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Once Upon a Seaside Murder

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As the holidays approach, bookstore owner Summer Merriwether learns a dark secret in this second volume of Maggie Blackburn's Beach Reads mystery series. There's no place like home for the holidays, even if home is sleepy, beachside Brigid's Island, NC. During this season for giving, the town wakes up to a welcome throng of shoppers--and Beach Reads is no exception. But boo As the holidays approach, bookstore owner Summer Merriwether learns a dark secret in this second volume of Maggie Blackburn's Beach Reads mystery series. There's no place like home for the holidays, even if home is sleepy, beachside Brigid's Island, NC. During this season for giving, the town wakes up to a welcome throng of shoppers--and Beach Reads is no exception. But bookseller Summer Merriwether's Christmas cheer turns to cringing fear when she uncovers a deadly secret about her late mother--a secret someone will kill to keep. When the local library hosts a cozy mystery panel discussion, Summer learns that one of the authors on the panel based her book on an actual murder that shook Brigid's Island thirty-five years before. Worse, she soon learns that her dearly missed mother, Hildy, took a disturbingly deep interest in the case, going so far as to collect clippings and keep a journal of the dark doings. This doesn't jibe with Summer's memories of her usually cheery mother at all. Tidings get worse when Summer learns of her long-lost biological family's involvement in the crime...and still worse when the life of the book's author is threatened. With the help of Hildy's plucky book club, Summer puts her scholarly smarts to work on protecting the cozy author and solving the decades-old murder. But this ghost from Christmas past may still be deadly in the present, and if she can't find the killer, Summer's future will be brief.


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As the holidays approach, bookstore owner Summer Merriwether learns a dark secret in this second volume of Maggie Blackburn's Beach Reads mystery series. There's no place like home for the holidays, even if home is sleepy, beachside Brigid's Island, NC. During this season for giving, the town wakes up to a welcome throng of shoppers--and Beach Reads is no exception. But boo As the holidays approach, bookstore owner Summer Merriwether learns a dark secret in this second volume of Maggie Blackburn's Beach Reads mystery series. There's no place like home for the holidays, even if home is sleepy, beachside Brigid's Island, NC. During this season for giving, the town wakes up to a welcome throng of shoppers--and Beach Reads is no exception. But bookseller Summer Merriwether's Christmas cheer turns to cringing fear when she uncovers a deadly secret about her late mother--a secret someone will kill to keep. When the local library hosts a cozy mystery panel discussion, Summer learns that one of the authors on the panel based her book on an actual murder that shook Brigid's Island thirty-five years before. Worse, she soon learns that her dearly missed mother, Hildy, took a disturbingly deep interest in the case, going so far as to collect clippings and keep a journal of the dark doings. This doesn't jibe with Summer's memories of her usually cheery mother at all. Tidings get worse when Summer learns of her long-lost biological family's involvement in the crime...and still worse when the life of the book's author is threatened. With the help of Hildy's plucky book club, Summer puts her scholarly smarts to work on protecting the cozy author and solving the decades-old murder. But this ghost from Christmas past may still be deadly in the present, and if she can't find the killer, Summer's future will be brief.

30 review for Once Upon a Seaside Murder

  1. 5 out of 5

    Phrynne

    When I reviewed the first book in this series I think I had decided not to continue with book 2. I changed my mind and read it any way and I am happy to say it was better than the first. Summer Merriwether, the main character, has improved a little although she is still rather pompous about her choices of reading material. As a bookshop owner she is really going to have to become more eclectic in her tastes! Either that or scare off all her customers. In Once Upon a Seaside Murder Beach Roads Boo When I reviewed the first book in this series I think I had decided not to continue with book 2. I changed my mind and read it any way and I am happy to say it was better than the first. Summer Merriwether, the main character, has improved a little although she is still rather pompous about her choices of reading material. As a bookshop owner she is really going to have to become more eclectic in her tastes! Either that or scare off all her customers. In Once Upon a Seaside Murder Beach Roads Bookshop hosts a writers event during which one of the visiting authors disappears, apparently abducted. As events unfold it becomes apparent that Summer's own family members are involved in some way in a murder which occurred over thirty years ago and which was central to the author's latest book. A lot of characters pop in and out and I was particularly confused with Summer's new found uncles and cousins and how everyone fitted into the time line. I also need to investigate what on earth Summer is wearing in bed to protect her face from spiders in the night. Whatever it is she may need to lose it soon if her relationship with Cash is going to go anywhere. So I am going to have to continue with the series just to find out what happens and which genre Summer is going to frown upon next. She has done romance and cosies- my guess is chick lit. My thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    I was delighted when I started reading this book that I recognized some of the characters. I had read Little Bookshop of Murder awhile back and remember really enjoying it. This book centers on a dark mystery surrounding Summer's father's family. She has just recently discovered them and some quite disturbing things turn up. The book is set near Christmas and Summer had a book panel come to the bookstore to discuss their cozy mysteries. One of the authors had been threatened over a book she had I was delighted when I started reading this book that I recognized some of the characters. I had read Little Bookshop of Murder awhile back and remember really enjoying it. This book centers on a dark mystery surrounding Summer's father's family. She has just recently discovered them and some quite disturbing things turn up. The book is set near Christmas and Summer had a book panel come to the bookstore to discuss their cozy mysteries. One of the authors had been threatened over a book she had just written based on a murder that had happened some years ago in Mermaid Point so she's staying with Summer during her appearance at the bookstore. Then she just disappears. This was an engaging mystery and I really enjoyed it. It kept my attention, and I wasn't sure until the end who was responsible for the bad things that were happening. The characters are quirky and fun. Thanks to Crooked Lane Books through Netgalley for an advance copy. This book will be published on October 12, 2021.

