Meet I.L. Cruz, Author [Author Interview]

Author Interview: I.L. Cruz | Creative Writing | Self-Published Author |

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

Thanks for having me on your blog today! I’m I.L. Cruz, author of the epic fantasy A Smuggler’s Path: Book One of the Enchanted Path series. I’m originally from Brooklyn, but I now live in Maryland. My childhood surrounded by strong women and diverse people has influenced my writing. And my protagonists are usually Latinas because I didn’t see enough of that as a kid or even now.

How long have you been writing for?

Writing is something I’ve always done as a creative outlet and to work things out on paper. It was about 12 years ago I wanted to write an entire novel, but it took another five or six years before I decided that I wanted writing to be my career.

What motivates you to write? How did you begin writing?

The most random things motivate me write. A documentary about trees. A nursery rhyme. A strange noise in the middle of the night. That and so many other things trigger ideas (not all good) and if I can string enough of them together, a story emerges. For example, my current series started because I’d been reading fairy tales and nursery rhymes to my daughter and a combination of horror at the female protagonists (if you can call them that), the uptick of fairy tale retellings, and wanting to know what happened to the nursery rhyme characters after the rhyme led me to write my first novel.

Do you have a writing routine? If so, what’s a typical day like for you?

My routine is more a plan than a day-in, day-out fixture. I plan project by project. When it’s a first draft, I stick to pen and paper (made more high-tech by my Light Scribe smart pen, which lets me upload my notebooks to my computer) and write a chapter at a time. When I finish a chapter, I scribble notes about what should get done in the next chapter. I continue that way until the draft is done and then I take two weeks off before I read it back. I do this during school hours on the weekdays and it’s worked so far…

How did you decide to self-publish instead of going the traditional company?

It wasn’t just my choice. I’d been fiddling with my series for years and agents didn’t seem to know what to do with my book. Some said it was too whimsical for adults. When I tried making it YA, my MC was too close to her mother, which they said wouldn’t work for teens. I didn’t agree with blanket statements like that and my family kept urging me to publish my book, myself.

What was the self-publishing process like? How long did it take?

Indie publishing is such a process! I had to learn things like creating maps, blogging, formatting, hiring an editor, and hundreds of little things I never even thought of but learned along the way. But in reality it took longer to take the leap into indie publishing then getting down to the business of putting it out there.

Are you currently working on anything new?

Now that A Smuggler’s Path is out in the world, I’m working on editing the second book in that series. When I decided to write a series, I wrote the entire thing (all four books) so now I’m in what feels like permanent editing mode. It’s called A Noble’s Path and continues Inez’s story. I’m also putting out a separate novella series called The Cemetery Circle, which comes out Valentine’s Day.

If you weren’t a writer, what would your career be?

I’ve become so immersed in books, I would still want to stay in that world. Ideally, I’d own a travel book store with a special section for “fantasy travel” containing speculative fiction books. Either that or work in a museum…I have an MA in history and since I can’t imagine being a teacher, it’s the next best option.

What’s one thing you learned through writing that you wish you knew before you started?

I wish I had known how long it was going to take! Until you decide you want to be a writer, you have this vague notion of all the work that goes into it. Somehow, I’m imagined sitting with my notebook and pen and finishing novel after novel followed by publication a few weeks later. I assumed only the mythic great American novel took years. Now I have more realistic expectations.

What is your favorite book, genre, or author?

I have one for each. Although my favorite genre (lately) is fantasy, my favorite book is Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder, a novel about the history of philosophy. My favorite authors are all over the map: Marion Zimmer Bradley, Sharon Kay Penman, Edward Rutherford, Diana Gabaldon, and Elizabeth Hunter. There are more, but that could cover a separate interview!

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

There’s too much advice out there and in the beginning, you’ll listen to all of it and even judge yourself by it. The day your able to take it all in and realize some of it isn’t for you, then you’re a writer.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

My superpower is research. I believe numbers and letter have a sex (for example 4 and A are female, but 1 and B are male). Rainy days are underrated, and I still remember lyrics to jingles and cartoons from the 80s.

