Ho-Ho-Ho Readathon Update

hohohorat2016buttonThis week I’m participating in the Ho-Ho-H0 Readathon (from Nov 9 – 15). It’s hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer and is so much fun.

the-magic-of-christmasI finished my first book!

The Magic of Christmas by Sarah Morgan

I enjoyed The Magic of Christmas. It’s a Harlequin Medical Romance which is the Harlequin line I like the most. Sarah Morgan is also one of my favorite contemporary romance authors.

I like the medical aspects of the book (in a London Emergency Department). I also really like the Christmas aspects of the book and the two young girls in the book–Dr. Christian Blake’s daughters. He’s a handsome doctor in the ED and Lara King is a smart, pretty ED nurse. You can all guess what happens next! Sarah Morgan’s characters are always vivid.

Romances aren’t something I read too often anymore, but I enjoyed the Christmas setting, the medical aspects, and the characters. I would give this a B- rating.

What I’m reading now!envious-casca

Envious Casca: Inspector Hemingway series by Georgette Heyer (audiobook)

Envious Casca is one of Georgette Heyer’s mysteries. She mostly wrote Historical Regency Romances, but she did write a few mysteries. This book includes a recurring Scotland Yard detective–Inspector Hemingway. Ms. Heyer wrote four books with this character.

The book includes a house party at Christmas and a locked room murder–classic mystery staples! I’m not very far into the story and I’m enjoying it so far!

eggnog-murderEggnog Murder by Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis & Barbara Ross

Three short stories:

  • “Eggnog Murder” by Leslie Meier
  • “Death by Eggnog” by Lee Hollis
  • “Nogged Off” by Barbara Ross

I’m reading “Eggnog Murder.” This is part of the Lucy Stone series. I’ve read a couple other books in this series: Mistletoe Murder and Trick or Treat Murder and like Lucy and the Maine setting.

I’m enjoying the story. I like that the series has moved forward: Lucy’s children are older and her oldest is living in Paris now! I like that the book shows the problems every family has and those often are exacerbated during Christmas! The mystery is good so far, too!

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Mistletoe Murder by Leslie Meier

mistletoe-murderMistletoe Murder by Leslie Meier
Series: Lucy Stone #1
Genre: Mystery (cozy)
Setting: Tinker’s Cove, Maine
Published by Kensington, 1991
E-book, Kindle Unlimited
224 pages
Grade: B
Synopsis: As if baking holiday cookies, knitting a sweater for her husband’s gift, and making her daughter’s angel costume for the church pageant weren’t enough things for Lucy Stone’s busy Christmas schedule, she’s also working nights at the famous mail-order company Country Cousins. But when she discovers Sam Miller, its very wealthy founder, dead in his car from an apparent suicide, the sleuth in her knows something just doesn’t smell right.

Taking time out from her hectic holiday life to find out what really happened, her investigation leads to a backlog of secrets as long as Santa’s Christmas Eve route. Lucy is convinced that someone murdered Sam Miller. But who and why? With each harrowing twist she uncovers in this bizarre case, another shocking revelation is exposed. Now, as Christmas draws near and Lucy gets dangerously closer to the truth, she’s about to receive a present from Santa she didn’t ask for–a killer who won’t be satisfied until everyone on his shopping list is dead, including Lucy herself…

After she had finally gotten the children tucked in bed and read them the Patches memorial bedtime story, James Herriot’s The Christmas Day Kitten, Lucy was exhausted.

and

Her mother picked her way carefully along the rubber matting, holding herself together only by the tightly wound threads of restraint and good breeding. She might well have been the survivor of some dreadful battle or holocaust, a witness to unspeakable horror, scarcely sure herself whether she was alive or dead.

Initial impressions

  • I like the Christmas aspects of this book probably more than the mystery.

Cheers

  • This is the second book I’ve read in this series. (I read the third book–Trick or Treat Murder in October.)
  • I enjoy all the Christmas parts of this book–baking cookies, making a costume for her daughter for the church pageant, knitting a sweater for her husband’s gift. All these things felt very natural and what many young parents do at Christmas.
  • Lucy is pretty down-to-earth. And I like that! I also like Lucy and her husband Bill.
  • The situation with Lucy’s mother seems realistic. Lucy’s father died not too long ago and her mother is lost without him–mainly because she never learned to do things on her own.

