Apr 30, 2019

Wed, Read & Dead by V.M. Burns

Hello my cozy friends,

Today I am reviewing "Wed, Read & Dead" by V.M. Burns.  The poodles featured in the story remind me of my cousin Jayne's dog Bailey.

Print Length: 272 pages
Publisher: Kensington (April 30 2019)
Genre: Cozy Mystery




Bookstore owner Samantha Washington sells and solves mysteries in North Harbor, Michigan—including the murder of her mother's wedding planner . . . 

Sam's mother can't wait to wed her wealthy beau, Harold Robertson. The big mystery is how they're going to pull off a lavish wedding in three weeks. Harold's snobby sister-in-law proposes a solution: engage flamboyant wedding planner Lydia Lighthouse. But their beacon of hope quickly sends everyone into a blind rage, most of all the groom-to-be. So when the maddening micromanager is strangled with her own scarf, it's a shock, but not a surprise.

It’s a case of art imitating life as Sam pens her next historical mystery set in England between the wars. Lady Daphne Marsh insists on marrying Lord James Browning on Christmas Eve, three weeks hence. But when the fop planning their wedding ends up with a knife in his back, she vows to nab the backstabber before she walks down the aisle.

Meanwhile, when she’s not writing, Sam and her beloved and boisterous Nana Jo rush to shine a light on Lydia's killer—so her mother's new husband won't spend his honeymoon behind bars . . .


Wed, Read & Dead is the fourth installment in the Mystery Bookshop series, I haven't read any previous books but was able to follow along. The story grabbed my attention right away! I am very happy I chose to read this book and plan on reading the other 3 as soon as I can.

Bookstore owner Samantha Washington sells and solves mysteries in North Harbor, Michigan--including the murder of her mother's wedding planner...

Sam's mother can't wait to wed her wealthy beau, Harold Robertson. The big mystery is how they're going to pull off a lavish wedding in three weeks. Harold's snobby sister-in-law proposes a solution: engage flamboyant wedding planner Lydia Lighthouse. But their beacon of hope quickly sends everyone into a blind rage, most of all the groom-to-be. So when the maddening micromanager is strangled with her own scarf, it's a shock, but not a surprise.

It's a case of art imitating life as Sam pens her next historical mystery set in England between the wars. Lady Daphne Marsh insists on marrying Lord James Browning on Christmas Eve, three weeks hence. But when the fop planning their wedding ends up with a knife in his back, she vows to nab the backstabber before she walks down the aisle.

Meanwhile, when she's not writing, Sam and her beloved and boisterous Nana Jo rush to shine a light on Lydia's killer--so her mother's new husband won't spend his honeymoon behind bars...

This book is filled with wonderful characters that are well-developed and very relatable. The plot had just enough twists and turns that I was guessing who might have done it till the very end. I thoroughly enjoyed Wed, Read & Dead and am looking forward to visiting Sam and Nana Jo again.

I highly recommend this cozy mystery to all my friends and fellow cozy lovers.

My Rating

I requested and received a advanced reader copy from the publisher and Netgalley. All opinions are my own.



V.M. Burns was born in Northwestern Indiana and spent many years in
Southwestern Michigan on the Lake Michigan shoreline. She is a lover of dogs, British historic cozies, and scones with clotted cream. After many years in the Midwest she went in search of milder winters and currently lives in Eastern Tennessee with her poodles.

Her debut novel, The Plot is Murder was nominated for a 2017 Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Valerie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and a lifetime member of Sisters in Crime.

Website:       vmburns.com.
Facebook:    https://www.facebook.com/vmburnsbooks/
Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/

