Skating on the Edge by Joelle Charbonneau – Book Review

Skating on the Edge by Joelle Charbonneau
Published by Minotaur Books, an imprint of Macmillan

This is the third book in the Rebecca Robbins series. I have previously reviewed the first two books, Skating Around the Law and Skating Over the Line.

Somehow, Rebecca Robbins has found herself roped into sitting in the dunk tank at Indian Falls’s Native American Days celebration. Or, at least she got roped into agreeing to it. When her grandfather’s Elvis act goes awry, Rebecca gets one of the local roller derby gals, Sherlene-n-Mean, to substitute for her. It all seems innocent enough, until Sherlene dies in the dunk tank from an electric shock; one that may just have been meant for Rebecca.

In Skating on the Edge, Charbonneau keeps the Rebecca Robbins series fresh with the addition of the rink’s new roller derby girls as fairly major characters. These additions keep Charbonneau from having to bump off the entire town of Indian Falls, and because the girls are a cohesive unit, there is an increased feeling of urgency to figure out what is going on once Rebecca gets involved with them.

As is typical with Charbonneau’s books, Skating on the Edge is a smart, funny mystery. It could certainly be read on its own, but if you haven’t read the first two books in this series yet you should do yourself a favor and pick them up.

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound*

Source: Publisher.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

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Skating Over the Line by Joelle Charbonneau – Book Review

Skating Over the Line by Joelle Charbonneau
Published by Minotaur Books, an imprint of Macmillan

This is the second book in the Rebecca Robbins series. I have previously reviewed the first book, Skating Around the Law.

It seems like Rebecca’s dreams may finally have come true. Her real estate agent may finally have found a buyer for her mother’s roller rink. Of course, her boyfriend Lionel isn’t crazy about the idea of her selling the rink and heading back to Chicago, but as much as Rebecca enjoys their time together, getting back to her life in Chicago is all that Rebecca has wanted since she came home to Indian Falls. Still, the Lionel thing aside, things seem to be heading in the right direction – until Rebecca’s deadbeat father shows up in town and people’s cars start going missing.

As in Skating Around the Law, Rebecca is a very strong, entertaining character. She is flawed, but still confident in her own skin, even when she isn’t sure what on earth she is actually doing. The secondary cast of characters is equally good. Lionel gets relatively little face time, but is still very well developed, and Pop has to be the sweetest, funniest grandfather in literature. In addition, Skating Over the Line is well-plotted. It makes sense for Rebecca to get pulled into things when and how she does, and the conclusion makes perfect sense while still managing to be somewhat surprising.

Charbonneau is a fairly new voice in the mystery scene, but she is a talented one. Highly recommended.

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound*

Source: Publisher.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.
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Skating Around the Law by Joelle Charbonneau – Book Review

Skating Around the Law by Joelle Charbonneau
Published by Minotaur Books, an imprint of Macmillan

Who says you can’t go home again? Actually, the more pertinent question, to Rebecca Robbins’ way of thinking, is why on earth would you want to go home again? Unfortunately, home is right where Rebecca is. Home from Chicago to small town Indian Falls, IL and trying to sell her mother’s skating rink. Her mother died a year ago, and Rebecca’s grandfather no longer feels that he can run the place – although he seems sufficiently spry to date half of the older women in Indian Falls. Rebecca assumes this sale will take a week or two and that she will then be able to get back to her job as a mortgage broker in Chicago, but then a local teenager finds Mack, a town handyman, dead of foul play in one of the toilets at the rink, something that is sure to scare off potential buyers. Now if Rebecca ever wants to get back to Chicago, she is going to have to figure out what happened to Mack, because Indian Falls’ elderly sheriff certainly can’t be counted on to do the job.

I am still somewhat in awe that “Skating Around the Law” is a debut book. Charbonneau has such a strong and confident voice to her writing that it seems as if she has been doing this for years and years. “Skating Around the Law” was funny without being stupidly silly, but it definitely had me laughing out loud at parts – I don’t want to spoil the amusing surprise for you, so let me just say it has to do with an unexpected hat.

