Graded in Red| Chapter 1

Chapter 1

Remembering the time I once told myself and everyone around me that I was an adult and that I  would never move back home and live with my parents. I remember that I meant it. I remember thinking that I had the world in the palm of my hand. 

I was thinking about that famous saying, “The best laid plans…” ? Yeah, 18 year me didn’t believe her plans would go sour. I didn’t know that after getting my degree in Education with a minor in history that I wouldn’t be able to find a teaching position. Well not a teaching position that didn’t require me to coach, work a second job, and still have trouble making ends meet. Millennial’s  believed that the world was their oyster. I believed I was going to have it all. Unfortunately, “The Best Laid Plans”, left me wanting. 

Long story short, I graduated from a state college with a degree in education. I was hoping to touch student’s lives, make a difference, and if anything get a kid to love history as much as I do. That however, was not realistic. I got a job at a soul sucking corporate office. Upselling the next biggest thing to ever hit the world market. Or at least until the next newest, shiniest, and biggest thing hit. I could have stayed at that job. It paid the bills and even allowed me to have a vacation once or twice a year. The kicker was falling in love with my boss. 

What is the one rule in dating? NEVER. DATE. YOUR. BOSS. However, I believed that this this was true love. Even when I found out that he was married, I believed that he would choose me. That were would be together forever. Yet when push came to shove, he chose his wife. Which I couldn’t blame him for. I look back at my decisions and cringe. There are just sometimes in your life that you question who you were as a person and who you wanted to be. 

So, when I got a call from my childhood friend Victoria to come and teach with her at the high school in my hometown. I knew that was what I needed, a fresh start. Of course, if I told 18 year old Maggie that we would be back to Broken Bow, Oklahoma as well as moving in with mom and dad again, I’m pretty sure she would faint. 

New Chapters Every Friday!

 

Cozy Releases| July 2019

Why hello! Long time no blog, eh? I hope life has been treating you extremely well! I have personally been binge watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Just finished season three and am starting on season four!

However, that’s not why you stopped by is it? Ha! Nope! I have put together a list of some awesome Cozy Mysteries that are going to be released in July! My birthday month! So, without further ado let’s get into July’s releases! For the video click here!

A Thread of Darkness

A Thread of Darkness
Book 2
Sally Goldenbaum
July 2nd
https://amzn.to/2EYfhwA
As owners of the popular bistro The French Quarter, former New York City restauranteurs Picasso and Laurel St. Pierre are the toast of the town of Crestwood, Kansas. Chef Picasso’s culinary creations delight the women of the quilting club, who have embraced him as a friend. But Laurel’s anti-social behavior confuses Kate Simpson—until she spots Mrs. St. Pierre with another man in what appears to be a lover’s spat. 

 Gossip travels fast in a small town like Crestwood, and rumor has it this isn’t Laurel’s first indiscretion. She also filed a police report accusing Picasso of domestic abuse. And when Laurel’s murdered body is found Picasso is the prime suspect. To prove their friend’s innocence, Kate and the Crestwood Quilters must uncover the secrets of Laurel’s past—a patchwork history wrapped up in Kate’s own teenage years . . .

To Spell with It

To Spell with It
Book 4
Amanda M. Lee
July 2nd
https://amzn.to/2F50iRI 

Hadley Hunter thinks she’s seen everything – okay, maybe not everything but a lot of things – but she’s never seen a cupid convention.

When her good friend Booker’s fellow cupids descend on Moonstone Bay, she thinks it’s going to be fun and games. Instead, it’s mayhem and mystery when a rash of suicides and attempted suicides hit random island residents.

That means it’s off to the races to solve another mystery.

Hadley has been doing a lot of thinking about her life. She wants a career, not a job. She also wants to uncover a murderer. Even though her boyfriend Galen tries to keep her out of the case, she’s bound and determined to be in the thick of things.

Galen’s fears come to fruition when something starts calling to Hadley in her dreams and he’s convinced whatever creature convinced the others to try to kill themselves is now after Hadley.

