Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Back to the Burgh and Beyond ~ Book Blog Tour Review & Giveaway!

The Owl's Nest Mysteries

Genre:  Adult Fiction, 208 pages
Category:  Cozy Mystery
Publisher:  McWriter Books
Release date:  Sep 10, 2020
Pages:  208
Content Rating:  G
C.S. McDonald's books are appropriate for YA readers
as well as adults--no bad language or sexual content.

Book Description:

Meet Alexa Owl. She's returned home to Pittsburgh after a divorce to start a new life and a new business, The Owl’s Nest Couturier Shoppe. Much to her surprise, she's getting more than she ever bargained for: Detective Bobby Starr, and he's no ordinary sleuth. Bobby is an angel who's returned to Earth in hopes of earning his way into the Guardian Angel Squad. He's been sent by none other than Saint Pete to acquire Alexa’s help to solve three cold case murders he left behind. Except, here’s the catch: he’s only been allotted four days to solve the first case! 

How in heaven’s name is she supposed to do that? Alexa is a professional seamstress—not a detective. Bobby insists the only way to solve the first case is to return to 1953, and Alexa’s not in love with that idea at all!

Buy the Book:


When I read the book description and saw that the setting of Back to the Burgh and Beyond was set in Pittsburgh, PA, my interest was piqued. I lived just outside of the Burgh for seven years through junior high and high school, and some of my fondest memories and best friends are from those years. Add to that the fun cover and that it's a cozy mystery with a paranormal twist, and the deal was sealed.

From the very first paragraph, author C.S. McDonald's knack for description becomes apparent, and I was chuckling as our main character, Alexa, is experiencing pothole fatigue (a not-so-fond memory of Pittsburgh roads but spot-on). It is in the details that readers will find themselves immersed in the story. Whether it's in contemporary times with Alexa's exquisitely decorated apartment, or in the snappy dressing of the characters (living and deceased) in the 1950s, McDonald puts readers right in the story. 

"My stars, she's as clumsy as a drunken leprechaun."

Another place where McDonald's writing shines is in her characterization, particularly with feisty, quirky Winnie, who is by far my favorite character. McDonald constructs her dialogue so that readers hear Winnie's Irish lilt, and all are sure to get a giggle out of Winnie's turn of a phrase -- and her drinking habits. Since Back to the Burgh and Beyond is the first book in a series, it's clear that the regular cast is being introduced and each member is carefully sketched-out but not fully fleshed-out. But the characters and relationships are interesting enough that readers will want to know more. 

There's not a lot of scene-setting or build-up to the paranormal element being introduced, and when it happens, it's somewhat anticlimactic -- and the characters are all very accepting of it. But like the characters, readers will likely shrug their shoulders and go with it, which is exactly what I recommend. Back to the Burgh and Beyond is a light, fun, and quick read that has a nice, neat conclusion to the story's mystery, followed by an attention-grabbing little epilogue that assures I'll be reading the next ghostly installment. 

Thank you to the author and iRead Book Tours for providing me a print copy in exchange for my honest opinion -- the only kind I give. 

Meet the Author: 

For twenty-six years C.S. McDonald’s life whirled around a song and a dance. Classically trained at Pittsburgh Ballet Theater School, The Pittsburgh Dance Alloy, and many others, she became a professional dancer and choreographer. During that time, she choreographed many musicals and an opera for the Pittsburgh Savoyards. In 2011 she retired from her dance career to write. Under her real name, Cindy McDonald, she writes murder-suspense and romantic suspense novels. In 2014 she added the pen name, C.S. McDonald, to write children’s books for her grandchildren. In 2016 she added the Fiona Quinn Mysteries to that expansion. She decided to write the cozy mystery series that everyone, including teens and tweens, can read and enjoy. Presently, the Fiona Quinn Mysteries nine books with a tenth slated for 2021. The books are also available on audio, narrated by Maren Swenson Waxenberg. Cindy’s newest venture is The Owl’s Nest Mysteries. Once again, she has set her cozy mystery in Pittsburgh. The female protagonist, Alexa Owl, is much different from Fiona Quinn. The Owl’s Next Mysteries has a little grit, a little time travel, a little romance, and a whole lot of cozy! Ms. McDonald resides on her Thoroughbred farm known as Fly by Night Stables near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with her husband, Bill, and her poorly behaved Cocker Spaniel, Allister.

Connect with the author:
 Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

Enter the Giveaway: 

Autographed copy of BACK TO THE BURGH AND BEYOND

(USA only. Ends November 27, 2020)

Tour Schedule:
Nov 9 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book review / giveaway
Nov 9 - Instagram:. All Booked Up Reviews – book review
Nov 9 - Working Mommy Journal – book review / giveaway
Nov 9 - Splashes of Joy – book review / giveaway
Nov 10 – mowgliwithabook – book review
Nov 11 – StoreyBook Reviews – book review / giveaway
Nov 12 – Rajiv's Reviews – book review / giveaway
Nov 13 – Books and Zebras @jypsylynn – book review / giveaway
Nov 16 – Lisa-Queen of Random – book review / giveaway
Nov 17 – Hall Ways Blog – book review / giveaway
Nov 18 – Literary Flits – book review / giveaway
Nov 19 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review / giveaway
Nov 20 - I'm Into Books – book review / giveaway

Click for Hall Ways Review


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