  3. 4 out of 5

    BonnieM☂️

    Once Upon a Seaside Murder is the second in the series. Summer Merriweather is the owner of Beach Reads. a book store that she inherited from her mother, Hildy. She lives on Bridget Island in her childhood home with her mother's parrot, Mr. Darcy. Her cousin, Piper and daughter, Mia as well as her Aunt Agatha, her mother's sister are the main characters in the story. Poppy is her assistant in the store as well as many of her mother's friends who help her with the store. They are having an author Once Upon a Seaside Murder is the second in the series. Summer Merriweather is the owner of Beach Reads. a book store that she inherited from her mother, Hildy. She lives on Bridget Island in her childhood home with her mother's parrot, Mr. Darcy. Her cousin, Piper and daughter, Mia as well as her Aunt Agatha, her mother's sister are the main characters in the story. Poppy is her assistant in the store as well as many of her mother's friends who help her with the store. They are having an author's signing in the store with several authors attending. There is another part of the story where she has discovered that she is related to the Bellamy family as her mother had an affair with one of their sons. Sam and Fatima are her half brother and sister. She meets her grandmother who carries their family secret. The two stories merge as one as one of the authors, Mimi has written a book about a long ago murder called Mermaid Point Murders. This is where the two stories merge into one. The reader is taken along with the many other characters in the book on a wild ride of many adventures to solve the mystery to a surprising end. I enjoyed the book and look forward to the next in the series. Thank you NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for this ARC.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Micky Cox

    A cozy mystery reader event is coming to the bookstore and creating quite a buzz! However, not everyone is as excited about all the buzz as the local readers are since one of the books is based loosely on a 30 year old cold case. It appears someone wants that case to remain cold or could it be even more sinister than that when bad things start happening to Summer and a guest disappears. Looks like Summer and her family are going to have to get involved in solving the cold case to unravel what is A cozy mystery reader event is coming to the bookstore and creating quite a buzz! However, not everyone is as excited about all the buzz as the local readers are since one of the books is based loosely on a 30 year old cold case. It appears someone wants that case to remain cold or could it be even more sinister than that when bad things start happening to Summer and a guest disappears. Looks like Summer and her family are going to have to get involved in solving the cold case to unravel what is happening now. Excellent plotting, outstanding characters and a setting that you want to move to as well makes for a great read! I really can't wait to read what comes next for these characters as they are really wonderful personalities.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Peggy R

    Once Upon a Seaside Murder is the second book in the Beach Reads Mystery series by Maggie Blackburn (a/k/a Mollie Cox Bryan). I will be honest, I was a bit hesitant to pick up this book to read. I read the first in the series and was a bit disappointed because frankly, it did not live up to what I was used to from this author. I am happy to report, that is not the case with book two. Summer Merriweather has softened in this book. She is not as judgemental as she was in the first book and I found Once Upon a Seaside Murder is the second book in the Beach Reads Mystery series by Maggie Blackburn (a/k/a Mollie Cox Bryan). I will be honest, I was a bit hesitant to pick up this book to read. I read the first in the series and was a bit disappointed because frankly, it did not live up to what I was used to from this author. I am happy to report, that is not the case with book two. Summer Merriweather has softened in this book. She is not as judgemental as she was in the first book and I found that I enjoyed her character and the story more as a result. I love when I am pleasantly surprised by an author. In my review of the first book, I noted that with some softening of Summer's character and some tweaks with the mystery this would be a good series. That is exactly what took place in this book. I love the family relationship between Summer, her cousin Piper, her niece Mia and her aunt Agatha. Summer is still reeling from the death of her mother, but with her softening it was much easier to see how her family and her mother's friends rally around her to help her through her grief. I also enjoyed learning more about Hildy, Summer's mother through the photos Summer received and the prologue of the book. My curiosity is peaked as to the direction the author is headed with Summer and her former fiance Cash. I found the mystery to be tighter this time around and to be engaging. A murder from the past is a cold case on Brigid Island and it comes back to cause issues for Summer during an event at her bookshop with some cozy mystery authors. There are not a lot of suspects due to the age of the murder, but the author weaves clues together to take the reader on a journey along with Summer as she tries to discover what part if any, her new family played in the crime. The story is well-plotted and moves at a good pace, which keeps the reader engaged. This second book was a terrific read and I am excited to say that I will be back for any future installments. I voluntarily read a digital advanced reader copy provided to me by the publisher, Crooked Lane Books, through NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tari

