Hitting the Books

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 11 Oct 2018

Member Reviews

Life is full of adjustments, but they tend to get more complicated when you move in with your boyfriend, a whistling morning person, and all you want is some peace before your first cup of coffee.  Add in the fact that everyone knows everyone else’s business and you have a typical day in the life of Lindsay Norris, the Briar Creek Library director.

Glancing out her office window, Lindsay is stuck dumb when she sees a car careening towards, and hits, her friend Theresa Huston. Before the loved tennis coach can be transported to the hospital, there is a second reported incident, involving the same car, and her friend Charlie Peyton.  What is going on in this quiet town?  It turns out that furniture magnate, and fiancé of Theresa, has a secret and his college-aged daughter Liza seems to be in the middle of it.  

Relationships get a bit twisty here, but Jenn McKinley does an impressive job in keeping each person and their intertwined stories straight even though there are a couple rabbit trails and incidental characters that tend to lead you astray.
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Hitting the Books: A Library Lovers’ Mystery
By Jenn McKinlay
September 2018

Review by Cynthia Chow

Briar Creek Public Library Director Lindsey Norris had thought that her biggest challenge of the day would be staying awake after a late night of One More Chapter compulsive reading.  The death of a beloved fictional character can’t compare to real-life tragedy though, which almost occurs when Lindsey witnesses the hit-and-run of tennis coach Theresa Huston outside of the library.  Chief of Police Emma Plewicki quickly locates the vehicle as having been stolen from Kayla Manning, who rather suspiciously is the ex-girlfriend of Theresa’s fiancé. 

The solution may not be that simple though, as a burglary hides yet another attempt at murder, necessitating the need for some rather attractive bodyguards.  Less appealing is the discovery that Theresa’s fiancé may have already lost a spouse to nefarious means, and life insurance policies could make another death exceedingly lucrative.  Lindsey’s inherent curiosity as a librarian wars with her professional ethics though, as a clue left at the scene of the crime has the police chief demanding information that Lindsey is sworn to protect.  Never underestimate a librarian’s adherence to the American Library Association code of ethics, or her bravery in the face of opposing law enforcement officers.  That doesn’t mean that Lindsey still won’t do everything she can to help those involved of course, although this case of possible murderous spouses may be hitting a little close to home as she and her boyfriend Sully move closer to making a commitment. 

The author of four outstanding mystery series, McKinlay absolutely shines with this one showcasing her librarian and library-loving background.  It’s a nerdy inside detail, but anyone who has worked in a library will revel in the budget-stretching acts of whacking toner cartridges, turning computers on and off again to trouble-shoot, and the compulsive need to promote library services to everyone they meet.  Less known will be how librarians enforce confidentiality rules, demanding subpoenas to protect the privacy of all patrons, no matter their age.  Perhaps more relatable to all readers will be Lindsey’s absolute terror when contemplating a future with Sully, having never previously discussed the topic of marriage, much less children.  It’s becoming critical now that after moving in together, Lindsey discovered just how much she can’t stand happy whistlers in the morning and that she herself doesn’t care about putting away her shoes.  Their relationships, as well as their friendships with other couples and patrons of Briar Creek Public Library, continue to make this a welcoming and heart-warming series to return to again and again.  This 9th installment contains more than its share of witty banter, clever plot twists, and abundance of affection of libraries and library users.  This is a series that rewards readers who have grown to love all of its delightful characters and leaves them anticipating even more adventures for the vividly-drawn residents of Briar Creek.
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Another great read by Ms. McKinlay. I loved how she brought tied in the Library Privacy Act while Lindsey works to help the police solve the crime. I enjoy how Sully and Lindsey's relationship is evolving. The characters and the setting are interesting. This is the ninth book in the series and this is a series interesting enough to start at the beginning if you haven't read the others.

