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Welcome to the Barks & Beans Cafe, a quaint place where folks pet shelter dogs while enjoying a cup of java...and where murder sometimes pays a visit.

Fed up with her go-nowhere job, newly single Macy Hatfield moves back to her small hometown in West Virginia. She joins forces with her brother Bo in his crazy new venture—the Barks & Beans Cafe, which caters to dog lovers and coffee drinkers alike.

When a golf instructor is murdered at the nearby spiritual center, Macy winds up adopting his Great Dane. Just after Macy finds a mysterious message sewn under the dog's collar, her Dane is dognapped. She launches into a relentless search for her newfound canine friend, but along the way, she digs up a cruel and confident killer.

Join siblings Macy and Bo Hatfield as they sniff out crimes in their hometown...with plenty of dogs along for the ride! The Barks & Beans Cafe cozy mystery series features a small town, an amateur sleuth, and no swearing or graphic scenes.

242 pages, Kindle Edition

First published May 26, 2020

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About the author

Heather Day Gilbert

35 books745 followers
Award-winning novelist Heather Day Gilbert enjoys writing mysteries and Viking historicals. She brings authentic family relationships to the page, and she particularly delights in heroines who take a stand to protect those they love. Avid readers say Heather's realistic characters—no matter what century—feel like best friends. When she's not plotting stories, this native West Virginian can often be found hanging out with her husband and four children, playing video games, or reading Agatha Christie novels.

Find Heather on Pinterest (heatherdgilbert), Instagram (@heatherdaygilbert), Twitter (@heatherdgilbert), and Facebook (heatherdaygilbert). You can find all her books at heatherdaygilbert.com.

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Displaying 1 - 29 of 138 reviews
Profile Image for Werner.
Author 3 books580 followers
March 19, 2023
Heather Day Gilbert is the author of at least three traditional mystery series set in her native West Virginia. My wife Barb and I had previously read (and greatly liked) her A Murder in the Mountains series. When the author, who's a Goodreads friend of mine, generously donated the first three installments of this series to the Bluefield Univ. library where I work, we decided to try this series opener as our next book to read together.

Our setting here is Lewisburg, WV, a real-life county-seat town (population ca. 3,600) in the state's southeastern part. Series protagonist (and first-person narrator) Macy Hatfield and her older brother were raised here by a now-deceased aunt after they were orphaned young. Bo left to join the Marines, and after his service went on to become a high-powered executive in a coffee-importing business based in California. When she was about 30, Macy married and followed her husband to South Carolina. Some seven years and one divorce later (the husband proved to be a cheating jerk), when our tale opens, Macy's working at an uninspiring clerical job for the state DMV. Unexpectedly, Bo calls with news, and a business proposition. He's broken up with his fiancee and co-worker Tara Rainey, and as a result quit his job and moved back home to Aunt Athaleen's house (which the Hatfield siblings co-inherited). With his coffee-importing contacts, he's planning to open a coffee shop, and has remodeled part of the front of the house accordingly. But he wants it to be a “petting cafe,” one with an area where customers can interact with shelter dogs. (These kinds of cafes, featuring various animal species, are a real-life thing, originating in Taiwan in 1998; see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_... .) That's where born “dog person” Macy, whose dream job is working with dogs, comes in. She's soon partnered with him in the business, and living in the remainder of the old house. (We don't get a really clear idea of the physical layout of the remodeled building, but that's a minor point.)

Just two days after the Barks and Beans Cafe opens, the Ivy Hill [Pseudo-]”Spiritual Center for Healing,” a sort of posh combination spa and activity center that caters to the monied crowd, is the scene of a brutal murder –its golf instructor, Gerard Fontaine, is found on the links, his head smashed in with one of his golf clubs. His coal-black Great Dane, Coal (yes, that's the dog on the book cover!), gets brought to the animal shelter Barks and Beans works with; and naturally Macy adopts him. But that small Ivy Hill connection will prove bigger than expected, and draw her into a dangerous maze of secrets and lies.

