My Thoughts on Christmas at the Grange by T. E. Kinsey

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

We are going back in time to December 2019. I did read this story then and somehow the review has been in my drafts ever since – even though I could have sworn I posted it?   


I am now a massive supporter of the Lady Hardcastle mysteries. The characters are beginning to feel like people I know.

Christmas at the Grange felt like a full-length novel, opposed to a short story that takes no more than an hour to read. It is set at The Grange, the home of The Farley-Stroud’s. They are one of my favourite couples in books, so good to learn more about them and their home. While I feel a lot of short stories are a cast-off idea and fall short, Christmas at the Grange did not. It had a great idea, the usual brilliant dialogue between the characters and is a lot of fun.

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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: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

Amazon /Barnes & Noble / Book Depository

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: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / Waterstones / Foyles

(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!