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Mystery Bookshop #5

Bookmarked for Murder

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Amateur sleuth Samantha Washington’s shopping trip to Chicago takes a deadly detour when a man is murdered on her bus . . .

After some post-Christmas retail therapy in the Windy City, mystery bookshop owner and historical whodunit novelist Sam Washington is returning home to North Harbor, Michigan, on a chartered bus. With Nana Jo and her gal pals Irma, Dorothy, and Ruby Mae from Shady Acres Retirement Village along for the ride, it's a lively trip. But one passenger is not so lively—a gentleman Irma befriended is found dead in his seat after an unscheduled stop. The ladies immediately shift gears to find out who punched his ticket, while Sam slips into the driver's seat to make sure Nana Jo and her crew steer clear of fatal conclusions . . .

256 pages, Paperback

First published November 26, 2019

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About the author

V.M. Burns

18 books1,007 followers
Valerie (V.M.) Burns was born in Northwestern Indiana and spent many years in
Southwestern Michigan on the Lake Michigan shoreline. She is a lover of dogs,
British historic cozies, and scones with clotted cream. After many years in the
Midwest she went in search of milder winters and currently lives in Northern Georgia with her poodles. Her debut novel, The Plot is Murder was nominated for a 2017 Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Her short story, "The Vermeer Conspiracy" was an Anthony and Edgar Award finalist in 2022. Valerie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Crime Writers Association, Crime Writers of Color, and Sisters in Crime. Readers can learn more by visiting her website at vmburns.com.

Contact Info: author@vmburns.com

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 153 reviews
Profile Image for Natalia  R.
278 reviews156 followers
October 28, 2019
After a fun shopping trip in Chicago, mystery bookshop owner and writer Sam Washington is returning home with her grandmother and her friends from the retirement village. Unfortunately, the relaxing bus ride turns deadly when a passenger is murdered in his seat. With the help of her grandmother and her friends, Sam is determined to bring the killer to justice. Bookmarked For Murder is a fast-paced, enjoyable cozy mystery with a touch of humor, a great cast of fun, quirky characters, and a clever murder mystery. Sam writes historical cozy mysteries and as an added treat, the author includes snippets of Sam's book for readers to enjoy. I did manage to correctly guess the culprit, but couldn't figure out the reason for their actions. This was a fun, easy read and I highly recommend it. Thank you to Netgalley and Kensington Books for the opportunity to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for LORI CASWELL.
2,376 reviews270 followers
December 14, 2019
Dollycas’s Thoughts

I just can’t get enough of this series!

This time Sam takes a trip to Chicago with Nana Jo and her friends from Shady Acres for a little post-holiday fun on a chartered bus trip. They all had a good time and as usual, Irma found herself a man. He is so taken with her he joins her on the bus home to North Harbor. When the bus makes an unscheduled courtesy stop it seems her new friend is not snoozing in his seat. No, the man is dead. Before the police can arrive, Nana Jo, Irma, Dorothy, and Ruby Mae decide Sam will lead them in their own investigation in the death. She tries to put the brakes on their ideas but soon realizes she has give in before they swerve off on their own and one of them ends up dead.

Ms. Burns has created quite a crew of entertaining characters. Sam, her lovable poodles, her nephews who man the bookshop while she in off following clues, and all the residents of Shady Acres including Nana Jo come together in a story that is hard to put down. Irma gets a bigger role this time and I liked that. All the ladies bring a huge dose of humor to all the situations they face. As always, Snickers and Oreo put a big smile on my face.

The main mystery is clever. A closed room, I mean bus mystery, limits the suspects but that doesn’t make this whodunit an easy solve, especially because there were people on the bus’s return trip that did not make the trip with the group to Chicago. The death actually happened out of North Harbor’s jurisdiction which adds some unique situations. They aren’t able to get answers from the detective in charge of the case like they do with the local detective. The victim’s true identity also twists things up a bit.

Our amateur sleuth is also an aspiring author so readers are treated to a second mystery story that she is writing. A historical mystery featuring Lady Elizabeth and her niece, Lady Penelope. They witnessed a woman fall to her death and have reason to believe she was pushed. Sam uses her writing to help clarify the clues for the murder she is trying to solve in real life. Both mysteries are filled with twists and fun to try and solve before their big reveals. Sam even asks the detective if she can do a big reveal like Hercule Poirot and what follows was positively delightful for this cozy mystery lover.

