Book Reviews: Merry Market Murder + How to Write A Novel


Merry Market Murder

Terrific setting, lovable characters, and a great mystery all come together in this fabulous book.

This cozy mystery is the fifth installment of Paige Shelton’s Farmers’ Market Mystery series. I love returning to Monson, South Carolina and hanging out with Becca Robins. She’s a delightful protagonist and it’s like getting to spend time with an old friend. In Merry Market Murder, we meet a few new characters with ties to the market and Monson. It fun to go somewhere familiar and still discover something new.

Becca’s relationship with Sam heats up and the addition of a Christmas tree vendor at Bailey’s leads to a murder. The murderer wasn’t clear to me until the last few pages and I really liked how it all played out. It was a quick, fun read and the last 70 pages flew by!

I admire how Ms. Shelton makes the setting so vivid. After reading certain scenes, I’d swear I just walked through a pine tree farm or an apple orchard. She does a wonderful job blending the farmers’ market and the mystery while still find time to deepen the romance between Sam and Becca.

Merry Market Murder is the perfect holiday gift! I loved all the Christmas holiday stuff going on in Monson. Especially the holiday tree with all the gold fish decorations. The recipes sound scrumptious and I’m definitely going to try out the pumpkin cream pie recipe and the gingerbread biscuits.


How to Write a Novel:

47 Rules for Writing a Stupendously Awesome Novel That You Will Love Forever

Nathan Bransford’s How to Write A Novel is one of the best writing books I’ve read. He lays out 47 steps for writing “a stupendously awesome novel that you will love forever”. It will be my writing bible going forward.

Bransford’s writing style makes you feel like he’s your mentor imparting morsels of genius over salted caramel hot chocolate at your favorite Brooklyn coffeehouse.

Right now, I’m in outlining mode. I spend the majority of my time in revision mode, so I was experiencing all the issues associated with drafting. But it felt like Bransford was there to remind me we’d been through this before and we could do it again.

There is something about Bransford’s voice that makes you trust in what he says. Maybe it’s the confidential tone or the way he breaks it down. He doesn’t just tell you what to do, he tells you how to do it. His genuine love of writing shines through and his words got lodged in my brain and sunk deeper than other writing books had.

Every single rule in this book will make you a better writer. I went highlighter crazy on my Kindle. So much brilliance to be absorbed and applied.

This book focuses on drafting but also has a really useful section on revising.

Rule #3 really resonated with me: “Find the writing style that works for you.”

The big takeaway: “There isn’t one way to write a novel. There isn’t a formula…as long as you’re getting words on the page you’re doing fine.”

Thanks Mr. Bransford! This is a book that needed to be written for first time writers and those of us a few books in.

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35 Responses to Book Reviews: Merry Market Murder + How to Write A Novel

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