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No Filter, #1 Barks and Beans Cafe Cozy Mysteries by Heather Day Gilbert

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About the Book

Title: No Filter

Series: The Barks and Beans Cafe Mystery Series

Author: Heather Day Gilbert

Publisher: WoodHaven Press

Released: May 2020

BOOK ONE 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.

Fed up with her go-nowhere job, newly single Macy Hatfield moves back to her small hometown in West Virginia. She joins forces with her brother Bo in his crazy new venture—the Barks & Beans Cafe, which caters to dog lovers and coffee drinkers alike.

When a golf instructor is murdered at the nearby spiritual center, Macy winds up adopting his Great Dane. Just after Macy finds a mysterious message sewn under the dog’s collar, her Dane is dognapped. She launches into a relentless search for her newfound canine friend, but along the way, she digs up a cruel and confident killer.

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

My Review

I am excited to share with you a new cozy mystery series by Heather Day Gilbert. While I love cozies, I start a new one with much trepidation. Will there be sex on the page or a lot of innuendoes? Will there be bad language? I am thrilled to say No Filter , #1 Barks & Beans Café Cozy Mysteries, fits every category I am looking for in a cozy:
1. Small town setting
2. No bad language
3. No sex
4. Amateur sleuth
5. Murder not presented in gory manner
6. Bit of Romance (my addition)

No Filter 2

In No Filter, we find Macy and Bo Hatfield, unlucky-at-love siblings who decide to retreat to their small town origins, Lewisburg, West Virginia. Not giving up, they open up a coffee shop combo therapy dog petting area. Now Gilbert has my full attention, and the shop gets its dogs from the local shelter, to give the dogs for adoption more publicity. Looking up Lewisburg, WV, right now on my GPS. Think it would be a great place to live.
But maybe not. There are the “haves” and the “haves snot.” (Imagine the “haves” looking down their noses at the “snots.”) The mingling of these two classes at the local spiritual center-country club leads to murder, art fencing, and a wealth of possible culprits. I felt there were a lot of characters to keep straight, but we will see many of these players again in book 2, Iced Over, and book 3, Fair Trade.

No Filter 1
Only one complaint- I am seriously considering whether people can be both coffee connoisseurs and tea aficionados at same time! I’d be surprised if Great Danes don’t become popular after this series. I loved the sibling loyalty and strong bond. I enjoyed seeing the set-up of possible romances (I already have my “teams” going)! I even enjoyed seeing unlikely characters succeed to benefit the town. But watch out! Gilbert manages to find a way to leave you hanging by a thread!
I need to cool down. Bring on Iced Over!!
Quotes to Note:

“No, I’d rather have both feet on the ground than feel them getting sucked in with ocean water where fish pooped, sharks lurked, and currents could catch and kill you.”

“She seemed to be a wealth of information, and she had no hesitation in sharing it.”

My Rating

5 Stars- Superior- Hit My Reading Sweet Spot (and I can’t wait for the sequels!)

About the Author

HEATHER 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 7232683engaging 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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Belinda Blake and the Birds of a Feather, #3 Exotic Pet-Sitter Mysteries by Heather Day Gilbert

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About the Book

Title: Belinda Blake and the Birds of a Feather

Series: #3 Exotic Pet-Sitter Mysteries

Author: Heather Day Gilbert

Publisher: Lyrical Press (Kensington)

Released: February 2020

Genre: Clean, Cozy Mystery

When exotic pet–sitter Belinda Blake starts pecking at the details of a suspicious accident in her sleepy hometown, she inadvertently digs up a murder case that won’t be solved without ruffling a few feathers . . .

The moment Belinda arrives in Larches Corner, her Upstate New York hometown, she’s immediately recruited to care for a deceased friend’s flock of homing pigeons. But Belinda’s plans for a swift visit scatter after a local college student is mowed down in a malicious hit-and-run that has the whole town reeling.

At first, the gruesome demise of Jackson Hait appears to be a random tragedy. But Belinda quickly uncovers connections to a tight-knit group of friends and a similar death three years earlier . . . one that wasn’t as accidental as it seemed. Now, Belinda must pluck the truth from a tangled nest of lies before a cruel killer takes wing.

