Cover Image: Renovated to Death

Renovated to Death

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Thank you NetGalley and the Publisher for an ARC of this book.

I really wanted to like Renovated to Death. The premise sounded interesting, a cozy LGBT mystery set during a home renovation show.  The characters fell flat and often felt like harmful stereotypes. I had an issue with the dialogue, it felt very clichéd. The pacing felt off and it was missing actual mystery elements. 

Maybe I missed it at the beginning, but I had such an issue trying to figure out why an actor and a writer had their own home renovation show? I just could not connect with the plot from the beginning or really understand or relate to any of the characters.  

I think this was a big missed opportunity for queer representation, just write the characters as real people, don't rely on stereotypes.
Was this review helpful?
I love the idea for this book. A queer cozy with male leads? I was so pumped to read it. Unfortunately, the actual book was an utter miss for me. PJ and JP were fine, but the structure of the book was just off. The pacing wasn't great, the whodunit didn't click for me, and the flashes to multiple perspectives didn't work at all. At times the book also felt like an older author trying to project what they thought younger characters would say, which got a bit grating.
Was this review helpful?
This one wasn’t for me. I didn’t connect with the prose style and the solution was obvious. I did enjoy the description of the writer’s process.
Was this review helpful?
It’s a good book but not make me curious whatsoever. It’s definitely felt like watching renovations home and solving mystery at the same time! It’s funny at the certain parts and I’ll say this was fun mystery thriller! Never read this kind of mystery thriller before!
Was this review helpful?
I received this book for free for an honest review from netgalley #netgalley

I love that this is an lgbtq mystery. I had trouble getting into it but it was a good read.
Was this review helpful?
dnf %4

I couldn't make it through the first chapter. The target audience for this book has to be a elder-millennial gay man who stans harry potter and loves buzzfeed quizzes. the embodiment of that stereotype was every character in the first chapter. Maybe the rest of the book gets better, but I won't be the one finding that out.

*review will no be posted on goodreads or retailers out of respect and because I dnf'd so early. I appreciate the opportunity to read and review this book in advance
Was this review helpful?
Renovated to Death is such a great mystery!!

Bestselling mystery author Peter “PJ” Penwell and actor JP Broadway are enjoying work and life in their sleepy Detroit suburb of Pleasant Woods—until a suspicious death makes an unscripted appearance. 

Just as the show is set to start filming, Peter and JP discover Tom Cash dead at the foot of the house’s staircase. And when the police ruling changes from accidental death to homicide, the list of suspects grows fast. 

Surprise ending!
Was this review helpful?
Thank you Netgalley for the advance reader copy of Renovated to Death by Frank Anthony Polito in exchange for an honest review. I love watching renovation shows on HGTV and also love murder mysteries, this book was a great combination of both. It was really interesting to read about the couple PJ and JP, and everything that goes into a renovation show. I really liked this book and greatly enjoyed reading it.
Was this review helpful?
Since I love renovating and redecorating my house I knew I would love reading books about the topic. That's where this one comes in! Renovated to Death is a wonderful cozy mystery with fun characters and an engaging plot. I hope the author writes some more books because I'll definitely be reading them!
Was this review helpful?
Renovated to Death by Frank Anthony Pollo is a cozy whodunnit mystery about two reality tv cohost partners, Pete & JP, with a house renovation HGTV show called Domestic Partners, who are also in real life partners. I’ve never requested an arc so fast. I love cozy whodunnits, reality TV & love & this perfectly combined all three! I was ecstatic when I was approved! 
Drag Queen Queeraoke sounds incredible & I would love to go! & I have no idea how Terry doesn’t know & love Waterfalls by TLC but I digress. 
I found it a bit odd upon discovering the body that the PJ & JP didn’t check for a pulse. I know they didn’t want to contaminate the crime scene but still weird to me. & then the officer arriving on scene didn’t seem to have any urgency at checking on the victim. Maybe that’s just me though & as I’ve never been in said situation, I shall move on. 
I also love the Murder She Baked series & I think this book would be a perfect TV movie mystery series…Hallnark/Lifetime (or anybody else), option this please & thank you!! 
I will say I found some of the mystery parts predictable but after reading/watching lots of mysteries, that’s not unusual. The ending was a tad underwhelming for me but I don’t think that matters much because what makes this book sparkle is how different it is. This book is unique in that for a cozy mystery, there is a very interesting cast of characters with some much-needed representation in this genre. That’s what makes it special & that, in turn, makes it a great book. 
I loved PJ & JP along with all their friends. I think cozy mysteries need more drag queens in general. I feel like this cast of characters in this idyllic little area combined with their reality TV show is the perfect foundation for a great mystery series
Renovated to Death is renovating the genre of cozy mystery with some much needed representation & I cannot wait for the next in the series. 
Renovated to Death comes out May 31, 2022.

Massive thanks to NetGalley & Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read an arc of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Trigger warnings: This book mentions &/or contains death, gore, dog death (old age), other animal decay & violence.
Was this review helpful?
Renovated to Death was a perfectly fine mystery story. I know this sounds odd to say, given my rating, but it was. The issue was, in fact, that I’ve read way too many of them, seen too many TV shows that rely on the same trope as here, and so I could see it coming a mile off.

And since I was reading it primarily for the mystery aspect, that made it a little disappointing.

Let me split this into two sections: reason you may want to ignore my review and read it anyway, and reasons I was less than enamoured of it.

The Good

— It’s always great to see gay main characters in mystery novels. I feel like, at least in traditional publishing, that’s an area where LGBT rep is only slowly growing, but this series adds to that area.

— For all that I’ve rated it how I have, it wasn’t a bad read. It was fun, at times even funny, and definitely memorable.

