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Iced Over, #2 Barks and Beans Cafe Mysteries, by Heather Day Gilbert

About the Book

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Author: Heather Day Gilbert

Series: Barks and Beans Cafe

Publisher: Woodhaven Press

Released: July 2020

Genre: Clean Cozy Mystery

BOOK TWO in the ALL-NEW BARKS & BEANS CAFE cozy mystery series!!

Welcome to the Barks & Beans Cafe, a quaint place where folks pet shelter dogs while enjoying a cup of java…and where murder sometimes pays a visit.

Black Friday turns fatal when an armored security truck hits an icy patch and runs over an embankment near the cafe. With one driver dead and the other in a coma, police are baffled by the discovery that $500,000 is missing from the truck’s cache.

When strangers show up at Barks & Beans asking nosy questions about a young cafe employee, Macy’s mama bear instincts kick in. She can’t ignore what her gut is telling her—that things aren’t all they seem on the surface—and with a little help from her brother, Bo, and her Great Dane, Coal, Macy follows up on a few leads of her own. But if the ruthless thief beats her to the stash, the thin ice she’s been skating on might just crack.

Join siblings Macy and Bo Hatfield as they sniff out crimes in their hometown…with plenty of dogs along for the ride! The Barks & Beans Cafe cozy mystery series features a small town, an amateur sleuth, and no swearing or graphic scenes.

The Barks & Beans Cafe cozy mystery series in order:
Book 1: No Filter
Book 2: Iced Over
Book 3: Fair Trade

 

My Review

When I saw Iced Over, #2 Barks and Beans Café Cozy Mystery, by Heather Day Gilbert was for sale, I had to preorder. This is a book I would not want to miss. The wonderful smell of flavored coffee beans, the sound of espresso machines, the chance to pet shelter dogs with a view to adopt…plus the chance to play Nancy Drew with a brother who used to be a DEA agent? Let’s just say I wonder if I could convince one of my loyal brothers to open a dual purpose shop like this? “Bo and I were bringing happiness into our corner of the world, one coffee drink and one perfect doggie match at a time.”

Iced Over 1
Gilbert keeps her cozies to the cozy foundations. No swearing, no sex scenes, but there is a small town with an amateur sleuth. As one of my friends said about Gilbert’s previous book, “a book I don’t have to be on guard as I read. “
Macy has a heart the size of her adopted Great Dane, Coal. I loved the way she actually puts feet to her prayers that her employee’s family would have their needs met.
I also loved that one of the secondary characters who we get to know is an unashamed plus-size 24-year- old. She is fashionable, fun, and has a good head on her shoulders. While she may not be perfectly pleased with her body, she accepts herself and that causes others to look beyond the outer wrappings.
One thing I always look for in a cozy is whether our sleuth actually spends time working at his or her purported job. Macy does indeed spend much of her time at the café, and it is so well described, I really wish I could at least visit one if I can’t work at one.

Iced Over 2
The sleuthing side becomes a little dangerous, and I am glad I am enjoying solving the mystery vicariously. I loved the introduction of another possible love connection
for Macy, but I wanted to see more romance for Bo, too. However, as Macy says, “Bo was about as romantic as a pot of cold coffee.”
Gilbert likes to end her cozies with a nice twist, leaving you needing the next book.
If you are a dog parent or a coffee aficionado, you will want to read this fun cozy.

 

My Rating

5 Stars – Hit My Reading Sweet Spot!

( Ms. Gilbert, THANK YOU  for following the original cozy rules. I wish all cozy authors did!)

 

About the Author

7232683HEATHER DAY GILBERT, an ECPA Christy award finalist and Grace award winner, writes contemporary mysteries and Viking historicals. Her novels feature small towns, family relationships, and women who aren’t afraid to protect those they love. Publisher’s Weekly gave Heather’s Viking historical Forest Child a starred review, saying it is “an engaging story depicting timeless human struggles with faith, love, loyalty, and leadership.”

Find Heather on Pinterest (heatherdgilbert), Instagram (@heatherdaygilbert), Twitter (@heatherdgilbert), and Facebook (heatherdaygilbert). You can find all her books at heatherdaygilbert.com.

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In Too Deep, #2 Dive Team Investigations by Lynn H. Blackburn

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ABOUT THE BOOK

AUTHOR: Lynn Blackburn

SERIES: Dive Team Investigations, #2

PUBLISHER, PUBLISHED: Revell; November 2018

When the dive team is called in to recover a body from a submerged car, they aren’t prepared to find an encrypted laptop–or an unsettling connection between investigator Adam Campbell and the dead accountant.

Adam turns to his friend Dr. Sabrina Fleming–a professor at the local university with unparalleled computer security and forensics skills–to recover the files from the laptop. But the deeper they dig, the deadlier the investigation becomes. When evidence uncovers a human trafficking ring and implicates members of Adam’s own family, he and Sabrina will have to risk everything to solve the case.

