Mini Reviews: Christmas Canapés and Sabotage & Ornamental Danger #15BooksForChristmas #ChristmasReadingChallenge

Two more Christmas Cozy Novellas to spread some festive cheer… minus the murder part.

Christmas Canapés and Sabotage by Janel Gradowski

Amy Ridley is excited to be participating in the Holiday Celebrations Competition to kick off her Christmas season in Kellerton, Michigan. Local cooks are set to compete for prizes then serve their best party dishes to holiday revelers. Amy has her eye on a special prize, but she has a difficult time concentrating on creating a perfect party buffet when a plague of problems begins to whirl around her. Can Amy figure out who is sabotaging the competition in time to create a prize-winning tablescape and take home the ultimate Christmas gift?

The Christmas factor: A competition for creating the best Christmas tablescape, set in a sweet hotel with the most delightful decorations. So yeah… in terms of setting, this story most definitely captures a festive mood.

The sweet affection between Amy and hubby Alex, lighten the mood too!

The mystery: who is behind the sabotage at the competition? There are only two suspects really and one stands out quote a lot from the start. There are no clues about motive but Amy quickly figured out who she should pursue. The motive is revealed after the takedown.

While I would have enjoyed the story more if the plot was a bit more intriguing, I have to admit Christmas Canapés and Sabotage is still is quick, cute holiday read.

3/5 appetising stars

Ornamental Danger by Kerri Nelson

The key to success is to survive the competition… Mandy Murrin thought working for a living would be the death of her…but she didn’t count on the holidays to be such a killer! When the annual Mistletoe Smackdown trophy for best Christmas decorations is up for grabs, Mandy’s small town will stop at nothing to win the coveted award. Only now, the long time winner has turned up suspiciously dead, and the folks in Millbrook are suddenly in a frenzy to become the new victor. It’s be up to med-school dropout and reluctant sleuth, Mandy Murrin, to serve as the town’s Glitter Queen and select the next winner. But can she keep the peace among her neighbors or will this night before Christmas be her very last? 

The Christmas factor: A Christmas tea party, a Christmas decor competition, a super delicious eggnog recipe and budding on-again romance between Mandy and her police captain ex… complete with mistletoe. Yup, I felt the festive cheer! 

The mystery: Who killed the Mistletoe Smackdown longest running winner, Verna Strength? Verna was also the creator of the town’s best eggnog recipe! She was bit ornery and the list of Smackdown competitors who wanted to take her out isn’t exactly short. We’ve got a couple of suspects, valid motives and several clues to sort through. Not bad at all for a short story! The big reveal is really fun too!

I definitely enjoyed this taste of the Working Stiff Mysteries. The characters were entertaining and the writing drew me into their world. I hope to check out more books in the series.

4.5/5 decorative espresso shots

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