Bookmarked for Murder mixes marvelously fun mysteries with realistic characters and a couple of lovable pups to bring us a book filled with humor and the perfect amount of romance. The entire Mystery Bookshop Series is not to be missed by cozy lovers!
Profile Image for Peggy R.
1,012 reviews67 followers
October 19, 2019
I find this series to be cleverly crafted and entertaining. The characters are very engaging and diverse. Once again, Sam, her Nana Jo and the rest of the ladies from Shady Acres are involved in solving a murder. This time its a take on a closed-door murder- the victim was killed in a bus while the ladies were returning from a shopping trip from Chicago. I think Sam's character is developing nicely and her relationship with Frank is moving along at a natural pace. The dialogue is at times witty with the humor again provided by Nana Jo her friends. The mystery was solid and kept me guessing throughout the entire story.

I am also a fan of the mystery within a mystery. I enjoy reading the historical cozy that Sam is writing and think the author uses is well to give Sam inspiration about the murder investigation happening in real life.

I will be back for more from this author. This series combines all the things I look for in a cozy mystery and is set in my home state. What more could I ask for as a reader?

I voluntarily read a digital ARC provided to me by the publisher, Kensington Books, through Netgalley.
Profile Image for JoAn.
2,059 reviews1 follower
October 20, 2019
Bookmarked for Murder by V. M. Burns is the fifth book in the Mystery Bookshop series and was another winner in my book.

Samantha Washington is a character that I admire. She is strong, intelligent, curious and gifted with a strong intuition for solving mysteries. I absolutely love Nana Jo, Irma, Dorothy and Ruby Mae. They are quirky and unique and when they are on the page you know there will shenanigans. The plot is well crafted and clever with plenty of twists to keep a reader turning the pages. I actually guessed correctly (this time)who the killer was before the reveal but I didn't know the reason why. The historical mystery that Sam is writing was very enjoyable, too. That one baffled me until the reveal. I strongly recommend this series to any cozy mystery fans.

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book from Kensington via NetGalley. All of the above opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Carla.
5,791 reviews122 followers
December 7, 2019
This Mystery Bookshop Story has Sam, Nana Jo and the girls heading off to Chicago for some shopping, theatre and time together. After a whirlwind few days, they board the bus for a quick trip back home. That trip home ended up taking twelve hours, due to the death/murder of one of the passengers while stopped at a rest station. Even though the murder did not take place in North Harbor, Sam is still enlisted by "the girls" to solve the murder.

Bookmarked For Murder is a fast-paced, enjoyable cozy mystery with a touch of humor, a great cast of fun, quirky characters, and a clever murder mystery. I enjoyed that Irma was showcased in this story. I always enjoy her character, so it was nice to see a different side to her and get to know her a bit more. Nana Jo is always a joy and she makes me smile with her shenanigans. Sam is a great protagonist. She is intelligent, curious and gifted with a strong intuition for solving mysteries. The final reveal in this one was exciting, and once again, Nana Jo is involved. The mystery had several suspects, some twists and red herrings. I had a couple of people who I suspected and was not surprised that one of them was the culprit, but I had not figured out the motive, it was a bit different from her other books, and I hope this far-fetched motive idea does not continue. As the ladies investigate, one of their lives is in danger and that had me a bit nervous. Sam is still writing historical cozy mysteries and once again this story includes snippets of Sam's book for readers to enjoy. Sam and Frank are continuing to move forward with their relationship and I love the way it is progressing. Overall, this book and series is very enjoyable. With strong independent female characters, humour, a great setting and a story within a story, this series is a winner that I will continue to read. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,292 reviews264 followers
February 6, 2020
Bookmarked for Murder was another fantastic addition to the Mystery Bookshop series featuring an interesting mystery for the group to solve.

