Dec 122014
 

dirty deedsDirty Deeds:
#9 (Savannah Martin Mysteries)

Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Magpie Ink (November 4, 2014)
Paperback: 292 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0989943482
E-Book File Size: 685 KB
ASIN: B00MV6IO18
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Savannah Martin’s frugality blows up in her face when she rents out her apartment for the weekend to a woman ostensibly in town for a job interview. When the stranger turns up strangled, and turns out to have been entertaining clients in Savannah’s bed, MNPD Detective Tamara Grimaldi swoops in to investigate both the murder and the prostitution angle… and it isn’t long before she makes a connection to someone in Savannah’s past. But with both Detective Grimaldi and Savannah’s boyfriend, TBI agent Rafe Collier, certain they know what happened, it’s up to Savannah to prove that the person they think is guilty of murder, isn’t. Unless, of course, they’re right and she’s wrong, and the killer is coming for Savannah next…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I have heard about people renting out their homes and apartments when big events come to town. Let’s face it there is always something happening in Nashville and Savannah’s apartment was just sitting empty. Why not make a little money? She she isn’t raking in any bucks from selling houses. The last thing she expected was for one her temporary tenants to end up dead. She also didn’t know they were using her apartment for the world’s oldest profession.

Fun! Fun! Fun! I love these characters and this series! Sadly I have missed a couple in the the middle but Jenna Bennett includes enough background in this story to bring us all up to date. The character continue to grow in each installment and Savannah always finds herself in trouble. Even being pregnant doesn’t keep her out of trouble but it does make her think twice about her actions.

Bennett has written an excellent mystery that takes us back to Sweetwater and ties into Savannah and Rafe’s past. I am so happy the way their relationship is developing. It makes me realize I need to go back to read the books that I missed. Savannah Martin is a very special character and I am sorry that we lost touch. I definitely plan to rectify that in the new year!

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about Jenna Bennett/Jennie Bentley on her 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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Oct 242014
 

murder and mayhem goose pimple junction  large banner640
It is times like these that I am so thankful I started organizing these tours because it helped me “meet” Amy Metz and be introduced to the very unique people of Goose Pimple Junction!

GPJ1CoverMurder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction
(Goose Pimple Junction mystery)
First in Series

Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Blue Publications (September 7, 2014)
Paperback: 252 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0989714020
E-Book File Size: 563 KB
ASIN: B00NE1H8FW
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When Tess Tremaine starts a new life in the colorful town of Goose Pimple Junction, curiosity leads her to look into a seventy-five-year-old murder. Suddenly she’s learning the foreign language of southern speak, resisting her attraction to local celebrity Jackson Wright, and dealing with more mayhem than she can handle.

A bank robbery, murder, and family tragedy from the 1930s are pieces of the mystery that Tess attempts to solve. As she gets close to the truth, she encounters danger, mystery, a lot of southern charm, and a new temptation for which she’s not sure she’s ready.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I absolutely loved everything about this book!

Tess Tremaine is starting over after a terrible marriage. Her son has his life in Birmingham and she is settling in to her new home in Goose Pimple Junction. With a children’s book already published she decides to try her hand at a romance novel. To fill her time she lands a part-time job at A Blue Million Books and she is also refreshing the home she has purchased. It just so happens that her new home was the bookstore owner’s family home. The mystery begins when she discovers something interesting in a floor register.

They story goes back and forth from 1932 when a bank was robbed to present day. Tess’ arrival in Goose Pimple has spurred a bunch of things in motion. The author does the changing points of view wonderfully.

Metz has filled her story with sweet tea, southern charm and the language that Tess finds trouble grasping at first but she catches on PDQ.

The residents of Goose Pimple Junction are what we cozy readers call “quirky” and most have hearts as big as all outdoors. Bookstore owner Lou is a true gem and she loves people. She has her opinions which she is not afraid to share and sometimes she shares them loudly and at other times under her breathe so just the folks nearby can hear. Jack is a mystery author and he seems to click with Tess from their first “Howdy”, but Tess was just not ready to have another “cheatin’ man” in her life and in her frame of mind most men are cheaters. But she does start to warm up to him after a while.

The story is also full of humor and well known and not so well known Southern sayings – Goosepimpleisms. The dialogue continued to crack me up time and time again. For example: Tess and Jack are at dinner when another man walks in and they both notice his attire. Jack shook his head. “I ‘m surprised he can sit. His pants are so tight, if he farted,  he’d blow his boots off.”

The mystery was well researched and well plotted. I was surprised to learn it is based on an a real unsolved mystery the author had grown up hearing about.  There were plenty of suspects rolling around in my mind. Heck I even suspected Jack!