Rebecca was really a great character. She walked very well the line of wanting to get back to her own life in Chicago without seeming so denigrating of Indian Falls that she came off unlikeable. I also very much enjoyed her mutual attraction to the town vet. Charbonneau included just enough sexual tension to keep things fun, without making Rebecca or the book seem skanky.

Fabulous debut, I loved the plotting of the whole thing, and the way that the mystery wrapped up. Really it was just all very well done. Very highly recommended, and I can’t wait for the next in the series.

Buy this book from:
Powells.*
A local independent bookstore via Indiebound.*
Amazon.*

Joelle Charbonneau’s website

“Skating Around the Law” is Charbonneau’s debut book, but we can look forward to the sequel, “Skating Over the Line” (release date TBA).

This review was done with a book received from the publisher.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

End Me a Tenor by Joelle Charbonneau – Book Review

End Me a Tenor by Joelle Charbonneau
Published by Berkley, an imprint of Penguin

End Me a Tenor is the second in the Glee Club Mystery series. I have previously reviewed the first book in the series, Murder for Choir.

After months of coaching the Prospect Glen show choir, Paige is finally starting to get the hang of things, at least a little. So when she’s told that she needs to help her students learn an entirely new number in a scarily short amount of time or risk losing her job, she understandably panics a bit. Of course, things aren’t all bad, Paige is getting an amazing career opportunity singing in a production of the Messiah with an amazing tenor, David Richard. Paige runs into David exactly three times: first, he is being punched in the face by the maestra; second, he insults her; third, he takes a sip from his water bottle and falls down dead. Now Paige needs to practice for the role of a lifetime, try to keep her day job, and do her best to solve a murder before she becomes the next victim.

The first book in this series, Murder for Choir, was very enjoyable, but with End Me a Tenor Charbonneau has really hit her stride. She’s got the cozy thing down pat, while still maintaining some of her own voice, so recognizable from the Rebecca Robbins skating series. It would be quite helpful to read Murder for Choir first, because it introduces Paige and a number of important (and vibrant) secondary characters, but if you pick up End Me a Tenor on its own you won’t get lost, by any means.

If you’re in the mood for a fun new cozy series, I highly recommend Charbonneau’s Glee Club Mystery series.

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound*

Source: Publisher.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

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Murder for Choir by Joelle Charbonneau – Book Review

Murder for Choir by Joelle Charbonneau
Published by Berkley, an imprint of Penguin

What Paige really wants is to be touring Europe with an opera company. She’s come close in the past, but it just isn’t happening right now. Really, she should be glad to have a job at all right now, even if it is just coaching a glee club in suburban Chicago. At least she’s coaching the best singers at Prospect Glen, even they don’t all necessarily have much faith that her operatic experience will translate int o a win for them. It isn’t long, though, before everything begins to fall apart. School hasn’t even started yet, Paige and the kids are still at choir camp when the much-loathed glee club coach at the rival high school is found dead and one of Paige’s students is suspected of murdering him. Although she has only very recently met the kid, Paige is certain that he cannot have been the culprit and is determined to clear his name, even if it does put her in danger herself.

A glee club-based cozy mystery is the perfect fit for Charbonneau, an always funny and entertaining author with a background in music and voice coaching. Murder for Choir is definitely a change from her Rebecca Robbins series, adhering closely to the conventions of a cozy mystery, but it also has many of the hallmarks of her Skating books, such as an endearing heroine and the eccentric older relative.

Murder for Choir follows the basic cozy outline without seeming formulaic, and Charbonneau’s humor ensures that it is always a joy to read. Pick it up, then when you thoroughly enjoy it, go back and read the Rebecca Robbins books as well.

For more, see my review for SheKnows.com.

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound*

Source: Publisher.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

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