Book Review

Paper Cuts

Paper Cuts

  • Author: Ellery Adams
  • Genre: Cozy Mystery
  • Publication Date: April 25, 2023
  • Publisher: Kensington Cozies
  • Series: Secret, Book, and Scone Society #6

Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Cozies for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

CONTENT WARNING: grief, suicide, racism, stereotypes about Indigenous people (challenged), cancer, murder, ableism, harmful language about neurodivergent people, violence

Miracle Springs, North Carolina, is famed for its healing springs. But bookstore owner Nora Pennington has a tendency to land in a different kind of hot water. Though she loves to practice bibliotherapy by finding the perfect books for her customers while listening to their secrets, she also likes to bury her nose in the occasional local crime . . .

Nora escaped her past a decade ago. So it feels like a visit from another world when Kelly Walsh—the woman her ex-husband left her for—walks through the door of Miracle Books along with her son, a sweet, serious boy with a talent for origami. Kelly hasn’t come to gloat, though. As it turns out, she’s been dumped too. She’s also terribly ill, and all she wants from Nora is forgiveness.

Shockingly, however, this woman who’s been the victim of so much misfortune is about to become a murder victim. Who would do such a thing? Certainly not Nora, but that doesn’t stop the gossip and suspicion—especially after Kelly’s brother claims that he saw the two women arguing.

In seeking justice for Kelly, The Secret, Book, and Scone Society joins forces with the sheriff’s department, but they’ve barely begun their probe when life throws another wrench. After serving a twenty-year sentence, Estella’s father returns to Miracle Springs. And when his past comes back to haunt him, it might be more than the four friends can handle.

I read the first 5 books in this series as audiobooks, so this was the first one in the series that I read in digital format. It was just as enjoyable as the previous ones, if not more so. The fact that this series just seems to be getting stronger as it goes on was a pleasant surprise.

To start with, I’m even more invested in the primary characters in the story. Having seen Nora and her little crew of women come together through good times and bad has only made me feel like I care about them even more than I did initially. And there’s definitely an emotional component to this story.

The past comes back for some more of the characters in this story—namely Nora and Estella. Which makes sense, since both June and Hester had their turns in previous books. In this case, Kelly, the woman that Nora’s ex-husband left her for shows up in Miracle Springs. She’s terminally ill and has a young son who has Asperger’s, and her presence turns Nora’s life upside down, especially when she shows up dead after an argument with Nora. This lands Nora in hot water with the law, and she has no choice but to do a little investigating on her own (with the help of the Secret, Book, and Scone Society) to clear her name. As for Estella? Her long-imprisoned father is getting out and staying in Miracle Springs. 

I loved the way the mystery came together. There were little clues throughout the story, and I picked up on a lot of them, but struggled to put them all together. That’s one of the best parts of this series, since the mystery isn’t easy to figure out until all the pieces are laid out for us. I also enjoy how there’s a real small-town feel to Miracle Springs, with people coming together to help each other when someone is in need. 

This book is a little more emotional for Nora, since the past she’s worked so hard to escape comes to smack her in the face, and she can’t do anything to get away from it, and one of her main supports isn’t available to her. But she unexpectedly finds a new support, and unfortunately, a new adversary. It also deals really well with the addition of a neurodiverse kid in the cast of characters, and I loved the fact that the author includes a list of books mentioned throughout the story in the back of the book. This story makes me look forward to more books in the series, since this one was probably my favorite out of all of them. 

People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.

Gasp Factor: 11

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