Friday, November 25, 2022

Thanksgiving Weekend Reading

A long weekend if the best time to get some reading done. I'm lucky enough to have today (Friday) off work which means including Thanksgiving, it's a 4 day weekend. Yay! 

Thanksgiving Recap:

We started out our morning with coffee & exercise. My boyfriend and I rode our bikes on the bike trail to some local soccer field. Then I stayed for the Flippin' Fun 5K Turkey Run while he met his friends at the gas station and they went off on a bike ride.

I'll be honest, I was pretty tired by the time I got home! 

Then we spent the day at his cousin's house with all of the extended family. The food was incredible, as always. My favorite dish was the brussel sprouts. They were cooked bacon and they were so good. A bunch of us played this card game in the afternoon called Pass the Trash and that led to a lot of confusion and laughs.

Thanksgiving Weekend Plans:

Today we're heading down to Delaware to spend the weekend with my parents and family. There will be a Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow afternoon. I'm making a salad and I'm baking 3 kinds of cookies.

What I'm Currently Reading:

Witch Way Out by Cate Conte

This is a cute, paranormal cozy mystery. I believe it's the third book in the series. The main character named Violet has recently discovered that she's a witch and is trying to become accustomed to everything that entails. Meanwhile, she is the owner of a crystal shop in town and she's just got accepted into a prestigious craft show that could help her make connections and really grow her business.

I'm getting close to halfway through but I haven't gotten to the murder yet. There are a lot of interesting characters though and I have a feeling I know which ones are good and which ones are bad, so we'll see what happens.

This is... an interesting book. I first hear of Lori Gottlieb a while ago when she was on a podcast I was listening to so I decided I wanted to read this book when I saw it was on sale on Amazon.

I'm not sure what to make of it so far. A lot of it is told through Lori's POV as she navigates the dating world and attempts to figure out why she's still single. She also interviews a lot of men and women about their own dating experiences as well.

In all honesty, I think the reason why she's still single is that she's way too picky and judgmental. But again, I'm only halfway through the book and she's slowly becoming more and more aware of that. So I don't know. It's kind of a frustrating read but it's eye opening at the same time.

Drive by Tamara Lush

I'm only a chapter into this one so far but I like it. It's kind of like... F1 fan fiction? Lol. It's about a drive named Dante who isn't to keen when he finds out that a woman got hired to be on his pit crew. My boyfriend is into racing and we watch the F1 race every weekend  when it's on so I liked the plot of this one. I'm also a fan of Tamara's other books so I'm looking forward to diving into this one more.

- - - - -

What are you reading this holiday weekend? Let me know in the comments!

xo Marian

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

What Happens At Christmas by Victoria Alexander

Camille, Lady Lydingham, requests the pleasure of your company at a festive house party in the English countryside, as she endeavors to coax a marriage proposal from Prince Nikolai Pruzinsky of Greater Avalonia. Given the nature of the hostess’s eccentric relatives ,they will be played by a troupe of actors hired to impersonate a proper Victorian family. What a clever way to fool the prince! And gate-crashing, distractingly handsome first loves like Grayson Elliott are most unwelcome.
But nothing about Camille’s charade goes as planned. Tonight, at Millworth Manor, games will be played, motives will be revealed, the masks will come off, and hearts will be lost—and won—in the most romantic, magical season of all.

What Happens At Christmas is just the delightful Christmas romp I was looking for. The setting of Milford Manor was lovely and the characters (and their actions) were laugh out loud funny. I kept flipping the page thinking that things couldn't get crazier, but they did.

Oh, they most certainly did. And in the best way!

Camille is a young widow who is thinking about settling down again. Her husband left her with enough money to take care of her for the rest of her life. That means that Camille doesn't have to worry about finding a man who she loves or who can take care of her. She's aiming much higher. She's aiming for royalty.

Nobody in her lift thinks this is a good idea, not even her twin sister Beryl. But Camille has the perfect plan. She will bring the Prince of Avalonia (aka her future husband) home for Christmas so that she can teach him what a traditional  English Christmas is like. There will be activities and festivities galore. And even better, she'll have the perfect family. Her own family will be traveling to Paris, so she'll hire a troupe of actors to play the parts.

