Cover Image: Murder Marks the Page

Murder Marks the Page

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Member Reviews

I was looking forward to this spin off series of Daisy's Tea Garden. Something felt "off". Perhaps it was the fact this is the first book in the series. I enjoyed the characters, but the tone of the book felt forced.

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Book Review: Murder Marks the Page by Karen Rose Smith

Rating: 4 stars

So, I recently dove into Karen Rose Smith's Murder Marks the Page, and it was quite the enjoyable cozy mystery ride. Picture this: a quaint lakeside town in New York, a charming book and tea shop called Tomes & Tea run by Jazzi Swanson and her bestie Dawn Fernsby, and a murder that needs solving. Intrigued yet?

Jazzi Swanson is not your average bookshop owner—she's got a knack for brewing drinks and sniffing out trouble, especially when it involves solving murders. When her friend Brie's life takes a tragic turn, Jazzi steps up to play detective and unravel the mystery surrounding her untimely death.

Smith's writing style sets the perfect backdrop for the story, painting a cozy picture of Belltower Landing that makes you want to grab a book and a cup of tea and settle in for a good read. Sure, there were moments where the details got a bit repetitive, but the well-paced plot and engaging characters more than make up for it.

Speaking of characters, Jazzi's journey is both heartwarming and suspenseful. Her connection to Brie, as an adopted child herself, adds a layer of empathy and complexity to the narrative that tugs at your heartstrings. And then there's Dawn—she's not exactly my cup of tea (pun intended), her dynamic with Jazzi adds an interesting twist to the story.

Murder Marks the Page is more than just a mystery novel; it's a cozy escape into a world filled with books, tea, and intriguing whodunits. If you're a fan of immersive mysteries with a side of small-town charm, this book is definitely worth adding to your reading list. Smith's storytelling shines through in this captivating tale that blends friendship, intrigue, and the power of literature in the most delightful way.

So, grab a cozy blanket, brew yourself a cup of tea, and get ready to lose yourself in the enchanting world of Murder Marks the Page. Trust me, you won't be able to put it down until you've unraveled every last clue alongside Jazzi Swanson.

⚠️This review was written based on personal opinions and experiences with the book. Individual preferences may vary⚠️

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In the first of a charming new series spin-off of Karen Rose Smith’s Daisy’s Tea Garden Mysteries, Daisy’s daughter Jazzi Swanson has opened her own tea and book shop, providing a variety of literature and flavored beverages for a rural New York community. But Jazzi hasn’t just inherited her mother’s gift for brewing tasty drinks–she also has a nose for sniffing out murder. I wasn't initially aware this was a spin off and I think I would have benefitted from reading the original series. But it was a fun read and I will probably read more of this series.

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I have read all of the Daisy Tea Garden Mysteries, so I was looking forward to this new series, featuring Daisy's adopted daughter, Jazzi. It took a moment to adjust to the fact that Jazzi is a bit older in this new series, out of college, living in Belltower Landing, New York, and operating her own tea and book shop, along with her friend, Dawn. But she seems to have inherited her mother's penchant for becoming unintentionally involved in murder. This time, it starts off innocently enough when Brie comes to Jazzi for advice on meeting her biological father, since she heard Jazzi had searched and found her biological mother. But then Brie's murdered body is found and Jazzi finds herself answering police questions about her connection with Brie. Although she tries to stay out of the investigation, and concentrate on her own issues of raising the store's profit margin, she finds herself time and again getting sucked into asking questions, questions that could prove to be hazardous to her own health. This was a good start to a new series, although I have to say it dragged a little in the middle. All in all, I am looking forward to more Jazzi centered stories. Disclosure: I am voluntarily reviewing this book received through NetGalley and all opinions are strictly my own.

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I love the Daisy's Tea Garden series, so I was thrilled to hear about a "spin-off" featuring Jazzy. However, I'm not certain if it was the setting, the characters, the introduction, or a combination of these elements that left me feeling underwhelmed. It's possible that my expectations were too high for this series. I'm undecided about trying the second book upon its release or simply concluding that this series isn't for me.

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Princess Fuzzypants here: As a fan of the Tea Garden Mysteries, I feel like I have watched Jazzi grow up. From the rebellious teen who longed to find her birth parents, she has developed as an interesting character who proves she is well suited to be the protagonist in her own series. She is now, as she describes it, adulting. She is living in a tourist town and running a combination books shop and tea store with her room-mate from university. It is her experience as an adoptee who discovered her parents, causes her to befriend another woman who wants to find hers.

The new friend is also seeking a man with whom she can have a long term relationship and is using a dating app to make her selection. So when she is murdered Jazzi wonders if either the new family she has discovered or one of the men she has dated might be responsible. Jazzi, who has witnessed her mother’s involvement in murder investigations, wants to keep her distance. Between the mother of the deceased and her friends, she is not going to get that chance. In fact, she is drawn in but she does something that puts her head and shoulders above many cozy heroines. When she uncovers something, she does not hesitate and she shares it with the detective in charge. The two form a tentative respect for each other as Jazzi is not one to go off half cocked on her own.