This story was a pure joy to read. I was sorry to see it end. The author gives us a small helping of the next book in the series, Heroes & Hooligans in Goose Pimple Junction. I went right to Amazon to try to purchased it.  It is not out yet but the author says it will be soon. I can’t wait!

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

AmyMetz

About This Author

Amy Metz is a former first grade teacher and the mother of two grown sons. When not actively engaged in writing, enjoying her family, or surfing Facebook or Pinterest, Amy can usually be found with a mixing spoon, camera, or book in one hand and a glass of sweet tea in the other. Amy lives in Louisville, Kentucky.

 

Author Links

Website: http://amymetz.com
Blog: http://abluemillionbooks.blogspot.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorAmyMetz
Twitter: https://twitter.com/authoramymetz
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6436458.Amy_Metz
Book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vIbieSgVjk

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to the author I have 1 e-copy to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

Leave a comment for Amy 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 October 31, 2014 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the 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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Jan 292014
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640
Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am happy to have Joelle stop by today!!

Escape into a song

By: Joelle Charbonneau

joelleI love to sing.  Not just because I teach voice or used to perform on stage or currently write about an opera singer.  Those are just happy career accidents.  If I’d never taught a single student, performed in a show or written any of the Glee Club books, I would still love to sing.

But’s it’s more than loving it.  I need to sing.  It’s my escape from everything around me, which is funny when I consider that never do I feel sadness, joy, happiness or despair more deeply than when I sing.   Music gives me a place to put all my hopes and dreams and fears.  When I’m singing I feel every note resonate deep in my soul.

Funny enough, because I’m a teacher and a professional performer, I don’t find the same kind of escape in just listening to music.  When I am listening to others sing, I analyze every moment both mentally and emotionally.  I think about what would make the song better.  I pick apart the ideas behind the lyrics and melody.

a chorus line upHmmm….I guess it probably isn’t a surprise that I can’t write when I have music on.  Music is never in the background for me.  And it doesn’t just set a mood.  It’s alive and real and makes me want to jump up and take part in it.  Which means if I put music on in my house while writing there would be a lot of singing and not a lot of writing.  Great for personal entertainment.  Bad for deadlines.

For my heroine of the Glee Club series, Paige Marshall, music has the same power in her life that it has in mine.  It isn’t just what she does for a career.  Singing is part of what makes her—well—her.  It is part of her heart and I hope that passion for singing comes across to readers.   More—I hope that some people who shy away from singing because they don’t think they’re any good at it are inspired by her passion to belt out a tune in the shower or in their car.  (Although the shower is WAY better acoustically.  Trust me.  Tile makes everyone sound better.)  Regardless of where you sing, you don’t have to sound like a Broadway star to make music.  You just have to let yourself enjoy the experience and escape into the song.  If you let yourself, I promise you that you’ll feel your heart soar.

So, today I challenge you to find your escape into music…if you only listen – that’s okay.  But if you sing at the top of your lungs so much the better.

~Joelle

Guess What Joelle does when she is not writing mysteries…

Joelle Charbonneau has performed in opera and musical theatre productions across Chicagoland.  She now teaches private voice lessons and is the author of two mystery series:  The Rebecca Robbins mysteries (Minotaur Books) and the Glee Club mysteries (Berkley).  Joelle’s also the author of New York Times Best Selling THE TESTING, the first of a young adult trilogy.

Learn more at www.joellecharbonneau.com, www.facebook.com/AuthorJoelleCharbonneau, or find her on twitter at @jcharbonneau

a chorus line up
A Chorus Lineup
(A Glee Club Mystery)

3rd in Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (January 7, 2014)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Paul Hess
Cover Design by Rita Frangie
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425252499
E-Book File Size: 1631 KB
ASIN: B00D7Z4GIW
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The Prospect Glen Glee Club, Music in Motion, is in Nashville for a National Show Choir competition. They have the talent. They have the heart. Nothing can stop Prospect Glen’s choir from taking home the trophy. But below the soaring voices, there are murmurs of suspicion. So-called accidents keep befalling the other choirs. Yet Prospect Glen remains untouched.

With their competitors clamoring for them to be disqualified, the group may soon be singing a different tune. If there’s anyone who can restore harmony to the competition, it’s Paige. But this time she’ll needs to stick her neck out to discover who’s behind the sabotage, or she may end up singing her own swan song…

Dollycas’s Thoughts
This a fun cozy series. Fans of the television show Glee and movies like Pitch Perfect would love this entire series.

