Jun 122018
 


The Optimist’s Guide to Letting Go
Women’s Fiction
Setting – Wisconsin
Gallery Books (May 15, 2018)
Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-10: 150115494X
ISBN-13: 978-1501154942
Kindle ASIN: B075RV4CQN

Three generations. Seven days. One big secret.

Gina Zoberski wants to make it through one day without her fastidious mother, Lorraine, cataloguing all her faults, and her sullen teenage daughter, May, snubbing her. Too bad there’s no chance of that. Her relentlessly sunny disposition annoys them both, no matter how hard she tries. Instead, Gina finds order and comfort in obsessive list-making and her work at Grilled G’s, the gourmet grilled cheese food truck built by her late husband.

But when Lorraine suffers a sudden stroke, Gina stumbles upon a family secret Lorraine’s kept hidden for forty years. In the face of her mother’s failing health and her daughter’s rebellion, this optimist might find that piecing together the truth is the push she needs to let go…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Gina Zoberski is trying to adjust to life without her husband, May misses her dad like crazy and thinks her mom doesn’t miss her dad enough. Gina’s mom, Lorraine continues to find fault in everything Gina says and does. When Lorraine has a debilitating stroke her real story comes to light and it is surprising.

I know all too well that dealing with the loss of a loved one is hard.  You need to find that balance of grieving in public and in private. My heart ached for Gina and May. Gina put on a brave face and a smile every day as she tried to move forward. Lorraine still took her to task about everything. May had closed herself off from her friends, even those willing to be there for her no matter what.

Amy Reichert has penned an emotional story but it is filled with light moments too. Gina owns a food truck, Grilled G’s, that sells gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. She is always coming up with new recipes and she has a customer that brings her unusual ingredients to try. May also has culinary skills, she excels at baking brownies with some unique twists of her own. This author’s stories always have a food element and I love that!

The author handles the family dynamic very well. I enjoyed how the story unfolded. A big secret is revealed that shines everything that has happened in an entirely new light. I became invested in these characters and that made me very emotional and even had me reaching for a tissue at the end of the story.

Set not far from where I live, Milwaukee and Wauwatosa, I loved all the references to places I knew. She mentions just one of the many Milwaukee festivals, Polish Fest too, but you don’t have to be from Wisconsin to enjoy the book. Her words create the imagery to bring you right here.

This is a wonderful story about mothers and their daughters. Moving and genuine with strong female characters. An absolutely “perfect escape”.

I am so glad I found this Wisconsin author. I have enjoyed her previous books, Love, Life and Lemon Pie, and The Simplicity of Cider. In fact, The Simplicity of Cider was one of my Best Reads of 2017.  The Coincidence of Coconut Cake is waiting not so patiently on my Kindle.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about Amy and her books 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.”

May 042018
 

Honor Kills (Angelina Bonaparte Mysteries)
Hard-Boiled Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Dark Chocolate Press LLC (May 1, 2018)
Paperback: 284 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0998755748
Kindle ASIN: B07BH61872

A missing husband. A suspicious obituary. She’s not the only one hunting down a dead man’s footsteps.

As a divorcee, Angelina Bonaparte knows firsthand the lengths some men will go to escape responsibility. When a worried mother wants the private investigator to track down her missing husband, she’s eager to bring the deadbeat dad to justice. But even after she discovers the man’s obituary, she refuses to believe it until she sees the body. Tracking down the nurse who last saw him alive could be the missing puzzle piece to her client’s broken family.

But as she digs deeper, she realizes there’s something darker at play than dodging child support payments. And she may not be the only one hunting the man down. To close the case and reunite her client’s family, she must track down the missing husband without falling prey to the same ruthless hunter.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

The long-awaited 3rd installment of this series is here!

Angie Bo-nah-par-tay is back and has new information on an old case. Marcy Wagner hired her six years ago to find her husband, a school teacher that just disappeared. She has been doing the usual checks with no success but now the man’s obituary has shown up in a Steven’s Point newspaper. Angie gets a copy of the death certificate and it states he was “Never Married”. She breaks all this news to Marcy gently but Angie is convinced there is more to the story. Marcy would like more answers too, What has her husband been doing for these six years? In a story that takes us from Milwaukee to Steven’s Point readers follow Angie and her assistant in a quest to get those answers. Surprisingly Angie even finds herself asking her Papa for help. Her investigation may get her killed, but to keep Marcy and her children safe she has to find the truth.

