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In the Winter Woods

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  65 ratings  ·  44 reviews
Declan Kensington isn’t really in the mood for Christmas. His latest mystery book sales are tanking, his finances are in a dismal state, and his spirits are anything but festive. Perhaps spending the holidays alone at his family lakeside cabin in the small village of Maplewood, Vermont, will provide him much-needed peace and quiet. Then he might finally get to work on a ne ...more
Published December 14th 2020 by NineStar Press
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Average rating 3.71  · 
Rating details
 ·  65 ratings  ·  44 reviews

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sarah xoxo
christmas + murder + m/m romance = a festive cozy mystery

I was recently made aware that 'cozy mystery' was a genre, and I feel betrayed by all of my friends who never told me this vital piece of information. I love whodunnit type stories, but I also love romance and family relationships being present, as well as a cozy ambiance in the story. This subgenre contains all of that, and I am looking forward to exploring it more.

This book is set at christmas time in a lakeside cabin in a small town.
A.E. Bross
Note: I was given a complimentary ARC of this work in exchange for an honest review.

All right, I'll admit it, I was absolutely overjoyed when I was offered the opportunity for an ARC of this book. I am a big fan of Isabelle Adler's work, and when someone puts the words "cozy mystery" and "Christmas-themed M/M romance" together, I am there in a flash. So, as soon as the file could download to my Kindle, I nestled in beside the fire with a cup of tea (and once I finished that, a glass of wine) and
This was my first time trying a cosy mystery. I picked this book up on a whim because I wanted something Christmassy but also something out of my comfort zone, and I saw several very positive ARC reviews. I really enjoyed this book, and I think I may have to try some more books in the genre in 2021! I didn't feel as invested as I would have liked, though, especially in the romance. ...more
Dec 15, 2020 marked it as dnf
dnf @53%
I tried and tried but It just couldn't hold my attention. Boring and too obvious small town mystery. I didn't care about the MC and his subtle pining after the town's deputy. :/
Dec 15, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: christmas
2.5 stars

Cozy mysteries aren't my go-to genre, so if they're something you normally seek out keep that in mind: 

I never got into this one, but it was solidly "fine" -- until the MC did something so ridiculously stupid at 37% that I would have DNF'd if I weren't reading this as an ARC! And he never got smarter. The man was just begging to be arrested or killed, and the only thing saving him from either was the fact that the love interest is so laid-back it crosses into unrealistic.

And I have no d
Mildred Digby
Dec 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Awwwww daym! I needed a break from lesfic and what better to do than to read a small town cozy gay murder mystery. This was such a cute and wonderfully awkward read with just the right amount of feels.

Declan is so cute and awkward and we are in his head the whole time and it is wonderful. I fell in love with him just as much as he fell hard for the cool yet OMG sexy Commissioner Curtis Monroe.

Fellow travelers, this book has it all. The whole small-town web of interlocking interests and scandal
suebee ~Always Reading~
In The Winter Woods
By: Isabelle Adler

The first thing that caught my eye with this book is the cover. It is beautiful and so cozy, it immediately made me want to read this book. Adler is a new author for me and the story sounded like one I’d enjoy. I love mysteries and cozy mysteries are some of my favorites.

This story is set in a small, idealistic town in Vermont at Christmas. Declan is a writer with a bad case of writers block and a need for a new idea to help his career. He comes to Maplewood
3.5 stars. Review to come
I don't read a lot of holiday-themed books, but I couldn't pass this one up. I'm a fan of Isabelle Adler's writing and was thrilled to see this book!

Declan is a mystery writer, but he's come up against writer's block and a real lack of vision for his stories. His last book wasn't a success, and he heads out to his parent's old cabin for some rest, relaxation and a quiet environment to write. The small town he arrives in is just as he remembers, and Maplewood's residents are quirky and interestin
Victoria (Eve's Alexandria)
DNF @ 61%. I’m afraid I was unconvinced by both the mystery aspect and the romance aspect. The former relied on several characters being too stupid to live, while the latter was both slow and insta, which I didn’t think was possible. The writing was good though, so I might something else by this author if the premise grabbed me.

