Posted in Giveaways Spotlights

Spotlight/ #Giveaway – Modern Girls by Jennifer S. Brown

MODERN GIRLS

Modern Girls
Historical Fiction
Published by New American Library (April 5, 2016)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Paperback: 384 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451477125
E-Book – ASIN: B011IVWPCU
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A dazzling debut novel set in New York City’s Jewish immigrant community in 1935…

How was it that out of all the girls in the office, I was the one to find myself in this situation? This didn’t happen to nice Jewish girls.

In 1935, Dottie Krasinsky is the epitome of the modern girl. A bookkeeper in Midtown Manhattan, Dottie steals kisses from her steady beau, meets her girlfriends for drinks, and eyes the latest fashions. Yet at heart, she is a dutiful daughter, living with her Yiddish-speaking parents on the Lower East Side. So when, after a single careless night, she finds herself in a family way by a charismatic but unsuitable man, she is desperate: unwed, unsure, and running out of options.

After the birth of five children—and twenty years as a housewife—Dottie’s immigrant mother, Rose, is itching to return to the social activism she embraced as a young woman. With strikes and breadlines at home and National Socialism rising in Europe, there is much more important work to do than cooking and cleaning. So when she realizes that she, too, is pregnant, she struggles to reconcile her longings with her faith.

As mother and daughter wrestle with unthinkable choices, they are forced to confront their beliefs, the changing world, and the fact that their lives will never again be the same….

Jenny Brown, June 9, 2015.

Jennifer S. Brown considers herself a Floridian, having moved to Miami as a three-year-old and spending the majority of her formative years in Miami Beach. But then again, she’ll also identify as a New Yorker after earning a BFA in filmmaking from New York University and sticking around the City to work in publishing and—for a very brief stint—at a talent agency (and to be technical about it, she was born in New York City). Her passion for Seattle developed when she earned her MFA in creative writing from the University of Washington and then settled into a job as an editor at, what was then billed as, “that little online bookstore,” aka Amazon.com. She now lives and writes in the suburbs of Boston.

Her fiction, articles, and essays have appeared in numerous publications, and she was the winner of the 2005 World’s Best Short-Short Story Contest (judged by Robert Olen Butler) in the Southeast Review. Her creative nonfiction piece, “The Codeine of Jordan,” published in the Bellevue Literary Review, was selected as a notable essay in 2012’s The Best American Travel Writing and included in volume 9 of The Best Women’s Travel Writing.

Her first novel, Modern Girls, set in 1935 in the Lower East Side of New York, is about a Russian-born Jewish mother and her American-born unmarried daughter. Each discovers that she is expecting, although the pregnancies are unplanned and unwanted, in this story about women’s roles, standards, and choices, set against the backdrop of the impending war.

Find her on Facebook, Twitter Instagram and Pinterest. Sign up for her newsletter on her webpage here.


Click cover to purchase from Amazon.
GIVEAWAY
Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 1 copy to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Contest Will End April 30, 2016 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent
Posted in Flashback Friday Giveaways Spotlights

Flashback Friday – The Measby Murder Enquiry by Ann Purser – Spotlight/ #Giveaway

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

I didn’t get to read a book for this feature this week but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a book to share with you.

the measby murder enquiry

The Measby Murder Enquiry (Ivy Beasley)

2nd in Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
Published by The Penguin Group
Release Date – May 3, 2011
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425241561
E-Book ASIN: B004Q7DQNQ
goodreads-badge-add-plus

Cantankerous spinster Ivy Beasley has quickly learned that spending her golden years in the quaint village of Barrington won’t be as quiet as she thought. Ivy hasn’t been in assisted living at Springfields for long, but she’s already found new friends, formed a detective agency, and solved a murder. And as autumn falls, Ivy and her team are asked to investigate a mysterious death in the village of Measby-in between card games, of course.

GIVEAWAY
I have one brand new copy to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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 April 22, 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
Posted in Giveaways Spotlights

Spotlight/ #Giveaway – The Ones Who Matter Most by Rachael Herron

the ones who matter most

The Ones Who Matter Most
by Rachael Herron
Release Date – – April 5, 2016
Contemporary Women’s Fiction
Published by New American Library
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Paperback: 432 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451476760
E-Book ASIN: B011IVPBPI
goodreads-badge-add-plusShop Indie Bookstores

From the acclaimed author of Splinters of Light and Pack Up the Moon comes a beautiful novel about two very different women who are about to get a second chance at creating a family…

After her husband dies unexpectedly, Abby Roberts comes across something startling: wedding photographs of him with another woman, along with pictures of a baby boy. Shocked, Abby does something utterly impulsive: She embarks on a journey to discover the family her husband apparently left behind.

Money has always been tight for single mom Fern Reyes, and never tighter than now. But this month, in place of a child-support check, her ex’s pretty, privileged wife appears on her doorstep with far too many questions. Unfortunately, her young son is so taken with Abby that Fern doesn’t have the heart to send her away.

