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In need of a good adventure, Delaney Nichols takes the leap and moves to Edinburgh, Scotland to start a job at The Cracked Spine. She doesn't know much about what she's gotten herself into, other than that the work sounds exciting, and that her new boss, Edwin MacAlister, has given her the opportunity of a lifetime. Edwin has promised that she'll be working with "a desk th In need of a good adventure, Delaney Nichols takes the leap and moves to Edinburgh, Scotland to start a job at The Cracked Spine. She doesn't know much about what she's gotten herself into, other than that the work sounds exciting, and that her new boss, Edwin MacAlister, has given her the opportunity of a lifetime. Edwin has promised that she'll be working with "a desk that has seen the likes of kings and queens, paupers and princes," and Delaney can't wait to get started. When she arrives, she meets her new Scottish family; also working at the Cracked Spine are Rosie, perpetually wrapped in scarves, and who always has tiny dog Hector in tow; Hamlet, a nineteen-year-old thespian with a colored past and bright future; and Edwin, who is just as enigmatic and mysterious as Delaney expected. An unexpected bonus is Tom the bartender from across the street, with his piercing eyes, and a rolling brogue -- and it doesn't hurt that he looks awfully good in a kilt. But before she can settle into her new life, a precious artifact -- a previously undiscovered First Folio of Shakespeare's plays -- goes missing, and Edwin's sister is murdered, seemingly in connection to the missing folio. Delaney decides to do some sleuthing of her own, to find out just what the real story is behind the priceless folio, and how it's connected to the tragic death, all without getting harmed herself.


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In need of a good adventure, Delaney Nichols takes the leap and moves to Edinburgh, Scotland to start a job at The Cracked Spine. She doesn't know much about what she's gotten herself into, other than that the work sounds exciting, and that her new boss, Edwin MacAlister, has given her the opportunity of a lifetime. Edwin has promised that she'll be working with "a desk th In need of a good adventure, Delaney Nichols takes the leap and moves to Edinburgh, Scotland to start a job at The Cracked Spine. She doesn't know much about what she's gotten herself into, other than that the work sounds exciting, and that her new boss, Edwin MacAlister, has given her the opportunity of a lifetime. Edwin has promised that she'll be working with "a desk that has seen the likes of kings and queens, paupers and princes," and Delaney can't wait to get started. When she arrives, she meets her new Scottish family; also working at the Cracked Spine are Rosie, perpetually wrapped in scarves, and who always has tiny dog Hector in tow; Hamlet, a nineteen-year-old thespian with a colored past and bright future; and Edwin, who is just as enigmatic and mysterious as Delaney expected. An unexpected bonus is Tom the bartender from across the street, with his piercing eyes, and a rolling brogue -- and it doesn't hurt that he looks awfully good in a kilt. But before she can settle into her new life, a precious artifact -- a previously undiscovered First Folio of Shakespeare's plays -- goes missing, and Edwin's sister is murdered, seemingly in connection to the missing folio. Delaney decides to do some sleuthing of her own, to find out just what the real story is behind the priceless folio, and how it's connected to the tragic death, all without getting harmed herself.

30 review for The Cracked Spine

  1. 4 out of 5

    Primrose Jess

    A mystery set in Edinburgh, a bucket list city for me, in a bookshop with a young American from Kansas as our sleuth. What could go wrong? For starters, it isn't easily lumped into the "cozy" mystery genre, in my opinion. It has a cute token small dog (every cozy mystery has some small animal involved), a batty older well meaning secondary woman, the benefactor characters for the main character, and its main character embarking on some sort of personal journey or quest. All of which are pretty A mystery set in Edinburgh, a bucket list city for me, in a bookshop with a young American from Kansas as our sleuth. What could go wrong? For starters, it isn't easily lumped into the "cozy" mystery genre, in my opinion. It has a cute token small dog (every cozy mystery has some small animal involved), a batty older well meaning secondary woman, the benefactor characters for the main character, and its main character embarking on some sort of personal journey or quest. All of which are pretty standard "cozy" mystery elements, from what I've read. I struggled though with understanding how the sleuth, Delaney Nichols, seemed to take it upon herself to try to solve a murder in a foreign country she knows very little about. She didn't solve mysteries in Kansas nor have any personal history as an amateur sleuth. So why now all of a sudden is she insinuating herself into the murder of her new boss's sister? It really really didn't logically follow for me and kind of ruined it. The bit where her boss belongs to a secret club that allows the purchase of priceless items was far fetched in how it was presented. I feel that a lot of the plot was far fetched in its presentation and didn't really meld together in a flowing storyline. To sum it up, I found this to be a "lurching story". It would pick up, slow down, pick up slow down, and then just get some odd component that left you wondering what is going on. And not in a good, keep'em guessing mystery sort of way. This one seemed to lack the finesse of a cozy mystery. So what genre of mystery do I categorize this one? I don't know. A trying to make it to cozy but ending up at fairly comfy? The author really had elements that would all be things I enjoy in a book. A lost Folio of Shakespeare could have really been explored a bit deeper, her work researching her boss's collection could have been explored a little deeper, and overall, perhaps not having so many secondary characters as "helpers" to Delaney could have made for a more cohesive storyline. It's a cute book, don't get me wrong. But not a favorite. Which is a blooming shame because I was really looking forward to a story with a mystery, a bookshop, and a setting in Scotland.

