Cover Image: Reserved for Murder

Reserved for Murder

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I love a good B and B story. 

Witty, enjoyable read like a cozy mystery book should read. Characters who make you laugh, you find relatable and enjoy their story make it that much more enjoyable.
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Reserved for Murder is the 2nd in the Book Lovers B&B Mystery series, though it is the first book I have read by Victoria Gilbert. The setting is a book themed B&B named Chapters, in Beaufort, North Carolina . Charlotte, the owner, has booked a well known romance author and her fans for a book talk as part of the author's book tour. Emotions run high as the book discussion turns to ghost writing, historical accuracy, and fan fiction. It is after the explosive talk that the murder occurs. Added to the mix is the next door neighbor who is a retired spy and her cousin---they are the subjects of the secondary plot. I do enjoy books with spies!
The mystery was well plotted, with twisty turns and clues. The characters were fun and colorful with hidden depths. Each one was unique and essential to the story. I love books with spies, so the neighbor and her cousin were a boon. A satisfying read on this snowy day!
Thank you Kensington Publishing and NetGalley for honoring my request for an eARC to read and review. My opinions are my own, I review books that I enjoy so that others can enjoy them, too.
#ReservedforMurder #Netgalley
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Quick, easy, enjoyable read which warmed my soul on a cold winter's day.  Pleasant characters and a mystery that kept you involved until the end.
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This is the second book in this series so far so be sure you read the first one. This is one of my favorite authors, so after you read this series make sure you check out her other books too. This is a cozy mystery with all the best- murder, a beautiful setting, a dog and some twists and turns. Perfection!
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I was given a free e-copy of this novel by Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

I have not read anything by Victoria Gilbert before, and this is the second of her Booklovers B&B Mysteries series. 

Charlotte Reed is the owner of Chapters Bed and Breakfast in Beaufort, North Carolina. She agrees to host a famous author, who is trying to also relax, and three of her "super" fans while the author is on a book tour. However, things go awry when the president of the author's fan club is found dead from blunt force trauma. Now Charlotte and her neighbor Ellen have to find a killer before the author and her successful book series wind up in the cross hairs.

Many stories have the main plot with a smaller subplot. I tend to enjoy stories more when the subplot flows smoothly with the main plot, and isn't overwhelming. However, the smaller plot in this novel did not flow with the main plot. Overall, the spies and their history were an unnecessary distraction. The main murder plot itself was great. There are tons of reasons that don't make sense when people complete murder. It's interesting that this one hasn't been used before. 

I would have liked more from the main characters. More interaction with the town, and more involvement with the book club. There was also the vague mention of the rooms in Chapters each being a different genre theme. 

Overall I rate this 3 out of 5 stars, with loads of potential for future books.
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Reserved for Murder by Victoria Gilbert
Book #2: Booklovers B&B Mysteries
Source: NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books
Rating: 4½/5 stars

Charlotte Reed has found her stride with her B&B, Chapters.  She’s got great help, an outstanding chef on standby, great ideas to keep her guests entertained, and a schedule that seems to get busier by the day.  If she can keep the bad at bay (recall that nasty murder?!) she’ll solidify her name in the industry.  

Charlotte’s next big hurdle is ensuring the privacy of a well-known author as she checks in for a bit of R&R between stops on her book tour.  The author’s presence isn’t a total secret as a select group of contest winners will also be in residence and in attendance for certain book-related events.  Though the group initially seems quite enthusiastic and excited, the cracks in the façade show themselves quickly and the situation becomes deadly.  

Once again, Charlotte has a house full of suspects and any one of them could be the culprit.  With her reputation and safety on the line, Charlotte turns to her crafty neighbor for advice and help.  Speaking of her neighbor, there a new resident at Ellen’s house and Charlotte isn’t buying the “distant relative” story.  With two mysteries to solve, Charlotte puts on her investigator hat and starts sorting through the clues. 

