Sticks and Stones and a Bag of Bones by Heather Weidner

It’s my stop today on the blog tour for Sticks and Stones and a Bag of Bones by Heather Weidner. Many thanks to Lori of Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for the invite.

Title: Sticks and Stones and A Bag of Bones (Mermaid Bay Christmas Shoppe Mystery #1)

Author: Heather Weidner

Published on: 17 January 2023

Genre: Cozy Mystery

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The residents of a quaint resort town of Mermaid Bay are shocked when a beat-up suitcase full of bones washes ashore. The town is hosting Christmas in July in a couple of days and this is not the kind of publicity they were expecting. One of the residents receives a threat in the form of a voodoo doll that resembles them. Someone’s also posted posters around the town, warning not to attend the festivities.

But nothing happens on the festivities day. Jade Hicks, owner of Tis the Season, a year-round Christmas shoppe, heaves a sigh – things went well in spite of the threatening notes and posters. But then, the next morning, she sees a body in the garbage dump. It’s that of the resident who received the voodoo doll – Emory, the local bookstore owner.

Jade and her French bulldog Chloe, have to solve the crime before anyone else gets hurt, and her business and the festival are forever tainted.

Sticks and Stones and a Bag of Bones is the first book in Heather Weidner’s Mermaid Bay Christmas Shoppe Mysteries cozy series.

I love the concept of a year-round Christmas shoppe. Add a crime (murder), a couple of furry babies and an amateur sleuth in the making and Voila! You have a cozy mystery!

I am not new to Heather Weidner’s writing so I will say this: I knew this was going to be a brilliant series debut. I enjoyed reading every bit of this book. There were plenty of red herrings, an interesting set of characters and side stories, a couple of furry babies – a dog and cats, and, not to forget, a dash of romance.

The story begins with just another routine day in Jade Hicks’ life. She works at the store, attends a meeting with the town’s business council member, fills online orders, etc. Then comes a change in her daily routine – a threat in the form of a voodoo doll. Although the person who received it doesn’t believe their life is at stake, Jade is worried. Then, that person is found dead.

The victim’s niece, Amy, inherits the bookstore and decides to make a few changes. Amy and Jade become friends and sleuthing partners. Jade learns from Amy that a local real estate agent is purposely trying to tone down Amy’s dreams of expanding the bookstore (Amy has plans to host a couple of events, add more genres to the shelf and so on.)

As Jade and Amy try to dig deeper into the case, they learn not everyone is happy with the town’s zoning decisions. Was this the reason why Emory was killed? But that doesn’t make sense because her store is under zoning regulations.

There were too many red herrings, making it impossible for me to identify the killer. So I did what I do best – sit back, enjoy a cuppa, and let Jade do the sleuthing. Speaking of killer, their identity was an unexpected surprise. I was led to believe (ahem, red herring!) that a particularly nasty somebody was the culprit.

The mystery kept me guessing till the end. I loved the characters and their side stories. Apart from Jade, the one other character that I liked the most is that of Amy. She’s so energetic, enthusiastic, and full of ideas – I would love to see a cozy series featuring Amy as main character. What say, Heather? 🙂

If you are looking for a new cozy series, love year-round Christmas shoppes and furry babies, and excellent storytelling, you might want to give Sticks and Stones and a Bag of Bones by Heather Weidner a try.

There’s a rafflecopter giveaway for this tour. Giveaway details are here.

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4 thoughts on “Sticks and Stones and a Bag of Bones by Heather Weidner

  1. Thanks so much for letting me and the gang from Mermaid Bay visit with you today!

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