  2. 4 out of 5

    TL

    I received this via Goodreads First Reads Giveaway in exchange for an honest review. ---- --- A lovely cozy mystery that felt mismatched to me.... some of the motivations seemed odd/off to me and I never felt like I got to know any of the characters very well. We spend some time with them and I did love the idea of these people, but it felt like I was being kept at a distance. Delaney's motives for taking the job I understood but never bought completely, but who hasn't dreamed of running off (so to I received this via Goodreads First Reads Giveaway in exchange for an honest review. ---- --- A lovely cozy mystery that felt mismatched to me.... some of the motivations seemed odd/off to me and I never felt like I got to know any of the characters very well. We spend some time with them and I did love the idea of these people, but it felt like I was being kept at a distance. Delaney's motives for taking the job I understood but never bought completely, but who hasn't dreamed of running off (so to speak) to somewhere completely different for a new life from time to time?:) While the death of the one character was sad, I had trouble feeling anything for the circumstances. Many times, while I admired Delaney wanting to help her "Scottish family" (as she calls them), I wanted to shake her for going off on her own and investigating. I did love her "bookish voices" but it was never more elaborated on in light of the the other goings-on (understandable but still would have loved to know more about it). The pieces do come together in the end but it felt "too little, too late" for me... I wasn't bored and I did have some fun, but this won't be one I'll be re-visiting. I may read the second one when it comes out but it won't be top priority for me. I'm semi-new to the "cozy mystery" genre but I'm enjoying myself so far :) (Nidah is too blame :-P) Would recommend, it's a nice book to have a lazy day with. Happy reading! 2.5 to three stars

  3. 4 out of 5

    Susan Johnson

    Delaney Nicholas takes a job at the Cracked Spine Bookshop in Edinburgh after losing her job at a museum in Wichita, Kansas. She packs her bags and is on her way almost immediately. She has no plans or information but just the possibility of an exciting adventure. As with many cozy mysteries, believability often takes a back seat in the story. The cab driver at the airport befriends her and rents her a small cottage that local residents would give their eyeteeth for. Her fellow employees are ec Delaney Nicholas takes a job at the Cracked Spine Bookshop in Edinburgh after losing her job at a museum in Wichita, Kansas. She packs her bags and is on her way almost immediately. She has no plans or information but just the possibility of an exciting adventure. As with many cozy mysteries, believability often takes a back seat in the story. The cab driver at the airport befriends her and rents her a small cottage that local residents would give their eyeteeth for. Her fellow employees are eccentric, the characters on the book's pages speak to her and her boss is both very rich and a mystery. Almost immediately her bosses much younger sister is murdered and Delaney is hot on the trail. She is really pushy and slightly annoying but everyone seems to love her and puts her rudeness down to being an American. I mean who wouldn't be offended by questions about their love life when they first meet someone? Still it's a fun romp through Edinburgh and the other characters are more pleasant than Delaney. The author has this one annoying tick of writing "to" as tae and ken as "know" all the way through the book. We get it. The Scots have an accent to us but I think it should up in more than two words. Sigh.

  4. 5 out of 5

    LORI (Dollycas) CASWELL

    Dollycas’s Thoughts I am in awe of Delaney Nichols. She answers an unusual ad and within days is leaving Kansas behind and is off to Edinburgh, Scotland and The Cracked Spine. The Cracked Spine is an “humble book and rare manuscript shop”. Truly though it is an amazing place full of nooks, secret spaces, library ladders and books, so many wonderful books. Edwin MacAlister owns the place and the man responsible for hiring “Delaney from Kansas in America”. He also employs young Hamlet, an aspiring a Dollycas’s Thoughts I am in awe of Delaney Nichols. She answers an unusual ad and within days is leaving Kansas behind and is off to Edinburgh, Scotland and The Cracked Spine. The Cracked Spine is an “humble book and rare manuscript shop”. Truly though it is an amazing place full of nooks, secret spaces, library ladders and books, so many wonderful books. Edwin MacAlister owns the place and the man responsible for hiring “Delaney from Kansas in America”. He also employs young Hamlet, an aspiring actor with a troubled past, and Rosie, who takes her little dog everywhere she goes. We also meet Elias, the taxi driver, who picked up Delaney at the airport. He introduces her to his wife and they all quickly become friends. We also met Tom, a handsome bartender at a local pub. Before Edwin can even share all the plans he has for Delaney in her new position tragedy strikes. His sister, Jenny, is murdered and a previously undiscovered First Folio of Shakespeare’s Plays disappears. With a little help from her new friends Delaney finds herself traveling all over the city tracking down clues trying to find the folio and a killer. This is definitely something Delaney can’t write home about or she may be back in Kansas faster than she can click her heels together. I knew Paige Shelton was a fantastic storyteller from her Farmer’s Market Mysteries and Country Cooking School Mysteries so it is no surprise that I love, love, love, this story. Complete with the Scottish accents, words, and phrases these characters come alive in these pages. She also paints a clear picture of The Cracked Spine itself and the beautiful city with its castles, alleyway and stores and shops. I was laughing out loud as she fought to get used to the traffic and the cars “on-the-other-side-of-the-road thing”. The missing folio and the murder may or may not connected so the suspects were very widespread. Could she have been killed by someone she knew? Someone who had nothing to with The Cracked Spine? Or was it a collector that would do anything to obtain Shakespeare’s plays? Through Shelton’s writing I was able to completely escape to Scotland right along with Delaney and all the new people she meets. Delaney is a strong woman ready for an adventure and I am delighted to accompany her on her journey. What a impressive debut for this series! This story is a pure treasure!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    I'm not really a fan of cozies, and much less those written by Americans and set in Scotland and Ireland. It's a sales gimmick, because writers know American readers like books set in those places. This author decided to write a series set in Scotland, knowing next to nothing about the country. Then she made one trip there. As much as this sets this book up to be unsatisfactory, it was the plot and character development that did it in. The plot was flimsy and hard to follow. A wealthy antiquarian I'm not really a fan of cozies, and much less those written by Americans and set in Scotland and Ireland. It's a sales gimmick, because writers know American readers like books set in those places. This author decided to write a series set in Scotland, knowing next to nothing about the country. Then she made one trip there. As much as this sets this book up to be unsatisfactory, it was the plot and character development that did it in. The plot was flimsy and hard to follow. A wealthy antiquarian bookstore owner hires a young American from Kansas to work for him. Why? Scotland must have plenty of qualified people to do the work he needed. This book was published in 2016, 400 years since the death of Shakespeare, and the year the First Folio toured the US. This plot has the bookstore owner discovering a copy of the First Folio that disappears. Really? Then there's a murder. But the details of who the suspects are unconvincing, and the idea that this young woman from Kansas is investigating the disappearance of the folio and the murder is completely ludicrous. Because it's a cozy, there has to be a romance. A handsome man in a kilt is immediately smitten by the young American woman. Why? Nothing about her leads the reader to expect his infatuation. It's not as though American tourists and visitors are scarce on the ground. I raced through the second half of this book just to get done, and I won't be reading more of this series. With a plot this weakly constructed, and characters who are very flat, it didn't really matter that the author knows almost nothing about Scotland. She really doesn't know how to build a good story.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Chatting About