What begins as one woman’s search for truth becomes a deep bond forged between the unlikeliest of people, and the discovery that there are many ways to make a family—as long as you take care…

CONVERSATION GUIDE INCLUDED

rachael herron from amazon
About The Author

Rachael Herron is the bestselling author of the novels Splinters of Light and Pack Up the Moon (both from Penguin), the five-book Cypress Hollow series, and the memoir, A Life in Stitches. She also writes under the pen name Lila Ashe. She received her MFA in writing from Mills College, Oakland. She’s a New Zealand citizen as well as an American, and she is a proud member of the NaNoWriMo Writers Board. This semester, she’s teaching writing extension workshops at both UC Berkeley and Stanford. Visit her at www.rachaelherron.com or find her where she lives: on Twitter @rachaelherron on Facebook, on Pinterest too.


Find more books by Rachael Herron here.

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 1 copy to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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 April 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

Posted in Thoughts

Save Our Cozies

heart books

If you are visiting this blog you must like cozy mysteries. They are my favorite genre.

With the merger that took place a couple of years ago of Penguin Publishing and Random House Books we knew there would be changes but never imagined our cozy mysteries would pay such a huge price. The company says they over purchased cozy mysteries over the years and what we are seeing is a market correction. But we have noticed that some our favorite series have ended abruptly or the last books will be released soon. Authors were using terms like “fired” and “surprised”. My heart just aches for them.

I also know over the years series have ended before I wanting them to when contracts have not been renewed. That happened quietly and readers had to leave their characters behind or in limbo. Sometimes we are lucky and the author finds a new publisher or self publishes to continue or wrap up the series.

This time these terminations have been more public and have happened to what I thought were very popular series. The publishing world is always changing and has me worried about the books I love to read. We all have our favorites. Cozy mysteries have themes so varied there is something for everyone. I love that variety and hate seeing it shrink. But today every book needs to be a best seller – no matter what kind of following the author/series may have.

One Cozy Reader, Shelly Toler Franz, has started a Facebook Page Save Our Cozies to keep us informed about which series are ending but she also provides a link for us to politely voice our displeasure to the powers that be, I mean give them feedback. It gives authors a place to connect with us if their series is in danger of being terminated too. You can also follow the authors on their Facebook pages, webpages, blogs and on twitter to stay on top of what’s happening. Many also have newsletters you can subscribe to as well. I will try to keep on top of things here as well.

With these changes pre-orders and first week sales are more important than ever. I am trying to help keep you informed about the new books any way I can. In addition to my reviews, you can check out my Books Coming Soon Page shows what is being released several months ahead. Of course, I have my New Release Tuesday post each month too and my Sunday Salon posts show you when I get new books in the mail. From all you can click on a cover and order from Amazon or make your shopping lists.

I am also adding a post like this one featuring the books being released next month.

April

Books from Berkley Prime Crime and New American Library,
both published by Penguin, will be out April 5.
Books from Midnight Ink will be out April 8.
Henery Press releases throughout the month and Kensington Books will be released April 26.

I know you can’t afford to buy all these books but there are other ways to help the authors.

  1. Tell your librarian about the books and ask them to order the books. Look ahead and give them a nice list. They can pre-order too! 

  2. Write reviews and post them on GoodReads and Amazon. When a book reaches a number of reviews set by Amazon, they are featured in different way. It can be short or detailed. 

  3. Tell your friends about the books.

  4. Choose an upcoming book for your book club or reading group.

  5. Give books as gifts. 

  6. Post about the book on social media. You can even take a picture of yourself holding the book. Tag the author so they are sure to see it. 

  7.  Join the Save Our Cozies Facebook Group for more ideas.

If we all do a little it may help a lot to SAVE OUR COZIES!!

Thank you Shelley!!!

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent
Posted in Crafty Cozy Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes Reviews 2016 TBR Pile Challenge What An Animal Reading Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Flashback Friday – Review – A Fright to the Death by Dawn Eastman – #Giveaway

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

A FRIGHT TO THE DEATHA Fright to the Death:
A Family Fortune Mystery

Cozy Mystery
3rd in the Series
Setting – Michigan
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (April 7, 2015)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Daniel Craig
Cover Design by Judith Lagerman
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425264485
E-Book ASIN: B00LMGK3WG
goodreads-badge-add-plusShop Indie Bookstores

 

 

After their flight to Mexico is cancelled, Clyde and her detective boyfriend, Mac, end up snowed in with their families at a supposedly haunted hotel. Clyde’s tarot card reading mother, Rose, is making dire predictions for the weekend, and self-proclaimed pet psychic Aunt Vi is enchanted by the legend of the hotel’s ghost—until the power goes out and a body turns up.

