutes.

Scent to kill (2)French Press

A French press is a glass pot, a gadget beloved by coffee drinkers, but works great for herbal tea. Simply add the herb to the press, cover with hot water and allow it to steep for ten minutes. The press automatically strains out the herbs, and you can give it a squeeze to further release therapeutic value.

Sun Tea

Sun teas work best with leaves and flowers. Add one cup of herb or herb mixture or twelve tea bags and allow the herbs to sit in sunlight for four to six hours. Cover the jar to prevent leaves from blowing into the jar.
Strain before drinking.

Cold Water Infusion

Cold water infusions retain more vitamin C, and a brighter color than hot infusions. Fill a glass pitcher with fresh picked herbs from the list below and cover with spring water. Allow to steep in the refrigerator for several hours (8-12) or overnight.

death dropsThese herbs are good choices for cold infusion:

Bee Balm
Catnip
Lavender
Lilac
Lemon Balm
Lemon Verbena
Anise
Hyssop
Peppermint
Rooibos
Rose
Rosemary
Spearmint

Add Flavor to Your Tea

Make your tea even more flavorful by adding a touch of honey, agave nectar, apple juice, maple syrup, raw sugar, cinnamon extract, a squeeze of fresh lemon, lime or orange. I like to add Truvia which is a kind of stevia. You can keep tea up to four days in the refrigerator.

Types of Tea You Might Like to Try:

Chamomile tea is a soothing and sedative herb that’s effective at relieving stress and anxiety and easing insomnia. Valerian tea also helps you to relax.

Ginger tea soothes tummy and digestive troubles like nausea and an upset stomach.

Milk Thistle tea is a gentle liver cleanser that helps this important organ to regenerate and work more efficiently.

Lemon Balm tea can help you see the glass half-full so it’s good for the winter blues. It can also help you concentrate better.

Rosehip tea is bursting with Vitamin C, so it’s good for your immune system and can help to ward off colds and flu. Green tea is also packed with polyphenols, a type of antioxidant that helps boost health.

~Chrystle

About This Author

Chrystle Fiedler is the author of Scent to Kill: A Natural Remedies Mystery, (Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster) the second in the NATURAL REMEDIES MYSTERY series, Death Drops: A Natural Remedies Mystery, the non-fiction title THE The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Natural Remedies (Alpha, 2009), co-author of Beat Sugar Addiction Now!: The Cutting-Edge Program That Cures Your Type of Sugar Addiction and Puts You on the Road to Feeling Great – and Losing Weight!(Fairwinds Press, 2010), currently in its fourth printing, the Beat Sugar Addiction Now! Cookbook: Recipes That Cure Your Type of Sugar Addiction and Help You Lose Weight and Feel Great!The Country Almanac of Home Remedies: Time-Tested & Almost Forgotten Wisdom for Treating Hundreds of Common Ailments, Aches & Pains Quickly and Naturally (Fairwinds, 2011). Chrystle’s magazine articles featuring natural remedies have appeared in many national publications including Natural Health, Vegetarian Times, Better Homes & Gardens and Remedy. Visit www.chrystlefiedler.com.


Scent to kill (2)

Scent to Kill:
A Natural Remedies Mystery

2nd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Gallery Books(February 26, 2013)
A Division of Simon & Schuster Inc.
Trade Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1451643619
E-Book File Size: 968 KB
ASIN: B008J4RPRK

Scent to Kill (A Natural Remedies Mystery #2)

Willow McQuade, naturopathic doctor, along with her hunky ex-cop boyfriend Jackson Spade, attend a party for a psychic TV show that is filming on Long Island’s idyllic East End. However, Willow is much more interested in visiting the estate’s lavender farm, seeking inspiration for the new aromatherapy workshops she’ll be holding at her store, Nature’s Way Market & Café.

Before the party is over, Roger Bixby one of the producers is dead and the police suspect murder. Roger was working on the show, MJ’s Mind, with Carly Bixby, his ex-wife and the new girlfriend of Willow’s ex from L.A., TV writer/producer Simon Lewis.

After Willow leaves the party, she gets a frantic text from Simon asking for her help. Since Simon had a fight with Roger earlier in the evening, and because of his death is now the primary shareholder in Galaxy films, Willow’s ex becomes the prime suspect. Simon begs her to crack the case and clear him of the murder. MJ McClellan, the psychic and star of the show also asks Willow for help. She hires Willow to provide natural remedies, including aromatherapy, massage, acupuncture and yoga to soothe the agitated crew of her show.

To find the killer, Willow has to deal with ghosts in a haunted mansion, a truly dysfunctional family, death threats and “accidents,” while trying to untangle a homicide identical to one committed during prohibition.

Thankfully, Jackson has been hired to provide security and is there to watch her back and help Willow solve this spooky mystery. As a bonus, you’ll find dozens of natural aromatherapy cures throughout the book that can improve your health in mind, body and spirit!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I was fortunate to be able to read the two book back to back and really enjoyed both.

Scent to Kill focuses on aromatherapy and essential oils and I could almost smell the lavender fields while reading. As soon as I finished the book I went online to check out diffusers and oils.

Willow McQuade uses her knowledge of herbal remedies to put herself right in the middle of the action. Helping the crew through the stresses of their jobs and the added stress of knowing there may be a murderer among them. She also keeps the door open to a more supernatural solution that could solve this murder and those that took place decades earlier. She and retired cop Jackson Spade make a great team. Their romance is also growing at a perfect pace.

Strong characters and setting made this a fun whodunit.  The ghosts  and the spooky mansion really added great elements to the story.

I can’t wait for my next trip to Nature’ s Way.  I will need an appointment with both Hector and Allie. I once had a doctor tell me to do yoga for my back pain. Maybe Nick can explain how someone like me, paralyzed on one side could do yoga 🙂 while I enjoy the nice healthy smoothie. I am sure the author will have a wonderful mystery to solve too!

just you and a friend

4 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Would you like to win a copy of this wonderful book?

There are two copies available plus 1 lucky winner
will receive a copy of Death Drops: A Natural Remedies Mystery.

To win a copy of Scent to Kill: A Natural Remedies Mystery directly from the author
just leave a comment telling Chrystle your favorite cup of tea!
The winner will be randomly selected from the comments.

To win my review copy of both books
fill out the entry form. (Link Below)

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.

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

Contest Will End April 17, 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

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