It's a genius plan.

But little by little, her "genius" plan unravels. An unexpected visitor from her past comes to visit and things do not exactly go as planned. Will she be able to impress the Prince enough by Christmastime, so that he'll get down on one knee and propose?

I found the banter between Camille and her sister so funny. Camille and Beryl may be identical but they certainly have different ideas about what makes for a good relationship. I loved Beryl's sarcasm and the fact that even though she thought her sister was crazy, she still agreed to help her with her wild plan.

Grayson, the unexpected visitor from Camille's past, was a real hoot. Although he claimed to want to help Camille with her devious plan, his actions said otherwise. There were so many scenes that had me laughing out loud. Every time Grayson tried (or succeeded) to throw a wrench in Camille's plans, I sat on the edge of my seat, waiting to see how she would react.

The Love/Hate relationship between Camille and Grayson was so funny and well written. I loved how biting Camille could be and I loved how since we got to see Grayson's point of view sometimes, it was very apparent how he really would do simply anything to make her happy. It was very sweet and made some of his sillier antics seem much more charming.

Milford Manor is apparently a series, so I'm looking forward to checking out the next book as well. It focuses on Camille's younger sister Delilah and I have a feeling it will be very humorous as well.

Thanks to Netgalley for a review copy of this book!

xo Marian

Monday, November 7, 2022

On My Radar: Christmas Books & More

Because I live in a town with a Wal Mart Supercenter conveniently located down the street from my house, I find myself doing most of my grocery shopping there. Who can resist such a good deal, right? But that means that every time I go grocery shopping I have to peruse through the book aisle.

It would just be wrong not to!

I try to only buy books after I've thoroughly researched them first, so here are some books that caught my eye on my most recent trip.

1. Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

’Tis the season for change and Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) is embracing it, returning from the States to live in the charming village of Letherby and working with her best friend, Suze, in the gift shop of Suze’s stately home. Life is good, especially now that Becky takes time every day for mindfulness—even if that only means listening to a meditation tape while hunting down online bargains.

But Becky still adores the traditions of Christmas: Her parents hosting, carols playing on repeat, her mother pretending she made the Christmas pudding, and the neighbors coming ’round for sherry in their terrible holiday sweaters. Things are looking cheerier than ever, until Becky’s parents announce they’re moving to ultra-trendy Shoreditch—unable to resist the draw of craft beer and smashed avocados—and ask Becky if she’ll host this year. What could possibly go wrong?

Becky’s sister demands a vegan turkey, her husband insists that he just wants aftershave (again), and little Minnie needs a very specific picnic hamper: Surely Becky can manage all this, as well as the surprise appearance of an old boyfriend–turned–rock star and his pushy new girlfriend, whose motives are far from clear. But as the countdown to Christmas begins and her bighearted plans take an unexpected turn toward disaster, Becky wonders if chaos will ensue, or if she’ll manage to bring comfort and joy to Christmas after all. (from

2. The Christmas Bookshop by Jenny Colgan

Laid off from her department store job, Carmen has perilously little cash and few options. The prospect of spending Christmas with her perfect sister Sofia, in Sofia’s perfect house with her perfect children and her perfectly ordered yuppie life does not appeal.

Frankly, Sofia doesn’t exactly want her prickly sister Carmen there either. But Sofia has yet another baby on the way, a mother desperate to see her daughters get along, and a client who needs help revitalizing his shabby old bookshop. So Carmen moves in and takes the job.

Thrown rather suddenly into the inner workings of Mr. McCredie’s ancient bookshop on the picturesque streets of historic Edinburgh, Carmen is intrigued despite herself. The store is dusty and disorganized but undeniably charming. Can she breathe some new life into it in time for Christmas shopping? What will happen when a famous and charismatic author takes a sudden interest in the bookshop—and Carmen? And will the Christmas spirit be enough to help heal her fractured family? (from

3. Deck the Halls by Mary Higgins Clark & Carol Higgins Clark

In their first acclaimed work of collaboration, Mary Higgins Clark, the Queen of Suspense, and her daughter, bestselling author Carol Higgins Clark, create an exciting and entertaining story of a holiday kidnapping.