I received an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley for my honest review.
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I really enjoyed this installment of the series!  
The characters' personal storylines are as entertaining as the mysteries!
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Hitting the Books by Jenn McKinlay is the ninth book A Library Lover’s Mystery series.  Lindsey Norris is the library director for Briar Creek Public Library in Briar Creek, Connecticut.  Linsey is tired from a late night of reading so during crafternoon she finds herself staring out the window (and avoiding holding a baby).  She sees Theresa Huston, a local tennis coach, get hit by a car that then speeds away.  The same car almost hits Charlie Peyton outside the Blue Anchor.  Theresa ends up with a broken leg three weeks before her wedding to Larry Milstein.  The car belonged to Kayla Manning who had reported it stolen. The pilfered car is later found with borrowed library materials inside.  Before Lindsey can discover who checked out the items, Theresa is attacked in her home.  Someone is determined to do away with the bride-to-be.  Lindsey delves into the library records in hopes of discovering the identity of the guilty party.  The killer makes another attempt which sends Lindsey into overdrive to unravel the clues and expose the predator.  Will Theresa make it to her wedding?

Jenn McKinlay never fails to deliver an entertaining cozy mystery.  I have read every book in this series and look forward to the latest release each year.  It is like visiting old friends when I pick up A Library Lover’s Mystery.  Hitting the Books could be read as a standalone, but I believe it would be beneficial to read Books Can Be Deceiving first.  It is the first novel in A Library Lover’s Mystery series and it will give you the background on the characters.  I thought Hitting the Books was well-written with a nice, steady pace. Briar Creek is a welcoming small town with pleasant townspeople.   Lindsey Norris is a smart, friendly and caring woman who is the head librarian for Briar Creek.  Her best friend and children’s librarian, Beth is a woman who really loves her job.  I like the various costumes she wears to entertain the children’s during story time (she is clever).  Lindsey and Captain Mike Sullivan are now living together, and it is an adjustment.  I can understand Lindsey not enjoying Mike’s cheery whistling so early in the morning (that would be annoying).  I felt there was too much time devoted to the romance, but I like seeing this pair together.  Lindsey is worried about the future (marriage, kids) and needs to work through a few concerns.   The mystery was intriguing.  There are good clues that will aid readers in solving the crime before the solution is revealed.  My rating for Hitting the Books is 4 out of 5 stars.  The ending will have fans of the series smiling.  Hitting the Books has friendly characters, a charming town, a cozy library, a perplexing mystery, a sweet romance and a cute dog.
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I adore this series and this is probably the best in this fabulous series. You cannot beat author Jenn McKinlay for a fabulous read!  Grab a cup of tea, a warm blanket and just enjoy!
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Hitting the Books is the ninth book in the Library Lover’s mystery series.  If you have not read the previous books, it will take a few chapters before you are able to sort out the various characters that populate Briar Creek, Connecticut.  However, once you have done so, you can sit back and enjoy spending time with them – in particular the local librarian, Lindsey, her boyfriend, Sully, and the locals who add to the colorful variety of people that inhabit Lindsey’s world.

The story starts out relatively slow.  A hit-and-run involving the local tennis teacher and a subsequent attack on her in her home makes it obvious that she has been targeted.  From there the pace picks up and it’s a non-stop rollercoaster until the final chapter.

This is a cozy mystery that provides a nice break from the more intense mysteries that are often part of our reading list.  Although I found the actions of some of the characters fairly unbelievable, many fans of cozy mysteries will enjoy this book as well as the series as a whole.  

Many thanks to Net Galley and the publisher for providing a copy of this book for review.
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HITTING THE BOOKS is the ninth book in Jenn McKinlay's Library Lover's cozy mystery series. HITTING THE BOOKS is loads of fun for cozy mystery fans as well as readers, like me, who enjoy a delectable gothic mystery. There are elements in HITTING THE BOOKS reminiscent of some of my favorite Dorothy Daniels' stories full of ghostly figures, mysterious deaths, and bumps in the night. Library director Lindsey Norris tries to stay sensible and focused as she attempts to find out who is behind the violent attacks on her friend Theresa Huston.

