The Blue Eyed Doll (Book 3 in The Dead-End Drive-In Series) by Carolyn Q Hunter

 

“You don’t find it odd that the topic of dolls keeps coming up?”

 

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My  very own “blue eyed doll”, “Alice.” She’s a 1916 German  C. M. Bergmann bisque head doll. 

Dolls, they make my world spin in a happy manor where most people step away and call them creepy, scary or just say no to them all together. Not me, bring them on!

 

Carolyn Q. Hunter has made my doll restringing heart happy with her newest release, The Blue Eyed Doll. It starts out amazingly creepy and ends with the same feel. It’s a fantastic, fast-paced story that feeds all my needs for entertainment in the doll realm…haunted and unknown.

We join the sisters, Anna and Belle of Sunken Grove after a wonderful opening prologue that introduces us to the town strange lady and hoarder, Coraline Danvers and the doll in question.

Everyone seems to be searching for this elusive doll, one that is priced above and beyond, a collector’s items we are to guess. She’s old for sure. But as we start meeting the characters in play, something seems…off. Why all of a sudden is everyone looking for this doll and why do they think Ms. Danvers has it.

We have an antiques dealer, a pushy doll restorer/collector (love her!), and an estranged daughter. All of them seem to be hyper focused on this doll. Themes of voodoo and a past kidnapping run through this story. Paranormal happenings and so much else that I can’t talk about without revealing the gooey center that is the plot of this amazing doll-centered book keeps the reader engaged.

As a restorer of dolls and collector as well, I know all too well what people can and do for antique dolls; paying thousands for them just to say they own them. I also know many who collect haunted dolls and what lengths they would go through to acquire such dolls. Yes, it’s a real thing. The doll world is a strange one and The Blue Eyed Doll throws the sisters right in the middle and the reader gets an inside look into the para-doll side of collecting.

Okay, I’m done…not going to say anything else. Yes, read this book. No, you don’t need to have read the other two to understand the characters or setting. Carolyn sets that up so nicely without overdoing it or being too repetitive.

When I asked Ms. Hunter her inspiration, she had this to say:

It was heavily inspired by the real Annabelle doll story. It also takes inspirations from southern Gothic literature and movies. I also was strongly influenced by author R.L. Stine for this one in how I executed the story arc. He’s been my favorite author for many years and his young adult fiction often uses cursed objects and places.

If you don’t like dolls, do not read this book. It will freak you out. And that is why I love it. Nah, go ahead and read it. The doll needs someone to play with…..

About The Author:

Carolyn Q. Hunter is a professional writer, publicist, and editor. She is the author of paranormal and culinary cozy mysteries–including The Diner of the Dead Series, published under Summer Prescott Books. Carolyn has previously worked as a content creator and social media writer for online information websites and publishing agencies. She received her BA in English with an emphasis in creative writing and publishing from BYU-Idaho.

In her free time Carolyn enjoys cooking, baking, drawing, painting, and watching old mystery and horror films on Turner Classic Movies. Her love of old movies helps to inspire her writing. She also enjoys listening to old time radio shows such as The Shadow, Inner Sanctum Mysteries, and Suspense!

Carolyn is a Colorado native, having grown up in the Denver Metro Area. She currently resides in Breckenridge, Colorado a ski and resort town in the beautiful Colorado Rocky Mountains. She works from home as a full time writer. She lives in a small New England style home with her husband and her two black cats Mittens and Thor.

Buy The Blue Eyed Doll

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The Strong; Silent Type

History is not always pretty. The book I am happy to bring to the blog today is one that takes a serious note. It is one that really not only makes me look at the world of yesteryear, but also at the world of today. Yet, it’s a work of fiction. The Silent Woman takes place in the 1930’s during the build up to World War II. I have had the pleasure of flying to the WWII memorial with several veterans and hearing their stories of the war, the things that transpired up to the war and the unimaginable things that not only affected them, but also their home and family. I can’t imagine.

In The Silent Woman, Terry Lynn Thomas introduces us to a woman, strong in nature, and going through a rough home life. Stuck. Scared. Thank you Terry for bringing Catherine to Booth Talks Books today and introducing her to us and also introducing us to the world of the 1930’s in a way that most don’t know. Let the murderous history lesson begin…

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Citations:  Some information from Ms. Thomas’ research was retrieved from the following website: http://nationalarchives.gov.uk/ as well as the British Newspaper Archive, : https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/

London, 1937:

Catherine Carlisle is trapped in a loveless marriage. She sees no way out… that is until a trusted friend asks her to switch her husband’s papers in a desperate bid to confuse the Germans.