Three days before Christmas, Regan Reilly, the dynamic young sleuth featured in the novels of Carol Higgins Clark, accidentally meets Alvirah Meehan, Mary Higgins Clark’s famous lottery winner and amateur detective, at a New Jersey dentist’s office. That's where it all begins.

While Regan’s mother, Nora, the famous mystery writer, is in the hospital with a broken leg, her husband, Luke, and his chauffeur, Rosita, are kidnapped and held for a million-dollar ransom. Together, Regan and Alvirah track the case as the inept yet dangerous kidnappers make their demands known. Meanwhile, Luke and Rosita are held captive on a houseboat on the Hudson River and a fierce winter storm is gathering force.

A true Christmas classic, Deck the Halls blends suspense with poignancy, laugh-out-loud humor, and all-around holiday cheer. (from

4.  The Witch Haven by Sasha Peyton Smith

In 1911 New York City, seventeen-year-old Frances Hallowell spends her days as a seamstress, mourning the mysterious death of her brother months prior. Everything changes when she’s attacked and a man ends up dead at her feet—her scissors in his neck, and she can’t explain how they got there.

Before she can be condemned as a murderess, two cape-wearing nurses arrive to inform her she is deathly ill and ordered to report to Haxahaven Sanitarium. But Frances finds Haxahaven isn’t a sanitarium at all: it’s a school for witches. Within Haxahaven’s glittering walls, Frances finds the sisterhood she craves, but the headmistress warns Frances that magic is dangerous. Frances has no interest in the small, safe magic of her school, and is instead enchanted by Finn, a boy with magic himself who appears in her dreams and tells her he can teach her all she’s been craving to learn, lessons that may bring her closer to discovering what truly happened to her brother.

Frances’s newfound power attracts the attention of the leader of an ancient order who yearns for magical control of Manhattan. And who will stop at nothing to have Frances by his side. Frances must ultimately choose what matters more, justice for her murdered brother and her growing feelings for Finn, or the safety of her city and fellow witches. What price would she pay for power, and what if the truth is more terrible than she ever imagined? (from

- - - - -

What books have caught your eye lately? Now that it's getting closer to Christmas I am definitely getting exciting about Christmas books again. :)

xo Marian

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Twelve Days of Christmas by Debbie Macomber

Friendly and bubbly, Julia Padden likes nearly everyone, but her standoffish neighbor, Cain Maddox, presents a particular challenge. No matter how hard she’s tried to be nice, Cain rudely rebuffs her at every turn, preferring to keep to himself. But when Julia catches Cain stealing her newspaper from the lobby of their apartment building, that’s the last straw. She’s going to break through Cain’s Scrooge-like exterior the only way she knows how: by killing him with kindness.

To track her progress, Julia starts a blog called The Twelve Days of Christmas. Her first attempts to humanize Cain are far from successful. Julia brings him homemade Christmas treats and the disagreeable grinch won’t even accept them. Meanwhile, Julie’s blog becomes an online sensation, as an astonishing number of people start following her adventures. Julia continues to find ways to express kindness and, little by little, chips away at Cain’s gruff façade to reveal the caring man underneath. Unbelievably, Julia feels herself falling for Cain—and she suspects that he may be falling for her as well. But as the popularity of her blog continues to grow, Julia must decide if telling Cain the truth about having chronicled their relationship to the rest of the world is worth risking their chance at love. (from

I started my Christmas reading a little bit early this year! Now if only I could plan ahead for once and get my Christmas shopping done too.

But all jokes aside, I was looking for a light read to listen to while I go for walks with my dog, and I saw that Twelve Days of Christmas was available on Libby. When I saw it was in audiobook format I figured it was a sign that I should listen to this book again (my first time reading it was a couple of years ago), although I can't seem to find any record of it on my goodreads account. Oh well!

Twelve Days of Christmas is about a young woman named Julia Padden who has a lot going on in her life. She works at Macy's, she's the accompanist at her church, she volunteers, and she takes on a special challenge right at the beginning of Christmastime. Her dream job is to work in social media and she has the chance at a new job, but it's down to her and another candidate. The employer asks them to both start a blog and whoever gets the most hits and comments gets the job.