Nanci Rathbun takes us on a wild ride in Honor Kills. I love that this story takes place close to where I live and that an exciting event takes place at Holy HillRoman Catholic shrine dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. I have not been there in years, it is not very handicap accessible, but the author’s descriptions brought back a rush of memories. Of course, our visits there were never even close to exciting as Angie’s were.

Angie is such a strong protagonist. She is tough as nails, cares about her clients, sometimes too much, and a woman that won’t back down even in the line of fire. She has a quick wit and loves hard. A sixty-something woman who is a fast thinker and a classy dresser. The clothing descriptions entered a T.M.I. (too much information) situation for me. We know she is in a relationship with Milwaukee Homicide Detective Ted Wukowski, who might find the descriptions delightful but for me, the unmentionables should stay unmentioned or not mentioned every time Angie changes outfits.

I found the entire story suspenseful and intriguing. Marcy’s husband Hank was not who he appeared to be and as each new piece of information was revealed we come to understand more about the man he truly is/was. We also find out that the local police are not happy with Angie’s involvement in the case or with her relationship with her detective boyfriend and they make a drastic request. How this plays out really had me full of emotions.

Well written and well plotted, Ms. Rathbun has another fantastic story on her hands. The edge of the seat moments tempered by Angie’s chaotic life that at times made me laugh out loud kept me up reading late into the night. Honor Kills is part of the Angelina Bonaparte Mystery Series but it most definitely can be read on it own.  An excellent story!

Your Great Escapes Travel Agent

Nanci Rathbun is a lifelong reader of mysteries – historical, contemporary, futuristic, paranormal, hard-boiled, cozy … you can find them all on her bookshelves.  She brings logic and planning to her writing from a background as an IT project manager, and attention to characters and dialog from her second career as a Congregationalist minister.

Nanci grew up an Army brat, living in Germany, France, and Korea, as well as several states in the U.S. After her dad retired from the service, the family settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. There, Nanci raised her daughter and son, while working at AT&T. She never expected to move, but when her second grandchild was on the way, she wanted to be closer. One of her greatest joys is hearing her three granddaughters shout ‘Nana’ when she comes in their front door in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Nanci’s Maltipoo, Teeny, and she now live in Wellington, Colorado. No matter where she makes her home, she will always be a Packers fan.

Author Links

Website     Facebook     Twitter: @nancirathbun

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Will Return Next Week! 

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

Mar 092018
 

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


Frozen Stiff (A Mattie Winston Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Kensington (September 1, 2011)
Hardcover: 368 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0758234568
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0758234575
Kindle ASIN: B008K6GNB6

 

 

Deputy coroner Mattie Winston knows everyone in the charmingly small town of Sorenson, Wisconsin–except the latest body discovered in a desolate field. If a woman this attractive had moved into town, the news would have surely hit the gossip mill in record time. So who was the murdered femme fatale? Whose knife was left planted in her chest? The mystery deepens when detective Steven Hurley takes one look at the body and turns as white as the newly fallen snow… .and excuses himself from the case.

It’ll take all of Mattie’s forensic skills to unravel the increasingly bizarre clues and find the killer… before she herself becomes just another cold case in a frigid Midwest winter!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Winter in Wisconsin can be a pure delight if you like the cold and you don’t find a dead body on the side of the road with a knife plunged into her chest. That is exactly what Deputy Coroner Mattie Winston finds. Detective Steven Hurley catches the case but as soon as he gets there he says he isn’t feeling well and reassigns the case to Bob Richmond, a cranky and almost retired detective. Mattie feels slighted by Hurley as he seems to be avoiding her. That is until he calls her later, swears her to secrecy, and asks for her help. Maddie could lose her job if she agrees, but there is no way she can turn Hurley down.  She just hopes Izzy, her boss and friend can forgive her.

Maddie Winston can sure get herself into trouble. She is independent, leaps, before she thinks things through, will do anything for her friends, an even risk her life to save her ex-husband. She is a fantastic protagonist. Steve Hurley is the detective Mattie usually works with and has feelings for. In this story, she learns that a relationship with him may be impossible. Her ex-husband lives in their house right next door. She caught him in a compromising situation at the hospital with another nurse. That is why she is living in her new boss Izzy’s guest house and why she is no longer a nurse. He keeps trying to win her back but she doesn’t back down, she is moving on. All these characters and the rest of the cast is very well written.