Soon Catherine finds herself caught up in a deadly mixture of espionage and murder. Someone is selling secrets to the other side, and the evidence seems to point right at her.The Silent Woman_FINAL

Can she clear her name before it’s too late?

Cat’s Backstory:

Cat Paxton lost both her parents in an automobile accident in 1917 on her seventeenth birthday. She left her small village in the north of England to live with her Aunt Lydia in London. Aunt Lydia is a successful artist who lives in Bloomsbury. Lydia is open-minded and encourages Cat to grow and be whatever she wants. She tried to expose Cat to the arts and culture. In 1922, Cat and Lydia were at an art exhibition when the black Rolls Royce pulled to the kerb and Benton—movie star handsome—and a gaggle of friends came to the exhibition. Cat was captivated at first sight. Handsome Benton who looked like a movie star, was always in the society columns, and had women throwing themselves at him, was a renowned bachelor. Cat was surprised when he went up to the waiter, took a fresh chilled bottle of champagne and two glasses, and asked Cat to join him on the roof. They spent a delightful evening. After they finished the champagne, they went to a jazz club and then out to breakfast. Cat arrived; back at Lydia’s just as the sun was coming up. Walking on air, drunk on love. Ben proposed two weeks later. Cat said yes.

Fast-forward seventeen years. Cat is thirty-seven years old, childless, with no passion in life. Her marriage had started to die after a series of miscarriages ten years ago. Benton withdrew when Cat lost child after child. Despite his privileged upbringing, Benton Carlisle worked hard. He was a brilliant engineer, the protégé of his firm, where he was working on a scheme to allow airplanes to fly at night. To hide his grief, Benton threw himself into his work. Rather than face his wife, Benton took a mistress and didn’t even bother to hide it. Humiliated, and doing her level best not to show it, Cat puts her best face forward and tries to cope with life in the Carlisle house.

She’s miserable there. Her sister-in-law Isobel takes advantage of Cat’s grief and manages to commandeer the household management duties—which should be rights belong to Cat. While Cat doesn’t hesitate to stand up to Isobel, she finds the tension exhausting. Although Benton’s family is wealthy, and Cat is able to waltz into the finest shops, drop the Carlisle name and get anything she desires, her husband keeps her on a short leash by not giving her any money of her own and forbidding her to get a job. He won’t divorce her—no Carlisle has ever been divorced, so Cat is forced to stay at the Carlisle house, with a husband who doesn’t love her a social climbing sister-in-law who makes Cat’s life miserable at every turn. The Silent Woman finds Cat backed into a corner, desperate to change her life, but not sure how to do so. On a whim, she asks for a sign…and so the story begins.

Meanwhile, Hitler is in power in Germany. He’s violating all the agreements set out in the Treaty of Versailles and is amassing an army, building planes, and stripping rights away from German Jews, while the powers that be in Britain turn a blind eye. The politicians in power—who hold sway over the newspapers—are not acknowledging the threat in Germany. But Cat’s friend tells her the truth about the status of the world. He asks Cat if she’s interested in serving her country and earning enough money to secure her freedom. All she has to do is switch her husband’s documents. Desperate for a way out, Cat doesn’t hesitate to say yes, catapulting herself into the thick of murderous deception.

Buy The Silent Woman

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Why this time and place?:

When I sent out to write a book, I know I am going to spending hundreds of hours hanging out with the characters and the settings I have created. All the books I’ve written so far (The Sarah Bennett Series, which takes places in 1940s California) and The Silent Woman (Book 1 of the Cat Carlisle Mysteries), take place during the 1930s through the World War II because I am drawn to the socioeconomic and political events of that time. I also want to pay a silent homage to all the brave men and woman who fought in those wars. We are losing the last generation of the WWII veterans, and we must never forget their sacrifice.

1930s Fashion.1

Enter 1930s fashion — for those who could afford to buy clothes. The economy in the UK was still in a shambles.

It’s also very refreshing to hang out in an era that is not so technologically advanced. Think about it, no cell phones, in some cases no house phones, no computers, no Internet. People wrote letters to their friends. The personal column (especially in British newspapers) provides keen insight to the way of thinking of the day, and was the media equivalent of Facebook, Twitter, etc. During my research, I’ve seen ads like this: “To the woman who left her magazine on the bench in Hyde Park: Please come to the same bench tomorrow at noon. I must speak to you!” Doesn’t that make you wonder if they met? What happened? And why was he so anxious to connect with this woman? When I was scouring The London Times before the Lusitania sailed on its fateful journey, I came across an ad in the personals admonishing people to not take that voyage. I still wonder about that.