Again Joelle Charbonneau has hit all the right notes. Her characters just sing on these pages. As these stories continue the characters continue to grow and evolve, both the adults and the teenagers.

Paige is still trying to make it as an opera singer but she really enjoys working with these kids. As if a long bus ride and a week long stay in a hotel with a bunch of teenagers weren’t enough one of the local competition volunteers, LuAnn, ends up dead. This volunteer had a real beef with Paige and the Music in Motion group. She was doing everything she could to get them disqualified and no one seems to know why. Then of course Paige is the one to find her body after an apparent hit and run. This moves her the “person of interest” list when the case is ruled as a homicide and this time she is out of her favorite detective’s jurisdiction. But Millie, Aldo and Killer do make the trip so Millie can do the team’s makeup.  That Killer is quite the canine. Hopefully they can get Paige out of  this mess.

The author takes us behind the scenes of the competition from the rehearsals to the final performance and everything in between. She definitely writes what she knows.

She has choreographed a very clever mystery too. Plenty of real suspects and unexpected turns. One that made this reader quite happy.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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.

Leave a comment for Joelle 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 February 12, 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.”

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Jan 152014
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am especially excited today to Welcome Jim Lavene.

Joyce has dropped by before but this is his first visit.

I hope it won’t be his last 🙂

A Guy’s Guide to Writing Cozy Mysteries (with his wife)

By Jim Lavene

Jim Lavene biopicOkay. People ask a lot about Joyce and me working together every day. Let’s go ahead and get that one out of the way.

I can’t tell you how many women are just plain glad that they don’t have to work with their husbands. Ladies: Men feel the same way.

Joyce and I have a weird kind of symbiotic relationship. You all knew that already, right? We both grew up with our heads in books, living on other planets and meeting incredible people.

Now we can create those interesting places and people. I can’t start to tell you how much fun that is. And when you can do it with your best friend – that makes it all the better!

I never knew what they were called when I was a kid – but I loved reading Agatha Christie novels. Now I know they’re cozy mysteries.  I also have a thing for the old Gothic novels. But I admit that my favorite books are fantasy and/or science fiction.

When Joyce and I aren’t writing, we have some individual hobbies we like to do. I like to fix computers. All of our friends and family know where to bring their computers when they aren’t working. It took me a year once to find the right program to recover my daughter’s hard drive (it had all her pictures on it) but eventually, I got them all back for her. That was satisfying!

playing with fireWhen I was a kid, I wanted to go into space. That was really the only thing I wanted to do. We all grow up and find other things, but that was always my dream. I’m hoping I can still accomplish that.

As far as escaping somewhere to write, I can’t imagine doing that by myself. I’m happy doing what I’m doing, with the person I’m doing it with, in the place we are.

I’m a Virgo, so we don’t think of escaping much. We dig our feet into the earth, and build on what we know, and what we have.

Oh, and I really like how many letters we get from women saying they are in love with Eric, our ghost in the Sweet Pepper series. Eric is totally patterned after me (except for the cooking part and the dead part). So keep those letters coming, ladies. I enjoy reading them!

Thanks for having me here, Lori!

~Jim

Jim you are welcome to drop by anytime!!!

About J.J. Cook

J.J. Cook’s first mystery, That Old Flame of Mine, became an instant bestseller in 2013. Playing with Fire is the second book in that series. They write award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as Joyce and Jim Lavene, and Ellie Grant. They have written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon, and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family.

www.jjcook.net

@authorjlavene

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17938369-playing-with-fire?ac=1

https://www.facebook.com/authorsj.j.cook?ref=hl

 

playing with fire
Playing with Fire(A Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade)
2nd in Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (January 7, 2014)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Mary Ann Lasher
Cover Design by George Long
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425252451
E-Book File Size: 2197 KB
ASIN: B00D7Z4GT6
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Welcome to Sweet Pepper, Tennessee. Nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains, it’s home to the hottest and sweetest peppers in the world—as well as at least one ghost and a hotbed of secrets…

GETTING WARMER

Fire Chief Stella Griffin is working to solve the mysterious death of her predecessor, Eric Gamlyn—who also haunts her cabin. Yet the more she learns, the more burning questions she must answer. Just as Stella thinks she has a lead from Deputy Chum, someone snuffs her hopes—and the lawman.

Adding fuel to the fire, Stella’s parents soon arrive—with her ex-boyfriend—hoping to persuade her to return to Chicago. Now Stella is torn between the life she left behind and uncovering what happened to her ghostly friend. But she’d better think fast or more than her investigation could go up in flames…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Another excellent story from these authors. They continue to top themselves and exceed my expectations. They are amazing storytellers.

