Monday, November 28, 2011

Celebrate With Books

‘Tis the season to celebrate and a wonderful way to celebrate is with books. Today I want to highlight several books that feature a Christmas theme and one that doesn’t. All of these books, however, would make great gifts for any occasion.

A HOLIDAY YARN by Sally Goldenbaum

9780451232878In Sea Harbor the scent of snow fills the salty air, and at Izzy’s Seaside Studio, the Seaside Knitters feast on cookies, knit their gifts, and plan their gatherings. And Mary Pisano is transforming the estate she inherited from her grandfather into a bed-and-breakfast. 

But then Mary’s cousin Pamela is found dead on the B and B’s snowy back porch, and as the holiday draws nigh, the four friends will need all their crafty know-how to solve the crime. 

The national bestselling series that “will draw readers to return time and again to Sea Harbor.” (Carolyn Hart)
This is the fourth installment in the Seaside Knitters Mystery series.

Author Sally Goldenbaum’s website is

A Holiday Yarn by Sally Goldenbaum, A Seaside Knitters Mystery, Obsidian Trade, @2011, ISBN: 9780451232878, Paperback, 272 Pages


9780451234834A Christmas killer has been icing Phyllis Newsom’s friends in THE GINGERBREAD BUMP-OFF, the sixth installment in the Fresh-Baked Mystery series. 

Not only will Phyllis' house be featured in the annual Christmas Jingle Bell Tour of Homes, she also has a Christmas Eve bridal shower and a New Year’s Eve wedding to bake goodies for. But like her tasty treats, she rises to the occasion. 

Before the tour gets under way, Phyllis hears a crash on her front porch and makes a gruesome discovery. Someone has broken a decorative gingerbread man over Georgia’s head, trying to kill her. As Santa’s naughty list gets longer, Phyllis tries to catch a half-baked killer. 

THE GINGERBREAD BUMP-OFF is the 6th installment in the Fresh-Baked Mystery series, but is a stand alone book. There are delicious recipes added at the end of the book for a tasty bonus.

Author Livia J. Washburn’s website is

The Gingerbread Bump-Off by Livia J. Washburn, A Fresh-Baked Mystery, Obsidian Trade, @2011, ISBN: 9780451234834, Paperback, 304 Pages

HERALD OF DEATH by Kate Kingsbury

9780425243350A dark spirit threatens the Pennyfoot’s shiny and bright Christmas... The Christmas Angel is a welcome sight during the winter season—but not this year. 

A killer is afoot in Badger’s End, cutting a lock of hair from his victims and sticking a gold angel on their foreheads. Cecily Sinclair Baxter already promised her husband that she’d take a hiatus from sleuthing. But three killings have created a blizzard of bad publicity—and guests are canceling their hotel reservations. 

Cecily does some checking but all seems unrelated. Then the killer claims a fourth and fifth victim, obviously not slowing down for the holidays. So Cecily will have to find the angel of death before he strikes again, leaving murder under the tree... 

This is the 19th installment in the Pennyfoot Hotel Mystery series.

For more on author Kate Kingsburg, check out her page at Berkley at

Herald of Death by Kate Kingsburg, A Special Pennyfoot Hotel Mystery, Berkley Trade, @2011, ISBN: 9780425243350, Paperback, 304 Pages

9780425243572Ring in the season with another Mrs. Jeffries tale of holiday homicide. 

She keeps house for Inspector Witherspoon…and keeps him on his toes. Everyone’s awed by his Scotland Yard successes, but they don’t know about his secret weapon. No matter how messy the murder or how dirty the deed, Mrs. Jeffries’ polished detective skills are up to the task proving that behind every great man there’s a woman and that a crime solver’s work is never done.

Under a bundle of mistletoe, art collector Daniel McCourt lies with his throat slit, a bloody sword next to his body. Inspector Witherspoon is determined to solve the case—preferably before the eggnog is ladled out on Christmas Eve—but of course he will require assistance from the always sharp-witted housekeeper, Mrs. Jeffries, who has a few of her own theories on why McCourt had to die by the sword. 

This is the 29th installment in the Victorian Mystery series.

Author Emily Brightwell’s website is

Mrs. Jeffries and the Mistletoe Mix-Up by Emily Brightwell, A Victorian Mystery, Berkley, @2011, ISBN: 9780425243572, Hardcover, 272 Pages

JOURNEY TO DIE FOR by Radine Trees Nehring

2370002787888A day trip to a quiet historical community on an excursion train sounds like the perfect way to celebrate an 8-month anniversary.

Are at least that’s what Henry and Carrie King were hoping for. The retired couple boarded the restored train in Springdale and headed for Van Buren in hopes of a fun trip of shopping and sightseeing. But when the couple discovers a dead body floating in the river in Van Buren, it becomes a murder mystery. Henry, a former cop, and Carrie are soon caught up in the hunt for a killer.

As the investigation gets underway there’s greed, corruption, and even a treasure hunt. This is an action-filled, fast-pace read that will keep you entertained and guessing from the first whistle blow until the end.

Author Radine Trees Nehring does a wonderful job blending historical facts about trains and Arkansas with the cozy murder mystery. Her protagonists, Henry and Carrie, are realistic and refreshing. Nehring shows that retirees can be very active and lots of fun.

JOURNEY TO DIE FOR is the 6th installment in the Something To Die For Mystery series, but is a stand alone read. An added bonus, a number of yummy recipes are included at the end of the story.

Author Radine Trees Nehring’s website is

Journey To Die For by Radine Trees Nehring, A Something To Die For Mystery, Wolfmont Press, @2010, ISBN: 9781603640206, Paperback, 290 Pages

FTC Full Disclosure - This book was sent to me by the author’s publicist in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

**Author Joanne Kennedy was scheduled to guest blog today, but due to unforeseen circumstances wasn’t able to. Hopefully we’ll be able to re-schedule her post at a later date.**

Do you enjoy books about travel or with Christmas-themes? Thanks so much for stopping by today. 


  1. Mason - Oh, those are great ideas for holiday mystery giving. I'm glad you included the Emily Brightwell. Mrs. Jeffries is an interesting character. You always choose such really interesting books to share :-).

  2. My daughter was just looking for Christmas-themed books yesterday, I'll definitely pass these suggestions along to her ...

  3. Margot, thank you for the kind words. Mrs. Jeffries is a delightful character and a perfect treat for Christmas reading.

  4. Joanne, these are all fun Christmas themes (even though there is murder involved). Hope your daughter likes the suggestions.

  5. These covers all look so bright and happy and Christmasy! Hard to believe murder is involved LOL.

  6. Books make for great gifts - I really like receiving books as gifts myself.
    And what delightful titles you've listed!

    Interested in book reviews? Listen to The Book Report for really interesting author interviews, audio book previews and much more! Check out their site for a listing of stations and times the show is broadcast on:

  7. The Gingerbread Bump Off brings such wonderful imagery! I'll have to read it just to see how far off base I am.

  8. Those are great ideas! I've bought a bunch of books for Christmas so far, and I'm not done yet! :)


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.