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Apr 28, 2019

Sunday Tips and Inspiration - Water Coloring

Water Coloring With Aqua Painter & Re-Inkers Tips

  • Keep a piece of paper towel handy…it helps to keep the water flow of the Aqua Painter in check.
  • You want a very slight flow of water coming out, just so that it just dampens your paper and
  • blends the color. If you experience too much flow – blot the excess onto the paper towel.
  • Me mindful not to hold the barrel too tightly. Squeezing it may allow more water to flow than you want…so relax and hold it loosely, and have fun while coloring!
  • I mainly use the Aqua Painter brush with the smaller nib for most of my coloring. When I want to apply a wash of color to a larger area I use the larger nib brush in the set.
  • After re-inking brush, test on scrap to allow the ink to flow and mix with the water before adding it directly to your image. You can always darken later but it’s very difficult to lighten once it’s too dark.
  • Blot off excess color onto scrap if you are done with the darkest areas.
  • Look for shading in the image created by the artist to help you with darkest ink placement.
  • Use freshly inked brush tip in the areas you want the darkest. Allow the colors to blend and fade before reloading your brush with more color. This will allow for variances in color and gives a nice shaded look with just one color of ink.
  • Use different shades of a color to create shading. For example start with a light blue shade for the lightest, brightest area of an object and add a darker shade of blue where the shadows appear.
  • Make sure to leave some very light or white, uncolored areas for dramatic highlights.
  • Using the ink pooled inside your lid is handy, but if you are doing a lot of water coloring you may find it easier to create a palette by dripping a drop or two of each color onto an extra image sheet, or plastic lid that you would normally recycle.
  • Certain colors work well when mixed and will blend into pleasing tones. For instance, when blending blue and yellow tones together you will create green tones, but if you were to mix the green tone with red tones you would end up with a brown or muddy color. So it’s good to know how two colors mix before blending them on your project.
  • If your finished water colored piece has slightly curled a bit after it has dried, this simple trick should help when attaching it to your card. I have the best luck using Stampin’ Glue Sticks. I simply apply the glue stick to the entire back side of the image and then adhere it to the mat or card front; burnishing it into place with a bone folder or brayer. (While covered with scrap paper) The image should then remain flat with no buckling.
  • Practice, practice, practice! The more you practice the better you will become! Remember…it’s just paper and paper has two sides…so have fun, experiment and don’t worry about mistakes!

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Apr 27, 2019

Review: Bath Bombs & Beyond

Bath Bombs & Beyond Bath Bombs & Beyond by Violet Patton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the first book in the Bathhouse Row Mysteries and has all the makings of a good cozy mystery series. I like cozies that have a them like crafting, and had not read one that takes place in a Bath Shop!
Who would believe Patti’s slight concussion gave her the ability to communicate with the dead?
Nobody, especially not her fussbudget partner Sandy. Who is the dead person she can see? Fanny Doyle, that’s who, a chatty Technicolor ghost who was once Al Capone’s seamstress. Why has Fanny hung around the empty shop waiting so long? She has a big problem and now that Patti can, see and talk to her, she wants help solving the mystery. With all the shop’s opening weekend bad luck has the Row’s competition put a hex on the newest soap shop on Central Avenue? A cabaret singer has been found dead in her bathtub while soaking with one of Patti’s bath bombs! Now the real fun begins as Patti, along with Fanny’s help, tries to solve the mystery, as well as save the Bathhouse Row Soapery!

There are lots of humorous moments, funny characters, and enough twists and turns to keep you guessing whodunit until the end. Unfortunately, there were misspellings and editorial errors which is the only reason why I gave it the 4 stars.

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Apr 26, 2019

All things that glitter.........

Hello my crafty friends,

I hope you are all having a great day! It's a bit colder today... snow in forecast for
Calgary and it seemed like Spring was really here ... *sigh*

I have challenged myself into to doing 5 cards a week for the month of May. I thought this was a very reasonable goal, a card doesn't take too long to make, and I can use the multitude of cards hopefully... so... here I go!

You can ask anyone who knows me I love my glitter and a bit of bling! Well in card making that rule definitely applies, there is so many types of bling to choose from (it is so much cheaper than diamonds!) glitter cardstock, glitter pens (Wink of Stella) , actual glitter, rhinestones, glitter embossing powder... and the list goes on!


Well, in response to a less than sparkling day, I've chosen the bling theme to brighten my day and hopefully yours!

So here is the start to my blinggy cards for today. (I had to stop and take Lindi to the vet as she had a rash and I was worried)  

I will show finished card when I get back from Vegas!
I used Wink of Stella clear glitter brush on select spots and Glossy Accents (you can't see it very well in the picture) 



I hope you like!!