    Are you ready to be swept into an adventure abroad that will invigorate your imagination? Open this book and enter a far-away land with Delaney Nichols as she moves from Kansas to Scotland taking a job at The Cracked Spine--a rare book and manuscript shop located in Edinburgh. Welcomed by a friendly cab driver, Elias; then by two shop employees, Hamlet and Rosie, who's always accompanied by her cute Yorkie, Hector; Delaney's new life has begun. She has a quirky 'talent' that helps her when she's Are you ready to be swept into an adventure abroad that will invigorate your imagination? Open this book and enter a far-away land with Delaney Nichols as she moves from Kansas to Scotland taking a job at The Cracked Spine--a rare book and manuscript shop located in Edinburgh. Welcomed by a friendly cab driver, Elias; then by two shop employees, Hamlet and Rosie, who's always accompanied by her cute Yorkie, Hector; Delaney's new life has begun. She has a quirky 'talent' that helps her when she's around books. Her employer, Edwin MacAlister, is aristocratic, vastly wealthy, and quite mysterious. He plans to teach Delaney the process of his business of procuring and collecting valuables which she finds both intriguing and confusing. Edwin is part of a group whose dealings are very secretive. Shortly after Delaney's arrival in Scotland, Edwin's sister, Jenny, is found brutally murdered. Left in her keeping was a priceless first Folio of Shakespeare's work, and now it's missing. Many of Jenny's friends are shady characters. Edwin's circle acts suspicious of Jenny and her actions while the Folio was in her possession. Delaney doesn't know anyone all that well, but determinedly puts her trust in Elias and his wife, Aggie, and her co-workers, to help her assist Edwin track down his sister's killer and locate the rare Folio. As I read this story, I traveled to a foreign country, alongside Delaney, to work at a dream job surrounded by books. I found mystery and adventure, and warm, welcoming new friends. This story comes alive with Scottish accents that are not to difficult to understand. It slows the reading a little, but the story is so enchanting I wanted to read slower so I could savor all the small details. I received a complimentary ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Miranda Reads

    Oops, I did it again...aka here's another tierlist video ranking all my January Books. Now that you know where this one stands, check out the video to see the rest! The Written Review: I often say that we should only be judged on two things: if we’re kind, and if we read books.” Delaney made the change of a lifetime - she picked herself up from Kansas and plopped herself back down in Edinburgh, Scotland. She was hired, sight unseen, to work at the Cracked Spine - a rare Oops, I did it again...aka here's another tierlist video ranking all my January Books. Now that you know where this one stands, check out the video to see the rest! The Written Review: I often say that we should only be judged on two things: if we’re kind, and if we read books.” Delaney made the change of a lifetime - she picked herself up from Kansas and plopped herself back down in Edinburgh, Scotland. She was hired, sight unseen, to work at the Cracked Spine - a rare books shop and almost immediately the boss's sister died. And then a very rare book goes missing and the suspects keep piling up. Delaney will have to rely on her sleuthing skills to find out the murderer - before it's too late! Ehhhh... it was too perfect (and not in a good way). As with many cozy mysteries, we are thrown into many implausible situations and the believability comes into question right away. Her cabbie just so happens to have the hookup to the cutest Scottish cottage in all the land? What are the odds? (Oh wait, it's a cozy, so the odds are actually 100%). The guy she bumps into is super-duper hot but has a slightly murderous undertones (which makes her question his motives). There's a batty old woman who will say what she wants when she wants. There's a cute dog with a dignified name. Everyone is surprisingly unfazed by the murder after a chapter, etc, etc. This one was entertaining at times, it just seemed to rely too heavily on cliches and coincidences.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Meg

    Quite enjoyed the audio book of this first in series.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Becki

    I received a copy of The Cracked Spine from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. It took me less than two days to finish reading it on my Kindle, and I've reviewed it, in brief, on my blog. I'm hoping to make this review somewhat more thorough for the Goodreads crowd. This book bothered me for several reasons. I'm going to break this review down into sections to make it easier to read and engage with (for anyone who's interested). Why does Delany hear voices? Delaney (the protagonist of I received a copy of The Cracked Spine from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. It took me less than two days to finish reading it on my Kindle, and I've reviewed it, in brief, on my blog. I'm hoping to make this review somewhat more thorough for the Goodreads crowd. This book bothered me for several reasons. I'm going to break this review down into sections to make it easier to read and engage with (for anyone who's interested). Why does Delany hear voices? Delaney (the protagonist of the story) hears the voices of characters from the books that she's read. Unlike most of us (who might occasionally recall a line from a book or a movie), she hears them the way that a psychotic might hear voices. Except that it's more than that: These voices give her psychic power that enables her to find things which are lost. Alright: I can see how that might be relevant to finding the lost thing in the novel (a copy of Shakespeare's First Folio). Except that when she needs her voices the most, they fall silent, unable to help her to trace the missing item. This either makes the voices superfluous and unnecessary to the story (and a bit disturbing, let's face it), or it was a convenient way to make the story longer because the voices couldn't help her to find the Folio. The dialog gave me a headache. Literally and sincerely, reading this book left me with a headache due to my attempts to translate the author's attempt at Scottish/Scots accent into the dialog on the page. It was difficult to read and decipher and it took me probably an added hour of reading time just to get through this throughout the novel. Most readers are capable of using their imaginations to work out accents in stories such as this. It's annoying for many of us, and to my knowledge its absence doesn't bother the rest of us. Descriptions were irrelevant and excessive. Nothing about the descriptions of the inside of the Patisserie enhanced my reading experience at all. Nor did the repeated efforts the author made to impress upon the reader what it feels like to ride in a car driving on the "wrong" side of the road. The book could have been cut by at least a third if these additional descriptions hadn't been crammed in every which way, and I believe that third could have been replaced with more interesting story development. The end of the book felt rushed. When I glanced down at the % I'd read and realized that at 92%, we were just reaching the climax, I felt uncomfortable that things wouldn't wrap up all the way. While Shelton did manage to conclude the book without a cliffhanger, I felt let down that she didn't do more with the climax. It was to quick and too short. Not what I had hoped for from a mystery novel at all. To me, it seemed that she was just trying to get the book over with, and while I've come to expect this from some self-published books I've read, Shelton could have done better than this, as could her editor. Shelton included too much unnecessary information. At the very beginning, Rosie tells a story of witnessing a man being hit by a car. While this story comes to its conclusion in time, it seems entirely superfluous and unnecessary. Why include these details at all? They did nothing to enhance the story, and little to enhance the characters. On that note, I'd have liked the primary romance to come a bit sooner. I realize I'm reading a cozy mystery and not a romance novel, but most of these mysteries are written with women in mind and include some kind of romance. If you're going to include it, make sure that it's not rushed and that you've attended to it properly. I liked the love interest and would have liked to see more development between him and Delaney (though his character was well-developed in just a few words, proving that Shelton is capable of doing it the right way (in my not-so-humble opinion, of course). I will probably read the next book in this series because I liked the characters, but if that one doesn't pan out, I will probably abandon the author's work entirely. She has some things to work on if she wants to keep me as a reader.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Vicky Marie