With a hotel full of stranded suspects, Clyde will have to draw on all her skills—both the police ones she’d rather forget and the psychic ones she’d rather ignore—to solve the bone-chilling mystery before someone else gets iced…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

All Clyde and Mac wanted was to get away from the Michigan cold and their overwhelming families. Time alone catching rays on a beach in Mexico is delightful, it was for me and Mr. Dollycas but Clyde and Mac don’t even make it to the airport before it starts snowing and I mean really snowing. Mac tries to save the day by taking Clyde to a wonderful castle/hotel to wait out the storm but as soon as the arrive who do they find? Their mothers and Aunt Vi and a bunch of knitters on a weekend retreat. To make matter worse there are no vacancies and Clyde ends up sharing a room with her aunt and her mother and Mac joins his mother in her room. I definitely would have set things up a little differently, sent Mac’s mom to bunk with Rose and Vi and let Mac and Clyde have a room to themselves, but with this family that was not happening. The blizzard seems to camp right over the hotel so everyone is stuck there and the power and phones go out. Oh and one of the owners is murdered shortly thereafter. Now Clyde and Mac have a hotel full of suspects and Aunt Vi wanting to help them investigate. Can their relationship endure this much family togetherness?

Eastman has given us quite a closed room (building) mystery. One of the guests or the staff is a murderer and surprisingly almost anyone could have done it. Vi is even accused at one point. I liked the way Mac and Clyde took charge and interviewed almost everyone. Someone called them on their authority but it didn’t stop them.

Sitting here in the Wisconsin cold with the snow blowing outside I snuggled under a blanket with a cup of hot chocolate and escaped right into this book. As you can see from the cover the dogs even show up at the hotel (their arrival is pretty funny) and I had my Nerabelle curled right up at my feet too.

These characters are a lot of fun. The Fortunes are a unique bunch with their tarot cards and such, but lovable in their own overbearing way.  Clyde is getting close to the one-year mark when she needs to decide whether or not she is going to stay in Crystal Haven and her family can’t help but share their opinions. The men in this family are truly outnumbered and outmatched. Eastman has poured her all into these characters.

Carlisle Castle is a wonderful place. The home has been turned into a hotel and the place is full of antiques. Their are rooms in the turrets and hidden stairways and big fireplaces. It is rumored to have a resident ghost too! I wonder if this is based on a real place in Michigan. I would love to visit.

The paranormal aspect in this story was pretty light. Vi and Rose’s attempts to use their “powers” to help wasn’t too successful and Clyde is still learning her capabilities. Seth has some keen insights.

The knitter’s retreat really added some entertaining moments. I learned about yarn bombing and was in awe at some of the items. It would have been a perfect event without the dead body. Snowed in with all the yarn you could imagine with plenty of time to just knit and purl and create.

This is just the 3rd book in this series so I do recommend you start at the beginning so you meet this Fortune – ate family from the start. They have been called “kooky” by several reviewers but I don’t think they are on the same plane as the kooky Adam’s Family, but they are special. You deserve to enjoy them from the beginning. If you are already a fan you know just what I mean.

perfect 2016

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author

Dawn Eastman is the national bestselling author of Pall in the Family, the first book in the Family Fortune Mystery Series. She lived in Michigan for many years in a house full of animals, unusual people, and laughter. She now lives in Iowa with her husband, son, daughter, and one extremely bossy small dog.

Author Links

Webpage – Facebook – Goodreads

Twitter – @DawnAEastman


And Coming In April

GIVEAWAY
I am giving away my 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.

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

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End March 11, 2016 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Posted in Crafty Cozy Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Guest Posts Reviews 2016 What An Animal Reading Challenge Wisconsin Author You Read How Many Books Challenge

Special Guest – Mary Ellen Hughes – Author of Scene of the Brine #Giveaway too!

special guest blue
I am so happy Mary Ellen Hughes could stop by for a visit today!
Let’s give her a great welcome!

Mary Ellen Hughes author pic

Hi Everyone,

WHAT’S IN A NAME?
by Mary Ellen Hughes

When I talk to people about my books, there’s one question I can count on being asked, “Where do you get your ideas?” But a question I rarely hear is, “How do you come up with names for your characters?”

I suppose that’s because most people take character names for granted. A reader makes note of them in order to keep everybody in the story straight but mostly doesn’t think much about them. For me, though, and I suspect most authors, character names are very important. Margaret Mitchell, for example, changed Scarlett O’Hara’s first name several times before settling on one, calling her star character Pansy for a while. I think we can all be glad Ms. Mitchell moved on from that one.

pickled piper

When I started putting ideas together for THE PICKLED PIPER, the first book of my Pickled and Preserved mystery series, I had no problem coming up with a name for my main character. Since she was a young woman who would be making and selling all things pickle-related, what could be better than Piper?

