Do-It-Yourself Home Renovations Series by Jennie Bentley

The latest in Jennie Bentley’s Do-it-Yourself Home Renovations series was released earlier this month. Mortar and Murder is described on the author’s website as follows: 

When Avery and Derek take on the renovation of a decrepit 1783 center-chimney Colonial house on a remote island off the coast of Maine, they soon get more than they bargained for.

A grumpy thriller-writing neighbor, a mysterious animal that lives under the porch, and the dead body of a young woman floating in the ocean between Rowanberry Island and Waterfield Harbor conspire to make this the most thrilling and dangerous renovation Avery has ever undertaken.

Avery and Derek are very likeable, though I wonder if Derek is just too good to be true! I read this latest installment of the do-it-yourself series in one sitting. It was short but action-packed. And, it was interesting to see this series take on the sex-worker / slave trade, even if superficially. This series has always had historical components; in addition to the obvious historical element to home renovation, the history of Maine all of the way back to settlement (pre-revolution) is always fairly front and center. In this book, that history is explored with a focus on smuggling, and the issue of smuggling is made more contemporary through the plot focused on the illegal slave trade, especially of (East) Slavic women. That meshing of past and present is what Avery and Derek strive for in each renovation and was a nice touch by the author.





Book One: Fatal Fixer Upper

To Avery, the idea of preparing her aunt’s crumbling and cluttered home for sale is overwhelming. So when someone offers to buy the place as-is, Avery’s relieved. Until she learns it’s worth more than she thought – that is, with a few repairs here and there…

With help from hunky handyman Derek Ellis, Avery starts learning the ABCs of DIY. But when the designer-turned-renovator finds clues that lead to a missing professor and then her own life is threatened, Avery wonders if she can finish the house – without getting finished off in the process…
Book 2: Spackled and Spooked
Home renovation is never easy, especially when the home’s inhabitants are dead. Avery’s hunky boyfriend and business partner, Derek Ellis, wants to flip a seriously stigmatized ranch house where murder occurred two decades ago. It’s a good thing Avery has more faith in her boyfriend than in ghosts.Their renovations are quickly interrupted when a presence is felt–and it’s not happy with the new alterations. Could it really be that the property is possessed? If they’re going to flip this house, all the outdated fixtures—including the supernatural squatters—must be disposed of, or else this project will haunt them forever…

Book 3: Plaster and Poison

Local bed and breakfast owner Kate McGillicutty and Waterfield Police Chief Wayne Rasmussen are finally tying the knot. They’ve asked Avery and her boyfriend, Derek, to renovate an old carriage house behind the B&B. It’s a daunting task, but Avery plans on remaking the relic into a romantic Parisian-style retreat.

But the course of true love–and home repair–rarely runs smooth. As proven when Avery stumbles across a lifeless body in the carriage house. And now, Avery’s to-do list reads: find wallpaper…lay insulation…solve murder!

While each of these books has interesting merits, I really think my favorite so far was the first. Happy Reading!


1 Comment

Filed under Cozy Mystery, Reading for Fun

One response to “Do-It-Yourself Home Renovations Series by Jennie Bentley

  1. I haven’t read any of the books in this series yet, but do have the latest on my TBR stack. I didn’t know much about it, so your review really has me interested now. I do believe I’ll be picking it up soon.

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