    DNF at 50% Got halfway through before deciding not to continue. I thought some things-the premise, setting, mystery, secondary characters-were fine. My problem was Delaney and her infinite questions. Boy does she ask SO MANY QUESTIONS. Not just for info on the murder, but for everything. It was like every conversation she had with someone was more of an interrogation. It was this characteristic that was the basis for solving Jenny's murder. I prefer if the protagonist has an actual reason to take DNF at 50% Got halfway through before deciding not to continue. I thought some things-the premise, setting, mystery, secondary characters-were fine. My problem was Delaney and her infinite questions. Boy does she ask SO MANY QUESTIONS. Not just for info on the murder, but for everything. It was like every conversation she had with someone was more of an interrogation. It was this characteristic that was the basis for solving Jenny's murder. I prefer if the protagonist has an actual reason to take on investigating. Delaney's reason was that she was noisy. A great start to a series that unfortunately got ruined by its leading lady.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    3 ½ stars This was an intriguing start to this cozy mystery series. The main character aside from being so likable also has a (view spoiler)[possible superpower. Her superpower which she states might just be her imagination, is that books talk to her. But in fact her superpower/intuition worked as she solved the case, found the folio along with Harry the murderer. My eyes went to the drawers and then immediately to the one drawer that had a piece of paper sticking up and out of it. Without warni 3 ½ stars This was an intriguing start to this cozy mystery series. The main character aside from being so likable also has a (view spoiler)[possible superpower. Her superpower which she states might just be her imagination, is that books talk to her. But in fact her superpower/intuition worked as she solved the case, found the folio along with Harry the murderer. My eyes went to the drawers and then immediately to the one drawer that had a piece of paper sticking up and out of it. Without warning, the wave that had hit me in the bookshop came over me again, strong but even more fleeting this time. Either I was coming down with something or someone—or something—was trying to relay an important message. Is this how intuition worked when it had to push extra hard to get your attention? (hide spoiler)] I’ll be reading more in this series as the series wide mysteries are something that now I have to know more about. Cozies Reading Challenge