This series always touches my heart because Eric Gamlyn makes me think of my dad who was also a fire chief who left this earth too soon. The words that come out of Eric’s mouth, his thoughts, everything he does reminds me of my dad. I wouldn’t doubt my dad still haunts his station as well since firefighting and training firefighters were his life.

Eric is just one of the wonderful characters in this series. Stella is a strong woman in a profession many people still believe only a man can do. It is awesome to read about a woman fire chief. There are more women entering this field every day so it makes me so happy to see her as a main character in this series. The relationship between Stella and Eric is what makes this story soar.

Stella’s  parents and her ex play a major part in this installment. They are ready for her to come home and Stella faces a huge decision. Can she leave Sweet Pepper and the life she is making for herself there?

The mystery started in the first book continues and we learn a bit more Stella’s grandfather, Ben Carson. There is a lot of smoke and a bit of fire as we start to untangle the clues to Eric’s death. The reader quickly becomes engaged in trying to solve the mystery right along with Stella and while some questions are answered others remain and the author leaves us with a cliffhanger to boot. I reached the last page and screamed NO!! I need the next book as quick as possible, with red lights and sirens!!!

Great Job Joyce and Jim!!!

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Be sure to check out Hero’s Journey (Novella) (A Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade). A wonderful short story about the fabulous HERO!! The dalmatian that has found a home with Eric and Stella. You can read my review here.

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  I will also choose one commenter to receive my review copy!!!

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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Jan 022014
 

HEARTACHE front
Heartache Motel: Three Interconnected Mystery Novellas (Henery Press Mystery Novellas)
Publisher: Henery Press (December 10, 2013)
E-Book File Size: 518 KB
ASIN: B00H7H2LTM
Paperback: 225 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1938383915
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THREE TIMES THE FUN AND MYSTERY…

Elvis has left the building, but he’s forever memorialized at the Heartache Motel. Filled with drag queens, Rock-a-Hula cocktails, and a vibrating velveteen bed, these three novellas tell the tales of three amateur sleuths who spend their holidays at the King’s beloved home.

DINERS KEEPERS, LOSERS WEEPERS by Terri L. Austin
A Rose Strickland Mystery Novella (follows DINER IMPOSSIBLE)

Ma, Rose and Roxy close up the diner and head to Graceland for the holiday. Axton and Stoner Joe come along for the ride. There is a mix up with their hotel reservation and they end up staying at the Heartache Motel, which wouldn’t even rate 1 star.  When one of the Elvis impersonator turns up dead Rose finds herself right in the middle of the investigation.

QUICK SKETCH by Larissa Reinhart
A Cherry Tucker Mystery Novella (prequel to PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY)

Cherry and her boyfriend Todd roll into town to help his cousin out of a jam and are staying at the Heartache Motel. Todd is quite the poker player and clearly his cousin is not, as he was hustled out of all his Christmas money and lost his job too. With a little help they set up a “sting” to try to win back the lost money. Cherry is hoping to use her drawing ability to sketch the players to be sure the right players get stung.

DATELINE MEMPHIS by LynDee Walker
A Nichelle Clarke Headline in Heels Mystery Novella (follows BURIED LEADS)

Nichelle is on her way home for Christmas with just a quick stopover in Memphis to get her mom the perfect gift.  But even at Graceland she makes headlines when the whole place is locked down when a treasured item goes missing. As she tries to get the scoop on the story she finds herself getting dangerously close to the thief.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
I thought it would be nice to finish out the year with a little Elvis. He was an icon a little before my time but my sister and mom always had his songs playing. I never got “All Shook Up” about him but his music sure has withstood the test of time.

I had only read LynDee Walker’s Headline in Heels Mysteries before this collection of novellas but I can say these authors have a chart topper with this group of stories.

Terri’s characters really drew me in and I can’t wait to read the whole Rose Strickland Mystery Series.

Larissa’s protagonist reminds me of Sharon Pape’s Rory McCain. Those sketch artists always seem to be able to solve the mystery.

After reviewing LynDee’s Front Page Fatality and Buried Leads, I was already a fan of Nichelle Clark and her wild shoe addiction.

This interconnected format is a great way to introduce every cozy lover to these characters and their stories. The only thing that would have made it better would have been if at least the main characters could have run into each other 🙂  Maybe sometime in the future.

This was a perfect escape for my last book of the year!!

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

This group of authors recently toured with Great Escapes. Click here to find out more about them.

*This book was from my personal collection, purchased from Amazon.

