Posted in Reading List

Have Yourself a Merry Little Hallmark Christmas!

Hello, friends! So, is it beginning to look a lot like Christmas where you live? I’d say it is here.  We had our first snow flurries yesterday, and when I was at the mall, it looked like Santa and his elves were ready to appear at any moment!

Doesn’t that put you in the mood for some lighthearted holiday reads?  I’m absolutely ready for some great Christmas titles, and for amazing options, you don’t need to look any further than Hallmark!  We all know to look to The Hallmark Channel or to Hallmark Movies & Mysteries for enchanting Christmas movies, but as promised in a recent post, I want to highlight Hallmark Publishing’s warm and cozy Christmas books.

Here are a couple of Hallmark’s newest holiday releases, both of which I’m planning to read in the coming season!

(This post contains affiliate links, which allow me the opportunity to earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you.  Please see my policies for further information.)



The Christmas Company by Alys Murray:

The small town of Miller’s Point is known across the country for their annual Dickensian Christmas festival. When the celebration is threatened by Clark Woodward, a miserly, big-city businessman, Kate Buckner steps up to save her hometown, their traditions, and her favorite holiday. But, along the way, she realizes that the man she’s trying to protect her town from might need some rescuing of his own.

With a lot of heart and a little Christmas magic, Kate is convinced she can teach Clark to love her favorite holiday. But can such different people learn to open up and love each other?

Get The Christmas Company:     Amazon     Barnes & Noble


A Timeless Christmas by Alexis Stanton:

Megan Turner is in love with the past. As a tour guide at a beautiful historic mansion, she tells visitors about its original owner, Charles Whitley. An inventor and businessman in the early 1900s, he rose from poverty to wealth…only to disappear without a trace.

Charles was always intrigued by the future. He just never expected to go there. But when he repairs a mysterious clock he bought on his travels, he’s transported to the twenty-first century, with his home decorated for Christmas and overrun by strangers.

Charles is determined to find a way back to his own era, especially when he learns about what happened after he left. But as Megan introduces him to the wonders of smartphones, pizza, and modern holiday traditions, they both feel a once-in-a-lifetime connection. Could it be that, somewhere in time, they belong together?

Get A Timeless Christmas:     Amazon     Barnes & Noble

Both of these sound like the perfect book to read in front of Christmas lights, cozied up with a soft blanket and a steaming mug of hot chocolate!

Want to see more great Hallmark Christmas titles?  Check out my Amazon Idea list:

Christmas Books from Hallmark Publishing

Now… I realize some of you aren’t *quite* ready for Christmas yet!  That’s okay… Hallmark has you covered for great fall reads as well.  Try this one, which I read and loved last month:

October Kiss: Based on the Hallmark Channel Original Movie

October Kiss by Kristen Ethridge:

Poppy’s tried a lot of things. Yoga instruction. Pizza making. So far, none of them have seemed like her thing. Still, she doesn’t have to know where her life is headed to live it with enthusiasm.

Ever since his wife’s death, Ryan’s thrown himself into his work. Launching a successful new app will secure his children’s future…even if it means he can’t spend much time with them now.

As a short-term nanny for Ryan’s children, Poppy brings some much-needed fun and laughter. She’s never been one to commit, so why is she feeling so attached to these children…and even more, to their dad? Could it be she’s found her place at last?

Get October Kiss:     Amazon     Barnes & Noble

So, what do you think?  Have you read any Hallmark Publishing titles in the past?  Any of these going on your list in the coming weeks?  Drop a note in the comments and let me know your favorite Christmas book… happy reading!

Posted in Reading List

Three Very *Cozy* Reasons to Look Forward to September 25th! (Updated with review links!)

This post was originally published in August 2018, and has been updated with new product and review links!

Oh, Autumn, how I love thee!!  Apple cider, sweaters, fiery colored leaves, bonfires, and apple and pumpkin flavored and scented EVERYTHING!  It’s all so cozy!

If I could live in a world where the rest of the seasons were about a month each, and then fall took up most of the year… well, it sounds heavenly, and if you know where to find *that* world, sign me up!

Untitled design

Picturing a cozy autumn scene like this, and noticing the calendar ready to change over from August to September, it’s easy to look forward to fall!  Well today, I have three more COZY reasons to look forward to this month and to the upcoming season… specifically, to the last week of September!  And those cozy reasons are, of course… cozy mysteries!

The Cozy Mystery List Blog lists more than 30 new mysteries that will be released in September 2018, most of them cozies!

(Need a refresher on what a cozy mystery is? Check out this Book Notes post where I describe the genre and review a great cozy title.

There are three of these titles in particular that I’m looking forward to, and they all happen to release on September 25th!  These are all part of different cozy series of which I’ve already read some (or all) of the previous titles!  None of them are actually set in the thick of a pumpkin-apple-bonfire fall theme.  One is set in a tourist destination on Labor Day weekend, so you can relive the end of summer, and the other two are Christmas themed so you can get an early taste of the holidays, or save them for getting you into the Christmas spirit!

