Cozy mysteries are my genre, so you know I never pass up a good cozy.

About the Book

A young adult searches for her identity and where she came from after being pushed by events, forcing her to question everything she thought she knew about herself, her life, and mom. A stranger, a best friend, and an unexpected ally help her find direction in her life, solve a mystery she didn’t know was a mystery, and fill a hole in her heart she didn’t know was there until it was filled.

Lundyn Bell has returned to her grandparents’ farm after graduation to search for direction and next steps in her life. As she begins to question more about her life, Sally Jo–her best friend and conspiracy theorist–helps Lundyn find the answers to questions like who really is Lundyn’s father? When her mother passed away years ago, she thought it was an accident and never questioned it. However, her grandparents had always thought it was intentional and was linked to a past they feared talking about, a past Lundyn was not aware of.

As Lundyn tries to make sense of the past colliding with the present, she learns where she came from and secrets she may not have wanted to know. Danger seems to be around every corner. Is she in danger? And why does HE keep showing up? Will the mysteries ever end?

My Thoughts

Unfortunately, while marketed as such, this book had a few too many curse words in it to officially be a cozy mystery. Those words make it a little too edgy. The general consensus among cozy aficionados – and I’m a big enough fan of the genre that I’m in a discord server/book club about them – is that curse words push you into something else: soft-boiled, crossover, etc. But, luckily, I’m also a fan of most kinds of mysteries, so I still really enjoyed this one.

If you’re a thriller fan, which I am just not exclusively, this might not be the book for you. Though, I really encourage thriller fans to give this book a go! I was a diehard cozy fan last year, and I tried a thriller only to get hooked. It’s now pretty much on equal footing with cozies as my favorite. At 500-plus pages, this story takes its time getting to where it’s going. There are a few places where perhaps the author could have used some gentle editing, especially with multiple paragraphs devoted to the ladies dressing, eating, or taking care of hygiene needs. Sometimes there can be too much of a good thing.

I enjoyed the relationship Lundyn had with her grandparents and her best friend, immensely. The small town feel of the book was great and well done. I always look for that authenticity, having grown up in one. Sally Jo was absolutely adorable, and I look forward to learning more about her in the second book in the series – which focuses more on her. I think we’d all love to have a best friend like her! The twists and turns in this book were surprising and dealt with some pretty serious topics.

While some aspects disqualified the book from being a traditional cozy, the slow-burn pace and small-town feel did make it inch its way back into feeling like a cozy. Lundyn and Sally Jo felt a lot like your traditional cozy heroines, running around town trying to find whodunnit and why. The case was a little unusual in terms of your usual cozy formula, but I won’t get into that because I don’t like to give away spoilers.

The detailed descriptions of both people and place brought everything to life in bright white light (because it was so cold most of the time). Even with that, there were definitely surprises right up until the end. So, if you can handle a slow burn, it’ll be worth the wait.

I’m so grateful to the author and Love Books Tours for including me on this tour and providing a paperback copy of this book. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

Who’s It For?

If you love a good, slow burn mystery, this is a great read for you. Long, detailed descriptions that really paint a picture, and full characterizations of everyone make for a interesting, gentle read. While it doesn’t fit the cozy genre in some ways, the gentle pace does lend toward the cozy vibe.

Content Warnings: Parent Loss, Drug Abuse, Alcohol Abuse, Car Accidents, Hospitals, Medical Trauma, Domestic Abuse, Violence, Stalking, Harrassment,

About the Author

Brenda was born and raised in Minnesota. Writing has been a lifelong dream since she began writing short stories in third grade. Throughout her education, she was encouraged to write and publish. Life took its own course though, and the dream was put on hold.

Brenda and her family recently relocated to Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and she has been able to realize her dream of writing again. Her large family and experiences as an adoptive parent have helped her find a unique balance in life–and countless story ideas.

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