As is her way, Charlotte begins poking around and prodding people for their respective stories.  While some are more than willing to talk, others are reluctant and clearly have something to hide.  What Charlotte eventually uncovers is a scandal that can ruin an author’s career and definitely put a person or two in jail for a very long time.  And that’s just one of her mysteries.  On the other case, Charlotte discovers a very old truth that could destroy the life of one of her dearest friends and the shatter the long-standing friendship of others.  To say Charlotte is between a rock and a hard place with both mysteries is putting it all very mildly. 

The Bottom Line:  I feel like this series gained some strength with this read as Charlotte is surer of herself, Ellen is a bit more open, honest, and willing to help, the story got a bit darker.  While I liked the primary tale told in this book – the author’s scandal/story – I liked the secondary tale even more. The mystery man staying at Ellen’s is an intriguing character that is most certainly going to make appearances in later installments.  His presence makes both Charlotte and Ellen’s lives more interesting and will perhaps allow for the crafty women to do a bit more sleuthing in the future.  With this read, I have a bit more confidence in the series and can see an exciting future for Charlotte and Ellen.
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in this story Charlotte is hosting an author and some of her fans.  her neighbor Ellen has a visitor but is he who they say he is. lots of mystery.  then one of the fans  is killed but by who?    this is a well written story ,  the romance author  says she wants to write other types of book but does she , then they find out that there was a ghost writer  and then the guy in charge of her tours  is quitting  .  what new info does Charlotte find out about her aunt that passed?  if you like mystery  and  intrigue  you will want to read the book    i was given a copy by netgalley but this is an honest review
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This was a cozy mystery set at a B&B where an author was visiting to meet some of her fans, but one of them had sinister intentions. But, with more than one spy available, can Charlotte Reed find the truth before bodies start to fall?
The characters were intriguing, and the plot was good. The romantic undercurrent was interesting. The problem with the plot was that the main clue was not shown until the end of the book, which frustrated me because I always try to figure out whodunnit. Also, the pace of the writing was a little slow because there seemed to be an abundance of dialogue. Otherwise, I liked it, and want to read the next one. I received an advanced reader's copy from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
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This is a cosy murder mystery and is the second in the series. I hadnt read the first but it didn't matter as they do allude to the previous book quite a bit, especially the past about the character and her ex love life which might be annoying if you had read the previous book.

I didnt think it needed the spy element and they went a bit overboard on it.

Overall I'd give 3 stars.
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Definitely a cozy mystery for a cold day. 

Rating: 3/5

Reserved for Murder is the second book in the Booklovers B&B Mysteries series, and the first I've read from Victoria Gilbert. It was a quick, cozy mystery about a book themed B&B, ex-spies (?) and the cut throat world of publishing. I enjoyed the overall plot, but found a lot of characters (especially our main character) to be really... dry. And I found it hard to believe that some of the subplots were actually meant to be a part of the book, or if they were just added for some extra flare.

You can't go wrong with spies and books, though. I enjoyed Gilbert's use of books as a plot device, and how she managed to address some real concerns in the publishing world (all I could think about was the recent row a fan tried to have with Nora Roberts about the publishing process). Fan expectations, long hours, writers block, and the never ending publicity cycle can be hard for authors - but it can also make for a compelling murder mystery. I also did not expect the murderer to be who it was, and really enjoyed how there were so many misdirections that kept eyes off the actual murderer. 

This will not be the last Gilbert book that I pick up.

Thank you NetGalley and Gilbert for the e-Arc of this book. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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I think I've read all of Gilbert's mysteries and I think this one was my favorite so far. This book involved a famous writer visiting Chapters. Charlotte puts on a retreat of sorts where the author, Amanda, does an event, attended by several fan club members as well as many locals. Unfortunately one of the fan club members ends up dead and it's up to Charlotte, Ellen, and Ellen's "cousin" Gavin, to solve the mystery.

The previous book in the series didn't really have anything to do with books and even the theme of the B & B was downplayed, which I found disappointing. In this book, all these things come to the forefront and the entire story revolves around books and the author who visits. There are a lot of possible killers and they all have pretty strong motives so narrowing down the suspect list was a complicated feat.