The mystery has a nice twist this time that has Mattie still working with Hurley while working the case at the same time with Detective Richmond. I don’t want to give too much away but I really enjoyed the way the whole thing played out. Maddie even gets closer to Richmond, a man she started out despising. I liked the friendship that blossomed and some of their time together was so funny.

Humor again reigns supreme throughout this book. The story a hunter tells when he arrives in the Emergency Room almost had me rolling on the floor, even though I had heard a similar story somewhere else. The dialogues between the characters are funny. Some situations they find themselves in are funny. After just 3 books in this series, I know that when I am having a bad day, picking up a book by this author can pick me up usually within the first few pages.

While there is humor, there are serious situations too. Mattie does put herself in some very dangerous situations and sometimes her dog, Hoover follows right behind or even runs ahead. There were at least two times that had me on the edge of my seat. The author plotted out a great mystery and threw in some very clever turns. I had my “aha moment” right along with Mattie which was almost too late.

I love this series because it is set in Wisconsin and love to read about places I recognize. But I also love this series because these characters keep me as a reader on my toes.  Annelise Ryan has written a story that makes me think and keeps me entertained from beginning to end.

*Note – This book does contain some explicit language. 

Your Great Escapes Travel Agent

About the Author

Annelise Ryan is the USA Today bestselling author of the popular Mattie Winston mystery series and a pseudonym for Beth Amos, who also writes the Mack’s Bar Mystery series under the pseudonym Allyson K. Abbott. Beth is a real-life emergency room RN living in Wisconsin. She believes laughter is the best medicine, and with the Mattie Winston series, she is hoping to “medicate” the masses.

For more Mattie Winston fun and to keep up with the latest news, visit www.mattiewinston.com


I am giving away my hardcover copy of Frozen Stiff.

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*This was from my personal collection.

Feb 062018
 


Survival of the Fritters (A Deputy Donut Mystery)
Cozy MysteryMystery
1st in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Kensington (January 30, 2018)
Paperback: 256 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496711878
E-Book ASIN: B071HKMK38

 

 

Emily Westhill runs the best donut shop in Fallingbrook, Wisconsin, alongside her retired police chief father-in-law and her tabby Deputy Donut. But after murder claims a favorite customer, Emily can’t rely on a sidekick to solve the crime—or stay alive.

If Emily has learned anything from her past as a 911 operator, it’s to stay calm during stressful situations. But that’s a tall order when one of her regulars, Georgia Treetor, goes missing. Georgia never skips morning cappuccinos with her knitting circle. Her pals fear the worst—especially Lois, a close friend who recently moved to town. As evening creeps in, Emily and the ladies search for Georgia at home. And they find her—murdered among a scattering of stale donuts . . .

Disturbingly, Georgia’s demise coincides with the five-year anniversary of her son’s murder, a case Emily’s late detective husband failed to solve before his own sudden death. With Lois hiding secrets and an innocent man’s life at stake, Emily’s forced to revisit painful memories on her quest for answers. Though someone’s alibi is full of holes, only a sprinkling of clues have been left behind. And if Emily can’t trace them back to a killer in time, her donut shop will end up permanently closed for business . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Set in fabulous Wisconsin this book gets this series off to a wonderful start.

We meet widow Emily Westhill and her father-in-law Tom, owners of the local donut shop lovingly named after her tabby cat Deputy Donut. When one of their regulars fails to show up to meet her knitting circle her friends get worried. By the end of the day, Emily tags along with the group to see if something happened to Georgia at home. When they find the woman dead on the floor surrounded by donuts from Emily’s shop, Emily has to draw on her dispatch training to get them through the aftermath of their discovery. The woman’s son died on the same day 5 years ago. A case that stuck with both her husband and his partner. Since her husband’s death, Emily has steered clear of his partner Brent, but this new murder has brought them back together. Emily used to be a good sounding board for her husband. Can she and Brent work together to solve this murder?

This author also wrote the Threadville Mysteries as herself, Janet Bolin. A series I absolutely loved. So when I heard she was writing a series set in my home state I was over the moon.

