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Murder Marks the Page

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This is the first book in a spin off series. I’ve not read this author before, and now I want to pick up more. This was a fun read and it was easy to follow along.

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This was a fun start to a new cozy mystery series! It makes me want to check out the author's other series, especially because this one is technically a spin-off. I'll definitely be reading the others in this series as they come out.

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Murder Marks the Page
by Karen Rose Smith
Pub Date 26 Mar 2024
Kensington Books |Kensington Cozies
Mystery & Thrillers

Through Kensington Books and Netgalley, I am reviewing Murder Marks the Page:

Tourists spend their summer days boating, floating, and paddle-boarding in New York State's Belltower Landing. Guests can also enjoy a cup of tea, provided by Tomes & Tea, while cuddling up with a good book. The book bar is owned and operated by Jazzi and her best friend Dawn Fernsby, who make ends meet by serving brews in the off-season.

She befriends a woman named Brie who has recently made contact with her biological father while brainstorming social media publicity ideas for the shop. As an adopted child herself, Jazzi is more than. Jazzi is happy to support Brie emotionally, especially since her wealthy father's wife and children perceive her as a threat.

Yet Brie hopes to start her own family soon as well. The potential princes she's met through a dating app turn out to be frogs. Jazzi becomes a detective when Brie is found murdered. With a list of suspects ranging from jealous half-siblings to less-than-suitable suitors, Jazzi may need to consult some of her shop’s. Jazzi may need to consult some of her shop's bestselling mysteries to help her uncover a killer . . .

I give Murder Marks the Page five out of five stars!

Happy Reading!

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Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie

This novel is an excellent start to a new cozy mystery series. The characters invited me in on the first page and kept my attention throughout. I enjoyed getting to know the characters, especially Jazzi, who co-owns her dream business with her best friend, Dawn. She is a delightful, independent young woman living in Dawn’s hometown, Belltower Landing, in New York. I enjoyed hearing about Jazzi’s conversations with her mother and stepfather, from the Daisy’s Tea Garden Mystery series, and was pleased how supportive and respectful they were of her independence.

The regular characters are developed well; each are engaging and reflected through their actions and realistic conversations. Peripheral characters and summer tourists are described as befitting their roles. I liked how Jazzi was up front with guys about choosing to not date anyone at this time when a couple guys were interested. I am confident that a good guy might be closer than anticipated as she heals from past events. Jazzi has the close companionship of other women. She was determined to stay out of a police investigation, but things about it simply kept drawing her attention.

I totally enjoyed meeting Zander and Freya, the girls’ kittens, especially watching how each was acquired! The author’s love for and knowledge about cats shines through, and her word pictures helped me imagine the delightful kittens who play hard and rest adorably.

Tomes & Teas is exactly what the name implies. Jazzi and Dawn maintain an excellent stock with the ability to quickly acquire specialty items when needed. I had never thought about the variety of books in a bookstore beyond what my interests are, and appreciated learning about special volumes for local events and interests, such as the Welcome Summer Festival and the regatta. It was interesting to get a glimpse of book signings and authors.

Jazzi and Dawn were both adopted as babies, and each had unique experiences. One of their friends at their book club asked Jazzi if she would be willing to meet Brie, a friend who was deciding whether to meet her birth father. Jazzi had found her birth mother several years earlier and had a good relationship with her and an even better one with her adoptive mother. Brie’s mother died when she was born, and her adoptive parents had given her a loving, affirming home. If Brie met her birth father, one reason was to find out her medical history as she wanted to get married and have children. Jazzi liked Brie and felt they would become good friends.

Brie was going to meet her father the following night, and Jazzi planned to talk with her after the weekend to see how their meeting went. Monday morning, however, Jazzi got a call from Delaney, the friend who introduced her to Brie. She had gone to see how Brie’s weekend was, and found her dead. She had been murdered.