But Piper wasn’t the only character in the book. She has an aunt and uncle living nearby, a shop assistant, neighboring store owners and other townspeople, along with, of course, the victim and murderer. All these characters needed names, and ones that fit. I wouldn’t, for example, name Piper’s aunt, who is around sixty years old, Britny. And for Piper’s twenty year-old helper, Gladys would be all wrong but Amy was right.

A novelist has to come with more names than you might realize, sometimes just for walk-on characters who need a name simply to avoid being continually referred to as “elderly gentleman,” or “her.” Where do we get them all? When I first started writing and needed a name for an older person, I’d flip through the obituary section of my newspaper. If the obituaries had photos attached, all the better. Mixing and matching first and last names kept me out of lawsuit territory.

Younger characters were a little tougher. A copy of a baby-naming book helped there—though it did startle my family at first until I explained why I needed it. Then I discovered the Social Security website, which lists baby names that were popular in each decade. That was—and is–so helpful! I also found a few random name generator websites, which come up with combinations of first and last names, sorted by gender or ethnicity, as well as “common” or “rare.” A great time saver!

Until I settle on a character’s name, I often can’t completely picture him or her. Martin will look and act differently from Matt, and, though close, Patsy won’t be quite the same as Patty, at least to my mind. If, farther down the road, I see the need to change a character’s name, I’ll often go back and tweak their description to go with the new moniker.

scene of the brineIn SCENE OF THE BRINE, my latest and third Pickled and Preserved Mystery book, I needed a name for a character new to the series, a forty-something, female caterer. “Sugar” popped into my head, and with it I immediately knew what she looked like: attractive, silver-blond, and with a Rubenesque figure. Her personality grew from that, and I was soon good to go.

Sugar had a college-aged son, and it didn’t take me long to name him Zach, a popular name of his generation. Zach majored in botany and, while bright, also had a bit of a temper. It was that last thing that got him into a pile of trouble in my story. Would that have happened if I’d named him Nigel or Preston? Doubtful. But we’ll never know because a mother called Sugar would never give her son either of those names, would she?

Family names, for me, at least, are off-limits, as are close friends, since the image that comes with them is too strong to shape into the character I want to write. Also in that “don’t touch” category are one-of-a-kind celebrity monikers and names already famous in fiction such as Scarlett, Kinsey, or Reacher.

It tends to narrow the choices, which makes me sometimes envy science fiction and fantasy writers. If they need a name, they can just scramble a few letters or make it vaguely middle-earth-ish. So much simpler. And they don’t have to worry about age, either.

But then, I’d have a hard time picturing a Ruavu Flagmatag.

Wouldn’t you?
~Mary Ellen

Thank you so much for visiting today Mary Ellen! Feel free to add a Lori or a Dolly to your stories anytime 🙂

scene of the brineScene of the Brine:
Pickled and Preserved Mystery

3rd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – New York
Release Date: February 2, 2016
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Chris O’Leary
Cover Design by Karen Oberrender
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425262474
E-Book ASIN: B00W2ZKQ9Q
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

 

The national bestselling author of License to Dill returns with a dilly of a pickle.

Piper Lamb has to take a break from jarring her delicious pickles and preserves to blow the lid off a poisoner….

Business is booming at Piper’s Picklings in Cloverdale, New York. But not all is sweet in the life of Piper’s number one customer and friend, local caterer Sugar Heywood. Sugar is dating wealthy realtor Jeremy Porter, but his family doesn’t approve. After their unscrupulous accountant finds some dirt on Sugar, the family quickly urges Jeremy to throw her out like rotten fruit.

Things are further spoiled after the accountant is found poisoned, and all evidence points to Sugar’s son, Zach. With the Porter family determined to avoid scandal, it won’t be easy for Piper to preserve Zach’s innocence. And after someone falls victim to a poisoned jar of some of her brandied cherries, Piper’s got a peck of trouble to deal with herself…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Check out that cover and the new door to Piper’s Picklings! Handcrafted and a true work of art. Piper has a party to celebrate her new entrance and it seems almost everyone from Cloverdale attends. Thankfully new resident, Jeremy Porter and his right hand man,  Dirk Unger skipped the festivities. Unger has been making life difficult for some people in town, like Piper’s friend, Sugar Heywood. Dirk, the jerk, dug up some dirt and Sugar was terribly hurt. She lost her boyfriend and a huge catering gig. When “the jerk” is murdered, Sugar’s son becomes the prime suspect but before the murder is solved, others are hurt and Piper finds herself in hot water.

Trips to Cloverdale are never dull, that is for sure. Hughes introduces us to the Porter family. I hated the whole snobby bunch and that was just awesome. These characters like all my favorites were wonderfully written and totally believable. I wasn’t surprised when Dirk Unger was killed. He was a nasty man. What surprised me was the twists and turns we took to find the murderer. Just when I thought “I know who it is!”, something happened to prove me wrong. It sure was a fun as I kept trying.