This new set of characters is very captivating. The idea of Emily working with her father-in-law/retired police chief is such a fun idea. Everyone knows how much police officers love their donuts. Emily and Tom work well together and the shop has a set up where Deputy Donut “Dep” can watch over the whole place without getting in trouble with the health department. He is a very special cat too, attentive, inquisitive and very important to Emily, the donut shop, and this story. Emily’s friends, Misty, a police officer and Samantha, an EMT, have Emily’s back no matter what. Emily is a wonderful protagonist. You know right away she has a caring heart, but it is a little closed off dealing with the grief of losing her husband and guilt thinking had she been working the dispatch when the call came in that maybe he would still be alive.

The mystery itself is pretty complex. The suspect pool was very small until Emily did a lot of snooping in both in the cold case and the new one. To say I was shocked at the big killer reveal would be an understatement. I really enjoyed the ending, it sure got my heart rate escalating.

As I said, the story is set in Wisconsin, but it was Emily’s Fallingbrook home and yard that were very intriguing. Her place and her neighbors are connected in a unique way, and she didn’t know it until this mystery begins.

The author writes with a delightful descriptive style that makes the story flow so well. She drew me in quickly and I was actually sad when I reached the final page. I want to know these characters better. I am excited to see what happens next in their lives. Goodbye Cruller World hits bookstores August 28 and I can’t wait. 

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About the Author

Ginger Bolton writes the Deputy Donut mystery series–cops, crime, coffee, donuts and one curious cat. When Ginger isn’t writing or reading, she’s crocheting, knitting, sewing, walking her two rescue dogs and generally causing trouble. She’s also fond of donuts, coffee, and cafes where folks gather to enjoy those tasty treats and one another’s company.

 

Author Links

Website   Facebook   Twitter   GoodReads

Ginger has joined Killer Characters!


Written as Janet Bolin


Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!
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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.”

Dec 222017
 

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

This is the last Flashback Friday of 2017, next week I will be posting my list of the
Best Books of 2017!
Flashback Friday will return January 5, 2018

I purchased this book last year at Christmas time and saved it to read this year to help me get into the Christmas spirit.

Mischief in Moonstone Series: When Rudolph was Kidnapped
Contemporary Fiction/Romance/Mystery 
1st in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Writers Exchange E-Publishing (December 2, 2016)
Print Length: 177 pages
Kindle ASIN: B01N6CLT6M

 

 

This delightful series focuses on the humorous mystery and romantic adventures of the kind folks who live in the environs of a small village nestled on Lake Superior in northern Wisconsin. Along the way in the series, silkie chickens, a giant prehistoric beaver skeleton, a kidnapped reindeer, and other flora and fauna contribute to the amusing mischief and mayhem.

When her pet reindeer, Rudolph, is stolen from the live animal holiday display, first-grade teacher Crystal Hagan has a big problem on her hands. Her students fear that Christmas will be canceled. Ironically, the prime suspect is a man who lives in a mansion known as the “North Pole”. And to her shock, Peter LeBarron admits to kidnapping Rudolph and he won’t give him back without some romantic “negotiations”.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Superior, Wisconsin may feel like the North Pole, so the residents of this little town led my first-grade teacher, Crystal Hagan, do all they can to celebrate Christmas in a big way. It starts with a live nativity featuring Crystal’s own reindeer named Rudolph. It takes place in front of a huge mansion, which the children believe is the “North Pole”. But this year Rudolph is stolen from its spot in the manger.  The children are upset because Santa can’t come without Rudolph. Crystal believes the owner of the mansion has stolen her pet, and his son admits it! He promises the reindeer will be returned if his father’s demands are met. This leads to some interesting negotiations and activities including Crystal’s first graders.

This story is perfect for a Hallmark holiday movie.

Mayhem and toe-curling romance abound in this little town on chilly Lake Superior.

The characters span all generations. Crystal meets Peter while looking for her missing reindeer. She can’t believe his father, a man who used to dress up as Santa, would take her reindeer, but the man has changed over the years, and even more just over the past few weeks. Peter has left the warmth of his Arizona home to try to figure out why his dad is selling his home and his business. All the characters are realistic and with being a novella we need to get to know them fast. The author does a wonderful job of bringing them to life.

A missing reindeer is a cute little mystery. The mayhem that takes place leading up to getting him back is heartwarming and at times really funny.

The romance, again because of the length of the story also happens quickly but not easily.

Ms. DeSmet has crafted a wonderful Christmas story. It helped to get me into the Christmas spirit and may become an annual read. Seriously Hallmark…movie, I am just saying. 🙂

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Christine DeSmet author picAbout 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 find her on Facebook or at her website, www.ChristineDeSmet.com.

