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Steeped in Secrets

As a fan of Elliot's bookstore mystery series and loving this tea-related title, I was excited to read this, and it did not disappoint!

Steeped in Secrets is the first book in a new cozy series by Lauren Elliot, and it was a fun read!


True to the title, this book is full of secrets! Gemologist Shay, divorced and broke, returns to the coastal town on California's Monterey Peninsula she grew up in to start over. She has mysteriously inherited a crystal and tea shop and living quarters from a woman she barely knew, a woman who was the town psychic. Shay's intuitive/empath powers grow once inside her new shop, one overflowing with Irish and Celtic symbols. But before she can learn to read tea leaves, she finds a dead body on the roof and will need her new abilities, a handsome Irish bar owner, and a curious white German Shepard who adopts her to help her discover who the murderer is before she's next.


While there is significant world-building, as this is the start of a series, it is well-paced. It has all the elements you typically find in a cozy and puts a fun spin on them while still delivering a solid mystery. The included recipe is for an herbal tea blend. The paranormal elements are threaded throughout but do not overtake good old-fashioned sleuthing. The romantic interest is swoony with an Irish brogue. The animal companion, Spirit, is an elusive white German Shepard with intuitive powers. I had a white German Shepard as a kid, so I was very partial to this dog! And while some secrets come out in this installment, several others will only be resolved in time and will keep me rooting for Shay. Such a promising start to a new series that I look forward to book 2! Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books for the opportunity to review this ARC.


My steep was Organic Assam black tea from Pantenger, a California-based tea company with beautiful tins! I often gift this brand because the tea is good and the packaging is striking.

www.pantenger.com


Synopsis:

From the USA Today bestselling author of the Beyond the Page Bookstore Mysteries, the first installment in a new series featuring Shay Myers, intuitive gemologist and owner of a New Age tea and crystals shop in beautiful coastal California's Monterey Peninsula.


"Appealing characters, surprising twists, a bit of magic, and the promise of romance. Lovers of paranormal cozies are sure to get on board." – Publishers Weekly


Flat broke and divorced, intuitive gemologist Shay Myers has changed since leaving her artsy hometown of coastal Bray Harbor sixteen years ago. But when she moves back under strange circumstances, old instincts may be the only key to spilling the tea on a deadly mystery.


Even with her life in ruins in New Mexico, Shay feels uneasy about settling into the small seaside town where she grew up on California's Monterey Peninsula and taking over an estate bequeathed to her by Bridget Early, a woman she had barely known. Her heightened senses—an empathic gift she's had since childhood—go into overdrive upon touring Crystals & CuriosiTEAS, Bridget's eclectic tea and psychic shop brimming with Irish lore and Celtic symbols. They reach a boiling point when Shay looks up to discover a stranger's body sprawled across the shop's greenhouse roof . . .


With her new business a crime scene and questions brewing over Bridget's so-called accidental death, Shay fears she's also inherited the attention of a killer. The terrifying realization sets her on an impractical investigation for answers aided by her sister, an elusive pure-white German Shepherd, a strikingly handsome pub owner who speaks in a gentle brogue, and a misunderstood young woman with perceptive talents of her own. As Shay struggles to figure out her true purpose in Bray Harbor and the powerful connection she has with the tea shop, she must trust her judgment above all else to identify a ruthless murderer and save herself from becoming victim number three.






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