When Nana Jo suggests some retail therapy in Chicago to wind down after the holiday season, mystery bookstore owner Samantha Washington jumps at the chance. Soon Sam, Nana Jo, Irma, Dorothy, and Ruby Mae are headed to the Windy City with some of the fellow retirees from the Shady Acres Retirement Village. But when the group begins to make their way back home, a man Irma befriended is found dead on the bus. And after Irma asks for their help, Sam and the Sleuthing Seniors are on the case to find the killer before they strike again.

The mystery in this book was well done with enough twists to keep you guessing. From the start I was curious how a man was murdered on a bus when all the other passengers were only a short distance away. It was definitely a question that plagued Sam as well and ultimately I was satisfied when we found out how it was done. The murder in this book didn’t take place in North Harbor, so it was interesting getting to see a different person in charge of the investigation who had no interest in Sam’s help. Detective Pitt though was still involved and thankfully continuing his cooperative streak with Sam. There was more involvement from the Sleuthing Seniors this time around which was great as I love the hijinks their group gets up to. Ultimately I thought the ending was well done and I was happy with the way the killer was caught.

During her downtime, Sam is writing the next novel in her British cozy mystery series which I enjoyed as those sections are always a delight to read. The characters in her series are wonderful and I’ve come to really enjoy them over the course of the series. The cases in her books mirror the real-life mysteries she is trying to solve as she uses the books to work out her theories. I enjoy watching Sam work things out in this way as it usually helps her figure out what pieces are missing to solve everything.

Overall Bookmarked for Murder was an enjoyable read and I’m looking forward to seeing what’s in store for future volumes of the series. I highly recommend the Mystery Bookshop series and think it’s a great place to start for readers new to the genre.

**I received an advance copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.**
Profile Image for Tari.
2,128 reviews68 followers
November 26, 2019
Sam had finally agreed to take a mini vacation from the bookstore and went with her Nana and the other senior sleuths to Chicago. Before they could return home, the guy that Irma was seeing was found dead on the bus. There were plenty of suspects, but somehow I managed to guess the correct one. Of course, as usual, I didn't know any of the reasoning behind why I picked. It just seemed to be the right person.

The showdown was very exciting...how else would it be with Nana Jo involved? The ending was so heartwarming as everyone was together for the New Year celebration. I loved how Irma was featured in this book, since she always cracks me up, but the attempt on her life wasn't too funny. I'm enjoying where Frank and Samantha are in their relationship, it's just very sweet and believable. As always, I'm anxious for the next book in the series!

I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of the book provided by the publisher, and my opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Karen.
652 reviews1 follower
December 27, 2020
Number five in the series does not disappoint!
The main character is also a writer, so there is a bonus in that there are two mysteries to solve within the book. This is not a distraction from the main story, but a compliment.
The regular cast of characters are so endearing and I love to read about them! I really enjoy the relationship between Sam and Nana Jo. As well, I enjoy Nana Jo’s friends, who are written as smart, full of life and entertaining.
The mysteries are well written and kept me guessing!
I look forward to reading the next in the series.
I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.
Profile Image for The Kawaii Slartibartfast.
889 reviews20 followers
October 28, 2019
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I loved this book! Sam is such a great character and I really loved the Shady Acres crew. Bookmarked for Murder was a super fun read!
Profile Image for Annette.
107 reviews34 followers
March 3, 2020
V. M. Burns never disappoints me. Each book in this series is just as good and fun to read as the previous books that came before. As a result, The Mystery Bookshop series continues to be one of my favorite series. I will try to wait patiently for the next installment.
December 24, 2019
The Mystery Bookshop series is quickly becoming one of my fave cozy series, and the latest installment – Bookmarked for Murder – reminds me why. Witty, sweet, clean, and smartly written, it’s also lots of fun!

The delightful cast of characters is back and just as quirky as ever (Irma, I’m looking at you…), and they are definitely a big part of what makes the book so entertaining and endearing. I love Nana Jo & her Shady Acres gang of senior sleuths (picture a sort of Golden Girls ensemble cast), and Samantha is a strong protagonist that readers can easily relate to. These characters just make me smile as I get to know them, and add in the mystery bookstore setting & I’m a happy reader.

The mystery in Bookmarked for Murder is full of twists and turns and red herrings, as any good cozy should be. How it comes about is rather unique right from the beginning & that makes investigating it a little trickier than normal for Sam. There’s also an adorable little girl with a compelling story who will capture your emotion, adding an extra layer of heart to the plot.

