Sunday, March 1, 2020

Journaled to Death by Heather Redmond

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Journaled to Death by Heather Redmond takes us to Seattle, Washington.  Mandy Meadows is recently divorced with a teenage daughter, Vellum.  To make sure her expenses are covered each month, Mandy works as a barista at University of Seattle Hospital, has a journaling vlog with related shop, and rents out her basement apartment to her cousin, Randy.  Her ex-husband quit working so he would only have to pay minimal child support despite his rich parents.  Mandy and Vellum are recording their April journaling tutorial when they hear thumps.  Mandy rushes to the basement stairs and finds Randy dead at the bottom with one of her journals underneath him.  Randy was an alcoholic, so Mandy assumed he fell until Detective Aloha with the homicide division begins questioning her.  Mandy is baffled as to why anyone would want to kill her cousin.  When the police investigation seems stalled and Vellum moves out because she is afraid, Mandy decides to do a little sleuthing on her own.  Can Mandy find Randy’s killer, or will she end up the next victim because she has become a liability?
man falling down stairs clipart
Journaled to Death by Heather Redmond is the debut of A Journaling Mystery series.  Amanda “Mandy” Meadows is newly divorced, and she has custody of her fifteen year old daughter, Vellum.  Her ex-husband has quit working (living off his rich parents) so he can pay minimal (i.e.—no) child support which means Mandy has gone from stay-at-home mom to working as a barista at the coffee bar at the University of Seattle Hospital.  Mandy with help from her daughter posts vlogging tutorials online and sells related materials (stickers for example).  She also rents out her basement apartment to her cousin, Randy who helped her obtain the position at the hospital.  Vellum and Mandy are recording their April vlog when they hear a loud thumping noise.  Mandy hurries to investigate, and she finds her cousin dead at the bottom of the stairs with one of her journals under his leg.  Mandy is shocked when the police determine the death is a homicide.  Mandy finds herself investigating when her daughter moves out because she does not feel safe at home.  I thought Mandy was a likeable and realistic character.  She is a divorced mother struggling to pay her bills.  I like that she came up with a creative and unique solution with her bullet journal vlog and online sales.  Her daughter, Vellum acts like a typical teenager (angst, food, money).  Mandy is lucky to have her widowed mother living across the street and a good neighbor in Linda who bakes brownies daily.  Linda helps Mandy with some of her sleuthing.  I like the unusual topic of journaling for a cozy mystery.  I have no clue about bullet journals or vlogging, but I can tell that the author does.  I enjoyed finding out more about the process and I admire Mandy’s creativity.  I did not like Reese and did not understand why Mandy would spend time with her.  The woman is jealous of Mandy’s online success and her criticisms got on my nerves (I would avoid Reese instead of going out to eat with her).  The mystery had several viable suspects along with red herrings.  There are good clues to help the reader solve the crime.  While I wished Mandy focused more on sleuthing, real life intervened.  Mandy has a lot going on in her life and she does not have as much time to investigate as other amateur (fictional) sleuths.  Just keeping up with her vlog and sales is a full-time job.  I could certainly understand how she can be exhausted at the end of the day (making varieties of coffee, baking cookies for shop, planning vlog, recording vlog, preparing orders, plus her household chores).  I enjoyed reading Journaled to Death, and I look forward to the next book in A Journaling Mystery series.  Journaled to Death is a charming cozy with drafting drawings, selling stickers, creating a variety of videos, seeking suspects, daughter drama, a cousin killer, and a bounty of baked brownies.
Video equipment for blogging or vlogging
Journaled to Death is available through Amazon*.  If you enjoy reading cozy mysteries, then Journaled to Death is one to read.  You can follow Heather Redmond on Amazon and they will email you when she has a new book release.  Thank you for joining me today.  I will return tomorrow as a stop on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for Lavender Blue Murder by Laura Childs.  It is the twenty-first A Tea Shop Mystery.  This is one of two series that got me hooked on cozy mysteries many years ago.  I was browsing through Books-a-Million (over ten years ago) and discovered the very small cozy mystery section.  The cover of Death by Darjeeling caught my eye.  I want to leave you with a book pun.  A book called Current Trends on Wiring Your Home turned out to be a shocking failure.  I hope have a splendid day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
Reading and Art: Jeffrey T. Larson
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