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Apr 25, 2019

A Perfect Cornish Summer by Phillipa Ashley

Hello my friends,

The first in a gorgeous new series from the author of Summer at the Cornish Cafe. A Perfect Cornish Summer is the first book I have read by Phillipa Ashley. I am glad I decided to try a Women's Fiction for a change as it was a very entertaining, fun filled read.

Print Length: 416 pages
Publisher: Avon (April 25 2019)
Genre: Contemporary Fiction


The first in a gorgeous new series from the author of Summer at the Cornish Cafe.

Summer is on the horizon, and the people of Porthmellow are eagerly awaiting the annual food festival. At least, most of them are…

For Sam Lovell, organising the summer festival in her hometown is one of the highlights of her year. It’s not always smooth sailing, but she loves to see Porthmellow’s harbour packed with happy visitors, and being on the committee has provided a much-needed distraction from the drama in her family life (and the distinct lack of it in her love life).

When their star guest pulls out with only a few weeks to go, everyone’s delighted when a London chef who grew up locally steps in at the last minute. But Gabe Matthias is the last person Sam was expecting to see, and his return to Porthmellow will change her quiet coastal life forever.

Curl up with this gorgeous novel and savour the world of Porthmellow Harbour.



Summer is on the horizon, and the people of Porthmellow are eagerly awaiting the annual food festival. At least, most of them are... For Sam Lovell, organising the summer festival in her hometown is one of the highlights of her year. It’s not always smooth sailing, but she loves to see Porthmellow’s harbour packed with happy visitors, and being on the committee has provided a much-needed distraction from the drama in her family life (and the distinct lack of it in her love life). When their star guest pulls out with only a few weeks to go, everyone’s delighted when a London chef who grew up locally steps in at the last minute. But Gabe Matthias is the last person Sam was expecting to see, and his return to Porthmellow will change her quiet coastal life for ever. Curl up with this gorgeous novel and savour the world of Porthmellow Harbour.

My parents are British and I visited Cornwall 2 years ago the way this is written I was transported back and could picture it in full colour. The author was good at describing the every day life in a Cornish harbour town, as well as the feelings of the locals and the volunteers with respect to the festival.

I found the characters to be well developed, and multi-dimensional. There were lots of twists and turns and multiple sub-plots to keep you engaged and interested in the outcome. It's the story of a woman, her family, her friends and her community and how they all work together to help one another succeed, despite hard feelings, and past differences. I will definitely read other books by this author.
My Rating
I requested and received an advanced readers copy Courtesy of NetGalley and Avon publishing. All opinions are my own.


My name’s Phillipa Ashley and I’m the author of the best-selling Cornish Cafe series. I just love writing feelgood romantic fiction! As Pippa Croft, I also wrote the steamy Oxford Blue series published by Penguin Books.

The whole Cornish Cafe trilogy is now available. –Summer at the Cornish Cafe and Christmas at the Cornish Cafe and Confetti at the Cornish Cafe are comforting reads with lots of twists and turns – perfect for when you want to escape at any time of year.

It’s now been over 10 years since my debut novel, Decent Exposure, was published. It was made into a Lifetime TV movie called 12 Men of Christmas starring Kristin Chenoweth and Josh Hopkins.


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Apr 22, 2019

Review: Little Bear Wants to Grow

Little Bear Wants to Grow Little Bear Wants to Grow by Judith Koppens
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am sure my 2 year old niece and even my 7 year old nephew will love this book. It is an adorable book for toddlers! It is about a little bear who wants to grow big, and then learns he will grow only a little each day. Who wouldnt want a hug a day and grow too! I think little ones would really enjoy this book, and the illustrations are fabulous. I highly recommend for all toddlers and have in fact purchased for my niece.

I received a review copy of this ebook from Clavis Publishing and NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

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Apr 21, 2019

Review: Death of a Wedding Cake Baker

Death of a Wedding Cake Baker Death of a Wedding Cake Baker by Lee Hollis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Death of a Wedding Cake Baker is the eleventh book in the Hayley Powell Mystery series written by Lee Hollis. This is the first book by Lee Hollis and I thoroughly enjoyed it!
For Matron of Honor Hayley Powell, catching a half-baked poisoner before her friend's wedding will be icing on the cake . . .