Oh, and I tend to be random with my thoughts. Thanks again for letting me share!

About I.L. Cruz

IL Cruz, Author | Author Interview | Creative Writing | Self-Published Author | Writers | RachelPoli.comI.L. Cruz decided to make writing her full-time career during the economic downturn in 2008. Since then she’s used her BA in International Relations to sow political intrigue in her fantasy worlds and her MA in history to strive for the perfect prologue. When she’s not engaged in this mad profession she indulges her wanderlust as often as possible, watches too much sci-fi and reads until her eyes cross. She lives in Maryland with her husband, daughter and a sun-seeking supermutt named Dipper.

Blog | Twitter | Website

A Smuggler's Path by IL Cruz | Author Interview | Self-Published Author | Creative Writing | The Cemetery Circle by IL Cruz | Author Interview | Self-Published Author | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.comBuy A Smuggler’s Path:

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Short Story Sunday 252: Admit [Flash Fiction]

Short Story: "Admit" | Creative Writing | Flash Fiction |

Gina opened the front door to her house and poked her head in. Neither one of her parents were in the living room. She didn’t hear anything coming from the kitchen either. Hopefully, her father was in the basement and her mother was in their bedroom. She entered the house and closed the door softly behind her. She wasn’t in the mood to talk to them. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to, but she didn’t want to lie to them.

She adjusted her backpack onto her shoulders and quietly made her way over to the stairs. As long as she’d be able to make it up there without making too much noise, she should be in the clear.

Except pretty much every step squeaked. Why was it that the stairs never made a sound when she walked normally on them, yet they spoke loudly whenever she was trying to be stealth?

“Honey, is that you?” she heard her mother call.

Gina froze in the middle of the stairs. Honey could mean one of two things – either her mother knew Gina was due home from school or she thought she was talking to her husband.

“Honey?” she called again.

Gina bit her lower lip. Come on, say a name! Honey wasn’t getting anyone anywhere.

There were a few moments of silent. Gina hoped her mother had given up. Maybe she thought she had heard things. Yeah, that would be good. Now all Gina had to do was try her best to keep as quiet as she could. She was halfway up the stairs already. She could do this.

Gina lifted her left foot to take the next step when she heard other footsteps. She froze again. The basement stairs were directly below the stairs going up. That meant her father was coming up from the basement.

That was okay, though. Maybe he was just going into the kitchen to get a snack.

She heard the basement door open. This was still okay. As long as she didn’t move, no one would notice her and she’d be fine.


She remained still. How had she not heard her father round the corner? Clearly, he had much more practice at being stealth than she was.

“Uh, Gina? What are you doing?”

Oh, right. She was still frozen. She relaxed and turned around to smile at her dad. “Hey, how are ya?”

Her father narrowed his eyes in confusion. “I’m good, how are you doing?”

“Great,” Gina replied all too quickly.

“Honey, what’s going – oh. Hi, Gina.”

Gina snapped her head around. Her mother was now standing at the top of the stairs. “Oh, no… I’m cornered.” She muttered.

“Cornered?” her father repeated folding his arms sternly.

Gina grinned. What else was she supposed to do?

“Did anything interesting happen in school today?” her mother asked.

“Well, you don’t have to pressure me! Fine, I’ll tell you.” Gina said exasperated. She threw her arms up in the air before turning back to her mother. Did she detect a small smirk on her mother’s face?

“I got…” Gina began but then sighed.

“Suspended, we know.” Her father finished her sentence.

Gina paused. “Wait, how?”

“Your principal called.” Her mother answered.

“Oh,” Gina relaxed. In a way she was relieved. She didn’t want to lie to them but she also didn’t want them know she had gotten too many detentions to warrant a suspension. Which reminded her… “Do you know why?”

“Too many detentions.” Her father said.

“Which explains why you’re home late sometimes.” Her mother added.

Gina nodded. There was no getting out of this one.

“So, were you sneaking up the stairs?” her mother chuckled. “What were you going to do during the school day for the next week without us knowing?”

