My thoughts on A STAC Murder Mystery #4 A Murder for Christmas by David W. Robinson.

Title: A Murder for Christmas

Author: David W. Robinson

Publisher: Crooked Cat Books

Pages: 253

Date Published: October 27th 2012

Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

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glitter maker

glitter maker

I have not read a book of this genre since Rankin’s Rebus where the book is completely engaging because of its setting and characters. The plot, the pacing, the setting of A Murder for Christmas was brilliant. The characters felt authentic. They were not perfect, which makes it so much more believable because you don’t agree with everything the character says or does. The three characters, Joe and Sheila and Brenda, had a great relationship with each other. The dialogue was great too. I had to laugh at a lot of the wit in this book.

But the slut shaming from not only the male characters, but the female characters, as real as that came across, because I know there are people all over the country that do believe that way of behaving is correct, made me hope the younger generation are moving away from that kind of attitude. It was difficult to read sometimes. The descriptions of the women made me feel uncomfortable too. although that was in keeping with the characters themselves, (pretty sleazy male characters) and how they seem to treat women as sexual objects.

You could also make a case that A Murder for Christmas is old fashioned, but I am old fashioned anyway, and I prefer a vintage murder mystery.

Faults aside A Murder for Christmas has got a lot about it to recommend.


🎄 Festive Fun. Love and Lies at the Village Christmas Shop by @PortiaMacintosh

Title: Love and Lies at the Village Christmas Shop

Author: Portia Macintosh

Publisher: HQ Digital

Pages: 208

Date Published: October 8th 2018

Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

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(I was given an ARC copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley (thanks!) All opinions expressed here are voluntary, honest, and my own)

The Christmas Shop is a family run business open all year round. Ivy took over the ownership after her mother died. Her father died when she was a child. It’s December, and business is slow. This is due to the location of the shop now not being by the main road into town. Ivy is also worried because she’s in danger of eviction and her livelihood, and home, could be knocked down and replaced by holiday homes by businessman Sebastian. Who she happens to find rather attractive. Add to her worries her twin sister Holly is behaving out of character.

And so the story ensues where Ivy is trying to raise the money to buy the shop herself, and coming up with new ways to bring in customers, including a Santa. Santa is a tattooed man called Gaz, and I’m sure everyone knows a Gaz. The love and lies plays out between Sebastian and Ivy. I loved the interaction between the pair.

The one liners are funny ‘It’s true what they say: men are like buses. And, no, I don’t mean they’re dirty, unreliable, and will let just about anyone ride them. I mean you go from having none in your life, only for two to come along at once.’ 😂

I identified with Ivy completely as she’s a reader, especially with these lines ‘I do feel guilty, buying books when money isn’t exactly great, but the day I begrudge myself a £3.99 book (when reading is my favourite thing to do) is the day I really need to think about selling a kidney.’ There is a poignancy in the book, exploring grief and life too. Sebastian and Ivy bond over the fact that neither of them, really, have a life. They have both isolated themselves, and concentrated on their work. I loved the setting of Marram Bay.

Love and Lies is a compelling festive read. I can’t think of a reason not to give it five stars!


💭 My thoughts on Redeemable A Memoir of Darkness &Hope by Erwin James.

Title: Redeemable A memoir of Darkness &Hope

Author: Erwin James

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Pages: 355

Date Published: 11th Feb 2016

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

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One of the things I try to find in a book that is memoir is how that person, from great adversity, turns their life around. Whether that is from a childhood of neglect, or a kind of addiction, or something in later life that causes trauma. Often I don’t think anybody can pinpoint the turning point, because scars can run deeper than surface wounds, and regaining your self-worth, and achieving your goals, can’t be done with a snap of the fingers. With Redeemable A memoir of Darkness and Hope by Erwin James I felt that arc was easy to see. He had an unstable childhood, without any boundaries, after the death of his mother, and then he had problems with alcohol. His life spun out of control. Some of the passages of his years as a young man were harrowing. Eventually Erwin was arrested and sent to prison for murder. It was in prison his attitude began to change. That’s when therapy, talking to someone, and writing about his experiences while in prison helped him to make peace with his past, and himself. I found it inspiring. It’s never easy to change.


📚 Library of Absolution by Jennifer Derrick

Anything with library in the title, am I right? 😉


Library of Absolution
Jennifer Derrick
(Legacy of the Book Mesmer, #1)
Published by: Crimson Tree Publishing
Publication date: December 17th 2018
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Alarick Brandon is the powerful wizard who operates The Keep, a refuge for magical people fleeing the persecution of the Ministry. A bitter realist, Alarick knows it’s only a matter of time until the Ministry succeeds in eradicating magic from the world—and exterminating all magical beings—so he has been careful to avoid any personal involvement with the people who pass through his sanctuary.

