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Lori Caswell "dollycas" RSS Feed (Waupun, WI)

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Deadly Desires at Honeychurch Hall: A Mystery
Deadly Desires at Honeychurch Hall: A Mystery
Offered by Macmillan
Price: $11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A Joy to Read!, May 21, 2015
Dollycas’s Thoughts

This was a story I was anxiously awaiting and the author exceeded my expectations!

Deadly Desires at Honeychurch Hall brings us back to English countryside and all the characters I loved in Murder at Honeychurch Hall. Kat Stanford is planning head back to London soon but with news of a high speed rail coming to this quaint, historical area she feels she needs to stick around to be church of her mother’s options and how Honeychurch Hall will be affected. Then a local woman is found dead on the side of the road and the transport minister has gone missing. Are these events connected? and what does it mean for the railway? Meanwhile Kat’s mother is trying to keep her life as Krystalle Storm, international bestselling romance writer, a secret but that isn’t the only thing she is hiding.

These characters are fantastic and a few like “Uncle” Alfred are quite eccentric. Kat and Iris are two very independent woman and but heads on more than one occasion butt what mother and daughter don’t. Their dialogue is delightful and can be very comical especially when Albert joins the conversation or when they are “investigating”. We meet several new characters as the rail system would affect so many people plus there is a new maid at the hall. All of the characters come to life right off of the pages.

The plot was very entertaining a full of funny moments but suspenseful moments as well. Kat has several ideas and scenarios of what may have happened but no solid proof and asking the wrong person the right questions could put her and her mother in danger. The author does a wonderful job of storytelling and like the first story in the series this was a pure joy to read. I love traveling across the pond to visit Honeychurch Hall, I am booking my virtual tickets for next year right away.

A Far Gone Night
A Far Gone Night
Price: $4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars John Carenen is a wonderful storyteller!, May 20, 2015
This review is from: A Far Gone Night (Kindle Edition)
Dollycas’s Thoughts

I am so glad I started organizing book tours and that John’s daughter found me to put together a tour for him or I would have missed this book and the one before it that I now need to read. I usually think of Iowa as a pretty quiet place except for the Republican political craziness that happens there. Organized crime, high stakes gambling, Navy Seals, who knew??

I absolutely love Thomas O’Shea! He is a tough guy with a heart and struggles every day to uphold his Christian faith with the things he does to find the truth and take on the bad guys. His friend Lunatic Mooning, yes that is his name, is quite a character as well.

I also love the way John Carenen tells this story. Yes, it is very fast paced but very descriptive as well and the characters are so engaging. There is also plenty of action. I felt more like I was watching a movie instead of reading a book. There is bit of humor, O’Shea has some great one liners. There are also several tense moments that had it been a movie I would have been sneaking peeks from behind my hand over my face. I was totally immersed in the story from the first page until the last word. This is one of those books that gives people like me a “book hangover” because once I started reading I just couldn’t stop until I finished it.

I have not read Signs of Struggle yet and had no trouble at all reading this book as a stand alone. I plan to read it as soon though because I want to be ready for book #3 when it is released. Another new to me author I want to shout from the rooftops about!

The Body in the Piazza: A Faith Fairchild Mystery (Faith Fairchild series Book 21)
The Body in the Piazza: A Faith Fairchild Mystery (Faith Fairchild series Book 21)
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers
Price: $7.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Good Mystery but too much Italy, May 20, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Dollycas’s Thoughts

The last book in this series, The Body in the Boudoir, was Faith remembering how her life with minister husband started as she was traveling on a plane to Italy. In this installment the plane has landed and Faith takes us quite a tour of Italy from the foods to the amazing architecture. She also meets up with her old friend, Francesca who is opening a cooking school.

I have loved this series since it started but this was not one of my faves. The author went way overboard with the lengthy descriptions of everything Faith saw, did, cooked and ate that is really took away from the mystery. There was more than one time I stopped reading wondering if I wanted to continue. But the mystery was good and I wanted to see how it played out so I kept reading. I enjoyed how the killer could be someone they were traveling with and trying to figure out if that was true then who could it be. Taking the series out of the New England area was a nice change as well if only the focus had been more on solving them crime than the settings.

I truly thought this was the last book in the series so I was pleasantly surprised to learn about The Body in the Birches. I hope that we get back to the kind of story I expect from this author, but I do admit if I was lucky enough to travel to Italy I would want to tell everyone I could all about it. I think that is what happened here. The author had a fabulous trip and she just wanted to share it with her readers.

Sterling Silver Freshwater Cultured Pearl and White Topaz Interlocking Design Pearl Strand Necklace, 18"
Sterling Silver Freshwater Cultured Pearl and White Topaz Interlocking Design Pearl Strand Necklace, 18"
Price: $180.60

5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, May 17, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This necklace is absolutely beautiful. It is very similar to one I wore for my wedding 32 years ago that was lost in a recent move. I am not a gem expert but this appears to be exactly as advertised. I do wish a cloth bag for safe storage had been included as pearls need special care and maintenance. With proper care this is a piece that could be passed on from generation to generation.