There are murder and mystery in HITTING THE BOOKS, but this story starts out a little differently than most. Rather than a death right out of the gate, it's attempted murder that lures Lindsey into a tangled tale of shadowy assassins, tales of tragedy, and mysterious disappearances. Lindsey has a lot of back-ups as she hunts down clues and suspects. Theresa's fiancé Larry Milstein provides her with two superb bodyguards -- Stefan and Steig Norrgard. The Norrgard brothers are friends of Lindsey's and, in my opinion, a sexier and more competent version of the classic detective pair Thomson and Thompson from "The Adventure of Tintin" comic albums by Herge. Robbie Vine, actor and main squeeze of chief of police Emma Plewicki, is also on hand to charm information out of locals. Captain Mike Sullivan aka Sully, Lindsey's roommate, and love interest gets my vote for most valuable sidekick. Sully is very hands-on in this mystery and is a cool head and fierce protector when things get a little too hot to handle. Lindsey's adorable dog Heathcliff even makes an assist in nabbing the bad guy.

Overnight it seems as though the little town of Briar Creek becomes a hotbed of dark secrets and devious plotting. Well-known, and some very well-liked, locals take on a slightly sinister cast as strange facts become known. I love the mystery-within-a mystery involving one suspect's wife who disappeared years earlier. Several straightforward scenarios are plausible motivations for the recent attempts on Theresa's life, but some terrifying and outlandish motives start to make sense to Lindsey and her crew as well. This is a hoot to read and one of my favorite books in this Library Lover's series so far.

HITTING THE BOOKS is a superlative mash-up of gothic staples and cozy mystery goodness. There are suspects aplenty and shady activities for this amateur sleuth and her friends to investigate. Jenn McKinlay does a fabulous job of balancing the fun, mystery, and spooky good times. I look forward to Jenn McKinlay's next mystery.
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I always get excited when I get my hands on a new cozy mystery by Jenn McKinlay, and her Library Lover's Mysteries are my favorites! I always enjoy revisiting the characters, but you would still enjoy this book if it was your first entry into the series. Potential foreshadowing at the beginning of the book kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the whole story!
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eview: HITTING THE BOOKS by Jenn McKinlay 
(A Library Lover's Mystery #9)

What a great cozy mystery, with some surprising and truly unexpected plot twists! The endearing (and in several instances ongoing) cast of characters readily elicited my attention and empathy. What reader doesn't love reading, books, and libraries? Lindsey is the Librarian of the delectable Briar Creek, Connecticut, library, and a dedicated amateur sleuth. Not much crime ever occurs in this tiny seaside community on Long Island Sound, but when it does Police Chief Emma Plewicki and Librarian Lindsey will track it down
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Another home run for Jenn McKinlay. The mystery is great with some nice, unexpected turns. The emphasis is on the current case rather than on the series regulars (although there are some nice developments for the main character). The mystery itself was refreshing because they are trying to prevent a murder. I love when authors change up the formula. I thoroughly enjoy this series - I'll read anything Jenn McKinlay writes!
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Hitting the Books was a filled with quirky hometown characters with a fun and easy entertainment vibe that included a good mystery. I enjoyed the hometown, where everyone knows everyone, feel. 

I'm going to be vague but I did have an issue with specific character's immaturity and naivete, I can't see anyone being a young adult and that clueless and controllable. 

In the end, I really enjoyed getting to know the Library Lover's clan. The characters are written to be familiar, your neighbor next door, type characters that invest the reader into the character's plight.

I received this ARC copy of Hitting the Books from Berkley Publishing Group. This is my honest and voluntary review. b>Hitting the Books is set for publication 11 Sep 2018.

My Rating: 4 stars
Written by: Jenn McKinlay
Series: A Library Lover's Mystery 
Sequence in Series: Book 9
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley 
Publication Date: September 11, 2018
ISBN-10: 0451492676
ISBN-13: 978-0451492678
Genre: Mystery | Woman's Lit

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Hitting-Books-...
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3.5 Stars

As Lindsey Norris looks out a window while working at the Briar Creek Public Library, she witnesses a hit-and-run accident. A car hits tennis coach Theresa Huston and flees the scene. When a second attempt is made on Theresa’s life, it’s obvious the incident with the car was not accident and the drive had tried to run down Theresa on purpose. Lindsey swears she will play it safe and focus on her job and her love life and won’t get involved in the case, but soon she is using her research skills to try to uncover the person who is trying to kill Theresa.

