A Christmas Tartan – REVIEW

4.5 out of 5 stars.

A Christmas Tartan is a novella that comes in between The Cracked Spine and Of Books and Bagpipes in the Scottish Bookshop Mystery series by Paige Shelton. It’s a wonderful holiday story and a cozy mystery to boot!

Book Cover: A Christmas Tartan by Paige Shelton - Dark green background with wooden counter - red, green & black plaid tartan scarf, silver plate etched with trees, silver spoon, brown button, and book on table - holly hanging in the bkgd.

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Long tree branch with cluster of two pinecones and evergreen stems at the right end of the line
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Brief Synopsis

Christmastime has come to Scotland, and Delaney and all her coworkers at the Cracked Spine, the quirky bookshop in the heart of Edinburgh, are all in the holiday spirit. Between mugs of hot chocolate and nibbles of gingerbread, Delaney has been given the task of tracking down the provenance of a mysterious box of objects that her boss, Edwin, has recently acquired. In it are various trinkets, but what really catches Delaney’s eye is a worn copy of A Christmas Carol, where she also finds an old photo tucked inside. On the back is a name, which leads her to a woman whose granddaughter has gone missing. When it becomes clear that the box might be connected to the missing girl, Delaney is pulled into the intrigue, and takes it upon herself to figure out what really happened—and why. (Source: Goodreads)

Peppermint stick candy line
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Review

This novella is a little bit different from the other two full-length novels in this series (I can’t really state how it is different though, as that would give some of the plot away). However, that being said, I really enjoyed this story!

This story deals mostly with Delaney herself. Our other usual cast of characters have very little role in this mystery, but we do see them a little. This story has our heroine checking out the provenance of this mystery box of items. In doing so, she comes across an old, unsolved mystery of a missing young woman.

This is just a fast-paced, fun little mystery to whet the appetite for the second book in the series. It’s definitely fun and a page-turner, but there’s not a lot of character development or personal relationship development in this book. Nothing that really seems important to the overall arc to the series. Yet, it’s still a delightful read.

There’s not much else I can say without spoilers, so I’ll just end with saying pick it up – you’ll enjoy it!!

Long tree branch with cluster of two pinecones and evergreen stems at the right end of the line
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The Seven-Course Christmas Killer – SPOTLIGHT

Today, I’m spotlighting “The Seven-Course Christmas Killer” by Rosie Genova!

Book cover w/ Christmas tree, pasta, wine, knife and title

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Rosie Genova, author of the Italian Kitchen Mysteries, serves up a new dish this week with the release of her e-book holiday novella, The Seven-Course Christmas Killer: A Holiday Novella from the Italian Kitchen. Priced at .99, the e-book will be available on Amazon and most other retailers.

The story takes place on Christmas Eve, as Vic and the gang prepare the traditional Feast of the Seven Fishes for their annual holiday party. But before you can say “shrimp scampi,” Mayor Anne McCrae takes a nasty fall that may not be an accident. Add a nosy reporter, guests with grudges, and a missing kitchen knife—and Vic suddenly has all the ingredients for murder!

Christmas line with evergreen boughs, holly, red ornaments and a red ribbon

The synopsis according to the “jacket” is as follows:

On Christmas Eve, someone might be sleeping with the fishes. . .

 It’s December at the Casa Lido, which means only one thing: the Rienzi family’s traditional Christmas Eve celebration, including wine, song, and seven Italian seafood courses. As Victoria and Tim prep scungilli and calamari, Nonna directs the cooking until all is in readiness for the big night.

But the holiday cheer is interrupted by the attempted murder of Mayor Anne McCrae, who asks Vic to investigate. Trouble is, there are as many suspects as there are fishes on the Christmas Eve menu . . .

Christmas line with evergreen boughs, holly, red ornaments and a red ribbon

I had hoped to have this novella finished so I could post a thorough review, but I’m still in the middle of reading it.

Ms. Genova’s writing style is wonderful. The story moves along at a good pace (which is rather quickly since it’s a novella). The characters are delightful and I’m enjoying the story quite a bit. The only thing that I’m not enjoying so much is that due to the circumstances in the story (no spoilers – you’ll just have to read it!), our heroine seems to think she needs to take extra chances. She seems to react without thinking at times; that tends to annoy me in a heroine. It’s a very well written story, it’s just my personal preferences and pet peeves that are causing me not to enjoy it as well as I might otherwise. I don’t want that to stop any of you from going out, buying it, and reading it though! It’s a great story line and engaging. I think anyone who enjoys culinary cozy mysteries would enjoy this novella.

Christmas line with evergreen boughs, holly, red ornaments and a red ribbon

About the Author

A Jersey girl born and bred, national bestselling author Rosie Genova left her heart at the shore, which serves as the setting for her cozy series, the Italian Kitchen Mysteries. Her debut, Murder and Marinara, was voted a Best Cozy of 2013 by Suspense Magazine and was a finalist for a 2014 Daphne Award. Her books have been described as blending “mystery with comedy, romance, family drama, a vivid and affectionate portrayal of the Jersey shore and…oh yes, cooking.”

The proud mama of three grown sons, Rosie still lives in her home state with her husband and a charming mutt named Lucy. She also writes women’s fiction as Rosemary DiBattista.