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Nov 292013
 

HERO'S JOURNEY
Hero’s Journey (Novella)
(A Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade)

1.5 in the Series
Cozy Mystery
E-Book File Size: 1031 KB
Print Length: 79 pages
Publisher: Berkley (December 3, 2013)
ASIN: B00CX5V5DG
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A hot dog and a hot head are on the loose in Sweet Pepper, Tennessee, and it’s up to Fire Chief Stella Griffin to collar them both...

We met Stella Griffin in That Old Flame of Mine, the first installment of this series, back in April. Stella accepted a temporary position in Sweet Pepper to train the local residents to be firefighters. The former fire chief had passed away and she needed to get out of Chicago and away from her cheating boyfriend. She starts to think maybe Chicago was better than one of her current roommates, a dalmatian puppy named Hero,  and the ghost of Eric Gamlyn, the former fire chief. She loves Hero but living with a ghost is a major adjustment.

In this novella, Hero disappears and while everyone is searching for him they also have to deal with a string of fires and burglaries. The strange thing is Hero been seen at these fires but is gone by the time Stella and the other firefighters arrive. The fires also appear to be deliberately set.  So now Stella is not just looking for her lost dog but an arsonist too.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Being a daughter of a Fire Chief these stories just capture my heart. This novella was just what I needed to tide me over until Playing with Fire comes out January 7.

We never had a dalmatian, even though I begged for one for years. Hero is a truly special dog and has earned his name.  Stella is feeling more at home in Sweet Pepper and her relationship with a certain police officer seems to be growing. I continue to be drawn to Chief Gamlyn. I tend to forget he is ghost.  He reminds me a lot of my dad who I miss each and every day. These authors know how to write characters readers love and root for, characters that engage us and pull us right into the story.

Time to light the fire in the fireplace and curl up with this short cozy mystery. Enjoy!!

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author
Joyce Lavene, and her husband/partner, Jim, write the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mysteries as J.J. Cook. They have written and published more than 60 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family. Visit them at www.joyceandjimlavene.com or www.jjcook.net plus 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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Jul 242013
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am excited to welcome Riley Adams back to Escape With Dollycas!

The Reading Life—During Busy Times and Slower Ones
By Riley Adams (Elizabeth S. Craig)

ESC Head Shot (riley)I feel like I could chart the busiest, most-active times of my life by tracking my reading habits.

When I was a kid, I had all the time in the world. I loved reading.  I’d eat up whole series—all the Nancy Drews, all the Trixie Beldens—then reread them while I discovered new series.  I’d read after school, after homework, at bedtime…after bedtime.  I’d check out four or five books at a time from the library and read them back to back…then beg for a ride to the library again. It was wonderful to have the luxury of time back then!

file2341250394382

As a young married woman in my 20s, I also had a surprisingly large amount of time to read (I wasn’t in the habit of bringing work home with me.) But I wasn’t sure what I wanted to read.  I figured I needed to find some new mystery writers to enjoy.  Once I’d discovered Ruth Rendell and Elizabeth George, I was set for a while.  I spent many hours with my nose in a book.

Rubbed OutIn my late 20s and 30s, I had babies.  Ack!  My time for reading became sporadic at best…and I had an additional problem.  I’d be so exhausted from the children that I’d fall asleep shortly after I started reading.  If there were too many characters, I’d get confused or lose track of who was who.  And, if the chapters were too long, I’d lose my place. When I discovered M.C. Beaton’s series, I felt like I’d made a major find.  The books had recurring characters, short chapters, a strong protagonist, and a recognizable and reliable story pattern to follow.  I was so relieved!

These were enjoyable books that I could easily follow. I gobbled up her books as fast as I could…particularly the Hamish Macbeths.

Now my schedule is so full that I’m using technology to help me make time for reading. My time is spent writing as much as reading, but I really guard my reading time…I need it. I use the Kindle app on my phone so that anytime I find a pocket of free time, I can open up my book—which opens right at the spot where I left off.

Have y’all noticed patterns to your reading habits over the years? Are they tied into your free time as much as mine are?

Thanks to Dollycas for hosting me today!

~Riley

Thank you Riley for stopping by and writing the stories we love!!

About Riley Adams

Riley’s latest book is Rubbed Out: book four of the Memphis Barbeque mysteries. Her next book, Quilt Trip: A Southern Quilting Mystery (written as Elizabeth Craig) releases December 2013. Elizabeth writes the Memphis Barbeque series for Penguin/Berkley (as Riley Adams), the Southern Quilting mysteries for Penguin/NAL, and the Myrtle Clover series for Midnight Ink and independently. She blogs at Mystery Writing is Murder which was named by Writer’s Digest as one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers for 2010-2013. Find out more about her books on her website: http://elizabethspanncraig.com .