  12. 5 out of 5

    QNPoohBear

    Delaney Nichols from Kansas (in America) packs up everything and moves to Edinburgh, Scotland when she loses her museum job due to budget cuts. Delaney takes a job at a bookstore-not just any bookstore- but one with a desk that has seen kings and queens and paupers and princes! The adventure is greater than any she's ever had- unless you count adventures lost in the pages of books. Delaney is a reader. Not just any reader, a discerning reader who hears the voices of "bookish" people inside her h Delaney Nichols from Kansas (in America) packs up everything and moves to Edinburgh, Scotland when she loses her museum job due to budget cuts. Delaney takes a job at a bookstore-not just any bookstore- but one with a desk that has seen kings and queens and paupers and princes! The adventure is greater than any she's ever had- unless you count adventures lost in the pages of books. Delaney is a reader. Not just any reader, a discerning reader who hears the voices of "bookish" people inside her head. In Edinburgh, Delaney finds more than she bargained for in Edinburgh, from a kind, fatherly cab driver driving on the "wrong" side of the road (for us Yanks anyway) to The Crooked Spine. Her boss, Edwin MacAlister, is a collector of rare books, manuscripts, prints, maps and ephemera -right up Delaney's alley- and he is also the absent-minded professor type. Delaney loves the quaint shop and her new co-workers, Hamlet, a teenage thespian and Rosie, an older woman with an adorable pooch named Hector. When Edwin's sister Jenny is murdered, it throws the shop into a tailspin. Everyone knew Jenny and her drug problem, including Edwin's wealthy book collector friends. It's rumored Edwin left Jenny in possession of a rare Shakespeare First Folio but it seems to be missing and since the provenance is a bit murky, Edwin declines to tell the police about it. Delaney can't allow that priceless artifact to stay missing, but more importantly, when Hamlet becomes a suspect, Delaney can't allow any of her new family to get hurt. She must puzzle out the clues on her own to spare Edwin's feelings but somehow hint to the police how they should do their job. Is she up for the task? First, let me say how much I LOVE The Cracked Spine. I probably wouldn't be brave enough to move across the ocean to Edinburgh to work there, but it's my kind of place. I want to move in!! Obviously, I can see why Delaney jumped at the chance to work there, except the job ad was a bit vague and she never did find out what her duties were supposed to be. I just love the idea of being around all those rare items! The mystery was so intriguing, I couldn't put the book down. I read very late on a work night and picked the book up again when I came home the next day. I wasn't entirely surprised by who and why. The setting is amazing. I felt like I was right there in Edinburgh with Delaney, seeing and experiencing everything new and wonderful and strange for the first time. I fell in love with the architecture and history just as Delaney did. I loved the quirky characters in the story too but find this story is not quite cozy enough for me. I didn't like how the mystery centered around Jenny, a 50-something (former or habitual?) drug addict. That made it a little more gritty than I would have liked but the store is so charming, I'd love to read more mysteries set there if they center around the shop more than some random person Delaney has never met. My education and career path has been so similar to Delaney's and my heart broke the museum and for Delaney when her museum budget got cut, but everything happens for a reason and this job was meant to be. I was surprised, and initially skeptical, about Delaney's bookish voices, but the more I thought about it, the more amazing it sounded until I wished I had that gift. I certainly imagine how characters would think and act but it's not the same thing. It makes her quirky for sure but that's what makes her an appealing heroine. She does kind of lose points with me for doing everything by gut instinct and for investigating the mystery, almost to her peril. She is intelligent, more than most cozy mystery heroines and is good at logic and puzzles which lead her straight to the killer, of course. Everyone in Edinburgh seems so nice and friendly. I love Elias, the cab driver, though his wife Aggie is a bit too involved in Delaney's life like a mother. Elias and Aggie are warm and friendly and are so kind to Delaney. Edwin is a bit of a mystery. He's many things to many people. Edwin is absentminded, a bit naive and crazy rich. His friends are crazy rich too and no one seems to realize it, which makes Edwin appealing. He just is rich and that's it. He spends his money on his collections and that's enough to make me want to be his friend! I liked the aptly named Hamlet right away. I was surprised about his checkered past because he didn't seem like a juvenile delinquent. His story shows another side of Edwin that people don't often see, which is nice. I did not want Hamlet to be a murderer or a victim because I liked him so much. I wasn't crazy about Rosie. She's hard to read and could be a drama queen. I loved her little dog and poor Delaney needed to cuddle with Hector quite a bit. I hope he visits her after the events of the end of the novel. The final quirky character is Tom, the sexy bartender who looks good in a kilt. I didn't like the attraction at first sight plot device and Tom's backstory is told all at once making him less mysterious. He seems like a nice man and he says he's attracted to Delaney's outspokenness so I suppose I support the relationship. I will, of course, be reading book 1.5 and any others that follow, mainly to see what treasures Delaney unearths and to figure out Edwin's own unique cataloging system.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    I was eager to read The Cracked Spine as it is the start of a new cozy series by Paige Shelton. I enjoy the author's other series. I imagine many readers have wondered what it would be like to start a new life in a new area doing a job that intrigues them. In the Cracked Spine, we can go on an armchair adventure with Delaney without leaving home. After being downsized from her job in a Kansas museum, Delaney leaps at the opportunity of applying for a job at a book store in Edinburgh Scotland. She I was eager to read The Cracked Spine as it is the start of a new cozy series by Paige Shelton. I enjoy the author's other series. I imagine many readers have wondered what it would be like to start a new life in a new area doing a job that intrigues them. In the Cracked Spine, we can go on an armchair adventure with Delaney without leaving home. After being downsized from her job in a Kansas museum, Delaney leaps at the opportunity of applying for a job at a book store in Edinburgh Scotland. She is hired and soon starts her new life in Edinburgh. The driving on the other side of the road seems to be the major change for her brain to get use to. She learns new words and tries new food. She doesn't get time to adapt and settle into her new job as her employer's sister is murdered close to the time of her arrival. Delaney finds that many people are keeping secrets. She wants to find out who killed the sister and the reason for it. She puts herself in danger. By the end of the book, Delaney has established quite a new extensive family who I look forward to reading about in upcoming books. Cozy mysteries that develop a strong family system, seem to become a strong series. I had not figured out who the murderer was until the author chose to expose the person. So if you want to travel to Scotland and go on an adventure with Delaney, this book will take you there.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Dawn Michelle

    Oooooo, THIS is a going to be a good series!!!! SO many red herrings. SO many interesting characters. A charming pub owner who is devilishly handsome AND wear kilts!!! Yes please. ;-) AND it is a bookshop. In Scotland. Yes. Freaking. Please. I really like Delaney as a MC; she is fun and hilarious and has just enough small town in her to make you really like her. Kansas is not somewhere I'd pick to live [and am grateful that isn't where my parent's decided we all should live - though every time s Oooooo, THIS is a going to be a good series!!!! SO many red herrings. SO many interesting characters. A charming pub owner who is devilishly handsome AND wear kilts!!! Yes please. ;-) AND it is a bookshop. In Scotland. Yes. Freaking. Please. I really like Delaney as a MC; she is fun and hilarious and has just enough small town in her to make you really like her. Kansas is not somewhere I'd pick to live [and am grateful that isn't where my parent's decided we all should live - though every time she talks about the Kansas wheat fields, all I can hear is the John Denver song where he sings about growing up around the Kansas wheat fields] and I admire her spunk in picking up and moving to Scotland without knowing a soul [I did that when I was 23 - moved to NYC and I knew no one] for a job. So awesome. The narrator is very good in this as well; she does Scottish accents very well and it made listening to this book very enjoyable. I am really looking forward to book 2 in this series.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Ks Book Reviews

    A rare tome you’ll truly treasure! THE CRACKED SPINE is one of the most delightful mysteries I’ve read in 2015. I finished it on Dec. 31, and I can’t think of a better way to finish out the year. I was immediately enamored with the characters in this captivating tale. Protagonist, Delaney Nichols is one of my new cozy heroes. Along with her new “family” Edwin, Hamlet, Rosie, Tom, and more, I can’t remember tie better spent with fictional friends. Author Paige Shelton has brought to her new serie A rare tome you’ll truly treasure! THE CRACKED SPINE is one of the most delightful mysteries I’ve read in 2015. I finished it on Dec. 31, and I can’t think of a better way to finish out the year. I was immediately enamored with the characters in this captivating tale. Protagonist, Delaney Nichols is one of my new cozy heroes. Along with her new “family” Edwin, Hamlet, Rosie, Tom, and more, I can’t remember tie better spent with fictional friends. Author Paige Shelton has brought to her new series the same excellent writing that has enchanted readers of her Farmers’ Market, and Southern Cooking School mysteries, the same masterful skill at creating a plot that all readers look for in a mystery, and the same sense of fun. Rather you’re already a fan or a new reader of author Shelton, you are in for a real page turning treat with THE CRACKED SPINE!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)

    This was a little too serious to be a bonafide cozy mystery, and it was too slow moving. The lead character has an interesting ability. I would have liked the author to explore that more. I loved the view of modern-day Edinburgh and the intriguing secondary characters. Reviewed for Affaire de Coeur Magazine. http://affairedecoeur.com. This was a little too serious to be a bonafide cozy mystery, and it was too slow moving. The lead character has an interesting ability. I would have liked the author to explore that more. I loved the view of modern-day Edinburgh and the intriguing secondary characters. Reviewed for Affaire de Coeur Magazine. http://affairedecoeur.com.