There's also an interesting side story involving Ellen's and Charlotte's Aunt Isabella's previous careers as spies. Though we don't necessarily learn much of anything new about their clandestine activities, there are definitely new developments that I think (hope) will result in some interesting things happening in the next few books. I wasn't completely sold on the series after book 1 but this book sold me!

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC.
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A good clever murder mystery in a small town.  I thought the story was great!  Clever names for the B&B and the book store. Nice steady pace to the story. Police are part of the story so there isn't the idea of beating the police to the answer that is so often a part of cozy mysteries. The author is nice but a bit quiet.  She needs a break from the book tour.  Her publicist is  not likable. Charlotte makes a good main character.  She is likable, personable, calm and steady. Ellen and Gavin added interest.  I liked their background story.  I totally enjoyed the book.
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Charlotte Reed owns a B&B in Beaufort and is hosting authors for a special event. She's just hoping no one turns up dead. But with her list of attendees, someone does. She's still reeling from finding out that her aunt, who left the house to her, was a spy. See a blond man in her neighbors backyard watching her sets her inner alarm ringing. This is a good follow up to the first book with the same characters along with the new. I enjoyed the play between the man next door and Charlotte. 
I'd recommend this series to others.
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A very captivating story with plenty going on. As a new reader by this author, I was introduced to the plot and felt I knew all the characters involved. This story had me guessing as soon as the murder happened and was I ever wrong. 
I was definitely not disappointed with this author. She wrote a well planned story to keep you guessing and wanted you to keep reading to the end.
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Amanda Nobel is a bestselling author of romantic fantasy series turned into a hit TV series.  She has scheduled a stop of her book tour at Chapters, a B&B in Beaufort, North Carolina that is run by Charlotte Reed.   Amanda is also staying at the B&B along with Tony, a manager from her publisher and three winners of a contest for her fans.  One of them, Lisette is the head of the Amanda Nobel fan club.  Molly, another guest, is known to Damien from high school as a woman with a bad temper.  The third guest is Harper.
There are a lot of undercurrents before and during the author event. Charlotte overhears Tony and Lisette having a heated argument that set off alarm bells in her head.  Harper and Molly tell Charlotte about a division in their fan club over fan fiction published by Lisette that others claim she plagiarized.  They also mention that Lisette has an ex-husband that has been stalking her.  During the author event, a local historical challenges Amanda on the lack of historical accuracy in her books and is supported by another local writer.  And Charlotte spots Lisette’s ex-husband.  Other motives arise as well but I’m avoiding potential spoilers.
And so, when Lisette’s body is found dead in the harbor the next morning, there are plenty of suspects to weed through.  And Charlotte and her elderly neighbor Ellen are ready, especially when the local police detective asks Charlotte to be her ears at the B&B because she was impressed with her assistance in a prior murder mystery.
There’s also a subplot (maybe more of an additional plot) with a man who is staying with Ellen, who is introduced as Ellen’s cousin’s son.  This appears related to the first book in the series and history related to Charlotte’s Aunt Isabella career in espionage.  I hadn’t read the first book but I think there’s enough backstory provided in this one.   But it detracted from the main mystery and I’m not sure why it was added unless to add a future romantic interest for Charlotte.
So, bottom line, I enjoyed the book.  Feel the spy related portion was not necessary and it would have been better spent giving more insight into Charlotte and the other characters.  But I do look forward to a potential future relationship/partnership with Charlotte and Gavin in future books.

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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I really enjoyed this cozy mystery. Although I had not read the first in the series I didn’t feel a lag in the story. Great amount of interesting characters and I loved the setting. I will definitely be going back and reading the first and the next in this series. Thanks to NetGalley for the privilege to read and review this book.
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I loved the aesthetic in this book. How wonderful would it be to attend a bed and breakfast with fellow book lovers? Setting matters a ton in cozies, and this one has a fun and compelling one. Plus, plenty of intriguing twists that I'm still thinking about.
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A Booklovers B&B Mystery #2

Chapters Bed and Breakfast in Beaufort, North Carolina is owned by a former teacher, Charlotte Reed. The lovely old home is a draw for those who love to read and attend her special events with authors.

