Prose and Cons (Magical Bookshop Series #2)

Prose and Cons (Magical Bookshop Series #2)

by Amanda Flower

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Overview

Magic, books, and cats collide in a village near Niagara Falls in the latest Magical Bookshop Mystery from the author of Crime and Poetry.
 
In Cascade Springs, New York, Violet Waverly and her grandma, Daisy, are the proprietors of Charming Books, where the power of the written word is positively enchanting...
 
October in Cascade Springs means tourists are pouring in for the annual Food and Wine Festival, and Daisy hopes to draw those crowds to the store. She asks Violet and the local writing group, the Red Inkers, to give a reading of the works of Edgar Allan Poe in the shop’s back garden to entertain the revelers. Everyone eagerly agrees.
 
Yet their enthusiasm is soon extinguished when Violet discovers one of the writers dead during the event. After the shop magically tells Violet she’ll need to rely on Poe’s works to solve the murder, she enlists the help of her trusty tuxedo cat, Emerson, and the shop’s crow, Faulkner. But they must act fast before someone else’s heart beats nevermore...

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780698410220
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 12/06/2016
Series: Magical Bookshop Series , #2
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 17,645
File size: 888 KB

About the Author

Amanda Flower is an Agatha Award–winning author of the Magical Bookshop Mysteries. She also writes the USA Today bestselling Amish Quilt Shop Mysteries under the name Isabella Alan.

Read an Excerpt

One

A petite teenage girl stood in front of the display of sports biographies that was tucked away in a small corner of the bookshop Charming Books, which I co-owned with my grandma Daisy in the village of Cascade Springs, New York, and chewed on her lip.

I set a stack of picture books decorated with smiling pumpkins and mischievous squirrels on the top of one of the lower bookshelves a few feet from her. "Can I help you?" I asked in my most polite bookseller voice. The trick was to sound friendly and helpful, not too eager for a sale.

The girl turned to me, and tears glistened in her big green eyes. "I don't know. I'm supposed to pick up a gift for my boyfriend's father. It's his birthday, and the party starts in a half hour. I'm doomed!"

"I'm sure he would love any book that you give him," I said encouragingly. "It's the thought that counts, right?"

She shook her head and her brown hair covered her face. "You don't know his parents. They're horrible. Nothing I do is right. I just want them to like me or at least pretend to."

I straightened a row of books that sat unevenly on the shelf. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if Grandma Daisy had moved the books just a little to drive me crazy. She and I had different ideas on the proper way to keep the books organized. I wanted everything in its place, preferably in alphabetical order. Grandma Daisy was satisfied if books were on the correct floor of the shop. She always said the books would find the person who needed them most no matter where they were in the shop, so precision didn't matter. That might be literally true in Charming Books, but still the alphabetizer in me couldn't handle the lackadaisical shelving method. After the books' spines were all sitting precisely at the edge, I said, "That sounds familiar."

She wrinkled her nose. "What does that mean?"

I gave her a half smile. "My high school boyfriend's parents didn't like me either."

"What would they have bad to say about you?" She blinked at me. "You're so tall and pretty."

I chuckled. "Being tall isn't everything. Neither is being pretty. That's sweet of you to say that I am, though. You're a beautiful girl, so if that argument didn't work for you, it most certainly wouldn't work for me."

She blushed at the compliment and said, "If your boyfriend's parents didn't like you, I really am in trouble. Maybe I should just go to his birthday party empty-handed. Why waste my money when it's not going to do any good?"

"Maybe you just need to let your subconscious pick the book," I said.

She lowered her eyebrows. "What do you mean?"

"Close your eyes and reach for the books. I think the right book will find you."

She gave me a dubious look.

I shrugged. "It's just a hunch. What do you have to lose?"

"Oh-kay." Her voice was still heavy with doubt.

While the girl's eyes were closed, a book flew across the shop from the history section and appeared in her hand.

Her eyes snapped open, and she stared at the tome with Abraham Lincoln on the cover. "How did this get in the sports section?"

"Oh," I said unconcernedly. "It must have been misplaced. Would you prefer a sports-related title?" I moved to take the book from her.

"No!" She jerked the book away from me and held it to her chest. "No, this is perfect. His father is a history buff, and I've seen a picture of Lincoln in his office. I'm only afraid he might have already read this one."