Jazzi, Dawn, and Delaney were shaken by Brie’s death. Brie’s adoptive parents were devastated, and her mother reached out to Jazzi. They stayed in close contact, and Jazzi helped her pack and clean out Brie’s townhouse. Jazzi initially refused to do any snooping into the murder, even when Brie’s mother had serious concerns about her wealthy biological father and his family, and the detective wouldn’t update her on the investigation.

This mystery was intriguing and I continually changed my pet suspect list. The resolution brought surprises and sad motives. I was very pleased with the end (despite my pet bad guys being innocent), and definitely want to see much more of Jazzie, Dawn, and their shop. I highly recommend this mystery!

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On the surface, this book checks all the boxes when it comes to cozy mysteries: inquisitive sleuth, charming town, cute business that gives the sleuth plenty of opportunity to interact with those they need to investigate… but there was something that didn’t quite work for me. It may be because I compare this to the series it is related to – Jazzi is Daisy’s daughter – but I think it’s because it seemed overly similar. Jazzi seemed too old for her age; this series could have just been billed as Daisy at a younger age. Other than that, I did like the emphasis on adoptions but found things to be overly descriptive. I don’t think this series is for me and I probably won’t continue with it.

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Jazzi and Dawn run Tomes & Tea in Belltower Landing, a resort town. Both are adopted and have chosen to approach it differently. This circumstance introduces them to Brie, a woman who is adopted and trying to decide how to approach meeting her birth father. Within a day or so of meeting the family, Brie is found dead, murdered.
Jazzi comes from a background of a mother who helped the police solve murders. As such Jazzi is determined to not get involved, a state the reader is reminded of again and again.
The pace of the book is slow. The author describes a good many things - clothes, food, hairstyles, and places.
I like Murder Marks the Page well enough, it just seemed like it took a long time to go anywhere. It is a first book in a series, so world building can impact storyline. After taking a long time to get to the action, the wrap up was quick. The reader is left hanging a bit in regards to Oliver.
Thanks to Netgalley and Kensington Cozies for the opportunity to read the book.

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I loved this book! The author weaves an interesting unpredictable and very entertaining story. Lots of complex and quirky characters, a fast paced story with lots of twists and turns, murder and mayhem. I am looking forward to more in this series. A real page turner and a must read!

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I loved this delightful and intriguing opening of a new series! Jazzi and Dawn, best friends since college, are accomplished, intelligent young women, and I love their dream business, Tomes & Teas. I thought the mystery was perfect, with a very comfortable balance between the mystery and their business and personal lives.

Adopted as babies, Jazzi and Dawn had met at an event for adoptees at college. The girls had many things in common other than being adopted, and grew into best friends. After spending time in Dawn’s home town during summer breaks, Jazzi moved there when they graduated. They opened Tomes & Teas, a combination bookstore and tea shop, and shared the upstairs apartment.

At the request of their friend Delaney, Jazzi and Dawn met Brie, a woman who had questions about meeting one’s birth parents. Jazzi had found her birth mother as a teen and has a good relationship with her and her family.

Brie met her birth father on a special website, and had only exchanged email addresses. Brie wanted her birth parents’ medical history, as she heard her biological clock ticking. She had been meeting men through a dating app and was eager to meet her forever man, get married, and have children. The night before Brie was to meet her birth father, Jazzi saw a bruise that Brie dismissed as an accident while on a date a few days before. Jazzi was eager to hear the results of Brie’s meeting. Delaney went to see Brie, found Brie murdered in her home, and called Jazzi after calling the police.

Jazzi’s mother had helped the police in their home town solve murders, but Jazzi does not want to get involved in this investigation. She befriended Brie’s mother, and helped her with tasks when Delaney was not available. Brie’s adoptive parents desperately wanted justice, but the police couldn’t tell them the status of the investigation.

The detective was stretched to the limit due to the murder and a growing number of thefts from high-dollar homes. Jazzi is tactful and resourceful, and was able to talk with the detective. When she learned Delaney was the only suspect in Brie’s death, her decision to stay out of the investigation changed.