  17. 4 out of 5

    meghann

    I was a bit disappointed in this one. It was a cozy mystery set in a bookshop in Scotland... How was there any way this could go wrong? Let me summarize. Delaney is that American. She's pushy and inconsiderate and is not put off by making others uncomfortable. Everyone in Scotland was too polite. I just wanted someone, anyone, to tell her to mind her own flippin' business. Speaking of minding one's business, why did Delaney feel the need to solve this murder? She'd been in Scotland for about 24 h I was a bit disappointed in this one. It was a cozy mystery set in a bookshop in Scotland... How was there any way this could go wrong? Let me summarize. Delaney is that American. She's pushy and inconsiderate and is not put off by making others uncomfortable. Everyone in Scotland was too polite. I just wanted someone, anyone, to tell her to mind her own flippin' business. Speaking of minding one's business, why did Delaney feel the need to solve this murder? She'd been in Scotland for about 24 hours when it happened. She did not know the victim, and she had only spent about 6 hours with the people who did. Almost immediately she starts interrogating them. She notices when this upsets them, but does she stop? Why would she? She has a job to do! Oh wait, she's not a detective. She just has no buy-in, and certainly nothing to justify inserting herself into these situations. Then she's dragging others into dangerous situations and jumping in when clearly it makes people uncomfortable. These people literally just lost someone they loved. They did not deserve to have Delaney unleashed on them on top of that. The other thing that made me literally can't was Delaney's superpower. She thinks up quotes from books that match various situations she is in, but somehow it's borderline paranormal. While most of us will match a song, movie or book quote to a situation, Delaney believes the characters from the book are talking to her. And she zones out when this happens, so she has to be careful so others don't discover her secret. But she tells every other person in this. Oh, and the voices in her head tell her where she left things. Supposedly they could tell her where to find things other people lost, but her powers went mysteriously silent in these situations. Meanwhile I'm just sitting here running through the DSM diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and ADD. It just felt like this book was not sure what it wanted to be, so it tried to be everything at once. I did enjoy the other characters in this book despite Delaney. I'm debating whether I'll read the next one once it comes out in paperback in the hopes that some of these issues are resolved. But this series may just not be for me.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

    As an American living in Edinburgh this book got a few things wrong or events that they make normal would almost 100% never happen....

  19. 5 out of 5

    Monie

    From the cover, I was expecting a typical cozy mystery with an amateur sleuth chasing down the clues and eventually solving the crime. What I got was an amateur sleuth finding pretty much only one clue, asking a few questions and miraculously solving the crime. Nothing really flowed right. I don't buy the motivation behind Delaney leaving the US for Scotland, the club Edwin is a part of seems like it should be a bigger part of the story but doesn't amount to much, Rosie witnessing an accident an From the cover, I was expecting a typical cozy mystery with an amateur sleuth chasing down the clues and eventually solving the crime. What I got was an amateur sleuth finding pretty much only one clue, asking a few questions and miraculously solving the crime. Nothing really flowed right. I don't buy the motivation behind Delaney leaving the US for Scotland, the club Edwin is a part of seems like it should be a bigger part of the story but doesn't amount to much, Rosie witnessing an accident and then ending up flirting with the victim doesn't tie into anything, Delaney hearing voices from the books around her is an interesting side plot but nothing is made of it and I could go on and on but it's all more of the same. I was hoping for a whole lot more from the book but at the end of it all I enjoyed the characters so much, I just might read the next book in the series. If it wasn't for side characters like Elias, Tom and even little Hector I wouldn't bother. I hope the storyline flows much better in the next book of the series. If the subplot isn't going to be fully flushed out, I hope Shelton leaves it out so it doesn't distract from what is enjoyable in the storyline. I recommend this to anyone who likes cozy mysteries with more emphasis on good characters rather than a believable plot.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

    *I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from Minotaur and Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions stated in this review are entirely my own.* A new series from a well established author, The Cracked Spine was a wonderful series debut filled with suspense, mystery, and laugh out loud moments. The entire premise of this story is entertaining: getting fired ad then answering an add to go work in a bookstore halfway around the world? That may sound crazy to some, but that’s *I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from Minotaur and Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions stated in this review are entirely my own.* A new series from a well established author, The Cracked Spine was a wonderful series debut filled with suspense, mystery, and laugh out loud moments. The entire premise of this story is entertaining: getting fired ad then answering an add to go work in a bookstore halfway around the world? That may sound crazy to some, but that’s exactly what the MC, Delaney did. Delaney was an excellent MC, she was strong when it called for it, but she also showed she was human. I loved the fact that she couldn’t understand everything that was being said when she first arrived because of the Scottish brogue. I think that often we forget that the US and UK both speak english, but some words and phrases are extremely different from one another. I also loved the rest of the characters, Hamlet, Rosie, Edwin, Elias, and Aggie. They were all wonderful and there are some questions the author plants about them in the book that are never answered. It really makes me want to read the next book! The mystery was very good. The ending took a turn that I honestly did not see coming. Honestly, the only bad thing about this book was the fact that it was slow. I felt that the entire book was simply hard to get into. It may have been suffering from first book syndrome, or it may have been my mood, however it was terribly slow at points and it couldn’t keep my attention at others. Overall this was a wonderful book. I honestly think that I think it was slow simply because of the mood I was in when I read this over the last week. However, because it was slow I deducted a star. On to the next book!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Pretty good mystery series about an American archivist who moves to Edinburgh to work in a very unusual bookstore. I'm having a bit of trouble suspending my disbelief at the amateur sleuth angle in this series and am concerned about spraining an eyeball from all the eye rolling I've been doing.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Carla Johnson-Hicks