There is a bit of romance as Will remains patient while Scott still tries to worm his way back into Piper’s life. The man has been trouble since he showed up in Cloverdale. I think Piper may be on the verge of making a decision.

Mary Ellen Hughes has written a really smart mystery delightfully flavored with some of the best cozy characters. I have liked each of these stories more than the last. The characters continue to evolve and even the mysteries get better and better and each were great already.

For someone that doesn’t like pickles I sure do love these pickled and preserved mysteries.

perfect 2016

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 About This Author

Mary Ellen Hughes may live in Maryland today but she started out right here in Wisconsin!!! Find out more about Mary Ellen and her books here on her webpage.



Just click on book covers for more information or to order.

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 2 copies to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Leave a comment for Mary Ellen for 5 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End March 1, 2016 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Posted in Cozy Wednesday Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Guest Posts Reviews 2015 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Kate Collins – Author of Florist Grump – Review & #Giveaway too!

cozy wednesday 2013 640

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am always excited when Kate Collins comes to visit!!
Florist Grump was just released yesterday!

 

kate collins

SO LET IT BE WRITTEN:
WHEN MY MYSTERY GOT REAL

By Kate Collins

Eighteen books ago, I had just finished writing MUM’S THE WORD and was seeking a plot for the second book in the Flower Shop Mystery series. I had a title, SLAY IT WITH FLOWERS, and a general idea, but needed a big plot twist to make it all happen.

In steps my hairdresser and her colleagues, who, while I was having my hair cut, complained about men using their parking lot and then scurrying across to the business next door. The sign out front of this business said KINGS SPA, with the word MASSAGES and a telephone number underneath. There was no other advertising, and the building, an old white wooden house, had butcher paper covering the windows. Suspicious, you say? Oh, it gets better.

florist grumpThe hairdressers’ lament had prompted one of their clients to go next door to make an appointment. She was told by an unfriendly Chinese receptionist that women were not welcome. At a massage parlor? Seriously?

Then there were the masseuses, a group of Chinese women in tight silk dresses, who would come to the beauty salon to buy hair products. They didn’t speak. They would point to a product and toss money onto the counter from a thick wad they carried in their, well, you know.

Being a crusader for justice through my character Abby Knight, I suggested ways to stop the men from using the salon’s parking lot. Snap their photos and license plates and hang them in the big front windows. Call the Chief of Police. Write letters to the Mayor.  I even volunteered to stand across the street with a camera.

And then the proverbial light bulb went off. I had my plot twist! Would my feisty, redheaded sleuth Abby Knight NOT get involved if such a thing were happening in her hometown? Of course not. Her last name isn’t Knight for no reason. So my mantra became: What Would Abby Do? And in my book, she did it, resulting in this shady business, called EMPEROR’S SPA, to be raided. Naturally, this didn’t happen without peril to Abby, but that’s why we all love Marco.

A month after SLAY IT WITH FLOWERS was released, the police in my hometown raided KINGS SPA, rounding up a group that was part of a Chinese prostitution ring working out of Chicago. Naturally, I had to boast that my story had helped bring light to the situation. Whether it really did is something I’ll always wonder.

What would you have done if you’d discovered such a situation in your hometown? Would you shrug your shoulders and hope someone else did something, or are you the type that would do something? In other words, are you an Abby Knight?

~Kate

About The Author

Kate Collins is the author of the national best-selling Flower Shop Mystery series and historical romance novels. For her mystery plots, Kate draws upon her own love of flowers and intrigue, and an intimate knowledge of life in a small college town. She states firmly for the benefit of all who live near her that none of the zany characters that populate the fictional town of New Chapel are based on people she knows. Honest. Find out more about Kate on her webpage here.

Kate’s Historical Romance Novels

Coming APRIL 2016

florisst grumpFlorist Grump:
A Flower Shop Mystery

17th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Indiana
An Obsidian Mystery
New American Library
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451473431
E-Book ASIN: B00S75OKBA
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From the New York Times bestselling author of A Root Awakening, feisty florist Abby Knight is back with another knotty murder to solve in the next Flower Shop Mystery…

Life in Bloom

Stopping to smell the roses should be a must for flower shop owner Abby Knight, but stress has turned her into a major grump. While their house is under construction, Abby and her new husband, Marco, are living with her parents, who are driving her nuts. Not to mention that everyone has babies on the brain, with her cousin Jillian’s bundle of joy popping up in every conversation, and Marco’s mother dropping hints that she expects a new sprout from Abby and her son—as soon as possible!