Jazzi and Dawn laughed at, found comfort in, and adored a pair of kittens. Jazzi found Zander outside one evening. After taking the kitten to the vet, Oliver, the owner of the nearby pub, heard about their kitten and brought Jazzi another kitten he thought might be Zander’s sister. Their antics showed they were well acquainted, and added Freya to their home.

Jazzi learned things about the men Brie met and her birth father’s wife and stepchildren that had her on edge. They didn’t want Delaney arrested simply because she had found Brie’s body, so she collected information where she could and talked with Dawn and another friend about her findings. She tried to talk with people the police had not considered suspects, also.

The murder was not easy to solve. This talented author kept me on my toes, catching me completely off guard when the killer and the thieves were revealed. I am excited about this new series, and can’t wait to see what comes next! I highly recommend this to those who like their cozy mysteries challenging with clever female protagonists, book stores, tea, kittens, and a close-knit community.

From a thankful heart: I received an eARC of this novel from the publisher through NetGalley, and this is my honest review.

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Jazzi and her best friend Dawn have opened a book and tea shop in Belltower Landing called Tomes and Tea, a lake side resort town. Jazzi is always trying to come up with new ways on social media to publicize the shop and to keep things fresh. When Jazzi meets and befriends a woman named Brie she wants to help her with her current situation. Brie was adopted and recently met her biological father, having been adopted herself Jazzi wants to help in any way she can. It soon comes apparent that the mans wife and kids want nothing to do with Brie. Follow along to see how Jazzi helps her navigate this situation and if anything bad will occur and hurt Brie in the end.

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Murder Marks the Page by Karen Rose Smith is the first in a new series, a Tomes and Tea Mystery. Tomes and Tea is a bookstore with a tea bar located in Florida, mostly tourists for a good part of the year. Jazzi Swanson and her partner, Dawn Fernsby, had been roommates in college and had come together after making contact at a meeting of a group for adoptees. Jazzi had contacted her birth mother and discovered her birth dad was dead. Dawn had yet to make the leap. At their regular book club meeting, Delaney, a friend, asked if Jazzi would meet another of her friends, Brie, about contacting her birth parents. Brie had some questions. The horror started after Brie had met her dad and then met his family. She was murdered.

Jazzi had had a bad experience in college with a boyfriend so she mostly avoided men and dating. Dawn was after her to maybe think about trying again. There seemed to be a couple of possibilities. Jazzi was busy and pretty happy with her life. She and Dawn lived in the two-bedroom apartment about the shop. It was small but very cute. They had decorated it with used things for the larger items; it made her happy. One day she found a tiny kitten under the staircase, and she and Dawn became cat moms. Shortly after, Oliver, a local restaurant/bar owner, brought her another kitten. He had heard about the first one and thought this one might be his sister. Now there were two. Jazzi had two immediate problems: how to bump up business at Tomes and how to solve Brie’s murder. Both had twists and turns along the way, but Jazzi was stubborn. She kept at it. What a fun beginning to a new series. Karen Rose Smith is a terrific cozy author so I have high hopes for it. She wrote a good mystery here and has compiled a cast of regulars that will make this series so much fun. Thanks Ms. Smith!

I was invited to read Murder Marks the Page by Kensington Books. All thoughts and opinions are mine. #Netgalley #KensingtonBooks #KarenRoseSmith #MurderMarksThePage

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While I’m not caught up with the Daisy’s Tea Garden series yet, I’ve definitely read enough to be familiar with Jazzi’s mom Daisy and her stepdad and of course, her mom’s talent for sleuthing which seems to’ve rubbed off on her daughter purely by accident, right? Jazzi must’ve paid more attention when her mom was sleuthing because she was an old pro at it except for a few times, and a crazy showdown she definitely hadn’t planned on.

I hadn’t guessed whodunit and that was definitely an exciting showdown as Jazzi took control and lit into the killer. I like these new characters in Jazzi’s life and definitely plan to read the next book. I hope a clear decision comes regarding a guy interest for her though since I’m definitely not a fan of triangles and can easily see how one could start.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by Kensington Cozies via NetGalley, and my opinions are my own.