She still finds herself in a precarious situation but again, she uses her wits and her training. She has real substance and I cannot wait to see how this series plays out. I think it is going to be great. Five purrs and two paws up.

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Murder Marks the Page is the first in a new series by Karen Rose Smith. It is a spinoff of the Daisy's Tea Garden Mystery series - ( I have not read any of these books - so it is not necessary to enjoy/follow this series). This series follows Jazzie (who I believe to be the daughter of the main character of the other series) as she runs a book/tea shop, Tomes & Tea with her best friend Dawn in Belltower Landing, New York. This is a Lakeside tourist town that is super busy in summer and gets quiet in the winter months. Jazzie is struggling to find ways to up business so the shop can survive the slow season and some of the story surrounds that plot. There's a second story invovling a friend of Jazzi's named Brie who is dealing with being adopted and connecting with her birth family. Jazzi and Dawn are both adopted so they agree to support her as she navigates this journey. Brie is seeking out her birth father because she wants to start her own family and would like to know her background. She is also invested in dating apps, trying to find someone to hopefully build that family with. Brie ends up dead and the suspect list is long - is it one of her dates, or is it her birth father's family who don't want to share their wealth and inheritance with another person? Jazzi feels connected to Brie and wants her to get justice. The local detective isn't giving Jazzi a lot of hope of finding the killer, so she starts her own investigation. Lots of action ensues and there are some cute cats involved too. I look forward to the next in the series.

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This novel was a great start to a new series. It combines mystery, family dynamics and a touch of romance. The writing captures the charm of small town life, and the characters are relatable and endearing. There are some delicious recipes as a bonus!
Many thanks to Kensington and to Netgalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.

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There's potential in this series and I appreciated this start of a new series. Jazzi is not my fav characters as she's a bit self-centered at times but I enjoyed the lovely setting, the characters (Jazzi included most of the time).
The mystery is solid and kept me guessing.
I want to read the next instalment and I'm curious about what will happen.
3.5 upped to 4
Recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher for this ARC, all opinions are mine

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Dollycas's Thoughts

In this spinoff of the Daisy's Tea Garden Mystery series, we find Jazzie has completed college and has opened a book and tea shop, Tomes & Tea with her best friend Dawn Fernsby in Belltower Landing, New York. Tourists flock to the town and spend summers there but Jazzi and Dawn need to figure out how to keep their shop profitable year-round. Their friend, Delaney has a friend, Brie, who has just made contact with her biological father but she has a lot of questions. Knowing Jazzi and Dawn were both adopted she asks them to talk to Brie. Jazzi quickly becomes friends with Brie and agrees to help her in any way she can.

Brie mainly looked for her birth father because she was ready to settle down and start a family and wanted to know her history. She had been using a dating app and has gone on several dates but she has discarded them all. And while her dad is interested in having her in his life, his wife and their children have very different feelings.

When Brie is killed, Jazzi feels the need to investigate. The men Brie had dated and her half-siblings are her main suspects. She had witnessed her mother getting involved in several murder cases and now she has one of her own to solve. Will Jazzi find the killer? Will she live to tell the tale?

______

Jazzi and Dawn make a good team and they have taken a huge chance in opening up Tomes & Tea. They met in college in a group for people who had been adopted. The group helped them navigate their feelings about their birth parents and answered other questions they had about searching for them. Jazzi has found her birth mom and they have a relationship. Jazzi was also very close to her adoptive mom. It now seems like those relationships are strained but readers aren't given any details. We know she is very independent and after suffering a bad breakup she has no interest in dating. As this is the first book in this series, and some years have passed from where the Daisy's Tea Garden Mystery series left off we need to give the author time to develop this new Jazzi, Dawn, and the other core characters in this series. There is a lot of potential there.

The book and tea shop is a wonderful theme for a cozy mystery series. I loved the brainstorming about bringing in more business and building a year-round customer base. Jazzi and Dawn's friends and book club members came up with great ideas. The events they held were fun and created a buzz about the shop.

The mystery was well-plotted and an interesting twist gave Jazzi the perfect reason to get involved but she is a reluctant sleuth. She doesn't want to follow in her mother's footsteps. Detective Milford urges her to stay out of his case, but she thinks he needs help. She didn't think he was questioning any of her top suspects and he was working on several other cases. She has met a lot of people opening her business and she does have some admirable observation skills. But while those skills helped her put some important pieces of the puzzle together, they also got her into trouble. I really enjoyed the showdown and that Jazzie contacted her mother afterward and shared harrowing the experience.

It is always fun when a cozy mystery protagonist has pets. Early in the story, Jazzi finds a kitten behind the shop and a friend finds its sibling and brings it to Jazzi and Dawn. They quickly make themselves right at home - a male named Zander, and a female Freya.

Murder Marks the Spot has given this series a strong start.  I enjoy this author's writing style and I am excited for this series to continue so I can get to know these characters better.

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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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