But things get even thornier after a flashy former banker pushes up daisies. With a beloved window washer the prime suspect in the murder, other New Chapel shop owners rally around Abby and Marco to prove his innocence. With Abby’s energy wilting, she has to be on high alert—or she and Marco may not live to see their new home…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Abby Knight Salvare is one grumpy florist these days but frankly I can see her point. Moving into your parents house as an adult no matter how temporary can cause some major drama. You’re an adult and have lived on your own and suddenly your parents are treating like a teenager wanting to know what time you will be home and tracking you down when you stay out until what they consider is too late. When you are investigating a murder that can have dire consequences. Jillian is not handling motherhood well and she expects Abby to drop everything and help. Pretty hard to do when Bloomers is so busy they may have to hire more help, Down the Hatch is packed almost every night and Salvare Detective Agency has a new case. Abby’s mom also has a new project that she wants Abby to help her with. If I was Abby I would be grumpy too and probably pulling my hair out.

So much happens in this story and I enjoyed every minute of it. Kate Collins has rolled up her sleeves and has topped herself. This series has always been one of my true favorites. I anxiously await each new story and I am always delighted with the story. This one is my new favorite in the series.

We have watched Abby and Marco’s love blossom and now they are married and will soon have a brand new home. The talk about babies has already begun but not by Abby and Marco but all their friends and family. These characters are some of the best in the cozy mystery world right now. They are all people I wish I could meet in real life.

Ms. Collins also creates fantastic and believable story-lines.  The subplots flow flawlessly amid the main plot. Again she has given readers a book they will not be able to stop reading once they start. The problem is I didn’t want the story to end. It seems my visits to New Chapel are just way too short. Thankfully Moss Hysteria comes out April 5, 2016. That’s not too long to wait 🙂 well it is but that’s the way it has to be.

a perfect escape5 STARFISHDollycas

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 2 copies to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

Leave a comment for Kate 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 November 11, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Posted in Giveaways Spotlights

Spotlight/Giveaway – Mr. Monk and the New Lieutenant by Hy Conrad

mr monk and the new l
My son Kris was never one for reading just for fun. He was more of a video game kind of guy, but he loved the Monk television show and when I started receiving these books for review he was actually excited to read them. They would quickly disappear from my To-Be-Read shelf and returned a couple of weeks later in pristine condition and we would usually have quite a discussion about the book. When I was looking for a book to feature today I found this book on my keeper shelf. I don’t remember Kris taking this one, I remember telling him it was here when he was here for Christmas. I don’t know how or why it would be on the keeper shelf, because I share most of my books with you. One of the grandchildren could have moved it, but I think I’ll take it as a sign from Kris that he read and really enjoyed the book. Wish we could have talked about it. I know he would want me to share it with you.

Mr. Monk and the New Lieutenant
Series: Mr. Monk (Book 19)
Hardcover: 288 pages
New American Library (January 6, 2015)
Am imprint of The Penguin Group
ISBN-13: 978-0451470584
E-Book ASIN: B00KWG9OEK
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451470591
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Welcome to the series of original mysteries starring Adrian Monk, the brilliant investigator who always knows when something’s out of place….

Monk and Natalie have finally settled into a new office routine—but the detectives soon have another problem to deal with: Captain Stottlemeyer’s new lieutenant, A. J. Thurman—a man of limited skills whom Monk finds insufferable.

Despite Thurman’s presence, Monk and Natalie attend the funeral of Judge Oberlin, and it’s a good thing. In typical fashion, Monk examines the body in the casket—and finds evidence of poison. The judge was murdered.

When Captain Stottlemeyer shows the same symptoms the judge had shown, Monk detects the work of a diabolical killer who wants both men dead. With his friend in danger and an enemy close, Monk will have to put his reservations aside to crack the case in time.

Find out more about Hy Conrad ans his books on his webpage here.

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 2 copies to give away!
1 Hardcover and 1 Paperback

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

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 September 5, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent
Posted in Cozy Wednesday Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Guest Posts Literary Escapes Reviews 2015 What An Animal Reading Challenge Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting

Cozy Wednesday with Christine DeSmet – Author of Five Alarm Fudge – Giveaway too!

cozy wednesday 2013 640

I am so excited to welcome Wisconsin Author Christine DeSmet
to Escape With Dollycas today!!

Christine DeSmet author pic

The Cape Cod of the Midwest is this cozy’s setting

With author Christine DeSmet, the Fudge Shop Mystery Series

Ava Oosterling and her Grandpa Gil operate Oosterlings’ Live Bait, Bobbers & Belgian Fudge & Beer on a harbor in Door County, Wisconsin, known as the “Cape Cod of the Midwest.” They’re the sleuths in the Fudge Shop Mystery Series (New American Library/Obsidian books).

Their county is that real thumb of land jutting into Lake Michigan and forming the bay of Green Bay. Door County is about a three-hour drive north from Chicago.

The quaint county has 11 lighthouses, beautiful shoreline parks, and winding two-lane roads canopied by maples. The upper half of the peninsular county is a vacationer’s paradise with its spas, wineries, art, golfing, and boating and many miles of shoreline. It has only 2-lane roads, and stoplights are rare.

The lower half of the county has a different landscape—one rich in dairy farms and a history connected to the thousands of Belgian immigrants who settled there.