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Karen Rose Smith is an amazing author and I am so happy when I have a chance to read one of her books. Jazzi is all grown up and I love that she has her own series now. I cannot wait to read more.

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A nice start to a new series- that's a spin off of sorts from a beloved one. Don't worry, though, if you don't know Jazzi already, you'll enjoy meeting her here where, along with her friend Dawn, she runs a shop and finds herself drawn into solving murders. It's the off season and she's just made friends with Brie but then someone kills Brie. Jazzi and Dawn investigate! This is classic cozy territory where there was more to the victim than met the eye. I enjoyed seeing Jazzi spread her wings and the fresh setting. And the mystery is good. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. Looking forward to more.

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Murder Marks the Page by Karen Rose Smith shows us how Jazzi investigates a murder.

Can Jazzi keep her bookstore running?

Jazzi Swanson
Jazzi Swanson is the adopted daughter of Daisy Swanson and is a very reluctant sleuth. She only becomes one when Jazzi feels like the police may need some help. Jazzi tries her hardest not to become like her mom in solving a mystery and focus on her bookstore. I am impressed that Jazzi and her best friend, Dawn, opened up a bookstore that also sells tea. Jazzi wants this business to work since she loves her job and wants to help bring people to love actual copies of books instead of ebooks.

Jazzi is hard to like initially, but she grows on you as you progress.

The Mystery
Another one of Jazzi’s friends finds the dead body of Brie. After that, everything for Jazzi was a bit hard since she felt like she and Brie would’ve been good friends, which made it sad for her. Jazzi tries her best not to become involved. Yet, she ends up trying to solve the mystery. Sadly, the police force also has another mystery to solve. Their case happens to be robberies that were going around. I have to say that I caught on to Whodunit early on in the book.

Four Stars
I am giving Murder Marks the Page by Karen Rose Smith four stars and recommend you try it. This was my first book by this author, and I am willing to give Ms. Jazzi Swanson another try after this one.

Remember to look at the recipes in the back. I can’t name the recipes, as my ARC copy doesn’t provide them.

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Thank you for dropping by! I hope you enjoyed this review of Murder Marks the Page by Karen Rose Smith.

Until the next time,
Karen the Baroness

If you would like to see other reviews like this one, check out Baroness Book Trove.

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The latest story from Karen Rose Smith stars Jazzi Swanson who is owner and operator of Tomes and Tea. The first few paragraphs are interesting and I am hooked. This story is set in an idyllic New York small town. There are solid characters like Jazzi and Dawn. I liked their friendship and want to see them do well in this new endeavor. Jazzi has to roll up her sleeves and help solve a murder. I liked the pace of this story and I would recommend it! I am looking forward to more in this series.

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I have absolutely loved every book I have read by Karen Rose Smith so I knew this book would be amazing as well. I love that Jazzi is getting her own story, I just wish there was not so much gap in the timeline from the previous series. Maybe we will get one more book in that one to tie up lose ends. There were s many suspects this time around. I totally thought the killer was someone else. Great job in keeping us guessing.

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A great beginning to a new series. Jazzi's is the daughter of Daisy from the Tea Garden series. Jazzi's is now a young adult trying to get her tea and bookstore be a success in a tourist town. She helps another woman who is seeking out her birth father. When this woman is found strangled, Jazzi finds herself sucked into the investigation. This was a well plotted story with several suspects but also the growth in Jazzi's life is important to the story. I liked this book and look forward to more in the series.
I was given an ARC of this book in exchange for a review. Thank you, netgalley.

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This is the first book in the Tomes and Tea Mysteries series and interestingly it is a spin off from an earlier series which I have not read, called the Daisy's Tea Garden Mysteries. That one is about the mother of the main character in this series and I have added it to my TBR.

Jazzi Swanson is the main character in Murder Marks the Page and she is the owner of a book and tea shop in Belltower Landing, a lakeside resort. When a woman she has recently met is murdered she becomes involved in the investigation and discovers she has inherited some of her mother's skills in detection.