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*Book was purchased from Amazon for my private collection.

Nov 242017
 

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

I am really trying to get caught up on this series.


Dead Loudmouth (A Loon Lake Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
16th in the Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Gallery Books (June 1, 2016)
Paperback: 206 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1440568442
Kindle ASIN: B01ENYMB64

 

 

It’s a bright summer morning in Loon Lake when Police Chief Lewellyn Ferris is called to the scene of a horrific accident that occurred in the dead of night at a local gentleman’s club. The club is owned by one of the victims, a member of the private Deer Creek Fishing and Hunting Preserve and the scion of a wealthy Wisconsin family. When the county coroner is unavailable due to a car accident, Chief Ferris deputizes her close friend and fellow fly-fisherman, retired dentist “Doc” Osborne, to step in.

Osborne’s discovery of mysterious footprints confirms Chief Ferris’s suspicions: this is no accident; it’s murder. Leaning on Doc Osborne for his forensic and interrogation skills, Lew also hopes to enlist the help of Ray Pradt, fishing guide and expert tracker. But Ray’s time is limited as he is coaching the University of Wisconsin’s fishing team in a muskie fishing tournament. Things get complicated when Doc Osborne’s granddaughter disappears on the first day of the tournament. Sunny June days turn dark as a desperate search ensues.

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I have enjoyed this series from the beginning.

This time Police Chief Lewellyn Ferris is called to a gentleman’s club for two dead bodies. With the regular coroner is involved in a car accident on the way to the scene, Lew calls in “Doc” Osborne to look over the situation to determine if it was a freak accident or murder that left two people dead. She also calls in expert tracker, Ray Pradt, to advise on the case. Ray only has about an hour to scan the scene as he is coaching a team from the University of Wisconsin in a fishing tournament. He has even enlisted “Doc”‘s 11 year-old granddaughter to help with the tackle and food.

Lew is busy investigating the two deaths when she gets a frantic call that “Doc”‘s granddaughter is missing and so is one of Ray’s kayaks. Never a dull moment in Loon Lake which leaves very little time for fly fishing.

Ms. Houston’s love for fishing and the great outdoors again sings throughout story. The details unfold effortlessly and bring the rivers and forests to life. It would be so relaxing and calm if it wasn’t for those darn dead people. 🙂 She described the scene in the gentleman’s club as well, painting a picture of death I don’t think I will soon forget. A truly crazy way to die.

The main characters have become like friends over the series. For some reason I had in my head that Ray was older but that is neither here nor there. The are wonderfully real with every day issues in addition to the main plot. I liked getting to know Mason, Dr. Osborne’s granddaughter and that at just 11 years old she loves to fish with her grandpa, just like I did when I was that age. It was so easy to picture her in those waders. She has a harrowing experience that could change the way she feels but with the family she has to support her she seems to be alright.

The plot was crisp, with many suspects, due to some illegal shenanigans happening at the club. I was kept guessing right up until the end. Time passes quickly and so does the turning of the pages. It clearly portrays a small town that needs to call in a crime lab from a larger town to help them work the case. Of course the guy loves to fly fish so he is happy to help them out.

Another terrific escape from this author, just a few actual hours from home.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

To find out more bout Victoria Houston visit her webpage here.

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with a US or Canadian mailing address.

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This book was from my private collection.

Nov 172017
 

The Mayor’s Son
Mystery/Crime/Suspense
Setting – Wisconsin
Self Published (August 29, 2017)
Paperback: 254 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0996619578
Kindle ASIN: B0758JN3FT

 

 

 

It’s summer time, 1957. Early on a Sunday morning, a young woman is found dead in the street. She’s been murdered and thrown away like a sack of garbage. Hours later, a second woman is pulled out of the Crawfish River, another victim of a brutal killing.

Chief Augie Austin, Columbus’ top cop, suspects that he may be dealing with a serial killer. But, when the clues send him in two different directions, he realizes that is dealing with two murderers, not one.

Austin’s peaceful world is turned upside down, as he realizes that Columbus is not the unspoiled, perfect little town he thought it was. As he interviews witnesses and friends of the deceased, he finds himself up against one road block after another. People aren’t talking and he wants to know why.

As the evidence builds, Austin recognizes that it is pointing to one of his own officers. Already suspicious that this cop has been bending the rules for personal gain, Austin realizes that he may have a murderer patrolling his streets.

Knowing he must tread carefully, Austin sets out to build a rock solid case against Officer Drollstrom – the Mayor’s son.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

A mystery set in your small home town can be unnerving. This story takes place almost exactly 4 years before I was born. With all the real places, businesses, streets, homes and character names similar to their real ones or descriptions clear enough to recognize who they were based on had me thinking parts of the story could come from actual events, I mean I wasn’t around . . . but the real mayor’s son at the time has assured everyone it is purely fiction.

When a young woman is found dead near the town’s only set of stop and go lights “the four corners” and a second woman is pulled from the river Police Chief Augie Austin fears Columbus may have a serial killer. Trying to find a link between the women is tough because no one will answer his questions. Like him, most residents of this small Columbia County town can’t believe this happened in their close knit community. The investigation starts to move forward when the results on evidence from the crime lab start to come in and they are pointing to one of his own officers. The guy is lazy as they come and doesn’t respect Austin’s authority, but a murderer. . .

This is my first book by this author and clearly it will not be the last. She knows how to set a scene and has created unique characters. I love that in 1957 she has a capable and well trained woman on the police force. All the characters are realistic and their dialogues are believable. Her descriptions make it so easy to picture everything clearly even if you have never set foot in the city.

Murder, prostitution, and small town politics, all come together in a suspenseful mystery with amazing twists and an ending you will never see coming. There is also a fair amount of humor woven throughout the story.

I love my home town.  Taking a step back in time was a pleasure. From the city hall, to Earl’s Cafe (where both my mother and sister worked), to the Fireman’s Tavern, the Stokely canning factory, the popcorn wagon, the Crawfish River and more brought back so many memories. I grew up there and still don’t live too far away. My dad was a milkman, a school bus driver and later the Fire Chief. My mom worked not only at Earl’s Cafe but at the garment factory and later owned a tavern with my dad. Heck, I was runner up to Miss Columbus in 1979. Life there wasn’t perfect but I wouldn’t change a thing.

I admire the author’s imagination and the drama she brought to life in her book. The characters are well crafted and the story really flowed well. I look forward to reading another of her books that hopefully don’t hit quite so close to home 🙂

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

You can find out about Susan and her webpage here.

More Books by Susan Pare’


I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy.
Book will be sent directly from Amazon
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Click Here For Entry Form

Photo of a painting by Columbus resident Susan Stare

*This book was from my private collection.

Nov 102017
 

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


Last week I reviewed the 1st book in this series Working Stiff,
you can still enter to win a copy
.
I enjoyed it so much I found the next one on my
To-Be-Read shelf for this week.

Scared Stiff
(Mattie Winston Mysteries)

Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Kensington (September 1, 2010)
Hardcover: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0758234544
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0758234551
Kindle ASIN: B005B0I2ZY

 

 

When Deputy Coroner Mattie Winston and her boss/best friend, Izzy, are called to the home of waitress and part-time model Shannon Tolliver, they find the ghoulish Halloween decorations a bit too authentic. Among the fake blood and skeletons is the corpse of Shannon herself. Since the whole town knows Shannon recently had a very public spat with her estranged husband, Erik, he’s suspect #1. But Mattie happens to know Erik truly loved his wife, and is simply incapable of the brutal act-even if he owns the exact same caliber handgun as the murder weapon. . .

Determined to unearth the truth, Mattie puts her scalpel-sharp medical skills to work, and digs a little deeper. What she uncovers is stranger than anyone could have imagined. . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I now have another author in addition to Julie Mulhern that makes me laugh out loud so much my family thinks I am losing it. The first book in this series, Working Stiff, made me laugh a lot but this one had me laughing from start to finish.

Former nurse now assistant medical examiner Mattie Winston is a hoot and a half. In this story Mattie gets called away from a blind date to a residence that has taken their Halloween decorations very seriously. Unfortunately one of the dead bodies in the yard is real, part-time model and waitress Shannon Tolliver has died surrounded by her fake tombstones and skeletons. Separated from her husband, he becomes the prime suspect. Maddie’s gut tells her he didn’t do it. She is going to use her new job to dig into the case on her own. Maddie is also called to the site of a car accident in this book.  Her arrival is one of the hysterical moments I mentioned above.

The story picks up almost where the last one leaves off. Maddie has left her husband, the doctor and has taken up residence in her boss/best friend’s guest house. She gets into an accident with her car and not wanting to ask her husband for help getting a new vehicle she ends up making a very interesting choice in her mode of transportation. There is still a growing romantic tension between Maddie and Detective Steve Hurley. Their dialogues are priceless. Maddie reminds me of Lucille Ball/Ricardo (I Love Lucy). You know how Lucy would just get herself in situations where she had the best intentions where everything went wrong and that were sidesplitting funny. Maddie is just like that.

Along with all the humor there is a very well plotted mystery they brings in all kinds of secondary characters. They are all very fleshed out and unique and run the gambit of nice to crazy. The story twists and turns with odd connections that have to mean something. This was a tough one to solve and I was totally wrong. The secondary plot line almost overtakes the main one due to the characters involved and I loved the way that part of the story was wrapped up.

Murder, mayhem, romance, a Wisconsin setting, and a huge dose of humor have got me addicted to this series. I have already placed my order for book #3, Frozen Stiff, and will be getting the rest of the series too.

I loved this story but it does cross over some cozy norms by containing explicit language and some coarse and a little gross moments, but dead bodies being found and examined is not all wine and roses. So this book may not be everyone’s cup of tea. If you are a fan of Lucille Ball and Stephanie Plum these books are right up your alley.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Annelise Ryan is the USA Today bestselling author of the popular Mattie Winston mystery series and a pseudonym for Beth Amos, who also writes the Mack’s Bar Mystery series under the pseudonym Allyson K. Abbott. Beth is a real life emergency room RN living in Wisconsin. She believes laughter is the best medicine, and with the Mattie Winston series she is hoping to “medicate” the masses.

For more Mattie Winston fun and to keep up with the latest news, visit www.mattiewinston.com


I am giving away my hardcover copy of Scared Stiff.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

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

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End November 24, 2017 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

*This was from my personal collection.

Nov 032017
 

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


Working Stiff (Mattie Winston Mysteries)
Cozy Mysteries
1st in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Kensington (August 1, 2010)
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0758234537
Kindle ASIN: B003IYI84K

 

 

When Mattie Winston catches her husband Dr. David Winston receiving some very special loving care from R.N. Karen Owenby, she quits her job and moves out. Mattie’s best friend Izzy offers her a place to stay and suggests she’d be a natural as deputy coroner. Now, instead of taking patients’ pulses, Mattie’s weighing their hearts and livers.

But Mattie’s first homicide call turns out to be for none other than Nurse Karen, and even though she saw her ex in a heated argument with the newly deceased the night before, she refuses to believe David could be a killer. Keeping mum about what she saw, Mattie is also left speechless by the sight of hunky Detective Steve Hurley. . .

From learning the ropes on her new job to sorting out her feelings about her ex and dealing with her growing attraction to Detective Hurley, Mattie’s in deep water and in danger of sinking quickly, especially when she places herself dead center in the path of a desperate–yet determined–killer. . .

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I am late to the party on this series and am kicking myself.

Dr. David Winston cheated on his wife R.N. Mattie Winston and she has moved out of their house and quit her job. She caught him and R.N. Karen Owenby getting very cozy with each other in an operating room. An operating room she worked in with her husband. Her friend Izzy offers her a roof over her head and a job as his new deputy coroner. It will take some getting used to, dead patients instead live ones, but she is determined to make it on her own.

Nervous about her first homicide, which Izzy pulled her out of bed for, she is positively floored when the body is none other than R.N. Karen Owenby. The woman messing around with her husband and the woman she saw him have an argument with not too many hours ago. She also meets Detective Steve Hurley, who is a definite distraction for Mattie.

So she has 2 men on her mind, David couldn’t have killed Karen, could he? and the handsome detective she would like to get to know better. She also is meeting her new coworkers and her new job. She may be in the killer’s sights too, hopefully she won’t end up being the next stiff in the morgue.

I loved this story and I loved Mattie. Her life gets turned upside down, but she picks herself up, dusts herself off and gets on with her life. With a little help from her friends she carries on, even overstepping the requirements of her new job to do a little sleuthing on her own. Izzy and his partner play key roles and they are wonderfully written. I could almost feel the heat between Mattie and Steve burning up the pages. This is going to be an interesting relationship.

The plot was complex with clever twists. I followed each clue right along with Mattie and figured it out mere moments before she did.

The dialogue between the characters was so realistic and the situations were as well. I enjoy that this series is set not too far from where I reside. The local references warmed by heart.

What I did not expect were the laugh out loud funny moments, there were quite a few. I even had my own “spit – take”. Do not read this story and drink at the same time. Luckily my Kindle survived the experience.

I may have come late to this series but I hope to catch up quickly. I can’t wait to dive into Scared Stiff. It is set at Halloween, so I should have read it last month, but I sure am not going to wait for next year 🙂 You may be seeing my review next week.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Annelise Ryan is the USA Today bestselling author of the popular Mattie Winston mystery series and a pseudonym for Beth Amos, who also writes the Mack’s Bar Mystery series under the pseudonym Allyson K. Abbott. Beth is a real life emergency room RN living in Wisconsin. She believes laughter is the best medicine, and with the Mattie Winston series she is hoping to “medicate” the masses.

For more Mattie Winston fun and to keep up with the latest news, visit www.mattiewinston.com


I am giving away 1 Kindle copy of Working Stiff.
It will be sent to the winner directly from Amazon.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

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

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End November 17, 2017 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

*This was from my personal collection.

Oct 212017
 


Secrets and Pies (A Callie’s Kitchen Cozy Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Self Published
Release Date – October 19, 2017
Paperback: 245 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1549933912
Kindle ASIN: B075R47R7B

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of Callie’s Kitchen! Greek-American restaurateur Callie Costas faces down another killer in the small waterfront town of Crystal Bay, Wisconsin. Recipes included!

Summertime in Crystal Bay means tourist season for Calliope “Callie” Costas, owner of Callie’s Kitchen, a Greek-meets-Midwest from-scratch eatery. Business is booming but so is the stress. Callie can barely keep up with the demand for her famous summer fruit pies and savory Greek delicacies, plus she’s agreed to bake dozens of “pitas” for the annual Greek Fest.

When Callie is asked to deliver cast party treats for a Murder Mystery Night at the historic Harris House, it seems like a welcome break from her hot stove. That is, until she finds herself an unwilling player in yet another suspicious death. Worse yet, the victim is a family friend and graduate student working on a project involving Crystal Bay’s colorful past.

Before long, a motley crew of suspects makes things as juicy as the succulent berries strewn around Callie’s Kitchen. And that’s not all Callie’s got on her plate. Add family obligations, a deepening romance with a local detective and unexpected personnel problems to the mix. One thing’s for sure: Callie’s got the recipe for a long, hot summer!

SECRETS AND PIES is the third installment in the Callie’s Kitchen Mystery series.


About the Author

Award-winning writer Jenny Kales is the author of The Callie’s Kitchen Mystery series. Though she’s worked as a writer and journalist for years, fiction writing is her first love and her marriage into a Greek-American Midwestern family inspired The Callie’s Kitchen mysteries, featuring Calliope Costas, food business owner and amateur sleuth. The setting of the story, “Crystal Bay,” is inspired by a favorite family vacation spot – Wisconsin’s beautiful Geneva Lakes. Kales is an avid reader, cook and baker and she’s addicted to mystery TV, especially anything on Masterpiece Mystery or BBC America. She lives just outside of Chicago with her husband, two daughters and one cute but demanding Yorkshire terrier.

Website    Twitter    Goodreads    Instagram 


Click on covers to order from Amazon.


Thanks to the author I have 1 copy to give away!
Winner’s Choice – Print or E-Book (Print U.S. Only)
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.

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

Leave a comment for the author for 5 Bonus Entries.

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

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End November 4, 2017 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

October 19 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW
October 19 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
October 19 – Blogger Nicole Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
October 20 – The Power of Words – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY
October 20 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY
October 20 – 3 Partners in Shopping Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
October 21 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY
October 21 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
October 21 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
October 22 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
October 22 – Cozy Up With Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST
October 23 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW
October 23 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY
October 23 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
October 24 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, INTERVIEW, GIVEAWAY
October 24 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
October 24 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
October 25 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY
October 25 – Readsalot – SPOTLIGHT
October 25 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW
October 26 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
October 26 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW
October 26 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
October 27 – Sleuth Cafe – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
October 27 – Jane Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY

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Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

A Soufflé of Suspicion: A French Bistro Mystery by Daryl Wood Gerber (7/10)Pre - Order Your Copy Today!
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