    I'd read a GR review when I first started the book and now that I've finished it, I have to say I do agree with that person. I admit I didn't like Summer very much at all in the first book and even for some of this book, so when I read the review that stated that person began to like her better in this book, I was kinda "We'll see." But...by the end of the book, Summer had definitely undergone some good changes that made her a little more tender and a lot more likable as a character. I've always I'd read a GR review when I first started the book and now that I've finished it, I have to say I do agree with that person. I admit I didn't like Summer very much at all in the first book and even for some of this book, so when I read the review that stated that person began to like her better in this book, I was kinda "We'll see." But...by the end of the book, Summer had definitely undergone some good changes that made her a little more tender and a lot more likable as a character. I've always loved the characters of Agatha, Piper and Mia! Those three are probably what's helped shaped Summer's disposition a lot. The love of family is definitely a driving force! And I know it takes a talented writer to come up with a character that successfully isn't too well-liked even by readers. Then bit by bit, that character emerged into a pretty darn nice human being! I'm excited now to see what the future holds for Summer and possibly even Cash after we've learned he's free again. I can't describe how I felt knowing that Summer, by the end of the book, felt so much different herself with a burden lifted, and I can't go into it for risk of spoiling something. I guess I just wished at that point she was real and that I could hug her and tell her, "Well done, welcome home." Note: Another character who seemed to change for the better was Cash's dad, Ben who was the police chief needing to retire. The murder in the story was a cold case, and the main focus was a missing person which got weirder and seemingly colder as the days passed. I had an idea of who might be behind it, but I was off base somewhat. I really enjoyed this book so much more than the first one and can honestly say I'm looking forward to the next! I read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher via NetGalley, and my opinions are my own.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Bridget

    This second instalment, Once Upon a Seaside Murder, continues Maggie Blackburn's excellent Beach Reads Mystery series. Summer Merriweather is in her hometown of Brigid's Island, North Carolina and is missing her late mother, Hildy though she has the shop, 'Beach Reads' she inherited. I thought this was a magnificent, really solid second instalment in the series. I enjoyed Maggie Blackburn's characterisation of Summer though the outspoken, analytically-minded amateur-sleuth is portrayed as being r This second instalment, Once Upon a Seaside Murder, continues Maggie Blackburn's excellent Beach Reads Mystery series. Summer Merriweather is in her hometown of Brigid's Island, North Carolina and is missing her late mother, Hildy though she has the shop, 'Beach Reads' she inherited. I thought this was a magnificent, really solid second instalment in the series. I enjoyed Maggie Blackburn's characterisation of Summer though the outspoken, analytically-minded amateur-sleuth is portrayed as being rather snobbish, preferring the classics over other reads. Summer is a refreshingly different main character than I generally find in a cozy novel. The author has built on a good cast of friends and others including Aunt Agatha, cousin Piper and niece Mia, all adding a touch of adventure. With threats and warnings and disappearance, there's a sense of uncertainty that ups the tension. This book is such a fabulous read and I enjoyed puzzling over the cold case mystery. The writing is comfortably and smoothly paced, and the mystery itself is well-executed with strategically placed clues to sustain my interest. I relished my time on Brigid’s Island where there is a fluent African Grey parrot, a beautiful beach house, and a Shakespearean scholar, turned sleuth. All in all, Once Upon a Seaside Murder is a great read with a really solid ending. Maggie Blackburn has left plenty of room for further character development and I will certainly be returning to see what Summer is getting herself into next in the third Beach Reads Mystery. Very highly recommended. I received a complimentary copy of this novel at my request from Crooked Lane Books via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kristina

    Summer Merriweather is still reeling from the loss of her mother. It is particularly difficult as Christmas nears. Beach Reads is hosting a cozy mystery author panel discussion, but someone is not happy that Mimi Sinclair, author of Mermaid Point Murder, is coming to town. Threats and warnings proceed the kidnapping of the author. Summer works to discover who has taken Mimi and where she could be kept. If Summer cannot figure it out in time, she could lose something precious to her. Once Upon a Summer Merriweather is still reeling from the loss of her mother. It is particularly difficult as Christmas nears. Beach Reads is hosting a cozy mystery author panel discussion, but someone is not happy that Mimi Sinclair, author of Mermaid Point Murder, is coming to town. Threats and warnings proceed the kidnapping of the author. Summer works to discover who has taken Mimi and where she could be kept. If Summer cannot figure it out in time, she could lose something precious to her. Once Upon a Seaside Murder by Maggie Blackburn is the 2nd A Beach Reads Mystery. It can be read as a standalone if you have not had a chance to indulge in Little Bookshop of Murder. I found Once Upon a Seaside Murder a Debbie downer. There is a lot of sadness, anxiousness, and stress in the story. Summer has several issues that affect her personality. She is grieving the loss of her mother, she zones out, and she is terrified of spiders. We get to hear in detail about her thoughts and feelings. These issues, of course, affect her attitude. I just do not find Summer appealing as a protagonist. Summer is learning about her birth father and family. We get to meet her newly found half-siblings as well as a grandmother plus she learns about a host of other relatives. The whodunit ties to a murder that occurred at Mermaid Point over thirty years ago. There are threats, break ins, and a kidnapping. There was one thing done that was a little extreme for a cozy mystery. The mystery is resolved in the end with complete explanation. I wish Once Upon a Seaside Murder had been lighter and shorter. I hope going forward that Summer starts to move past her grief and fears. There are some good characters in the story such as Glads, Marilyn, Mia, and Aunt Agatha. They are fun and engaging. Let us not forget Mr. Darcy. I also enjoyed the descriptions of the bookstore. I could get lost for hours inside Beach Reads. Once Upon a Seaside Murder takes readers to Brigid’s Island, North Carolina where mayhem ensues when a cozy mystery author is kidnapped, and old secrets come to light.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Karen Hollins-Stallman