 

It’s interesting to look back at the events between the two world wars with the Olympian vantage point of hindsight. I am amazed at the way media controlled the people, and Page 1can’t help but juxtapose that situation over what’s going on in the world politically right now. The powers that be knew that Hitler was building airplanes and conscripting an army, yet they were committed to appeasement because the British economy and the citizens were still recovering from the devastation of World War I. I read newspapers from mid-1936 through June of 1937 and found absolutely no mention of Hitler’s activities in the newspapers. Although there was evidence that the Germans were behind the bombing in Guernica, in April of 1937, it did not make front-page news. Appeasement was the word of the day. We owe a lot to Winston Churchill, of that I am certain. While all of this was happening, he was lambasting Parliament for their complacency. I believe it if weren’t for him, we’d all be speaking German now.

The German Danger.Jewish Virtual Library

Historians are committed to the accurate documentation and preservation of the past, so Headshotwe don’t forgot those lessons. I believe that historical novelists are interested in understanding and sharing how it FEELS to live in the past, and allowing people to experience that feeling through stories.

Please stop by my Facebook page and say hello. I have an author page, but am more active on my personal page.

 

 

 

 

Dyeing with Kath and Geneva…

Dyeing Wishes

A murder of a young couple in a sheep field leaves a group of fabric and fiber loving friends in a tizzy as they race to solve who committed the awful crime with the aide of Kath and her unlikely companion, Geneva…a ghost!

61Q-TnhypOL._AA300_.jpgOh, Molly MacRae, you have written a fantastic story that I absolutely adore.  Sheep, ghosts, murder and friendship!  This story is fun, lighthearted and I couldn’t help but to laugh at Kath and Geneva’s back and fourth conversations. Hysterical! I will never look at people talking on the phone the same again.  I also loved how Molly highlighted the friendships of the TGIF (Thank Goodness it’s Fiber) group through the solving of the mystery. There were lots of players but it all worked together for a really great story.

This is series but having not read the first one, I followed along just fine without feeling lost. I am interested in reading the first one now, however and continuing the series.  Even if you don’t like knitting, fibers or sheep, this book is still fantastic.  I personally don’t knit, crochet or anything.  I do own the most splendid knit wool Aran hooded sweater  from Ireland and it is heavenly.  I am also the biggest fan of sheep there is without actually owning one.  If I see one, I totally fan girl.  Sheep! 

Oh ya…back to the story.  It’s just the setting and not the main crux that deal with the yarn and wool. I loved the mystery from beginning to end.  The paranormal twist was my favorite part however.  I would call this one a paracozy for sure. From the out of town mysterious people to the in town busy-body know- it-alls, this book covered it all in a well paced and entertaining manner.  I can’t wait to learn more about Kath and Geneva’s next adventure.

If you want to know, I listened to this on via CDs via audiobooks.  I really enjoyed the reader Emily Durante.  She is always enjoyable to listen to and helped bring this book to life. 

Buy Dyeing Wishes

81h4pN7oOHL._UX250_About Molly:

Molly MacRae spent twenty years in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Upper East Tennessee, where she managed The Book Place, an independent bookstore; may it rest in peace. Before the lure of books hooked her, she was curator of the history museum in Jonesborough, Tennessee’s oldest town.

MacRae lives with her family in Champaign, Illinois, where she connects children with books at the public library.

Let’s Talk

Do you love one of Molly’s books?  She has several series out already.  Which is your favorite?  Can’t pick one?  Well, tell me about it!  I love to hear from you all and I love to hear book suggestions on which books I should read next in the series or from the authors I review.  So, let’s talk!  Leave a comment below. 

How Do You Read?

So, I was sitting in the car-rider line today and decided to do a video because…well, because I could.  I was reading Death at the Midnight Dragonfly (STILL because I have mentioned before how slow of a reader I am) and noticed that I read aloud.  This might have something to do with the reason I read so slow.  I have to get the character’s accents right.  It’s a thing of mine.  If I can’t get into them, I can’t get into the books.  I think that’s why I love audio books so much.  The person has already done all the work for me.  HA!

So, sitting in car rider’s, reading out loud to myself…yep.  I do the same once a week with kids in my daughter’s class.  I sometimes get WAY too loud when I read  It can’t be helped though.  I really get into it.  How do you read?  Do you go lightning fast in your head or do you read aloud in different voices as the people in your life stare at you strangely?

You should buy Death At the Midnight Dragonfly and read it to me too!  Just click on the book and go buy you a copy.  Then, tell me what you think.Death at the Midnight Dragonfly

It’s almost 2018! Time to get some new books to read…

January 2018 Releases!