Liddy Crawford, best friend of food and cocktails columnist Hayley Powell, is getting married. The wedding is the talk of the town in Bar Harbor, Maine, including snide gossip about the age gap between the bride and her groom, local lawyer Sonny Lipton. But the cruelty of the comments is nothing compared to the nasty wedding cake baker, Liddy's quarrelsome cousin Lisa.

So when the belligerent baker is found facedown in a three-tier cake, the victim of a poisoned slice, there are more suspects in town than names on the guest list. With Sonny getting cold feet, Liddy getting hot under the frilly collar of her wedding gown, and a killer possibly crashing the ceremony, Hayley vows to solve the crime before her best friend walks down the aisle . . .

The mystery is interesting and well plotted, and I loved the quirky characters which are well developed. There are plenty of twists and turns in this story, and I kept guessing and second-guessing myself on whodunnit right to the very end. The story moves at a steady pace, and I had a hard time putting it down.

I cant wait to take another trip to Bar Harbor, Maine, to see whats new with Hayley and her friends.

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading light, cozy mysteries.

I received an advance reader copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Includes seven delectable recipes from Hayley’s kitchen!

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Apr 19, 2019

Sifting Through Clues A Cookbook Nook Mystery, Book 8

Hello my cozy friends,

Todays book review is "Sifting Through Clues" the 8th book in this series bu Daryl Gerber.  Luckily you don’t have to read the previous books as this was the first time I am reading this series. Even though  this book can be read as a standalone, I do suggest that you do start at the beginning so you get to know some characters better.

Print Length: 364 pages
Publisher: Beyond the Page (April 23 2019)
Genre: Cozy Mystery


The Agatha Award–winning author of Wreath Between the Lines returns to the Cookbook Nook, where culinary mysteries are giving everyone food for thought . . .

Book clubs from all over have descended on Crystal Cove to celebrate the library’s Book Club Bonanza week, and Jenna Hart has packed the Cookbook Nook with juicy reads and tasty cookbooks. But she’s most excited about spending an evening with the Mystery Mavens and their moveable feast, when they will go from house to house to share different culinary treats and discuss the whodunit they’re all reading. It’s all good food and fun for the savvy armchair detectives, until one of the members of the group is found murdered at the last stop on the tour. 

As if that weren’t enough to spoil her appetite, Jenna discovers that all the evidence points to her friend Pepper as being the guilty party. And with Pepper’s chief-of-police daughter too close to the case to be impartial, Jenna knows she’ll have to step in to help clear her friend’s name before a bitter injustice sends her to jail. Sifting through the clues, Jenna unearths any number of possible culprits, but she’ll have to cook up a new way to catch the killer before Pepper’s goose is cooked . . .

Includes tasty sweet and savory recipes!


This is a well written mystery and I was captivated from the start. I love it when I get drawn into a story and can picture everything in my mind.  I loved the characters and that they listed them in the front which helped as I had not read any previous installments in the series.  There were lots of clues, twists and turns with a bunch of suspects to choose from.

I found it was filled with quirky characters, picturesque settings, references to other books and yummy food.  I always enjoy a story with these ingredients!

There are lots of great recipes at the end that would be fun to try. 

I highly recommend this series to all my cozy mystery loving friends!

My Rating
I received a complimentary ARC from Beyond the Page Publishing through NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are mine.

Agatha Award-winning Daryl Wood Gerber writes the brand new French Bistro Mysteries as well as the nationally bestselling Cookbook Nook Mysteries. 

As Avery Aames, she pens the popular Cheese Shop Mysteries. A DEADLY ÊCLAIR, the first French Bistro Mystery, comes out November 2017.

Daryl also writes stand-alone suspense: DAY OF SECRETS and GIRL ON THE RUN.

Fun tidbit: as an actress, Daryl appeared in “Murder, She Wrote.” She loves to cook, and she has a frisky Goldendoodle named Sparky who keeps her in line!

Website:                 www.darylwoodgerber.com.
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Apr 17, 2019

The Body in the Wetlands by Judi Lynn

Hello my cozy friends,

Today I am reviewing "The Body in the Wetlands" by Judi Lynn.  I was hoping to read the first book before this one, but sadly ran out of time.

