Christmas Sweets review

This is a fun Christmasy collection of mysteries, one of which is a murder. The other two were such enjoyable mysteries that the lack of a murder to solve didn’t bother me at all. I found out that I really love the characters of Jaine Austen and her hilarious cat, Prozac. I definitely need to get to that soon, maybe in the new year.

My Goodreads review:

Christmas Sweets (A Lucy Stone Mystery, #18.5)Christmas Sweets by Joanne Fluke

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the first compiled short Christmas stories volume that I’ve read, and I really enjoyed it. It didn’t seem to matter where a person was in the series. Each book just fit in well.

In the Twelve Desserts of Christmas by Joanne Fluke, we met Matt and Julie a couple of love-struck teachers who volunteered to stay with some kids at boarding school over Christmas. There was no murder, but it was a fun little mystery that Hannah got involved in, since she was baking cookies and desserts for the kids and the two teachers. I enjoyed all these short story characters a lot!

After reading Nightmare on Elf Street by Laura Levine, I was laughing so much that I just knew I wanted to start reading the Jaine Austen series soon. Oh my goodness, the descriptions of some of the funny scenes had me laughing out loud, especially when Jaine’s cat Prozac got loose at the mall. This was a good murder mystery. There weren’t a lot of suspects and I was a little suspicious of who ended up being the killer.

The third story, The Christmas Thief by Leslie Meier focused on Elizabeth Stone, Lucy’s daughter that we don’t really read much about in the books that are about their daily lives. I just knew that Lucy would come to her rescue when poor Elizabeth was accused of being in on the theft of a mega-valuable jewel collection at the hotel where she worked. Miss Tilley came along (I just love this lady!) and the 90-something’s computer skills definitely came in handy in sifting out a perp. Elizabeth got a very happy ending out of the little story!

These three stories just showed how very different Christmas celebrations can be, but the main thing with people is being around those they love, or in Jaine’s case, a pet she loves. Despite Prozac being crazy-kitty-from-Elm Street sometimes, she loves the little bugger a lot!

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Christmas Cocoa Murder review

This is a fun compilation of three short Christmas-themed mysteries written by some of my favorite authors. I admit I’m not as familiar with Carlene O’Connor’s works having only read the first of her new series, but I am very familiar with the Country Store series by Maddie Day and the Bookstore Cafe series by Alex Erickson (I do need to read some of the books in between in this one to catch up).

I think someone who had never read the books could read these and still have them make sense as far as the characters go. Obviously in a short story there’s no time to give tons of backstory, but these guys did a good job. See my review below for more details.

My Goodreads review:

Christmas Cocoa MurderChristmas Cocoa Murder by Carlene O’Connor

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed reading these Christmas-themed short mysteries by authors that I knew I already read and liked. I wasn’t familiar with the series that the first story belongs with, but I had read the author’s newest series. Even though I didn’t know anyone, it didn’t take long to warm up to Siobhan’s character and her siblings. That and her possible love interest made me want to read this series. The ending of this story was so sweet and I hadn’t guessed the killer.

In the second story, I loved how Ms. Day tied in the “cocoa” theme by having a Lab puppy by that name. A nasty man was killed, and it almost could have appeared as if the pup caused his accident…or was it an accident? Robbie and her hopefully future mother-in-law Freddy made a good investigative team for this case. I kind of had a feeling I knew who it was, but it was interesting to see how they caught the person. The dinner at Abe’s parents on Christmas Eve was really fun and festive, since it ended in singing Christmas carols.

The last book was a locked room type mystery set in Christmas-themed escape room where the host had been killed, which wasn’t part of the game at all. All eight of the game players were strangers, except for Rita and Krissy. Rita, of course had talked Krissy into doing this. Since she’d helped with a lot of local murders, Krissy naturally took the lead as investigator and questioned everyone. It was pretty cool how they did all work together, but they used their brains not their tech just like in the old days. I was totally surprised by the killer. I guess I had something or someone else in mind for what had happened, but it all worked out, they got out eventually and the killer was taken away.

This book publishes on September 24, and I voluntarily read and reviewed a paperback ARC of the book provided by the publisher. My opinions are my own and do not reflect on having received the book for no charge.

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