THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST – A Molly Murphy Mystery – by Rhys Bowen

cover117819-medium

My publicist friends at Minotaur books offered me a review e-copy of the latest Molly Murphy mystery and of course I said yes!! I believe I have read all of the other Molly mysteries. I love a historical mystery, and I love reading about New York at the turn of the century. This time, Molly, husband Daniel, and baby Liam are headed out to Connecticut for the holidays at a house filled with sadness from the loss of a child ten years before. Molly herself has recently lost a child through miscarriage and she is still healing. As always, there’s a realness to these characters that make them very believable and easy to relate to.

Here’s the overview via Amazon:

Semi-retired private detective Molly Murphy Sullivan is suffering from depression after a miscarriage following her adventure in San Francisco during the earthquake of 1906. She and her husband, Daniel, are invited for Christmas at a mansion on the Hudson, and they gratefully accept, expecting a peaceful and relaxing holiday season. Not long after they arrive, however, they start to feel the tension in the house’s atmosphere. Then they learn that the host couple’s young daughter wandered out into the snow ten years ago and was never seen again. Molly can identify with the mother’s pain at never knowing what happened to her child and wants to help, but there is so little to go on. No ransom note. No body ever found. But Molly slowly begins to suspect that the occupants of the house know more than they are letting on. Then, on Christmas Eve, there is a knock at the door and a young girl stands there. “I’m Charlotte,” she says. “I’ve come home.”

****************************************************

While I do love these books, I did find this wrap-up a bit hard to believe, but I liked it anyway. It’s Christmas time — give me happy endings!!

Thank you for my review e-copy!

 

TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS by Debbie Macomber

cover91625-medium (1).png

Nothing warms my heart like a Debbie Macomber title – especially at this time of year. This one came out well in advance of the holiday season and is a sweet story of romance and the holidays, family life and the power of kindness.

Description

Saturday Snapshot: A Few More from NYC!

Here are a few more pictures from our trip to New York City for New Years:

The decorations are amazing at this time of year! Here are the kids standing by a random beautiful wreath!

IMG_0271

Here’s the Empire State Building all lit up at night!

IMG_0282

We always to go to Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral – here’s the kreche – almost lifesize – at St. Pat’s.

IMG_0246

The Empire State Building had a whole lot of great displays for the holidays!

IMG_0253

The infamous tree at Rockefeller Center!

IMG_0234

Speaking of St. Pat’s — it has been under reconstruction for a while — looking good, but still a long way to go!

IMG_0237

Decorations!

IMG_0240 IMG_0242 IMG_0243

We love NYC!

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Melinda at westmetromommy.blogspot.com

Check her site for participation details!

Three for Christmas — from the Ho Ho Ho Readathon

I had a great time reading and participating in the Ho Ho Ho Holiday Readathon this past week! I set a goal of three books for myself, and I easily reached it (I also finished two more to review and started a third – guess I had time to read!).

The first book I read was A NEW YORK CHRISTMAS by Anne Perry. In this novel (and apparently Anne Perry writes a Christmas novel every year) it is 1904 and Jemima Pitt has accompanied her friend Phinny to New York from England for Phinny’s marriage. Poor Phinny doesn’t have much family and her mother left her while she was quite young under what seems to be mysterious and unfavorable circumstances. Jemima is hardly there when a dead body shows up – Phinny’s long-lost mother – and Jemima appears to be the main suspect in her killing (though with little motive). Determined to prove her innocence, Jemima joins forces with local policeman Patrick Flannery to figure out who the real killer is.

This was a fun read – and very quick for me (a few hours – less than 200 pages). Call me stupid but I never could figure out exactly WHY the murder took place and what it served. It seemed to stir up a lot of trouble, that’s for sure.

This was my first Anne Perry book, but she has a legion of fans and several other Christmas stories.

Thanks, Net Galley, for my copy!

Next I read CHRISTMAS TRUCE by Aaron Shepard. This was a children’s picture book that I got a pdf of from Net Galley. It tells the story of the WWI Christmas truce in fighting between the front lines of British and German men. This was a beautiful (and true) tale, with lovely illustrations by Wendy Edelson. Great for a read aloud to children!

Finally, from Blogging for Books, I got The 13th Gift: A True Story of a Christmas Miracle by Joanne Huist Smith. I just loved this book. This author lost her husband unexpectedly in the fall of 1999. They had three children, aged 10 to 17. That Christmas was incredibly painful and difficult for them. This true story tells how some unknown “true friends” delivered to them small surprise gifts each day leading up to Christmas and, in essence, helped them to feel the spirit of Christmas again. Not only was this a heart-wrenching read, especially because the grief was so poignant on these pages, but it was so inspiring to read the end and how the whole 13 gifts tradition got started, why, and how. What a beautiful and inspiring story — truly a favorite Christmas read for me.