Between egocentric cupids who are at war with each other, a big mystery regarding the origin of some of Hadley’s favorite paranormal friends, and her own determination, Hadley isn’t giving up without answers.

She’s used to having magical backup at every turn. This time, she’s going to have to fight the ultimate battle alone.

Is she up to the challenge? She’d better be. Everyone she loves is in danger and she’s the only one who can save them.

It’s time to witch up … and she’s ready.

Killer in the Carriage House

Killer in the Carriage House
Book 2
Sheila Connolly
July 9th
https://amzn.to/2WpxpFH

After fifteen years away, Kate Hamilton never expected to end up back in her hometown of Asheboro, Maryland full time. And she definitely didn’t expect to be leading the charge of recreating the town as a Victorian village and tourist attraction. But as unexpected as the circumstances are, Kate is ready to tackle them.

The town, on the other hand, is going to take some convincing. Ever since Henry Barton’s shovel factory closed down, it’s started to seem like there are more tumbleweeds than tourists rolling down Main Street. Kate’s ideas are good, but ambitious—and her friends and neighbors are worried that finding the money for them would push the town even further into debt.

Luckily, Kate and the handsome historian Joshua Wainwright are two very determined people who may have come up with a solution. The Barton mansion, meant to be the centerpiece of the Victorian village, has proven to be a veritable goldmine of documents about the town’s nineteenth-century history, and Kate is convinced the papers hide something of value. When a dead body turns up in the town library—mere hours before the documents were meant to arrive there themselves—Kate begins to worry that the papers spell danger instead of dollars. It seems that someone doesn’t want these forgotten secrets coming to light, and they’ll do whatever it takes to keep Kate quiet…

Penne Dreadful

Penne Dreadful
Book 1
Catherine Bruns
July 30th
https://amzn.to/2K9rFOG 

Local chef Tessa Esposito is struggling to get back on her feet following her husband’s fatal accident. And when the police knock on Tessa’s door, things just get worse. They’ve discovered Dylan’s death wasn’t an accident after all, and they need Tessa to start filling in the blanks. Who would want her beloved husband dead, and why?

With the investigation running cold, Tessa decides it’s time to save her sanity by reconnecting with her first love-cooking. And maybe the best way back into the kitchen is to infiltrate Dylan’s favorite local pizza parlor, which also happens to be the last place he was seen before he died. But the anchovies aren’t the only thing that stink inside the small family business, and with suspects around every corner, Tessa finds that her husband’s many secrets might land her in hot water.

Death in aa Budapest Butterfly

Death in a Budapest Butterfly
Book 1
Julia Buckley
July 30th
https://amzn.to/2Iv1L4w 

Hana Keller and her family run Maggie’s Tea House, an establishment heavily influenced by the family’s Hungarian heritage and specializing in a European-style traditional tea service. But one of the shop’s largest draws is Hana’s eccentric grandmother, Juliana, renowned for her ability to read the future in the leaves at the bottom of customers’ cups. Lately, however, her readings have become alarmingly ominous and seemingly related to old Hungarian legends…

When a guest is poisoned at a tea event, Juliana’s dire predictions appear to have come true. Things are brought to a boil when Hana’s beloved  Anna Weatherley butterfly teacup becomes the center of the murder investigation as it carried the poisoned tea. The cup is claimed as evidence by a handsome police detective, and the pretty Tea House is suddenly endangered.  Hana and her family must catch the killer to save their business and bring the beautiful Budapest Butterfly back home where it belongs.

Introducing Booktuber Courtagonist

What a wonderful article to read. Thank you so much for wanting to share the Cozy love! I have enjoyed getting to know you and meet you virtually!!! ❤️❤️❤️

Soulful Lounge

Courtagonist

There is a community that I belong to on YouTube called BookTube and it is phenomenal. BookTube is a community of people who are lovers of all things book related. The awesome thing is there are booktubers of every fashion, culture, and nationality. The community discusses every genre, events, authors, book reviews, book haul, book unhaul, and so much more. It is an amazing community and you can get so much information.