    "Once Upon a Seaside Murder " is the 2nd instalment in the A Beach Reads Mystery series by Maggie Blackburn. As the holidays approach, bookstore owner Summer Merriwether learns a dark secret … I have grown to like Summer throughout this instalment and immensely enjoyed the story. We have a few mysteries to solve the 35yr old cold case, and author Mimi Sinclair’s kidnapping (whose Mermaid Point Murder mystery is loosely based on the murder) to keep us engrossed in the mystery of whodunnit. Plus Su "Once Upon a Seaside Murder " is the 2nd instalment in the A Beach Reads Mystery series by Maggie Blackburn. As the holidays approach, bookstore owner Summer Merriwether learns a dark secret … I have grown to like Summer throughout this instalment and immensely enjoyed the story. We have a few mysteries to solve the 35yr old cold case, and author Mimi Sinclair’s kidnapping (whose Mermaid Point Murder mystery is loosely based on the murder) to keep us engrossed in the mystery of whodunnit. Plus Summer is dealing with her newly discovered relationship with her half-brother, Sam, and half-sister, Fatima and how the Bellamy family ties into the murder. The mystery is interesting and I loved the characters of Agatha, Piper, Mia plus who can forget Mr. Darcy. It was a quick easy read and I am looking forward to the next instalment as I’m anxious to see what happens with Summer and Cash’s relationship. I recommend this book to all my cozy lover friends. I requested and received an advance reader copy of this book from Crooked Lane Books and Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rekha Rao

    What a fantastic addition to the series! The mystery behind the cold case and a missing person kept me guessing till the end. Summer is a character you would love to hate, or is it hate to love? Either way, Summer is, no doubt, a favorite character - her stubbornness is what makes her different from all the other stories I have read so far. I could not guess the identity of the perp nor did the twist (halfway through the story) coming. I absolutely enjoyed every bit of Once Upon a Seaside Murder What a fantastic addition to the series! The mystery behind the cold case and a missing person kept me guessing till the end. Summer is a character you would love to hate, or is it hate to love? Either way, Summer is, no doubt, a favorite character - her stubbornness is what makes her different from all the other stories I have read so far. I could not guess the identity of the perp nor did the twist (halfway through the story) coming. I absolutely enjoyed every bit of Once Upon a Seaside Murder and I definitely recommend it to cozy lovers. Also, if you are looking for a cozy Christmas Mystery, you have to give this book a read!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    Once Upon a Seaside Murder Earns Mystery Boxes…Engaging & Clever! It’s the first Christmas since Summer Merriweather‘s mother passed away, and she wonders how she will make it through. Her mother loved Christmas and didn’t believe the secular manner in which many celebrate contradicted her pagan values. However, having only memories and the scent of patchouli that permeated the bookshop, Beach Reads, she inherited will make it different. While prepping for the bookshop’s upcoming cozy mystery au Once Upon a Seaside Murder Earns Mystery Boxes…Engaging & Clever! It’s the first Christmas since Summer Merriweather‘s mother passed away, and she wonders how she will make it through. Her mother loved Christmas and didn’t believe the secular manner in which many celebrate contradicted her pagan values. However, having only memories and the scent of patchouli that permeated the bookshop, Beach Reads, she inherited will make it different. While prepping for the bookshop’s upcoming cozy mystery author event, an album was found of old news clippings about an unsolved murder from the late 80s. Odd that her mother would have kept such items, odder still is the connection to Summer’s newly revealed father, Omar Bellamy, since the cold case victim worked for the Bellamy family, and oddest is the fact that one of the mystery writers invited to attend her bookshop event, wrote a book detailing the thirty-year-old crime. The clippings offer basic facts, but the book may be more insightful, possibly too insightful, since the author has received a threatening note warning her not to attend the event. It seems someone might not want the cold case revisited. Maggie Blackburn has followed up her first book in the Beach Reads Mystery series with another engaging story focusing on my favorite element, a local cold case. Summer Merriweather is still dealing with the death of her mother while making the effort to keep her mother’s pride and joy, the Beach Reads bookshop, afloat. The cozy mystery is loaded with drama incorporating familial connections and long-kept secrets in murder, threats, vandalism, robbery, and kidnapping— the only crime not showing up is tax evasion. I loved it…it all worked! The original investigation was Chief of Police Ben Singer’s first murder as a young cop so the lack of a result is a sore subject, and circumstances have forced Summer and her family and friends to rely on their amateur efforts which often stirs up more trouble. The story is quite compelling, enjoyably complex, challenging my inner detective as I couldn’t put it down. I had an inkling about a possible motive for the cold case murder and subsequent kidnapping, but the “Oh, my!” conclusion got me good. Maggie’s writing style is very entertaining with vivid description of the setting, characters, and the third-person narrative, and with added realism, life enters, too, with Summer’s serious spider phobia, the antics of a masked streaker, confronting the past, navigating the present, and designing a future. Bonus, too. You don’t have to be a vegan to enjoy the included recipes: Hildy’s Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies, Vegan Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes, and Vegan Pumpkin Bread! A great beach, backyard, or comfy chair read! Disclosure: I received an ARC from Crooked Lane thru NetGalley. My review is voluntary with honest insights and comments.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Dawn

