Fiction review: No Filter

No Filter is Book 1 in the The Barks and Beans Café Mystery Series, by Heather Day Gilbert.

Macy is a recently divorced young woman who goes back home to Lewisburg, WV to undertake a new business venture with her brother, Bo. It’s a novel idea—pun totally intended—mixing dog petting with a coffee shop. Bo’s former career had made him perfect for the coffee part, and the brother and sister think, if people get attached to the shelter dogs, some of them will get adopted into good homes. The Barks and Beans Café is a brand new start for two young adults who need it. Macy says yes.

She soon moves into her deceased aunt’s house, and she and Bo go into business. The Barks and Beans appeals to the up and comings as well as the established people in town, and the mysteries begin.

The golf instructor is dead, “whacked in the head with a golf club and found face down in a shallow pond.”

Macy soon adopts a gorgeous black Great Dane, and he happens to have belonged to the murdered man.

The more Macy gets involved, the more danger she’s in. The suspect list gets longer and longer. Something just doesn’t add up.

Soon, Macy’s dog is missing.

Despite her brother’s protective warnings, Macy goes out on her own. Not only is she looking for the dog, she’s looking for the killer.

Poor Alice never gets to taste the eclairs.

This book is a page-turner, for sure. Twists, turns, and as many suspects as an Agatha Christie novel. There are lots of quirky people from all walks of life. You won’t be disappointed.

I was thoroughly entertained, on the edge of my seat, and loving every minute of this novel. The end partially wraps things up, leaving plenty of room for a sequel—which is already written. (Iced Over is Book 2. Fair Trade is Book 3.)

Mrs. Gilbert’s writing is excellent. This book is squeaky clean in every way—except for murder, of course. She doesn’t even leave out tea drinkers and cat people. Do you enjoy art? There’s some of that, too.

You will love it. Easily five stars.

Fiction review: Belinda Blake and the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Belinda Blake and the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing by Heather Day Gilbert is another fun and scary adventure with exotic pet sitter, Belinda. This time, she’s working in a wolf preserve.

She hasn’t been on the job long when a man is found dead, his face mauled, and a wolf standing guard above him.

Belinda has a hard time believing anyone would want to kill this person, and she becomes curious. Were the wolves to blame or not?

Before long, another man emerges from a wolf enclosure with an injured hand. After that, another man is dead. This time, there isn’t a mark on him—and he was the wolves’ feeder.

What is happening? Why these deaths?

As Belinda gets closer to her co-workers, she also gets closer to the truth.

I was surprised. Author Heather Day Gilbert made me guess that several different people might be guilty, and she fooled me about the real culprit.

These books are very well written, and I liked this one even more than Snake in the Grass, which was fun, as well. (My review of Belinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass can be accessed here.) I look forward to reading the next one in the Belinda Blake series: Birds of a Feather.

While Mrs. Gilbert is a Christian writer, there are no overt Christian themes in this series. They are, though, perfectly clean reading, delightful, and without any objectionable elements beyond the fact that some of the characters drink alcohol.

Fiction review: Belinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass

Belinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass, by Heather Day Gilbert captivated me first because I have read this author’s books before, and second because of its brilliant, whimsical cover. I couldn’t resist; I had to read it.

The opening scene has Belinda Blake, a cute little blond, meeting gorgeous Stone Carrington the 5th, her landlord’s son. She has a ball python wrapped around her neck, taking the snake for a walk, as its doting owner requested.

Exotic pet sitter, Belinda, is soon into mystery and intrigue after she finds a dead woman wearing Louboutin stilletos in her flowerbed.

Add to the dead woman a shedding python and the aqua-eyed, tennis playing rich boy next door, and you have all the ingredients for a great read.

Believe me, it doesn’t disappoint. More mysteries, possible culprits—Mrs. Gilbert had me suspecting almost everyone—and it’s a fun book for rainy afternoons.

The content is clean with nothing besides innocent friendship kisses. Some of the characters drink to excess (not viewed in a favorable light).

I enjoyed it and can hardly wait to read the sequel, which might be even better.

Stay tuned.