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:
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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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Every Trick in the Book by Lucy Arlington – Book Review

Every Trick in the Book by Lucy Arlington
Published by Berkley, an imprint of Penguin

Lila is really happy with her new life. She’s moving into a cute new cottage in Inspiration Valley, North Carolina, and being a literary agent seems as if it is her perfect job. Even the men in her life are falling into line. Sure, she hasn’t gotten much time yet with her handsome police officer beau, but there is definite potential there, and her son’s time at the commune up the road seems to be maturing him – which is a relief after how concerned Lila was about him deferring college. Everything seems pretty close to perfect, until the Inspiration Valley Book and Author Festival. First Lila has a run-in with a strange and menacing man, then she finds the body of a dead editor who could be her twin. Now Lila needs to figure out what happened and why, or it could be The End for her.

Every Trick in the Book is the second in the A Novel Idea Mystery series, but I did not feel that I was missing anything significant by not reading the first book, although it seemed as if Lila’s personal life is starting to pick up and it will become progressively more difficult to pick up the series without reading the earlier books as it goes on, so it is a good thing I’m getting in now. Honestly, though, I think the best cozies are the ones where it does matter, at least a little bit, what order you read them in. Like Julie Hyzy’s White House Chef series, where the main character and her relationships with those around her grow and change over time. Every Trick in the Book is very much in that vein, with a very engaging main character and a fun style.

As fun as it is, there is a bit here that seems anachronistic. One is the fact that Lila’s agency still accepts queries by mail, which is not terribly common any longer – although they do seem to communicate mostly by email, which mitigates that a bit. The other is a reference made to the Twilight series, saying that Bella would ‘become a vampire’ by the time something happened. Considering the last Twilight book (in which, spoiler alert, Bella does become a vampire) came out about 5 years ago, and even the last movie came out about 6 months before the book was released, this seems an odd reference. However, I noticed both of these issues towards the beginning of the book and there either were no more after that, or I was having too much fun with the story to notice and care because this is a very engrossing cozy.

This is a very enjoyable read and, seemingly, a very promising series. 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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Eggsecutive Orders by Julie Hyzy – Book Review

Eggsecutive Orders by Julie Hyzy
Published by Berkley, an imprint of Penguin

This is the 3rd book in the White House Chef series. I have previously reviewed the first two books: State of the Onion and Hail to the Chef.

Ollie Paras is back, and she’s just as fabulous as ever. In Eggsecutive Orders, we see much less of the White House and the White House kitchen, because Ollie herself gets kicked out of her kitchen in the first few pages of the book. The night before the book begins, the President hosted a dinner that included the Joseph McCarthy of terrorism, the NSA’s Carl Minkus. Minkus has made plenty of enemies, so when he dies after dinner, the Secret Service suspects foul play – and the food service – immediately.

Julie Hyzy does a fabulous job keeping Ollie’s adventures fresh. I was initially a bit worried about how Ollie not being in the White House much would play out, but Hyzy added two new characters to the mix: Ollie’s mother and grandmother who were on their way to visit her from Chicago when the crisis comes to a head. To spice things up even more, Ollie has once more been prohibited from sticking her nose into the investigation, but this time her Secret Service boyfriend Tom is essentially a hostage to ensure her good behavior. He has been put in charge of keeping her in line, and his job depends on her staying out of trouble.

Although I really like Hyzy’s Manor House series, I had forgotten just how much fun the White House Chef series really is. Ollie is a fabulous protagonist: smart, sassy, and occasionally prone to embarrassing herself (but not too much). Even better, she’s just as engaging three books into the series as she was at the beginning, if not more so.

This series is an absolute joy to read, I highly recommend it. I know I’m looking forward to the next books in the series: Buffalo West Wing and the newly-released Affairs of Steak.

Buy this book from:
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Source: Personal copy.
* 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.

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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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Books Can Be Deceiving by Jenn McKinlay – Book Review

Books Can Be Deceiving by Jenn McKinlay
Published by Berkley, an imprint of Penguin

This is the first book in the new Library Lover’s Mysteries series.

Lindsay always imagined that she would use her Library Science degree in a large and prestigious academic library, but things don’t always go as you plan, and she now finds herself as the new library director in the small town of Briar Creek. At least her best friend Beth is in Briar Creek as well, and even works at Lindsay’s library as the phenomenal children’s librarian. Lindsay may not have Beth around for long, however, because she has been accused first of plagiarizing the work of her boyfriend, a famous children’s author, but also of his murder after their public – and loud – breakup. Now Lindsay must fight to save her friend and find the real murderer, before it is too late.

A cozy mystery set anywhere around books is always something I am going to want to check out, and Books Can Be Deceiving sounded just perfect. What reader, after all, can resist crimes set in a library?

Books Can Be Deceiving, though, did not get off to the best start. Something about the opening couple of chapters was slightly awkward and not particularly engaging. I am used to Julie Hyzy’s cozies that suck the reader in from page one, and Books Can Be Deceiving did not accomplish that. One thing that kept pulling me out of the book was the fact that the Briar Creek Public Library book club was reading The Last Time I Saw Paris, a book also out from Berkley released only two months earlier. This would be unlikely to bother most readers, but I kept wondering about Jenn McKinlay and Lynne Sheene, wondering if they are friends, do they have the same agent, same editor, etc? It just distracted me and certainly did not help me with my already rocky immersion into the story.

Still, by the time the dead body was found, McKinlay had me. The writing gained confidence and became increasingly interesting as the story progressed, and by the end I was completely enthralled. Despite the less than stellar start, I can honestly say I am looking forward to the next book in this 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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