The truth could set hundreds free–but someone is willing to do whatever it takes to silence anyone who threatens to reveal their secrets. Award-winning author Lynn H. Blackburn invites readers back to Carrington, North Carolina, where everything is not as it seems and sinister elements lurk behind the idyllic façade.

 

MY REVIEW:

A forensic dive team in North Carolina is the focus of Lynn H Blackburn’s series, Dive Team Investigations. In book one, we met the team members and focused on Ryan and Leigh’s story. Book two, In Too Deep, tells the chilling tale of Adam and Sabrina. While I believe the book could stand on its own, I started out feeling that the team members were already my friends, not people I had just met.

What’s to love about this book? Blackburn strikes a good balance between great romantic suspense and relationship-driven narrative. What I loved most is that Sabrina is intelligent beyond belief, yet that character trait is countered by an unusual lack of common social skills. In other words, a great, but lovable, flawed protagonist.

Heavy topics are handled within these pages. My antennae went up. We’re talking about sex trafficking and labor trafficking. Where is the author taking me? Guilt, awareness, action? For me, I choose awareness.

I loved that prayers are a part of everyday needs in the novel, and some are spoken aloud. They’re not preachy, but natural, clear, and honest.

Points to Blackburn for exhibiting a sense of humor at a few critical points. Some thoughts just made me laugh. Try “baby cops.” Another was a paragraph listing Sabrina’s many injuries, followed by the statement she had never looked more beautiful. That just tickled my funny bone.

Thought-provoking quotes:
“You love the victims and the victimizers. We don’t understand that, Lord.”(How true!)
and
“…it’s not about how big our faith is. What matters is how big our God is.”~Sabrina

I highly recommend this series, and can’t wait for Gabe and Anissa’s story. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are solely my own, and no positive review was required.

 

MY RATING:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

17521786Lynn H. Blackburn believes in the power of stories, especially those that remind us that true love exists, a gift from the Truest Love. She’s passionate about CrossFit, coffee, and chocolate (don’t make her choose) and experimenting with recipes that feed both body and soul. She lives in South Carolina with her true love, Brian, and their three children. Her first book, COVERT JUSTICE, won the 2016 Selah Award for Mystery/Suspense and the 2016 Carol Award for Short Novel. Her second book, HIDDEN LEGACY, released in June 2017. She began a new series, Dive Team Investigations with BENEATH THE SURFACE in March of 2018.

 

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Christmas Hideout, #3 McKade Law Series by Susan Sleeman

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ABOUT THE BOOK:

Title: Christmas Hideout,#3 McKade Law Series

Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense

Published: November 8, 2018
Length: 224 pages,paperback
ISBN:1335459413; isbn13: 9781335459411
Genre: Christian Romantic Suspense

Cowboy lawmen make the best protectors 

A McKade Law novel

Fleeing from her dangerous ex-boyfriend, on-the-run single mother Nicole Dyer takes refuge in a cabin—and is discovered by the ranch owner, Deputy Matt McKade. It’s easy to fall for the handsome lawman and his kind family, but staying at the ranch endangers them all. When everything Nicole loves comes under direct fire, can Matt keep her—and her heart—safe?

MY REVIEW:

A friend once told us, “I fell in love with [the daughter] before I fell in love with [her mother]. Nicole and Matt may be the two main characters, but little blue-eyed three-year-old Emilie quickly becomes the star of Christmas Hideout! Nicole thinks she has to clean up her life before returning to God. Matt has trust issues with God. Emilie is just adorable, sweet, and innocent; plus she has a special Christmas wish. I just loved how Emilie manages to burrow her way into everybody’s heart, but especially Matt’s. The mystery‘s end has quite a twist, and the romance is great, but it is the child’s heart that steals mine in this suspenseful, yet heartwarming novel by Susan Sleeman. So good I finished in one sitting. I received a complimentary copy from the author. I am voluntarily leaving a review, and all opinions are my own.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

4053429SUSAN SLEEMAN is the bestselling author of over thirty-five novels with more than one million books sold. She writes romantic suspense novels that are clean with inspiring messages of faith. Readers love her series for the well-drawn characters and edge-of-your-seat action. She graduated from the FBI and local police-citizen academies, so her research is spot-on and her characters are real.
In addition to writing, Susan also hosts TheSuspenseZone.com. She has lived in nine states but now calls Oregon home. Her husband is a retired church music director, and they have two beautiful daughters, a very special son-in-law, and an adorable grandson.
To learn more about Susan’s books sign up for her monthly email that includes exclusive excerpts, giveaways, and other goodies. http://www.susansleeman.com/susans-newsletter…

Or stop by any of these locations on the web.
Website – http://www.susansleeman.com
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/SusanSleemanB…
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Review Site – http://www.TheSuspenseZone.com