Rubbed OutRubbed Out
(A Memphis BBQ Mystery)

4th in Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (July 2, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425259993
E-Book File Size: 523 KB
ASIN: B009NY2KZM
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Even Lulu Taylor—proprietress of Aunt Pat’s Barbeque Restaurant in the heart of Memphis, Tennessee—needs to get out of the kitchen now and then. But at the Rock and Ribs festival, she finds more than a taste of trouble…

There’s trouble in Tennessee when a buffoon named Reuben Shaw stirs up more the Barbecue Sauce and rubs nearly everyone at the Rock and Ribs Festival the wrong way.  Lulu’s best friend, Cherry, tangled with him as soon as she realized his booth was next to the Graces booth. But no one was more surprised than her to find him dead with a butcher knife in his chest just a few hours later. While the police start grilling  suspects including Cherry, Lulu sets off on her own investigation to make sure her friend is spared from ending up behind bars.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
I was so excited to see this book come out. It has been way too long since our last visit to Aunt Pat’s to visit some of my favorite people. The characters continue to bring the humor to the story. Their little quips never fail to crack me up. From Lulu and officer Pink Rogers to Cherry, Ben, Sara, Monty and on to younger generation these characters are so real and true, they just jump off the page and into your heart.

I really enjoyed the interactions between the generations. Derrick is starting to get comfortable in his new home. He and his new friend Finn have some real heartwarming moments with Lulu and Morty. Finn even helps get Lulu on the right track with her investigation. This was a tough one to solve too!

I hope Riley Adams doesn’t wait too long for the next installment. I am already ready for another huge plate of ribs and another visit to Aunt Pats!!

This is a perfect summer read, so fire up your grill, pour a glass of your favorite beverage, kick back and relax and enjoy this wonderful cozy mystery. There are even some fabulous recipes in the back of the book for you to try.

a perfect escape
5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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

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

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

Leave a comment for Riley 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 August 7, 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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Mar 272013
 

cozy wednesdayWelcome to Cozy Wednesday!

Today I am pleased to welcome new author J.J. Cook to tell us about their new series.
Cozy fans will be pleased to know that while this is a new name
this author team is very familiar to us.

Jim and Joyce Lavene have written several fantastic mysteries and other genres as well.

One half of J.J. Cook is here today!
Hi Joyce!!

Hi Everyone!

Stella Griffin and the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mysteries

clip_image001Our main character in the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mysteries is Fire Chief Stella Griffin. Stella is part of a strong Irish family that has served the fire department in Chicago, Illinois for many years. She understands the rigors of the life, but when it came time for her to make her choice of career, she knew it was what she wanted.

404367_452465988129034_528250595_n (1)Firefighters are a strange breed of men, my grandfather used to tell me. They run into the fire instead of away from it. My grandfather, Henry Koch, was a firefighter. He was part of the team that fought the Our Lady of the Angel’s Fire, one of the most devastating because it killed so many children in a Catholic school. That was one fire he wouldn’t talk or joke about.

fire badge croppedMy great-grandfather, Michael Sebastian, was also with the CFD. In the late 1800s, he drove a team of white horses that hauled the fire wagon. The job was even harder when he was a firefighter because they had no special equipment, no protection.

My husband and my father have both been volunteer firefighters. Basically, this means they get all the danger and the hard work without getting paid. Volunteers have to train for hours every week, as much as the professional firefighters. They have to go out at all hours of the day and night, in every kind of weather, never knowing what’s waiting for them. They do it for their communities.

I wanted to be a firefighter when I was 14. I thought it was the noblest profession in the world. Everyone laughed because GIRLS weren’t firefighters. I cried for days. That’s changed now, for the better of the firefighting community, and probably the food!

Smoky MountainsNow, I’ve found a way of honoring the people in my family who have fought fires, lost some, and grieved over victims. Stella is the chief of a volunteer fire brigade in the Smoky Mountains. She is who I imagined I could be, at one time. She’s strong and brave, loyal to her volunteers, concerned about people.

She came to life for me in Sweet Pepper. In the first book, That Old Flame of Mine, she goes to the small town in Tennessee after a bad break-up with her boyfriend and an injury that has put her off the job. She doesn’t realize how raw her recruits are or how different being a volunteer firefighter is, but she learns.

She always plans on going back to Chicago, but Sweet Pepper, and the resident ghost in her log cabin there, may change her mind.

