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Let It Snow–love, snow, and family

Let It Snow

by Sue Moorcroft

Let It SnowCome along for a peek at a British view of Christmas and snow with side trips to Switzerland where Lily and the Middletones, a motley crew of adults and teens, really experience snow with accumulated depth. They embark on a trip that displays the musical talents of the informal singing group as well as Lily’s work as an exhibition artist at a Swiss Christmas Market in Sue Moorcroft’s Let It Snow.

There are lots of complex relationships to watch develop. The back story is critical as Lily and Zinnia are sisters with two “mums,” Patsie and Roma, a situation that caused them grief from classmates as children and later from other adults. Zinnia’s biological father was an anonymous sperm donor, but Lily discovers as an adult that her conception was the result of a heterosexual affair between her mother and a much older man. Her desire to meet her other family upsets both her mothers and her sister, and she is fearful of how her brothers will respond to meeting her. Lily’s family situation gets tied into the pub she works at part time and her business endeavors in Switzerland. Lily has a romantic entanglement with Isaac, the temporary manager of the pub. Their relationship gets complicated when Isaac’s ex re-enters the picture.

I enjoyed watching the intermingling of lives and surprising conflicts that prove to make the story even more interesting. Moorcroft is a master of enticement with setting and mood. I really wanted to be at that Swiss Christmas Market with expensive cuckoo clocks and chocolates. I had visions of hot chocolate, bratwurst, and fondue (but not all at the same time) transferring to my tastebuds. When Lily stood up for herself, I was proud. When she was in physical or emotional pain, I felt for her. Lots of good outcomes make for a happy conclusion, but this tale is close enough to life that not everyone experiences a fairytale ending.

An added bonus to this story is the inclusion of some excitable kids—it is Christmas, after all. An equally enthusiastic Dalmatian named Doggo  accompanies his humans to Switzerland and is quite accommodating to whatever adventures come his way.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Avon Books (U.K.) for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

Category: General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction

Publication:   September 26, 2019—Avon Books (U.K.)

Memorable Lines:

Feelings don’t always take account of right or logic or justice. They come from inside and sometimes they’re all that matter.

As they reached the car park, fresh flakes of snow began, stinging skin like love bites from the Snow Queen.

‘Pretty,’ Lily breathed, eyes reflecting the thousand lights suspended like stars in the night sky above rows of stalls like little red chalets with snow on the roofs. Each stall glittered with stars and lanterns so the entire market seemed luminous.

Knot What You Think–piecing together a mystery and a quilt

Knot What You Think

by Mary Marks

Knot What You ThinkMartha Rose takes center stage in the cozy mystery Knot What You Think by Mary Marks. Martha has been quilting with a small group of friends in L.A. every Tuesday for seventeen years. They also form her support group as she investigates mysteries that come her way. She is an observant Jew, and so there are a lot of Yiddish phrases that spice up the writing with meanings inserted in a non-intrusive way. There are two love interests: Arlo Beaver, the straight shooting LAPD homicide detective and “Crusher,” a secret ops/undercover ATF agent.

This cozy mystery swirls with personal threads—weddings, funerals, ex’s, health issues, quilting, swindles, and dogs in fancy dress. Usually that would be too much distraction for me from the main point of the book: discovering the identity of a murderer. Surprisingly, Mary Marks is able to put it all together and make it work. The side issues are, in fact, important to Martha’s process of investigation. In spite of the fact that I was reading it during some traveling, I always enjoyed coming back to it until the mystery was solved.

There were interesting notes about quilting scattered through the story. The book ended with an epilogue that tied up some of the personal stories with promise of more to come.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: #5 in the Quilting Mystery Series and good enough as a standalone to make me want to read more in the series.

Publication:   July 25, 2017—Kensington Books

Memorable Lines:

I found endless fascination in the geometry of traditional quilts. Depending on how you placed quilt blocks next to each other in the top, secondary overall patterns could emerge.

Besides, even if I did want to get married, whose proposal should I accept? A generous, laid-back undercover ATF agent with a secret life and Israeli connections he refused to discuss or an upright, uptight LAPD detective with Native American roots, whose life was an open book? A future filled with anxiety and uncertainty or one that was reliable and predictable but not as exciting? A three-carat flawless diamond sitting in a black fuzzy box or my favorite German shepherd?

I was less interested in the hapless Kaplan and more interested in reading the whole three-volume story passing over Beavers’s face.

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