Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Mistletoe and Murder

I read a lot of Christmas books this year. I didn't like them very much. I think because most of them were the anthologies and were shorter and didn't allow the characters to develop as much. They weren't bad, but it was like having just candy or fluff ~ it tastes okay for a while, but you crave meat and potatoes pretty soon. A person just needs real food.

I won this book in a contest on Craftie Ladies of Suspense. The author, Florence Case, recently passed away. I didn't know her, but I understand she was a mentor and inspiration for many. I just wanted to take a minute to just give tribute to her and thank the other wonderful authors who help other writers through their site.

Now ~ for the book. The back cover reads:

One minute, probation officer Mallory Larsen is handing out hand-knitted Christmas gifts. The next, there's a gun at her head- and a bomb exploding. Fellow probation officer Shamus Burke saves her life, and she'll be sure to thank him for it... once she gets his assistance again. A girl's life depends on Mallory, and no one but Shamus can help her do what needs to be done. As the threats against Mallory escalate, she shows Shamus she won't back down on saving anyone- including him. But now someone's dead set on stopping them both from ever celebrating Christmas together.

My take ~

There are really three aspects I looked at with this book: 1. The mystery & suspense 2. The characters & basic writing 3. The romance.

The mystery and suspense was well done. There were surprises and twists throughout the story you didn't expect. Just when you think you know she pulls something else on you. That was a lot of fun and I though it was masterfully done.

The characters were good as well. Even with the norm of the bad boy and the good girl ~ they had their quirks and surprises. The writing was good and the pacing was nice. All the secondary characters were done well too. I had no trouble picturing anything.

The one area I felt a little let down in was romance. He was certainly a handsome hero and she was a strong leading lady - but I didn't really sense a strong connection or bond between them. It was almost as if they could have been partners and he would have rescued and protected anyone. I know that isn't true in my mind... I just didn't feel that "zing" between them. Then again it might be me not feeling well ~ because everything else about the book was really good.

I did enjoy the book and wouldn't hesitate to look for other books by the same author.

How about you? What were your favorite Christmas reads?


  1. Great review! I only read two holiday book this year, A Dog Named Christmas and Matchless! Both were very good!

  2. I didn't get to read all of the books on my Holiday Reading Challenge list, but it was fun trying. Of the books I did get to read, my fave would have to be The Unfinished Gift by Dan Walsh. I loved it!

    It has a different twist on what I'll call the "traditional" Christmas stories ~ that's what made it really interesting. I can't wait to read the sequel coming out in 2010 (June, I think??). You should grab a copy for yourself...mine's going on my keeper shelf...sorry! :)

    Have a safe and happy New Year. {{hugs}}

  3. I've never really read Christmas books as a theme, but there must be a market for them. Though, as you said, many come out in anthology forms. Do you do this every year?

  4. Inthehammock ~ I read your reviews on those books and I'm glad you liked them. I notice they weren't anthologies. Maybe that was my mistake. lol This one was pretty good and it wasn't an anthology. Some of the anthologies were okay, they just weren't great.

    Lori ~ I heard a lot of good things about his book. I have to refrain from buying any books until I at least read all the ones I currently have and haven't read yet. lol I got a little carried away... (who me?) but maybe once I get through the pile.

    Christina ~ This is the first year I've done it like this. I usually read some short stories and Advent kinds of things for my family - but they are classics - not anything for me that is Christmas themed. I just keep reading "normal" books. I'm not sure I'll do it again next year. We'll see. I think because I place so much value on the relationship between the characters - and the shorter stories just don't allow that much time for that to happen.

    And many of them were cute and touching - but I usually save my reviews for books I really like - so I was bummed that I just didn't have much I could share.

    I also ended up with some... bodice rippers without meaning to. I picked out a couple Christmas books from authors I knew that were regency type books - and they told me others who bought those also bought these -- and the covers were tame - had a Christmas them and it was the Buy 3 get the 4th free or whatever so I got them.... and was surprised at the content to be sure. lol

  5. I'm with you Lee I try to stay away from anthologies because the stories are just TOO darn short!!!! I like the books that are 500 pages long LOL! This book sounds interesting, even though suspense novels aren't really my thing. I did read The Kidnapping of Kenzie Thorn (Steeple Hill Suspense) and thought it was pretty good. Maybe I should challenge myself to read more mystery! Thank you for the great review, I always love to read what you think!

    XOXO~ Renee