Although this book is part of an ongoing series, new readers will enjoy it as much as those who follow the series. I’ve read most of the books in the series and find it to be inconsistent. Some of the installments have been exceptional and some a little too lightweight. Hitting the Books is somewhere in the middle. The plot is interesting and the book moves quickly. Lindsey acts more maturely in this outing and hers and the other characters’ dialogue is realistic. I’m glad Lindsey and British actor Robbie Vine are now just friends and investigative partners. He is better boyfriend for Emma, the chief of police, than as a potential love interest for Lindsey. Lindsey has now been living with her boyfriend Sully for six months, but still questions her choice to move in together. She worries about this throughout the book and makes a surprising decision.

Even though Lindsey keeps saying she isn’t going to get involved in the case, she makes a good investigator and with Robbie’s help, learns things that Emma isn’t able to. There are a few different viable suspects in the attempts on Theresa’s life and other crimes, so I remained interested what would happen next in the investigation throughout the book. I like that Lindsey is able to use library circulation records to help Emma solve the case. The author doesn’t simply tells us Lindsey is a library director, there are many scenes that take place in the library with Lindsey on the job or on the case. There are scenes with Lindsey helping library patrons and also getting together with other library employees and friends for their weekly “Crafternoon” sessions for discussing books, doing a craft, and snacking. As expected,  the book discussions usually lead to talking about the case Lindsey is investigating. I enjoy the rapport and inside jokes between the characters that make these scenes are the highlight of the book for me. There are even book discussion questions, recipes, and instructions for making a craft item at the end of the book for readers who want to have a “Crafternoon” of their own. Although this isn’t my favorite of the books in this series, it’s still an enjoyable read for fans of the author or of anyone who enjoys a good cozy, especially one set in a library.

~ Christine
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This has to be one of my favorite series.  I have been waiting for this book for along time. Mostly because I have been waiting for a proposal and it was worth the wait. If your a fan of this series get this book now. The mystery is great and Beth cracked me up, like she always does. If you are new to the series I would say start with the first book.  You will enjoy this book so much but if you fall in love with these characters from the beginning you will enjoy it even more.
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When you want and need to read something light and fun, you can't go wrong with anything Jenn McKinlay has written, but I say she has a little thriller writer buried deep down inside who's begging to be turned loose. Hitting the Books opens with that hit and run scene, and it made my heart jump into my throat. (And that's not the only scene which had that effect on me.)

In this latest Library Lovers mystery, McKinlay has upped her game to a whole new level. From the pedal-to-the-metal pacing to an ingenious plot with a solution that blindsided me, I enjoyed every moment. What's even better-- McKinlay never once forgets her characters. Longtime fans are going to love the romantic doings between Lindsay and Sully, and since the author knows how to use a light touch, this I-don't-care-for-romance-in-my-mystery reader (me) loved it, too. Readers who haven't found that special person are going to read this and think, "That's what I want," and those of us who have been supremely lucky are just going to have big smiles on our faces.

It wouldn't be a McKinlay novel without the author's trademark humor, and there's plenty to be found here, as well as characters who change as they experience different things throughout this series of books. And may I just say that I'm thrilled to see that librarian fixture Ms. Cole (AKA "The Lemon") is changing as well. Watching her evolve from mean and nasty to almost-human is a joy. Speaking of librarians, the scenes in which Lindsey faces down the law over the subject of patrons' privacy highlight one of the many reasons why librarians are rock stars. 

Hitting the Books hits all the right notes. Thrilling action scenes, the right touch of romance, laugh-out-loud moments, a compelling mystery, and characters you'd invite in your house for coffee. After watching McKinlay flex her writing chops in this book, I can't wait for the next Library Lovers mystery!
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This is a quick, fun mystery in a small town where everyone knows everyone's business. This is the ninth book in the Library Lover's Mystery series and the first that I've read. I would recommend reading the series before this one to have a better sense of the characters. I love that there is a librarian helping to solve the mystery. Recommended!
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Hitting the Books by Jenn McKinlay was a free advance reader copy provided to me from Net Galley via Berkley.