Well, January 2018 is almost upon us.  To most, this is just another new year, another month, but not to me!  This happens to be not only be my birthday month but I also turn the big 40 and I am ecstatic people! So, I am going to give you the update on releases for January 2018 because…well;  it’s a special month for me.  I plan to get them all to mark the occasion. 

Take a look through this list.  Got a favorite? Comment and let me know!

January 2

Dial M for MouseDial M for Mousse (Emergency Dessert Squad #3) by Laura Bradford

The Emergency Dessert Squad business is booming, with owner and baker Winnie Johnson working overtime to satisfy the emergency cravings of Silver Lake, Ohio. Her latest order, a plate of motivational desserts for an artists’ retreat, is just what she needs to keep her mind off her own relationship woes.

But Winnie’s problems seem like trifles when she discovers the body of retreat owner Sally Dearfield mere inches away from five oh-so-eccentric and viable suspects. Now, this baking detective must uncover the inspiration behind Sally’s murder before another creative genius is iced.

Scones and Scoundrels (Highland Bookshop Mystery #2) by Molly MacRaescones_scroudrels

Inversgail, on the west coast of the Scottish Highlands, welcomes home native daughter and best-selling environmental writer Daphne Wood. Known as the icon of ecology, Daphne will spend three months as the author in residence for the Inversgail schools. Janet Marsh and her business partners at Yon Bonnie Books are looking forward to hosting a gala book signing for her. Daphne, who hasn’t set foot in Scotland in thirty years, is . . . eccentric. She lives in the Canadian wilderness, in a cabin she built herself, with only her dog for a companion, and her people skills have developed a few rough-hewn edges. She and the dog (which she insists on bringing with her) cause problems for the school, the library, and the bookshop even before they get to Inversgail. Then, on the misty night they arrive, a young man—an American who’d spent a night in the B&B above Yon Bonnie Books—is found dead outside a pub.

Janaury 8

Pre-Meditated Murder (Downward Dog Mystery #5) by Tracy Weber51SXakIdRfL

Yoga instructor Kate Davidson is ready to marry her boyfriend Michael, so she’s disappointed when a special dinner doesn’t end with a proposal. But disappointment turns to dismay and outrage as she learns the real problem: Michael is already married and his green card-seeking wife is…

 

January 9

many_a_twistMany a Twist (County Cork Mystery #6) by Sheila Connolly

Pub owner Maura Donovan hasn’t seen her mother for over twenty years, so when she suddenly shows up in Maura’s pub, Maura’s not sure what to expect. Her mother is trying to find a life for herself back home and has taken up a position working with the new owners of the Crann Mor hotel just outside Skibbereen. Until her new boss is found dead in the gardens, dumped down the hillside behind the hotel.

Now, trying to rekindle the relationship they’ve lost, Maura must investigate in order to clear her mother’s name. It’s not so easy though, as long-time residents of County Cork, including the families of her employee Mick, and the family of the deceased hotel owner, have bottled deep dark family secrets not meant to be uncorked. And someone will kill to keep them that way.

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The Hostess with the Ghostess (Haunted Guesthouse Mystery Series #9) by E.J. Copperman

Things are never quiet for long at the Haunted Guesthouse. Right as Alison Kerby finally gets some peace, long-time deceased Paul Harrison’s recently murdered brother, Richard, shows up looking for the ghostly detective. But Paul has left for parts unknown months ago. The only thing is, she doesn’t know how to find him. And she’s going to need to because Richard’s isn’t the only murder still left unsolved.

As she searches for Paul, Alison discovers that Richard, who was a lawyer, was working a case about a woman accused of murdering her stepfather. It quickly becomes clear that Richard was getting too close to the truth, and was forcibly kept quiet. Now as Alison continues her investigation, she gets a creeping sensation that the murderer doesn’t appreciate her snooping around. And if she doesn’t stop, she’ll be next.

January 30th

Biscuits and Slashed Browns (A Country Store Mystery) by Maddie DayBiscuits and slashed browns

As Robbie arranges a breakfast-themed cook-off at Pans ‘N Pancakes, visitors pour into Brown County for the annual maple extravaganza. Unfortunately, that includes Professor Connolly, a know-it-all academic from Boston who makes enemies everywhere he goes—and this time, bad manners prove deadly. Soon after clashing with several scientists at a maple tree panel, the professor is found dead outside a sugar shack, stabbed to death by a local restaurateur’s knife. When an innocent woman gets dragged into the investigation and a biologist mysteriously disappears, Robbie drops her winning maple biscuits to search for answers. But can she help police crack the case before another victim is caught in a sticky situation with a killer?

Did I miss one of your favorites because it’s an author I haven’t met yet? Well, comment and introduce me to them!  I love getting to know new authors I haven’t been yapping with online already.  

