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Publisher's Summary

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 been allotted only 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!

©2020 cindy Mcdonald (P)2020 cindy Mcdonald

What listeners say about Back to the Burgh and Beyond

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Quite an adventure

This was a fun read. The characters were entertaining and it was well written. I will read books by this author again

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Love this sweet clean Cozy Mystery


I love cozy mysteries, and this one is as intriguing and exciting as they come. There is a bit of time travel from now to back in the 1950’s, to solve a Murder. There are a lot of interesting characters as this story unfolds as Alexa and Detective Bobby Star (well that is his ghost) try to solve his wife’s murder. You will find many twists and turns to keep your interest throughout the story and Alexa is more determined to find the killer.
I really enjoyed this story. It is my first from author C. J. McDonald, and I sure look forward to more from this author in the future. If you love a good clean cozy mystery, I would highly recommend Back to the Burgh and Beyond in the audiobook form! You will be delighted and intrigued by this story.
I don’t listen to a lot of audio books, but I did enjoy the audio version of Back to the Burgh and Beyond. The narrator, Maren Swenson Waxenberg does an outstanding job of reading this book. I enjoyed her pleasant voice and the punctuations throughout the book. She made the story fun and interesting to listen to. If you haven’t tried audiobooks, this one would be a great one to start with.
A special thanks to the author/publisher for a copy of this audiobook. I am not required to write a positive review, the opinions here are mine alone. I am disclosing this with my review in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
 
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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great!

This audiobook is read well. The writer does a great job from the beginning introducing readers to the story she was telling and bringing us into her world. She created a well-developed group of characters and designed a good lead character Alexa Owl for the Owl's Nest Mysteries. I was eager to know what was before this character in her story and the mystery we would be joining her on in this book. The details help readers take part in each part of this book as the writer does an excellent job describing events. There were some unexpected and wonderful elements in this story. This really is not an ordinary mystery and that adds to the charm. I look forward to reading other books in this series.

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Can I Keep the Ghost Cat?

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.

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.

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This new shop comes with a small surprise

Back to the Burgh and Beyond
The Owl's Nest Mysteries #1
By C.S. McDonald
Read by Maren Swenson Waxenberg

Alexa Owl has returned to Pittsburgh (the Burgh) following her divorce, which ended amicably. She's back and starting a new business putting her fashion and sewing skills to use in The Owl’s Nest Couturier Shoppe.

Everything is simply perfect until she has a visitor from the past enter her shop. And this visitor isn't from her past but from the building that now houses her business. Detective Bobby Starr needs Alexa's help to help him solve a murder case from his past - a murder he didn't solve while he was alive. Bobby's future in the Guardian Angel Squad is riding on this and they only have days to solve this cold case.

How do you solve a case that is more than 60 years old? Go back to 1953 when the case isn't yet cold. 1953 has many disadvantages - the first being a total lack of technology. I mean how is a girl supposed to do research without the web?

Back to the Burgh and Beyond is a fun read, or in my case, listen. This isn't a long book as it is just under 6 hours and the narration by Maren Swenson Waxenberg works well with this book. The story is definitely concluded when the end comes but it in no way feels as if it is a standalone title as there are most definitely some threads that were not tied off. The cast of characters blends well and they have a few personality quirks that give them an added depth. On a whole, the characters are interesting and believable. For those who like diversity of lifestyles in their reading, you do have it in this book though it isn't a major focal point.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book with no expectations but that I offer my honest opinion. All thoughts expressed are my own.

*Of note there is a bit of drinking both in the past and the present, and smoking in the past, so if you object to this type of behavior in your reading you are forewarned.

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Interesting cozy mystery (with ghosts!)

Before I get into my thoughts on this book, I do want to say that I do recommend it to anyone that enjoys an easy to read cozy mystery with interesting characters. Also, I received this audiobook for free or at a reduced price in order to listen to it and give my honest thoughts. I was not required to leave a review.

I enjoyed the audiobook. It was easy to listen to, had interesting characters, and the writing flows well. The narrator did a good job, keeping it engaging for the listener.

My only problem with the story, and after discussing it with my teen daughter she agreed, was the ease with which the main character accepted so many unbelievable things. Oh, there are ghosts. OK. Oh, there are other incredible things, like angels and Saint Pete, that many people wouldn't believe existed. Sure, I'll believe it all and not get scared, confused, awestruck, or any other extreme, or even mild, emotions that most people would feel.

I try not to get stuck on details like that, but it really bothered me throughout the book. That being said though, I did enjoy the book. I got into the story, wanting to know what would happen. I enjoyed the setting and really enjoyed the characters, especially the ghost cat. I looked forward to an ending that would satisfy most people and was not disappointed.

