"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



Thursday, March 31, 2011

Night of the Living Dandelion by Kate Collins

An Obsidian Mystery
Published by NAL
A Division of the Penguin Group

A Flower Shop Mystery
11th Book In This Series
ISBN-10: 0451233018
ISBN-13: 978-0451233011

Abby Knight has badly sprained her ankle and must use either crutches or a wheelchair to get around and do her job.  Marco Salvare has been recalled to active duty.  As a newly engaged couple they want to spend as much time together as possible before he is deployed.  But there is a huge obstacle in their way.  He needs to train his army buddy, Vlad Serban,  to take over the bar in his absence and Vlad is drawing way too much attention.  He is a very pale man, always wears black, has prominent canine teeth, his former job was as a phlebotomist (One who draws blood for analysis or transfusion.) and he is from Transylvania, Romania. Everyone in town thinks he's a vampire.

Then the body of Lori Willis, a local nursing director, is found in the dumpster behind Marco's bar and the cause of death seems to be exsanguination (drained of all her blood).  Still women swoon in his presence, crowding the bar.  There are a group calling themselves "The Garlic Party" protesting in from of the Down the Hatch Bar & Grill, plus a group of teenagers gathered wearing "I LOVE VLAD" T-shirts. Not to mention, Abby's cousin Jillian going off the deep end because Vlad had kissed her hand.

Before this circus gets any more out of hand Marco and Abby need to help clear Vlad's name and find the real killer or as it says on the back cover of the book Vlad's life is going to start  to "really suck".

I really enjoyed this story, but it is not my favorite book in the series, I really loved the last one Dirty Rotten Tendrils. It just amazes me how many vampired themed books have turned up lately with the success of the Twilight books and movies.  Vampires have never really been my thing but thankfully Kate has gone over to the horror genre from cozy mystery.  This book is a fun cozy read and if you don't laugh out loud at some of Jillian's antics, I will eat my copy of this book.  She is hilarious!!!! Plus the book ends perfectly, leaving us wanting more. We only have to wait until November for To Catch A Leaf.  This reviewer can't wait to get her copy!!!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the Obsidian/NAL, A Division of the Penguin Group. 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.” 



No, I am not a new Tabloid Reporter, but this is a feature so 
that we can all get to know each other better.  

This feature will be open from Thursday at 12:01 A.M. and close on Monday at 11:59 P.M. to allow those that want to participate over the weekend the opportunity to do so when they have more time.  So you may want to check back on Tuesday or check the previous week's link on Thursday to view everyone's answers.

Links to all previous can be found by clicking the Enquiring Minds Want To Know page in the right sidebar for those who missed a week or two and want to catch up on everyone's answers.  To do that please link up using the actual post link  instead of the link to your entire blog so people can find your "Enquiring" posts easier. 

If you are just joining this feature 
We all become friends/followers but most of us will never meet in person, this feature is to help us all get to know each other better.

Each Thursday I will post 3 questions for you to answer 
that you can copy and post on 
your blog with your answers. 
You don’t have to be a blogger to participate either. I will be using a Linky List for the blogs to use to participate and follow each other around to get to know each other, but if you are not a blogger just answer the questions in the comment section following the post on your favorite blog. Please feel free to click on the links and visit other blogs too.  

This way we not only get to know other bloggers, 
we get to know our followers too.
I am really excited about this meme 
and hope many more people will join the fun!!!!!

Are you interested?


1. Are you a bath or shower person?

2.  Do you bathe/shower in the morning or at night?

3. Do you have a hot tub or swimming pool?

Now be sure to copy and paste the information and your answers into your blog, then come back to link up, so we can come to your blog and read your answers.

I hope you will come back to this meme every week and tell your friends so we can all get to know each other better and get the answers to all the questions 
Enquiring Minds Want To Know.

1. Are you a bath or shower person?
Definitely shower, it would take two men and a truck to get me out of a bathtub :) I should have done more research as this house was being built and had one of those walk-in bathtub/shower combos installed.

2.  Do you bathe/shower in the morning or at night? 
Usually late morning, I seem to get light headed if I am not upright for awhile before trying to stand long enough to shower in the morning, and believe me trying to clean your body and wash you hair with one hand is not as easy as it may sound.

3. Do you have a hot tub or swimming pool?
In our original plan for this house there was going to be a hot tub on the back deck as we had heard so many good therapeutic reasons for a person like me with a spinal cord injury to have one.  Unfortunately the company we hired to hang the drywall, texture it and paint it had given us an incorrect estimate that after the drywall was hung they said the final bid they gave us didn't included texture or paint or even mudding the joints.  After a long drawn out affair that was putting us way behind schedule and going to cost us more money to fight them, we found a more reasonable company to deal with at a lower price than what the first company wanted to add on, but it meant no hot tub.  Someday we still hope to add one, as it will also help my husband with his back pain and all the other aches and pain brought on as we get older.