Comment away and enjoy this amazing list of January books kicking off 2018 in style!

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COVER REVEAL: Rockets’ Dead Glare from Lynn Cahoon

From Author, LYNN CAHOON….

Lynn Cahoon - Rockets' Dead Glare

PreOrder Rockets’Dead Glare

As sunny South Cove, California, gears up for their annual Fourth of July celebrations, a local murder threatens to kill the fireworks . . .

South Cove’s local businesses are up in arms after volunteer fire chief Barry Gleason threatens to shut down anyone who doesn’t comply with the fire code. But when Barry schedules a training burn in an old abandoned barn, he is the only one who doesn’t come out alive. Jill Gardner—owner of Coffee, Books, and More—smells murder in the ashes. She’ll have to work quickly to nab a killer with a short fuse—or else everyone’s holiday will end with a fizzle . . .

IMG_3828 (1)Get ready for the next chapter in South Cove as “Rockets’ Dead Glare” releases June 6, 2018! You can get in on the fun early however! Just comment below for a chance to win one of the prizes from Lynn’s prize vault of a bag or book or maybe BOTH. If you pre-order and private message me or Lynn on our blog pages, we’ll throw your name in the drawing THREE TIMES to tripple your chances of winning.

Cahoon

Lynn Cahoon is the author of the NYT and USA Today best-selling Tourist Trap cozy mystery series. GUIDEBOOK TO MURDER, book 1 of the series, won the Reader’s Crown for Mystery Fiction in 2015. She also pens the Cat Latimer series. A STORY TO KILL, and FATALITY IN FIRELIGHT are available in mass market paperback. She lives in a small town like the ones she loves to write about with her husband and two fur babies. Sign up for her newsletter at www.lynncahoon.com

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REVIEW: Of Murder And Men by Lynn Cahoon

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It has been a question posed by many readers year after year as an author releases a book, “Can a next in series be better than the previous books?” Yes, heavens yes! And, the first two books in the Cat Latimer Mystery series were amazing in their own right. Of Murder and Men went to a different level however. If you have been following Cat, Shauna, Seth, Uncle Pete and the crew then you are going to love this next serving at the Warm Springs Writers Retreat.

Where do I even begin with this one; wow. Shauna has begun dating this gentleman, Kevin, who we know Cat does NOT approve of because he’s rather…well, rude. They are now engaged and surprise, he ends up dead. Shauna becomes the main suspect because, well, read the book. She looks pretty guilty if you ask me. This entire plot weaves through the book but it’s not the only one. No, Lynn didn’t make it that simple.

The death of Cat’s ex-husband, Michael finally makes its huge debut and things get ugly and strange. Was Michael part of the Aspen Hills mob? Was he Dante’s enemy? What does the college have to do with this and why do they want his papers so bad? Why does Cat have a secret compartment in her desk she can’t get in to? Who is sending these Carnations?

We finally get all the answers we have been so desperately looking for; the answers that Lynn has been making us salivate for in the past two books. All of the clues dropped finally make sense, so much so that you might want to go back and reread the first two books again. Oh Lynn, you sneaky lady! No wonder I love reading her books. She’s brilliant.

So, we not only have the mystery of Shauna’s fiancé’s death, Michael’s unsolved death, but we also have all these new retreat guests. Let’s not forget that this book revolves around a writer’s retreat with authors who, in their quirkiness, bring their own mystique to the story. Once again, Cat hasn’t done background checks on these folks and we really don’t know what these people are up to. Oh Cat, why? Are they innocent writers or are they hiding secrets? Honestly, you’ll have to read the book to find out, but it’s so well woven in the story that it will hit you out of the blue and make you wonder why you didn’t see that coming.

Both Cat and Shauna are not who they once were in the first book and I love the direction Lynn is taking them. I love Uncle Pete too! He pops in at just the right occasion to enhance what needs to be added as far as drawing out the emotions and personality from both Cat and Shauna. I also adored the retreat members in the book, especially Shirley. She is a hoot!

Of Murder and Men is so well written with characters that have developed at a great rate in an atmosphere that is so believable that it is for sure my favorite in the series. Get it for yourself as a gift for Christmas and for your friends who love cozy mysteries. No…even better, get they whole series. It needs to be read together in my opinion to get the full effect. Don’t cheat yourself readers. Amazing Lynn. Your best yet.

Buy: Of Murder And Men

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Buy: The Cat Latimer Series

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If you enjoyed this review, leave me a comment below!  I love hearing feedback.  if you love Lynn, tell me what you’ve read of hers. I love to chat about the authors.