I fought to hide a smile. "I'm pretty sure he hasn't read it."

"How do you know?" She stared up at me with those big green eyes again.

"Call it bookseller intuition." I smiled.

She hugged the book more tightly to her chest. "This is the right book. I just know it. Thank you so much. . . ." She trailed off.

"Violet," I said.

"You really saved my life with this."

"Happy to help. Let's ring you up, then, so you can make that party." I led her across the room to the sales counter.

Faulkner, the shop crow, walked across the counter. His talons made a clicking sound on the aged wood. I clapped my hands at him, and he flew over the girl's head, cawing, "Four score and seven years ago!"

She ducked, and her eyes went round. "Was the crow quoting the Gettysburg Address? Does he know about this book?"

I forced a laugh. "We've been playing a lot of historical audiobooks in the shop lately. He must have picked it up from that."

While she reached in her purse for her wallet, I glared at Faulkner, who landed on one of the low branches of the birch tree. The crow smoothed his silky black feathers with his sharp beak and ignored me. I wondered where my tuxedo cat, Emerson, had gone off to. He usually was able to keep the crow in line. Also it was never a good sign when Emerson wandered off. The cat was up to something or strolling around the neighborhood. I hadn't yet figured out how to keep my cat in the shop. His previous owner took him all around town.

She swiped her credit card through the machine.

"Would you like me to gift wrap the book for you?"

"Can you? That would be great and save me so much time. I'm already running late as it is."

"Of course." I cut off a piece of brown paper stamped with orange and red leaves from the roll behind the counter.

After the girl took the newly wrapped biography out the front door, I locked the door behind her and winked at the birch tree that grew in the middle of the bookshop. A spiral staircase led up to the second floor of Charming Books, where the children's fairy book loft and my one-bedroom apartment were. My ancestress Rosalee had built the original house around the tree after the War of 1812. "Nice work." I gave the tree a thumbs-up.

My seventysomething grandmother, who with her trim figure could easily pass for a woman half her age if not for the sleek silver bob that fell to her chin, came around the side of the tree, shaking her head. "Violet, my dear, you're becoming a little showy with helping customers choose books. What if someone else was in the shop when you pulled that stunt? It would not do for customers to see books flying across the shop." As usual, she wore jeans and a Charming Books sweatshirt, which was orange that day in celebration of the nearness of Halloween. To complete the outfit, she'd added a gauzy infinity scarf decorated with cheerful jack-o'-lanterns.

"Grandma Daisy, it's after seven. The shop was supposed to close fifteen minutes ago. There was no one else here."

"Still, you need to be careful." She tucked a lock of silver hair behind her ear. "Remember the most important job of the Caretaker is to keep the shop's secret. No one outside of the family can know."

"Four months ago you were arguing with me because I didn't believe in the shop's essence. Now I'm in trouble because I do and make use of it." I couldn't keep the whine out of my voice. I knew I sounded like a stubborn four-year-old, and I knew it wasn't attractive on a woman nearing her thirtieth birthday.

Grandma Daisy adjusted her cat's-eye glasses on her nose. "You're not in trouble. I just want you to remember your duty as the Caretaker." She turned and headed in the direction of the kitchen, which was separated from the shop by a thick swinging door.

Like I could forget? Being the Caretaker of the huge Queen Anne Victorian house and its birch tree had been a duty of the women in my family for the last two centuries, ever since Rosalee watered the tree with the mystical and healing waters from the local natural springs. The water manifested itself in the shop and the books, and now the essence of the water was able to communicate with the Caretaker through cryptic messages sent through the books themselves. Trust me-I know how unbelievable that sounds.

My mother should have been the Caretaker after my grandmother was relieved of her post, but fate had other plans, stealing her from me when I was only thirteen. As a result, the Caretaker role skipped a generation and landed directly on my shoulders. Since I had no children, female or otherwise, it was unknown what would happen to the shop when it was time for me to pass it on to the next generation. I would love to have a child . . . someday. I rolled my eyes at Grandma Daisy's receding back. There was really no way I could forget my duty as the Caretaker of Charming Books even if I wanted to.

"I saw you roll your eyes at me," Grandma Daisy called over her shoulder.

"The essence doesn't give you the ability to see out the back of your head," I countered.