Now it's your turn! 
Let's get to know YOU!!
This Enquiring Mind Wants To Know!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cozy Wednesday - The Charlotte Adams Mystery Series by Mary Jane Maffini

The first book in the Charlotte Adams Mystery Series was published in 2007.  I must have liked it because it was on my keeper shelf and the next three were on my To-Be-Read pile.  When I saw that a new book in the series was coming out next month I decided it was time to catch up on this series as soon as possible.

Organize Your Corpses (A Charlotte Adams Mystery)
Cover Art
by Stephen Gardner
Cover Design
by George Long
Organize Your Corpses was the first and I did a quick reread to refresh my memory. Charlotte Adams has moved back to her home town  of Woodbridge, New York after she caught her now ex-fiancĂ©e cheating on her literally right before the wedding and restarts her life as a professional organizer.  She has her personal to-do list for each day and is compulsively organized.

Her first client is a former teacher who was known as Miss Helen "Hellfire" Henley. While trying to help her organize and clear out an old family home Miss Henley had inherited Charlotte learns there is much more to her new profession than she had bargained for when she finds her client dead under a pile of debris in the house she was hired to organize.  Charlotte is forced to add "find murderer" to her daily to-do list.

The Cluttered Corpse (A Charlotte Adams Mystery)
Cover Art
by Stephen Gardner
Cover Design
by George Long

The Cluttered Corpse is the second book in this series.  In this story a stuffed animal collection has gotten way out of hand, filling rooms in Emmy Lou Rheinbeck's home. The first day Charlotte visits Emmy Lou to talk about handling the "pet problem" she learns that a neighbor boy and his friend have been tormenting Emmy Lou mercilessly.  Charlotte feels she must talk to the boys about their behavior never thinking that her intervention would result in a mess so big, that it is going to take more than Charlotte's organizational skills to clean it up.

Death Loves a Messy Desk (Charlotte Adams, Book 3)
Cover Illustration
by Stephen Gardner
Cover Design
by Edwin Tse

Death Loves A Messy Desk finds Charlotte's business growing and she loves helping people free their spaces of clutter.  Her new task is to help an office employee organize her cubicle at the request of the office manager.  It seems that the employee is not very willing as she disappears just as Charlotte arrives to investigate the situation. When the employee doesn't return to work and can't be found the office secrets start to be revealed and we learn there is much more to this job than a little reorganization, especially when there is a little murder added to the office politics.  Again Charlotte's to-do list includes organization and investigation.

Closet Confidential (A Charlotte Adams Mystery)
Cover Illustration
by Stephen Gardner
Cover Design
by George Long
Closet Confidential is book number 4 in this series and the one I really loved.  Charlotte is hired by the husband of Lorelei Beauchamp to help organize her many closets.  "Money is no object."   This assignment is truly her hardest. Charlotte has known Lorelei her whole life and Lorelei wants nothing to do with organization. Her daughter was killed in a freak accident at a construction site, but Lorelei believes her daughter was murdered and no one believes her.  Most days Lorelei is so depressed she can't get out of bed. Her husband thinks a little closet project will lift her spirits, but all Lorelei wants is for someone to believe her and investigate her daughter's incident and she thinks Charlotte is the perfect investigator for the job.  The whole thing pulls at Charlotte's heartstrings and she just can't say no.  So using all the techniques has learned she hopes to prove to Lorelei that her daughter's death really was just an accident. Unfortunately her investigation leads her in another very tricky direction.  Is she organized enough herself to keep her safe as she crosses the fence to find the truth?

Cover Illustration
by Stephen Gardner
Cover Design
by George Long
Berkley Prime Crime
A Division of Penguin Books
5th Book in the Series
Release Date:  April 5, 2011
ISBN-10: 0425240606
ISBN-13: 978-0425240601

The Busy Woman's Guide To Murder finds the 911 operator, Mona Pringle, calling Charlotte rather than Charlotte calling 911.  It seems that while in high school the were a group of "mean girls" and Mona is freaking out because the lead "mean girl", Serena Redding, has returned to town and Mona was always one of their main targets. Mona used to talk about how good it would feel to kill Serena, but Charlotte knows Mona well enough to know she would never act on her words.  Then a woman who looks like Serena was killed by a hit and run driver and Mona has disappeared. Charlotte starts to worry that Mona may become the number one suspect.  Charlotte needs to organize her thoughts and get to the bottom of this before anyone else ends up dead or the wrong person is accused.  

What I didn't tell you in the snippets above is the underlying story that runs through all these books.  It is the story of a group of "misfits" that found themselves friends in school.  

There is Charlotte who just recently moved back to town after having her heart broken. She is not quite 5 feet tall. Her favorite word is "craptacular"and her favorite food is Ben & Jerry's New York Super Fudge Chunk. 

Jack, owns a huge Victorian house that has been subdivided into 2 units, and is Charlotte's landlord as she lives in the upstairs unit. Jack is also her best friend and has a bicycle shop called CYCotics.  

Margaret Tang, a lawyer, has also recently returned to Woodbridge. Her parents own Tangs Convenience Store.  Margaret's mother never really acknowledges Charlotte even though her daughter and Charlotte have been friends since grade school.  