Gina opened her mouth. Honestly, she hadn’t thought that far ahead yet. It was true, she would have had to pretend to go to school every morning. What would she do? Where would she go? Her mother stayed home, there was no way she’d be able to just hang home all day.

“Well, it doesn’t matter, Dear.” Her father said. He started walking up the stairs and slid past his daughter. “She’s grounded anyway.”

Her mother nodded. “Yes, I suppose you’re right.” Once her husband was at the top of the stairs, she took it upon herself to go downstairs. She patted Gina on the shoulder as she passed.

Gina watched her mother as she disappeared into the living room. She looked above her and her father was already gone. She leaned her back against the wall and sighed. Well, that didn’t go as planned. Deep down she knew that was for the best.

Words: 783

Check out the other Short Story Sundays I’ve done!

I hope you enjoyed this story! Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Warriors: Thunder And Shadow (A Vision Of Shadows 2) By Erin Hunter [Book Review]

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support!

Book Review: Warriors Thunder and Shadow (A Vision of Shadows 2) by Erin Hunter | Book Blog | Fantasy | Fiction | YA | Middle Grade | Reading |

I got this as a Christmas gift.


Nearly a moon has passed since Alderpaw returned from his journey to SkyClan’s gorge, where he found the territory taken over by rogues. Now the same vicious cats that drove out SkyClan have traced Alderpaw’s path back to the lake… and ShadowClan may be the next to fall.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.comThe cover, as usual is very pretty. I really love the new designs and the cats look fairly realistic.

Plot | RachelPoli.comLike the title suggests, this book focuses on ThunderClan, as usual, and ShadowClan. The rogues that drove out SkyClan in the previous book have followed Alderpaw home and taken over ShadowClan as their own territory. All that’s left of ShadowClan is Rowanstar, Tawnypelt, and Tigerheart. All the other ShadowClan cats have remained in ShadowClan with the rogues for various reasons.

The stakes have truly raised in this book from the last. All the Clans are effected by these rogues, but ThunderClan and ShadowClan need to truly team up to defeat the threat – and this isn’t a typical team in this series. With that said, it was very well done.

Characters | RachelPoli.comAll the characters are confused in this one and trying to figure out who to trust and what to do. My only complaint about the characters is that Twigpaw and Violetpaw’s relationship is starting to get annoying. The two of them are confused and want to be together but are making very different choices. Yet, they each seem to think that whatever the other decides is because of them. It doesn’t make any sense and they bicker over nonsense because of it.

Writing Style |

This particular book was very well written. Up until now we’ve always seen the books through the eyes of a ThunderClan cat. This book goes back and forth between ThunderClan and ShadowClan. We’re allowed to see how ShadowClan runs, their customs, and how they’re different and the same as ThunderClan. It’s made me want a separate Warriors series based in ShadowClan as well as one based in WindClan and one in RiverClan. I would truly love to see how the other Clans run.

Overall | RachelPoli.comThis was a pretty intense book but there was a lot of arguing and misunderstandings which got old quick. I think this book was a set up for what’s to come later. I really enjoyed the way it was written though and seeing through the eyes of another Clan was eye-opening and very cool.

Warriors: Thunder and Shadow (A Vision of Shadows 2) by Erin Hunter gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“Shared knowledge is never wasted.” -Erin Hunter, Warriors: Thunder and Shadow (A Vision of Shadows 2)

Buy the book:


Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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Time To Write: Love & Hate [Creative Writing Prompt]

Last week’s writing prompt was a set the scene prompt.

This week’s writing prompt is:

Time to Write: Love and Hate | Creative writing prompt | flash fiction | short story |

Write a story based on the prompt above.

If you use this prompt, please leave a link to your post in the comments below and I’ll share it next week. Please be sure to link back to my blog so your readers know where you got the prompt!

Happy Writing! If you want more, check out all my other Writing Prompts here!

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Character Asks: Valentine’s Day Edition

I’ve decided to do something a little different on the blog this time around. I may even turn this into some sort of feature down the line. I’ve done book tags and writer tags in the past, but I’ve never done a character tag before. I used to interview my characters long ago way before I even started my blog. I enjoy getting to know my characters more though and thought it would be fun to create a new tag for characters. This time it’s Character Asks: Valentine’s Day Edition.

