OFF THE BOOKS by Lucy Arlington

OffTheBooks
Series: Novel Idea, #5
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: February 2, 2016
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★★


Literary agent and amateur sleuth Lila Wilkins is back to seal the deal in the New York Times bestselling Novel Idea Mystery series.

Lila is showcasing some of her biggest authors at a bridal expo. But when the joyous event turns deadly, she’ll have to figure out who penned the perfect crime…

The Novel Idea Literary Agency has planned a wedding-themed week for Inspiration Valley, celebrating not only North Carolina’s best vendors but also some of the agency’s most popular bridal books. The fact that Lila can use the event to plan her own impending nuptials is just the icing on the cake.

But wedding bells turn to warning bells when Lila finds a dead man facedown in the frosting. Soon it’s discovered that the victim was connected to several Novel Idea authors, all of whom quickly become suspects in the case. It’s up to Lila and her fellow agents to find the real killer before one of their clients winds up scribbling stories from behind bars…


Inspiration Valley is one of my favorite fictional places to visit, and I was thrilled to get back there in OFF THE BOOKS, #5 in the Novel Idea series. Lila Wilkins is a down-to-earth, relatable protagonist/amateur sleuth, and she’s lucky to have a book nerd’s dream job — literary agent.

Poor Lila, unfortunately, is known around town as the “murder magnet” for her uncanny ability to stumble across murder victims. Lila finds the latest victim during the craziness of a bridal expo, hosted by the literary agency she works for.

I enjoyed OFF THE BOOKS very much. This was a difficult mystery to figure out, which makes it more fun. The whodunit was as surprising as the why!

Author Susan Furlong took over the writing duties of Novel Idea starting with book four, and I think she’s done a fantastic job with this smart and entertaining series.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: PLAYED BY THE BOOK by Lucy Arlington

PlayedByTheBook
Series: Novel Idea, #4
Publisher: Berkley
Released: February 3, 2015
Source: A paperback purchase
Rating: ★★★★


The New York Times bestselling Novel Idea Mysteries make their return with Lila Wilkins, literary agent and “murder magnet,” planning a book signing garden party. But things aren’t coming up roses when she has to weed out a dangerous killer…

The owner of the Novel Idea Literary Agency is thrilled when former local boy and popular television show host Damian York returns to Inspiration Valley, North Carolina, to launch his new gardening book. But Lila is less than excited about the hubbub when she sees her mounting to-do list. Between planning York’s gala and sprucing up her yard for another event, she’s spread too thin—especially after she finds a skull buried in her flowerbeds.

As Lila’s macabre discovery leads to other secrets hidden in Inspiration Valley’s past, a member of the local garden club is found slumped over her prize roses—murdered. Now it’s up to Lila to dig through old mysteries and new clues to unearth a murderer before someone else is found pushing up daisies…


Lila the literary agent is helping to launch a new client’s book with a garden party extravaganza in Inspiration Valley. Fun, except when Lila digs up a skeleton in her own garden, then a member of the town’s garden club is murdered. There’s a reason she’s known as the agency’s Nancy Drew, because mysteries always find her. It was fun trying to figure out how the skeleton tied in with the modern day murder — not what I was expecting! Okay, the one thing I didn’t like was the strained relationship between Lila and her boyfriend, Sean. I wasn’t happy with their childish behavior. Grrr. Overall, PLAYED BY THE BOOK was an enjoyable cozy and an intriguing continuation of one of my favorite mystery series. 4 stars!

Guest Blogger: Lucy Arlington

BooksCooksCrooks
One of my favorite kinds of books to read is a cookbook. Reading a recipe allows my mind to envision the dish it will produce, almost taste and smell it too! I love to see the photographs and can picture myself making whatever delectable cake or casserole or cookie is depicted. To me, reading a cookbook allows me to dream about food without consuming the calories!

In light of that, it seems like a foregone conclusion that I would give my character, Lila Wilkins, a murder to solve that involves cookbooks, chefs, and food. My love of food is certainly evident Lila’s personality. She loves to cook and is an avid fan of the celebrity chefs she sees on television.

In “Books, Cooks, and Crooks,” Lila gets to meet some of those chefs. They are clients of A Novel Idea Literary Agency, and have come to Inspiration Valley for a food festival. Lila and the agency have organized a celebrity chef event, cooking demonstrations, cookbook giveaways, and even a culinary writing contest.

But before the festival gets underway, one of the chefs dies in a kitchen explosion. When it becomes evident that this was a murder, Lila is determined to help her boyfriend, Police Officer Sean Griffiths, figure out which of the agency’s clients is a killer.

“Books, Cooks, and Crooks” is the third mystery in the Novel Idea Mystery series, set in the idyllic town of Inspiration Valley in the foothills of North Carolina. Other books in the series are “Buried in a Book” and “Every Trick in the Book.”

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository | Books-A-Million

About the Author:

Lucy Arlington is the nom de plume for the writing team of Sylvia May and Ellery Adams. As an amalgamated personality, she is an avid reader, cook, and gardener. If she had her way, she’d divide her time between preparing delectables in her kitchen, traveling the globe on her scooter, and sitting in a comfortable chair with a cup of coffee and a paperback until her legs cramped. Lucy is devoted to her husband and children – especially when they ply her with chocolate and gift cards to bookstores. Lucy’s third novel, “Books, Cooks, and Crooks” has just been released. Her first two novels in the Novel Idea Mystery Series, “Buried in a Book” and “Every Trick in the Book” were both New York Times Bestsellers. Visit her website at www.lucyarlington.com.

Sylvia May is the author of “The Unraveling of Abby Settel” and the soon to be released “Breathing Space.” Visit her website at www.sylviamay.com.

Ellery Adams is the author of Books By the Bay Mysteries and the Charmed Pie Shoppe Mysteries and the forthcoming Book Retreat Mysteries. Visit her website at www.elleryadamsmysteries.com.