Guest Post: Meet Baby by Valerie Burns #Review

Giveaway Ends 9/4

Meet Baby, the English Mastiff
by Valerie Burns

In my upcoming release, Two Parts Sugar, One Part Murder, Maddy Montgomery inherits a bakery, a house in the fictional town of New Bison, Michigan, and a 250 lb English mastiff named Baby. What’s with the name? Why an English mastiff? And, is there really a dog that weighs 250lbs? To answer those questions, let’s meet Baby.

First, let’s talk about the name. If you’ve ever watched the Westminster Dog Show, you’ll hear the announcer give some very elaborate names for the dogs. That’s called the dog’s “Registered” name. If the dog is a champion, that title comes first. Often, the breeder will include the name of their kennel next. For example, if the kennel is, “Cinnabon,” that’s what comes next. Last, is usually something entertaining that will make the dog stand out in a show ring, like “Bedrock Bombshell.” In real life, people aren’t standing outside saying, “Champion Cinnabon’s Bedrock Bombshell, Come.” That’s too much for anyone. Instead, the dog also has a “Call Name.” The call name is basically a nickname or what you call the dog. In the above example, Champion Cinnabon’s Bedrock Bombshell’s registered name is Wilma. Get it? Bedrock Bombshell? The Flintstones? Wilma, Fred’s wife? In case you’re curious, this is the name of a real dog, a boxer that showed at the Westminster Dog Show. Yabba, Dabba Doo!

So, let’s get back to Baby. Yes, Baby is a pure-bred English mastiff. The American Kennel Club only registers purebred dogs. So, when Maddy’s Great Aunt Octavia registered him, she gave him a memorable name. Octavia loved listening to Frank Sinatra, so she chose, Champion Crooner Ol’ Blue Eyes, One for My Baby, as his registered name in honor of Frank Sinatra (Ol’ Blue Eyes). One for My Baby is the name of one of Sinatra’s biggest hits. For the call name, she went with, Baby. Personally, I loved the idea of naming a massive, 250 lb dog, Baby, and English mastiffs are massive.

English mastiffs are giants. They’re heavy-boned, muscular dogs. Males are around 30 inches from the shoulder to the ground and range in weight from 170-230 lbs. The breed is known for being protective, but lovable, docile, and kind to their humans. They’re often referred to as “gentle giants,” and make great pets. However, owning a strong, giant breed like this is a commitment that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Training is important and patience is critical. The breed has a large head and droopy jowls. If you don’t like drool, this isn’t the breed for you.

You may be wondering why I chose an English mastiff for this book. Do I own a mastiff? No, I don’t, but I have two friends that do. Plus, I think they’re cute. So, once I made the decision to include a mastiff, I asked my friends for stories, anecdotes, and pictures, and that’s what I used to base Baby’s personality on. That’s also where I got Baby’s weight. My friend, Shannon’s mastiff was about 250 lbs (that’s a lot of dog). In addition to talking to my friends, I did a lot of Internet research which helped me gain a greater appreciation for the breed.

Why include a dog? If you read any of my books, you’ll notice a theme. There’s always at least one dog. I love dogs. I have two spoiled poodles, but I’d love to have more. One of the best parts about including dogs in my books is that I get to live vicariously through my characters. I don’t own a mastiff, but I get to experience the joy of owning a mastiff, with none of the work. If you’re curious about what it’s like to live with a 250 lb English mastiff, get a copy of Two Parts Sugar, One Part Murder, and meet Baby.

Valerie (or V.M.) Burns has proven to be a One-Click author. Her signature wit, emotionally investable characters, enjoyably solvable mysteries, and quirky fun protagonists shine through in every book of every one of her series. The Baker Street Mysteries is no exception if book 1, “Two Parts Sugar, One Part Murder” is any indication. 

Maddie Montgomery isn’t the typical amateur sleuth. She is a social media influencer who has lived her life in the shadow of a domineering parent. When her intended leaves her at the altar and her aunt leaves her an inheritance, she is off to start a new life. With her newly inherited dog, Baby, by her side she finds her way through making new friends, solving a murder, and trying to not burn down her new bakery… I mean learning to bake. There are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments and foreshadows of great things yet to come as the series progresses. 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I received a copy for free through Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, and I am leaving this review voluntarily

About The Book

Two Parts Sugar, One Part Murder: (A Baker Street Mystery)

In this delectable new cozy mystery series, social media maven Maddy Montgomery’s perfectly ’grammable life has come undone, and she’s #StartingOver in a tiny town with one giant problem—a killer on the loose . . .

When Maddy Montgomery’s groom is a no-show to their livestream wedding, it’s a disaster that no amount of filtering can fix. But a surprise inheritance offers a chance to regroup and rebrand—as long as Maddy is willing to live in her late, great-aunt Octavia’s house in New Bison, Michigan, for a year, running her bakery and caring for a 250-pound English mastiff named Baby.

Maddy doesn’t bake, and her Louboutins aren’t made for walking giant dogs around Lake Michigan, but the locals are friendly and the scenery is beautiful. With help from her aunt’s loyal friends, aka the Baker Street Irregulars, Maddy feels ready to tackle any challenge, including Octavia’s award-winning cake recipes. That is, until New Bison’s mayor is fatally stabbed, and Maddy’s fingerprints are found on the knife . . .

Something strange is going on in New Bison. It seems Aunt Octavia had her suspicions, too. But Maddy’s going to need a whole lot more than a trending hashtag to save her reputation—and her life.

Purchase Links

About the Author

Valerie (V. M.) Burns is the author of the Mystery Bookshop Mystery series. Her first book, The Plot is Murder, was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best Debut Novel. She is the author of the Dog Club Mystery Series, the RJ Franklin Mysteries, a three-time finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, and an Edgar Award-nominated short story. Her newest series, Baker Street Mysteries, will release later this year, and her Pet Detective Mystery series will release in 2023. Valerie is on the board of Sisters in Crime and the Southeastern Chapter of Mystery Writers of America. She is also a member of Dog Writers of America, Crime Writers of Color, and International Thriller Writers. She is a manager for a Fortune 100 company and a mentor in the Writing Popular Fiction Program at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, PA. Born and raised in northwestern Indiana, Valerie currently lives in the southeastern United States with her two poodles. Readers can visit her website at

Author Links



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1 Comment

  1. I do enjoy Valerie Burns’ books and am looking forward to meeting Baby. My son has a rescue dog that is mostly mastiff and he is a gentle giant for sure.


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