Book Review: Sun, Sand & Secrets by Carolyn Dean

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In the 6th book, Sun, Sand, & Secrets, of the Ravenwood Cozy Mystery series published in 2017 by Carolyn L. Dean, Amanda ponders the question of what it will mean to marry her sweetheart, James, a local police detective. In the course of her analysis, Madeline Wu, a local shopkeeper we’ve met before, goes missing, then someone turns up dead. Along the path, a neighboring town’s mayor gets involved, and some new romances might be brewing around the lovely little Oregon town.


I enjoy reading about the comings and goings of Amanda’s renovated bed and breakfast / inn. This book felt more like a mini-edition, prepping us for Amanda’s upcoming nuptials, rather than a full-on mystery. While it was fun, cute, and cozy, the mystery was very light – much more than usual. I enjoy light mysteries, but the crime didn’t happen until about 50% into the book, and there wasn’t a lot of investigating in the second half. It was a good read, but not a standout in the series. Still worth taking on, as it’s under 2 hours… and I really do love the interactions Meg, Truman, Gram, and all the other wonderful characters.

I like inserting these types of books into bigger thrillers so I get a break from major analytical thinking, but I still have some puzzles to solve and the comfort of a fun, warm and interesting setting. It’s not a complete week unless I’ve sneaked in a cozy of some sort. Two more reviews to write, then I officially shut down and begin vacation mode!


About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.


Review: Mistletoe, Moonlight and Murder

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Mistletoe, Moonlight and Murder3 of 5 stars for Carolyn L. Dean‘s Mistletoe, Moonlight and Murder, the third novella in her “Ravenwood Cove” cozy mystery series. I downloaded this book on Kindle a few weeks ago when it was on-sale, as I had enjoyed the previous two novellas and wanted to continue reading the series. While it was a fun story and introduced a few good new characters, it wasn’t as good as the first two.

Amanda Graham continues to remodel the inn she inherited from her uncle, opening up to lots of new guests as the town prepares for the Christmas holiday festivals. As she’s driving to meet her contractor in a nearby town, a huge mudslide occurs and envelopes the car in front of her on the road. When she runs out to save the victim, she realizes it’s James’ brother, Ethan. Just as she saves him from the collapse, and they are running away, she sees another body. But this one has been dead for months, and no one knows who it is! As James, Ravenwood Cove’s detective, matches the body to someone who ran away months prior, Amanda learns the victim was shot and had been hiding a necklace. Using her usual sleuth-like skills, she finds the necklace and helps the police solve the case. But this time, she’s just a little too late and ends up cornered by the culprit and almost killed herself.

While the mystery had some fun aspects to it, there were very few red herrings and hardly any real suspects. We learned little about the victim and weren’t sure who he was connected to. I stuck with the story and enjoyed the ending, but it was very rushed. Overall, it had good parts, but I felt like it was missing something.

Amanda’s friendships in the town are growing, and she’s becoming more of a solid root with a few core characters. She has a ways to go, but I feel like it will happen. I look forward to books 4 and 5 to see if they take an upward turn.

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