Southern Heat
Southern Heat
by David Burnsworth
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.17
49 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Debut, May 15, 2015
This review is from: Southern Heat (Hardcover)
Dollycas’s Thoughts

I am just amazed that this was David Burnsworth first novel. He credits several people for helping him polish it for publication but let me tell you this is an author to watch!

Action starts on page 1 when Brack Pelton finds his uncle shot in an alley and takes us to the best and worst parts of Charleston as he tries out who pulled the trigger and why. The story continues to be very fast paced and my Kindle’s pages were flying and then I ran out of power. I tried plugging it is to keep reading but the machine wouldn’t cooperate so I downloaded it to Mr. Dollycas’s Kindle so I could keep reading and stayed up reading until I reached the end.

His characters were so vividly written. From Brack to Brother Thomas, Mutt, Darcy, Detective Wilson and even a 50 pound mixed breed Dog named Shelby, I could picture them all in my mind and was totally engaged. The bad guys as well as the good were perfectly described and Burnsworth writes in such a way that the details just naturally flow without becoming too wordy. The plot flowed easily as well. A really great balance is achieved and that can be very difficult.

My favorite character was easily Brack. He has been through so much already in his life and even when he wants to give up he finds ways to keep going.

It is usually hard to give a debut novel 5 stars because as a reader I have set the bar high then for their next book, but this story is definitely worth a 5 stars. It has been more than a year since this book was released so I hope the author releases a new one very soon. I am anxiously waiting!!

Oh Say Can You Fudge (A Candy-coated Mystery)
Oh Say Can You Fudge (A Candy-coated Mystery)
by Nancy Coco
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.99
39 used & new from $3.94

4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, May 7, 2015
Dollycas’s Thoughts

I love big fireworks celebrations because the 4th of July is just 3 days after my birthday. We usually take in 3 or more shows around that time. Of course attending 3 on Mackinac Island with FUDGE would be perfect sans the dead bodies of course.

This time Nancy Coco has really given protag Allie McMurphy a lot to do. She is not only running the McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop and trying to come up with the perfect Red, White and Blue fudge recipe, but she is also in charge of making the 3 fireworks shows go off without a hitch. Her plan goes horribly awry when the pyro – technician she hired is found dead and the whole batch of fireworks explodes in the warehouse. Of course, the celebration committee hold her responsible and expects her to find more fireworks and someone to set them off with only a few days until the 4th. She also is hot on trail trying to catch the person that blew up her whole part of the celebration. Independence Day takes on a whole new meaning as everything she loves could be in danger due to her sticking her nose into the investigation.

I really enjoy my virtual trips to Mackinac Island and visiting Allie, Jenn, Frances, Mr. Devaney, Trent and all the rest of its residents. Allie’s puppy Mal always makes me smile. Coco puts several of them in danger this time and that made my heart beat just a little faster. There is also a dash of humor and bit of romance to round of this entertaining story.

This series and the Fudge Shop Mysteries by Christine DeSmet are very similar with fudge shops located in tourist attraction spots. They both have great characters and fine mysteries. If you like one be sure to try the other.

The Final Reveille (A Living History Museum Mystery)
The Final Reveille (A Living History Museum Mystery)
Price: $9.59

4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Well Written Mystery, May 7, 2015
Dollycas’s Thoughts

We have a living history museum here in Wisconsin, Old World Wisconsin, and there is a mystery series set there as well by Kathleen Ernst. I love that series so I knew this new series would fascinate me as well and it didn’t disappoint.

Kelsey Cambridge is the director at Barton Farm where history comes to life in Ohio. She decides to have a Civil War reenactment weekend to bring more people to the museum and help its bottom line. But the weekend gets off to a rocky start with the nephew of the farm’s benefactress is found dead in the village. The guy was planning to cut funding for the place so Kelsey becomes the prime suspect in his murder. So while cannons fire and fights continue on the battlefield Kelsey needs to fight her own battle and try to find the real rebel to save herself and the farm.

This is an excellent start for this series. We meet Kelsey, her son, her father, her ex and his new fiancee’. We are introduced to some of the farm’s employees and the woman responsible for funding the amazing site. We also meet Chase who would like to get to know Kelsey much better.

I especially enjoyed the reenactors and the way many of them try to stay in character for the whole weekend and those the work at Barton Farm staying in character even when the tourists tries to throw them off. Amanda Flower does an excellent job at bringing her characters to life no matter what part they are playing and she has left them will plenty of room to grow. Kelsey has a huge amount of responsibility but she also has a big heart.

In addition to introducing the setting and the characters Flower gives readers a very well written mystery readers can sink their teeth into. I did figure out the killer well before it was revealed but I was actually surprised I was right because that rarely happens.