It's a silly premise, but as Julia's blog takes off during the holiday season, it makes for some pretty interesting situations. It was really enjoyable to read about how the challenge brings her and her neighbor Cain closer together. Another fun aspect to the story is Cain's grandfather, who helps Julia learn more about Cain, which makes her more empathetic to his somewhat defensive personality.

Debbie Macomber is one of my favorite authors to read Christmas romances from and I definitely recommend this one. It's a cute story and although it's a little bit predictable, it's sweet enough to make you want to keep reading and find out what happens next.

xo Marian

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Book Lovers by Emily Henry

About the Book

One summer. Two rivals. A plot twist they didn't see coming....

Nora Stephens’ life is books—she’s read them all—and she is not that type of heroine. Not the plucky one, not the laidback dream girl, and especially not the sweetheart. In fact, the only people Nora is a heroine for are her clients, for whom she lands enormous deals as a cutthroat literary agent, and her beloved little sister Libby.

Which is why she agrees to go to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina for the month of August when Libby begs her for a sisters’ trip away—with visions of a small-town transformation for Nora, who she’s convinced needs to become the heroine in her own story. But instead of picnics in meadows, or run-ins with a handsome country doctor or bulging-forearmed bartender, Nora keeps bumping into Charlie Lastra, a bookish brooding editor from back in the city. It would be a meet-cute if not for the fact that they’ve met many times and it’s never been cute.

If Nora knows she’s not an ideal heroine, Charlie knows he’s nobody’s hero, but as they are thrown together again and again—in a series of coincidences no editor worth their salt would allow—what they discover might just unravel the carefully crafted stories they’ve written about themselves.

My Thoughts

I've been slow to jump on to the Emily Henry bandwagon, but now that I'm on it, I'm never getting off! Her books are so fun and well written and frankly, Book Lovers was just the contemporary romance that I was looking to read right now.

I liked both of the main characters right away. Nora is a literary agent in NYC. She's a little controlling but as you learn her backstory, she has good reason for being so. Although she's very dedicated to her career, she's not a robot. Her younger sister means everything to her and she would do anything to protect her and keep her safe, even though she's married now and the mother of (almost) three children.

Meanwhile, Charlie also works in the NYC book scene as an editor. He's just as dedicated to his job as Nora is to hers, but he's got a quick wit and a salty tongue. Some of his comments during the scene where he and Nora first meet are so funny. I could tell that even though he and Nora both had different ideas about books and writing, they also had a lot in common as well.

Book Lovers is filled with a lot of fun surprises as the story progresses. I loved reading about the sister relationship between Nora and her younger sister Libby. They grew up incredibly close because of their Mom being busy working and because they know each other so well, some of the dialogue between them was just hilarious. I was like, yup... only siblings can speak that way to each other.

If you liked Beach Read or People We Meet on Vacation, I think you will really like this book as well. It's another fun dive into the world of Emily Henry books and honestly, it might be my favorite of hers so far. I just love a good enemies to lovers book, and Book Lovers did a great job at that.

Thank you to Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.]

xo Marian

Thursday, October 27, 2022

My NaNoWriMo Project 2022

It's here! Well, it's almost here. National Novel Writing Month begins on the first of November which means we're about 5 days out, depending on where you are located and what time zone you are in. And let's be honest... I'm a writer. Math has never really been my thing.

The Decision

To be honest, I didn't realize that I wanted to participate in NaNoWriMo this year until a couple of days. I realized that it was almost November and I felt the need to want to write something. I have a lot of projects swimming around my head right now, but I decided that this month I will be working on the first draft of My Summer With Him, a contemporary romance.

My Project

This month I will be writing the first draft of My Summer With Him, a contemporary romance. I don't have all the details ironed out yet but it's about a young woman who lives in a fictional beach town in Delaware. She works at the restaurant that she co owns with her mother's best friend (her mother has since passed away).

Her life is pretty busy because she helps take care of her four sisters as well as works long hours. She meets a guy at the restaurant one day and they immediately have a connection. but when she gets back to the house she finds out that he's in town visiting her sister, she knows that nothing can ever happen between them.

