The Olde White Magick by Sharon Pape. Published by Kensington

Kailyn Wild loves running her shop, Abracadbra in a small New York town. Her family has deep roots in the area and Kailyn has no plans to leave the area. But news of a huge new hotel being built in the area may change everything. Locals want to keep their town quiet and small. A heated discussion about the development ends with the suspicious death of a local board member. Kailyn’s aunt Tilly is at work trying to find the killer, talking to all residents, both living and dead. And of course, there’s the wizard Merlin along for the ride.

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Slay Bells Ring by Karen Rose Smith. Published by Kensington

Caprice De Luca has stage a beautiful home for Christmas to help in the sale of the house. There’s only one problem, home owner Sara Merriweather doesn’t really want to sell. It’s her husband;’s idea and Sara just doesn’t understand. Chris, a Vietnam vet is a beloved local figure who plays Santa every year for the kids, but lately his behavior has been very erratic. When Chris is murdered. Caprice puts on her detective hat to find out why. Does his death have anything to do with a recent trip to Washington DC? A charming Christmas story, but the dog steals the show!

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The Glamorous Dead by Suzanne Gates. Published by Kensington

It’s the golden age of Hollywood, when Clark Gable, Cary Grant and Bette Davis were sharing the silver screen. Every young woman dreams of becoming the next big star and many will do anything to succeed. When a thumb is found near a nightclub, it’s identified as belonging to Rosemary by her friend Penny Harp. The rest of Rosemary, an up and coming Hollywood hopeful, is found buried underneath her thumb. Penny can’t believe her friend is gone, but she has bigger problems, because the cops think she killed Rosemary. Cue movie legend Barbara Stanwyck, or Stany, a friend of Penny’s who has the connections and the balls to track down the real killer. Gates has written a  story that focuses on the good, the bad, and the ugly of Tinsletown at its zenith. Tremendous fun

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Thread the Halls by Lea Wait. Published by Kensington

Former PI turned embroiderer Angie Curtis is all set to spend Christmas with her love, Patrick West in their cozy Maine hideaway. But Patrick’s mother, actress Skye West is inviting her Hollywood pals to Maine for a real old-fashioned New England Christmas. Angie and her needlepointing pals step up to help decorate Skye’s luxurious home for the holiday, it’s all hands on deck as the locals prepare to show the flatlanders a real Maine Christmas. But someone has their sights set on ruining the holiday and Angie and her pals will have to stop the Scrooge before he ruins Christmas for good. I love Lea Wait, a real Mainer whom I have had the pleasure to meet. She writes about the real Maine (Moxie and pork pies anyone?) and never fails to delight

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Knit to Kill by Anne Canadeo. Published by Kensington

Lucy Binger is getting ready for her wedding, and her good friends and fellow knitters decide to give her a girl’s send off on beautiful Osprey Island. But things go wrong from the start, with a body found beneath the cliffs. The dead man was an important member of the local community and no one believes his trip off the side of the cliff was an accident. It turns out the victim was not well liked, and there are more than a few people who might have helped him over the cliff. When suspicion turns to the husband of ons of the knitting club members, the ladies must step in to find the real killer. The beautiful setting, the close and comfortable relationship between the members of the Black Sheep knitting Club make this cozy mystery a delight to read

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How the Finch Stole Christmas by J.R. Ripley. Published by Kensington

It’s almost Christmas in Ruby Lake, but no one is feeling very festive. Finch, the new owner of Christmas House Village is firing his employees to bring in cheaper help. Amy Simms, owner of Birds & Bees boutiques can’s stand the man either, after he sinks a business deal that they were supposed to have. Nobody likes the guy, so when he’s found dead, that are plenty of suspects. The local police may think he committed suicide, but Amy knows better and sets out to prove it. This is a nice departure from some of the more gruesome murder mysteries I read. Small town politics and grievances along with a sense of neighborliness rounds out this story nicely

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Home For Christmas by Holly Chamberlain. Published by Kensington

Nell weathered the storm after her husband left her and raised her daughters is a lovely little home in Yorktide, Maine. They have had a full and happy life, but now that Nell’s daughters are about to leave the nest, she’s unsure what’s next for her. If she’s not a mother, what is she? Meanwhile, her daughters, Molly and Felicity are having growing pains of their own. Torn between love and loyalty to their mother and the desire to strike out on their own is leaving the girls torn and confused. This was such a realistic portrait of a family, a really nice family, that it struck a chord in me, as I too face a daughter about to head off to college. Sincere and touching

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