As always, I love the mystery within a mystery that shows up when Sam works on her historical cozy mystery that I enjoy just as much as the current timeline’s story. It’s clear Burns has versatile talent, and this element to the story elevates this series a notch above other cozies. Readers get two-in-one, after all!

Bottom Line: Bookmarked for Murder thoroughly entertains and holds readers’ interest from beginning to end. The mystery itself is well-crafted and layered, and the characters are as well. Sam & Nana Jo & the Shady Acres sleuths are lots of fun, and I love the close community of family and friends that Sam has established around her mystery bookshop. You can’t go wrong with this series, and Bookmarked for Murder is even better than the last!

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.)

first seen at Reading Is My SuperPower
Profile Image for Fred.
943 reviews38 followers
November 25, 2019
Bookmarked For Murder is the fifth book in the Mystery Bookshop series.

Samantha (Sam) Washington, NanaJo and gal pals from Shady Acres Retirement Village have just spent an exciting four days of shopping Christmas shopping in Chicago. As they are loading luggage on their bus, Sam notices that Irma, being Irma, has met a gentleman, Max, who seems to join the group for their trip home. They soon learn that Max is a celebrated author whose next book will reveal more information on assignation Robert Kennedy. On the trip back, a traffic accident has them stopped for an hour or two and many of the people on the bus are clamoring for a rest area stop. Finally, they convince the driver to stop at the next area. When they return to the bus, they find Max, who had stayed on the bus, in his seat dead. After their interrogation by the local police, they can complete their trip. The next day, with a little cajoling from NanaJo, Sam agrees to help NanaJo and her posse in learning who the killer was. They soon find that there are many suspects to consider, including a couple of residents of Shady Acres.

I love this series. The stories are all well-plotted and written. The series has a wonderful cast of believable characters. NanaJo and her posse of gal pals are truly enjoyable and provide a little humor to the story. Sam is an aspiring author, and she finds that working on her manuscript helps her to solve the mystery they work on. The manuscript is set in the 1930s in the countryside of England providing the reader a story within a story.

I’m anxiously awaiting the next book in this wonderful series.
Profile Image for Susan.
1,503 reviews13 followers
November 26, 2019
V.M. Burns could write a grocery list and I would enjoy reading it. No matter which series - The Dog Club series or the Mystery Bookshop - her books are great escapes for this reader. Bookmarked for Murder brings a fun, updated version of the classic locked room murder. What a great twist.
Samantha, Nana Jo and the lively ladies from the Shady Acres Retirement Village are returning from Chicago after enjoying some after Christmas shopping. Traveling along the wintery highway on their chartered bus, on the way home to North Harbor, Michigan, they have to pull over at a rest stop to answer the call of nature. When they get back on the bus, a killer has struck. Now they have a corpse as a fellow traveler. What to do? Given that Sam and Nana Jo and the ladies are on the scene, of course it follows that they will also be on the case.
The extras that really make this series stand out are the chapters of Sam's work in progress that we get to enjoy - two mysteries in one and her two sweet poodles. I have a soft spot for poodles and they are major characters in both series. I'll say no more because I don't want to give anything away but believe it when I say this series should be on every cozy mystery reader's TBR list.
My thanks to the publisher Kensington and to NetGalley for giving me an advance copy in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Jessica Robbins.
2,593 reviews41 followers
December 9, 2019
*I received a free copy of this book which I voluntarily chose to write a honest review for.

Another great adventure with Samantha!! This time she has went on a group trip to Chicago with her Nana and the Shady Acres crew. Things are going fantastic until the ride home which is filled with traffic jams leading to an unexpected rest stop. Upon loading up again they discover one of their party dead. Sam is determined to not get involved since it didn't even happen in Michigan but pressure from the others convinces her otherwise as they point out that someone on the bus had to be involved making it a rather short suspect list with then all on it. This leads to a divided investigation as each one of them does their part so Sam can put it together just in time putting her in danger. A fun cozy mystery that will keep you hooked as the story evolves especially as we get two mysteries in one as well follow Sam on her writing journey. The contrasts between the two parts is quite enjoyable making for a great read perfect for fans of cozies with a more literary type theme to them. I really liked it so I give it 4/5 stars.