So, like I said earlier, I would definitely recommend it in either book form or audiobook form. It is a fun read with an interesting story and unique characters. Just don't get hung up on small details like I did!

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A wonderfully entertaining cozy mystery series!

Back to the Burgh and Beyond is a delightfully entertaining story about a woman recently divorced, returns to her home town to open a quality clothier store. There is only one thing wrong... She has an unexpected visiter who won’t go away until she agrees to help him. Will this ruin her chances for a possible romance with another?

With some added humor, the author has created a wonderful mystery series with a touch of paranormal and romance. It is very well written and constantly “keeps the reader on the edge of his/her seat”, with action and new events.

The characters are portrayed in such a manner, it is difficult to remember that they are not real. The background scenes are equally realistic. The Title and Cover image are very well chosen.

The narrator, Maren Swenson Waxenberg, does an outstanding job in the portrayal of the various characters and in the narration of the overall story.
*This audiobook was gifted me with no pressure to post a positive review. This is my honest review .

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A wonderful start to a new cozy series

I am reviewing the audiobook.

Back to the Burgh and Beyond is the first work I have read from C. S. McDonald. I am impressed and will be reading more.

The humor has a fun, sarcastic bite to it and the mystery kept me listening well into the evening.

Winnie almost stole the show with her wit, charm, and treats. Alexa did a bang-up job of traveling between 1953 and the present without losing her way. Several characters made appearances, including Fiona Quinn, star of her own series.

I look forward to learning more about Cliff, Bobby, and Holden. I’m sure this cast has so much more to share with us.

Karen Swenson Waxenberg’s narration was spot-on. Her intonations made distinguishing between the characters easy to follow, and I immensely enjoyed the cadence. Ms. Waxenberg allowed the humor to show through in her words. It was an enjoyable listen.

I’ll be anxiously awaiting the next installment of the series.

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A super fun cozy mystery!!

Back to the Burgh and Beyond is a fun cozy mystery with a time travel element. The play on the Back to the Future title was a great way to title this story! I thought this was a good clean story that readers of all ages can enjoy.

Alexa Owl is the new owner of The Owl’s Nest Couturier Shoppe. She gain not only a new business, but also a resident angel with the ability to time travel! Bobby was a detective in life, but in death he’s trying to gain his Guardian Angel Squad wings. He needs to solve a murder in 4 days, and enlists Alexa’s help to do it.

The mystery was a fun story with a good resolution that cozy mystery readers will enjoy. I think the time travel is an interesting element that surprised me. I really like that in a book, but I don’t know that I’ve come across it before in a cozy!

I would have liked the story to slow-down just a bit, especially as we traveled back in time to solve the mystery. I like a fast-paced book, but I wanted to have a few more details as they traveled back in time to solve the mystery. I wanted just a bit more time to settle into the story and go along with Alexa as she solves the case!

I listened to the audio version of this book, narrated by Maren Swenson Waxenberg. I thought she did a good job with this story. She had fun character voices that brought the story to life!

I was provided a gifted audio copy of this book for free. I am leaving my review voluntarily.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Back to the Burgh and Beyond

Back to the Burgh and Beyond is the first book I have had the pleasure reading by C.S. McDonald. It also, begins The Owl’s Nest Mysteries series. I found this book to be a fun and quick read. The story was uniquely written and different from what I have read before. It is a mystery that made me often wonder how it would all end. The story is not one that is believable but still a real delight to read from start to finish.
Back to the Burgh and Beyond introduces readers to newly divorced Alexa Owl, who is seeking out a new life when she arrives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I enjoyed getting to know her. Her world goes a tad bit out of control when Bobby Starr shows up. He is not your normal character because he is an angel who aspires to be part of the Guardian Angel Squad. He takes Alexa to a whole new way of life than she had ever wanted, intended or expected. It was so fun and entertaining to find out how they would solve the mystery.
I had the pleasure of listening to the audio version of Back to the Burgh and Beyond. The performance of Maren Swenson Waxenberg was super entertaining. Such a perfect job of bringing this story to life.

Back to the Burgh and Beyond will be getting four and a half stars from me. I look forward to reading the second book from The Owl's Nest Mysteries to find out what happens next in the series. I recommend this one for readers who enjoy reading cozy mysteries.

I received Back to the Burgh and Beyond from the publisher. This review is one hundred percent my own honest opinion.

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  • Dr Ian
  • 01-07-21

Just does not come together

This story has some interesting elements in it, such as ghosts and time travel. However, it feels a little forced. Although I like stories with a twist, this plot just feels that the author has sacrificed character depth in order to get us to focus on a very convoluted plot line.