Character Asks: Valentine's Day Edition | Writer Tag | Book Tag | Character Tag | Character Interview | Writing Asks | Creative Writing |

George Florence & The Perfect Alibi

I’m juggling a lot of WIPs right now so, for this particular one I’m going to focus on the characters from my mystery novel, George Florence & The Perfect Alibi. These characters are the most developed and I have a lot of fun with them.

Is your main character single? If so, who would they spend Valentine’s Day with?

All of my characters are single except for Ebony, George’s older sister. With that said, George and Lilah would most likely spend the day together. Then again, they spend every day together. However, George would probably want to keep working throughout the day.

Do any of your characters have a crush?

As of right now, no. I do have plans for Lilah to develop a crush on a certain someone later in the series, but in book one, no. No one has any crushes on anyone else.

What’s the perfect date for your main character?

George would want to stay in and watch a movie or go for a nice walk in the park. He wouldn’t want to do anything too fancy but he’d want to get to know her as well. Lilah, on the other hand, would want to go out to eat – probably for burgers. But if she met someone who planned something simple, she wouldn’t mind.

Which character would go to Valentine’s Day dinner alone?

Caleb. He would probably order dinner for two and then pretend he got stood up. He’d get extra food and possibly a discount on the bill if his sob story was hardcore enough.

Which character hates Valentine’s Day?

George. There is a reason for this, but it would be spoilers for book two.

What turns your main character on?

Logical thinking turns George on. He gets very impressed and wants to give that person puzzles to solve or to help out on an investigation. Lilah doesn’t have too high of standards. If a man gives her coffee, she’s sold.

Which character just wants the candy?

Lilah. And probably Caleb.

Does your character feel as though they need a date for Valentine’s Day?

No. None of them really care too much about Valentine’s Day so none of them have a need to go out and celebrate. This isn’t just because their single either. George has his reasons, but Lilah believes every day is a good day to show friends, family, and significant others that you love them.

Which character would participate in something Valentine’s Day related for the sake of celebrating a holiday?

Caleb… probably to get that free candy!

Which character would take their best friend out?

George or Caleb. (Seriously, Caleb has become a much bigger part of the series than I originally meant for him to be.) George would do something special for Lilah as a thank you for all her help, but that’s it. It would just be the nice gesture. Caleb would gladly take Lilah out if it was something she truly wanted. They’ve developed a hardcore friendship with each other. Caleb would also fake being Lilah’s boyfriend if it was needed for whatever reason.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this character ask. Feel free to answer these questions with your own characters and WIPs. If you do, please link back to this post as well as let me know you participated. I’d love to see some other answers!

Can you answer these with some of your characters? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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WIP Wednesday [February 2019]

I feel like such a broken record every month, but… here we are: the middle of February. These months seem to be getting shorter and shorter.

2019 WIP February | Work in Progress | WIP Wednesday | Creative Writing | Writing Goals |

Sunday Morning (Vol. 1)

I honestly don’t have much to say on this except that it’s almost done. I promise! I can’t wait to finally get this book out of the nest.

George Florence & The Perfect Alibi (Book 1)

I will be creating a plan of action for this one. This is almost done as well, I can feel it. I’ll probably use the 85K90 Writing Challenge as a timeline to get this one done. The major thing that may slow me down with this one is hiring an editor. So, we’ll see how things play out.


I officially made a Fiverr account! I’ve already gotten my first gig and a 5-star rating, so I’m pretty proud of that! As of right now I’m offering beta reading and content writing services, though more will be added over time. You can check out my Fiverr account as well as the Services page on this blog to learn more.

Patron Story

I completed writing February’s story for my patrons. This is the longest one I’ve written being over 3,000 words. I think it’s a good one though and honestly, my favorite one I’ve written so far for my patrons. That has been posted on my Patreon exclusive for all my patrons. If you’d like an exclusive short story each month, feel free to join my Patreon at any tier.

