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Back to the Burgh and Beyond – 5 Star Book Review

Welcome to one of the March 17th stops on the blog tour for Back to the Burgh and Beyond and other titles by C.S. McDonald, organized by iRead Book Tour. Come back on the 22nd for a review of Murder on Pointe, and be sure to follow the rest of the tour for spotlights, plenty of reviews, and a giveaway! More on that at the end of this post.

Please note that this post contains affiliate links, which means there is no additional cost to you if you shop using my links, but I will earn a small percentage in commission. A program-specific disclaimer is at the bottom of this post.

About the Book

Back to the Burgh and Beyond
The Owl’s Nest Mysteries Book One
by C.S. McDonald

Print/eBook Published 9 September 2020
McWriter Books
Page Count: 184

Audiobook Published 22 December 2020
Narrator: Maren Swenson Waxenberg
Length: 5 hours and 59 minutes

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!

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!

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My Review

My Rating: 5 Stars
Consider liking my review on Goodreads.

I was granted complimentary access to Back to the Burgh and Beyond via iRead Book Tours as part of my participation in a blog tour for this and several other C.S. McDonald audiobook titles. Thank you to all involved in affording me this opportunity! My thoughts are my own and my review is honest.

Recently divorced Alexa Owl has come home to Pittsburgh only to find that her brand new couturier shop is haunted by the ghost of a little white cat named Garbo as well as the ghost of Garbo’s late owner’s former husband, Bobby. Bobby is trying to become a guardian angel, but in order to do so he has to solve the murders he left unsolved in life as a P.I. and the unsuspecting Alexa is going to help him with the first one: His first wife, Garbo’s owner, who was found murdered in the parking lot of what is now Alexa’s shop.

This is a fun little mystery that kept me guessing. I’m sure if I had been determined to puzzle it out I might have solved the murder a little ahead of the time-travelling pair, but I was enjoying it so much I didn’t want to. McDonald has created a brilliant cast of well-developed, immediately likable characters, and although I’ve never been to Pittsburgh and have no real idea what the area looks like, she paints this particular neighbourhood well and I felt like I was there. I love the lore behind St. Peter and his tasks in Heaven, both related to guardian angels and not. (Spending an unexpected amount of time shooing cats off God’s throne is a hilarious detail!) I love the way time travel is handled. I love the fact that we get to meet some characters both in the present and as they were back in the 1950s. I’m extremely curious about the client who could see the ghost cat but not the ghost man and find myself wondering if she’ll be involved in future instalments in this particular series.

The narrator’s performance is excellent! I listened at 2x speed and found it comfortable (keeping in mind that I never listen slower than 1.5) but I imagine it is also well-paced for those who prefer regular speed. Maren Swenson Waxenberg was able to make each character’s voice distinct without doing anything too distracting or unnatural. I loved the Irish accents used for appropriate characters, and appreciate the fact that the rest were fairly neutral American. I’m glad to hear that Maron is the narrator on all of the audiobooks we were offered during this blog tour, as I have another C.S. McDonald title to listen to now over the weekend, and I look forward to listening to this voice reading me another story! One of these days I’ll listen to the rest, as well.

5 stars all around, and I highly recommend this book to all fans of cozy mysteries, comfortable quick reads, and stories with a light paranormal element.

About 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.

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Giveaway Alert!

Autographed copy of BACK TO THE BURGH AND BEYOND, plus other gifts (USA only, ends Apr 2)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
March 1Olio by MarilynBack to the Burgh and Beyond
March 1She Just Loves BooksBack to the Burgh and Beyond
March 2Laura’s InterestsSaddle Up for Murder
March 3Gina Rae MitchellBack to the Burgh and Beyond
March 4Rockin’ Book ReviewsBack to the Burgh and Beyond
March 4Gina Rae MitchellMurder on Pointe
March 4Laura’s InterestsBack to the Burgh and Beyond
March 8Locks, Hooks and BooksBack to the Burgh and Beyond
March 9Book Corner News and ReviewsMurder on Pointe
March 9Splashes of JoyBack to the Burgh and Beyond
March 10My Tangled Skeins Book ReviewsBack to the Burgh and Beyond
March 10Wickedly RomanceBack to the Burgh and Beyond
March 11Book Corner News and ReviewsBack to the Burgh and Beyond
March 11Wickedly RomanceMurder on Pointe
March 11Blooming with BooksBack to the Burgh and Beyond
March 12Splashes of JoyMurder on Pointe
March 12Books Lattes & TiarasBack to the Burgh and Beyond
March 15Blooming with BooksMurder on Pointe
March 15She Just Loves BooksTastes Like Murder
March 15Chit Chat with CharitySaddle Up for Murder
March 16Olio by MarilynMurder on Pointe
March 16My Reading JourneysBack to the Burgh and Beyond
March 17Westveil PublishingBack to the Burgh and Beyond
March 17My Reading JourneysSaddle Up for Murder
March 18Musing of SoulsBack to the Burgh and Beyond
March 18Books for BooksMurder on Pointe
March 19Books Lattes & TiarasMurder on Pointe
March 19Rockin’ Book ReviewsGood Luck to Murder
March 22Westveil PublishingMurder on Pointe
March 22Musing of SoulsTastes Like Murder
March 23Locks, Hooks and BooksTastes Like Murder
March 23Lisa’s ReadingBack to the Burgh and Beyond
March 24My Tangled Skeins Book ReviewsMurder on Pointe
March 24Books for BooksBack to the Burgh and Beyond
March 25BookishKelly2020Back to the Burgh and Beyond
March 25Chit Chat with CharityBack to the Burgh and Beyond
March 26BookishKelly2020Murder on Pointe
March 26Lisa’s ReadingTastes Like Murder

Jenna is the artist/illustrator and author behind Westveil Publishing and its sub-banner platforms Jenna Gets Creative and The Westveil Archives. She live in Newfoundland, Canada with her husband, daughter, and feline overlords.

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