My Review

The third novel in the Belinda Blake series by Heather Day Gilbert has finally arrived. Birds of a Feather is a great addition to Gilbert’s superb cozy series. I have loved the love triangle that developed between Stone the Fifth and Belinda and Jonas, but never quite understood so well Belinda’s attraction to Stone the Fifth until this book: Stone looks like a ”modern-day Remington Steele.” Ooh, la, la, pretty certain that might have swayed me a little more (ok, a LOT more) to Team Stone the Fifth over Team Jonas.

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Belinda returns home to her little hometown for the funeral of Jonas’s mom. She reluctantly agrees to sit the pigeons Jonas’s mom was watching at the time of her death. While home, Belinda meets up with an old reporter friend who quickly involves her in a mystery of first one drunk college literary club member, then another.
I would have liked to see the pets (pigeons) play as big a role in this novel as the snake and the wolves did in the first two. I did enjoy the heightening of romantic elements. I also loved this mystery. I could really feel the tension of needing to “help” solve the crime before Belinda herself is in mortal danger. But guess the correct murderer? Nope. Gilbert still was wilier than me. AND Gilbert left the door open, that just MAYBE, there COULD be a book four. Bring it on!!

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley. This did not influence my opinions, which are my own, and for which I am solely responsible.

My Rating

5 Stars- Hits My Reading Sweet Spot with a Flock of Praise

About the Author

Heather Day GilbertHEATHER 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.

BLOG, Favorite, Lyrical Underground, NetGalley

Belinda Blake and the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing: An Exotic Pet-Sitter Mystery #2 by Heather Day Gilbert

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About the Book

Title: Belinda Blake and the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Series: An Exotic Pet-Sitter Mystery

Publisher: Lyrical Underground

Released: October 2019

Exotic pet-sitter Belinda Blake is nervous about her new job at the White Pine Wolf Preserve, but it turns out that the care and feeding of wild carnivores may be the least dangerous part of the gig . . .
 
Pet-sitter Belinda Blake is no stranger to dealing with wild animals, but she’s wary when the owner of the Greenwich, Connecticut, preserve asks her to help out with her “fluffy darlings.” Her caution seems justified on her very first day, when she discovers a tour guide—dead, bloodied, and surrounded by wolves in the enclosure.

Was it death by predator or something more sinister? The body count rises, but something’s not adding up. As she gets to know the rescued wolves and wolf-dog hybrids better, Belinda realizes that her human colleagues are not above suspicion. With help from her own “pack”—her pregnant sister, Red the chauffeur/bodyguard, and hunky farmer Jonas—Belinda is hot on the killer’s tail, but if she doesn’t find him soon, he’ll do more than muzzle her to keep the truth from escaping.

 

My Review

Belinda Blake and the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing by Heather Day Gilbert was one of the most satisfying cozies I have read. It just hit my reading sweet spot. The characters and story will stay with me as will the fear and trepidation. If I could, I would pick up book three, and start reading immediately. Thoughts?
First, while you can read this as a stand-alone, it will flow better if you read the books in order.

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Secondly, this cozy was totally satisfying…from the first word to last. The mystery involved animals, it was believable, and it moved along at a good pace. I was both in awe of the wolves and terrified of them at the same time. There were several quirky characters, but this is the Greenwich area, non? Gilbert draws some characters in ways that will cause you to love them, others are written to be abhorred, but all are mysterious and possible schemers. Finding the killer before she/he finds Belinda eluded me.
Thirdly, we begin to see a pretty interesting love triangle develop. Where is book three?! Ah, Sigh!

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Fourthly, there were plenty of humorous lines to off-set the seriousness of the subject, keeping this fun novel well within the « cozy» parameters. Available Oct. 1st or you can pre-order.

I received an ARC complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley. This did not affect my opinions, which are solely my own.

My Rating

5 Stars = Superb!

About the Author

HEATHER 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.” 7232683

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