Print Length: 268 pages
Publisher: Lyrical Underground (April 23 2019)
Genre: Cozy Mystery



High summer in River Bluffs, Indiana, is always sweltering and sweet. But the heat is really on when a decidedly dead body turns up in the neighborhood.

When established house flippers Jazzi Zanders and her cousin Jerod donate a week’s worth of remodeling work to Jazzi’s sister Olivia, they’re expecting nothing more than back-breaking roofing work and cold beers at the end of each long, hot day. With Jazzi’s live-in boyfriend and partner Ansel on the team, it promises to be a quick break before starting their next big project—until Leo, an elderly neighbor of Olivia’s, unexpectedly goes missing . . .

When the friendly senior’s dog tugs Jazzi and the guys toward the wetlands beyond Olivia’s neighborhood, they stumble across a decomposing corpse—and a lot of questions. With Jazzi’s pal Detective Gaff along to investigate, Jazzi finds her hands full of a whole new mystery instead of the usual hammer and nails. And this time it will take some sophisticated sleuthing to track down the culprit of the deadly crime—before the killer turns on her next . . .



This is the second book in the Jazzi Sanders series by Judi Lynn. 

When established house flippers Jazzi Zanders and her cousin Jerod donate a week’s worth of remodeling work to Jazzi’s sister Olivia, they’re expecting nothing more than back-breaking roofing work and cold beers at the end of each long, hot day. With Jazzi’s live-in boyfriend and partner Ansel on the team, it promises to be a quick break before starting their next big project—until Leo, an elderly neighbor of Olivia’s, unexpectedly goes missing . . .

A fast paced plot with interesting characters and I like the big family dynamic. But I did have a problem with the idea that a Police Detective would contact an ordinary citizen and ask them advice and to accompany him when he goes to question suspects or investigate crime scenes. (Unless they had some kind of former relationship). This is the only reason I gave this a 4 rating,

I highly recommend this book. and I look forward to reading more books by Judi Lynn. 
Recipes are included.

I'm a bit of an eclectic reader, and it shows in my writing.  I've written urban fantasy as Judith Post.  Six Mill Pond romances as Judi Lynn.  And I'm starting a new Jazzi Zanders, fixer-upper mystery series as Judi Lynn.  I love to cook and entertain, and that creeps into my stories.  I love to garden, too, but the only plants that thrive practice survival of the fittest.  My kids are grown, so now my husband and I serve a yappy chihuahua and an opinionated gray cat.  We also have a blue parakeet, but he refuses to acknowledge us.  We live in Indiana and are pretty fond of it 

Judi Lynn received a Master’s Degree from Indiana University as an elementary school teacher after attending the IPFW campus. She taught 1st, 2nd, and 4th grades for six years before having her two daughters. She loves gardening, cooking and trying new recipes. 

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Apr 15, 2019

Heists and Homicides: Paranormal Cozy Mystery (Magic & Mystery Book 4)

Hello my cozy friends,

Today I am reviewing "Heists and Homicides " (Magic and Mystery Book 4) by Lily Webb.

Pages: 199
Published April 8th 2019
Genre: Cozy Mystery



Blood money can’t buy happiness…

Zoe Clarke is settling into her new life. After moving her grandmother to the magical town of Moon Grove, Zoe needs a house big enough to accommodate Grandma Elle’s oversized personality—and her talking cat.

So Zoe turns to the warlock-owned Bank of Moon Grove and their massive reserves for a short-term loan. But when the troubled bank is robbed at wandpoint and its owner is caught in the crossfire, the bank’s coins and secrets scatter — and it’s up to Zoe to follow the money.

From the bank’s disgruntled staff to the shady werewolf trying to buy it on the sly, Zoe’s sure the robbery was an inside job. But when another stick-up shakes down the community, the killer forces Zoe to put her money where her mouth is.

Will Zoe hit the jackpot and stop the thief? Or will the killer cash out on her life?