To situate this book/series in its literary context, I said above that it's a “traditional” mystery, which concentrates on finding the hidden solution of a mystery by mostly cerebral processes, rather than on gun-play and fisticuffs. Within that branch of the genre, it's part of the sub-set usually called “cozy” (and in fact the back cover copy uses that term, though it's one that I personally don't much care for –I have to agree with the rhetorical question of another Goodreader, “What's cozy about murder?”). That is, it has a small-town setting, features an amateur sleuth (usually female, which is the case here), minimizes gritty and gory content, and gives some attention to everyday activities and relationships. This book is also fiction written by an evangelical Christian (and though self-published, it follows ECPA/CBA guidelines, so there's no sexual content or bad language). Macy and Bo are churchgoing people; though he was engaged to Tara, Bo refrained from premarital sex with her, and there's a reference to grace said over a meal at one point. That said, there's intentionally much less reference here to the characters' faith than there is in the A Murder in the Mountains series. (For instance, we never see Macy pray in dangerous situations, though she's certainly in jeopardies at times that would prompt the average believer –and even some nonbelievers!-- to pray quite fervently.) The earlier series was marketed partly as “Christian fiction;” this one is marketed just as mystery, and designed to appeal to a broader audience than Christian readers only (though I think the former one actually could also).

Going into the book, a concern I had was that Macy might suffer from comparison with Tess Spencer, the protagonist of the other series. Unfortunately, for me that was the case. Macy does come across as basically good hearted, and likable enough; and I didn't mind the fact that she's some 12-15 years or so older than Tess (who, of course, ages some during her series), and currently single. But she's also not as smart and intuitive as Tess, and doesn't come across with as much personal appeal. Nor is she as competent at sleuthing, and she's far less prepared to protect herself in dangerous situations. Macy can handle a rifle, but keeps it in a gun safe; in situations where Tess would pack a Glock and a switchblade, Macy counts on a pocketknife. (At one point, she worries that “it seemed miserably short-bladed” --well, yeah; DUH!) She exposes herself to danger more than once, not because she's especially brave (when danger is actually manifest, she's not really a paragon of courage) but because she just refuses to truly grasp how dangerous her actions are. On those occasions, she had Barb and I both rolling our eyes big time, and for me the acronym TSTL (“too stupid to live”) came to mind. While she does find one important clue the police neglected (and if small-town cops are really that negligent, we have reason to worry!), it wasn't a surprise that she doesn't actually solve the crime; instead, the murderer confesses and explains the whole motive and M.O. to our heroine when the latter is supposedly about to be dispatched, a trope I've never been fond of. (Of course, Macy survives; that's no spoiler, given that there are eight books and stories in the series so far, and that she can't narrate this one if she's dead.) Other things being equal, I usually find female protagonists more interesting than males; but I have to admit that here, IMO, Bo would make a better series sleuth than Macy does.

Other quibbles I had include the fact that though the author is familiar with Lewisburg, there's not very much local color or sense of place in the depiction here. (It's also odd that Macy complains at one point about not knowing many people in the community or having friends to talk to. She lived here for 28 years, went through K-12 schooling here, attends the church she was raised in, and wasn't away for all that long; and even during those years, the town had postal, telephone and Internet service.) Though it's difficult to explain why without spoilers, to me the circumstances of Bo's break-up with Tara don't ring true as something that would plausibly happen in the real world, on more counts than one. Summer Adkins apparently runs her animal shelter as a for-profit business, charging people for animal adoptions, while Ivy Hill seems to be a non-profit, depending on donations. (Exactly who owns it and how its governance is set up is more than a little murky and confusing, at least to me.) It seems that the opposite would be true; animal shelters are typically (universally, in my experience) donation-dependent nonprofits where adoptions are free –-many people complain enough about having to pay for the animals' shots and neuterings as it is-- and places like Ivy Hill offer in-demand classes and services which well-heeled people pay well for, not free community services that philanthropists would support.

For these reasons, I liked the books featuring Tess better than this one. But I did like this one (and Barb liked it even better than I did --she'd have given it four stars!). On the positive side, it has one massive surprise development that I did not see coming, and which greatly changes the reader's mental landscape; and while I can sometimes guess the identity of the culprit in fictional mysteries, I didn't guess it at all here. This will particularly appeal to dog lovers; Coal is a charmer even to those of us whose affectionate feelings for animals are more moderate (and he does play a big part in the story). For those readers who like a romantic element in their reading, there are the seeds of not one but two probable future romantic triangles; but this strand of the plotting adds to the tale rather than swallowing it up. (Barb calls attention to the book's “down home” ambiance, and the likability of the main characters.) While it's not a profound novel or stylistic masterpiece (and doesn't aspire to be!). I think it would please most “cozy” readers, or just general readers who want light diversion, and aren't put off by my quibbles. We're going to follow the series, at least through the volumes that the BU library has, and fully expect that it will continue to entertain us.
Profile Image for Chatting About Cozies.
1,163 reviews48 followers
May 14, 2021
Great debut cozy! I loved the plot of a coffee shop/dogs for adoption set-up. A brother and sister team work well together to make the business a success. There are interesting twists and turns during the story that kept me entertained. The mystery is a puzzler. I recommend this story to cozy mystery and dog lovers!
Profile Image for Jocelyn Green.
Author 30 books1,223 followers
July 22, 2020
As soon as I finished this book, I pre-ordered the next in the series, and my 14yo daughter and I look forward to racing each other again to see who can get through it faster.

