BLOG TOUR – A Murder for the Books – REVIEW

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4.5 out of 5 stars.

Greetings! Today I’m hosting another Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour stop. This tour is for A Murder for the Books, the first in a new series by Victoria Gilbert. I absolutely loved the book. It didn’t quite have the pizzazz that put it up to a 5-star read for me, but it is definitely a solid 4.5!

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Synopsis

Fleeing a disastrous love affair, university librarian Amy Webber moves in with her aunt in a quiet, historic mountain town in Virginia. She quickly busies herself with managing a charming public library that requires all her attention with its severe lack of funds and overabundance of eccentric patrons. The last thing she needs is a new, available neighbor whose charm lures her into trouble.

Dancer-turned-teacher and choreographer Richard Muir inherited the farmhouse next door from his great-uncle, Paul Dassin. But town folklore claims the house’s original owner was poisoned by his wife, who was an outsider. It quickly became water under the bridge, until she vanished after her sensational 1925 murder trial. Determined to clear the name of the woman his great-uncle loved, Richard implores Amy to help him investigate the case. Amy is skeptical until their research raises questions about the culpability of the town’s leading families… including her own.

When inexplicable murders plunge the quiet town into chaos, Amy and Richard must crack open the books to reveal a cruel conspiracy and lay a turbulent past to rest in A Murder for the Books, the first installment of Victoria Gilbert’s Blue Ridge Library mysteries.

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Review

As I stated above, I absolutely loved this book!  A book that makes me laugh from the very first sentence is definitely worth my time to read. I’m a librarian so I’m interested in all cozy mysteries with a library setting and this one did not disappoint!

I really enjoyed our two main characters, Amy and Richard. They’re both well-rounded, developed characters. Their chemistry together is amazing. I’m looking forward to learning more about them and seeing their relationship blossom in further books in the series.

The setting descriptions were just right – not too little, but not too much either. I could easily imagine the town, the buildings we were in, the surrounding countryside, all of it. I like the setting. The town sits close enough to various larger towns/cities so there are all types of people who are included in the town. It’s a nice variety.

This plot moved along at a pretty steady pace. There were lots of subplots that were entangled with the main plot, but I was able to keep everything straight in my head so the subplots were a nice addition. I wondered briefly about the villain, but I really didn’t think it was them until it was revealed. It’s amazing the motives that make people kill. This was one motive I just couldn’t wrap my head around. I mean, I understood what the author meant, it just seemed like a not-so-good reason to commit murder!

I highly recommend this book if you like cozy mysteries! It’s a great start to a new series!

line of books - some stacked, some standing, some leaning - books are blue, brown, red, green, and yellow

Thanks for joining me today for the latest Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. If you wish to visit other stops on the tour, please click on the banner below. It will take you to the main tour page where there is a list of participants.

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Wish – REVIEW

5 out of 5 stars

Wish is a stand-alone children’s novel by Barbara O’Connor. It’s meant for the Middle Grades (4th-6th) and is wonderful, poignant, and is just all-around delightful.

Wish by Barbara O'Connor, Author of How to Steal a Dog - tagline: With a little luck you can get what you wish for. - Sunset background, young girl with long brown hair and short-sleeved green shirt kneeling in the grass with a beagle dog - fireflies flying in the background

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Brief Synopsis

Eleven-year-old Charlie Reese has been making the same secret wish every day since fourth grade. She even has a list of all the ways there are to make the wish, such as cutting off the pointed end of a slice of pie and wishing on it as she takes the last bite. But when she is sent to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina to live with family she barely knows, it seems unlikely that her wish will ever come true. That is until she meets
Wishbone, a skinny stray dog who captures her heart, and Howard, a neighbor boy who proves surprising in lots of ways. Suddenly Charlie is in serious danger of discovering that what she thought she wanted may not be what she needs at all.

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Review

I’m pretty fond of children’s literature, but I have to say, this is one of the best children’s books I’ve read in a long time!  The story line is so realistic and believable, as are the characters in this book. It’s wonderful.

All her life Charlie’s made a wish every day. She has a whole list of ways that one can make wishes, 11:11 on the clock, first star, crossing the state line (clapping 3 times), bird singing at night, etc. We never know what this wish is until the very end of the book because after all, if you tell someone what your wish is for, it won’t come true. In the end, Charlie gets her wish even though it’s a little different looking than what she thought it would be.

Charlie goes through a lot of character growth throughout the book. When we meet her, her world has just been turned upside down. Her father’s been sent to jail, her mother’s too sick to get out of bed and take care of her, and she’s being sent to live with an aunt and uncle she’s never met before. She’s scared. She’s mad at the world for changing. She’s mad that her sister, Jackie, isn’t coming with her. She’s not really a very nice little girl to be around. She gets into fights at school and at Vacation Bible School, she says mean things in the heat of the moment, etc.. Bertha and Gus, her aunt and uncle seem to take it all in stride. They don’t yell at her, they don’t punish her, they simply love her. Little by little that’s all it takes for her to start changing.

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The supporting characters in this story – Bertha, Gus, Howard, his brothers & parents, and Charlie’s sister, Jackie are just wonderful. They all teach Charlie something about life and love and family. Jackie’s afraid that Charlie will hate her because she can’t take care of her, but Charlie doesn’t hate her. She maybe doesn’t completely understand, but by that point in the book she’s starting to settle in and get comfortable at Bertha & Gus’s place. She’s feeling a little more secure so she takes it in stride.

The settings, the story line, everything about this book is just delightful and fantastic. It’s seriously one of the best children’s Middle Grade books I’ve ever read. I can see I’ll probably be enjoying it more than once!

All in all this is a WONDERFUL book for Middle Grade kids and I HIGHLY recommend it!

** I received an ARC from the publisher through NetGalley. I was not compensated for my review. All opinions and conclusions expressed are my own. **

About the Author

Barbara O'Connor, Author - Older white woman with short grey hair and glasses wearing a white shirt with a red cardigan

Barbara O’Connor’s awards include the Parents Choice Gold and Silver Award, American Library Association Notable Books, IRA Notable Books for a Global Society, School Library Journal Best Books, and Kirkus Best Books. Her books have been nominated for children’s choice awards in 38 states and voted as a state favorite by children in South Carolina, Indiana, Kansas, and South Dakota.

Barbara was born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina. She draws on her Southern roots to write award-winning books for children in grades 3 to 6.

She currently lives in Asheville, NC.