Profile Image for Jerri Cachero.
576 reviews47 followers
November 22, 2019
When a controversial author is murdered, during a bus trip to Chicago, Samantha (Sam), Nana Jo and the senior sleuths are in for a compelling and dangerous mystery.

Sam is ready to ring in the New Year and a quick bus trip to Chicago, with her grandmother and her friends, is an entertaining way to start the celebration. Irma the senior seductress, makes friends with the author and finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation.

This series is a fun read for so many reasons - the characters are well-written and we all have family and friends who remind us of them, the mystery has wonderful twists and turns and I enjoy the "mystery within a mystery" when Samantha works on her novel. I also love the independence and determination of not only Sam but the senior sleuths as well. I want to be like " Nana Jo"! The romance, in the book, enhanced the story and makes the characters even more relatable.

Impatiently waiting for the next book!

I received an ARC from NetGalley for a fair and honest review of the book.
Profile Image for Kirsti.
2,456 reviews82 followers
May 11, 2020
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the chance to read this book!

Cozy mystery is a massive genre, and filled with subgenres for basically every theme you can think of. I tend to gravitate to books, cats, dogs, magic and food themes, and this book covers quite a few of them (no magic, except that of a good book) It also has the story in story going for it, as each chapter contains a little from the series that the main character, Sam, is writing. It's also cozy mystery, so you get another mystery for the price of one!

The best part of this series is the relationship Sam has not only with her grandmother, but with all the elderly ladies and their friends. It makes me wistful somehow; I have no such relationship with any older family member. I don't even know the names of my grandparents on one side. Still though, it adds a homey touch, and it makes solving the mystery so much sweeter.

Always a pleasure to read this author; if you haven't already, try this series and see for yourself! Five stars.
812 reviews13 followers
October 12, 2019
I really enjoy getting 2 mysteries/stories in one book. I like the characters and their relationships. The first mystery is a "locked room" one. The other incidents have more folks involved. I was able to figure out who the murderer was, but this didn't impact my enjoyment of the book.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for my eARC in exchange for my honest review. - I really like this series and hope for many more.
Profile Image for Karen Hollins-Stallman .
601 reviews48 followers
July 15, 2021
“Bookmarked for Murder” by V.M. Burns is the 5th instalment in the Mystery Bookshop series The poodles featured in the story remind me of my friends brown poodle. I have only read one previous book but was able to follow along with no trouble. The story grabbed my attention right away and I read it in a day.

I love the characters they are well-developed and very likeable. The plot had just enough twists and turns that I was guessing who might have done it till the very end.

Overall I found this to be an enjoyable read and I’m looking forward to seeing what’s in store for Nana Jo and her gal pals Irma, Dorothy, and Ruby Mae from Shady Acres Retirement Village.

I highly recommend this cozy mystery to all my friends and fellow cozy lovers.

All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Kay Garrett.
379 reviews54 followers
January 16, 2020
BOOKMARKED FOR MURDER by V. M. Burns is the fifth book in the Mystery Bookshop series. Although part of a series, it can definitely be read as a standalone book.

BOOKMARKED FOR MURDER is the wonderful cozy mystery about Samantha “Sam” Washington, her Nana Jo - Josephine Thomas, and the rest of the gang from Shady Acres Retirement Village along with a few extras taking a four day shopping excursion to Chicago via a chartered bus. The trip ends with one of the riders being murdered in the bus on the trip home.

Feeling that the murderer had to be someone on the bus, which means they more than likely also residing at Shady Acres, Nana Jo convinces Sam to pull out her sleuthing skills to help them find the guilty party before they get away scot-free. It was time for the “crew” of Sam, Jo, Ruby Mae, Dorothy and Irma to start hunting for clues and flush out the culprit.

Finding out that the victim, Max Franck, was an investigative journalist and author, they suspected that his murder may have bearing on his soon to be released book, a follow up on his book about the Kennedy assassination. The list of suspect are many. Some possibilities are a daughter very upset with him for not being tested in order to possibly save his granddaughter’s life, a bus driver with a murder conviction in the past, or a man wearing shades who was packing.

