Monday, February 15, 2016

By Book or by Crook / Booked for Trouble

By Book or by Crook and Booked for Trouble are the first and second books in the Lighthouse Library Mystery series by Eva Gates. In the series, Lucy has recently abandoned her socialite life in Boston to work and live in a small, seaside library housed in an old lighthouse.

(picture taken from Goodreads)

Conclusion: This is what's called a "cozy mystery," and it lives up to its name. It's cute and fun and safe. I enjoy reading these when I need to just relax. It's more like a riddle than a complicated murder case. As for this one specifically, what a cute idea! A library in a lighthouse with a comfortable little apartment upstairs? Gates knows what she's doing, 'cause I'm definitely reading the second one when it comes out. I like Lucy's character pretty well, although I got tired of the "I'm so worried about what I'm eating and oh, look at my perfectly beautiful cousin" side comments from time to time. Luckily, that wasn't a large part of her thoughts. I can't decide how I feel about Bertie--there's nothing that really stands out about her. Charlene and Ronald are fun, fairly well-rounded characters for this kind of book, though. Thomas is a good character but kind of annoying with his fake accent, although I guess that's intentional. The love interests and the quizzical little mystery are the real fun in this story. Connor and Butch are both sweet and total opposites. As the town mayor, Connor is a sweet-talking, book-learned man with the advantage of a previous friendship/young love with Lucy. Butch is a big, muscly bear of a man with a sweet natural temperament. He has a boost from his connection to Lucy's cousin, Josie, through his brother, but might still be at a disadvantage since he is a cop (and therefore at odds with Lucy while she is suspected of the crimes committed in this story). I have a suspicion that Lucy will end up with Connor, but in order to avoid anger or disappointment, Butch will need to find someone else soon. Perhaps the book group Lucy is starting will play into that, bringing new characters to the forefront of the series. I look forward to reading the second book and seeing where Gates's story goes!

(picture taken from Goodreads)

Conclusion: I enjoyed the break from Lucy's self-evaluation in this one. She seemed much more comfortable and confident in her position than she was in the first. This is a good, natural progression for that character at this point, so Gates is doing well there. I still find Thomas's character annoying. To be honest, I guessed who the murderer was early on and then just kind of set it aside in case something else came to light. I think Gates's signature with this series is choosing murderers that everyone pretty much dismisses until the end when they suddenly attack someone. That's what happens in the first two, at least. The sweet romances that Gates built into the first book fell into the background a little in this one, but I suspect it will pick-up again in the third. I still think Connor has the advantage there, without the conflict of interest where Lucy is always being investigated by Butch, but Gates could turn it around if she wants. The storyline with Lucy's mother turned out better than I expected. Everything was kind of disconnected initially, but bringing in a little more sincerity there was key, and her history with the other characters really filled out her character. I also liked the addition of the Gray Woman. She fleshed things out a bit and had a perfect level of quirkiness for this book.

Overall a fun beginning for this series! I'm eagerly awaiting the third one, which comes out in April, I think. Do you all like cozy mysteries? What do you look for in a mystery series?


  1. These sound really cute! I sometimes like cozy mysteries -- I prefer them to gruesome ones, but I like best the sort that fall in between. Not too detailed in its horrificness, but not too tame either.

    1. They are really cute! They are very tame, though. I tend to read things like this instead of "beach reads," you know, when I've been reading a lot of unhappy books and need a break. Gates brings Austen into the first book, too--win win!