    When an author, who wrote a book about a local murder, goes missing after a book event at Summer's bookstore, Summer and her friends are inclinded to figure out what is going on. They must solve the cold case in hopes of figuring out what happened to the missing author. Summer has other issues though. She is still grieving her mother's death and her newfound step brother and sister are in town with another new relative and Summer is trying to get to know them. Ben, the police chief, still is not When an author, who wrote a book about a local murder, goes missing after a book event at Summer's bookstore, Summer and her friends are inclinded to figure out what is going on. They must solve the cold case in hopes of figuring out what happened to the missing author. Summer has other issues though. She is still grieving her mother's death and her newfound step brother and sister are in town with another new relative and Summer is trying to get to know them. Ben, the police chief, still is not a fan of Summer's and does not welcome her interference. But what is Summer to do? Opinion This is quite the read. With short chapters, the book flies by. I was not able to guess who did it but there were definitely some well laid clues throughout the book. This is a great read for a cold autumn/winter day. Many thanks to Net Galley for providing me with an ARC of this book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Shawn

    I did enjoy this book more then the last. I will read the next in series and look forward to it to see what happens next.

  14. 4 out of 5

    marnie | once upon a time book reviews

    Tis is the season to be jolly, but for bookstore owner Summer Merriwether it is anything but when she discovers a deadly secret about her late mother. A secret someone will kill to keep…. Once Upon a Seaside Murder is the 2nd instalment in the Beach Read Mysteries and is a great read. In saying that, I do have to be honest upfront and say that I didn’t gel with the 1st book, Little Bookshop of Murder, but I did enjoy Maggie Blackburns style which is why I wanted to read this latest addition and I Tis is the season to be jolly, but for bookstore owner Summer Merriwether it is anything but when she discovers a deadly secret about her late mother. A secret someone will kill to keep…. Once Upon a Seaside Murder is the 2nd instalment in the Beach Read Mysteries and is a great read. In saying that, I do have to be honest upfront and say that I didn’t gel with the 1st book, Little Bookshop of Murder, but I did enjoy Maggie Blackburns style which is why I wanted to read this latest addition and I am so glad I did. I enjoyed Summer’s character more this time around and found her to be more personable. The duel storyline’s are well done and merge together well and its picturesque setting in Brigid’s Island in North Carolina, rounds out the characterisation of small town charm. All up, Once Upon a Seaside Murder is a very engaging read and I will be looking forward to the next instalment. Thank you to Maggie Blackburn, Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley for allowing me to read an advanced copy of Once Upon a Seaside Murder, which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. Where you can find me 😊 💻 Blog: bit.ly/3gR3io8 👩‍🏫 Facebook: bit.ly/3gVeC2B 🐤Twitter: bit.ly/3BQk2Dl 📷 Instagram: bit.ly/3wSv0Gj 📌 Pinterest: bit.ly/3vS2HGX 📚 Goodreads: bit.ly/3wQxUM3

  15. 5 out of 5

    Maria

    I really enjoyed the setting of this cozy; who doesn't love a bookshop on a small island? Setting aside, this mystery was definitely better than the first one, primarily because Summer wasn't nearly as obnoxious as in the first one. In the first one, she constantly talked about how she was smarter than all the customers at her bookshop because she is a Shakespeare scholar (and by default a terrible salesperson). Though it is mentioned in this one, I didn't feel like I was beaten over the head wi I really enjoyed the setting of this cozy; who doesn't love a bookshop on a small island? Setting aside, this mystery was definitely better than the first one, primarily because Summer wasn't nearly as obnoxious as in the first one. In the first one, she constantly talked about how she was smarter than all the customers at her bookshop because she is a Shakespeare scholar (and by default a terrible salesperson). Though it is mentioned in this one, I didn't feel like I was beaten over the head with it. The problem is that Summer just isn't likeable, which is a problem because we spend a lot of time dissecting how she feels about things. Then there's the addition of about a million characters which makes this difficult to follow. An improvement over the first but still not sure if I will continue with this series. I'm a much bigger fan of this author's other series. I received a copy from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Schultz

