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October 27, 2019

Christmas Sweets: 3 Novellas ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

Christmas Sweets is a collection of novellas from Joanne Fluke, Laura Levine, and Leslie Meier. If you haven't read these authors this is a great introduction to their series.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. a free book was provided for an honest review.

October 2019; Kensington; 978-1496726926
ebook, print (320 pages); holiday
All of these novellas have been previously published so if you are avid fans of these authors you may think the stories sound familiar. This isn't the first time these ladies have teamed up. In 2007, they published the Christmas collection Candy Cane Murder and in 2010, they did another Christmas collection, Gingerbread Cookie Murder. The only author in this collection that I had read is Joanne Fluke. I was not familiar with the other two authors at all and it was fun to get a glimpse of their series.

The collection starts off with Joanne Fluke's The Twelve Desserts of Christmas. It is part of her Hannah Swensen series and was originally published in 2006 (as part of a collection entitled Sugar and Spice) The story occurs between books 8 and 9 in that series (there are now 25 books in the series). And even though Hannah does make an appearance in the story, it is more about two single boarding school teachers who stay at the school over the holiday with 6 kids who didn't go home for Christmas. While the Hannah Swensen series is a cozy mystery, this novella felt more like a holiday romance. It is still cute and full of recipes. I really liked the couple and the setting of the boarding school. I think it could make a good series on its own.

Next up is Nightmare on Elf Street by Laura Levine, which is part of her Jaine Austen series. It was first published in the anthology Secret Santa in 2013. The story falls between books 11 and 12 (there are now 17 books in the series). I liked Jaine, except I got tired of the constant references she makes to her size. This story is high on self-mortification. The murder mystery is fun with over the top characters which all make great suspects. I will be looking for other books in this series.

The collection wraps up with The Christmas Theif by Leslie Meier, which was originally published in the 2012 collection A Winter Wonderland. The story is between books 18 and 19 (there are 26 books in the Lucy Stone Mystery series). The story focuses on Lucy's daughter Elizabeth who works in a luxury hotel in Florida. When a billionaire rents out the hotel for Christmas, Elizabeth finds herself the suspect of a jewel heist. But Lucy comes to her daughter's aid to clear her name. While there is a mystery, there is also a bit of romance. I liked the guy and I was a bit sad to learn in the author's note that the relationship doesn't last.

The extended author note that accompanies each story highlights that this novella collection is a marketing sampler to promote these authors' series. I think the heavy promotion in those notes took away some of the good feels of Christmas magic that you get from reading Christmasy stories. So you might want to skip the notes. The stories are fun and they definitely made me want to check out their series.

Buy Christmas Sweets at Amazon

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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