After a girls night with two of her friends, she decides to go on a dating app and see what happens. As she begins putting herself out there and going on dates with new guys, she keeps running into the first guy from the restaurant. After witnessing a terrible date that she's on, he agrees to help her find someone who is actually dateable.

Will he be able to help her find someone dateable? Or is he the one who she should be dating all along?

My Plans

It's going to be a busy weekend. I'm going down to Rehoboth with my boyfriend so that we can spend some time at the beach and run in the Seawitch 5k. I'll be taking a laptop so hopefully I can finish my plotting over the weekend and add the finish touches on October 31st (Monday).

It's ambitious, but I'm feeling inspired and excited about the upcoming month. Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? What is your novel going to be about?

xo Marian

The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren

I’ve been wanting to read The Soulmate Equation for quite some time, so imagine my joy when my library hold came in. Oh happy day! I listened to the audiobook over the span of a couple of days and it was just the fun romance I needed right now.

Jess is a single mom with more than enough on her plate. She juggles being a single mom, looking after her grandparents, and being a freelance statistician. The last thing she needs is romance. But when she and her best friend happen upon a hot guy with an interesting invitation, everything in her life turns upside down.

River is one of the founders of a dating app, based off using genetics to help one find their soulmate. He meets Jess and her best friend in a coffee shop and invites them to come test out the program. The way he sees it, the more results the merrier!

But neither River nor Jess is prepared for the results.

I’m just going to show my hand right now and say that I loved this book and it’s a 5 star read for me.

How do I love this book? Let me count the ways…

1. The relationship between Jess and “her people”

It takes a tribe to raise a child and Jess has the best tribe around! Some of the conversations between her and her best friend Fizzy are so funny. I loved their relationship. Jess and her grandparents have a great relationship too, since they raised her since she was a little girl. And then there’s Juno, her feisty and hilarious young daughter.

2. The chemistry between Jess and River

I was listening to the audiobook at work one day and I was like oh no, I need to turn this off, this is too hot. Their relationship seemed doomed from the start but I would up loving River and Jess together. He was meant for her and it made me so happy when they went out on their first date and slowly got to know each other’s lives.

3. Decent communication

One of my least favorite things in romance novels is when everything could be solved if the characters would just talk to each other. So I really appreciated midway through the story when Jess was hesitant to talk to River but just blurted it all out. Communication is key. And although they did have some mishaps as the story went on, I loved how great and healthy their relationship was for everyone involved.

This is for sure going to be a book I reread over and over again.  I’m still pretty new to Christina Lauren but I’m looking forward to checking out even more of their work. I love The Soulmate Equation and am going to be daydreaming about how cute it was for quite some time.

Have you read The Soulmate Equation? What is your favorite Christina Lauren book?

XO Marian

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

Could ten days at a health resort really change you forever? In Liane Moriarty’s latest page-turner, nine perfect strangers are about to find out...

Nine people gather at a remote health resort. Some are here to lose weight, some are here to get a reboot on life, some are here for reasons they can’t even admit to themselves. Amidst all of the luxury and pampering, the mindfulness and meditation, they know these ten days might involve some real work. But none of them could imagine just how challenging the next ten days are going to be.

Frances Welty, the formerly best-selling romantic novelist, arrives at Tranquillum House nursing a bad back, a broken heart, and an exquisitely painful paper cut. She’s immediately intrigued by her fellow guests. Most of them don’t look to be in need of a health resort at all. But the person that intrigues her most is the strange and charismatic owner/director of Tranquillum House. Could this person really have the answers Frances didn’t even know she was seeking? Should Frances put aside her doubts and immerse herself in everything Tranquillum House has to offer – or should she run while she still can?

It’s not long before every guest at Tranquillum House is asking exactly the same question.

Combining all of the hallmarks that have made her writing a go-to for anyone looking for wickedly smart, page-turning fiction that will make you laugh and gasp, Liane Moriarty’s Nine Perfect Strangers once again shows why she is a master of her craft. (from

My Thoughts

I didn't love this book. I listened to the audiobook and there were quite a few things that bothered me. Most of the characters were unlikeable and the way the audiobook narrator did the voices for the characters made them feel even worse! I started out listening to this book on 1.5x speed but eventually moved all the way up to 2.10x speed. Haha. I just didn't want to give up because I was curious about where the story would go, but it was just way too long to listen to on regular speed.

