No matter who you are, something dramatic always seems to happen during the holidays. Whether is be family drama or some sort of catastrophe, it seems like the universe waits until that exact moment when you have deemed it The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year, to wreak havoc. In her new release Christmas is Murder the Mckinley Series Book Sever, Carolyn Arnold plays on that exact theme by placing her characters right in the middle of such a time as this.
The Mckinleys are always finding themselves around crime. At this point in the game, it appears as if crime has started to follow them, but that is just plain superstition. However when Sean and Sarah’s seemingly perfect Christmas season is interrupted by an untimely and sudden death, they cannot help but follow their instincts, which beg of them to investigate whether or not there was foul play at hand. Throughout the novella, Arnold takes the Mckinley’s through a myriad of scenarios, with just enough twists and turns that leave us totally unsuspecting of what really happened until we arrive at the finale of her work.
When I began reading this book, I did not realize it was part of a series, so when things seemed like they were being left unexplained or that the book reached farther that the plot it contained, I looked it up to see if it was in fact part of a series. Hoping that it was, I was relieved to discover that it is the seventh book in the Mckinley series, even though the book stands on its own just fine as well. It reminded me of an episode of shows like Law and Order or House, were you can watch one episode and understand the main plot of the show, which is the case or the medical happenings respectively, but perhaps miss some of the secondary plot which has more to do with the personal lives of the characters involved with the show. That is much like this series. The case itself was capsulized within the pages of this Novella, but there were undertones in the lives of the Mckinleys that I knew I was missing the greater meaning of because I had jumped in mid series. This has only encouraged me to go back and read the books that preceded this one and has spurred my interest in this series.
Arnold does a wonderful job of not only shaping a mystery that is unpredictable which is refreshing on its own, but making sure that the book as a whole is not weighted down with too much seriousness. Murder carries a lot of weight, so she infused her character’s humanity and personalities with the ability to see the humor in things and to laugh about their circumstances and the sometimes very sticky situations they find themselves in. It would have been very easy for her to weigh down her characters with more brooding and an all work no play nature, but the simply idea that she allows her characters to play and work at the same time was a lovely juxtaposition that you don’t see very often in crime series these days. They are all either a farce, playing on the incredulous nature of crime drama, or only serious and stay only in the darkness of the genre. I very much enjoyed that she brought a light human nature to this plot, for it made it and the entire process of reading it so much more enjoyable, because you know you are reading something special and unique. It is rare to find an author who can infuse light in the dark, and Arnold does just that.
The plot was very interesting and I never felt like the text was dragging. The book did not get off to a slow start with too much back story, but instead jumped right into the meat of the case, and the pace was set high and maintained from that point on. I give it 4 out of 5 morals, and congratulate Arnold on yet another book well done, and for making a Mckinley series fan of a reader who is seldom swayed so easily to invest in a long standing series. I highly recommend this to be put on your holiday Must Read list.
Hey guys!! So I know I keep saying I'm back, and then life happens and I'm pulled away for a bit. But no longer! I'm going to make time for the things I love, and right at the top of that list is this community and the friendship it offers! How has everyone been?! I miss you guys!
There are a lot of really awesome things happening on my end that I will be able to share soon. But for now, enjoy this #festive shot I took for Clean Teen Publishing!
So #FunFact, I used to be a professional theatre actress! I went to the College Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati for college, left early, and worked in NYC and all over the country for many years as a singer/actress in regional theatres! Since it's #halloween, I thought it would be fun to post my favorite costumes. My favorite roles will always be Janis Joplin and Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray. While part of me will always miss this, I am forever grateful for the path that I am on now. If I could tell this version of myself one thing, it would be to hold on as this dream changes, because a better one is dawning. #costumes #theatre #trickortreat #flashback
#happyhalloween! I hope you are having a great day and are planning something super fun for tonight! I love this #spooky #halloween book I got to #photograph for @pjboox! Creepy, right? I might have to swing by and pick it up so I can read it!
So what are your plans for tonight? I think the #mister and I are just going to hang out at home and watch #nightmarebeforechristmas and eat candy, because we are old, lol.#qotd #bookstagram
*** QOTD Below *** It's #monday! I had a great weekend with my mister getting things all set up in our new place! But I'll tell you what, it was exhausting! We went to #Ikea and got some new bookshelves that I am so excited to fill up with all my pretties! I'm having trouble deciding how to categorize them though. What do you think? How do you have your shelves organized?
These are some of the photos I have taken for @cleanteenpub and @pjboox! Love these #spooky #halloween titles!
I know this isn't #bookstagram related, but I can't tell you how proud I am of this guy and how thrilled I am to have him to myself for the whole day!! So many great things are going on for us right now, and I can't wait to share them with you guys. So for as much as I will always be a #booknerd, tonight I'm a #hockeygirl #lovehim
*** QOTD Below *** Guys. This series, though. This started out purely as a #coverbuy from my fav indie bookstore @pjboox (you should all check them out!) This is the third book in the series, and I'm #dying to read it! I'm usually skeptical about #vampires because they can be overdone, but this read is well worth it. Check out the whole series, The Maura DeLuca Trilogy by @cmelansonauthor on the pjboox website!
What are your favorite supernatural beings? I think mine has to be a witch. Or wizard.
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Things have been so busy lately! I miss all my #bookstagram buddies! I have finally come up with a schedule that will allow me to post regularly like I used to. Yay!! So #halloween is coming up, and I can never resist a good #theme for a photo! I read The Forlorned by @celticgirl33 last year and I really liked it!
So what I have missed while I've been gone? Any good reads I need to know about?
It's #Friday! I for one am very ready for the weekend! Starting next week, you will be seeing more posts from me one a regular basis as I am now pretty well settled into my new home and have some awesome projects on deck to share with you!
This week, I had the pleasure of creating some graphics to announce some upcoming releases for Clean Teen Publishing and Crimson Tree Publishing! Aren't these covers stunning! Bellamy and the Brute by Alicia Michaels will release in 2017 and is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast! Awesome, right? Silverwitch by Tamara Hanks Grantham will release in December and is Book Four in the Olive Kennedy: Fairyworld MD series! This series is one of my top three series in 2015 AND 2016, so you will want to pick this up if you haven't already! Book One, Dreamthief, is #FREE on all platforms and just won a #RONEAWARD from InD'Tale Magazine for best #NewAdult title of 2016!
There are SO many awesome books coming out in the next few months. Which ones are you most excited about?
Hey you guys! I know I have been radio silent, and I hated it, but I had good reason! I'm really excited to share that I have been brought on as editor and part of the creative team for the ongoing comic book series Solar Flare by James Haick! Working in this field has always been a dream of mine, and I can't believe it's starting to come to fruition.
In the spirit of geeking out over comics, what is your favorite comic book story/character? #bookstagram
**** QOTD Below **** Hey my amazing #bookworms! I hope your week is going well! I turned in a new editing project yesterday *yay!* so today I'm working on Social Media things to give my analytic brain a break.
Don't you just LOVE this cover?! I picked it up at my favorite #indie #bookstore, PJ Boox immediately after I saw it. This is the second book in The Maura DeLuca series, so once I'm done with the first one, which is also stunning, I'll be moving on to this!
When you are looking for your #Cover #buys, what kind of covers are you drawn to? #qotd #bookstagram