She glanced over her shoulder. "How do you know? You've only been the Caretaker for a few months. How do you know everything the essence can and cannot do?" Before I could think of a smart remark, she said, "Don't you have some cookies to be picked up from La Crepe Jolie for the Poe-try Reading tomorrow?"

I smacked myself on the forehead. "Oh, right, I forgot. I'll go collect them now."

She nodded. "The Red Inkers should be here by the time you return. Be careful. The traffic will be horrid on River Road with the start of the Food and Wine Festival tomorrow."

"I'll be careful," I promised.

The Cascade Springs Food and Wine Festival was the biggest event for the small village, which depended on tourism for its survival. It was held annually the third week of October. This year at Grandma Daisy's urging, Charming Books was participating in the festivities by hosting a Poe-try Reading, highlighting the work and life of the master of the macabre, Edgar Allan Poe. I couldn't think of a more perfect author to showcase this close to Halloween. Grandma Daisy and I were able to recruit the help of the Red Inkers, a local writers' group that regularly met in Charming Books after shop hours to discuss their work.

I grabbed my coat from the coat-tree by the kitchen door. "I should be going, then."

"Don't be too long. I know everyone in the group is looking forward to seeing you. . . ." she said in a teasing voice.

This time I rolled my eyes to her face, so there was no mistaking it. Grandma Daisy's bell-chime laugh rang through the empty shop, and Faulkner joined in on the chuckle fest. Her comment about the group wanting to see me was much more pointed than it sounded. She implied-not so subtly, might I add-that the village police chief, David Rainwater, wanted to see me.

The truth was I was looking forward to seeing him too.

Two

Outside the shop, I walked around Charming Books to collect my bicycle. I wished that my grandmother hadn't brought up David Rainwater, even if indirectly. Now I knew I would be fretting over seeing him until the Red Inkers meeting. The police chief, who was an aspiring children's book author, was also a member. Seeing him wasn't a complication that I needed. I had enough to worry about between being the shop Caretaker, finishing my dissertation on Ralph Waldo Emerson and his Transcendentalist buddies, and teaching my adjunct courses at the local community college. Now was not a good time to think about finding a boyfriend, no matter how beautiful he was, and David Rainwater was beautiful. The female and even some of the male population of the village could vouch for that.

My aqua-colored cruiser bike leaned against the side of the shop. It had been my mother's, and Grandma Daisy had it refurbished as part of her master plan to convince me to stay in the village and accept my role as Caretaker of Charming Books. She had also had my bike helmet "improved" by asking a local artist to cover it in hand-painted purple violets. The helmet was beyond embarrassing, but it brought a smile to my grandmother's face every time I wore it, so I couldn't bring myself to buy a violet-free replacement. I lifted the helmet from where it dangled from the handlebars. As I fastened the chin strap into place, Emerson flew out from under Charming Books' wraparound porch and leaped into the bike's pink wire basket. The gerbera daisy on the front of the basket bounced with the impact.

"Emerson, you can't come with me this time."

He stared at me with his big amber eyes.

I put my hands on my hips, determined not to let him get the best of me. "How am I supposed to bring the cookies home with you in the basket? Do you want the cookies to be ruined?"

He flattened his ears and cocked his head. It was his most pitiful face, which caused me to cave every single time.

I shook my finger at him. "I mean it. You can't come."

The old-fashioned ironwork lampposts flickered to life as the sun made its downturn west. I didn't want to be biking cookies back to Charming Books in the dark. I didn't have time for Emerson's stubbornness.

The tuxie crouched lower in the basket and dug his claws into the towel I kept there to make the ride more comfortable for him. If the towel was any indication, Emerson and I both knew who would win this one.

I sighed. There was no arguing with the cat when he dug his claws in. "Fine, you win. Again."

He purred and settled into the bottom of the basket as I set off from Charming Books. At the curb, I paused to take a look at the periwinkle blue Victorian with its tower, delicate gingerbread, and wraparound porch. Sometimes, I still couldn't believe I was living and working there again after over a decade away. I smiled. It felt right. At some point over the last four months, I had accepted my prodigal return to the village and my place as the Caretaker of the shop. Grudgingly, I admitted to myself Grandma Daisy's warning had been just-I needed to be more careful not to reveal what the shop's essence could do. I kicked off from the sidewalk.

The ride between Charming Books and La Crepe Jolie was typically a short one. The village was so tiny that a bike ride from end to end took no more than fifteen minutes.