That’s It

I honestly have to say, February has been slow on the writing front. There’s been a lot of other things going on between work and real life. I’ve actually worked a good amount on smaller projects rather than my bigger projects. I need to sit down and look at what I want to get done by the end of the month and go from there.

What have you been working on this month? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Scheduling Downtime & Writing Time [Healthy Writer]

When it comes to being a writer, it’s hard to distinguish between writing time, downtime, family time, shower time, and any other time. Scheduling downtime and writing time isn’t easy – especially if you work from home. Home is home but it’s also work and the wires in your brain will get crossed. It’s easy to give yourself just “one more minute” on whatever project you’re working on. Before you know it, you’ve sat on your butt all day and that one minute turned into an extra three hours.

Healthy Writer: Scheduling Downtime and Writing Time | Creative Writing | Blogging |

The Difference Between Downtime & Writing Time

I have to admit, for a long time I thought my downtime and writing time were one in the same. I love writing and even though I wanted to do it for a living, I told people it was a hobby. It’s a hobby I get to do for a career. So, whenever I wasn’t writing, I wanted to write more.

I would write in the morning, go to work, and then write more when I came home. The writing later was considered my “downtime” because I was writing for work, but it was also for fun as well. Then I realized I was still staring at a computer screen and even if I wrote in a notebook, I was still thinking and working.

So, I decided to tell myself that I wrote before and after work because it was something that needed to get done. My “downtime” was then when I went to work. I worked at a preschool and babysat in the afternoons… that is no downtime. That’s work and it’s a lot of physical activity as well as mental activity. There were no breaks in my day. I wrote, worked, then wrote more which was just a different kind of work.

The Importance of a Schedule

This was one of the reasons I quit my job. I was working myself to the bone and my writing was more important to me. I took a leap and yet, I’m still working myself to the bone.

Now I have all day to write, blog, and do anything else that pertains to my writing career. I’m on the computer a lot. I’m writing novels, writing blog posts or social media posts, I’m creating blog graphics or book covers, I’m doing freelance writing work… there’s no end to it.

I still love it and enjoy it, but there definitely needs to be some sort of line. I need to exercise. I need to get away from the computer. I need to stop thinking about writing or work and have some fun. I need to socialize with my friends and family.

Not only will this help my mind and body, but it’ll help my work in the long run as well. No, I won’t be “working,” but I’ll come back to my work with a fresh take on things.

How To Create Your Schedule

One factor that I used when creating my “work” schedule was when I do my best work but also, when does everyone else work? I don’t want to lounge around the house while everyone else is at their jobs and then, when they get home and are buzzing around the house, making dinner, and wanting to watch a movie or something together, I don’t want to respond with, “Sorry, I have to work.”

Lucky for me, everyone works in the morning and comes home in the afternoon and I happen to do my best work in the morning. I’m more awake at that time. So, that’s why I’ve created my schedule to write in the very early morning while everyone else is just waking up and getting ready for work. Then I get my blogging and such done during the day when everyone else is at work.

Time Blocking & Breaks

Of course, I don’t work straight through the day. I take a break in between my writing and blogging times. I usually get my workout done then as well as shower and do the dishes. Then I get another few hours in before settling down for an hour of lunch. Once lunch is over, I babysit for a couple of hours. When I get home, I sometimes will do another hour or two of work or I’ll just eat dinner and chill for the rest of the night either playing video games, watching a movie, reading a book, or whatever.

Give Yourself A Day Off

Seriously, even though taking breaks throughout the day is helpful, giving yourself at least one day off a week is needed. I tend to use Fridays as my day off and I’ll catch up on some reading or clean the house. I tend to stay away from the computer if I can help it. A full day’s rest is needed after wearing many different hats throughout the week. Eventually, I would like to give myself Saturdays and Sundays off and only work the five days a week, but we’ll see.


The only person who can fit a schedule to your needs perfectly is you. Getting into the routine can be tough and you may have to do trial and error before you find a great schedule that works for you. But it’s worth it. It’s needed for your body and for your mental health. No one can be on social media 24/7. No one can sit on their butt all day long. Do yourself a favor, a prioritize your health. No, there aren’t enough hours in the day. But life is short and those hours should be spent with loved ones and not constant work.

