Sunday, March 12, 2023

Stakes, Cakes and Mandrakes

Stakes, Cakes and Mandrakes is the third book in the Three Tomes Bookshop paranormal cozy series by Colleen Gleason. Released 7th Feb 2023, it's 277 pages and is available in paperback, audio, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. For Kindle Unlimited subscribers, this book is currently included in the KU subscription library to borrow and read for free. The previous two books in the series are also currently available on KU. 

This is a cute shopfront cozy series set in fictional tourist town Button Cove. There's more than a little magic in the town environs; characters from books keep coming to life (the bookshop itself is home to Mrs. Hudson and Mrs. Danvers (yes, the ones from Sherlock Holmes and Rebecca, respectively)). There are cursed items and more than a little bit of a witchy vibe. In between selling books to locals and tourists, and possibly building a romantic relationship with the local handsome officer of the law, newcomer Jacqueline Finch also tries to keep the peace between her stubborn and occasionally difficult to manage fictional help and solve the occasional murder that comes her way.

All of the mysteries in this series are self contained and as such work well enough as standalones. The characters' interrelationships have developed over the course of the books, so there will be some missing backstory, but the author is adept at giving the necessary information, so readers who choose to pick up this one first won't likely experience any problems with keeping the story straight. With three books in the series currently, it would be a good choice for a binge or buddy read.

For lovers of very light bookstore cozies with romance/drama, it's a good fit.The author is adept and prolific and the book is peppered with background info about bookselling, books, and lots of title tips for new books to seek out and read. Some of the plot setups and developments are a bit over the top, but I strongly suspect that's a big part of why bookshop cozies are wildly popular. A strong suspension of disbelief is required. The language and content are chaste and perfectly safe for commute or work reading.

Four stars. The author is a talented and capable storyteller, and almost everyone loves bookstore cozies.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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