I would like to take a moment and introduce you to one of my favorite Booktubers. Her name is Courtney, but you will come to know her as Courtagonist. She joined BookTube in June of 2017 and her channel is based on cozy mysteries. Every now and then she will discuss something non-cozy, but her channel is mainly cozy mysteries. Cozy mysteries are stories that feature small towns, amateur sleuths, the sex and violence is very downplayed…

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Naturally Crated| Summer 2019

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Every quarter when I get this box in I LITERALLY squeal with joy. I love this box so much. They have changed it to where every box is curated to natural cleaning products for a room in your house. For the Spring the box was all about the Laundry Room! I have been using ALL of the products in my weekly washing! Go check it out!

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Approved By Elizabeth:

All products must fit into at least one of the following categories:

  • Products are full-sized, single-use or multi-use
  • All personal care & food products must include full ingredient lists
  • We value transparency, longevity of use, and family-friendly products
  • We never purchase items that we know have been tested on animals

This is a company that I can proudly stand by and that I feel good about getting every season. This box is $75 a quarter and it is worth EVERY PENNY!

Now, let’s get into the amazing goodies that we got in Summer Crate.

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Mama Suds
Castile Soap $11.50
All-Purpose Cleaner $12.50

I have been on the look out for an amazing All-Purpose Cleaner for FOREVER. They either leave a gross residue or they have a horribly powerful scent that gives me an instant headache. This cleaner however is perfect! It is perfect! Seriously! I love it.

Next of course is the Castille Soap by Mama Suds as well. This is an all-purpose cleaning soap. It has an amazingly long list of uses from hand-washing dishes and floors to counters. I can’t wait to use this!!!

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Moso Natural Fridge Bag
Retail: $8.95

My mom has always used a deodorizer like baking soda. But I really love this! The fact that it is fragrance free and filled with bamboo charcoal. This makes me feel safe with it being near our food. I love that it comes with a hook to hang it and that it will last up to two years.

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Milk bottle Candle
Retail: $21.95

I am currently burning this candle as I write this blog post. I love the fact that it looks so rustic and is so quaint looking. I love the smell as well. There is nothing better than the clean smell that is coming from the candle. I also adore the fact that they are made the old-fashioned way in a reclaimed United States Farm. They are made with soy wax, essential oils and cotton wicks. I’ll be reusing this bottle as a vase when I’ve used up the candle!

Organic Essential Oils
$15.90

Something that I adore about this box is that they send you essential oils every single time. They are always perfect for what they are promoting at the time as well. Last box they sent lavender and orange for the laundry. Which I have used up all of the way!!! Now they have sent Eucalyptus and Tea Tree! I can’t wait to see what they send for the Fall!

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Canning Tags
Retail: $2.99

These are adorable and perfect for the little cans that I have here at home. They are simple and sweet. I know that I will be using them for gifts later this year.

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Automatic Dishwasher Powder
Retail $17.00

One of the things that Aaron and I have had to work on is what we are going to use to clean the dishes. I was alway partial to liquid but Aaron have converted me to powder. I love it even more that it is a natural powder! It claims that there will be no more white residue on my glasses! This makes me a very happy woman! I also love that it is biodegradable, non-toxic, and will do 90+ loads!

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Pink Himalayan Salt
Retail: $3.75

There is just something gorgeous and calming about the look of pink himalayan salt. I also love how it tastes!!! IT REALLY IS THE BEST SALT! It is also supposed to help boost energy, contributes to healthy skin, and be an anti-bacterial and anti-imflammatory!

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Beechwood Serving Knife
Retail: $8.00

This is just a cool little trinket! I love the etching on the knife as well. This is perfect for special occasions as well. It is sustainably sourced!

I loved every single item in this box. I love how much thought and detail was put into the curation. The items are things that people need on a weekly bases. Everyone needs to clean their kitchen and dishes. The idea of doing it safely and in a way that is good for the environment makes me happy.