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Prose and Cons 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the second book that I have read by Amanda Flowers. I enjoyed this book as I did the first one. I love the book store with a crow & cat and wished I owned it.
bwilhoite More than 1 year ago
I totally love this series. Can not wait to read the third.
GratefulGrandma More than 1 year ago
In the small town of Cascade Springs is a magical bookstore. It is where the book picks the reader or the purchaser. There is a crow named Faulkner who quotes from books, and a tuxedo cat named Emerson. Daisy has owned the store for years, but has recently called her granddaughter Violet home. Daisy is getting older and the store needs a new "caretaker". All this is explained in the first book in the series and it was such a good story, I recommend you read it if you have not already. October in Cascade Springs means time for the annual Food and Wine Festival. Tourists are in town and Violet and her grandmother Daisy are trying to get them to visit Charming Books, by hosting a poetry reading by the local writers group, The Red-Inkers. All is going well and she is happy with the turnout until one of the writers has not come out of the store. When she is found dead at the bottom of the stairs with a broken neck it appears to be an accident, but the coroner finds otherwise. Once again with the help of the books and the animals, Violet is on the case. Violet is not shy about her investigating, but she is not pushy either. She is smart and figures out puzzles and clues easily. She is gradually meeting people in town, making friends and working to feel comfortable in Cascade Springs after her bolt from town 12 years earlier. The other main characters, Daisy, Detective David Rainwater and their neighbour Sasha are getting more fleshed out as this series continues. Violet still seems to have an attraction to David and I am still hoping this will become a more serious relationship. There is a bit of a love triangle with the mayor Nathan, pursuing her, but she does not seem to be reciprocating his feelings. The mystery was well written. The method of death, the various suspects, the clues and red herrings are all well done and the story moved quickly. I kept changing my mind about the culprit every time there was a new clue or interview and the reveal of the culprit surprised me. Once again, I enjoyed my visit to Cascade Springs and look forward to another book in this series. Amanda Flowers has become one of my favourite cozy mystery writers and has other series that I can read until another Cascade Springs story comes out.
GratefulGrandma More than 1 year ago
In the small town of Cascade Springs is a magical bookstore. It is where the book picks the reader or the purchaser. There is a crow named Faulkner who quotes from books, and a tuxedo cat named Emerson. Daisy has owned the store for years, but has recently called her granddaughter Violet home. Daisy is getting older and the store needs a new "caretaker". All this is explained in the first book in the series and it was such a good story, I recommend you read it if you have not already. October in Cascade Springs means time for the annual Food and Wine Festival. Tourists are in town and Violet and her grandmother Daisy are trying to get them to visit Charming Books, by hosting a poetry reading by the local writers group, The Red-Inkers. All is going well and she is happy with the turnout until one of the writers has not come out of the store. When she is found dead at the bottom of the stairs with a broken neck it appears to be an accident, but the coroner finds otherwise. Once again with the help of the books and the animals, Violet is on the case. Violet is not shy about her investigating, but she is not pushy either. She is smart and figures out puzzles and clues easily. She is gradually meeting people in town, making friends and working to feel comfortable in Cascade Springs after her bolt from town 12 years earlier. The other main characters, Daisy, Detective David Rainwater and their neighbour Sasha are getting more fleshed out as this series continues. Violet still seems to have an attraction to David and I am still hoping this will become a more serious relationship. There is a bit of a love triangle with the mayor Nathan, pursuing her, but she does not seem to be reciprocating his feelings. The mystery was well written. The method of death, the various suspects, the clues and red herrings are all well done and the story moved quickly. I kept changing my mind about the culprit every time there was a new clue or interview and the reveal of the culprit surprised me. Once again, I enjoyed my visit to Cascade Springs and look forward to another book in this series. Amanda Flowers has become one of my favourite cozy mystery writers and has other series that I can read until another Cascade Springs story comes out.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A different twist to a sometimes overwritten genre! Enjoyed both the first and second and am eagerly awaiting the next book in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wish there were more books in this series
