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November Penguin Mysteries

IN THE November 8 ISSUE

FROM THE 2014 Articles,
andCynthia Chow,
andMysteryrat's Maze

by Cynthia Chow

This week we have reviews & giveaways of 3 November Penguin mysteries-Lethal Letters: A Books By the Bay Mystery by Ellery Adams, A High-End Finish: A Fixer-Upper Mystery by Kate Carlisle, and On Borrowed Time: A Book Lover’s Mystery by Jenn McKinlay. Details on how to win a copy of all 3 books at the end of this post, along with a link to purchase the books where a portion goes to help support KRL.

Lethal Letters: A Books By the Bay Mystery By Ellery Adams
Review by Cynthia Chow

Weddings are on the mind of Olivia Limoges, the owner of The Boot Top Bistro in Oyster Bay, North Carolina. The groomzilla’s behavior has begun to affect the restaurant’s cuisine since he’s also her head chef Michel. Also on Olivia’s mind is her own engagement to Sawyer Rawlings. She’s dragging her feet, but it’s not out of any lack of love for the police chief.

When she ventures to the beautiful First Presbyterian Church, it’s for the benefit of Chef Michel’s wedding, not her own. As the beautiful Gothic Revival structure undergoes much needed renovations, a time capsule dating back to a fire of 1917 is discovered. Bellamy Drummond, president of the historical society, is delighted to make the opening of the capsule a huge event.book

Ownership of the contents of the box becomes highly debated. Examining pictures of the capsule’s opening, Olivia realizes one item is now missing from the original discovery. A tragic death is soon linked to Bellamy’s mousy daughter. In this normally quiet little seaside town, rumors fly about smuggling, committed by young men armed with college degrees but few job prospects.

The Bayside Book Writers, a group of aspiring writers, have pretty much disbanded since Harris, a founding member, left town for a job. His return inspires the group to resume their craft even if it means starting from scratch. Reunited, the group rallies forces to investigate what has corrupted their town and how the contents of a box from World War I could be affect events today.

What makes this series fascinating and unique is how strongly the author has developed the characterization of Olivia through the progression of six books. Having recently discovered her new family, she is understandably protective and fearful over the possibility of losing them. The shocking discovery of her true birthright infuriates Olivia as she resents her father’s intrusion on her life. Even more interesting are the travails of a writer who experiences both the torture of writer’s block and the complete joy of free-flowing words on the page. At this point the friendships between the writers feels real. The author explores the complexities of family dynamics and how they continually evolve into forgiveness and acceptance.

This is a charming series that never shies from darker themes even while entertaining with delightful characters, a beautiful setting, and a love of all things literary.

A High-End Finish: A Fixer-Upper Mystery By Kate Carlisle
Review by Cynthia Chow

Following her father’s heart attack, the appropriately named contractor Shannon Hammer, moved home to Lighthouse Cove, California and took over Hammer Construction after he retired. In the tiny New Age town, her personal life would be up for discussion. She didn’t expect her reluctant acceptance of a blind date would have her neighbors wagering on the outcome. Even with a disastrous romantic track record, Shannon couldn’t have predicted she would have to kick her way out of mauling by the initially charming Jerry Saxton. It turns out she was not the only one to have confronted the reprehensible real estate agent. A call from a client, puts Shannon in the position of discovering Jerry’s bludgeoned body on the basement floor.

One good thing is that Shannon meets the new chief of police Eric Jensen. How unfortunate that he only sees her as a murder suspect. Shannon and her four best friends track down the many victims of Jerry’s misogynic womanizing and deplorable business practices. Saddled with a repellent guest, Shannon will definitely have her hands full as she dodges “accidents” as well as the very attractive long arm of the law. The addition of a bestselling thriller writer interested in both Shannon’s professional and personal attributes will hopefully shine a more positive light in her life, even if a few of her friends are suspicious of his motives.book

Author Kate Carlisle delightfully and expertly explores the world of home construction with as much knowledge and attention to detail as she does with booklore in her Bibliophile Mystery series. Standing out in this debut are the relationships of the women in Shannon’s circle of friends who support, love, and exasperate one another. Lizzie truly does need to ease off her compulsion to match up all of her friends, considering that her last attempt resulted in a near-rape. Shannon is quietly funny, with a sly sense of humor that overcomes the sense of dissatisfaction with the life that she seems to have acquired, The writing is polished, and Shannon’s methodical questioning of her fellow townspeople proves logical in a town fueled and driven by gossip. The unexpected uptick in Shannon’s romantic prospects adds a layer of optimism to her life, When combined with the beautiful coastal setting, it results in a warm and thoroughly satisfying mystery.

On Borrowed Time: A Book Lover’s Mystery By Jenn McKinlay
Review by Cynthia Chow

As the holidays approach, head librarian Lindsey Norris thought that her biggest headache would be avoiding gossip and navigating between the two suitors. Boat captain Mike “Sully” Sullivan broke her heart with his preemptive and totally unnecessary breakup. Handsome British actor Robbie Vine is entangled in a marriage he insists exists in name only. This is all before Lindsey is delighted to discover that her economist brother Jack, has broken into the Briar Creek Public Library, only to disappear, leaving a dead body behind. Jack’s no murderer, so despite her friendship with Police Chief Emma Plewicki, Lindsey keeps his involvement a secret while she attempts to locate him.

