Book Review: “One for the Books,” by Jenn McKinlay

This is going to be a fairly short review, because One for the Books is book 11 in the Library Lover’s Series. It is absolutely a series that needs to be read in order, so definitely go check out book 1, Books Can Be Deceiving, if you think you will like this series!

From the Publisher:

Love is in the air in Briar Creek as library director Lindsey Norris and boat captain Mike (Sully) Sullivan are finally tying the knot. The entire town is excited for the happy day, and Lindsey and Sully’s plan for a small wedding evaporates as more and more people insist upon attending the event of the year.

When Lindsey and her crafternoon pals head out to Bell Island to see if it can accommodate the ever-expanding guest list, they are horrified to discover a body washed up on the rocky shore. Even worse, Lindsey recognizes the man as the justice of the peace who was supposed to officiate her wedding ceremony. When it becomes clear he was murdered, Lindsey can’t help but wonder if it had to do with the wedding. Now she has to book it to solve the mystery before it ends her happily ever after before it’s even begun….

Overall, this series is about a librarian who moves from the city to a small New England coastal town to run their small town library. Along the way, she makes friendships with a close knit group of women who craft at the library, adopts an adorable dog, and falls in love. Oh, and there is *occasionally* a murder in town that she can’t help but look into. There is great book references thrown in and lots of seaside trips.

What I Loved:

  • The small town charm. Lindsey accidentally sends out the wrong Save the Dates and invites the whole town instead of the 20-30 people she wanted, and every single person is coming. This reminds me so much of my own hometown, and of my current wedding planning / guest list horrors. I love how McKinlay portrays this small community of people, all who look out for each other and support each others’ businesses. Throughout the series, this is shown so well.
  • (Related) Seaside Community. Briar Creek is a coastal fishing community in New England, and all of my favorite scenes in the Library Lover’s Mystery series happen on the water and in the archipelago. One for the Books is no exception, since Lindsay’s wedding and the murder happen on one of the islands only accessible by boat, and a lot of the “action” occurs out on the water. This again feels very familiar to me – the beauty of the bay even during the frigid winter months, trying to warm up your hands while steering a boat.
  • Lindsay and Sully. For those of you who haven’t read the series, this is a bit of a spoiler. However, the love that has blossomed between these two was a long time coming, and I love that they finally get the wedding they deserve. It was worth waiting eleven books.

What Didn’t Work As Well:

  • The Murder & Victim. Honestly, the murder itself was fun despite being easy to solve, but the victim Steven is so oddly characterized it is hard to believe. Steven is beloved and a mainstay in the community, but is also apparently obsessive to the point of being conniving behind closed doors. However, the people who characterize him as wonderful have know him their whole lives. It just doesn’t add up. The personality twist was added, I believe, to create red herrings for the murder mystery, but it felt awkward.
  • The Lack of Crafternooner Scenes. For those who haven’t read the series, the Library Lover’s Mystery series is amazingly rich with female friendships and bonds. They do crafts and talk about books and the town, and sometimes help solve murders. One for the Books doesn’t have nearly enough of those types of scenes, instead focusing more on the wedding planning and murder interviews. Normally I dislike a lot of fluff in cozies, but the crafternoon group in this series makes these books better.


I love this series so much, and this installation was no exception. Wonderful things happened to the main characters, and the murder was solid. I cannot recommend this to anyone who hasn’t read the first couple of books, since there is a major continuity necessity in this series, but cannot recommend the series as a whole enough to anyone who loves cozies, libraries, and seaside towns. This gets four waves from me! If you start the series now, you can read this book in the winter, which is timely. Pick up One for the Books here, and pick up the first book, Books Can Be Deceiving, here!


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