Naturally Crated costs $75 a SEASON. That is a wonderful price! Especially when you get over $100 worth of items in each box.

Live life naturally!

Until next time…

~Courtny

 

Bonjour Jolie| May 2019

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There is nothing more that I love then a box that has a theme to it. Bonjour Jolie really knocked it out of the park. This month’s theme is all about Honey!!!! This is my most favorite sweetener! Nature’s own candy! I love that this box has everything that I need!! Especially for when I am on my period.

“Beekeeping is a crucial component to any local food initiative. Honey and solitary bees provide much needed pollination. Bee pollination increases fruit and vegetable size at yield, speeds up maturity, and even produces a more symmetrical fruit shape.” Pledge to Save the Bees!

“The Ultimate Subscription Box Designed Exclusively for You to Be Pampered on your Period! We take the Frustration out of Menstruation!”

Monthly Subscription

$23.50 / month

  • Each Box comes with:
  • A Unique Gift
  • Bath and Body Pampering Items
  • Specialty Teas or Drinks
  • Sweet Edible Treats
  • Up to 20 Menstrual Items
  • Hygiene Wipes and Ibuprofen

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The Necessary

There is nothing worse than being at work or at an event and having mother nature knock on your door without being prepared. These are the perfect size for a clutch or in your pocket!

The Pampering
South Bee Farms Solid Lotion Bar
4 oz
Retail $16.00

I love that this box is broken up into different sections! There was the necessary with the tampons and now we are onto the pampering item! The amazing lotion bar. There is nothing I hate more than dry skin! I love that they included a natural long lasting bar made with beeswax and shea butter. You just need to warm it with your hands and rub it on their dry areas!

The Edibles

There is nothing better than sweet and salty snacks during your period. This box came right in time for me! If you know what I mean. Ha! I love that there are graham crackers, Nature Valley bars, honey sticks, and tea. This is seriously the best period box one could ask for!

The Edibles

Of course, a whole box surrounding honey wouldn’t be complete without real honey and a honey comb dipper! This is the cutest and the best honey ever! This is perfect to sweeten the tea that they sent as well!

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The Gift

I really thought that this box couldn’t get any better until I opened up this stunning necklace. I love that it looks like a deep honey color and the little bee charm. I can’t wait to wear it! It is so gorgeous!

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The Helpful

Even though they didn’t name these as The Helpful, I did! Sometimes before, during, or after my period I feel so gross. Oily and breaking out of course. I love that they sent over these wipes! This makes throwing them in my bag so much easier. Along with the Advil for cramps and headaches that come along with Aunt Flo. This rounds up the box perfectly.

Overall this was an amazing box. I loved it! I can’t wait to see what June 2019 brings!

Until next time,

Courtny

Cozy Releases| June 2019

Cozy Mystery Releases Video

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Duplex Double Trouble (A Flamingo Realty Mystery Book 4)Kindle Edition
by CeeCee James
https://amzn.to/2WdjQOp
June 2nd

Stella’s newest client, Charlie Booker, wants to sell his half of a duplex but before he can sign the listing papers, he’s murdered.

Even stranger, there are only one set of footprints leaving the house, with none showing up as entering the home.

The police mark it as a robbery gone wrong and target a local group of petty thieves.

Stella can’t shake the feeling that it’s someone much closer. There’s his neighbor, the owner of the other half of the property, and a girlfriend who was overheard threatening the poor victim. The girlfriend is overly polite and friendly while being really passive aggressive about keeping her out of the house.

Stella doesn’t have any evidence to give the police- she can’t have anyone arrested on bad vibes. So, Stella does some sleuthing and the more she digs around, the more convinced she is that there’s something hidden in that house. What could be in there that’s worth committing murder for?

Meanwhile, Stella finds out more about her past… and her mother. The secrets are starting to unfold and Stella is holding all the men in her life accountable. She’s just as determined to know the whole truth as they are determined to keep her from finding out.