Hitting the Books is the ninth book in the Library Lover's Mystery series by Jenn McKinlay.   In this edition, the story takes us back to the sleepy coastal town of Briar Creek.  Six months after the eighth story, Lindsey is living with her boyfriend, Sully.  They are working on adjusting to their new life together.

However, Ms. McKinlay wastes no time in introducing the first mystery of the story. Someone tries to hit Lindsay's friend and high school tennis coach, Theresa, with a car.  As a witness to the hit and run, Lindsay soon begins a quest to uncover the culprit.

McKinlay's books are one of my favorite cozy mystery series. As a librarian, I can relate to the scenes she depicts in the library.  The characters are so lifelike and well thought out. They are all very enjoyable and relatable. I love how she adds names of authors and books that the characters are reading. Every time I read a Library Lover's Mystery I feel as if I am visiting old friends.  Hitting the Books is another fantastic read from Jenn McKinlay!
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Hitting the Books continues a really solid series, and my favorite library related cozy series! Per usual, Lindsey ends up (overly) involved in the investigation of a crime, and in this one, the navigation of her relationship with Sully has new challenges as they've moved in together and Lindsey is contemplating their future. As a librarian, my favorite part of this series is how accurate the portrayal of a library is in this series- including a scenario in this book in which Lindsey has to protect the privacy of a patron despite her usual eagerness to help in an investigation. In a sea of cozies, it takes so much to stand out, and accurate details like this make a big difference.
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This description isn't quite what happens in the book. Lindsey Norris, librarian and information seeker extraordinaire, is waving at Theresa Huston, one of her favourite patrons when she realized a white car is speeding towards her. It hits Theresa and breaks her leg badly, among other damage. Unfortunately, no one was able to get more information at the scene but the police do get video from where the car nearly hits someone else in town.

Then Theresa's home is broken into and she is nearly smothered to death. Theresa's fiancé, Larry, had a security system installed and it saves her life. Theresa's soon-to-be stepdaughter, Liza, comes to the library and borrows some audiobooks for Theresa but forgets them there when the attack happens, giving Lindsey an excuse to visit later. Because at this point in the series, we all know it's going to happen, isn't it? The character development in the series shines because it's six months after the last book and Lindsey and Sully are living together. He's there for her throughout the investigation, including shielding her from bullets. They still have their quirks that they're adjusting to but things are going well. The time jump from the last book works really well to move the series forward.

This mystery was refreshing because it doesn't start off with a murder but a hit and run (how many murders can a small town have?) One moment that really shone for me was when Lindsey, as library director, refused to give out patron records without a subpoena. Thank you, Jenn McKinlay for this! She cited the library's policy and ALA standards, so the chief of police had to come back with the official document. Finding out who checked out the materials in the driver of the hit and run's car leads to an amusing side story that will have readers chuckling. I hope we find out eventually what happened at that dinner.

This is my favourite in the series so far and I look forward to the next one. Fans of the series will be delighted and I think it makes a nice entry point to Briar Creek.
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When Lindsey witnesses a hit-and-run accident, and then learns about a near-miss just a few minutes later, she can't help but wonder who the careless driver is. The car is found – along with a stack of library items, which drags Lindsey deeper into the investigation. A clue might help point her in the right direction, but things in Briar Creek aren't always what they seem, and not everyone is telling the truth. 

Jenn McKinlay is one of my favorite cozy authors, and I'm glad to see this series continue. I love the setting of a small coastal New England town, which has been described well enough that I can picture it in my mind while reading the books. I've enjoyed watching relationship develop and grow, and would love to spend some time in the Briar Creek library, which seems to have a lot more resources than any of the public libraries around here. 

The mystery was puzzling, and a variety of suspects were presented, with logical motives for each, so it was up to the reader to try to figure things out. I suspected the involvement of the primary "bad guy" early in the book, but didn't figure out the extent of that involvement until much later in the story. I will be eagerly awaiting the next book in this series to see what happens next in the lives of Lindsey, Beth, Ms. Cole and the rest.
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