Ava and her family are Belgians, and Ava grew up on a farm near Brussels (real name) in Door County in the southern half of the county. Her fudge shop is in the northern touristy part in a fictional town called Fishers’ Harbor. I like to tell people she’s the first Belgian sleuth since Poirot hit the scene in 1920.

In Five-Alarm Fudge, Book 3 of the Fudge Shop Mystery series, Ava and her Grandpa Gil are again mixed up in a fun fudge felony—this time involving romance, royal relatives, and revenge.

When a visiting European prince asks Ava Oosterling to unearth a priceless, 1800s divinity fudge recipe, the request fans the flames of foul play, with murder marring Ava’s Cinderella dreams.

Prior to the story, Grandpa took it upon himself to invite the prince of Belgium to visit. Grandpa insists the prince is a shirt-tail relation but far enough removed by ancestors to qualify as marriage material for Ava.

Ava is beside herself with Grandpa. She’s in the midst of a rekindled romance with her ex, Dillon Rivers, who is refurbishing the Blue Heron Inn in order for Ava to take it over. In the meantime, Ava lives in a rundown rental cabin with an ever-present field mouse.

Grandpa has also promised the prince that Ava will find a long, lost divinity fudge recipe supposedly hidden in a local historical church by a Belgian nun during an 1871 fire.

Five-Alarm_FudgefrontcoverI used a lot of the real history of Door County for the background in the new Five-Alarm Fudge.

The irony of being surrounded by miles and miles of water in this peninsular county is that on October 8, 1871 the very real Great Fire happened—taking an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 lives in this region. This event occurred the same days as the famous Chicago fire that took about 300 lives.

This novel also delves into the real history of Sister Adele Brise, who hid in a wood church southwest of Namur, Wisconsin, that fateful day when the fires swept the territory. It’s considered a miracle that the wood church was spared.

For travelers, a fun fact to know is that before she became a nun, the young Adele Brise reported that she was visited at least twice by Mary, the mother of Jesus. The site of this visitation is the only Catholic bishop-sanctioned Marian sighting in the entire United States.

LighthouseNoFenceDSCN2208Today, you can visit the church, shrine, and gravesite of Sister Adele in a little town called Champion, Wis., which is on your way to Door County. It’s a peaceful place on a country road. A quick search online will give you dozens of articles about Sister Adele and maps to the area.

Just north of there, in Namur, Wis., a little church once known as St. Mary’s of the Snows features prominently in my mystery. Grandpa Gil feels sure that the traveling, teaching nun must have hidden an early version of a divinity fudge recipe in the brick church, thus protecting the special recipe from fires.

Ava scours the local church for the recipe, but instead finds a dead body, a fire, and the start of a game of hide-and-seek with an arsonist out to do in Ava.

Many people bypass little towns like Namur in their travels, and that’s a great loss. The small-town festivals are where we often find the heart of a region’s culture and history.

Every fall on a September Sunday, Namur has a kermiss—a Belgian harvest festival. (It’s also spelled “kermis.”) The celebration features a dozen kind of pies because Belgians are known for pies. Their pie tins from the old country are 12 inches wide! None of the puny 8-inch or 9-inch stuff for a Belgian. Of course chocolate abounds at a kermiss in the form of cookies, bars, fudge and other confections. And you get some excellent Belgian beer! (In Wisconsin, everything ends with beer.)

You also want to try the Belgian booyah when traveling in Door County. Namur is having a big booyah fest on Sunday, April 26, 2015.

Booyah is a tomato-based chicken stew made outside in a big stainless steel barrel over an open fire. Like the story about making stone soup, neighbors will often bring vegetables to put in the pot. A recipe for booyah is in Book 2 of my series, Hot Fudge Frame-Up.

photo 83PinkFudgeOnCrystalPlateFor dessert? Try Ava’s signature “Cinderella Pink Fudge,” a cherry-vanilla flavor. Door County is a leading producer of cherries in the U.S.

Other regular characters in my series include Ava’s best friend Pauline, who’s a kindergarten teacher, and Laura, who’s having twins and waiting for her husband to come home from a special mission in the Middle East. There’s also a smart gaggle of church ladies who often cause Ava no end of trouble when they volunteer at the fudge shop. And Dillon Rivers’ American water spaniel, Lucky Harbor, finds his nose in all kinds of trouble in every fudge mystery.

My series presents a warm-hearted view of a real place popular for vacations—Door County. I hope readers have a chance to look it up online to explore and then visit sometime.

~Christine

About The Author
Christine DeSmet writes the Fudge Shop Mystery Series (Penguin Random House/NAL/Obsidian). She’s also an award-winning scriptwriter and teaches writing at University of Wisconsin-Madison Continuing Studies where she directs the annual June Write-by-the-Lake Writer’s Workshop & Retreat. You can write to her at UW-Madison, cdesmet@dcs.wisc.edu or find her on Facebook or at her website, www.ChristineDeSmet.com.

