One for the Books By Jenn McKinlay: Review/Giveaway/Interview

Nov 7, 2020 | 2020 Articles, Cynthia Chow, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Cynthia Chow

This week we have a review of the latest Book Lovers Mystery by Jenn McKinlay and an interesting interview with Jenn. Details at the end of the post on how to enter to win a copy of One for the Books and a link to order it from Amazon and an indie bookstore.

One for the Books: A Books Lovers Mystery by Jenn McKinlay
Review by Cynthia Chow

Briar Creek Library Director Lindsey Norris prides herself on having a very well-organized, triple-checked, detailed plan for her life. So that’s why she’s completely thrown by the discovery that she sent out the wrong invitation list for her own wedding, more than tripling the number of her guests who will be expecting to party in just one week. Her placid fiancé Mike “Sully” Sullivan does his best to reassure Lindsey that his family’s historical home on Bell Island will easily accommodate the new size of their formerly intimate wedding, especially in comparison to the much more lavish and over-the-top Briggses’ Annual Christmas Bash. Wealthy attorney Steve Briggs is coincidentally the officiant of their ceremony, but it looks as though he will definitely not be up to swearing in their vows. Lindsey and Sully discover Steve’s body washed up on the shore of Bell Island, still wearing the garish Elven tights he pranced around in at his party the night before.

For once, Lindsey would prefer to allow her friend Police Chief Emma Plewicki investigate the murder while the library director focuses on nailing down her evolving wedding details. Emma’s own theatrical boyfriend Robbie Vine isn’t about to let that happen, especially when it means that the ongoing investigation threatens to shut down the site of the entire event. Trying to maintain control of the library, counsel her fiancé over the death of his friend, track down an officiant, and secure the site of her entire wedding with days to go will have the Master of the Dewey Decimal System at her wit’s end and willing to delve into the life of a well-liked Briar Creek resident.

A mysterious Woman in Black casts a haunting shade over this winter seasonal mystery, although the stress of wedding planning quickly overshadows the holiday influence. A very Merry Widow and her admittedly adorable emotional support dog highlight the buoyancy of the tone and always keep the humor at the forefront. This eleventh in the series remains as ingenious as the first, delivering a heartwarming conclusion for Sully and Lindsey while promising more adventures for the future. Beloved characters from the library and Briar Creek are on hand as supportive guests and assistants for Lindsey’s escapades, which take her on freezing boat trips to the secrets that have somehow remained hidden in this very close-knit town. Crafternoon pinecones, mouthwatering winter meals, and of course, the celebration of Christmas literature and Dickens’s classics make this the perfect mystery to start off the long holiday season.

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).

Interview with Jenn McKinlay:

KRL: How long have you been writing?

Jenn: 19 years, give or take.

KRL: When did your first novel come out, what was it called, and would you tell us a little about it?

Jenn: To Catch A Latte was my first novel published by Harlequin in 2002. It’s romcom about a coffee shop owner whose coffee house gets involved in a money laundering scheme with a hot – “natch”- FBI guy who suspects the heroine before cracking the case.

KRL: Have you always written mysteries/suspense, and if not, what else have you written?

Jenn: No, I started in romcoms, went to mysteries, then back to romcoms and now women’s fiction. I am staying in mysteries and women’s fiction for the time being.

Jenn McKinlay

KRL: What brought you to choose the setting and characters in your latest book/series?

Jenn: I used to be a librarian in CT, so the setting and characters were very organic for me. Always nice to go home for a visit – even if it’s fiction!

KRL: Do you write to entertain or is there something more you want the readers to take away from your work?

Jenn: Pure entertainment, but also with some elemental truths that the readers find relatable.

KRL: Do you have a schedule for your writing or just write whenever you can?

Jenn: It’s a catch as catch can. Much easier now that my hooligans are older, but still there’s always so much stuff to be done that I have to work around. Ugh!

KRL: Do you outline? If not, do you have some other interesting way that you keep track of what’s going on, or what needs to happen in your book when you are writing it?

Jenn: I’m an outliner. Ten pages, not very detailed, but definitely a map to help me get where I need to go.

KRL: If you had your ideal, what time of day would you prefer to write?