Sally, the stay at home mom with a doctor husband, whose life revolves around here children, her spouse and her friends.  

On the fringes is Pepper who is now a police detective with a husband who is a huge flirt.

Then there are Truffle and Sweet Marie, two adorable miniature dachshunds who are training to become Therapy Dogs.  They are main characters in each story, lovable as can be and shed light on what good a little puppy love can do for everyone.

This is a really well written series that truly entertains with ease. To say they are well organized is just too easy. They have great mysteries, funny characters and situations and they are books any cozy lover will enjoy.  We all need a Charlotte Adams in our life, without the murders of course.  I would love to have her show up today to get my house organized and bring along all her friends too.  

To find out more about Mary Jane Maffini and her other books, check out her web page.
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Disclosure of Material Connection: The first four books are from my private collection.  The fifth book was received  free from the Berkley Prime Crime, A Division of the Penguin Group. 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.” 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Miss Julia Rocks The Cradle by Ann B. Ross

Jacket Design
 by Roseanne J.Serra
Jacket Illustration
by Mary Ann Lasher
Published for Viking
By The Penguin Group
Release Date: April 5, 2011
ISBN-10: 0670022551
ISBN-13: 978-0670022557

Just a little history of this series: 
When Hazel Marie Puckett and her nine-year-old son, Little Lloyd, show up on Julia Springer's doorstep in Abbotsford, North Carolina, Miss Julia receives the shock of her long and proper life. After 44 years of marriage to pillar-of-church-and-community Wesley Lloyd Springer, she discovers that while she had assumed he was working late at the family bank, he was engaged in other, more carnal, pursuits. For, as Hazel Marie shyly explains, Little Lloyd is Miss Julia's late husband's son.

In this book (#12) Hazel Marie twins are due at any time, a big snowstorm is headed for Abbottsville, Julia and her husband Sam have a tiff about Miss Julia keeping secrets from him and Miss Julia is hauled to the police station after she starts bouncing checks all over town.  If that isn't enough a dead body is found in a shed on the property of one of Lloyd's teachers.  Miss Julia has her hands full in this one!

I have loved this series from the very first book.  Ann B. Ross' writes this series in such away that you become part of the family.  It really tackled a dicey issue from the start, how many widows would take in their husband's mistress and their son and handle it with such grace?  It takes the terms "extended family" to a whole new level and the reader is included every step of the way.  

Each book has a new hurdle and each one is a true joy to read.  The mystery part, while the driving force to each new story, is just one part of the puzzle, the development and interaction of the characters are really what makes these stories entertaining. Miss Julia's dry wit can only come from the author herself. All the other characters are true to life, people from any neighborhood with a little bit of southern flair,including the eccentric Mr. Thurlow Jones.

This series needs to be read in order so if you haven't been drawn into this wonderful series before start with Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind.  If you are already a fan you will love this book, including the birth of Hazel Marie's twins. You can pre-order yours today.
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent
To find out more about Ann B. Ross be sure to check out his her web page..

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the Viking, A Division of the Penguin Group. 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.” 

Monday, March 28, 2011

It's Monday!! What Are You Reading?

This great meme is hosted by Sheila at

It's a great way to start the week and
find out what other bloggers are reading.
My To-Be-Read pile has grown to an
unbelievable number thanks to this meme.

I had a really good week!!!

Closet Confidential (A Charlotte Adams Mystery)
Closet Confidential
by Mary Jane Maffini

The Busy Woman's Guide to Murder (A Charlotte Adams Mystery)
The Busy Woman's Guide to Murder
by Mary Jane Maffini
Release Date:  April 5, 2011

Miss Julia Rocks the Cradle
Miss Julia Rocks The Cradle
by Ann B. Ross
Release Date:  April 5, 2011

Night of the Living Dandelion: A Flower Shop Mystery
Night of the Living Dandelion
by Kate Collins
Release Date:  April 5, 2011

Deadly Notions (A Southern Sewing Circle Myste)
Deadly Notions
by Elizabeth Lynn Casey
Release Date:  April 5, 2011
Elizabeth Lynn will be here on April 6th 
for Cozy Wednesday!!
Plus I'll have 2 copies of 
Deadly Notions to Give Away!!!

Cookie Dough or Die (A Cookie Cutter Shop Mystery)
Cookie Dough or Die
by Virginia Lowell
Release Date:  April 5, 2011
New Series!!

Sweet Revenge: A Lady Arianna Regency Mystery (Lady Arianna Hadley Mystery)
Sweet Revenge
by Andrea Penrose
Release Date:  April 5, 2011

Eat Your Peas, Daughter: A Little Wisdom and a Lasting Promise
Eat Your Peas Daughter
A Little Wisdom and A Lasting Promise
by Cheryl and Mom Karpen
Release Date:  April 5, 2011

ToysInhuman Condition
Ides of March Giveaway Ends 
March 31 at 11:59 P.M.
Be sure to get your entries in.
Click on the picture in the left sidebar to 
go to the original post to enter!!

Be sure to check out the fun new 
Monday Music Moves Me Meme

in the post below!!
A great kick off to the week right along with this one.