    This is second in the Beach Reads Mystery series ~ first is “Little Bookshop of Murder’. Story takes place on Brigid’s Island, NC during the Christmas season. Summer Merriweather is the owner of ‘Beach Reads’ a bookstore her inherited from her mother. She soon finds herself in a deep mystery regarding her father’s family. This was a tad different than my typical ‘feel good” cozy~ have to admit the cover had me concerned! I am sure I will read another of Ms. Blackburn stories but right now I still t This is second in the Beach Reads Mystery series ~ first is “Little Bookshop of Murder’. Story takes place on Brigid’s Island, NC during the Christmas season. Summer Merriweather is the owner of ‘Beach Reads’ a bookstore her inherited from her mother. She soon finds herself in a deep mystery regarding her father’s family. This was a tad different than my typical ‘feel good” cozy~ have to admit the cover had me concerned! I am sure I will read another of Ms. Blackburn stories but right now I still thinking about this one! Want to thank NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for this early release granted to me for my honest professional opinion. Publishing Release Date scheduled for October 12, 2021.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mint

    This holiday season is going to be like no other for Brigid's Island. Bookstore owner Summer Merriweather is hosting a cozy mystery author's panel at her store when one of the author's lives is threatened. What's more, this author based her book on a local unsolved murder that happened 35 years ago. Summer herself has a personal tie to the case, with strange connections between the murder victim and her biological family. Summer's personal connection to the case was a highlight of the book for m This holiday season is going to be like no other for Brigid's Island. Bookstore owner Summer Merriweather is hosting a cozy mystery author's panel at her store when one of the author's lives is threatened. What's more, this author based her book on a local unsolved murder that happened 35 years ago. Summer herself has a personal tie to the case, with strange connections between the murder victim and her biological family. Summer's personal connection to the case was a highlight of the book for me. It heightened the stakes of the mystery and added an extra layer of emotionality and reflectiveness to the book itself. The mystery itself was realistic and many of the featured characters came across as being quite genuine. None of them are perfect, including Summer herself. Be forewarned, this book can be a bit of a downer at times. There is a good amount of discussion about grief and about Summer's relationship with long-lost family members, so if those are topics you may be sensitive to, you may want to give this book a pass. There is also one scene in the book that I found to be heartbreaking, a word I don't usually associate with cozy mysteries. This book stands out from other cozies I've read in that it takes a more melancholic tone at times so it isn't going to be for everyone, but for me, I liked that it was different than the cozies I usually read. Thank you to Netgalley and Crooked Lane Books for providing me with an ARC. All opinions expressed in this review are my own. For more of my reviews, please visit:

  18. 4 out of 5

    Joy Whiteside

    This was an amazing read that captured me from the beginning and kept me reading till the end. I could not put it down no matter what I needed to do. It moves along at a great pace which made for an easy and enjoyable read. It has characters that are interesting and you want to know more about and you want to see them succeed no matter what they need to do. This is a book that needs to be read, there is no doubt about it. It needs to be on your TBR list.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    I am loving being back at Beach Reads with Summer and family/friends. This is a great story with some interesting twists and turns. I love the fact that Beach Reads is having author events. I always enjoy getting to know authors. If you have a chance to attend an event, I highly recommend going. These authors at this event are certainly an interesting group. I am enjoying the thought process and decisions that Summer is making. She certainly has a lot going on. Being a business owner can be chal I am loving being back at Beach Reads with Summer and family/friends. This is a great story with some interesting twists and turns. I love the fact that Beach Reads is having author events. I always enjoy getting to know authors. If you have a chance to attend an event, I highly recommend going. These authors at this event are certainly an interesting group. I am enjoying the thought process and decisions that Summer is making. She certainly has a lot going on. Being a business owner can be challenging. I love this series and can’t wait for book 3. I received an ARC of this book, but my opinion is my own.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    This is the second book in the Beach Reads mystery series by Maggie Blackburn and I enjoyed it as much as the first book. Summer Merriwether's bookstore, Beach Reads, is taking part of the local library's cozy mystery panel discussion. Summer learns that one of the authors on the panel based her book on an actual murder that happened 35 years prior that remains unsolved. She further finds out that her mother kept a scrapbook with articles about the case. She also finds out that her father's is c This is the second book in the Beach Reads mystery series by Maggie Blackburn and I enjoyed it as much as the first book. Summer Merriwether's bookstore, Beach Reads, is taking part of the local library's cozy mystery panel discussion. Summer learns that one of the authors on the panel based her book on an actual murder that happened 35 years prior that remains unsolved. She further finds out that her mother kept a scrapbook with articles about the case. She also finds out that her father's is connected to the crime. I love the family dynamics between Summer, Piper, Mia and Agatha, as well as Summer's mother's friends, Marilyn and Gladys. There is a lot of back story going on in this book and Summer learns a lot about her father's side of the family and more about her mother as a young woman. There is a lot of mourning/healing going on in this book, but overall, I think it was a great story. I think Ms. Blackburn wove the story together well and the ending was a surprise. One thing that bothered me was Summer feeling responsible for events that happened to the book's author as she was threatened even before she left her home. She made the decision to come to town anyway. Plus, Summer didn't decide who would be on the panel. I also had a tough time with Piper being so hard on Summer about her daughter Mia's issues relating to Hildy's death (from the first book). I cannot wait to read more in this series as I want to see if Summer can fix her friendship with Cash and to see what the future of Beach Reads holds. I like reading about the events the store holds and how Summer finds ways to make the store more profitable and stay open. Thank you NetGalley and Crooked Lane for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jan

    I really loved the first in series, but this one seemed more of a downer because of Summer drowning in grief for he recently murdered mother and some very disturbing facets of her newly discovered paternal family (that she never knew existed until recently. The sleuthing is rather good as are the interpersonal interactions among the myriad of characters. Still and all, it is a good read. I requested and received a free temporary ebook copy from Crooked Lane Books via NetGalley. Thank you!

