After reading a “Journey of the Heart” earlier this year, I was excited to dive deep into the mind of Lundyn’s best friend, Sally Jo.

About the Book

Sally Jo Hughes has always had amazing intuition–and a wild imagination. After graduating from college with a degree in creative writing, she contemplates her next steps. Planning on graduate school, she tries to focus getting things set up for returning to school with her best friend in the fall. She quickly becomes frustrated with her mind showing her things she doesn’t understand or know how to process. She wonders if someone is going to take her or hurt her, causing anxiety and fear in her, which she is not used to feeling.

Through her best friend’s new boyfriend, Sally Jo learns of a case he is working on for the FBI about a young girl who was kidnapped. The case has been difficult, and nothing is making sense about it. Sally Jo quickly becomes caught up in the details and finds her brain has been giving her small glimpses specifics about the missing child. She begins to relay her ‘brain pictures’ and soon finds herself immersed in the case, trying to help find the little girl.

Can Sally Jo help find the girl in time? What could that mean for her future as a writer? Is her mind more beneficial in solving crimes or creating them on paper? Follow Sally Jo on her journey of mystery and self-discovery.

About the Book

She is a spitfire and I loved her in the first book. I couldn’t wait to see more about how her mind worked, her character development, her relationship with her best friend, and her budding romance from the first book.

I’m a sucker for a love triangle, so I was excited to see Sally Jo, who has been unlucky in love – in a less dramatic way than Lundyn – have not one but two admirers. It was disappointing to see Braxton up to his old tricks of being secretive and emotionally distant, though. I hope he can figure out how to be more present for both of our girls in the future. They both deserve more of his time and attention. How busy can he possibly be so busy as to not even have time to text them?

I just love Sally Jo’s personality so much. Lundyn is cute and awesome, but Sally Jo is outgoing, strong, and independent. She is the kind of best friend I’d love to have. Just like the first book in the series, the atmosphere and foundation for a great cozy were absolutely there. It’s billed as a cozy mystery and ticks most of the boxes of my favorite genre. But there is some cursing and a little bit of other rule-breaking.

I know some of you are very persnickety when it comes to grammar, typos, etc. This book had some of those. Enough that I noticed. I am an editor, a fellow writer, and can’t help noticing. But I can look past it for a good story. This also had a few inconsistencies, but overall it was an enjoyable story. If any of those things ruin a story for you though, it might not be as enjoyable for you. Otherwise, it’s a good story with some really surprising twists.

Who’s It For?

Benning has brought us another slow-burn mystery, Another great read for the cozy crossover lover. Long, detailed descriptions that paint a picture, and full characterizations of everyone make for an interesting, gentle read. While it doesn’t fit the cozy genre in some ways, the gentle pace does lend more toward the cozy genre than the fast-paced thriller, making it perfect for someone looking for something in between. If you are especially annoyed by errors, be warned that this book could have stood another round of editing, but the story is very good.

Content Warnings: Alcohol Abuse, Car Accidents, Hospitals, Violence (Including Against Children), Stalking, Harrassment, Kidnapping, Violence Against Children, Child Death, Discussion of SA, Mental Health

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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