Screen Shot 2019-05-30 at 11.02.28 AMA Patchwork of Clues (Queen Bees Quilt Shop Book 1) Kindle Edition
by Sally Goldenbaum
https://amzn.to/2KhvyQV
June 4th

On her morning jog, Portia Paltrow comes upon the dead body of antiques store owner and college professor Owen Hill, sprawled across the back doorstep of Selma Parker’s fabric and quilt shop on Elderberry Road. The site of their Saturday morning quilting bee just became a crime scene. Violent crime is rare in the charming village of Crestwood, Kansas, and rumors are soon circulating of a burglary gone wrong. But who would rob a quilt shop? No, Owen Hill has been murdered.

Selma and her assistant manager Susan are understandably at loose ends over the crime. So while the tightly knit covey of quilters—who range from a new mother to a wise octogenarian—work together on a Crystal Pattern quilt for Selma’s store’s anniversary, they also get busy stitching together a patchwork of clues. But they’d better work fast—before a crafty killer bolts . . .

Screen Shot 2019-05-30 at 11.02.36 AMThe Tell Tail Heart (Cat Cafe Mystery Series Book 3) Kindle Edition
by Cate Conte
https://amzn.to/2EGoCJw
June 25th

Maddie is hoping to have some downtime during Daybreak Island’s off-season to tackle her to-do list. Her grandfather’s house-turned-cat-café is under construction and she’s also scoping out places to open a juice bar on the island. On top of that, her relationship with adorable dog groomer Lucas has taken a pawsitive turn.

But easy is getting harder every day for Maddie, especially when a big-name writer who’s on the island working on a new project winds up floating in the canal. This, on the exact same day an eccentric woman shows up at the cafe claiming Maddie’s cat, JJ, is hers.

As the investigation into the dead writer picks up, Maddie realizes that even the neighbors she’s known all her life might be keeping secrets that go deep into the heart of this small seaside town. Meanwhile, a killer remains at-large…and on the prowl.

 

Screen Shot 2019-05-30 at 11.02.48 AMGuilty as Charred (A Cook-Off Mystery Book 3) Kindle Edition
by Devon Delaney
https://amzn.to/2W9CpTs
June 25th

Sherry Oliveri has attained celebrity status after winning the America’s Good Taste Recipe Contest with her delectable New England Crab Cake Sliders. But now that she’s back home in Connecticut, she’s got to deal with something else fishy . . .

Sherry’s making a guest appearance on a local radio show when the news comes in: Poppy Robinson has been found dead in the town’s community garden. Sherry was supposed to be taking questions about her win in the national cooking competition, but instead the callers start dishing dirt.

Poppy and Sherry were both involved in the vegetable garden, and while Poppy may have been a bit priggish, it wasn’t anything that called for a shovel to the back of the head. There was already trouble brewing, with the owner of the land threatening to renege on their agreement, and this murder has taken tensions to a new level. Now while Sherry’s organizing a Fourth of July cook-off event, she’s also got a murder investigation on her plate . . .

Includes Recipes from Sherry’s Kitchen!

Screen Shot 2019-05-30 at 11.02.57 AMClause & Effect (Deadly Edits Book 2) Kindle Edition
by Kaitlyn Dunnett
https://amzn.to/2EHv0Qs
June 25th

Nestled in the picturesque Catskills, the village of Lenape Hollow prepares to celebrate the 225th anniversary of its founding. Freelance book editor Mikki Lincoln has been drafted to update and correct the script, left over from the town’s bicentennial, which is housed at the historical society.

The building is being renovated for the first time since that last celebration. But when construction reveals a shocking discovery—human remains walled up in a fireplace—Mikki shifts focus from cold-reading to solving a cold case.

Just as her investigation seems to have hit a brick wall, a new murder rattles the townspeople. Clearly, someone is hiding a few skeletons in the closet. Now Mikki will need to go off script to make a connection between the bicentennial bones and the current homicide. But if this book editor isn’t careful, she may be the next one sentenced to death . . .