You can connect with her online at the following places…

Website: www.rosiegenova.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/RosieGenova

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6462450.Rosie_Genova

Christmas line with evergreen boughs, holly, red ornaments and a red ribbon

 

We Wish You a Murderous Christmas – REVIEW

4 out of 5 stars.

We Wish You a Murderous Christmas - Year Round Christmas Mystery - Room with Christmas tree in right corner, fireplace with stockings hanging, and dog lying on the floor.

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Christmas line with evergreen boughs, holly, red ornaments and a red ribbon

Synopsis

It’s Christmastime three hundred sixty-five days a year in Rudolph, New York, and as Christmas Day approaches, shop owner Merry Wilkinson is enjoying a rare evening off at the Yuletide Inn when she runs into owners Grace and Jack Olsen. With Jack’s health failing, Merry is relieved to hear that his son Gord will be taking over the day-to-day running of the Inn.

But then Gord reveals that his new plans have no room for Christmas at the Inn, and Merry and the other shopkeepers start to fret about the effect a bland franchise hotel could have on their livelihoods.

When Gord is found stabbed to death, there’s an entire town of potential suspects—and it’s up to Merry to find whoever brought homicide home for the holidays…

Christmas line with evergreen boughs, holly, red ornaments and a red ribbon

Review

We Wish You a Murderous Christmas is the second book in the Year Round Christmas series by Vicki Delany. I enjoyed this book quite a bit, though I have to admit that I have never been so happy that a particular character has died than I was in this one.

Our victim seemed to actually thrive on conflict and enjoyed causing it. I don’t always do well with conflict whether real or fictional and I ended up putting the book down for about 30 minutes when I first started it. The man is just that disagreeable! I don’t want to give away any spoilers thought, so I won’t say anything more.

I enjoyed learning more about the various characters in the book. They’re becoming even more well-rounded and complex as we get further into the series. I particularly like that when dealing with a series. I don’t need the character’s entire back story up front in the first volume. I like getting to know the character little by little throughout the series. I was also thrilled to see that at least for the moment the “love triangle” (for lack of a better term) has been settled. It frustrates and annoys me when those last for too many books.

The setting hasn’t changed much since the previous book, but the setting descriptions were fine. I felt that there was enough detail to firmly imagine the scene, but it wasn’t overwhelming or too tedious.

The plot line moved along at a steady pace and I had absolutely no idea of who the villain was until the heroine figured it out. I never suspected that person at all, which personally, I like. I like it when I’m stumped. If I figure out too early who the villain is, I get bored with the book.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this installment of the Year Round Christmas mystery series. I highly recommend this to Christmas lovers, to cozy mystery lovers, or anyone else who likes a good story!

*** I was given a free copy from the author. I was not compensated for my review. All opinions and conclusions are my own. ***

Christmas line with evergreen boughs, holly, red ornaments and a red ribbon

Promise Me – REVIEW

4.5 out of 5 stars.

Promise Me by Richard Paul Evans book cover - Orange and red background with mistletoe hanging down from a red ribbon

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Synopsis

Beth Cardall has a secret. For eighteen years, she has had no choice but to keep it to herself, but on Christmas Eve 2008, all that is about to change.

For Beth, 1989 was a year marked by tragedy. Her life was falling apart: her six-year-old daughter, Charlotte, was suffering from an unidentifiable illness; her marriage transformed from a seemingly happy and loving relationship to one full of betrayal and pain; her job at the dry cleaners was increasingly at risk; and she had lost any ability to trust, to hope, or to believe in herself. Then, on Christmas Day, as she rushed through a blizzard to the nearest 7-Eleven, Beth encountered Matthew, a strikingly handsome, mysterious stranger, who would single-handedly change the course of her life.

Who is this man, and how does he seem to know so much about her? He pursues her relentlessly, and only after she’s fallen deeply in love with him does she learn his incredible secret, changing the world as she knows it, as well as her own destiny.

line of candy canes with green ribbon tied around some
©Graphic Garden

Review

Promise Me by Richard Paul Evans is very different than many Mr. Evans’ books. It’s still an excellent book, but it is not his “usual” fare.

I’ve been a fan of Mr. Evans since shortly after The Christmas Box came out and an even bigger fan after I met him at a book signing for Finding Noel and was impressed by how awesome he is with his fans. 🙂

Mr. Evans did warn his newsletter subscribers that there was going to be a twist to this book that may throw off some readers. I was not as thrown with the plot twist as my mom and some other fans because I actually enjoy books with that sort of plot twist and I’m used to reading about them.

That being said, Promise Me is still filled with the well-rounded, fleshed-out characters that we’ve come to expect from Mr. Evans. They’re still facing the life-changing events and learning to trust, love, and live again like many of his stories. There are still important reminders within the story such as how the seemingly small changes in our lives can have the biggest impact.

I would’ve preferred that the story to go a bit beyond where it ended. It would’ve given readers a chance to see how the characters handled things once everything was back to normal, it was still a beautiful Christmas story.

I’ve recommended it highly to many of my friends, though I do make sure to tell them that it is a bit different from his previous works. You just have to stretch your mind and open it up to new possibilities. So, are you willing to suspend your disbelief? If you are, buy it, read it, love it! 🙂