Sam makes the decision to include Detective “Stinky” Pitt in on their investigation with the understanding that they share information. After all, he can get his hands to details and reports that they can’t. In return, he can take the glory for nabbing the bad guy.

The stakes are raised and danger lurks when Irma’s room is searched and then she was pushed down the stairs. Another murder tops that off making Sam think that the murderer is getting nervous that they are getting too close.

Is the method of murder used by the killer a clue to who the murderer is? Can they solve this riddle of crimes before someone else is murdered? Are they putting themselves in danger by asking questions? Will Sam put her life on the line to nab the murderer so they won’t slip out of town?

V. M. Burns does an except job in her writing BOOKMARKED FOR MURDER keeping you turning pages feeling like you are one of the “crew” along the way while trying to figure out the whodunit before the reveal. I, for one, was entirely wrong and happy knowing she fooled me to the very end. In amongst all the clues and murders, she keeps us entertained with bits of Sam’s personal life as we learn about her sweet romance with Frank Patterson and her sweet interaction with Snickers and Oreo, her poodles, as well as getting to read a book within a book by reading the delightful murder mystery Sam was writing when taking a break.

Loved BOOKMARKED FOR MURDER and I highly recommend it to anyone that loves a great mystery, a cozy mystery or an entertaining page-turning story. Once you pick it up, you will find it hard to put down. Always enjoy this author’s books and this one did not disappoint me at all.
Profile Image for Diane Hernandez.
2,148 reviews31 followers
December 4, 2019
A modern-day locked room (actually a tour bus) mystery and a tale set in 1938 England are both included in Bookmarked for Murder.

The author uses a clever plot device of having the main sleuth, Samantha, be creating the period mystery as we watch. Since Sam is also a mystery bookstore owner, she also recommends other excellent cozy mysteries a la the Death on Demand mystery series. The main plot on the bus involves Sam, her grandmother Jo, and her three neighbors at the senior living residence, Shady Acres. This allows the author to include some gentle humor.

“You ordered fifteen pizzas?” [says the] freckle-faced kid, who looked about twelve, with [...] a red hoodie with a Star Trek insignia, and red Converse All-Stars. “Nice shoes” said Nana Jo. [...] “Thanks. All the old ladies usually like them.” The coroner was removing the body from the bus. “That’s what’s left of the last person who called me an old lady. Remember, on Star Trek, the red shirts always die first.”—from Bookmarked for Murder

The historic fiction mystery within the mystery is set immediately prior to World War II. Lady Elizabeth and her niece, Lady Penelope, solve the mystery of a woman who fell to her death convinced her family was trying to kill her for her valuables.

Both the present-day and historic mysteries include plenty of character development. The humor is fun. Most enjoyable is the self-referential mystery trope references. I thought I would die laughing when Sam asked the detective for “a big reveal, like in Hercule Poirot books, where you bring all the suspects together and then the sleuth [...] can reveal whodunit.” His reply? “Are you joking? This isn’t television. Real killers don’t crack under the pressure of hearing the evidence against them. Real killers laugh in the face of overwhelming mountains of evidence and deny to their dying day that they’re guilty.” What mystery reader hasn’t had that thought? But I’ve never seen it used in such a clever tongue-in-cheek way before. If you read a lot of cozies, Bookmarked for Murder will be a hilarious addition to your library with its witty takes on old mystery tropes and two intriguing mysteries to solve along with the heroines. 4 stars!

Thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for The Cozy Review.
501 reviews31 followers
November 19, 2019
Series; Mystery Bookshop – Book 5
Author: V.M. Burns
Genre: Cozy Mystery/ Amateur Sleuth/ Bookstore
Publisher: Kensington Books
Page Count: 256

The incredible new addition to the bookstore cozy series “Mystery Bookshop” comes Bookmarked for Murder from author V.M. Burns and Kensington Books.

Sam and Nana Jo are highly entertaining characters in this bookstore cozy. Nana Jo is a no-nonsense, feisty kind of gal, and Sam can keep up with her with no problem. Other characters are interesting, spunky, and would be a blast to hang around with in real life. Of course, you can never go wrong with a series with a bookstore as the main focus, and this series keeps readers busy and happy.