I knew I'd love this book, as I'm a big fan of Heather Day Gilbert, and I was confident it would be clean enough for my young teen. I love this book for how much I enjoyed it personally, and for how it lifted my daughter's spirits during a summer of stress and disappointment. The characters are all so colorful and vividly drawn, and the pacing kept us both turning the pages. A true delight to read. ⁠
Profile Image for Kailey.
618 reviews65 followers
April 19, 2023
Heather Day Gilbert writes some of the best cozy mysteries! She has such a wonderful way of creating characters that make you want to be friends with. I loved Macy and Bo! I even loved Coal! I loved the way they interacted together. This made me wish that I could stop by their coffee shop and enjoy a nice drink and pet some dogs. I loved this one so much! This is one that I plan on reading again! I know that I will enjoy it just as much the next time! I really can’t wait for the next book!

I was given a complimentary copy of this ebook from the author, but was not required to write a review. The thoughts and comments are my own.
Profile Image for Faith.
1,723 reviews
May 26, 2020
New beginnings bring brother and sister duo, Macy and Bo together in new business venture in their hometown, that combines their expertise and passions. The Barks and Beans Cafe is a cozy coffee shop where patrons can sip on their drinks while hanging out with furry friends from the local humane society. When Macy adopts new dog, they find themselves in the crosshairs of a murderer.

A thrilling cozy mystery, filled with colorful characters, and a great small town feel. This book was well paced, and there was never a dull moment, because once I picked it up I didn't put it down.

The story is told in first person narrative from Macy's perspective, and we uncover the mystery right alongside her. I loved the humor, the twists and turns as secrets are uncovered, and getting to know the many colorful friends and acquaintances.

Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable read from beginning to end with fantastic characters in a fun setting, and plot that moves the book forward. I loved the dogs and pretty everything about it! I can't wait to read the next book in the series.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Profile Image for Beth.
777 reviews314 followers
September 7, 2021
No Filter utterly charmed this reader! Coffee + dogs + a cozy mystery = pure happiness in book form. Macy Hatfield joins her brother in a new business venture - Barks and Beans Cafe. One side is a coffee shop, while the other side allows guests to visit with (and possibly adopt) shelter dogs. As the owner of one shelter dog and one foundling, I adored this idea and feel it makes a delightful set-up for the series.

Macy Hatfield's character is a fun character to me. She's a little jaded and prickly, but she also has a soft heart and an inquisitive nature. Her relationship with her brother, Beau, is endearing, and I enjoyed their banter and care for one another. Little do either of them know that adopting one of the shelter dogs leads to some dangerous consequences.

Usually I can make fairly good guesses about the culprit in mystery novels, but in this case, I really didn't have any good guesses. It truly felt like it could have been several different people. I found the mystery to be superbly done. I adore the small town setting and the varying array of secondary characters - it really makes the setting pop when people and places come to life like this. I also appreciate that it's a clean story, too, with no language or suggestive scenes.

No Filter is a great start to a new series and an all-around delight to read - the perfect read for a hot summer afternoon - or really anytime you want to while away the time in a fun fictional world.
Profile Image for Susan Snodgrass.
2,002 reviews198 followers
April 15, 2020
Heather Day Gilbert starts off a new cozy mystery series with No Filter and it totally works. A coffee shop with a dog petting area. I didn't even need the coffee. Just the dogs would do it for me.

Macy Hatfield has come out of a divorce and moves back to her West Virginia hometown and goes in with her big brother on an odd new venture, the Barks and Beans Café. Soon, though, a murder happens and Macy ends up adopting the victim's Great Dane. Now, let me tell you: I love a good mystery and Gilbert does it well, but this dog just made the book in my opinion. I want him to come live with me!