* I received an ARC from Netgalley.
Isabelle Adler
Nov 23, 2020 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: my-books
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Category: Romance
Genre: Contemporary (Holiday, Mystery)
Word Count: 61800
Sex Content: N/A
Pairing: MM
Orientation: Bisexual, Gay
Identity: Cisgender
Warning: Warnings for description of violence, physical injury, murders of secondary characters (off-page), deceased parents, dealing with grief

Available for purchase:
Smashwords: https://www.sma
Jane (whatjanereads)
Dec 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
When searching for Christmas books, I stumbled upon this book and...well let’s be real, it was the cover that lured me in.
When I saw that it’s none of your usual cheesy, cute Christmas romance but in fact a queer Christmas murder mystery I was immediately hyped.
Dead body’s turning up instead of reading about people making romantic Christmas stuff: I am here for it.
It’s a rather short book with about 250 pages but it was absolutely enough to tell a gripping story about murder in a small village.
Marty Barok
Jan 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
It's been a while since I read a mystery book, and this was a great book to get back into the genre. Once the story picked up, I was unable to put the book down. It is a classic type of murder mystery that gives you enough clues to keep you guessing, but not enough to pick out the murderer right away.

I'm not a fan of stories written in first person, but this book executes it very well. Through the eyes of the protagonist, Declan, we see the reactions and suspicious actions of other characters wh
Lauren loves llamas
Content warnings: (view spoiler)

It’s a cozy mystery! It’s a m/m small town Christmas romance! It’s an absolutely delightful hug of a book!

Declan is a once successful mystery writer whose last books in his series haven’t been selling so well. He knows his writing mojo needs a reboot, and New York City is too expensive, so he decamps to his fa
Dec 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Declan’s dwindling finances and diminishing literary career drive him from New York City to his family’s old cabin in a remote New England town. It’s full of picturesque local charm, but it’s also got some truly sinister undercurrents, and it’s not long before Declan’s caught up in a murder investigation. This isn’t all bad-- the Public Safety Commissioner, Curtis, is gorgeous and thoughtful and kind, but their chemistry is on hold until the mystery is resolved, and Declan himself is fluctuating ...more
Rafaela Morgado
Dec 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
In the Winter Woods by Isabelle Adler was quite a fun book to enjoy during this season. I received this e-ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book tells the story of Declan Kensington, who used to be a bestseller author, but whose books are selling less and less and money is getting tight, so he decides to move temporarily to his late parents' cabin in the woods up on Lake Champlain, in Vermont - the only place he could afford.

Once settled, he meets Maplewood's people, inclu
Kristel (hungryandhappy)
Dec 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
*ARC from Netgalley*

I've been really loving the queer murder mystery genre and this one was just really great. While I didn't guess the murderer, as usual, I had fun having theories. I practically had suspicions about every single inhabitant of the small town, everyone expect for Declan, of course, and the super cute commissioner Curtis. Curtis was just really cute! I loved how the cards were all out almost immediately, no miscommunication. There wasn't time for that when there was a killer on t
booking our new escape ♡
A sweet m/m romance in the cold and snowy Maplewood, a secluded village in Vermont, where everyone knows everyone and secrets have a short life. Declan is stuck in a rut and decides to travel to his family cabin in search of some inspiration for his new mystery book. He is also looking for some much-needed time of quiet, away from the big city. The beginning was a bit slow for me, but once the story started, I was into it. The cozy mystery kept me on the edge while I was waiting for the romance ...more
Jessica Svajgert
Dec 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley-arc
*Special thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. Pub date: December 14, 2020

I thought this would be more romance than mystery but it was the opposite. That turned out to be what kept me reading because a focus on this romantic relationship wouldn’t have kept my interest. In a matter of a chapter or two, it tracked from strangers and some attraction to questioning if he should give up his life and move to the woods for a relationship that d
katharina ✨
This was an okay thriller. I appreciated a lot that this was queer, but I wasn't really vibing with the mystery elements or the romance. Especially the romance. This book is with 220 pages quite short and I don't think the romance was described that well. I didn't feel any chemistry between the characters, because one moment they are starting of on the wrong foot and the next they are attracted to each other and want to start dating. I didn't really get where their feelings where coming from.
Sameena Jehanzeb
Dec 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgbt, romance, crime
I have a few mixed feelings about this book. It was an easy and cozy read, an ok mystery with a hint of romance. All ingredients for a good read but it was missing something. I think the reason why I did not enjoy it as much as I wanted is that the story dosn't quite know what it wants to be. A mystery or a romance? There are books that manage to work both paths but with In the Winter Woods both parts felt neglected. I never had a sense of tension or curiosity for the mystery, nor did I feel the ...more
Dec 14, 2020 rated it liked it
I received an ARC of this book thanks to NetGalley and publisher NineStar Press, LLC in exchange for an honest review.
This is definitely on the cosier side of cosy mystery. In the Winter Woods is the story of Declan, a mystery writer who gets caught up in a real murder investigation when he goes to a wintery cabin in an attempt to write a new book. Soon he also starts to fall for the local commissioner but must clear his own name before they can date.