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can't believe Violet can get herself into so much trouble but she does a good job of it while sniffing out the real killer. I also love the budding romance and haven't decided if I'm team Rainwater or team Nathan. Hoping for more to come in this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read both "A Magical Bookshop Mystery" and they were GREAT. I'm hopeful there will be more Love them
ValerieL More than 1 year ago
4.5 stars rounded up. I definitely enjoyed this book better than the first one in the series. We get to know the characters a little better and I'm liking Violet more and more. This time around it's the Food and Wine festival along with the murder of one of their writing group members. While the victim was not well liked in town, Violet still feels for her as no one deserves to die like that. Through the use of Poe's works of literary prose, the bookshop seems to be telling Violet to look for someone hiding in plain sight. I totally didn't see the villain coming until the very end when they reveal themselves (I don't want to give it away!). It was a complete surprise to me and I'm looking forward to seeing how this changes dynamics among the main characters in the next book. I have my personal favorite out of the two suitors that Violet has and I've enjoyed the interactions in this one as they seem to be going his way. Woo hoo! But then again, something at the end of the book (again, no spoilers!) makes me think that she won't end up choosing him. Boo. :( All in all it's a fun read and I look forward to reading more in the series!
BeckyMcF More than 1 year ago
It is so much fun to read a series that uses real books to get clues to solve mysteries and to read a series set in a geographic area that I have been to a lot (Niagara Falls area)! The murder in this book is sadder than usual, but all of the characters, including the bookstore crow and cat. The Poe-try Reading sounding like a very cool idea for a bookstore to have! I do wish I live near such a shop!
ReadYourWrites More than 1 year ago
4.5 Stars October finds Violet Waverly still trying to learn how to be a “caretaker” for her family’s bookshop, Charming Books, and the secrets found within. It’s also time for the annual Cascade Springs Food and Wine Festival. This year, Charming Books is going to put on a Poe-try Reading, featuring the works of Edgar Allan Poe. To help with the readings, Grandma Daisy has enlisted the help of the Red Inkers, a group of aspiring writers who meet at Charming Books. To make the reading even more authentic, Violet’s friend Sadie Cunningham picks out vintage outfits for everyone to wear. As the festival and reading kicks off, Violet finds Red Inkers member Anastasia Faber dead at the bottom of the stairs leading from her apartment into Charming Books. What looks like a tragic accident turns out to be murder. All clues and evidence point to Sadie. But even Police Chief David Rainwater doesn’t believe Sadie is a killer. Anastasia was a very difficult woman to get along with and she rubbed everyone the wrong way, but who would want to kill her and why? Violet refuses to let Sadie get framed for a crime she didn’t comment. The bookstore becomes insistent that Violet read a couple of books, but will she figure out what the shop wants her to know before it’s too late? Amanda Flower has once again done a fantastic job of telling a story. She takes Violet down a path of discovery, both with the mystery and personally. She’s written a standalone read, but at the same time has given readers of Crime and Poetry more information on the characters. I love the paranormal aspect of the story, with the magical bookshop and all knowing Faulkner the crow and Emerson the cat. Chief Rainwater seems to see more than he lets on. I would definitely love to see things heat up between him and Violet. I’m hoping this series continues because I can’t wait to see where Amanda takes readers and these characters next. **Received a copy from the publisher and voluntarily reviewed the book.**
MasonCanyon More than 1 year ago
A warm, inviting feeling is created throughout the pages of a Magical Bookshop Mystery by author Amanda Flower. The setting of a bookstore is welcoming enough but the author enhances the feel even more with a touch of magic. The whimsical elements of a special tree in the middle of the store, books that select the reader, a crow that can quote Poe, and a helpful cat make it a place most readers would love to spend time in. The author has added well-developed, quirky characters to draw readers in even further. The characters are likable and will have you laughing out loud as they also touch your heart. Blending a murder, mystery, and suspense makes a well-balanced story that will keep you on your toes. Add in a touch of romance and the loyalty of friendship makes this an entertaining read. The pace is steady and easy to follow. PROSE AND CONS can be read on its own. A charming and intriguing mystery you won’t be able to put down. FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this book was sent to me by the publisher. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.