Bo and Macy Hatfield make a fine team as they sniff out the suspects in this crime, and more to come in future books! I absolutely love the idea of a petting area in a coffee shop where you can go sit and surround yourself with dog love. The coffee isn't bad, either. Recommended.

*My thanks to the publisher and author for a copy of this book. The opinions here are entirely my own.
Profile Image for Chloe Flanagan.
Author 10 books109 followers
November 9, 2020
Heather Day Gilbert brings her signature talent for creating stories with clever and endearing heroines, sweet family bonds, and cunning conundrums to a brand new cozy mystery series.

No Filter, Book 1 in the Barks and Beans Cafe series introduces Macy, a funny, middle-aged dog lover and Bo, her huggably heroic brother, who also happens to be a coffee connoisseur. They pool their passions to create a coffee shop and dog petting parlor, quickly proving that cappuccinos and canines are an irresistible combination. But their early success is threatened by a gruesome murder and the realization that nothing is what it seems in their quaint West Virginia community.

No Filter has everything most fun and relaxing cozy mysteries have, including a small town full of eccentric characters, all of whom become suspects once the crime starts brewing. But reading this particular mystery is like ordering a chamomile tea and getting an espresso instead. At every turn, the whodunnit plot zaps the reader with twists and misdirects that are as thrilling as the day’s first shot of caffeine. If you enjoy a mystery that keeps you guessing until the very end, it will be easy to love No Filter.

It is also easy to love Macy, Bo, and their sweet sibling dynamic. Their personalities and relationship form a great basis for this first book and it will be fun to get to know them better in subsequent stories.

I received a complimentary copy of this book and was not obliged to leave a positive review. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
1,848 reviews97 followers
May 23, 2020
"Barks and Beans was a grand experiment for both of us, and it simply had to work."

Macy Hatfield, and her brother Bo, have both returned to their hometown of Lewisburg, West Virginia following deep personal disappointments. Repurposing their Aunt Athaleen's lovely home by dividing it into a trendy cafe/ residence for Macy, they expectantly launch their combination coffee-and-canines business with the area's eclectic community in mind. It never entered their minds that murder and mayhem would appear on the menu.

With few friends, multiple suspects, and her new adoptee; a dog named Coal, Macy cannot resist putting her dogged determination and curiosity to the test, especially when Coal literally carries the most significant clue around his neck.

I wouldn't change a single thing about this clean, clever, and very cozy mystery!

I received a copy of this book from the author; the opinions stated above are entirely my own.
Profile Image for LORI CASWELL.
2,413 reviews271 followers
June 6, 2020
Dollycas’s Thoughts

Bo Hatfield invites his sister Macy home to West Virginia to be his partner is his new venture, the Barks & Beans Cafe. A cafe for coffee and dog lovers complete with shelter dogs to adopt. Shortly after opening Macy makes a huge adoption of her own, a Great Dane previously owned by a golf instructor who had been murdered. Macy finds something interesting attached to the dog’s collar and shortly thereafter her new pet is stolen.

Macy starts a frantic search for her dog and that lands her right in the middle of the golf pros murder investigation. With Bo’s help, they try to collar the killer and bring Great Dane Coal home where he belongs.

This series is off to a fantastic start!

Macy and Bo are a great pair of protagonists. The siblings each have their strengths and work well together. The author has developed these characters so well for the first book in the series while leaving plenty of room for growth. She has also introduced an interesting supporting cast I hope to see a lot more of. For me, Coal steals the story. Big, lovable, protective, and smart, he is truly a special dog.

The mystery is complex with a variety of suspects and twists and turns. In the course of the investigation, a huge secret is revealed which could change everything. I totally enjoyed the exciting chase to the big reveal.

I love the idea of the Barks and Beans Cafe. It is a place I would love to visit every day.

No Filter checks all my cozy boxes. Wonderful characters, an intriguing mystery, just the right amount of humor and a Great Big Dog named Coal. I am so excited for the next book in this series!
Profile Image for Karin Kaufman.
Author 41 books166 followers
July 29, 2020
I’ve enjoyed all of Heather Day Gilbert’s mysteries, but this may be my favorite yet. It combines dogs and coffee, a great cast of characters, an engaging mystery, and a terrific amateur sleuth.