To be fair, I'll make a list of what I liked and what I disliked. It truly is a unique story, even if it did go way far off in a direction that was illogical and hard to believe.

What I Liked:

  • The setting. As an American, I like Australian accents. Haha. Sue me.
  • The idea. A story set at a health retreat is a really cool idea. As you can imagine, all of the characters in this story meet at Tranquillum House, but that is pretty much the only thing they have in common. Each character is going through their own rough patch in life, and brings something different to the table.
  • The ending. I felt like the author did a good job of wrapping up this truly wild and insane book.

What I Didn't Like:

  • If I had listened to this audiobook on normal speed, it would have taken me 13 hours. That is way too long. It felt like there were a lot of character descriptions that were unnecessary. Certain scenes felt unnecessary to moving the plot along. This book could have been condensed in editing but for whatever reason they chose not to, and I think that weakened the book in the long run.
  • The audiobook narrator. To be fair, she might have been perfectly fine. But the characters were already annoying so when she did different voices for different people (like, she had this high pitched way of talking for Jessica) it was just very off putting and I had to turn down the volume.
  • The insanity. The book is just trudging along for a very long time and then about 50% through there's a plot twist that changes everything. I just didn't see any way that it all made sense.
  • I feel like to run the kind of business Masha does, she must have some kind of checks and balances system where there's somebody kind of looking over her business and making sure that things are running properly. At least in the real world I feel like it would be that way. Like there would be a president of the company or business advisor or someone who met with Masha on the regular to talk about finances and her business and the structure of her retreats.
  • All the Jessica hate. I feel like the author really made fun of her, just because of the fact that she's Instagram famous and aspires to live a 'gram-worthy life, when deep down she's really insecure and has her own set of issues.
  • The retreat was pretty insane from day 1, so I'm not sure why some of the smarter characters didn't just check out right away and go home. Lol.

I wasn't really feeling this book for much of my listening time, but now that I'm done with it I can reflect better on the story. I think it was an interesting idea that just wasn't executed in the best way. The cast is diverse and the characters are unique, but the writing just felt diluted, like there were so many extra words and scenes that didn't need to be there.

There's a show on Hulu that I'm looking forward to checking out, that is based off this book. I'm looking forward to seeing how closely they follow the plot of the book. And even if it's not good, it has Melissa McCarthy in it so at least there's that.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

My Netgalley Reading List (& Next 10 Reads)

One of my more ambitious reading goals for the second half of 2022 is that I would like to get my Netgalley approval rating up tp 75% by the end of the year. You see, I've fallen very behind on my review copies, through no fault but my own.

Currently I'm at 42%. So yes, I have quite a bit of reading to do!

As a way to organize my reading list and help me stay motivated, I thought I would share what my next ten reads from Netgalley will be.

My Next 10 Reads

1. A Vacation to Die for by Lynn Cahoon

2. Mrs. Clause and the Evil Elves by Liz Ireland

3. Book Lovers by Emily Henry

4. A Bride's Guide to Marriage and Murder by Dianne Freeman

5. Two Parts Sugar, One Part Murder by Valerie Burns

6. Peg and Rose Solve a Murder by Laurie Berenson

7. Renovated to Death by Frank Anthony Polito

8. A Catered Doggie Wedding by Isis Crawford

9. Death of an Ice Cream Scooper by Lee Hollis

10. The Family You Make by Jill Shalvis

Are you a member of Netgalley? What do you have on your reading list?

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Death at Holly Lodge by Louise R Innes

Ooh La La hair salon owner Daisy Thorne adores the Christmas cheer in her picturesque hometown of Edgemead, England. Excitement is extra high this year, as international pop star, Mimi Levant�, the village's newest resident, begins renovating historic Holly Lodge. But the charming country home's makeover is cut short by a shocking discovery--the body of a man, dressed as Santa Claus, jammed inside the house's chimney!