SherylHendrix More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed this second in the Magical Bookshop Mystery series about the quirky characters (both animate and inanimate) that inhabit the little town of Cascade Springs, New York, near Niagara Falls. Violet Waverly and her eccentric grandmother Daisy run Charming Books, something of a character in its own right since the books fly off the shelves to select the person who should own them. Emerson the cat, and Faulkner the crow add another dimension to the story with antics that are not only pleasant asides, but fit seamlessly into the story line and mystery murder that needs solving in each book. Add an old boyfriend, now town mayor, a new potential love interest in the handsome chief of police whose native American heritage plays into the story, and a few quirky friends, and you have a tale that is sure to charm cozy mystery fans of all ages.
Dollycas More than 1 year ago
Dollycas’s Thoughts It’s all about Poe at Charming Books. To draw visitors to the bookstore during the Food and Wine Festival, the Red Inkers decide to do readings by the famous writer of mystery and the macabre. But one of the Inkers will be missing her reading. Violet finds her body at the foot of the stairs and her death was no accident. Using the bookstore’s charms with assists from her cat, Emerson and the shop’s mascot crow, Faulkner, Violet finds herself searching for the killer. We return to Cascade Springs and Charming Books in this 2nd installment of the Magical Bookstore Mysteries, where the perfect book finds you and you find Violet Waverly, her grandma, Daisy, and a tuxedo cat named Emerson and what I picture to be a huge crow named Faulkner. Amanda Flower has created some wonderful characters here. Yes, I am including this unusual bookstore in my list as characters because it truly has a life all it’s own. Still I would classify this mystery as paranormal light. There are no ghosts or witches but the setting itself is magical along with maybe a familiar or two. From the tree growing inside it to the books on the shelves it is a very interesting place. Violet is still trying to understand what is means to be the caretaker of the store with her grandmother by her side. The author has also crafted a entertaining mystery set in this magical place. One with many turns led by clues found in the shop but that take some critical thinking on Violet’s part to decipher. Emerson uses his special talents to help her make a crucial discovery. I liked that she was sharing her findings with the handsome police chief even though that upsets her old boyfriend, the mayor. Romantic tension is always good. Ms. Flower has given readers a very imaginative story with some enchanting and colorful characters. I really hope this series is allowed to continue because there is so much more here for the author to build on. I am excited to visit Cascade Springs again.
Carstairs38 More than 1 year ago
Charming Sequel Book I am in love with Charming Books, a book store where the proper book chooses you. I mean, that is every reader’s dream, right? To pick up a book and know you’ll love it. That’s why I was so glad to revisit the store in Prose and Cons. Charming Books is run by Violet Waverly and her grandmother Daisy. The duo are always looking for ways to draw more people into the store, and they think they’ve hit on a great idea. During the town’s annual Food and Wine Festival, held in mid-October every year, they will host a Poe-try reading. They’ve asked the Red Inkers, a critic group that meets in the shop, to dress up in costumes and do readings from the work of Edgar Allan Poe. And judging from the size of the crowd, they’ve hit upon a winner of an idea. However, one of the Red Inkers is missing. Violet sent Anastasia to change into her costume right before the event started, and when Violet goes to check on her, she finds Anastasia dead at the bottom of the shop’s steep back stairs. But tragic accident soon begins to look like murder, with the police focusing on Sadie, Violet’s friend who provided the costumes. Violet knows that Sadie couldn’t have done it, but unfortunately, all the evidence points to her. Anastasia wasn’t a nice person, so there have to be other people with motive to kill her. Can Violet find these other suspects and figure out which one actually did kill her? Of course, Poe is a reoccurring theme in the book as the shop keeps trying to give Violet clues based his works. I am sadly unfamiliar with the inventor of the detective genre, but anything we need to know based on these stories is explained to us. So don’t let that keep you from jumping into the book. The mystery is strong, with several viable suspects and motives. The author keeps us guessing until we reach the climax where everything falls into place for Violet and us. I do feel like the characters could be a little stronger. I felt that a couple did get some nice development here. On a whole, they are real enough for us to care about the outcome, but they are missing that pop that makes them seem real. Are you wondering where the magic that drives the bookshop comes from? This book hints at the answer, but it doesn’t explain everything like the first book does. If that part intrigues you, be sure to back up so you can see just how it all works. And yes, I really do wish I could visit this shop in person. There is a hint of a love triangle in the book, although I think it is obvious which direction Violet is going to go. (I did call it a hint, after all.) With how this book ended, I am quite curious to see how relationships develop. It’s rare I delve into the magic end of the cozy spectrum, but I’m glad I made the exception for this series. Pick up Prose and Cons today and be prepared to be charmed. NOTE: I received a copy of this book