There are so many things to love about this book. First, the amateur sleuth, Macy Hatfield, grabbed my attention right away. She has a good relationship with her brother Bo (who came up with the idea for Barks & Beans), something that’s different and refreshing in a mystery, and I love how her last name plays off the fabled Hatfield-McCoy feud toward the end of the book. Second, Macy gets drawn into her sleuthing in a completely believable way, and in the process, I was pulled into the story.

Third, the characters are fantastic. By the end of the book, I ended up loving a couple characters I wasn’t sure I would, and now I’m looking forward to “meeting” them again in book 2. Fourth, several story/plot threads are woven throughout the book and they are resolved wonderfully at the end, something that to me makes a mystery richer. Fifth, the setting--Lewisburg, West Virginia--is delightful. The atmosphere of that Southern town leaps off the page, and all cozy mystery lovers know how important setting is. And last but not least, dogs! I especially love Macy’s dog, Coal. Who wouldn’t solve a mystery to keep him safe?

This was a great start to a promising series, and I can’t wait to read book 2.
Profile Image for Tari.
2,228 reviews71 followers
June 1, 2020
Oh do I love this new series! Siblings Bo and Macy Hatfield were such awesome characters who definitely used their brains before proceeding into possible danger. Most of the time Macy was very good about keeping her brother in the loop about her investigating until she found out a reason why it was extra dangerous, even to him. I don't want to give away any of the fun details, but after learning more about the brother and sister duo, I kind of suspected there would be an ongoing story line which was actually a mini cliff hanger, but that makes me all the more anxious to read the next book.

Dogs and a cafe, win-win to me, and it ended up helping the local animal shelter so much that they nearly ran out of dogs to adopt out. I really liked the character of Summer, the girl who ran the shelter and was glad to see that she and Macy hit it off as good friends. Hopefully she'll get together with Bo. Macy had a couple of possibilities for guys who seemed to like her, so it'll be interesting to watch that play out in future books. There were some great red herrings, and I hadn't guessed the killer. The showdown was absolutely awesome with Coal, the Great Dane saving the day. Macy couldn't have adopted a cooler more intelligent dog!
Profile Image for Yvette.
727 reviews25 followers
July 11, 2020
First of three books in Heather Day Gilbert's new Barks & Beans Cozy Mystery series, No Filter opens with Macy Hatfield joining her brother Bo's new Cafe/Dog petting venture in their West Virginia hometown. With both siblings still reeling from the end of their relationships, their cafe and it isn't long before Macy is a bit distracted by a local murder and Bo is joining in on the investigation.

Written with an emphasis on characters, No Filter features an interesting murder plot that has Macy adopting the murder victim's Great Dane, inadvertently inviting more trouble to her door and bringing some of Bo's secrets to light. I always enjoy Heather Day Gilbert's writing, and No Filter has me eagerly waiting for the rest of this series.

This review refers to a digital copy I voluntarily read courtesy of the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Kristina.
3,438 reviews59 followers
May 23, 2020
No Filter by Heather Day Gilbert has Macy Hatfield moving back to her hometown of Lewisburg, West Virginia after receiving a phone call from her brother, Bo. The brother and sister duo are opening the Barks & Beans Café which caters to coffee and dog lovers. They will be bringing in dogs from the local animal rescue in the hopes that customers will want to adopt them. Customers can enjoy their coffee with a tasty treat and cuddle a cute dog. A golf instructor at the Ivy Hill Spiritual Center for Healing is murdered and his Great Dane, Coal ends up at the shelter. It is love at first sight for Macy and Coal. Macy finds a metal tag sewn onto the back of Coal’s collar with a message on it. When Coal is dognapped, Macy knows the person is after the tag. Macy and Bo set out to get Coal back. Unfortunately, they catch the attention of the killer who is not about to let a witness live. No Filter is the debut of A Barks & Beans Café Cozy Mystery series. No Filter has two great protagonists with Macy and Bo. I enjoyed the interactions between this brother-and-sister duo. They get along well and have started an interesting new venture. Bo handles the business side of the café since he has the background in coffee while Macy takes care of the dog area. Dogs make her happy and she is thrilled to have a job where she can interact with canines all day. Summer Adkins, owner of the local animal shelter, is another good character. There are sparks between Summer and Bo. I liked that the author took the time to establish the characters. The café idea is fun. I wish there was one in my area. It is a great way to help shelter dogs find forever homes. There is more than meets the eye to one of our main characters. Coal stole the show, though, in No Filter. Coal is a sweetie, but he is protective of his new owner (a bit of a bed hog as well). The mystery was intriguing. There are multiple suspects, a red herring, and clues for readers to find. I enjoyed reading No Filter and I am looking forward to reading Iced Over. No Filter is a charming cozy mystery with a clever canine named Coal, deafening drums, a gone golfer, Brazilian beans, and a despicable dognapper.
Profile Image for Becky Lewis.
778 reviews24 followers
May 28, 2020
I am excited to share with you a new cozy mystery series by Heather Day Gilbert. While I love cozies, I start a new one with much trepidation. Will there be sex on the page or a lot of innuendoes? Will there be bad language? I am thrilled to say No Filter , #1 Barks & Beans Café Cozy Mysteries, fits every category I am looking for in a cozy:
1. Small town setting
2. No bad language
3. No sex
4. Amateur sleuth
5. Murder not presented in gory manner
6. Bit of Romance (my addition)

