Thursday, June 18, 2020

Book Review and Giveaway - Booked for Death by Victoria Gilbert (Booklovers B&B Mysteries)

My Review
Booked for Death is a cozy mystery set in a B&B in Beaufort, North Carolina. Charlotte Reed inherited the B&B from her great aunt, and enjoys running it with a literary theme -- special book events. When a rare book dealer turns up dead during a Josephine Tey week-long event, Charlotte becomes an amateur detective to help solve the mystery.

I wanted to read Booked for Death because I was intrigued by the book-themed B&B.  I love southern settings, so that was another plus.  I have enjoyed the author's Blue Ridge Library Mysteries series, so that made me even more interested in this new series as well.

What a wonderful start to a new series!  The B&B is a perfect setting for a new series.  I found the story about Charlotte's Great Aunt Isabella fascinating and loved the details of the mystery stretching back to an earlier time.

The murder victim was a thoroughly unlikable fellow and there were a number of viable suspects. The mystery aspect of this book was particularly well written and the pacing was perfection.  It moved quickly and I found it hard to put the book down!

Charlotte and her elderly neighbor Ellen work together well as amateur detectives.  I enjoyed their friendship and their deduction process.

I already look forward to the next book in this series and recommend Booked for Death for fans of cozy mysteries, and especially for readers who like a southern setting or a book-ish theme mystery.

Book Synopsis

From the critically acclaimed author of SIBA Okra Pick A Murder for the Books, Victoria Gilbert embarks with a new series for perfect for fans of Kate Carlisle and Juliet Blackwell. 

A book lover’s B&B in an idyllic waterfront village becomes the scene of a grisly murder–and a ruthless battle between treachery and the truth. 

Nestled in the historic waterfront town of Beaufort, North Carolina, Chapters Bed-and-Breakfast is a reader’s paradise. Built in 1770, the newly renovated inn hosts a roster of special events celebrating books, genres, and authors. It’s the perfect literary retreat–until a rare book dealer turns up dead in the carriage house during a celebration of Golden Age mystery author Josephine Tey. 

The victim’s daughter points the finger at forty-two-year-old widow and former schoolteacher Charlotte Reed, who inherited the B&B from her great-aunt Isabella. Charlotte is shocked to discover that the book dealer suspected Isabella of being a thief who founded Chapters on her ill-gotten gains. Charlotte has successfully learned the B&B business in a year, but nothing has prepared her to handle a death on the premises. 

Armed with intelligence and courage and assisted by her vibrant older neighbor, a visiting author, and members of a local book club, Charlotte is determined to prove her innocence and to clear her great-aunt’s name. But the murderer is still at large, and equally determined to silence anyone who might discover the truth behind the book dealer’s death. Now, Charlotte must outwit an unknown killer–or end up writing her own final chapter.

Author Bio

Victoria Gilbert, raised in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, turned her early obsession with reading into a dual career as an author and librarian. Victoria has worked as a reference librarian, research librarian, and library director. When not writing or reading, she likes to spend her time watching films, gardening, or traveling. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and International Thriller Writers and lives in North Carolina.

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Book Review - Snowed Under (A Maggie McDonald Mystery) by Mary Feliz

My Review
Snowed Under is a cozy mystery about Maggie McDonald. Maggie and her best friend Tess have traveled to Lake Tahoe. Tess is planning to sell her family vacation home and Maggie has agreed to use her professional organizing skills to declutter the house and get it ready for sale. They arrive along with a snowstorm -- and a murder mystery when Maggie discovers a body in the snow!

I wanted to read Snowed Under because I enjoy cozy mysteries. I was intrigued by the job of a professional organizer, and liked the mention of dogs in the story.

This is my first read in the Maggie McDonald series, but it was an enjoyable read as a standalone. The two major characters were Maggie and Tess and since they were in a new setting, there was not a lot of additional backstory to catch up with.

I don't think I have ever read a book that captured winter weather and being snowed in as well as Snowed Under! It made me feel cold just reading about the storm. I have had limited experience with snow storms, so found that aspect of the book interesting.

The mystery involves Dev, the man found in a snow drift. Dev was a husband and father who disappeared several months ago and was found by chance by Maggie. The story involves the neighborhood and community, so there were a lot of characters to get to know and keep up with. (A cast of characters page would have been helpful.)  The mystery was well plotted with a number of suspects, but then it took a sort of turn and the murderer came out of nowhere (not a previously introduced suspect).

There are a number of dogs in Snowed Under, and that always adds to cozy mystery enjoyment for me! I was particularly fond of Duke, the persnickety little chihuahua.

The chapter epigraphs all were inspiring quotes about simplifying and organizing. There was less actually organizing and decluttering in the book than I had expected; this may be different in other books in the Maggie McDonald series.

Snowed Under was an enjoyable cozy mystery read. It will keep readers on their toes as they solve the case along with Maggie. Readers who enjoy seasonal settings (winter!) and dogs in mysteries will also enjoy those aspects of the storytelling.

Book Synopsis

When professional organizer Maggie McDonald finds a body in a snowdrift outside her friend’s ski cabin, she must plow through the clues to find a cold-blooded killer . . .

Lake Tahoe in February is beautiful, but Maggie can’t see a thing as she drives through a blinding blizzard with her friend Tess Olmos and their dogs, golden retriever Belle and German shepherd Mozart.Maggie has offered her professional decluttering skills to help Tess tidy up her late husband’s cabin in preparation to sell. She also plans to get in some skiing when her husband Max and their boys join them later in the week.

What she doesn’t plan on is finding a boot in a snowdrift attached to a corpse. The frozen stiff turns out to be Tess’s neighbor, Dev Bailey, who disappeared two months ago. His widow Leslie expresses grief, but Maggie can’t help but wonder if it’s a snow job. As more suspects start to pile up, things go downhill fast, and Maggie must keep her cool to solve the murder before the killer takes a powder . . .

Author Bio
Mary Feliz writes the Maggie McDonald Mysteries featuring a Silicon Valley professional organizer and her sidekick golden retriever. She’s worked for Fortune 500 firms and mom and pop enterprises, competed in whale boat races and done synchronized swimming. She attends organizing conferences in her character’s stead, but Maggie’s skills leave her in the dust.

Author Links: Website – Blog – Facebook – Twitter

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