“The Importance of Being Urnest” By Sandra Balzo: Review/Giveaway

by Cynthia Chow

Details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of the review & links to purchase it.

Running the Uncommon Grounds coffee shop out of a historic train station in Brookhills, Wisconsin, has made Maggy Thorsen accustomed to a unique clientele. That definitely includes her neighbor Christy Wrigley, a former piano teacher who is currently an omnist who believes in all religions, dates an imprisoned convict, and now cleans as she apprentices at the local mortuary and crematory.

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Working there gives Christy the opportunity to meet another of Uncommon Grounds new customers, the now late mother of uber-nice Hannah Bouchard. Maggy’s extremely cynical and sarcastic business partner Sarah Kingston has a lot to say about Hannah’s martyrdom, not to mention Maggy’s reluctance to accept Sheriff Jake Pavlik’s marriage proposal. Maggy is quite happy in her comfortable and committed relationship with her sheepdog Frank, and the risk of disrupting her current happiness is terrifying. An on-the-job incident speeds up Maggy’s decision, not to mention the increase in mortality amidst the residents of Brookhills Manor retirement facility.

Image source: Severn House

The discovery of whether there is an actual murder doesn’t occur until readers are far into the novel, but clues are laid out from the beginning. The draw of this series is the incredibly entertaining banter and relationship between Maggy and Sarah. They are more akin to an old married couple than business partners, as their snipes are personal but never taken too personally. Their hilarious conversational tangents and references show how like-minded they have become, and following their train of thoughts is a guilty pleasure for those who favor politeness over truthfulness.

Bipolar Sarah and cynical Maggy match one another with their comebacks and insults, but it comes with the knowledge that no one else is more supportive or loving than the other. That Jake is willing to wade into their friendship is a testament to his bravery, not to mention his love for Maggie. This deftly written novel is inundated with clever dialogue and wry observations, and like its characters, the acerbic hard exterior hides a warm-hearted emotional center.

To enter to win a NetGalley ecopy of he Importance of Being Urnest, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "urnest,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen February 3, 2018. U.S. residents only. If via comment please include your email address. Special Note: The publisher is providing the giveaway and can only give it away through a free online service called NetGalley--winners will be instructed on how to join by the publisher-please do not enter if you don't want to join NetGalley--sorry for the inconvenience.

You can use these links to purchase the book. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Sounds like an interesting read. doward1952(at)yahoo(dot)com

  2. What an interesting and fun read “The Importance of Being Urnest” By Sandra Balzo sounds! Thanks for all the information and finding me another book to put on my TBR pile. Appreciate the opportunity to win a copy - THANKS!
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  3. I'd love to read this--it sounds really great! legallyblonde1961@yahoo.com

  4. I love the sound of this book. Would really like to read.


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