In No Filter, we find Macy and Bo Hatfield, unlucky-at-love siblings who decide to retreat to their small town origins, Lewisburg, West Virginia. Not giving up, they open up a coffee shop combo therapy dog petting area. Now Gilbert has my full attention, and the shop gets its dogs from the local shelter, to give the dogs for adoption more publicity. Looking up Lewisburg, WV, right now on my GPS. Think it would be a great place to live.
But maybe not. There are the “haves” and the “haves snot.” The mingling of these two classes at the local spiritual center-country club leads to murder, art fencing, and a wealth of possible culprits. I felt there were a lot of characters to keep straight, but we will see many of these players again in book 2, Iced Over, and book 3, Fair Trade.
Only one complaint- I am seriously considering whether people can be both coffee connoisseurs and tea aficionados at same time! I’d be surprised if Great Danes don’t become popular after this series. I loved the sibling loyalty and strong bond. I enjoyed seeing the set-up of possible romances (I already have my “teams” going)! I even enjoyed seeing unlikely characters succeed to benefit the town. But watch out! Gilbert manages to find a way to leave you hanging by a thread!
I need to cool down. Bring on Iced Over!!
Quotes to Note:

“No, I'd rather have both feet on the ground than feel them getting sucked in with ocean water where fish pooped, sharks lurked, and currents could catch and kill you.”

“She seemed to be a wealth of information, and she had no hesitation in sharing it.”
Profile Image for Patricia Bradley.
Author 26 books938 followers
November 6, 2021
I loved Heather Day Gilbert’s exotic pet sitter series, and I’m loving this first book in her Barks ‘n Beans Café series even more. No Filter kept me turning the pages, trying to figure out whodunit. And I love the idea of combining pet adoption with a coffee shop!

Bo and Macy, brother and sister, have a great relationship. I have high hopes for Bo and Summer…and Macy…well, there are a couple of men I’d like to see her with. Can’t wait to read the rest of the books in the series!
Profile Image for Wolf (Alpha).
716 reviews8 followers
January 16, 2023
This was a very cozy mystery set in a small town. I loved the vibes of the book, and I loved how everyone was so close together. I love the cafe and how they set it up to help the shelter with getting more adoptions. I love that she adopts Coal and I love how they instantly clicked. I love that she is smart but not and investigates everything. I love Bo and how he was always there for her or had someone making sure she was safe. I hated Tara and I kinda feel like she was working with the bad guy. I was glad they found the killer without her being hurt. Great book and I can't wait for the next one.
Profile Image for Casey Grist.
83 reviews
February 23, 2021
Very enjoyable!

I really enjoyed this first entry into the Barks and Beans world!The mystery was intriguing, the brother and sister duo are sweet and the whole story was wholesome and clean! Throw in shelter dogs and it’s a winner!
Profile Image for Robin E. Mason.
Author 11 books73 followers
May 20, 2020
What a delightful new story and series. Murder notwithstanding.
Another impetuous closet sleuth, Macy (love that name!) just can’t stop herself from trying to figure out the murder at Ivy Hill. Then again, some people just can’t leave a puzzle with gaps. And an unsolved murder is nothing if not a puzzle with gaps.
Scorned and heartbroken, Macy Hatfield stumbles into her new role in life, co-owner of Barks & Beans, and in a twist, ends up with a dog of her own. As one clue tumbles onto another, she truly can’t help but follow the breadcrumbs to connect the dots.
Bo is the older brother we all wish we had—a best friend and a protective guardian—with a broken heart of his own. The bond between them, and the banter, make for a lively and very real story.
Ms. Gilbert lays out the clues and dishes out the emotions with every page and chapter, and this reader surely is looking forward to the next book in the series, Iced Over.