  22. 4 out of 5

    David Berg

    I received a free advance review copy of this book and am voluntarily providing my honest review. This book has many twists and turns and keeps you guessing and turning pages. I enjoyed it and recommend it.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ash

    Okay. This book was much, much better than the first. There were still spelling errors, but nowhere near as bad as the first book. They didn’t use the wrong name for the aunt constantly. The main character was way less full of herself, and way less judgemental of everyone. It was an enjoyable and quick read. I was glad I gave it a chance. I liked the plot of this book better, it was really interesting. Thank you Netgalley, and Crooked Lane books for the opportunity to read this.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Cozy Cat Reviews

    This is one of my favorite new mystery series of 2021. I loved the first in series and this follow up was a delight to read from cover to cover. I love the setting, the charcters and the charming book store that is so valued by the community. Thank you to the publisher and to Net Galley. My review opinion is my own. This is the second in the" Beach Reads mystery series". The atmospheric setting is Brigid's Island, North Carolina at Christmas. The author has perfectly captured the holidays on the This is one of my favorite new mystery series of 2021. I loved the first in series and this follow up was a delight to read from cover to cover. I love the setting, the charcters and the charming book store that is so valued by the community. Thank you to the publisher and to Net Galley. My review opinion is my own. This is the second in the" Beach Reads mystery series". The atmospheric setting is Brigid's Island, North Carolina at Christmas. The author has perfectly captured the holidays on the island and at the beach side bookstore. Summer is settleting in and getting to know her long lost family. She has revitalized the book store much to the delight of the community. When the local library host a cozy mystery author the mystery begins with a murder from 30 years and and then a missing person case in present day captures Summer's investigative nature. I loved this book. The charcters are done to perfection, the setting is wonderful and I love the sleuth. The writing is very smart and captures the reader from page one. I look forward to the next in series. A 5 star read.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Bobbie Kirkland

    Through NetGalley, I received a free copy of ONCE UPON A SEASIDE MURDER (Book 2 of the Beach Reads Mysteries), by Maggie Blackburn, in exchange for an honest review. Summer Merriwether and the crew at the Beach Reads bookshop have scheduled an event to provide some additional revenue during the tourist off-season. The Cozy Christmas event features three cozy mystery authors who will be present and promoting their books. The event is successful. However, one of the authors has recently written a Through NetGalley, I received a free copy of ONCE UPON A SEASIDE MURDER (Book 2 of the Beach Reads Mysteries), by Maggie Blackburn, in exchange for an honest review. Summer Merriwether and the crew at the Beach Reads bookshop have scheduled an event to provide some additional revenue during the tourist off-season. The Cozy Christmas event features three cozy mystery authors who will be present and promoting their books. The event is successful. However, one of the authors has recently written a book fictionalizing a local unsolved murder. At the same time, Summer finds a box of news clippings about the same murder left by her mother. When Summer and the bookstore crew finds out this author has been receiving threats, they decide to solve the old murder to protect the cozy writer. This is a difficult endeavor for Summer because looking into the cold case could put a chill on her budding relationship with her newly-discovered family. I liked this book and the first in the series. I recommend this book to fans of cozy mysteries featuring murder, kidnapping, family, secrets, book signings, and estrangement. #OnceUponaSeasideMurder #NetGalley

  26. 5 out of 5

    Anna Fox

    Nice visit to the seaside bookstore. We learn more about Summer's mother and father. as Summer works to figure out who the killer is and why. I find the characters enjoyable. Thank you to the author, publisher and NetGalley for my eARC in exchange for an honest review. Nice visit to the seaside bookstore. We learn more about Summer's mother and father. as Summer works to figure out who the killer is and why. I find the characters enjoyable. Thank you to the author, publisher and NetGalley for my eARC in exchange for an honest review.