I enjoyed the mystery and very much liked Jazzi and her friends. I shall certainly continue with his series.

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This novel is a spinoff from 'Daisy's Tea Garden Mysteries.' In this first book in the 'Tomes & Tea Mysteries', Jazzi Swanson - who saw her amateur sleuth mom solve many murders - shows she's a chip off the old block.

Twenty-five year old Jazzi Swanson met Dawn Fernsby at college, in a group for adoptees. The women became friends, and after graduation they opened 'Tomes & Tea', a combination bookstore/teashop. The store is located in Belltower Landing, a lakeside resort town in upstate New York. Jazzi and Dawn share an apartment above Tomes & Tea, and their place is nicely decorated and convenient for work.

Tomes & Tea is currently struggling financially, and Jazzi and Dawn are pondering ways to increase business. The women workshop ideas with the members of their book club, and get suggestions like: have a virtual reality event; get a visiting country star to stop by the bookstore; encourage people to take selfies in the shop and put them online; organize a book signing for a model who wrote about her runway experiences; and more. With the help of friends, all this happens, and customers come in to buy books, and enjoy tea and pastries.

Everyone knows Jazzi is an adoptee who met her birth mom, so a book club member called Delaney Fabron asks Jazzi to speak with her friend Brie Frazier. Brie is thinking about meeting her birth dad, and needs advice about the matter. Jazzi agrees, and she and Brie hit it off right away. Thirtysomething Brie tells Jazzi she wants to get married and have a family. To this end, Brie has been going out with men from dating apps. If something works out, Brie wants information about her medical history, which her biological dad can provide. After speaking with Jazzi, Brie meets her birth father, a VERY WEALTHY man named Joseph Covino. Covino lives in a mansion with his wife and two grown stepchildren. Joseph is happy to meet Brie, but the rest of the family is distinctly hostile.

A few days later, Brie is found strangled to death in her apartment. Detective Sergeant Paul Milford is the lead investigator on the case, and he interviews Jazzi and other people who saw Brie in the days before she was killed.

Brie's adoptive mother Estelle, who's completely distraught, looks to Jazzi for information and emotional support. Because of this, Jazzi wants to help the police catch the perpetrator. Though Detective Milford tries to discourage Jazzi, she plows ahead with her 'investigation', which concentrates on the men Brie dated, as well as the family of Brie's biological father, who clearly resented Brie.

As all this is going on, Jazzi gets on with her personal life. Jazzi and Dawn adopt two rescue kittens, and have fun playing with the adorable felines. Jazzi also paddleboards; rides her bike; and is friendly with a handsome Australian restaurateur named Oliver Patel, and a nice-looking software developer called Parker Olsen. Jazzi isn't interested in serious romance though, so these fellows are just friends (so far).

Author Karen Rose Smith likes to describe what everyone is wearing all the time, as well as the features of people's homes. For example: Jazzi is wearing 'lime-green bell bottoms, a yellow spaghetti-strapped tank, and a tie-died bolero jacket'; Oliver sports 'stonewashed jeans with slits at the knees, and a two-toned red and white Henley shirt'; Dawn is dressed in 'navy linen slacks and a pale blue short-sleeved sweater'..... and there's lots more of this. As for home décor, Jazzi's room has 'whitewashed furniture and a colorful lilac and blue patterned bedspread.' And so on. All this gets to be a bit much, but I think some readers like it.

I enjoyed this light cozy mystery and will probably read more of Jazzi's adventures.

Thanks to Netgalley, Karen Rose Smith, and Kensington Books for a copy of the book.

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"Daisy’s daughter Jazzi Swanson has opened her own book and tea shop, providing a variety of literature and flavored beverages for a rural New York community. But Jazzi has not only inherited her mother’s gift for brewing tasty drinks—she also has a nose for sniffing out murder."
This is a good mystery. Jazzi just wanted to have her own store. Never did she expect to find a murder in her store.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. This in no way affects my opinion of this book.

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