KMorgan73 More than 1 year ago
I love reading cozy mysteries by Amanda Flower. When I open the book I know I am in for an entertaining and fun read with a mystery that won't scare me senseless and have me sleeping with one eye open. Prose and Cons delivered in all areas. It was fun to return to Cascade Springs and visit Violet and Grandma Daisy again and stroll through Charming Books (where the perfect book picks you). I really wish this were a real bookstore because I would love to spend time looking at all the books and perhaps catch a glance of Faulkner and Emerson. Oh, and to see what book would be picked out for me would be so much fun! During this trip back to Cascade Springs a death is discovered inside the bookstore while outside there is a gathering for a Poe-try Reading. Violet is soon on the case much to the chagrin of Chief Rainwater, the local chief of police. Amanda Flower has once again written a story that will make readers smile, chuckle quietly, and sometimes just laugh out loud. Yes, I know the book is a cozy mystery but some of the situations Violet finds/gets herself into made me laugh out loud. I love the descriptions she uses. It is so easy to picture what is going on and soon you believe you are actually in the story. There are some of the quirky characters we met in the first book of this series and some new characters to meet and get to know in this book. As to the mystery part, well, I was kept guessing until the reveal and then was shocked at who it was. I had no idea! I must admit that along with being shocked I was a little sad when I found out who it was. But in typical Amanda Flower fashion, you can't dislike the killer too much. Amanda creates quirky characters you come to care about even when they do things they shouldn't. I can't wait to read the next installment in this series and hope there are several more books to follow. I enjoy these characters and the village of Cascade Springs. While you don't have to read the first book before you read this one I would recommend it so you get the entire backstory of the characters and the bookstore. Amanda Flower has once again made murder fun so grab this book and a cozy reading spot and enjoy your trip to Cascade Springs! I received a free copy of this book from the publisher and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are mine.
KrisAnderson_TAR More than 1 year ago
Prose and Cons by Amanda Flowers is the second book in A Magical Bookshop Mystery series. Violet Waverly is the new Caretaker and co-owner of Charming Books in Cascade Springs, New York. Violet’s grandmother, Daisy is her partner and is teaching her how to be the Caretaker. Violet and Grandma Daisy are getting ready for the Cascade Springs Food and Wine Festival. They will be doing a Poe-try (reading the works of Edgar Allen Poe) with the speakers (the Red Inkers) in costume. On the day of the reading, things are going well. Violet goes searching for the next speaker, Anastasia Faber. Anastasia had asked to change in Violet’s apartment. Violet is not a fan of the fellow Red Inker (writing group that meets at Charming Books one night a week). Violet enters the kitchen and prepares to go up the backstairs but Anastasia is blocking the way. Anastasia is on the floor at the bottom of the narrow stairs (they used to be the servant’s stairs) and her body is at a weird (meaning very bad) angle. Violet quickly gets Police Chief David Rainwater (to whom Violet is attracted to). Anastasia was not well-liked in the village (that’s an understatement), because she was very rude and condescending. Unfortunately, Sadie had an incident with Anastasia the previous night which escalates her to the top of the suspect list. Violet will not let her friend get railroaded for a crime that she did not commit. Plus, Violet needs to clear the name of Charming Books (Anastasia did fall down their stairs). Violet sets out to find out more about Anastasia (she was very private). It turns out that Anastasia was hiding a big secret. She was also digging up dirt on the Red Inker members. The clues that Violet is receiving from the books are cryptic. Violet’s sleuthing skills are put to the test in Prose and Cons! Prose and Cons was a delightful and magical novel! I enjoyed every minute of it (and you know I rarely say this). I like the engaging (colorful and quirky) characters (including the pets), the beautiful setting, and the unique bookshop. Prose and Cons is the second books in A Magical Bookshop Mystery series, but it can be read alone. Amanda Flower gives the reader all the information needed to enjoy the book (but I highly recommend reading Crime and Poetry). The novel is easy to read, well-written and has a good pace. The mystery is complex and utilizes an atypical method of killing. I give Prose and Cons 5 out of 5 stars (I loved it). Prose and Cons will make you laugh and smile. I believe the killers identity will catch many readers by surprise. I especially liked the magical aspects of the book (the flying books). I certainly hope there will be many more books in A Magical Bookshop Mystery series.