I received a complimentary copy of this book, but was under no obligation to read the book or to post a review. I offer my review of my own free will. The opinions expressed in my review are my honest thoughts and reaction to this book.

#Blogwords, Tuesday Reviews-Day, #TRD, Book Review, No Filter, Heather Gilbert, Barks & Beans Café Cozy Mystery, JustRead Publicity Tour
2,896 reviews1,727 followers
July 19, 2021
What a fun start to a new cozy mystery series. I've heard of cat cafes (which I think are a brilliant idea!) but I'm over the moon with switching out the cats for dogs! And there you have Barks & Beans, where you can get a good brew and a slobbery cuddle and help some dogs get adopted too!

Loved the time spent with not only Macy but her brother (who I kinda have a crush on!) And Cole, of course -- a ginormous Great Dane who very graciously posed for the cover pic. Isn't he handsome? :-)

This is a different kind of cozy in that there's a bit of a suspense undercurrent which is still simmering below the surface at the end, so kind of a cliffie there. The actual cozy mystery is solved. I enjoyed trying to figure out who done it and was wrong about as many times as I was right! But there's one character who has my hackles up and I'm wondering if I'm way off base or...I definitely need to keep reading the series to find out...and also discover if the potential romances I'm hoping for come to fruition. Alas, the other books aren't on audible yet, but I'm hoping they will be soon.

I listened to the audible edition narrated by Brittany Goodwin and she brought this small town to life with true Southern charm.
Profile Image for Suzie Waltner.
Author 7 books110 followers
July 4, 2020
If I had more time in my days, I’d definitely add more cozy mysteries to my tbr. Why? Because books like No Filter by Heather Day Gilbert are a delight.

In the first book of her Barks & Beans series, Gilbert introduces Macy and Bo and their coffee shop/dog petting business. Even though I don’t like coffee and rarely visit coffee shops, this is one I’d hang out at. Not only because of the dogs but because Macy, Bo, the employees at the shop, and Summer are all people I would love to hang out with.

The mystery in No Filter pulled me in and kept me guessing right along with Macy and her brother’s revelation was completely unexpected. Coal is another bonus to this story—such a sweet and loving dog and the perfect pet for Macy.

So, while I don’t have a ton of spare time to add cozy mysteries into my already packed reading schedule, the second book in this particular series has already made it’s way to my books to read list.

Disclosure statement: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Shonda.
Author 10 books34 followers
May 22, 2020
What an incredible read! I absolutely loved the characters and feel in love with Coal. This story will keep you glued to its pages. I was on the edge of my seat so much, Macy was one brave character. The author does a fantastic job of keeping the reader guessing as to who the murderer is. I thought I had it figured out and then a new twist throws you in a tail spin. I loved reading about the teas and coffees Barks and Beans made, I swore I could smell the aroma. This is a new author and series to me, I’m hooked!
Was given a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Kristina Seleshanko.
Author 21 books16 followers
April 20, 2021
This is a light, clean mystery featuring a very likeable, everyday woman as the heroine. I liked the variety of characters: the protective, bad-ass brother, the slightly hippy-ish animal shelter keeper, the mysterious and charming art dealer...and yes, the adorable - and giant! - dog. Can't wait to read the next book in the series.
Profile Image for Laura.
425 reviews23 followers
July 24, 2020
No Filter by Heather Day Gilbert is truly a cozy little mystery, the first in the Barks and Beans Cozy Mystery series.

After a divorce she really didn’t want, and a dead end job that, well, dead ended, Macy Hatfield moves back to her small hometown in West Virginia. Having inherited a large house with her brother Bo, Macy takes up residence in part of the large home to lick her wounds and figure the rest of her life. Bo, already a successful business man who made tons of money from his first business venture, has a great new plan.

He is going to open a coffee shop; not just any old coffee shop, something new and different. Along with his sister, Bo strategizes until Barks and Beans Cafe is born. You might guess the “beans” refer to the coffee portion of this new cafe’, and you would be correct; but is the “barks” part? Ah, that is the unique and delightful difference that makes this coffee shop so special. Rescue dogs.
Yep, Bo and Macy partner with a local dog rescue to allow dogs in a specially built enclosed area of the cafe’; this uniqueness drew in customers, some of whom adopted the dogs.

