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Book Review: ‘Twas the Knife Before Christmas by Jacqueline Frost

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'Twas the Knife Before Christmas (A Christmas Tree Farm Mystery, #2)‘Twas the Knife Before Christmas by Jacqueline Frost

My rating: 4.25 of 5 stars

It’s Christmastime both in my current reality and in Mistletoe, Maine… but a whole year has passed since the debut book in the ‘A Christmas Tree Farm Mystery’ series by Jacqueline Frost. This second book, ‘Twas the Knife Before Christmas, picks up with Holly’s eventual settlement back home, a new friendship with reporter Ray, adventures with best friend Caroline, and romance with sorta boyfriend Evan (the sheriff!). Life’s good until Derek, a guy who was too handsy with Caroline, ends up knifed in a candy display. Did Caroline kill him in revenge? Her high-powered father? A stalker crush who seems to want to protect her? Or some colleague of Derek’s who thought he was a threat? Holly is determined to protect her bestie but she starts getting threatening notes again just like last time. Are the crimes connected?

I won this book through a cozy giveaway, but I went back and ordered the first one on my own so I could be ready and current on the series. I’m thrilled to have stumbled upon it and would definitely recommend the series as a definite holiday read. Holly is a great protagonist who only has a few pushy moments while trying to solve the murder; they’re necessary and make her even more relatable. The town is visibly pictured as a result of Frost’s wonderful descriptions and writing style. The little fun factors (Theodore the goat, Cindy Lou Who the cat, Cookie the rich neighbor… the list goes on) make it even more enjoyable.

The murder is clever. The list of suspects is believable. The investigation is paced well — not too slow, not too fast. The way the criminal is captured is kinda cool. And the resolution to all the stories is a great end to the book. I am thrilled about the character of Libby. She seems like she could really be an asset in the town but also shake it up a little. Only 23 but quite smart and worldly already. I’m very excited about this new series but sad I’ll have to wait a full year to read the next one. I’m also curious if the series will skip a year again or pick up sometime mid-year. Kudos to the author and publisher for providing a copy thru the giveaway contest. 4.25 stars!

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. There are two books: Academic Curveball and Broken Heart Attack. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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Book Review: Twelve Slays of Christmas by Jacqueline Frost

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Twelve Slays of Christmas: A Christmas Tree Farm MysteryTwelve Slays of Christmas: A Christmas Tree Farm Mystery by Jacqueline Frost

My rating: 4.25 of 5 stars

Until a few weeks ago, I’d never heard of this author or series. I entered a giveaway contest for a cozy mystery group and won the second book late last week. Since I usually try to read in order, and I had some time this week, I got a copy of this first book, Twelve Slays of Christmas, from the ‘A Christmas Tree Farm Mystery’ series by Jacqueline Frost and devoured it throughout the last 24 hours. I needed a little Christmas cheer this week and this book brought it!

Who wouldn’t love a series about Christmas on a tree farm in Maine? I dream of moving to Maine one day, so this was a good alignment for me as a reader. I have a few other Christmas series I enjoy, and now I’ll be adding this one to the list of regulars. Holly White was dumped by her fiance just weeks before her Christmas Eve wedding. She trudges home feeling sad but hopeful for a new life. She’s just in time to help her parents coordinate and run their annual holiday shenanigans. This year they’ve added fun new Reindeer Games for 12 days to help bring spirit to the town. At least until a prominent member of the town’s historical society threatens to shut them down for falling out of ancient building or land code. But then… the poor woman’s found bludgeoned to death by the very wooden tree signs she complained about to Holly’s father. Which citizen was so angry (s)he took matters into their own hands? Holly’s determined to find out all the while fighting her attraction to the sheriff who’s moved to town from Boston to get away from major crimes. I guess life never goes the way you plan, huh?

As a new series, it’s off to a great start. I really like Holly and Evan (the sheriff). It will turn romantic, which will be fine, but I’m hopeful that’s not the center of the stories. There is also a younger guy, a reporter she knew years ago, who might give the sheriff some competition. And Caroline is a charming potential best friend, not to mention the cute and lovable parents and employees at the tree farm. I like the premise and the setting. The writing is good and felt natural for most of the narrative and dialog, only a few forced areas which I believe will disappear as the series matures. There’s a mature subtle humor at times, but it definitely still falls within the cozy realm. I recommend it for all cozy fans and holiday story readers alike.

I’m giving 4.25 stars to this debut and feel really excited to dive into the second one later this month — ‘Twas the Knife Before Christmas. Sounds scary!

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. There are two books: Academic Curveball and Broken Heart Attack. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.