    After reading book #3 in this series, I wanted to go back and read the first two to find out what I had missed. I am glad I did, as I enjoyed this story very much. Delaney Nichols has lost her job in Kansas, so applies for a job and gets it working in a rare bookstore in Edinburgh Scotland. Soon after arriving, her new boss's sister is killed. There is also a missing First Folio of Shakespeare's work. It seems these are probably connected and both her boss or a fellow employee are being question After reading book #3 in this series, I wanted to go back and read the first two to find out what I had missed. I am glad I did, as I enjoyed this story very much. Delaney Nichols has lost her job in Kansas, so applies for a job and gets it working in a rare bookstore in Edinburgh Scotland. Soon after arriving, her new boss's sister is killed. There is also a missing First Folio of Shakespeare's work. It seems these are probably connected and both her boss or a fellow employee are being questioned. Delaney is caught up in the mystery, and does a little sleuthing to find the killer and the missing folio. Having visited Scotland a year ago, I loved the references to places that I had been to and seen. The setting was interesting and well described. The characters were easy to connect with, especially Delaney. She is a great protagonist, smart, friendly and quick thinking, although she could be a bit nosy and pushy at times. There is also a handsome male who looks good in a kilt, that may turn out to be a love interest in future stories. The story is well written, the pace flowing well and the mystery tricky. I love when there are a lot of red herrings and twists so I can't figure out the culprit and this book fit the bill perfectly. This is a nice character driven story that I enjoyed. I listened to the audiobook of this story from Hoopla. The narrator, Carrington MacDuffe, does a great job of performing the story. She switches between accents quickly and smoothly, as well as mastering the thick or stronger brogues. I was able to identify the various characters by their voice and that made the story very enjoyable for me. I recommend this one to cozy mystery lovers.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Fred

    The Cracked Spine is the first book in the Scottish Bookshop Mystery series. Paige Shelton has another wonderful series started with A Cracked Spine. Delaney Nichols has lost her job and she is open for an adventure at this time in her life. When she spots an advertisement for a bookstore in Edinburgh, Scotland, she feels this is the answer to her dreams and she soon finds herself in Edinburgh. Delany has the power to have books talk to her and knows she will fit in at the bookstore. Arriving in Ed The Cracked Spine is the first book in the Scottish Bookshop Mystery series. Paige Shelton has another wonderful series started with A Cracked Spine. Delaney Nichols has lost her job and she is open for an adventure at this time in her life. When she spots an advertisement for a bookstore in Edinburgh, Scotland, she feels this is the answer to her dreams and she soon finds herself in Edinburgh. Delany has the power to have books talk to her and knows she will fit in at the bookstore. Arriving in Edinburgh, she secures a taxi driven by Elias and he is well aware of the bookstore and promptly delivers her there. Elias and his wife will soon become good friends and help Delaney to settle into her life in Edinburgh. When she arrives, the owner of the bookstore is off to a meeting, but she meets with Rosie, a delightful older lady and Hamlet, a university student and part-time actor, her co-workers. Shortly after beginning her new job, the bookstore owner, Edwin MacAlister, informs the his employees of his sister's, Jenny, brutal murder. She has had a past history of drug abuse, she was thought to have kicked her drug habit. Edwin had been trying to get her involved in his business and had entrusted a very valuable first folio of Shakespeare’s. What with Delaney love for books and to help Edwin get closure with his sister's death, she sets off to do her own sleuthing to find Jenny's killer. She enlists Elias' help in her travels through Edinburgh. The book has a very interesting and enjoyable cast of characters and provides the reader with an interesting look at the Old Town of Edinburgh. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series to learn more about Edwin's business. A good deal of Edwin's time was spent going to what seemed to be rather “secret” meetings, but at the same time involved The Cracked Spine. Also looking forward to learning more about Rosie and Hamlet, too. Also will be waiting to see if a romantic interest will continue to develop between Delaney and Tom Flecher, the handsome kilt clad Scotsman who owns Delaney's Wee Pub. Looking forward to my next visit to The Cracked Spine and Old Edinburgh.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sherry

    I received this book from the author, for a review. As my friends know, don't ask me if you don't want the truth. I was a little nervous, as this story takes place in Scotland. I would love to visit Scotland, but I have had a bad experience in the past with a story that took place in another country. That particular book, had the whole text in their language with an English accent. By the third chapter, I had to put the book down and give up. It was more like an educational experience that faile I received this book from the author, for a review. As my friends know, don't ask me if you don't want the truth. I was a little nervous, as this story takes place in Scotland. I would love to visit Scotland, but I have had a bad experience in the past with a story that took place in another country. That particular book, had the whole text in their language with an English accent. By the third chapter, I had to put the book down and give up. It was more like an educational experience that failed.... rather than enjoyment. THIS IS NOT THE CASE with this book!! From the first page, until the last page, you will feel like you are "one" with the main character, Delaney. You'll feel as though you can hear, smell, and see whatever she is experiencing. It may actually feel like you are in Scotland on vacation! The mystery itself, will keep you on the edge of your seat, until the last page has been turned. It is unfair, but honest to say, that I would expect a four or five star from this particular author. However, after turning the last page, my jaw was on the floor. This book is more like an 8 or 10 star! One word to describe this book is fantastic! Whatever it takes, mark your calendars to pick this book up as soon as it's released. You will not regret it!!!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Hilary (A Wytch's Book Review)