  27. 4 out of 5

    April

    This second Beach Reads Mystery is a little hard to categorize. In the first, Summer comes home for her Mom’s funeral, stays to take care of her Mom’s bookstore and discovers her Mom was murdered. The second book opens six months following the first during December. Summer is still barely functioning. It’s not really a good place to make decisions from and that does influence some of the things that happen in the book. The Mermaid Pie Book Club and the library have organized a cozy mystery author This second Beach Reads Mystery is a little hard to categorize. In the first, Summer comes home for her Mom’s funeral, stays to take care of her Mom’s bookstore and discovers her Mom was murdered. The second book opens six months following the first during December. Summer is still barely functioning. It’s not really a good place to make decisions from and that does influence some of the things that happen in the book. The Mermaid Pie Book Club and the library have organized a cozy mystery author event on Brigid’s Island. One of the author’s wrote a book that starts from the kernel of a murder that occurred on the island 30 years ago. The author goes missing. It was a little hard for me to follow the timeline of how long the author was missing because of all the events that occur. Summer’s Mom was interested in the murder and has a file. As the story unfolds secrets are revealed. Not everyone is happy about it. There are lots of emotional ups and downs in this book. Summer is struggling to deal with the past, present and what her future may be. I feel tugged in several directions. The way the story wraps up is good. This isn’t a happy cozy mystery. At the end my feelings are mixed about all that was revealed. The villains are caught but I felt like there was no real happiness attained. Maybe that is too like real life for me right now. This is a good mystery with a number of twists. See what you think. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to review this book prior to publication.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    This is the 2nd installment in the Beach Reads mystery series. Summer Meriweather always loved Christmas but this is the first Christmas without her Mother Hildy. As she is getting ready to host a book event at her store right before the holiday she is with three authors one of which is loosely based on a murder on Brigid Island over 30 years ago. She also learns that her Mother Hildy was following this case and it is also connected to her Father’s family the Bellamy’s. The author who wrote the This is the 2nd installment in the Beach Reads mystery series. Summer Meriweather always loved Christmas but this is the first Christmas without her Mother Hildy. As she is getting ready to host a book event at her store right before the holiday she is with three authors one of which is loosely based on a murder on Brigid Island over 30 years ago. She also learns that her Mother Hildy was following this case and it is also connected to her Father’s family the Bellamy’s. The author who wrote the mystery based on the murder on Mermaid Point received threats before she arrived so Summer decides to have her stay with her and two times someone broke into her house. On the day of the event, Summer’s half siblings come along with her Grandmother who she has never met. Her Grandmother faints at the event when she sees the book about the murder. The chief of police Ben is also the father of Cash who she left at the altar many years ago and although they have had a rocky relationship he is very concerned for Summer and is also troubled by the cold case of the murder as this was his first murder case. Summer’s friends rally around her when it appears the author Mimi has been kidnapped and demand a ransom of Summer selling the bookstore. Summer does not want to sell but she does not want the woman’s blood on her hands. She needs Cash’s help as he is an attorney and it appears they might have some reconciliation in the future. This was a story that kept me engaged the entire time and was very exciting and the ending was fantastic. I really enjoyed it and look forward to the next in the series.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tara Farbstein

    Once Upon a Seaside Murder is the 2nd book in the Beach Reads Cozy Mystery series. Summer Merriweather has returned to quiet Brigid's Island, NC, and is hosting a Christmas Cozy Mystery author event at her bookstore (owned for many years by her mother). When one of the authors goes missing, the mystery of a murder on the island thirty-five years ago is reopened. Summer puts her sleuthing skills to the test to figure out where this missing author is, figure out why her late mother seemed very int Once Upon a Seaside Murder is the 2nd book in the Beach Reads Cozy Mystery series. Summer Merriweather has returned to quiet Brigid's Island, NC, and is hosting a Christmas Cozy Mystery author event at her bookstore (owned for many years by her mother). When one of the authors goes missing, the mystery of a murder on the island thirty-five years ago is reopened. Summer puts her sleuthing skills to the test to figure out where this missing author is, figure out why her late mother seemed very interested in the old murder, and solve the old mystery. This is the first book I've read in the Beach Reads series. I enjoyed the characters including Summer and her cousin Piper, niece Mia, and Aunt Agatha. The rekindled possible relationship with Cash was also well done. The mystery itself was a good one, also.. I look forward to reading the next installment. Thank you to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for an advance copy of this book. All opinions are mine.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tracy Wood

    It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas and Beach Reads is jam packed with customers looking for the perfect gift. New owner Summer Merriweather is amazed at how busy it is and it makes her realise just how much of herself her late mom had poured into the small store. With a cozy crime author's panel convening in the store just a few days before Christmas one of the writers is already causing controversy. Mimi Sinclair has written a mystery based around an unsolved killing on Brigid's Island It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas and Beach Reads is jam packed with customers looking for the perfect gift. New owner Summer Merriweather is amazed at how busy it is and it makes her realise just how much of herself her late mom had poured into the small store. With a cozy crime author's panel convening in the store just a few days before Christmas one of the writers is already causing controversy. Mimi Sinclair has written a mystery based around an unsolved killing on Brigid's Island over three decades earlier and Summer is amazed to find she's sharing her home with a woman who carries a gun! Hildy hadn't been a crime buff but to Summer's surprise had kept clippings and articles about the murder for thirty-five years which now belong to her. With her newly discovered family seemingly involved in the historical investigation Summer knows she has to find out what happened then which has resulted in her own safety being in jeopardy now. In the second of the Beach Reads mystery series almost six months has passed and Summer is still grieving the death of her mother while on sabbatical from her university job. She is living in her childhood home, running her Mom's bookstore and she trying to work out what to do next with her life. The book concentrates more on things just given a mention in book one as well as Summer's introduction to her dad's side of the family all of which I really enjoyed. I was able to read an advanced copy of this book thanks to NetGalley and the publishers but the opinions expressed are my own. I am loving this new series and look forward to reading more about Summer and her family really soon.

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