Nothing stays a secret long in Briar Creek, so soon Lindsey has the aid of her fellow crafternooner book club members as well as the dubious protection of both Sully and Robbie as they vie for her attentions. Lindsey will have to put her research skills to the test as she delves into Jack’s life to determine just how an economist managed to get himself kidnapped by a femme fatale.book

While mystery drives the novel, the author has fun playing with the interactions between Lindsey, Sully, and Robbie. McKinlay avoids the usual romantic triangle clichés by having the two men form a loosely defined friendship. By expanding on the background of one of the suitors, she may sway the reader’s initial loyalties. As a book nerd and a librarian, I can’t help but adore the scenes within the library. A librarian herself, McKinlay exposes all of internal workings of a library, from patrons who love to complain to the reliance on statistics to justify the library’s existence. I too, have dealt with patrons who have to be pried from the Internet computers during an emergency. That a literary clue helps Lindsey to solve the mystery only makes this novel more fun. However, even non-book nerds will appreciate a very entertaining mystery that revels in the literary world but also engages readers with international intrigue and a smidge of romance.

To enter to win a copy of all 3 Penguins, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “November,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen November 15, 2014. 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.

Click on this link to purchase any of these books & a portion goes to help support KRL!

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).

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Laurie I
Twitter: @lauigl
November 9, 2014 at 4:46am

Wow!! A chance to win all 3 cozies??!! That’s wonderful! All of them sound great, but especially On Borrowed Time since I love books involving books or libraries. I really enjoy your articles (I loved what you wrote about Trip to Bountiful). Thank you for this great giveaway opportunity!!

Lauigl [at] carolina [dot] rr [dot] com
A recent post from Laurie I: Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt by Beth HoffmanMy Profile


2 Annette N November 9, 2014 at 7:52am

Each of these authors are very talented writers, and would love to read these books.


3 Jess D November 9, 2014 at 5:34pm

Great giveaway! Great titles to add to my TBR list.


4 jackie folck November 9, 2014 at 6:03pm

I can’t wait to read On Borrowed Time. I love this series. I have added the other two books to my to read list.


5 Taryn Lee
Twitter: @TarynRaeLee333
November 9, 2014 at 6:06pm

Love all three authors, each has a style all their own. If you haven’t read any of their books you are missing out on some fun cozy mysteries with wonderful characters.


6 Lisa Kelley
Twitter: @LisaKsBkReviews
November 9, 2014 at 6:13pm

What a wonderful giveaway! You can’t go wrong with any of these authors!


7 Dana November 9, 2014 at 6:14pm

The wonderful writers and three new stories… sounds perfect to me!


8 Renee W November 9, 2014 at 6:16pm

What a great combination of writers! Thanks for the chance to win!


9 Jan Johnson November 9, 2014 at 6:22pm

Love all 3 of these authors & would love to win their latest books! Thanks for the opportunity!



10 Julie McDonough November 9, 2014 at 6:26pm

I can’t wait to read these…thank-you for the opportunity to win them. kittygirl15401[at]yahoo[dot]com


11 Becky Prazak November 9, 2014 at 6:37pm

What an awesome giveaway! Love all three of these authors.


12 Laurie November 9, 2014 at 6:41pm

Would love to read these! Thanks for the reviews!


13 Raquel M. November 9, 2014 at 7:08pm

Great Giveaway! Thanks for the opportunity to win these great books. Raquel36m(at)gmail(dot)com


14 Beth Penland November 9, 2014 at 8:07pm

Wow! These are great authors and I would love to win the books.


15 Eileen A-W November 9, 2014 at 8:12pm

How wonderful, three wonderful books by three awesome authors! I love Jenn McKinlay & read all of her books. I have read some other books by Kate Carlisle, but none by Ellery Adams. I would love to win these.


16 Michele Gray
Twitter: @scrappermom912
November 9, 2014 at 8:26pm

Wow! Three cozy mysteries…what an awesome giveaway. Thanks for chance.


17 Debbie Riley November 9, 2014 at 8:53pm

These sound wonderful!!


18 Glenda S. Hefty
Twitter: @Glenda Hefty
November 9, 2014 at 11:02pm

Some new names there for me…wonderful chance to get introduced to some new authors!


19 Dale Anna Young November 10, 2014 at 5:24am

i have never read any of these authors but would love to read all three of them….I may become their greatest fans! Thank you!


20 Marsha
Twitter: @MarshaC74
November 10, 2014 at 6:34am

All of these books sound good. Would love to win. With winter coming fast, I need to stock my book case. Thanks for the chance to win.


21 Patricia November 10, 2014 at 6:47am

Would love to win! Thanks, Cynthia.

patucker54 at aol dot com


22 Julia Lambert November 10, 2014 at 7:03am

A chance to win all three books? Wonderful! Three of my favorite authors!


23 marylouh November 10, 2014 at 7:12am

I’ve read Jenn’s series but the other two are new to me.
I’d love to read all three. I haven’t gotten Jenn’s new book yet so I’m anxious to get it. thanks for the chance.


24 Jo Anne V November 10, 2014 at 8:53am

Would love to win these 3 great books – thanks for the opportunity to do such that – will keep fingers (and toes) crossed – jody.714@hotmail.com


25 Kathleen Carn November 10, 2014 at 9:05am

Would love to win. all 3 sound very interesting.


26 Dotty Kelley November 10, 2014 at 10:46am

What a wonderful giveaway. All 3 of these authors are favorites of mine.


27 Meg November 11, 2014 at 4:46pm

This is such a great giveaway! Each of these authors are wonderful at writing, these books are sure to please. Thanks for the chance to win.



28 Lynn November 12, 2014 at 9:00am

What a marvelous giveaway! – the lucky reader should have enough reading for at least a month! Really look like great cozy’s — all the covers are so very colorful and bright (that makes me happy)! Thanks for such a swell opportunity!


29 Lorie
Twitter: @mysteryrat
November 24, 2014 at 12:33pm

We have a winner
Lorie Ham, KRL Publisher


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