Member Reviews

A great new cozy, the first in what I hope is a series, about Maddie, an actor who has struggled for success in the Atlanta theater world, but moves to her tiny hometown of Enigma, Georgia, because she has inherited her aunts bookstore. Someone is trying to scareher off by setting fire to her property, and when a murder happens, it looks like Maddie was actually the intended victim. She sets out to solve the case, and in the meantime, begins to build a new life for herself in her picturesque little town.

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Madeline returns to Enigma, Georgia after the death of her beloved aunt Rose. She isn’t convinced that she can continue running her bookshop, but with few alternatives, she is willing to try. Until someone sets fire to the gazebo and gives Madeline an ominous message to ‘get out’. Then a former friend of Rose’s who just might make the best biscuits in the world is murdered. Madeline is ready to pack up and go when the terms of her aunt’s will put that option out of reach. Madeline has to figure out what is going on before she is the next victim.
There was more than one good twist in the story. I will admit to looking in the wrong direction for the whodunnit and why. I’m curious to see if there will be a second book and if so, where Madeline will go next. There was still a lot I wanted to know about Rose. Maybe more information will come out in future books.

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This one was a miss from me. I found the main character very unlikeable. She just did not feel genuine at all to me. It made it difficult to really care about the story. Honestly, all of the characters felt a bit flat. I hop that the author continues to improve in subsequent novels.
Thanks to Net Galley for the book to review.

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What a fun book! Haven't read anything by PJ Nelson before, so didn't know what to expect going in, but this was great. Ended up reading the book very quickly over 2 days and enjoyed it. Will keep an eye out for more by Nelson. Thanks for the ARC!

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Booked for Murder is P.J. Nelson’s debut novel, following former star Madeline Brimley as she returns to her hometown of Enigma, GA. After inheriting her aunt's bookstore, Madeline starts receiving death threats, leading to the unraveling of small-town secrets.

I really loved the concept of Booked for Murder. P.J. Nelson does a good job of hooking the reader in the beginning scenes of the book. The author truly nails the depiction of small-town life when crime and gossip start to arise.

There were a few slower spots where I expected something bigger to happen, but it never did. While I enjoyed the book, I wish it had a bit more suspense. Although it's a cozy mystery, some parts were a bit predictable. I also wish some of the characters were developed a little more throughout the story. We got pieces of people’s stories, but I was left with some questions at the end. Since this is labeled as mystery #1, I'm hopeful there will be more installments to develop the story further.

Overall, this was a good book that I enjoyed reading, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys mysteries.

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A new cozy series, set in a Bookshop!

Madeline has finally come home to Enigma, Georgia. Leaving New York and Atlanta behind with her stage career.

After the death of her much loved Aunt Rose, Madeline has inherited the house and the bookshop. She has also inherited a host of quirky characters and a houseful of secrets!

Oh, and someone wants to burn her out.

I enjoyed these characters and will definitely read the next one!


Thank you!

NetGalley/ St. Martin’s Press December 10, 2024

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The twists and turns hidden in her hometown keep Madeline on her toes after she is called home to deal with the affairs of her aunt who has passed away. Arson, murder and drugs are all hidden in the small town. The story takes a few interesting turns but it keeps the reader occupied. Not bad for reading by the pool or next to the fire (no pun intended).

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Overall, I found this to be a very fun read. I was surprised to find that the author was a man, because the female point of view felt very well captured.

What I liked:
* In spite of the fact that Madeline did have a potential love interest, this did not turn into some stupid romance book.
* The cast of characters were all given rich, layered personalities and interests. There was plenty of opportunity to lean into tired "Southern hillbilly" tropes, but the author allowed them the dignity of existing as people, not stereotypes.
* Madeline was an imperfect lead. She made stupid mistakes, she wasn't always her best self, and she could be petty and stubborn. But she was self-aware enough to realize when she was acting like a jerk, and she was able to recognize how dangerous some of her choices were in hindsight. She learned from her experiences.

There's nothing that I actively disliked. It felt a little bit long but I can't think of anything that could have been cut without ruining the flow of the story. And I am not really a fan of Book series so I appreciated that this could be taken as a standalone book for readers like me. The central mystery was solved conclusively, but the worldbuilding provided a lot plot threads to follow into the next book for those who are so inclined.

I appreciate NetGalley and the publisher for access to a digital ARC. My honest review is my own opinion.

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When Aunt Rose died, Madeline inherited the house and bookshop. After arriving back in town, someone tried to burn the gazebo down, then there were threats. Lastly her employee being killed onsite was one step too far. Madeline is determined to figure out who is behind this. With a wacky cast of characters, lots of drama and jazz this story will keep you guessing until the end. This was just a wonderful read with laughs, sorrow and hope all rolled into one fabulous novel.