One of the new pet owners is Macy, who takes in a large Great Dane after the sudden death of his owner, an employee of a nearby resort. When the Great Dane is kidnapped from her home, Macy suspicions lead her to the resort, and all types of mysterious things begin to happen.

No Filter is just the kind of cozy mystery to curl up with on a lazy summer afternoon, out on the patio by the pond.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and Just Read Tours and am not required to write a positive review. All thoughts and opinions therein are solely my own, and freely shared.
810 reviews31 followers
May 5, 2020
What a wonderful debut to a new cozy series.
Macy, Bo and Coal form an excellent sleuthing pair and I cannot wait to see what's next in store for this trio.
The mystery behind the murder piques the reader's curiosity. The plot to story development is excellent. As a debut in the series, we are given some background on the main characters and also introduced to a few more characters whom we might see in the future books of this series. Bo's secret forms the background of this series.
No Filter is an entertaining and engrossing cozy mystery, I highly recommend this book to one and all.
Profile Image for Rosalyn.
985 reviews13 followers
May 20, 2020
This first novel in a charming new cozy mystery series from Heather Gilbert. Is absolutely delightful.
Macy is such a sweet heroine, and I couldn't help liking her and all her unique characteristics.
In some ways, I was reminded of Tess in Ms. Gilbert's earlier series, Murder in the Mountains.
Macy is a gal that is determined to chase after clues and search for answers without stopping to think about the danger she might be putting herself in. (and no, she's not a detective, or law enforcement, or anything, just a normal human...) I think this is mostly why I liked her. Although I found myself being a bit scared for her...I had an idea of what might be coming... :)
I found their business enterprise unique and unusual - a coffee shop with a dog petting area. Because I'm not just a huge dog person, I found myself questioning the logistics of all of this, but it all came together quite nicely! :)
Heather Gilbert has a way of writing mysteries that only hint towards solutions, while keeping you guessing. This story left me entirely in the dark until the last few pages--I had all kinds of suspicions churning around in my head, as I quickly tried to figure out who the most likely suspects might be, and no clear idea of how it might all turn out. The ending was every bit as satisfactory as the rest of the story.

I found this an all around delightful cozy mystery, and eagerly look forward to reading the second in the series.
Disclaimer: I receive complimentary books from various sources, including, publishers, publicists, authors, and/or NetGalley. I am not required to write a positive review, and have not received any compensation. The opinions shared here are my own entirely. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
Profile Image for Ashley.
938 reviews22 followers
April 5, 2022
4.5 stars

I've been meaning to read this book for awhile now and was so excited to finally dive into it. And I've gotta say, it was so good! The whole idea behind the Barks & Beans Cafe was great! A coffee shop where you can hang out with rescue dogs? Sign me up! If it were a real place, I'd be a regular visitor.

I loved all of the characters, humans and dogs alike. They were all so realistic and distinct. Macy and Bo had such a sweet sibling relationship. It was nice to read about a brother and sister who actually cared about each other and had each other's backs no matter what. And I can't forget to mention Coal. What an adorable dog! I just wanted to give him a big ol' hug.

The mystery was a good one. While I had an idea of what was going on, I could not figure out who did it. This was not a predictable read. I was surprised on multiple occasions.

This was a fast paced read that I finished in record time. I couldn't get enough of it and am very much looking forward to the next one. I highly recommend it to fans of cozy mysteries.
Profile Image for Nancy.
353 reviews26 followers
July 9, 2020
First, I could visualize this book as a movie, something on the Hallmark Channel in their Murder and Mysteries Channel. Macy Hatfield has had a rough go of it. Her brother, Bo, calls and asks her to come back to West Virginia and run a Coffee shop with a dog petting area with him. She jumps at the chance for a fresh start. When she arrives all is going well, then she overheard conversations. She ends up adopting a Great Dane names Coal. His owner was murdered. There’s a lot of mischief in their town. And some suspicious residents! The “Who committed the crime” kept me guessing until it was revealed! I can’t wait to read more about these characters and their sleuthing. I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All views stated here are my own.
1,071 reviews6 followers
August 21, 2020
this is a wonderful story. Macy and her brother Bo open up a coffee shop and part of it is where the dogs come from the shelter for adoption , she takes in a great dane if you like animals and mystery you will want to read the book well written looking forward to the next story
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