    Delaney has upped sticks from Kansas after a phone interview and she has ended up in Edinburgh, on her arrival she is taken under the wing of the taxi driver (and his wife) which helps as the job is odd! There are two other members of staff Rosie (and her small dog Hector) and Hamlet (real name unknown) as well as Edwin her boss, people seem to pick when they want to work during the day and if they want to go off and do something different (like visit a museum or stage play!) and Delaney has no Delaney has upped sticks from Kansas after a phone interview and she has ended up in Edinburgh, on her arrival she is taken under the wing of the taxi driver (and his wife) which helps as the job is odd! There are two other members of staff Rosie (and her small dog Hector) and Hamlet (real name unknown) as well as Edwin her boss, people seem to pick when they want to work during the day and if they want to go off and do something different (like visit a museum or stage play!) and Delaney has no real idea what her job will entail. Before she can really get to grips Edwin's sister is killed and no one seems to want to really talk about it, add in a rather attractive bar owner (oh and the bar is called Delaney's which seems to be a good omen, Rosie witnesses a road accident and Hamlet seems to be acting strangely as well.  Delaney needs to decide if she can stick it out and if so she needs to find out more about everyone around her.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kirsten

    A nice debut. It also had a very serious feel for a cozy mystery. I expected it to be a little lighter, kind of like Hamish Macbeth except with books. I'm not sure about the detective/central character. I just didn't feel her like other MCs in other cozies. However, this was the first in the series and the mystery plot was decent, so I'm willing to give book #2 a try.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tarissa

    I like all if the main character, very likable. I love the uniqueness of the bookshop... Plus, it all goes down in Scotland! What's not to love? Content warnings: Seems like there is a little bit of language in the book. A drug addict is one of the characters. And there is a romantic attraction brewing for Delaney. Oh, and also Delaney hears "voices" coming from the books -- it's kind of like her "superpower"... Overall though I'm pretty pleased with the book. I'll give book #2 a whirl. COYER Celeb I like all if the main character, very likable. I love the uniqueness of the bookshop... Plus, it all goes down in Scotland! What's not to love? Content warnings: Seems like there is a little bit of language in the book. A drug addict is one of the characters. And there is a romantic attraction brewing for Delaney. Oh, and also Delaney hears "voices" coming from the books -- it's kind of like her "superpower"... Overall though I'm pretty pleased with the book. I'll give book #2 a whirl. COYER Celebrate 2019: 3

  28. 4 out of 5

    Bridgette

    Scotland, a bookstore, a small dog, a handsome pub owner, and a murder. What more could you possibly want in a book? This is a great escapist read. It was a good introduction to the cozy mystery genre for me as well. Highly recommend reading this when you need to forget the mundanities of life for a bit.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Andree

    Unlike the last book I DNF'd, this book is not hateful, it just isn't for me. This is everything I should like (spunky woman goes to work in a Scottish bookshop and solves crime!). There's just something about the tone that doesn't work, something about the main character's voice. The attempts at the Scottish accent probably don't help. I picked it up twice, and managed to get through a chapter each time before putting it down feeling vaguely annoyed. I think it's more just a matter of personal Unlike the last book I DNF'd, this book is not hateful, it just isn't for me. This is everything I should like (spunky woman goes to work in a Scottish bookshop and solves crime!). There's just something about the tone that doesn't work, something about the main character's voice. The attempts at the Scottish accent probably don't help. I picked it up twice, and managed to get through a chapter each time before putting it down feeling vaguely annoyed. I think it's more just a matter of personal preference than anything though. I would now like to find a better book set in Edinburgh, because I really enjoyed visiting the city...

  30. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Rogers

    Series: Sottish Bookshop Mystery #1 Publication Date: 3/29/16 Wonderful first book in the series. I started with the third book and loved it so much that I decided to go back to the first book in the series and read it in order. I looked at the release dates so far and they seem to be coming out about one per year. The characters are engaging, relatable and just downright likable. I especially like the budding romance between Delaney and Tom. I love mysteries, but they must have a romance as well. Series: Sottish Bookshop Mystery #1 Publication Date: 3/29/16 Wonderful first book in the series. I started with the third book and loved it so much that I decided to go back to the first book in the series and read it in order. I looked at the release dates so far and they seem to be coming out about one per year. The characters are engaging, relatable and just downright likable. I especially like the budding romance between Delaney and Tom. I love mysteries, but they must have a romance as well. Delaney Nichols is feeling a bit unsettled after being laid off from her job at the museum where she’d worked since graduation. She is thinking a bit of adventure might be just the thing. Then she sees just what she needs. There is an advertisement for a job at a book and antiquities store, The Cracked Spine, in Edinburgh, Scotland. She calls the number given and speaks with the proprietor, Edwin MacAlister. After a few phone calls, he offers her the job and she’s off to Scotland. Upon arrival, the first person she meets is Elias, the cab driver. He’s warm, friendly, and becomes very protective almost as soon as they meet. Elias takes her by the Cracked Spine where she meets her co-workers, Rosie and her tiny dog Hector and Hamlet a young college student and thespian. She’s so excited because she loves everybody and the bookstore and the city and the people – oh – and her desk. That desk is a genuine heirloom that has been used by kings and queens. Oh! My! Then, she finds the perfect place to live and all is right in her world. As she reports to work a few days later, she is met with long faces. Rosie and Hamlet are stricken. What could have happened? They explain that Edwin’s sister has been murdered. Edwin is devastated. His sister had led a troubled life and she and Edwin had been estranged, but they were working on their relationship when she died. Has her past come back to haunt her? Ever curious, Delaney starts asking questions of those who surrounded Edwin’s sister. As she digs deeper and deeper more and more likely suspects appear – or not. Is it one of Edwin’s friends, is it someone from her drug life? Is it just a random murder? Delaney investigates, gets in trouble, and unmasks a murderer – what fun! Of course – she’s met Tom in the middle of all of that and she is quite smitten with the tall, handsome, kilt-wearing Scot. Of course, he’s not the settling-down kind. He’s dated half the women in Edinburgh and none for more than a few weeks, but Delaney (I just love that name) thinks she can have fun for a while. I hope you’ll consider reading this lovely book and the series as well. Please check out my reviews at: Blog: https://flippinpages.blog/ Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/flippinpages... Twitter: https://twitter.com/FlippinPagesRev Twitter: https://twitter.com/BarbBookReview

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