Once Upon a Spine By Kate Carlisle: Review/Giveaway

Jul 8, 2017 | 2017 Articles, Cynthia Chow, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Cynthia Chow

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Once Upon a Spine. We also have a link to order it from Amazon, and from an indie bookstore where a portion goes to help support KRL.

Rare-book restorer and bookbinder Brooklyn Wainwright finds herself falling down a rabbit hole of confusion in this eleventh delightful Bibliophile Mystery. For weeks Brooklyn has been visiting almost daily the neighboring Brothers Bookshop, where she lusts after an 1866 first edition second issue print of “Alice in Wonderland.” It’s nowhere near as valuable as a true first edition that was ultimately recalled, but one of the owning brothers-in-law still refuses to sell it. That Eddie Cox and Terrence Payton remain business partners is a mystery, as their continual sparring answers the reason why the sisters they married divorced them. It is not their bodies, but that of Joey Falco and unconscious Will Rabbit, whom Brooklyn and her fiancé Derek Stone have the misfortune to discover when she spots the smoothie/produce market Rabbit Hole in disarray.book

Although previous cases have always somehow revolved around books, this time it looks as though jealousy is at the heart of the murder. Joey the Cobbler was one of the many lured in by the Courtyard building’s owner Bonnie Carson, and yet a trail of her perfume may have confused the culprit into just who was being smushed by shelves. So with the intended victim uncertain, it makes determining the motive, much less the murderer, nearly impossible. Derek being a former British intelligence agent and current security specialist gives him some leeway with the San Francisco Police Department, but he and Brooklyn will have another matter keeping them busy. Their wedding date is getting closer and closer, and Brooklyn is finally meeting her British in-laws for the first time. While Brooklyn fears that her hippyish, astral-projecting, Wiccan mother will be appalling to the Derek’s presumably upper-crust parents, Brooklyn couldn’t be further off the mark. Who could have predicted that the mothers could be sisters-from-another-mother, or that they would be absolutely thrilled to be co-conspirators in Brooklyn’s investigation?

This is a thoroughly enjoyable series to read and satisfies on so many fronts. Not only does it take a refreshingly twist on the meeting of in-laws, it provides fascinating details that teach the many aspects of book collecting and bookbinding. The differences between book editions, not to mention Brooklyn’s creation of hand-crafted Alice in Wonderland playing cards, are relayed so engagingly that readers learn without even realizing it. Despite there being a relatively small number of suspects, the confusion over the actual target makes the investigation that much more complicated. A surplus of copies of Alice in Wonderland further increases their bewilderment, not to mention our fun. Brooklyn’s family is so charming and expansive that they never wear out their welcome, and a visit to their home in Sonoma’s town of Dharma can’t come again soon enough. This continues to be the perfect blend of books, food, and family.

To enter to win a copy of Once Upon A Spine, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “spine,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen July 15, 2017. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.

Use this link to purchase the book & a portion goes to help support KRL & indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy:

You can also use this link to purchase the book on Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the 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 using those links. 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. I haven’t read any of her books yet, but it seems like they are all on my wish list. I really need to get my butt in gear! This soumds like the perfect one to dtart off with! Thank you for thr chance! tarafarah7(at)gmail(dot)com

    • I have no clue why all the typos…I swear they were not there when I pushed send! 🙂 I hope you got the gist of my message. Thx again 🙂

  2. Love this author and this series.

  3. I enjoy this series and this book sounds so interesting.

  4. Such great books, would love this one! Meg85242(at)gmail(dot)com

  5. I am so glad that I found this series! Loved all that I have read so far!

  6. Love her books. sclickner at juno dot com

  7. Thanks for a chance to win! I would love to
    read this book. kristilewis dot lrc at gmail dot com

  8. Would love to win.

  9. Would love to read.
    raineybird @ Yahoo.com

  10. I’m a complete sucker for book themed mysteries. Thanks for the chance to win this one, it sounds excellent! crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com

  11. I haven’t read this series yet but it sound like a delightful read. Thanks for a chance to win. musiqmom(at)yahoo(dot)com

  12. This is such a terrific series! I always look forward to the next book.

  13. I would LOVE to win this!!!! Such a great contest!

  14. Really love this series. Can’t wait to read “Once Upon a Spine”. Thanks for the chance.

  15. I love this series. Thanks for the giveaway.

  16. We have a winner!


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