The victim isn’t well known, and most of the people involved in the investigation aren’t grieving all that much. Those who did know the victim aren’t any better. The killer will come as a surprise to many readers, but it isn’t burdensome to put all the clues together and come out with the right person. The setting of a retirement village is always fun, seniors aren’t out to impress anyone, and they are willing to try many things and get into many situations that younger people fear. My one complaint, if there is one, is that even though this is a bookstore cozy, the store itself is not the center of the action.

In the end, Bookmarked for Murder is a fantastic bookstore cozy murder book and the “Mystery Bookshop” series is an enthralling read that makes me smile and has me hoping my retirement will be just like Nana Jo’s and the other characters. This book is beyond entertaining. It’s a page-turner that is filled with remarkable characters that have readers coming back for more.
2,101 reviews19 followers
November 26, 2019
Bookmarked for Murder is at least as awesome as the other books in the Mystery Bookshop series. The plot varies greatly from book to book but the quality of the mysteries remains the sharp and the characters are real-people-great! It was the fact that this series was set in a book shop and included 2 poodles that first caught my attention, but now it is the author and her outstanding writing that keeps me coming back for all of her series. I want to visit that bookshop and meet the twins and their friends, Nana Jo and her friends and especially Sam Washington and the special guy in her life. It is evident that Ms. Burns loves poodles and has them in her life and no surprise to discover that Snickers and Oreo are based on real dogs. While the inspiration for Snickers has moved on to Doggie Heaven, there is a new darling to join Oreo's doppelganger to continue to inspire realistically precious furbabies.
I requested and was delighted to receive an ARC of Bookmarked for Murder via NetGalley and will be sharing that delight will my friends and followers because I love it!
#NetGalley , #BookmarkedforMurder
Profile Image for Patty.
1,553 reviews1 follower
November 21, 2019
Bookmarked for Murder by V. M. Burns is the 5th book in the Mystery Bookshop series, and it is becoming one of my favorite series. Samantha Washington owns Market Street Mysteries bookstore in North Harbor, Michigan. Sam, Nana Jo and her friends at Shady Acres Retirement Village take a charter bus to Chicago to do some after Christmas shopping. On the bus ride back home, one of the passengers is murdered. Sam is determined to find the real killer, and the sleuthing begins. This book was great. It has so many twists and turns. The author did an excellent job, I was hooked from the start. I am looking forward to the next book in the series. I would strongly recommend this book and series.

I reviewed a digital arc provided by NetGalley and Kensington Publishing. Thank you.
663 reviews7 followers
April 30, 2020
Great book!! One of my favorite things about this series is the story within a story that always connect to each other. Such fun to read about what Samantha is writing. I enjoyed this book and trying to figure out who killed Irma's new friend, Max, who turned out to be a famous writer. Very intriguing. Nana Jo and her friends are always so much fun to read about. Looking forward to more books in this series!! Love Samantha and Frank's growing relationship, too!!
60 reviews1 follower
February 18, 2021
Good writing

And clever plot. Add in unique characters add up to a clever who-dunnit. I’d like more. Keep the same characters and send them on another adventure. I’ll go along.
Profile Image for Karen (BaronessBookTrove).
851 reviews80 followers
December 3, 2019
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy from the Great Escapes Book Tours. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Bookmarked for Murder by V.M. Burns is another fascinating tale of finding out whodunit with Ms. Burns. Sam, Nana Jo, and their quirky group of people are back to try and solve another mystery.
Can Sam find out who killed Irma's gentleman friend before someone else is snuffed out?
What I liked:

Sam's relationship with Nana Joy and Nana Jo's friends. 
The way that she ends up always having to figure out who killed who
Sam's relationship with Frank
Her writing finding its way into the story

What I disliked:

Some of the scenes were slow and didn't seem like they were going anywhere
At times it seemed like Sam wasn't relying on her instincts to help her out.

Four Stars
V.M. Burns has done another great mystery that weaves the historical book that Sam is currently writing with the mystery she is trying to solve. Sam ends up getting into a lot of trouble with Nana Jo, but I love it. I didn't think it was who it ended up being. I am giving this book four stars and recommending it to all the cozy mystery readers out there.