How do you schedule your downtime and writing time? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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The Difference Between Flash Fiction & Short Stories

For a long time, I had always used the terms short story and flash fiction as though they were one in the same. All I knew was that they were stories that were not long… simple as that. Right?

Of course, this was when I was younger. As I got older and dabbled more in the writing world, I realized how wrong I was. Then again, I wrote a lot on the Fan Fiction website and 100-word stories were called “drabbles.” I thought that was the only difference between flash fiction and short stories. 100 words were drabbles and anything higher was a short story and/or flash fiction because they totally meant the same thing.

The Difference Between Flash Fiction and Short Stories | Flash Fiction Writing | Short Story Writing | Creative Writing |

What is a short story?

A short story is exactly as it sounds – it’s a story that’s significantly shorter than a novel or novella. Aside from length, a short story has pretty much everything in common with a novel. It has a fleshed-out plot, well-rounded characters, and a developed setting and theme.

What is a flash fiction?

A flash fiction is essentially the same thing, only the story is told in a couple hundred words or so. It has a well thought out plot and great characters, but they don’t necessarily need to be fully developed. It helps, yes, but I’ve read my fair share of flash fiction where some things were left up to my own imagination and I personally like it that way.

How many words is a short story?

According to Writer’s Digest, a short story is typically 1,500 words to about 30,000 words which is when it crosses over to novella territory. However, I personally have seen some short stories go up to 10- or 15,000 words. If you know of one that’s actually near 30,000 words, let me know. I’m curious. Whenever I write short stories, they typically don’t get longer than 5,000 words or so… unless I’m writing a short story about George and Lilah. Then I can get up to 10,000 or even 15,000 words. Maybe even 20,000 words. I have a lot of fun with those characters.

How many words is a flash fiction?

Since flash fiction is shorter than short stories, flash fiction is considered to be anywhere under 1,500 words. Flash fiction can vary from being 500 words or as low as 100 words. I’m sure you’ve all heard of 6-word stories before. There are a few fairly famous ones. Then again, 6-word stories may be considered micro fiction… if that’s even a real term. I may be making that one up.

Which one should you write?

Both. Flash fiction and short stories are great practice for writing in general – characters, pacing, plot, everything. It helps to challenge yourself into writing a complete story within a certain amount of words. I’ll admit, I sometimes decide to write flash fiction and then it turns into a short story because I get carried away with the current plot I’m building.

If I think about it, my Short Story Sundays should be Flash Fiction Fridays.

Which do you prefer? Do you read and write shorts, flashes, or both? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Short Story Sunday 251: Provide [Flash Fiction]

Short Story: "Provide" | Creative Writing | Flash Fiction |

Brady entered the store. He looked at the list his girlfriend had given him. After reading the items over in his head a few times, he folded the paper up and slid it into his back pocket. He turned around and walked back out of the store to grab a basket.

He hated it when the stores had an entry way and put their baskets and shopping carts there. Sure, it saved room in the store, but most often than not, he would grab his items then realize he needs more but has no arm space. Then he’d have to put it all down to leave the store, grab, a cart, only to come back in and pick everything back up. It was a pain.

He had grabbed a basket this time knowing he’d need it before he tried to fill his arms up with everything his girlfriend needed. Normally she did the shopping when it came to the kids, but she wasn’t feeling that well. And, well, they really did need food.

Brady wandered through the store weaving in and out of the many isles. While she had written down the brands and foods they liked to eat, Brady didn’t know his way around the store. It was times like this that he wished he had gone with her a couple of times. Then he’d be in and out.

He quickly filled up the basket though. He didn’t think he would, but he grabbed enough so that he wouldn’t have to come back anytime soon. Or, at least until his girlfriend was feeling better.

There were a few other things on the list that he picked up. Some were too heavy for the basket, but he managed. He hadn’t been working out lately like he said he would, so this was perfect. It was a nice start even if it wasn’t consistent.