I am truly looking forward to the next installment of this series as Kelsey is going to have her work cut out for her. It should be very interesting.

Musseled Out (A Maine Clambake Mystery)
Musseled Out (A Maine Clambake Mystery)
by Barbara Ross
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.99
39 used & new from $3.84

5.0 out of 5 stars Another Tasty Installment, May 6, 2015
Dollycas’s Thoughts

Another tasty installment from Barbara Ross. In Clammed Up Julia came home to help save the family business. In Boiled Over she got the business steered in the right direction. Now in Musseled Out the season is drawing to a close and she needs to make a huge decision, return to her job back in New York or stay in Maine with her friends and family. Of course a dead body being found and her brother-in-law being a prime suspect will weigh heavily into her decision. First she needs to find out who killed the “Mussel King” and why, then she should hopefully, probably, maybe, make a decision regarding her own future.

I quickly became caught up in this mystery because after reading the first 2 books I was very invested in these characters. Growing up in a family food business I understand how the whole family gets involved to making it a success so I really want the Snowden Family Clambake Company to succeed. A new competing business wouldn’t be a good thing but I can’t see Sonny killing someone over it so I knew there was much more to the story, but Ross truly surprised me with the way she mixed all the elements together.

Barbara Ross slowly develops these characters. We learn more and more about them with every turn of the page. Livie, Julia’s sister, and Sonny have a new baby on the way. Add that to the business worries and things get a little stressful. Julia’s mom is unsure of her place since her husband passed away and she is branching out causing some concern from her daughters. Chris and Julia’s relationship is still so new and they are working things through as they get a little more serious.

The author has given us a wonderful whodunit with just the right amounts of humor and romance. I loved the ending. I hope this isn’t the last we see of these characters. I have really enjoyed my Maine excursions.

Slayed on the Slopes (A Pacific Northwest Mystery)
Slayed on the Slopes (A Pacific Northwest Mystery)
by Kate Dyer-Seeley
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.99
61 used & new from $3.82

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic story, May 2, 2015
Dollycas’s Thoughts

I have been waiting for this book, thankfully we weren’t kept waiting a whole year!

Meg is back and off on another adventure and again she is not prepared and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!! She thinks a little “training” she did over the summer will be able to make her look like she knows what she is doing and fool her boss. Well she is prepared for roughing in front of the fireplace but she can’t ski and her cute little gloves are not going to keep her warm as she observes the Ridge Rangers. She does know what gunshots sound like and she knows they mean trouble especially when the head Ridge Ranger is found dead!

This girl she can get herself in the middle of things even when she is trying hard to avoid them. Her father was a journalist too and was killed. She hears his voice in her head throughout the entire story and there are several unanswered questions about his death. This was touched on in the first book and that subplot continues in this one.

Again in addition to the great cast of characters the setting is a character too. The author describes everything so wonderfully, from the blizzard and piles of snow to the frigid temps. Burrrrrrr!!! Traveling up an down the mountain from the main lodge to the remote Silcox Hut, I could picture it so vividly.

This was a fantastic story with a huge OMG moment! The main mystery was so good. I was suspecting everyone at one point or another. I had just one little issue with sometime Meg had a hard time with near the end of the story but I don’t want to spoil anything but those of you that know me will know exactly what I am talking about when you read the story.

I am already waiting the next edition, these cliffhangers are killer, lol!!!

Race the Wild #1: Rain Forest Relay
Race the Wild #1: Rain Forest Relay
by Kristin Earhart
Edition: Paperback
Price: $4.08
32 used & new from $2.20

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Race for kids!, April 30, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
An Amazing Race for kids! So much fun!

Russell entered the race with a group of friends but when they arrived in the Amazon Rainforest teams were cut from 5 members to 4 and Russell was shifted to another team. Now he was with kids he didn't know in a place he had never been on a quest to win.

This is a educational book that not only teaches kids on their level about the Amazon Rainforest and the flora and fauna there but also teaches teamwork, going beyond their comfort zones to meet new people, and determination to finish what they started even when your friends do something that is unexpected and disappointing. Since this is just the 1st book in the series I hope these friends actions are addressed as the series continues and concludes.

The kids are given clues and a guide to keep them safe. Without the guide's help they must take pictures of whatever the find that solves the clue while traveling through the rainforest by boat, zip-line and on foot. At the end of the chapters there is more information about the material covered in that chapter with some illustrations.

I know my 7 year old grandson will enjoy reading this story as he strengthens his reading skills. The subject matter really excited him as I told him about the book. He walked out the door with it saying to order Race the Wild #2: Great Reef Games so it is here the next time he visits. He loves watching The Amazing Race and Survivor so I knew when I saw this book it would be perfect for him. I would say 7-8 is a perfect age range. It would be a very quick read for older kids.

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