I hope this book will be something that would’ve made my family of firefighters proud.

~Joyce

About This Author
Joyce Lavene, and her husband/partner, Jim, write the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mysteries as J.J. Cook. They have written and published more than 60 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family. Visit them at www.joyceandjimlavene.com or www.jjcook.net plus on

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That Old Flame of Mine
(A Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade)

Brand New Series
Release Date: April 2, 2013
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Mary Ann Lasher
Cover Design by George Long
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425252048
E-Book File Size: 738 KB
ASIN: B0099D4B3Q

That Old Flame of Mine
NO MATCH FOR MURDER

After knocking the lights out of her boyfriend when she catches him cheating on her, Chicago fire fighter Stella Griffin hops on her Harley and heads for Sweet Pepper, Tennessee, where she ends up becoming the small town’s fire chief. When her dear friend Tory Lambert dies after her gingerbread-style house is set ablaze, Stella suspects arson and foul play.

As Stella investigates, she gets help from a most unlikely source—the ghost of Eric Gamlyn, Sweet Pepper’s old fire chief. And if that isn’t enough to rattle her, attractive police officer John Trump seems to have taken an interest in her. But Stella’s got to stay focused if she hopes to smoke out a killer before her own life is extinguished.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
As the daughter of a firefighter I was thrilled with this book. My dad passed away 25 years ago and it still seems like yesterday. I wish he would haunt his old firehouse, maybe he does? He did not die on “a scene” but he was a chief too just like Eric Gamlyn and I so wanted to be a firefighter and work side by side with him. At that time female firefighters were few and far between. Ladies were on the auxiliary and handled bake sales and delivered food and drink to the big fires. I would have loved Stella’s life even with the crummy boyfriend.

The story is so well written and full of wonderful real characters. The drill/practice sessions ring true to me as someone who has observed many. Chief Eric’s haunts struck my heart. Another firefighter lost too soon with so many plans and dedication. Stella has a lot on her plate in Sweet Pepper and with a bit of “help” she comes out on top. A sassy, smart, sleuth that this reader plans to enjoy tagging along with for a very long time.

J.J. Cook has written an extraordinary debut. This book will be burning up bookstore shelves next Tuesday.  It’s hotter than a 5 alarm fire!! Respond and extricate your copy as soon as possible.

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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

Thanks to the people at Berkley Prime Crime
I have 2 copies to giveaway!!

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 J.J. Cook for 5 Bonus Entries !

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

Contest Will End April 10, 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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Review: The Bridge by Karen Kingsbury

 Reviews 2012  Comments Off on Review: The Bridge by Karen Kingsbury
Nov 022012
 

The Bridge: A Novel
Howard Books (October 23, 2012)
Contemporary Fiction – Romance – Christian
Hardcover: 272 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1451647013

Molly Allen and Ryan Kelly were fixtures at The Bridge during their college years. Charles and Donna thought these kids would be together forever but their relationship falls apart and Molly walks away not realizing they had a rare sort of love she hasn’t found since.

Charlie and Donna Barton have run The Bridge, a bookstore, for 30 years providing wonderful books and great conversation and sometimes inspiration. Then a devastating flood sweeps through Franklin, Tennessee and destroyed almost everything in the store. They don’t have the money to restore their store or their inventory. Then the bank decides to sell the building offering the Barton’s the first chance at purchasing the property. Charlie considers the unthinkable. Then tragedy strikes, and suddenly, everything changes. In the face of desperate brokenness and lost opportunities, could the miracle of a second chance actually unfold?

Dollycas’s Thoughts
What a moving and inspirational story. A true story of second chances.

For me Charlie’s accident hit me in the heart. As a survivor of a motor vehicle accident myself, an accident I shouldn’t have survived, I am proof prayers work and miracles happen. Of course my life is still a struggle and not tied up with a pretty little bow but it stories like this one that give me hope.

It was also interesting reading this book as the East Coast was getting ready for “The Perfect Storm” and writing this review as I am seeing pictures of the devastation. The people effected by this storm will all be needing their own miracles.

This story is well written but be aware it is what I would call a novella. It is a very quick read. Be sure to have the tissues ready, you will need them. 


Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Check out Karen Kingsbury’s 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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Sep 262012
 


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

The biggest thrill is reaching out to an author, asking them to stop by for a visit and having them say “yes”. When I was working on my Recommendations page a few months ago Molly’s book caught my eye. It could have been the cat on the cover or the crafter in my heart or my love of cozy mysteries. The one thing I knew for sure was that I wanted her to drop by here for a visit. I was chair dancing when she said YES! Please help me Welcome Molly MacRae! And help yourself to a glass of Rosemary Watermelon Lemonade. (The recipe can be found in the back of  Last Wool and Testament).