But when Elissa Stone arrives at The Keep, her village a smoldering ruin, and only her magical talent and a forbidden library left to her name, Alarick’s ordered world descends into chaos. Elissa is a Book Mesmer, a magical talent long believed extinct. She can enchant books, making them indestructible, unreadable…even deadly to unauthorized readers. But while her magic can secure a legacy for future magical generations, it’s not a skill that’s good in a fight, and certainly not one that Alarick sees any real use for. But there’s something compelling about a woman who defies the Ministry’s edicts against female literacy, and she seems determined to prove that knowledge is a weapon in its own right…

The first installment in an enticing new fantasy series by author Jennifer Derrick, The Library of Absolution is a compelling story of perseverance and determination in the face of persecution, in a Dark Age where hope is lost—and knowledge is the only thing left to fight for.

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EXCERPT:

“You told me you left to look for books,” Alarick said.

“I did, in part. That wasn’t a total fabrication. I figured if I was leaving I might as well make the effort. If I was going to get killed by the Ministry, it should be in the service of something larger than myself. Fool that I was,” she whispered.

Alarick ignored the last part. She was only stating a fact. There was no need for him to comment further on her foolishness.

“But you had no intention of returning?” he asked. “Because of something you found in my library?”

The thought of her leaving with no intention to return gutted him. It was bad enough she’d wanted to leave at all; to put her safety at risk for the sake of some books. It was bad enough that he had failed to keep her safe; to understand what she meant to do until it was too late.

But even at the worst of it, he’d believed she intended to return to him. To the Keep. That was why he’d gone after her, because he believed she still wanted to be here. That she’d intended to run away forever was unthinkable. That he’d risked his life for someone who had run from him, who wanted nothing to do with him, was galling.

He choked back his rage and sorrow, replacing them with cool disdain.

“Well, then, are you going to tell me just what was so terrible that it would make you flee and never come back? I’m aware that nothing in that library paints me in a flattering light, but you already knew of my unpleasantness. Surely the disjointed ramblings of a young man could not be quite so damning,” Alarick said.

Of course, he knew the truth. There were some secrets in there so damning he could imagine exactly why she wanted to run from him. It was why he kept that room protected. Damn her for finding it. Damn her for finding him.

She turned her head away from him. Not that it mattered. She couldn’t see him. But he wasn’t going to let her damn his soul and cast him out of her life without at least facing him while she did it. He reached over and with gentle pressure turned her chin toward him.

“If you expect me to forgive you for your trespass, you will at least face me while you tell me exactly what sort of monster you believe me to be,” he said.

“I’d rather you tell me the story as the man you are now, not the boy who did the things I read. Tell me there’s a better ending to your story. Tell me that you are not the monster.”

He laughed at that.

“Would that I could,” he said. “But since you read my books, I’m certain you know there is no redemption for me. That is why you left, isn’t it?”

“No. I didn’t leave because I feared you to be irredeemable. My time with you has taught me that there is more to you than the boy in those books. I left because I feared there was no place for me in your story. And that I could not bear.”

He was about to say something, but suddenly he couldn’t remember what it was. What had she said? She hadn’t left because of his past deeds, but because she was afraid he had no place for her? Was that possibly right? He struggled to make sense of it in his brain. He’d expected condemnation, not… Was it disappointment he heard in her voice?

Before he could sort out a proper response, she said, “I’ve read your grimoire. It’s terrifying. Start with why you took such an interest in dark magic and go from there.”

Alarick said nothing at first. Why had he taken an interest in dark magic? The question was better phrased as, “Why not?” He looked at Elissa. She might not be able to see him, but she had an uncanny ability to focus on his face as though she could. And something in her eyes compelled him to tell the story that he’d never told anyone in its entirety.

Author Bio:

Jennifer is a freelance writer and novelist. As a freelancer, she writes everything from technical manuals to articles on personal finance and European-style board games. Her interest in storytelling began when she was six and her parents gave her a typewriter for Christmas and agreed to pay her $.01 per page for any stories she churned out. Such a loose payment system naturally led to a lot of story padding. Broken Fate, her first novel, earned her $2.80 from her parents.

Jennifer lives in North Carolina and, when not writing, can often be found reading, trawling the shelves at the library, playing board games, watching sports, camping, running marathons, and playing with her dog. You can visit her at her official website: JenniferDerrick.com.

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