This book was a very easy and quick read, wit
TWs: blood, dead bodies, violence, verbal abuse, guns, police shown in a positive light

You know how they say not to judge a book by it's cover? This is one of those times. I requested this because I thought the cover was gorgeous and the idea of a holiday murder mystery romance sounded perfect for me. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case, partially due to me clowning (we'll get to that in a minute), partially due to the actual book itself. That's not to say that this book was awful, I just feel l
Dec 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you to Net Galley for the ARC copy of In the Winter Woods. I had not read a book by the author Isabelle Adler before and I really enjoyed In the Winter Woods. It is the story of Curtis, a successful writer of a mystery series, who is in a writer's slump. His editor hints that the mystery series may have run its course and he should try a new genre. He escapes Manhattan to live in his family's cabin in Vermont. His parents have passed and no one has been to the cabin in years. The cabin is ...more
Kelly-Jo Sweeney
Dec 13, 2020 rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about this one. On the whole, it was a good mystery read with a side helping of romance. Unfortunately, there were just one or two elements that just stopped it from reaching the really good read level.
The main character, Declan, is a mystery writer. The number of times that he would comment that if he were writing this or if this was one of his books then... was just silly. If that wasn't enough, he also at least at one point (but I think that it was more than that) used t
Dec 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

"In the Winter Woods" is a cozy and christamas-y murder mystery with a touch of romance. I knew I was going to love as soon as I started it.
I adored the small-town setting and atmosphere, the wintertime vibes and the touch of romance made it the perfect book for this time of the year.
The murder mystery is well-orchestrated and the culprit remained hidden to me right until the end. I also loved Declan quite a bit: his amateur sl
Dec 21, 2020 rated it liked it
I liked this more as a cozy mystery than a romance.

It hits the mark as a cozy. You’ve got an amateur detective—in this case an author of mystery novels with a bad case of writer’s block—in a small town who becomes embroiled in a murder (two, actually) and decides to try to figure out who done it himself. Declan isn’t exactly a whiz at detection, but the author does a great job giving him reasonable suspects. I wasn’t sure who the murderer was until the big reveal at the end of the story.

While t
Dec 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received an ARC copy of this book in exchange for a review. This review was not affected by receiving a free copy because, I fell in love with this book immediately, and would purchase this book and re-read it often.

While the story is set during Christmas time it's not really about Christmas. The holiday theme is just background compared to the murder mystery that takes center stage in this book. The romance comes slowly while Declan and Curtis Monroe spend time together following up on the l
Hayley Simpson
Dec 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc-netgalley
Romance with a dash of mystery (or is that mystery with a dash of romance - you decide). In the Winter Woods features writer Declan, who decides to head to his family's cabin in Vermont before Christmas to see if the change of scenery will inspire his next novel. Instead, he receives threatening letters stuck to his door with a knife, is embroiled in a murder mystery and develops feelings for handsome Officer Curtis Monroe.

The only thing to dislike about this book is that it's too short. I bree
Declan, a bestselling author with writer’s block comes to Vermont to try and kickstart his writing. Declan left his big city cop job for a quieter life. Which he had, till Declan arrived. Bringing threats and murder to the sleepy town.

I’m not sure where the term “cozy mystery” comes from but it’s apt for this book. Low key and sweet (except for the murders). There is lusting but no action other than kisses. Good supporting characters and their small town gossip filled in the story.

I have read so
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Isabelle Adler writes M/M romance, sci-fi, adventure, and fantasy.
She has been a voracious reader from the age of five and always dreamed of one day putting her own stories into writing. She loves traveling, art, and science, and finds inspiration in all of these. Her favorite genres include sci-fi, fantasy, and historical adventure. She also firmly believes in the unlimited powers of imagination

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