Other Book in the Series:

The Plot is Murder by VM Burns 1 Red Herring Hunt by VM Burns 2 The Novel Art of Murder by VM Burns 3 Wed, Read & Dead by VM Burns

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This review was originally posted on Baroness' Book Trove

244 reviews6 followers
November 11, 2019
Mystery bookshop owner Samantha takes a shopping excursion bus trip to Chicago with family and friends. The trip is organized by Shady Acres, the retirement community where Sam’s grandma Nana Jo lives. It was a great vacation but after hours on the bus slogging through traffic trying to get home to Michigan they have to pull over at a rest stop for a bathroom break. When they re-board they find one of the passengers has been murdered, right in the seat they left him in. Nana Jo and her friends from Shady Acres are convinced the killer is one of their fellow passengers and they convince Samantha to investigate with their help.

I loved that the story was set in Chicago and Michigan; the Midwest in winter is not everyone’s idea of comfortable, but to me freezing temps and snow are perfect for the December/January time period when this book is set. The characters are funny, quirky and likable, exactly what you want in a cozy mystery. I loved reading about Sam’s two toy poodles and their cute antics. The plot was engaging and there were several potential suspects. Sam is an unpublished historical mystery writer so the historical mystery she is presently writing is woven throughout Bookmarked for Murder. Following along with that second mystery was fun. You get two mysteries in one novel because the historical mystery is also resolved.

Although this book can be read as a standalone I believe it would be best to read the series in order to understand the character relationships and the emotional story arcs. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys cozy mysteries.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the ARC. The opinions in this review are honest and my own. #BookmarkedForMurder #mystery #cozymystery
Profile Image for RO G'ma.
1,003 reviews35 followers
November 23, 2019
Bookmarked for Murder is the fifth book in V. M. Burns’ Mystery Bookshop series. The smoothly paced storyline is well-plotted, with laugh out loud moments, and lots of twists, clues, and red herrings to keep readers engaged and guessing. The well-developed characters are likable, diverse, and fun. The main character is writing a mystery book that is included within the storyline.

Samantha “Sam” Washington is the owner of the Market Street Mysteries Bookstore in North Harbor, Michigan. After the death of her husband, Sam sold their home, purchased a building, quit her teaching job, and opened a mystery bookstore. Sam, an aspiring author who’s writing a British historical cozy mystery, lives in an apartment above the bookstore along with her two poodles, Oreo and Snickers, and is dating Frank Patterson, the proprietor of North Harbor Café. Her grandmother, Nana Jo, owns a home in Shady Acres Retirement Village. She has an older sister, Jenna, who’s married to Tony Rutherford, who are both lawyers and have two sons, Christopher and Zaq, who help out in the bookstore. In this installment, Sam has been on a four-day shopping trip to Chicago with Nana Jo and her friends from Shady Acres. During a pit stop on the return trip, Max Franck, a Pulitzer prize-winning author who “hooked up” with Irma, the senior seductress, is murdered on the bus. Sam’s feisty grandmother, and her somewhat quirky retirement village friends, Irma, Dorothy, and Ruby Mae, help Sam try to solve the murder.

I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book from NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed it.
Profile Image for Toni.
1,327 reviews41 followers
November 19, 2019
4.5 Stars

This is the fifth book in the Mystery Bookshop series by V.M. Burns

What a hoot of a series! The ladies from Shady Acres Retirement Village are just exactly the perfect backdrop for a cozy mystery!

This book is about how the Shady Acres gang are coming back from a trek to Chicago and on the bus home, a man is found murdered. He is a somewhat famous Pulitzer prize-winning author about to come out with an in-depth book about JFK’s brother, Robert Kennedy.

Sam Washington, mystery book store owner, gets enlisted to assist the Shady Acres gang since she is writing her own cozy mystery set in the 1930’s and she can figure out whodunit better than the nosy residents from the retirement village.

What a fun book. I had no idea whodunit even following all the clues. Be aware that there are sections in this book where Sam is trying to think through the clues and she does that by writing her own mystery. That mystery unfolds in the pages between the actual story.

If you love cozy mysteries, definitely check out this book. It is a so fun and flirty!

I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) in return for an honest review. I thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for allowing me to read this title.
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