Fresh Starts

For thousands of years, the beginning of a new year has been cause for celebration, though it was not always on the first of January. In ancient Babylon, some 4000 years ago, people celebrated during mid-March, the start of the growing season. Some historians claim the Babylonians’ promises to their pagan gods during their 12-day festival were the forerunner to the New Year’s resolutions.

It wasn’t until the Roman era, during the reign of Emporer Julius Caesar, that the tradition shifted to the first of January. Not only was January the start of a new year heralded by the Romans, but it was also a special month. Named for a two-faced god, Janus was the god of doorways, passages, and new beginnings. It is said that one face looked back at the previous year while the other looked forward to the new year.

Fresh Starts

The early Christians brought the tradition of a New Year into their religious ceremonies—a time for reflection on past mistakes and future improvements. Though the religious connotation has mostly faded into obscurity, the New Year and its resolutions still represent a new beginning, a way to improve on past mistakes and make fresh starts. 

For the Mystery Review Crew, we are looking back at where we have been and toward our “Fresh Starts.”

Where We’ve Been

2023 was a pivotal year for Mystery Review Crew (MRC or Crew), bringing a new structure and direction. With pride and determination, Mystery Review Crew became Mystery Review Crew LLC. The Crew felt establishing a solid foundation on which we could build was an important step in our future.

What an incredible new challenge as we continue the goal of the founding members: supporting authors and publishers by providing a platform connecting them with an avid community of reader enthusiasts. 

For bibliophiles, such as we are, what could be more fun? Through the Crew’s passion for exceptional storytelling, we foster a love of reading while helping readers discover their next favorite book. 

The heart of the Mystery Review Crew is our website, featuring intriguing articles, book reviews, and engaging author interviews. From there, all things mysteriously bookish flow through our newsletters, social media, and YouTube channel. Over the last year, the site has grown expeditiously. Our latest statistics show more than 35,000 people visit the site each month. We are delighted to add—the numbers are climbing.

The MRC semi-monthly newsletter and YouTube channel are an extension of our mission, connecting readers and authors. 

MRC bi-annual book events have brought together talented authors. What better way to find a new author or a great new read than during our Facebook events? Not only did readers find new books, but they also discovered fun tidbits about the authors. Of course, there were fantastic giveaways, with a free eBook from each author and a Kindle from the Crew. 

Our Fresh Starts

So, what’s ahead for the Mystery Review Crew as we embark on a new year? A new book review service allows the Crew to further engage with the incredible talent within the writing community. To ensure our reviews are unbiased, honest, and transparent, we assembled a team of established and respected reviewers. An MRC Recommendation, our seal of MRC excellence, is given to top-shelf, well-written books we believe our readers will enthusiastically enjoy. MRC’s recommended books will be prominently displayed on our website.

Our website will feature articles from guests and the Crew each month geared to entertain and delight the many visitors. This year, we experimented with monthly themes such as True Crime for November, which was a huge success. In 2024, we plan to expand the use of themed months based on holidays, along with other genres, such as thrillers, suspense, paranormal suspense, and cozy mysteries, for our articles and featured books. January’s theme, appropriately enough, is all about Fresh Starts

Insightful author interviews will continue introducing new authors to our viewers and followers across our social media sites and subscribers to our newsletter. 

We plan to build on our success with Facebook summer and Christmas book events showcasing authors and their books, fun activities, puzzles, giveaways, and more. We not only host the events but also promote them through paid advertising.

As we are constantly searching for new ways to provide readers with a selection of books, we are adding a new feature, Throwback Books, our traveling back in time. With over 11,000 new books published each day, it’s easy for old favorites to get lost. Each month, we’ll focus on older books, the type of mystery that’s timeless, the kind of book to sit on a bookshelf to be repeatedly enjoyed.

What is truly exciting is our belief that 2024 holds far more than we have described. We, the Crew, are committed to finding new and fun ways to connect with authors and our readers. We hope you will join us on this incredible journey that lies ahead. 

From the Crew, our heartfelt thanks to all who have followed and participated in our many events. Our success wouldn’t be possible without you.

We sincerely wish everyone a Happy New Year. If you want to join us in our new adventures, follow us on social media and subscribe to our newsletter. 

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Anita and Kimmie

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