Take a look at these three amazing books!

Update:  I’ve read and reviewed ALL of these titles, and below, I’ll link to my Book Notes review post for each.

(This post contains affiliate links, which allow me the opportunity to earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you.  Please see my policies for further information.)


Christmas Cake Murder, Joanne Fluke

Christmas Cake Murder (A Hannah Swensen Mystery)

Christmas Cake Murder is the latest installment in Fluke’s Hannah Swensen Mystery series.  I’ve read this series from the very beginning, and it’s been sweet and fun.  I admit to being a little lukewarm on it for the last few books, mainly because of the love interest situations.  (I won’t spoil it here for those who haven’t read that far!)  But that piece is getting interesting again, and in the meantime, I’m really looking forward to this installment that flashes back to Hannah’s younger years.   From Goodreads:

It’s Christmas many years ago, and topping young Hannah Swensen’s wish list is becoming the go-to baker in Lake Eden, Minnesota. But as Hannah finds out, revisiting holiday memories can be murder . . .
With her dream of opening The Cookie Jar taking shape, Hannah’s life matches the hectic December hustle and bustle in Lake Eden—especially when she agrees to help recreate a spectacular Christmas Ball from the past in honor of Essie Granger, an elderly local in hospice care. But instead of poring over decadent dessert recipes for the merry festivities, she instantly becomes enthralled by Essie’s old notebooks and the tale of a woman escaping danger on the streets of New York. Hannah’s surprised by Essie’s secret talent for penning crime fiction. She’s even more surprised when the story turns real. As Hannah prepares to run a bakery and move out of her mother’s house, it’ll be a true miracle if she can prevent another Yuletide disaster by solving a mystery as dense as a Christmas fruitcake.

My review:  Book Notes: “Christmas Cake Murder” by Joanne Fluke

Forever Fudge, Nancy Coco

Forever Fudge (A Candy-coated Mystery)

I love this cute series, the Candy Coated Mysteries, set on Michigan’s Mackinac Island!  If you haven’t visited this area, it’s definitely a trip worth making.  I’m planning to do a full review of this title, where I’ll talk about the series and share some highlights of a trip I took to Mackinac a few years back!

If you want to get caught up on the series, you can start with the first book, All Fudged Up!  In the meantime, check out the description of the latest book, Forever Fudge, from Goodreads:

When a film crew comes to Mackinac Island, the last thing fudge shop owner Allie McMurphy expects to find is a murder victim . . .

It’s Labor Day weekend, the official end of tourist season, and the beginning of a whole batch of trouble. First, the island is invaded by a TV crew filming a murder mystery pilot, and handsome Hollywood heartthrob Dirk Benjamin needs Allie’s help to prep for his role as local cop Rex Manning. Then, Allie’s bichonpoo Mal sniffs out a real murder in the alley behind the Historic McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop, a man shot in the head–with a note challenging amateur sleuth Allie to catch the culprit. Like it or not, the fudge maker has to square off against a crazy killer–but this time she may have bitten off more than she can chew . . .

My review:  Book Notes: “Forever Fudge” by Nancy Coco

Premeditated Peppermint, Amanda Flower

Premeditated Peppermint (An Amish Candy Shop Mystery)

I’ve read quite a few books set in Amish country over the years, and always enjoy the cozy feeling they offer!  Premeditated Peppermint is the third installment in Amanda Flower’s Amish Candy Shop mystery series.  Once more, from Goodreads:

Christmas is Bailey King’s favorite time of year. For her first Yuletide in Harvest, Ohio, the former big-city chocolatier is recreating a cherished holiday treat: peppermint combined with molten white chocolate. But her sugar high plummets when her former boyfriend walks into the candy shop she now runs with her Amish grandmother. New York celebrity chef Eric Sharp and his TV crew have arrived to film an authentic Amish Christmas. Bailey’s not about to let her beloved town—and Swissmen Sweets—be turned into a sound bite. Unfortunately, she gets more publicity than she bargained for when Eric’s executive producer is found strangled to death—and Eric’s the prime suspect.

With Bailey’s sheriff deputy boyfriend out to prove Eric’s guilt, her bad-boy ex tries to sweet-talk her into helping him clear his name . . . and rekindle their romance to boost ratings for his show. Now, between a surplus of suspects and a victim who wasn’t who she seemed, Bailey’s edging dangerously close to a killer who isn’t looking to bring joy to the world—or to Bailey—this deadly Noel.

My review:  Book Notes: “Premeditated Peppermint” by Amanda Flower

Wow… so, in addition to the other similarities, I just realized these titles are *all* about food.  More specifically, sugar.  That seems about right, somehow.  You’ll notice none are about cauliflower.  Oops.

(Note:  With two of these books highlighting the Christmas season, now is a great time to add them to your holiday reading list!)

Well… go grab a hot chocolate and a pumpkin bar, and pre-order one of these great titles!  Happy reading, and happy AUTUMN!