Heists and Homicides is the fourth book in the Magic and Mystery series of witch cozy mysteries. If you like hexing hitmen, backstabbing brothers, and magical murder mysteries, then you’ll love this lighthearted fourth entry in Lily Webb’s spellbinding series.





This is the fourth book in the Magic and Mystery series. If you like witty witches, catty talking cats, and magical murder mysteries, then you’ll love this second addition to Lily Webb’s spellbinding series.

The protagonist Zoe is strong, intelligent and witty, she finds herself immersed in a world of magic and paranormal beings in Moon Grove N.C.  In this installment Zoe has been enrolled in Veilside Academy of Magic to sharpen her newfound powers. So when Zoe finds her new favorite vampire professor in a pile of ash, she feels compelled to find out who did it.


I really enjoyed this book, there was lots of twists and turns throughout, I found myself once again not wanting to put it down.  I like how the author is starting to flesh out the characters more as well as the village of Moon Grove, I can imagine the place in my mind and what some of the main characters look like. The characters are well-rounded which I find is equally as important to a story as the plot I felt for Zoe and what was happening.  I highly recommend to fellow Cozy Mystery fans who enjoy a bit of magic and paranormal thrown in. Cant wait to read book 3.

My rating
I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review



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Apr 14, 2019

Murder by the Book by Lauren Elliot

Hello my cozy friends,

Today I am finally discussing a book that was in my TBR pile for a little while.  Lauren Elliot is a new author to me and I love finding new cozies like Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery Series.

Addie Greyborne loved working with rare books at the Boston Public Library—she even got to play detective, tracking down clues about mysterious old volumes. But she didn’t expect her sleuthing skills to come in so handy in a little seaside town . . .

 Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Kensington (October 30, 2018)
Genre: Cozy Mystery



Addie left some painful memories behind in the big city, including the unsolved murder of her fiancé and her father’s fatal car accident. After an unexpected inheritance from a great aunt, she’s moved to a small New England town founded by her ancestors back in colonial times—and living in spacious Greyborne Manor, on a hilltop overlooking the harbor. Best of all, her aunt also left her countless first editions and other treasures—providing an inventory to start her own store.

But there’s trouble from day one, and not just from the grumpy woman who runs the bakery next door. A car nearly runs Addie down. Someone steals a copy of Alice in Wonderland. Then, Addie’s friend Serena, who owns a nearby tea shop, is arrested—for killing another local merchant. The police seem pretty sure they’ve got the story in hand, but Addie’s not going to let them close the book on this case without a fight.




I was excited to read the first in a new series Murder by the Book  by Lauren Elliot features a catchy title, an interesting premise and an lots of characters who doesn't love a bookstore setting.  Although I would like to know more about the town so I can picture it in my mind.

The heroine, Addie, has moved to a small town in New England that was built by her ancestors following an unexpected legacy from a great-aunt. Now she hopes to start life fresh after a rash of unexplained deaths involving too many of those closest to her.

The story line itself is intriguing and shows promise but I did find myself, unfortunately, putting it down a lot. It has an appealing setting, but the characters aren’t too fully realized yet and the plot is pretty straightforward.  Coincidences abound throughout the book and readers should be able to figure things out along with Addie.

Murder by the Book is a good first mystery and I look forward to reading the second installment Prologue to Murder available April 30th, 2019.

My Rating

Lauren Elliot grew up devouring the entire Nancy Drew series and then graduated to Victoria Holt, Agatha Christie, Barbara Erskine, Lynn Kurland, and Michael Crichton to name a few of her favorite authors. When it came time for post-secondary education, journalism seemed like the logical choice as she had written for as long as she could remember. Soon after graduation, while working for a small publication, she discovered that reporting wasn’t what fueled her writing passions. As someone with an additionally strong background in professional theater who had the love of storytelling and captivating and holding an audience, her fiction-writing career began to take center stage.

Lauren Elliott’s new Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery series promises to keep readers guessing right up until the last chapter. Plot twists and an array of colorful characters make for page turning, whodunit adventures filled with suspense, mystery, murder and just a touch of romance.



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Come Rain or Shine by Sarah Bennett

Hello my cozy friends, Today I am reviewing "Come Rain or Shine" by Sarah Bennett.  What can I say other than I loved it and read ...