— It has characters who leap off the page, but not in a way that makes them seem caricateurish. They feel very real and are, for the most part, very sympathetic.

The Less Good

— Like I said, I saw the plot twist that revealed the answers to the mystery coming from a ways off. This one is very likely just a me problem, though, as I said. There’s only so many plot twists that can happen, given the set up, and I’ve probably seen most of them done some way or another.

— The mystery didn’t really start until the last 60 pages or so, which felt quite slow to build up to, and then meant it felt a little rushed through to the conclusion. There wasn’t space to do much investigating, and in the end, the answer seemed to come to the mc in a flash of inspiration. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it was almost as if the author couldn’t think of another way for it to be revealed.

However, as I said, I don’t mean for this review to put you off reading the book! It’s, as ever, always entirely likely that you’ll enjoy it more than I did. And, in fact, I hope you do, should you pick it up.
Was this review helpful?
A fun cozy series starter featuring a gay couple (an actor and a writer) hoping to renovate houses in suburban Detroit for an HGTV-like show. I’m interested to see where it goes next!
Was this review helpful?
Renovated To Death by Frank Anthony Polito is a fun cozy mystery featuring partners PJ and JP. Twins Tom and Terry approach PJ and JP to see if they would like to renovate their deceased parents' home for the next season of the DIY show Domestic Partners. Located across the street from their home, it couldn't be more convenient and they say yes. The next day, one of the twins is found dead at the bottom of the stairs and it appears to be a tragic accident. But could it be more? Tom is a well known playboy who drops his boyfriends once they reach the age of 30 and has more than one upset lover, including realtor Cam. 

Thank you to Kensington and NetGalley.
Was this review helpful?
Don't let the LGBTQ elements scare you off from this delightful read! A great story plot with awesome characters.  Thanks #netgalley and #Keningston for the eARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.
Was this review helpful?
This is a cozy murder mystery set in a Detroit gentrified neighbourhood with a high percentage of gay men. It's a whodunit murder mystery story, with several viable suspects.  The story is told from the point of view of a pair of TV celebrities, called the Domestic Partners,  whose show features the complete restoration of an architecturally significant house.
The sudden death of  "daddy" Tom Cash threatens the restoration of his ancestral home by the cute duo of TV celebrities called the "Domestic Partners".   Tom's twin brother quickly rescues the renovation despite his earlier resistance to the idea.  However, when Tom's twink boy toy suggests that his death was not accidental as the police believe, the Domestic Partners become amateur detectives.  The storytelling is done in a highly melodramatic style and with brisk pacing.  It makes for an entertaining read, free of profanity, graphic sex, gratuitious violence.  The stage is set for a sequel, and maybe an interesting series of "quozies".Two pluses:There's a sidebar story about the Domestic Partners adopting a rescue dog, named Clyde: kudos to organizations like Home FurEver that provided their dog, andA down-to-earth essay entitled: "Home Renovations Rules for DIY-ers". appended to the end of the book, it's about do-it-yourself renovations written with a voice of experience.
Thanks to Kensington Books and Netgalley for providing a complementary advance reading copy of the book for my unsolicited review.
Was this review helpful?
I LOVED this book. It was sweet and angsty and campy. it's definitely targeted towards a certain audience with verbiage specific to the LGBTQ and interior decorating community.
Was this review helpful?
PJ and JP are partners in life and on their new hit TV show "Domestic Partners." When they find themselves scrambling to come up with a house to renovate for their second season, the perfect opportunity falls in their laps... but opportunity isn't the only thing falling.

I loved this book! It had everything I like most in cozies, a loving couple (with minimal relationship drama), a tight-knit community (despite being new in town they know everyone on their block and they're within walking distance of a restaurant where everyone hangs out as well as a nice park), and lots of interesting suspects (two ex-boyfriends, a bitter brother, and a cranky neighbor). There were the perfect number of characters, enough to keep the main characters busy through their investigation but not so many that I couldn't keep track of who they were. 

I also loved that PJ and JP were focused on renovation, rather than remodeling, and did their best to retain the original character and features of the homes they work on. I hate the smash and crash and rebuild from scratch methods of most home improvement shows that are on TV, where the sole intent is to completely obliterate any hint of the homes original layout and style and replace it with shiplap and open kitchen shelving. Yuck!

This book checked all the boxes for me. Book 2 in the series is scheduled to be released in June 2023 and I will be eagerly awaiting it!

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC.
Was this review helpful?
Be aware this is a novel with gay men who seem to be stereotypes of 1980's anything-goes-scene. This madd me uncomfortable in that it seems to exp!lot the world
Thank you netgalley and the publisher for this arc
Was this review helpful?
It is always interesting to find fresh and new voices in cozy mystery and everything about Renovated to Death hits the tropes in an interesting way.
This cozy is a house/decorating theme built around a gay couple in Detroit who have their own house renovation TV show. This creates an ideal situation for the team to meet new clients and new homes and get involved in solving murder mysteries.
The contemporary references to modern TV cop shows and home decorating and renovation series are absolutely right on the button. 
Most of the humour in this book came from the very over the top and campy secondary characters, and a bewilderingly large cast list. 
Unfortunately, most of these were clear stereotypes. Not all gay man feels empty unless they have a dog “fur-baby” or love hanging out with drag queens in gay bars.
I found that the constant commentary on the gay community in Detroit came across as less than flattering. Yes, not only gay men prey on the young and beautiful, but the obsessive nature of these hook-ups and why someone would get dumped for a younger replacement simply because of their age, underplayed the motivation for the murder.
On the other hand, if you are interested in home renovation then this is the cozy for you.
Was this review helpful?
This book wasn't for me.
The plot and the mystery were okay, but I found the campy-ness and the stereotypes to be over the top.
Was this review helpful?