The secreted Santa is identified as Gregory Pearce, a local father who vanished on Christmas Eve two years ago. As the case moves from missing to murder, Daisy and dashing DCI Paul McGuinness begin combing through the clues of Christmases past. But the killer will go to great lengths to keep old crimes under wraps. Now, DCI McGuinness must protect Daisy as she tries to untangle the mystery before a merry murderer embarks on another slay ride. (from

My Thoughts

Death at Holly Lodge is the third book in the Daisy Thorne series by Louise R Innes. Although I haven’t read the first two books in this series I was able to jump right in to the town of Edgemead and get involved in the mystery.

I loved Daisy as a character because although she really does have the best of intentions, she just can’t seem to stop herself from trying to solve the case. See, while visiting Holly Lodge with her two friends Mimi and Floria, the renovation crew who is remodeling the house finds a body in the chimney.

And he just so happens to be a man wearing a red and white jumpsuit.

The friends are shocked. It’s not every day you find a dead body in your house, let alone the body of Santa Claus.

Daisy’s friends and coworkers at her salon were fun to read about. I loved the mentioned of gingerbread lattes and lots of gossip as they attempted to make it through the busy season, when everybody wants special nails or a new hairdo for Christmas.

Overall it was just a really fun world to dive into. The mystery was well developed and kept me guessing as the story unfolded. The tension between Daisy and DCI Mcguinness (who might also be her boyfriend, although she’s too scared to admit it) made me laugh at times. It was funny how he would try to tell her what to do. She would try her best to behave but there’s no stopping Daisy when a mystery is afoot.

If you like Christmas cozy mysteries you’re sure to like this one. I loved reading about Daisy and her friends at the salon, so I’m looking forward to checking out the first two books in the series.

Thank you to Netgalley and Kensington Books for a galley of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Have a Holly, Haunted Christmas by Lynn Cahoon

About the Book

Mia Malone is planning a holiday party to promote her catering and cooking school business—but she’s got a Christmas spirit to deal with first, in this new Kitchen Witch Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Lynn Cahoon . . .

For all its merriment, Christmas can also bring melancholy—and in Magic Springs, Idaho, Mia finds that the season has brought her an unhappy ghost who’s pulling poltergeist-style pranks to get her attention. When she demands an explanation, the ghost just sends a message: Ask Mary Alice—that is, Mia’s beloved Grans, who’s been training her to develop her witchy talents. If anyone can figure this out, it’s Grans . . . even if she still hasn’t managed to free Mia’s cat from a previous spell that she cast.

The restless spirit turns out to be Magic Spring’s most well-known ghost, Dorothy, who supposedly died peacefully in her sleep. Now Dorothy claims she was murdered, and she wants her killer brought to justice. And she doesn’t have much patience about it, so the pressure is on Mia—with some help from her boyfriend, Trent, and a strangely secretive Grans. There aren’t many dicing-and-chopping days till Christmas—but this year, the most important gift Mia can give is to cheer up this troubled spirit . . . 

My Thoughts

Have a Holly, Haunted Christmas by Lynn Cahoon is the newest release in the Kitchen Witch series. It’s about a woman named Mia Malone who has a meal prep business. She’s recently acquired an old school to be the home for her business (as well as the home for her and her employee Christina, who live in rooms upstairs). With the help of her boyfriend Trent and Grans (her grandmother) they’re preparing for the winter carnival in their small town of Magic Springs.

This novella is part of the middle of the series, and I kind of wish I had started at the beginning. While I did enjoy the book, I feel like the storytelling would have made more sense to me if I had started from the beginning. That way I would be familiar with the magic organization and whatnot.

I liked the magic/paranormal aspects of the story. I liked that magic is a well known thing (it is Magic Springs, after all) and that when Mia sees a ghost in her kitchen, no one questions her about it. They’re just like, “Ok. So you saw a ghost. Let’s figure out why.”

This novella is short and sweet but the mystery is interesting because it’s not one that Mia and her friends can solve alone. They need the help of her Grans, as well as a few of Grans’ friends, who were friends with the deceased.

Would I check out the rest of this series? Absolutely. I enjoyed the characters and the writing style. I just added the first book to my TBR list on goodreads, because I want to know about Mia, her business, and the little Idaho town of Magic Springs.