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Ratings and Book Reviews (4 11 star ratings
4 reviews
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4.3 out of 5
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    A cozy new series

    Shelby Cox returns to the town she was born in when her Aunt has surgery and asks here to help out while she recovers. While there, Shelby has some questions she wants answers to and begins digging to find out more about the mother she lost when she was three. As co owner and managing the newest remote location at a tourist castle location, Shelby has her hands full. And when she finds one of the castle’s board member dead, she’s got even more on her plate. While Alex Bay is a small town where everyone knows each other, it also means there are a lot of people keeping secrets while others are gossiping. But Shelby asserts herself and begins asking questions, both about her Mother and the murder. When Shelby begins getting closer to uncaring the murderer, she is threatened by a foiled attempt to set her houseboat free into the river. Then she is the threatened by a developer who not only places a vailed threat against Shelby, but also her Aunt Edie. Time is running out and it may be up for Shelby. The first in a new series, I found the book enjoyable overall. Though I had to get more than halfway through the story before i was completely engaged. I’ll attribute this to a new author and writing style I had to adapt to. The mystery side of the story was engaging and there were enough suspects and motives, both real and imagined, that it kept you wondering for awhile. A solid 3.5, but I will give it a four since I will read the next book in the series.
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    First book in A Castle Bookshop Mystery series

    Trouble on the Books has an intriguing premise with a bookshop in an old castle on an island (love it). Shelby Cox is twenty-nine years old and has been working as an editor for Masspike House in Massachusetts. When Aunt Edie needs Shelby’s assistance, she takes a leave of absence and returns to Alexandria Bay. Shelby is living on a houseboat until winter and managing the new satellite location of Bayside Books on Blye Island inside the historic Blye Castle (it would have made more sense to live with Aunt Edie who needs her help getting around). I knew Loreena Swan would end up dead after the altercation with Shelby and the way she treats the volunteers at the castle. The murder occurs early in the book. There is little investigating by Shelby until later in the story when Shelby asks various people questions (people she does not know). I wish the mystery had been more of a focus with more complexity. I found it a snap to solve this crime. Shelby’s attention is split because she is determined to learn more about her mother. Her father would not discuss her mother who died when she was three, and Shelby is hoping to learn more about her from the people that knew her in town plus Edie. Shelby is searching the local cemeteries for her mother’s grave. I was curious why Shelby did not research her mother online (death certificate would pop up). The pacing of the book was lethargic which made it hard for me to stay interested. The author is a detail oriented which slowed down the pace (an example is making tea—getting the kettle, filling it with water, putting in on the stove, turning on the stove, etc.). Add in a daydreaming main character with a significant amount of internal dialogue and repetition of information. Shelby also has trouble remembering people’s names and figuring out a person’s age (makes it hard for a reader). She states she is not a people person, but Shelby is working in a bookshop frequented by tourists (an oxymoron). I felt that Trouble on the Books needed more pizzazz (oomph). The characters failed to come alive for me. We are not given many details on them which I found disappointing. I hope the characters will be fleshed out more in the next installment. I did enjoy the descriptions of the castle, island and bookshop. Trouble on the Books could have benefited from further editing (there are inconsistencies). A Castle Bookshop Mystery series has potential which I hope the author will achieve.
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    Loved it!

    cozy-mystery, amateur-sleuth, women-sleuths, murder-investigation, family-dynamics, greed ***** CGIS stands for Coast Guard Investigative Services, I didn't know that. The publisher's blurb is pretty good, so there's no need for recap or spoilers here. The characters are all interesting, the locale fascinating (she's renting a houseboat to live in!), and the mystery is well done and with the expected plot twists and red herrings. There's lots more I'd like to say, but it would either be redundant or get into spoiler territory, so I'll just let you know that it's a great book that grabs by the imagination and doesn't let go! I requested and received a free ebook copy from Crooked Lane Books via NetGalley. Thank you!
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    TROUBLE ON THE BOOKS by Essie Lang

    TROUBLE ON THE BOOKS by Essie Lang is the first book in the Castle Bookshop Mystery series. It’s the story of Shelby Cox who moves back to her hometown of Alexander Bay after the death of her father and finding out she is 50% owner of the Bayside Books store. Her Aunt Edie recently had a hip replacement and is still recuperating. Shelby, an editor, took a leave of absence to come help her aunt with not only the existing book store but to start up and manage the second store in the castle on Blye Island. Before opening day, Shelby finds the castle volunteer coordinator, Loreena Swan, murdered in the island’s Grotto while taking a stroll. Although they had a heated exchange the day before, it was still a shock to find her body. The murder takes a turn too close to home when her aunt’s man friend, Matthew, is taken in for questioning and is one of the prime suspects leading Edie to request Shelby to help prove him innocent. Little did she know that Shelby would take that request far enough to find her own life in jeopardy – more than once. While trying to find clues on the murderer, Shelby finds out that although one of the well-respected families in town and a person with lots of influence, Loreena was not really liked by the locals and had had words with several folks. The question is was any of the arguments or disagreements strong enough to lead to murder? One of the investigators is Special Agent Zack Griffith of the Coast Guard Investigative Services which just fuels Shelby’s believe that the murder has something to do with smuggling after the past history of such activities on the island come to light. Though she can find Zack infuriating at times, since they are both single and his looks are far from hard on the eyes, she is also drawn to him at the same time. Along the way, Shelby is trying to put the pieces together on her own past. Her mother died when she was 3 and her father never gave her any information about her. She had always thought it was that it was so painful for him to talk about missing his wife so dearly. She keeps running into road blocks and delays in trying to find out anything about her mother or even where her grave was. She is finds that she loves Alexander Bay and with each passing day she can see herself living there permanently. She bonds emotionally with her aunt and really cares about taking care of her and helping her with the book stores which she loves. Will Shelby’s questioning lead to clues on who murdered Loreena or will the murderer silence Shelby before she finds out too much? Can Shelby get Matthew cleared so her aunt’s relationship can blossom into more than friendship? Did Lorrena’s murder just happen because she was just at the wrong place and the wrong time or was it part of something bigger? Was the murder an act of thought out violence or just tempers going over the line for an act of regrettable actions? How will Shelby deal with the facts of her family past? Will it affect how she lives out the rest of her life and where? Essie Lang tells a great story that will have you hooked on this new series. You will be turning pages to explore the island, hunting for clues along with Shelby and falling in love with the folks of Alexander Bay. I know I will be anxiously be waiting the second book in the series to see more of Shelby’s adventures, exciting events on Blye Island, and to see where the relationship between Shelby and Zack goes.
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