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This was a quick read about Madeline, former actress and niece of well loved Aunt Rose who died and bequeaths Madeline the bookstore in Enigma Georgia. Returning back to this small town where she was looked after for a good portion of her young life by Rose, Madeline is only in the shop/house for half a minute when suddenly the 100+ year old gazebo in the back of the property is ablaze and not long after that, she receives a mysteriously threatening phone call telling her to "get out!" More odd things follow over the next few days as she tries to navigate ownership of this bookstore which is very close to a small liberal arts college and frequented by the students especially Tandy who looked after the shop with Aunt Rose, so it's a huge shock when sweet souled Tandy is tragically murdered while staying the night there. It's a small town with lots of secrets and a lot of resentments so along with Madeline's "aunt" Phil (a professor at the college) and Father Gloria (the new minister at the church), the three of them set out to find out who could have done this to Tandy and why.
I liked this story well enough but there were some flaws for me: not enough suspenseful build up, the dialog was sometimes sarcastic and unrealistic (especially for someone so new to town as Madeline is), so much happens in such a small timeline, for someone as worldly as Madeline seemed to be, she took so many foolish chances. The scene where the drunken men gather outside the church and attempt to burn it and Gloria, Phil and Madeline are the only ones there to diffuse it, was very unrealistic. I mean, it could have gone so terribly wrong. And the fact that Madeline reports the fire to the structure but not the two threatening phone calls, how dumb is that??
But, it makes sense now all the references to musical theatre, Shakespeare, jazz music when you find out the author (using a pseudonym) is a former performer. That does add a nice bit to the storyline.
Loved the cover art! Very eye-catching.

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A young woman returns to the home and bookshop she inherited from her aunt to find there's someone calling to get her to move away, as well as fires breaking out on the property. Then, another young woman is killed.

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Based on the description I was super excited to pick up this book! I think it really had the aspects that made a good book but just lacked a little development. It had the potential to be a 5 star read but fell flat. I did enjoy the book and it was a fast read for me but I did expect more. I would read more from this author in the future.

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Madeline is drawn back into her hometown after the passing of her beloved grandmother. Unfortunately for her, there's not exactly a welcome party waiting for her...unless you account for a mystery person threatening her & a murder happening right under her nose! This book follows her journey in sleuthing her way into solving what the police are too slow to put together. You'll see her find herself within this story as well! I love a good mystery book & this one had a plot twist that made me cry then laugh then say "WHAAAAT?!"

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This was a nice, cute book. It's like a Charmed murder mystery without the magic. The plot was a tad predictable but I like that.

Here's what I loved:
-Strong female lead character
-Female companionship/Friendship
-The Setting (South Georgia, small town, Victorian House)
-"Father" Coleman

Here's what I didn't love:
-The climax of the plot seemed to come super late and the resolution seemed rushed.


Thank you Net Galley and PJ Nelson for allowing me to read this book for free. I am giving this review of my own free will.

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This is a cute quick read that had a few twists to keep you guess. Madeline found out her aunt passed away and left her home/bookstore to her niece. But there are a few contingencies in place to keep her staying and not selling the place. But it is a rocky start for Madeline as the gazebo is set aflame right as she gets there, the fire marshal thinks she set the fire herself, and a girl gets murdered while staying the night. Madeline sets out on a mission to find out who murdered the sweet girl staying with her and she herself gets into a bit of trouble. This book has enough to keep your interest and ends in a way that can make this into a series. I would defiantly read another book from this author if they decided to make this a series.

Thank you NetGalley and Minotaur Books for an ARC in return for an honest review.

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Booked For Murder” by P.J. Nelson 
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 
“No, she had secrets, is what i'm saying.”
Pro- Booked For Murder is the first book in P.J Nelson's 3 book series and I am already begging for more. This was already a fast paced book but once I picked it up I couldn't put it down and finished it in one sitting! While this book was so good I want to tell you every detail I don't want to spoil it for anyone so I'm going to try my best to give a brief overview. The story is set in a cozy small town where the main character, Madeline Brimley, comes to town when she inherits a bookshop. The found family in this book is so powerful, I adored it so much. I also liked the subtle hints of romance and hope we see them again in the next book. Although I was able to guess some of the plot twists it was still an incredible novel and I think P.J. Nelson did an amazing job creating the strong story line! This book is the second mystery/thriller I've read after “The Housemaid” and I swear they just keep getting better and better! 
Thank you so much NetGally and Minatour books. I am so thankful for the arc, I adored it. 

This incredible book comes out December 10th 2024 and I cannot wait to rant about it with you all! 

Tropes in this book
• Found Family
• Plot Twist
• EveryBody Did It
• Strong FMC

Songs that remind me of this
• Copycat. Billie Eilish
• Bittersweet Tragedy. Melanie Martinez
• Play With Fire. AG, Valerie Broussard

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Madeline grew up in a small town, but wanted to get out. She did, but was brought back after her Aunt Rose passed away and left her a house/bookstore. I really enjoyed all the characters and the twists and turns throughout her journey to figure out who is prank calling, starting fires, and even murdering someone. This book is an easy-to-read mystery, murder, love and adventure story.

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This book had a great story to tell but just lacked in the delivery. The overuse of Shakespeare quotes and “big” words to make the characters seem smart was annoying. The way they communicated with each other lacked any emotion and felt very robotic in their interactions. The whole story seemed rushed and at the same time very drawn out. I did not immediately figure out who the killer was so that’s a plus but I was left with multiple questions at the end. What were all the secrets Rose had? How does Faye fit into all of this. Why was so much said about Mike Jordan for his character not to do anything?!?! This book left my mind feeling as jumbled as the organization of the Juniper Bookshop. #NetGalley

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This was a cute book. A good mystery that you want to keep reading. The main characters are likeable. I figured out the culprit pretty easily, but it was entertaining to see how the amateur sleuth figured it out. Solid book.

Thank you to Net Galley and St Martin's Press for allowing me to read this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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What a lovely mid week treat. This the kind of mystery that I like to slow roll and marinate. The southern atmosphere really lends itself to this type of enjoyment.

Thank you to St. Martin's Press | Minotaur Books and NetGalley for provding an eARC for a honest review.

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