I really had the best intentions to get the 2nd and 3rd book of these series read before Christine’s visit but that did happen 🙁 So today I am going to review Hot Fudge Frame Up with a promise to review Five Alarm Fudge in the very near future because I am really enjoying this series!

hot fudgeHot Fudge Frame-Up:
A Fudge Shop Mystery

2nd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Wisconsin
An Obsidian Mystery (June 3, 2014)
An Imprint of New American Library
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451416483
E-Book ASIN: B00GS9XGX0
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

Candy shop owner Ava Oosterling mixes it up with a fudge judge with a grudge—who loses his life before he can pick a winner….

Ava is gearing up for the First Annual Arts Festival—a huge celebration that could draw national attention to her old-fashioned fudge shop in Door County, Wisconsin. She’s invited two celebrity chefs to go head-to-head with her in a fudge contest. Everyone is having a tasty time…until a judge for the festival is found dead.

To her shock, he’d been complaining around town that her Fairy Tale fudge flavors were…well, fudged. Now the sheriff is wondering if Ava fits the mold for a murder suspect. As Ava tries to square her reputation and find the real killer, she’s in for a whole batch of trouble….

Includes Delicious Recipes and Fudge-Making Tips!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Our family loves to travel to Door County for day trips or family vacations so I feel right at home visiting Oosterling’s Live Bait, Bobbers, Belgian Fudge & Beer.  I love all the local references.

In this second book of the series Ava is competing with two celebrity chefs, one of them has some crazy ideas for her fudge ingredients, in a fudge contest. Local leaders have been lined up as judges. As Ava works on her new fudge flavors, the other chefs can’t be in the same room together without feet and food flying. The event is being filmed for television so Ava tries to just stay out of the line of fire. But when one of the judges is found dead, the fights become the least of her worries. Especially when the sheriff starts to treat Ava as a suspect. Lloyd, the now deceased judge, was Ava’s grandfather’s best friend and owned quite a bit of local property. Ava quickly puts together a list of other suspects, now she just needs to figure out which one has fudged up her life this time.

The author has given us quite a mystery to chew on. A lot happens within these 352 pages. The story is much more complicated than it first appears and I was totally taken aback with the way things played out. Wow, I sure didn’t expect that ending.

We learn a lot about the history of Fisher’s Harbor, and some people’s plans to change the town and take away its charm. Ava is very concerned about those plans but also how they will affect her family, especially her grandparents.

I really enjoy the way the residents come together in times of distress and also in times of celebration. In this story we not only have a festival with a prom-like dance but a funeral. People always bring food to the family after a death and most funeral luncheons are potluck. Very familiar to me after the past few weeks. The dance was for the young and old alike and there were even bets placed on who Ava’s date would be. Her date was also quite a surprise and absolutely perfect.

The book not only has a beautiful setting, an awesome mystery, and terrific characters, it is also full of humor and a bit of romance. I highly recommend this book and if you can, take a real trip to Door County to take in all it has to offer from fudge, cherries, beer, cheese…oh and lighthouses, beautiful beaches and more. It is called The Cape Cod of the Midwest for good reason!

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

GIVEAWAY

FIRST DEGREE FUDGEhot fudgeFive-Alarm_Fudgefrontcover

Today I have my review copies of First Degree Fudge and Hot Fudge Frame Up plus a brand new copy of
Five Alarm Fudge from the publisher.
There will be 3 Winners!

 

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Leave a comment for Christine  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 April 29, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Posted in Cozy Wednesday Giveaways

Cozy Wednesday Giveaway!

cozy wednesday 2013 640
Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am trying really hard playing catch up but am
behind in my reading so I thought today it would be fun just to do a giveaway!!

In the USA Today bestselling Needlecraft Mysteries, Betsy Devonshire, owner of the Crewel World needlework shop, knows how to untangle even the most knotty of mysteries. But a soggy murder case might have Betsy in over her head…

Even though running Crewel World keeps Betsy plenty busy, a little extra cash on the side doesn’t hurt. So when the local senior complex, Watered Silk, asks her to teach a class on the tricky punch needle technique, Betsy jumps at the opportunity to win over some new customers.

Unfortunately, the business that Betsy drums up is not of the needlework variety. A young woman is found floating in Watered Silk’s therapy pool, and Betsy’s sleuthing skills are immediately called upon to figure out who drowned her. But the list of suspects is more twisted than any Betsy has encountered before. The young woman had three lovers—each with a motive for the murder.

It’s up to Betsy to sort out the snarl of romantic entanglements and find a killer, or the wrong man is bound to get pinned for a crime he didn’t commit…

FREE EMBROIDERY PATTERN INCLUDED

GIVEAWAY
I have 2 paperback copies to give away!!

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

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 April 8, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

 

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent