"All the best stories in the world are but one story in reality -- the story of escape. It is the only thing which interests us all and at all times, how to escape."
--Author Christopher Benson



Saturday, January 30, 2010

HIGH ANXIETY by Charlotte Hughes

This is the third installment of Hughes' Kate Holly series, after What Looks Like Crazy and Nutcase.  These stories feature Kate who is a psychologist, her ex-husband/current boyfriend Jay, her best friend and receptionist Mona and of course her female dog named Mike, as well as her zany other friends, family neighbors and patients.

Kate helps out a colleague with her anger management group which is held in a church basement, taking Mona with her, and after one of the members pulls out a gun Kate rushes in to disarm her and the gun goes off, the bullet ending up in a picture of Jesus.  Kate is called everything from a hero to an atheist.

After this event Mona breaks out with a rash that is blamed on stress and refuses to go out in public.  After one day of her Mom, Dixie stepping in to help and trying to cure patients in the waiting room, Kate knows she must hire a temporary receptionist until Mona returns.  This is where the fun and danger begins.

Be careful you may find yourself laughing out loud.

For more information on the author and her books visit her website at: http://www.readcharlottehughes.com/

Friday, January 29, 2010

The NOTICER by Andy Andrews

Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective.

This book arrived on Wednesday, when I was suffering from a sore throat and a terrible headache. I set the book beside on the bed and kept looking at that cover. It was not the title or the author that kept drawing my attention but the tag line from a review by golfer Nancy Lopez, “This is the best book I have ever read in my life.”

Within minutes I was halfway through Chapter 1 and had no idea I wouldn’t put it down until I finished. It is fiction, but the author writes it as an autobiography and it is full of more inspiration, wisdom and motivation than any self help book.

An elderly white haired man with brown skin who calls himself Jones, just Jones, not Mr. Jones, shows up at one of the author’s lowest points of his life and shows him how a different way of looking at things, a different perspective can change his life.

Over the years this man shows up again and again in this small Alabama town to help the desperate, depressed and downtrodden. Those who feel helpless and hopeless whether it be from the loss of a job, the loss of a loved one, divorce, financial worries or just at the end of their rope. He knows everything about them and helps them see their lives in a different perspective and changes their lives.

He believed that everyone was “in a crisis, coming out of a crisis, or headed for a crisis.” “That’s just part of being on this planet.” It was how you handled the crisis that made you who you are. How just being on this earth affects so many other people.

This book takes place over several years and it isn’t until the end that you see that everyone in the small town knew Jones and how many lives he truly affected.

I can’t say this is the best book I have ever read but it is the right up in the top five. I feel everyone needs to read this book. I am going to pass my copy around to my family and it may eventually wind up in my church library so many more people have a chance to read this wonderful story.

If you would like more information about this book or other books by Andy Andrews please check out his website:  http://www.andyandrews.com/

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 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.”

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Jennie Bentley Has Hit The Nail On The Head

With her Do-It-Yourself Mystery Series.

In Fatal fixer-upper, Avery Baker is a Manhattan interior designer whose life is turned upside down when she receives a letter from an aunt she has seen since she was 5 years old.  Aunt Inga summons Avery to Waterfield, Maine to help her get her affairs in order.  Sadly the letter did not have enough postage and by the time Avery gets to Maine her aunt has passed away and left Avery her house and her cats.  She receives an offer for the house, but learns the house would be worth much more if she just fixes it up a little.  Enter handyman, Derek Ellis,to help her restore the house, but during the renovation all kinds of clues are uncovered that may lead to missing college professor who was working with Avery's aunt on some Wakefield history.  Unfortunately Avery's life may be endangered if she continues to follow the clues.

In spackled and SPOOKED, after finishing her Aunt's home, Avery decides to stay in Waterfield for awhile and goes into the business of restoring houses to sell with her favorite handyman, Derek.  They purchase a home that seriously stigmatized because a  family was murdered there almost 20 years ago and has sat empty since.  As if that isn't enough to deter future sales a skeleton is found in the crawlspace under the house.  There also seems to be a ghost lurking around.  If they are going to sell this house they need to get busy and solve all the mysteries if they can stay alive long enough.

Both are faced paced stories that will hook you from the start.  A perfect blend of cozy mystery with a little romance filled in. Book 3 Plaster and Poison releases on March 2, 2010

For more information about Jennie Bentley and her alter ego check out http://www.jenniebentley.com/

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Literary Road Trip

 Sponsored by   http://www.galleysmith.com/

One of my fellow bloggers turned me on to this after reading my post about wanting to read books set in Wisconsin or by Wisconsin authors.

The Literary Road Trip is a project in which bloggers are volunteering to showcase local authors. This showcase can be anything they want to make of it – book reviews, author interviews, giveaways – as long as we’re working with an author local to us.

I have staked my claim on Wisconsin with one other blogger so far and I have read one book Vinegar Hill by A. Manatte Ansay, but have 2 more books by her to read here on my pile and I plan to write a post after I finish all three.

Remember if you have any books or authors you want to suggest just email me at: dollycas79@gmail.com or post a comment here on my blog. If you want to find out more about The Literary Road Trip and find bloggers from other states just go to: http://www.galleysmith.com/literary-road-trip/


This great idea is hosted by: 
  • Lye In Wait by Cricket McRae
  • Heaven Preserve Us by Cricket MaRae
  • Vinegar Hill by A. Manette Ansay
  • Fatal Fixer Upper by Jennie Bently 

  • Spackled and Spooked by Jennie Bently

  • Sister by A. Mannette Ansay
  • High Anxiety by Charlotte Hughes
  • The Fixer Upper by Mary Kay Andrews

Thursday, January 21, 2010

It's a 2fer Thursday!!!

Cricket McRae's Home Crafting Series
This series features Sophie Mae Reynolds, her housemate and best friend Meghan Bly and her daughter Erin and their corgi, Brodie. Sophie Mae makes beauty products and runs her business out of the basement of their home, and Meghan is a lawyer turned massage therapist who also works at home.

Lye In Wait Book #1 in the series

The author has you from page one as a body is found in the basement workroom of Sophie Mae. The body is their handyman and next door neighbor Walter Hanover and it appears he has died from drinking a glass filled with lye. Something Sophia Mae keeps on hand for her business in a large supply. Do the police think she s the murderer, No, they rule it a suicide. But Sophie Mae doesn’t believe it for a second and the book takes us on a wild ride as she investigates.

Heaven Preserve Us Book #2 in the Series

Sophie Mae is not only building her business she is now volunteering at a community center answering their help line. After one night she is being stalked by one of her callers. Then her boss at the center dies of food poisoning and her boyfriend also ends up in the hospital with a case of food poisoning but thankfully his case it is not fatal. The police leave everything up to the health department and they think they have found the source, but Sophie Mae doesn’t buy it and is off investigating yet again.

I really enjoyed both of these books, there was suspense, plot twists and turns, and wonderful characters. I can honestly say they were UNPUTDOWNABLE. I am really looking forward to book #3.

For more information about these and the next two books in the series check out the author's website: http://www.cricketmcrae.com/

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Today I was surfing the internet looking for ideas for my blog and I decided to look for fiction novels that use my beautiful state of Wisconsin as a backdrop. (Like I needed to add more books to my ever growing TBR stacks.)  I have read a few, those that come to mind are "The Elegant Gathering of White Snows" By Kris Radish, "Bittersweet" by LaVyrle Spencer and the Loon Lake series by Victoria Houston.

I quickly found some that interest me, three by A. Mannette Ansay, one of which has been on my To Be Read pile for years. They are Vinegar Hill, The Sister and Blue Water.

I already make sure to follow some of my favorite Wisconsin Authors like Jacqueline Mitchard, Jennifer Chiaverini, and my latest find Deb Baker.

I have decided to challenge myself to read 15 books this year that are set in Wisconsin.  Help me out if you know of any, email me or comment below.  I am also always on alert for authors from the Badger state, so post those too.

I have found a site
where I found the books above, but please forward any others you may know of.  My stacks will just continue to grow and grow, but all great bibliophiles know "the one who dies with the most books wins!"

Monday, January 18, 2010


This great idea is hosted by: 

Today I am reading;
  • Lye In Wait - A Home Crafting Mystery by Cricket McRae
On Deck Next:
  • Heaven Preserve Us- #2 in the Home Crafting Series by Cricket McRae
  • Spin A Wicked Web -Book #3 in this series in on my Wish List as is
  • #4 Something Borrowed, Something Bleu that comes out July 1, 2010

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Where Is God? by Dr. John Townsend

I received this book in the mail the day after the earthquake hit Haiti. Watching the destruction, the desperation, the injured, the dead, and the hopelessness, I’m sure I was only one of millions asking “Where is God?”

In 2001 I was severely injured in an automobile accident and I found myself and my family asking “Where is God?” I survived but remain partially paralyzed and while I was not happy, after many days I came to know that God saved me for a reason, I renewed my faith and knew that “God is Good” and He has control of my path. The members of my church called me their “miracle.” I could feel the strength I received from all their prayers. It was a miracle, I should have died, I wasn’t wearing a seat belt, and when others thought I couldn’t hear, I heard doctors and nurses discussing my care and estimating my slim chance of survival, let alone walking again. Today my faith is strong, my brain intact, and my body doing the best it can under the circumstances.

This book was the perfect book for me because it validated a lot of my thoughts. It is a very timely book because it deals with all the things everyone is being touched by in their own lives or by someone close to them. Financial struggles, medical tragedies, personal turmoil, all things brought on by the world today around us.

Dr. John Townsend uses personal anecdotes, real life stories, and scripture to assure us that God is right beside us as long as we are open to Him. His unique insight gives us hope and truth that we can build our lives upon. I was pleased to read the chapters were he acknowledges that there will be “Hard Times” and “doubt” and that “God suffers with us.” If you are struggling with any challenge and think God has forgotten or forsaken you, this book is a must read.  It is also a great read to reaffirm your faith.

As I finished this book I was again watching scenes from Haiti and could actually see God working, in the hands of the hundreds of volunteers there helping the injured and desperate, in the eyes of the Haitian people as they felt hope seeing all the people and supplies that are arriving to help them, and also in their tears and they mourned the loss of loved ones. Where is God? Inside every one of us. Thank you Dr. John Townsend. Your book is a wonderful gift.

Click the link below to order you copy of this book today from Amazon.com

Where Is God?: Finding His Presence, Purpose and Power in Difficult Times

This book was provided to me free of charge by Thomas Nelson Publishers for my honest review. Opinions are mine and mine alone.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Body in the Sleigh by Katherine Hall Page

This is the 18th book in Katherine Hall Page’s Faith Fairchild Mystery series.

The Fairchild family is spending the holiday season at their summer get-a-way in Sanpere, Maine as Pastor Tom recuperates from major surgery on the quiet island. But it doesn’t remain quiet for long, as Faith takes the children, Ben and Amy, to a park to pose for their annual Christmas photo, Faith discovers that her perfect background, a sleigh, does not just have a couple of manikins aboard but also a dead body tucked nicely between them. The victim is a young woman who used to spend summers on the island and is known to many of the island residents, known very well by one resident.

As if the dead body isn’t enough, one of the island residents, who raises nanny goats on her farm, finds a baby boy in her manger on the morning of Christmas Eve, along with a huge sum of money for his care, and calls Faith to help her find the mother. While Faith is trying to sleuth out the mother’s identity, she realizes there is a connection to the body she found in the sleigh.

Once you start this book you will not be able to put it down, but this is not your typical Faith Fairchild mystery, I found it much more gripping than her previous books. The characters are great although I missed some of the regulars, but there are new ones who are very dark and deceitful. There is still the wit and humor, the wonderful backdrop of Christmas, and the faith and hope that everything will work out.

There are also two bonuses in this book. There are more yummy recipes, of course, but the pure treat is a wonderful tribute to librarians. It brought back many memories of my own time spent in the library of my hometown.

For a complete list of the books in this series and to find out more about the author, you can visit her webpage at:   http://www.katherine-hall-page.org/

Click on the link below to order your copy today from Amazon.com
The Body in the Sleigh: A Faith Fairchild Mystery (Faith Fairchild Mysteries)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Life gets in the way sometimes ...

I usually read at least 4 books a week but lately, I find myself here working on my blog and trying to make contacts so it will grow and get more followers, or playing games on FaceBook, or playing with my grandson, attending my 6' 4" Junior son's  basketball games, discussing college options with my Senior daughter, (she's only 5'6" :) or doing household chores or the dreaded evil watching too much television.

I have one soap I have been addicted to my whole life, Days of our Lives, which I TIVO so I can watch it anytime,  I have to get my soap fix. But I also like the prime time programming,  all the CSI's and all the Law and Orders, Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, House, Desperate Housewives, Biggest Loser, heaven forbid I get wrapped up in American Idol, or Dancing with the Stars.  The Good Wife and Mercy are two new ones that beg my time.  I TIVO all of them because some are on at the same time, but also to watch on the weekends, when nothing that interests me is playing.

I cannot be the only one with this problem.  I am trying very hard to shut the television off more and use the time reading, but I have one problem.  It's called a husband, the television is turned on as soon as he gets home and usually stays on until he falls asleep, sometimes I try to turn it off when I think he's asleep, actually snoring only to have him wake up and say "Hey, I was watching that!"

Please add your comments below, tell me how you find time to read all the great books on your TBR piles.  Share funny stories, let me know I not alone in this t.v. / computer world.

Right now I need to hide the remote and push away from this computer and finish the book I was reading when I fell asleep last night.  I may have to go back a chapter or two, I awoke at 3:16 a.m. glasses still on and the book among the blankets.

More soon,

Monday, January 11, 2010


I love cats, quilting was a former passion, and who doesn't like a good mystery.

Leann Sweeney’s first book in her new Cats in Trouble series was truly enjoyable.The characters are realistic and relatable, the cats are truly stars in this book, and the plot is well thought out.  The Cat Trivia within the story are little added gifts.  (I did not know a group of kittens was call a “kindle”, I thought a kindle was the new electronic gadget for reading books.)

Jillian and John Hart move to Mercy, S.C. where everyone knows everything about everybody, or do they?

John dies all too soon and leaves Jillian with their three cats, Merlot, Chablis, and Syrah and her quilting business, knowing almost none of her neighbors. When she returns from an overnight business trip she finds her home has been broken into and one of her beloved cats is missing. After reporting the break-in and the missing cat, she knows the police are not going to be of any help to find her cat and realizes she must look for him herself. While searching for her cat she also finds a corpse, and her investigation is just beginning, not only is she going to meet her neighbors, she’s going to find out one of them is a murderer.

Don't forget to check out Leann's other series The Yellow Rose Mysteries and her website http://www.leannsweeney.com/.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

We Are Packer Fans!!

Today on this snowy, blustery day I have chosen to write about my family's passion for football.  I can remember watching the games as a child on Sunday afternoons with my dad, and as an adult going to my in-laws every Sunday with all Jeff's siblings and their families.  In both cases yelling at the television as if the players and coaches could actually hear us.  Today we watch the games at home with our kids and our grandson. It has been a good year with "the Pack" winning 10 games and making the playoffs.

The Green Bay Packers Organization is rich in history.   They are also the most unique team in sports:
  • No owner (last remaining publicly owned pro sports team, 4,750,937 shares, 112,120 stockholders, none of whom receive dividend on initial investment).

  • Team plays in major sports' smallest TV market -- 70th (New Orleans, 53, is closest).

  • Packers have 11 playoff appearances in last 15 years, and won most NFL titles (12).

  • Green Bay has 21 Pro Hall of Famers, second-most in league.

  • Team has averted four financial collapses: 1921, 1922, 1934 and 1950, each time gaining monetary support from community.

  • In a century of franchise movement, only 10 other pro sports teams -- none in football -- have held same moniker in same location longer (nine baseball, one hockey).

  • Only two other pro sports venues have been in continuous use longer than Lambeau Field (1957) -- Boston's Fenway Park (1912) and Chicago's Wrigley Field (1916).

  • With season-ticket holders from all 50 states, as well as Washington D.C., Canada, Japan and Australia, the team's waiting list has more than 78,000 names. People who were recently awarded season tickets put their names on the waiting list in mid 1970s.

  • Packers have most fans in league based on recent Harris polls, merchandise sales and Web site attraction. Plus, the team sells every available seat at Lambeau Field for intra-squad scrimmage, "Family Night."

  • Before radio, when Packers played on the road, as many as 500 fans turned out at Legion Park to "watch" game on Playograph board (telegraph reports from press box re-created game on screen, complete with PA).

  • Packers were first to open hall of fame and museum (1966). http://www.packers.com/ 
My sister manages a small book store and she finds all these great books to give my husband, but I have to say one of his favorites, which comes out every football season since he received it back in 2007 is The 25 Greatest Moments in Lambeau Fields History, written by Cliff Christi and Dale Hofman with forwards written bu Bob Harlan and Larry McCarren.  It is definitely a keepsake my family will continue to enjoy over and over.  The pictures are wonderful, the stories are well written and informative, first hand accounts from players and coaches.  It truly is a great book.  While there are many books written about the Green Bay Packers, this is one of the best.


Tuesday, January 5, 2010


I have to say I was surprised that with all the books I read, I had not read one of the Best Books of 2009 listed by Amazon and after reading the descriptions not one of them intrigued me enough to order it.

I fared a little better with the Top Ten Mystery/Thrillers, between by husband and myself four of those book have graced our shelves.  Jeff really likes Vince Flynn and Janet Evanovich is one of my favorite authors.  We both like James Patterson and John Grisham.  We also like Stuart Woods, Harlan Coben and J.A. Konrath but they didn't make any of the top tens.

I also am quite of fan of the cozy mystery as you can see from by 2009 Reading List and while they may make the Customer's Favorites lists, they are never so controversial or acclaimed enough to make the Top Ten lists, but for me they are the most enjoyable, a little escape from everyday life.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Music Memories

I'm showing my age, but I remember when I was in high school we had dances Friday nights after most home football and basketball games. We had live bands, no disc jockeys, and we actually danced.  Each group or club took turns sponsoring the dances as fundraisers, we never sold candy or wrapping paper. :)

You could also travel to the "big city" and attend concerts for next to nothing.  Tickets were less than 20 bucks and you could see STYX (my favorite) who I saw in concert at least 8 times, and The Eagles, Boston, Chicago, Loverboy, Molly Hatchet, Van Halen, all the big groups of the 70's and early 80's. We'd go to concerts several times a year, sometimes weekly. I still like to pop in a CD and listen to the "good old songs."

Don't get me wrong, I like the music my kids listen to today, but by taste these days tends to run more in the Country genre.  Right now, Rascal Flatts are my favs, but also like Trace Adkins, Tim McGraw and Sugarland.  But these days I only get as close as a CD, tickets to concerts can be outrageous. Plus I'd have to sit in seat and everyone knows the best place to be at a concert is in the mosh pit of people on the floor.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

TBR's (To Be Read)

Like most avid readers I have a huge TBR pile or I should say several stacks of books waiting to be read. The newest ones land on top and others are destined to the back or bottom almost forgotten.

Last week I decided to rearrange and sort my stacks and found that one of the first series I collected after my accident had been buried. I started collecting the series way before joining PaperbackSwap, so these books were found at Amazon or Ebay and I remember being so excited to finally get the first and oldest 2, but they were just added to the stack. I have also collected the latest. There are now 24 books in the series with another due out soon.

The books are Mary's Daheim's Bed & Breakfast series set in the Pacific Northwest featuring Judith McMonigle Flynn, innkeeper turned sleuth and her cousin Renie, who seem to trip over dead bodies wherever they go. Add into the mix the cousin's mothers, their husbands and their neighbors and the stories are priceless. The relationship between the characters will have you in stitches as they come up with some of the most unorthodox ways to solve the crimes. I read the first four in the series last week and after the first one I was hooked.

This series is said the have launched the B&B sub-genre and after just reading the first four, I can see why, at the end of each you can't wait to start another.

Daheim has also written another series based in Alpine, Washington of which I have read and enjoyed every one. She is truly one of my favorite authors.

If you would like to find out more about Mary Daheim and her wonderful books, be sure to check out her website http://www.authormarydaheim.com/

Now I'm off to start reading number five Bantam of the Opera. Sounds good, doesn't it.

Friday, January 1, 2010