Jeers

  • Again (as in Trick or Treat Murder), I think the day-to-day life of Lucy, her family and friends overshadow the mystery. However, I did enjoy that day-to-day life.
  • The original title–Mail-Order Murder–is a better title than Mistletoe Murder (no mistletoe in sight as far as I can remember).

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I think I will read more in this series. I like Lucy, but I will probably spread them out more so I don’t get tired of them.
  • I’ve read several Christmas books and thought it would be fun to post my reviews during the Ho-Ho-Ho Read-a-Thon to give people ideas of books to read.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

  • Leslie Meier lives in Harwich, Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She is the creator of ‘Lucy Stone’, a reporter and amateur sleuth in New England.

Reading Challenges

Trick or Treat Murder by Leslie Meier

trick-or-treat-murderTrick or Treat Murder by Leslie Meier
Series: Lucy Stone #3
Genre: Mystery (Cozy)
Setting: Tinker’s Cover, Maine
Published by Kensington, 1996
E-book, purchased
276 pages
Grade: B
Synopsis: Haunted-house parties and ghostly galas…grinning pumpkins, mayhem and murder. It’s going to be one heck of a Halloween for Lucy Stone and Tinker’s Cove…

It’s October in Maine, and everyone in Tinker’s Cove is preparing for the annual Halloween festival. While Lucy Stone is whipping up orange-frosted cupcakes, recycling tutus for her daughters’ Halloween costumes, helping her son with his pre-teen rebellion, and breast-feeding her brand-new baby, an arsonist is loose in Tinker’s Cove. When the latest fire claims the life of the owner of the town’s oldest house, arson turns into murder…

While the townsfolk work to transform a dilapidated mansion into a haunted house for the All-Ghouls festival, the hunt for the culprit heats up. Trick-or-treat turns deadly as a little digging in all the wrong places puts Lucy too close to a shocking discovery that could send all her best-laid plans up in smoke…

“My dear, I hope you’ll take a little bit of advice from an old friend. Even a spinster like myself knows you’ll never keep a man interested if you let yourself go the way you have.”

Lucy ran a hand through her hair, suddenly self-conscious.

Miss Tilley rose. “You’re really quite attractive when you make an effort, my dear. Now, I must be off.”

and

“So, what kind of eyes are you going to give it?”

“Two triangles,” said Sara.

“You don’t have to makes triangles. You can be creative. How about big, spooky circles?”

“Triangles,” Toby said.

“Triangles,” Elizabeth agreed.

Lucy sighed. “Okay, make triangles.” Sometimes Lucy wondered about her children. They were so conservative. They never wanted to try anything new.”

Initial impressions

  • I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book.

Cheers

  • Even though this is the third book in the series this is the first book I’ve read by this author. I was able to pick up the book and read without missing a beat!
  • I like all the family dynamics and the friendships in the village. Things aren’t perfect which makes the book a little more realistic.
  • I like that the book is set in Maine since my husband’s sister and family live there and I love to visit. The next best thing to visiting is to read about Maine!
  • I like all the Halloween details in the book.
  • I like the humor the author adds to the book. For example, Lucy is distracted when her friend asks her to make cupcakes for a Halloween party. She thinks she has agreed to make 2 dozen cupcakes for a Halloween party, but actually she promised to make 12 dozen. So she spends a lot of time making cupcakes!
  • Lucy has a six-week old baby named Zoe. Zoe takes up much of her time. That’s certainly realistic and something I like.
  • I like the fact that other things happen in the book besides just the mystery. Lucy And Bill have four children aged from about 12 years to six weeks. That keeps them very busy and they are getting some rebellion from the two oldest. Also Lucy is worried about an elderly friend. And it’s nice to see Lucy and Bill’s relationship.
  • I think I like all the family and village dynamics as much or more than the mystery! But I recognize others may not like those aspects as much.

Jeers

  • It was fun to read a book set during Halloween, but it didn’t really matter for the mystery what time of the year it was.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • This is my TBR book for October. The TBR challenge is hosted by Wendy @ The Misadventures of Super Librarian. The theme for October is paranormal or romantic suspense. The book I read is a cozy mystery and has a husband and wife so a bit of romance…so kind of romantic suspense.
  • When I discovered this book I bought six or more months ago I thought it would be perfect for an October read and review!

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

  • Leslie Meier lives in Harwich, Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She is the creator of ‘Lucy Stone’, a reporter and amateur sleuth in New England.

Reading Challenges