The author in question really wants nothing but some downtime but has agreed to a tea and a few small functions with a few of her fans who won a contest to meet her.

But when they all arrive Charlotte’s senses are tingling. Something isn’t quite right. And when the president of the fan club turns up dead in the harbor from a blow to the head, Charlotte and her spy neighbor Ellen work to find out who in Charlotte’s inn is a killer.

The first book in this series was good. This one had a lot of talking and the addition of Ellen and her ‘cousin’, took away a lot from Charlotte I thought. Plus, there was way too much softening of voices. I don’t plan on giving up on the series, but this one didn’t hold my attention.

NetGalley Review/ June 8, 2021, Crooked Lane Books



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Tana French, the wonderful author of the Dublin Murder books, recently said she is reading a lot of Agatha Christie these days, because she likes to know that the bad guys will be caught and all will be right with the world by the end of the book. This is how felt about Reserved for Murder. (Not that I'm comparing it to the great Queen of Crime, very few come close) but you kind of know that by the end of the book all will be well with minimal blood spilt. 

But that's about it. Overall, this was a bit of a dud for me, I didn't like most of the characters, I felt they really needed a lot of work, and the spy thing just didn't fly. I don't know if it would have helped to read the first book in the series, they make mention of it often, but can't really see how it would matter. 

The premise is wonderful and should be the perfect idea for murder, even for a cosy murder - a bookish guesthouse, it's own library, on the sea, an attic, plus a shady past... Unfortunately, it wasn't quite pulled off in the way I envision it could have been. But for a light diversion, it wasn't bad.

Thanks to NetGalley, Victoria Gilbert and Crooked Lane for my ARC.
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Here is the link to the review: https://m4elevate.com/book-review-reserved-for-murder/

Here is the review: 
I received an ARC of Reserved for Murder by Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions and interpretations are solely my own. #netgalley #reservedformurder

When I saw this book was available for review, I jumped at the chance to do just that. An author visit, a time-travel romance author no less — a bed and breakfast and a literary theme! It was all I’d love to read about all in one book. I’d read other reviews of the author, Victoria Gilbert’s, first book, Booked for Death and noticed that several reviewers mentioned the main character and owner of the B&B was not a sympathetic character and I have to agree.


Charlotte never seemed to be happy about running the Inn. She also seemed to disparage the visiting author’s book but grudgingly read it.

I did enjoy the plagarism subplot as well as the whodunit aspect. I tried to solve the crime along with Charlotte and her neighbor Ellen and Ellen’s “cousin” Gavin. I am not certain if the murder (I don’t want to give away who it was) having essentially a monologue as to why the murder was committed was a “cheat” or not. Charlotte was certainly gathering clues and spending time eavesdropping on guests, but I am not certain she actively solved the murder. I realize that not all main characters in cozy mysteries do solve the crime on their own so that is not a fault in the book.

Charlotte reciting clues back to the photo of her deceased husband seemed to drag out the book. I don’t know whether that moved the book along at all or if it was just the author’s way of disseminating the clues to the reader.

I also wondered, even though Charlotte helped solve the murder in the first book, whether the police chief would truly ask a civilian to get involved and share clues with the department. I would think a police chief would find a civilian to be meddling in the solving of the crime if he or she were gathering clues.

The subplot of Charlotte’s deceased aunt having been a super spy/secret agent seemed out of place in a cozy. I realize books need subplots, but I feel like this one was so far afield that I wasn’t engaged in that part of the book.

As a rating of one star to five stars I would give this book a solid three stars. There were portions I truly enjoyed, but I found it so hard to connect to Charlotte and I felt she spent a lot of time eavesdropping.

Review by Robbi Hess
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