Brady paid for all his stuff – over $100 worth. He grumpily shook his head at the cashier but didn’t say anything. He knew it wasn’t her fault. It was his girlfriend’s. She didn’t even give him money to pay for all of it. For some reason, she acted like they were married.

“What’s mine is yours and what’s yours is mine.” She’d tell him.

Brady grunted as he picked up all the bags. He bid the cashier a good day. She had asked him if he’d need help bringing it all out to the car, but he declined. He liked a good challenge.

It wasn’t until he made it out of the store that he realized he parked in the furthest spot.

As always, he managed. When he made it back home, he was greeted by the kids – his girlfriend’s two dogs and three cats.

Brady tried balancing the bags in his hands as the cats rubbed up against his legs weaving in and out as the dogs tried to jump up and lick his face.

“I know, I know… I got food. Hold on,” Brady said raising the bags over his head and side-stepping through the living room to get to the kitchen.

“Did you have any trouble?” he heard his girlfriend call from the bedroom.

“No, not at all.” Brady said as he dropped the bags onto the kitchen counter. The cats jumped up onto the counter. One by one, Brady picked them up and put them back on the floor.

“Come on, you know better.” He muttered.

“Do you mind feeding them now?” she called.

Brady took out a few cans of dog food from the bags and the two dogs went berserk. He sighed. “I think it’d be really mean of me not to.”

Words: 611

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Death By Coffee (Bookstore Cafe Mystery 1) By Alex Erickson [Book Review]

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Book Review: Death By Coffee (Bookstore Cafe Mystery 1) by Alex Erickson | Cozy Mystery | Book Blog | Fiction | Reading |

I bought a paperback copy at Barnes & Noble.


When Krissy Hancock and her best friend Vicki decide to open a bookstore café in their new town of Pine Hills, they decide to call it “Death by Coffee,” after Krissy’s father’s most famous mystery novel. Little do they know how well the name fits…

On their very first day of business, Brendon Lawyer huffily takes his coffee…to the grave. It seems he had a severe allergy to peanuts…but how could there have been nuts in his coffee? And who stole his emergency allergy medication?

Fortunately, Krissy’s love of puzzles and mysteries leads her not only to Officer Paul Dalton, but also to many of her new neighbors, who aren’t terribly upset that the book is closed on Brendon. But one of them is a killer, and Krissy needs to read between the lies if she wants to save her new store—and live to see how this story ends…

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.comI like the book cover. It’s simple and showcases the bookstore, coffee, and the cat, Trouble. It’s nothing too special, but it’s nice to look at anyway.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.comI love cozy mysteries and I enjoy the ones with food, books, and cats. This has all three so I wanted to give it a try.

Plot | RachelPoli.comKrissy and her friend open their own cafe bookstore called Death By Coffee. Krissy isn’t a fan of the name, but her friend insisted. Unfortunately, on their first open day, a customer comes in, orders a coffee, and then shortly dies. Krissy, for a while, believes she accidentally killed him, and is determined to figure out what happened to him.

This one isn’t too much different from your average cozy. A non-detective sticks her nose into everyone’s business and tries to solve the supposed murder. While the plot isn’t particularly different from what I’ve read before, it still wasn’t bad.

Characters | RachelPoli.comKrissy makes a fun protagonist. I enjoy her voice and tone as she tells the story. Her friend Vicki, Officer Paul, and her father are all great supporting characters as well. Even the witnesses and suspects were great. Each one had a unique voice and personality. The characters, overall, were well done.

Writing Style |

Death By Coffee is an easy read and flows well. The pacing was great and the mystery itself was easy to follow along. The mystery was told in a way that I was able to try to figure it out myself. I was right and then changed my mind and was wrong, and then ended up being right away. So it made me second guess myself and really think to figure it out. There were a lot of characters to keep track of, but it wasn’t difficult to do so.

Overall | RachelPoli.comDeath By Coffee was a fun read. It wasn’t much different than any other cozy mystery I’d read, but I still enjoyed it all the same. The characters and setting was fun and I’m looking forward to reading the next book.

Death By Coffee (Bookstore Cafe Mystery 1) by Alex Erickson gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

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