chefdt More than 1 year ago
Prose and Cons is the second book in the A Magical Bookshop Mystery series. Another entertaining visit with Violet and her grandmother Daisy at their bookstore, Charming Books, where your next book finds you. Cascade Springs is preparing for their annual Food and Wine festival and Violet is planning a Poe-try Reading at Charming. Violet has enlisted the help of the Red Inkers, a local writer’s critique group that meets at the bookstore, to help with the reading. Sadie, who owns a vintage clothing store plans to provide period clothes for everyone. As the reading are about to begin, the last member, Anastasia arrives and Violet offers her apartment to change into her costume. A few minutes later she hears a loud crash and finds Anastasia at the bottom of the staircase, dead. When the tests come back it has been determined that she died from a nicotine overdose and the nicotine had come from a bottle that Sadie used for her e-cigarettes. Sadie naturally becomes the prime suspect as the dress has never been out of her shop. Violet soon learns that Anastasia has been writing romance novels under pseudonym and wonders if this might have been a reason for someone to end her life. Most all of the enjoyable folks from Cascade Springs are back once again to help Violet with the investigation. Charming Book’s mascots, Faulkner, a crow, and Emerson, a cat, prove to be heroes in this book. I was completely surprised by who the murderer was. Definitely, will be watching for the next book in this enjoyable series.
LisaKsBooksReviews More than 1 year ago
Another charming story in the Magical Bookshop Mystery series. A master at her craft, author Amanda Flower aka Isabella Alan has proven she can pen an outstanding mystery no matter the main topic. Be it a magical bookstore, the Amish, history, quilting, or middle school, it’s plain to see that this author does her research. Amanda Flower consistently brings readers a well written story that they’ll take with them long after they’ve read the last page. That certainly is true with PROSE AND CONS. This mysterious para-cozy had me under its spell from the beginning. I was so enthralled in the story that I lost all track of time. Eclectic characters, delightful pets, and a wonderful setting (both bookshop and town), PROSE AND CONS is an extremely entertaining tale that will leave readers satisfied yet anxiously awaiting the next installment. If you haven’t read a book by Amanda Flower/Isabella Alan, it is certainly time that you do!
CozyMysteryLover1 More than 1 year ago
When I open a book written by Amanda Flower, I know I will be transported into a world full of surprises. Prose and Cons is the second book in the Magical Bookshop Mysteries. Set in the quaint town of Cascades Springs, NY, Violet and her grandma Daisy are busy running Charming Books, where you don't choose a book, the book chooses you. It's time for the annual Food & Wine festival and the local residents are looking forward to the abundance of tourists strolling the sidewalks and spending money in the wonderful shops. The Red Inkers, a local writing group who meet in Charming Books, are planning on doing Poe-try readings, featuring the works of Edgar Allen Poe. When Violet finds a member of the Red Inkers dead, she knows she has to work fast to solve the murder, the reputation of the book shop depends on it. When secrets become uncovered and shocking news hits the group, the suspect list grows long and Violet can only hope to come out of this unscathed. Ms. Flower has a wonderful imagination and her stories weave a tale full of magic and suspense. I am never disappointed when I read one of her books and Prose and Cons is a wonderful addition to the cozy mystery genre. Fans of a well written cozy, filled with magic and colorful characters will find Prose and Cons a delightful read.
Kuzlin More than 1 year ago
This is the second book in the Magical Bookshop series, as Violet settles into her role as Caretaker of both the Victorian house/bookstore and the magical birch tree. She also needs to come to grips with her relationship with Mayor Nathan Morton, her ex-boyfriend, and Chief David Rainwater. As part of the town's annual Food and Wine Festival, the Red Inkers (aspiring writers who meet regularly) are putting together a Poe-try Reading, celebrating the works of Edgar Allan Poe, and dressing in authentic Poe-era costumes. But when one of the Red Inkers is found dead at the foot of the back stairs and murder is suspected, Violet knows she needs to help with the investigation, if only to prove that her friend was not the murderer. A delightful mystery filled with clues, twists and turns, until the final solution. I love the interaction of the adorable tuxedo cat, Emerson, as he joins Violet on her quest, as well as the sometimes timely intervention of Faulkner, the shop crow. I look forward to the next book in this series. Disclosure: I am voluntarily reviewing an advanced reading copy of this book received through NetGalley.