Hi Molly!

Hi Everyone!!

Miniature World Building

I like small things. I’m not all that big myself. And ever since learning about microcosms in a long-ago high school English class, I’ve liked them, too. Hearing the definition – a larger world or society illustrated in the form of a small world – flipped a light bulb on for me. That world-made-small construction is exactly what I love about stories and it’s probably why I gravitate toward small-town mysteries. Small-town mysteries give us the world in a compact package. We learn our way around that world and confront it or stumble through it as the story unfolds. Small-town mysteries make the world navigable. They make it cozy.

There are lots of examples of microcosms in the bigger world of literature – Ahab’s ship, that wretched island in Lord of the Flies. Jane Marple would probably agree that St. Mary Mead is a microcosm. One of my favorite microcosms, though, is from childhood reading. It’s that house where “Sally and I” are sitting on that cold, cold, wet day when the Cat in the Hat comes calling. Talk about the excitement and danger of the big world knocking on our door! The Cat in the Hat, told in a story that uses only 236 distinct words, is a classic struggle between the forces of chaos and the strength of goodness and doing what’s right. Actually, that little house is more of a nano-cosm, but you get the idea.

Microcosms make great playgrounds for writers. It’s fun creating characters and putting them in uncomfortable shoes and even less comfortable situations, building shops and houses and furnishing them either well or outrageously, sampling everything in the bakery without gaining an ounce, publishing newspapers and building roads – and doing all of that with the magical taps of a keyboard. So cool!

Blue Plum, Tennessee, is my new play area. To build it, I grabbed my favorite bits and pieces – including people – from small towns I’ve known and lived in, and I trucked them to the northeastern corner of the state. There I assembled everything in a low valley nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It seems to be working out pretty well, too. Blue Plum is a swell little town. The characters are settling in nicely and making it their own.

You’ll find Blue Plum in my new Haunted Yarn Shop mysteries, starting with Last Wool and Testament (just out!) And if you’re on Pinterest, look me up. I put together some boards that might give you a photographic inkling of that small corner of the world. The boards are a work in progress, but the mountains are there and views of Main Street, the courthouse, Mel’s café, the Weaver’s Cat, the little house on Lavender Street that Kath inherited from Ivy, and the cemetery where Ivy is buried. Mel’s bakery case is there, too. Try not to drool.

About This Author

Molly MacRae spent twenty years in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Upper East Tennessee, where she managed The Book Place, an independent bookstore; may it rest in peace. Her short stories have appeared in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine for more than twenty years, and she has won the Sherwood Anderson Award for Short Fiction.

Before the lure of books hooked her, she was curator of the history museum in Jonesborough, Tennessee’s oldest town.

MacRae lives with her family in Champaign, Illinois, where she connects children with books at the public library.

Find Molly on Pinterest here. Her Boards are so cool!!!
Her Website Here.

Last Wool and Testament:
(Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries)

Brand New Series
Cozy Mystery
Obsidian (September 4, 2012)
Published by New American Library
A Division of The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451237828

TGIF – Thank Goodness It’s Fiber! That’s the the name of a group of fiber and needlework artists founded by Kath Rutledge’s grandmother Ivy. Sadly Ivy just recently passed away and Kath has come home to Blue Plum, Tennessee to see to decide what to do with her grandmother’s shop, The Weaver’s Cat, and settle all her other affairs. Little did she know that her grandmother was the prime suspect in a recent murder. Kath needs to clear Ivy’s name and she has a help from a very surprising specter. Seems the ghost has just as much interest in solving the murder as Kath. So with her spirit sidekick and the members of TGIF Kath “sets out to unravel the clues and hook the real killer”.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
The residents of Blue Plum are so much fun, even the ones everybody can’t see! In fact Geneva was my favorite character. Kath had quite a time with her and I loved every minute. She starts out very gloomy and depressed but by the end she is oh so happy. Well as happy as a ghost can be.

This was a complex mystery and I thought I had it all figured out but I was wrong.

From Kath’s speeding home as quickly as possible to get to the funeral until the final clue is unraveled the pages just keep turning. Molly MacRae has woven together a smart and witty whodunit for all of us to love.

This is a wonderful debut!!!

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

I have 2 copies of the awesome book to giveaway!!

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 Molly for 5 Bonus Entries !

If you publicize the giveaway anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End October 10, 2012 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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