Jenn: I’m a mid-shift gal. I’d love to work from noon to eight PM. Sadly my family likes to have dinner at an earlier hour, so I usually work a bit after dinner as well.

KRL: Did you find it difficult to get published in the beginning?

Jenn: Extremely! I have a one-inch thick file of rejections received over the course of five years. You just have to keep trying to write a better story and you’ll get there.

KRL: Do you have a great rejection/critique or acceptance story you’d like to share?

Jenn: When I got my first acceptance phone call it was one year after I’d submitted my book, I was holding my three-month-old son and when the editor said, “I want to buy your book.” I said, “What book?” LOL. New mom brain!

KRL: Most interesting book signing story-in a bookstore or other venue?

Jenn: Not super interesting, but just so you know I’m as big of an author fan girl as the next reader. I sat for hours waiting to have Neil Gaiman sign The Graveyard Book for me. His pen ran out of ink right as I stepped up to the table so he used his back up pen while his people fixed the brown ink in his official signing pen. So, I have the only blue signed copy of The Graveyard Book.

KRL: Future writing goals?

Jenn: YA/Paranormal/Sci Fic. I have a goal to be Queen of All Genre. Quite lofty of me, I know.

KRL: Writing heroes?

Jenn: Too many to list, but the one who first made me think about being a writer was Lucy Maude Montgomery with the Anne of Green Gables series.

KRL: What kind of research do you do?

Reading, naturally, interviews if necessary, and travel if I’m lucky!

KRL: What do you read?

Jenn: Everything. All the genres extensively.

KRL: Favorite TV or movies?

Jenn: Not a TV watcher unless you count the Great British Bake Off and as for movies, well, 2020 has not been kind to movies for me.

KRL: Any advice for aspiring or beginning writers?

Jenn: Write every single day. No excuses!

KRL: Anything you would like to and what is something people would be surprised to know about you?

Jenn: I’m six feet tall. I actually had a reader say, “You write short!” when she met me, which made me laugh pretty hard.

KRL: Website? Twitter? Facebook?

Jenn: Of course:, Jenn McKinlay,, Jenn McKinlay (@mckinlayjenn) • Instagram photos and videos

To enter to win a copy of One for the Books, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “books,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen November 14, 2020. U.S. residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. If you are entering via email please include you mailing address in case you win, it will be deleted after the contest. You can read our privacy statement here if you like. BE AWARE THAT IT WILL TAKE LONGER THAN USUAL FOR WINNERS TO GET THEIR BOOKS DUE TO THE CURRENT CRISIS.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Be sure to check out our new mystery podcast too with mystery short stories, and first chapters read by local actors. A new episode goes up next week.

You can use this link to purchase this book from indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy, and KRL gets a portion of the sale:

You can use this link to purchase the book on Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the link:

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. 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. Great review and the book sounds great and I love the book cover! Thank you for the chance to win the giveaway!!!!

  2. Would love to read this! Thanks for the chance!

  3. Weddings and murder, sounds great! Thanks for the contest.

  4. Great interview! Count me in!

  5. Great interview! I discovered her books this summer. They are addictive!

  6. I think all of us book lovers would enjoy this book. Thanks for the chance to win a copy. crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com

  7. Always love a good library related book!

  8. Love to read and you are one of favorite authors! Thabk you for doing this giveaway

  9. Another fun interview with Jenn! Would be honored to win.

  10. Always a good read. Excited to check out the latest installment.

  11. Another one of my favorite authors. Looking forward to reading the book.

  12. Cute cover, enjoyed the interview! tWarner419(at)aol(dot)com

  13. This is a great series and I would love to win a copy of this book. Thanks for the chance to win.

  14. Thanks for the chance to get one of Jenn’s books

  15. Great review! Thanks for the chance!

  16. I’ve read this book and it is
    wonderful. Highly recommend
    it (and the whole series).
    Please do not include me in the
    giveaway. thanks

  17. I love the interview, and Jenn McKinlay’s books. Thank you for this chance!

  18. Great to learn more about Jenn! I have been looking forward to reading this. Thanks.

  19. Thanks for sharing the great interview and this sounds like a really good read!

  20. Oh My Gosh! I would love one of these! I love your books!

  21. Thanks for the chance and I loved the interview!

  22. We have a winner!


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