Sunday, December 1, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: Dangerous Christmas Memories

Dangerous Christmas Memories (Love Inspired Suspense) by [Hamaker, Sarah]
It's been some time since I've read one of these Love Inspired Suspense books. A few years ago I was very much into this series--and I usually stuck to reading only the Christmas ones. As a writer myself, I found the pacing and style a perfect crescendo of entertaining fiction. Much like the cozy mysteries I so often read, there was a good genre style and formula going on here. I've never been one for reading a straight romance, but add in some thrills and I'm willing to board the train.

Well, I stopped reading them for a while for one reason or another.

However, this year as I've been shifting gears in my own writing career, I've gotten excited about reading this and other Harlequin books again. I can immediately say that I have not been disappointed.

This is probably one of the best in the series I've read. The writing is taut and intense. Romantic bits and tension are sprinkled in between the thrills at just the right rate. I had been reading the book before bed, but soon quit doing that since the story got my heartrate up with how stressful some of the situations ended up being with a killer hunting the main character. Also, you never get to see who is hunting her until near the end. It reminds me of one of the old Halloween movies, especially the scenes in the hospital.

I only had two small troubles with the book.

The first one is the fact that there just wasn't enough Christmas in the book. I find this is often the case with holiday-themed mysteries and thrillers. Despite having Christmas in the title, you only sort of remember it is Christmastime when the character notes some Christmas lights on a house--which is the extent of the holiday spirit you get here. I would have liked more festive moments and scenes. As it is, it almost feels like Christmas was an afterthought to the story.

Second, the prayers from both the main characters seemed a bit off-putting for me. I may not be Christian myself, but I tend to enjoy Christian media because I know it will be wholesome (when I'm in the mood for that sort of thing). Unfortunately, the prayers seemed a little out of place. I thought the book had a nice wholesome Christian vibe without having to completely stop the action for a moment of prayer.

However, I KNOW Christian readers will enjoy this aspect. So, good on the author for having them there.

Overall, for those who love suspense and thrills without the blood and swearing, this is a great choice for you. However, if you're looking for a Christmassy book, maybe try one of the straight holiday romances instead.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: Jealousy Filled Donuts

I love holiday mysteries. In fact, I love holiday-themed books stories probably above all other stories. This year I was very excited to see that we were getting another cute, cozy, and delightfully murderous American 4th of July book in Jealousy Filled Donuts by Ginger Bolton. The 4th is probably my 3rd favorite holiday after Halloween and Christmas. However, I was disappointed to see that the new entry in the Deputy Donuts series wasn't coming out until after the 4th--over a month later, in fact. 

As a writer myself, I know the process of writing a book, editing it, getting a cover together, preparing ads, and all the other things that go with the whole shebang aren't exactly easy. Sometimes, there are delays or publishers just decide release dates aren't that important. Still, I can't help but furrow my brow and wonder at the decision to publish a 4th of July book just AFTER the holiday featured in question. Can you imagine a brand new Hallmark Christmas movie coming out in late January or early February? That just wouldn't make sense. 

I digress. While I was sad to not have this book in my hands the weekend of the 4th, I was still happy to read it during these last weeks of summer. 

One complaint I often have about holiday mysteries and books is the fact that the stories themselves often skimp out on the holiday elements. Either that or the holiday is over within the first few chapters. While Ginger Bolton's new offering does celebrate the holiday within the first quarter of the book, I felt that she packed in enough summertime festivities, fireworks, and red, white, and blue treats to satisfy any holiday fanatic. The book lives up to its cover in making the reader's mouth water chapter after chapter. 

If you have a weakness for donuts like myself, steer clear! You'll be putting the book down every few minutes to run into the kitchen and see if you have any donuts left from the last time you went to your local coffee shop--only to realize you ate them all in one sitting after you got them. 

Bolton also offers up a great selection of characters to love (and to hate) in this mystery. I can't stand the mysteries where the main character is always complaining about one thing another, judging everyone around her, constantly fretting over how she looks or any other inane characteristics. 

Emily, our amateur sleuth and baker in this one, is a very relatable and competent person who can seriously take herself. While she has moments of romance, depression, and self-doubt (as well all do) there isn't always some man swooping in to save her or scold her. She is often finding clues and solutions on her own. Not only that, but she reports almost immediately to the police every. single. time. She doesn't go galavanting off on her own into obvious danger. (While there is plenty of danger and excitement to be had, she doesn't bring more on herself than necessary). 

It is refreshing, not to mention something I'm happy to see more and more in newer cozies. (One of my favorite cozy series since the first time I began reading them was Leslie Meier. Her Lucy Stone is a real treat, very smart, and very realistic). 

I think my favorite part of this book, however, has to be the perfect balance of murder mystery, cozy descriptions (plenty of baked goods and cute animals here), and thrills. That's right. I said thrills. 

I love a good cozy mystery which isn't afraid to add in tiny salt and peppering of "James Bond" types thrills in it. The climax of the book was a wonderful and exciting confrontation between the killer and Emily. It remained realistic while keeping me on the edge of the seat, unable to put the book down. These scenes also showed just how strong Emily is as a person. 

However, the downside to this is the final resolution of the story. Sadly, after so much excitement, I couldn't help but feel that the last four or five chapters after that really dragged. I realize it is important to let our characters reflect on what has happened and to tie up loose ends. Still, I just felt a tad bored and was wishing for that final page of the book. 

For me, as a writer and student of literature myself, I am a large advocate for formula storytelling. I often got into head butting with my college writing professors on the topic. I've read many classics, but I'm more interested in formula and how it becomes a comfort to us as readers (and to me as a writer to create it). Going to an earlier comment, I love James Bond because it is the same again and again. I love thrillers, mysteries, romance, and cozies for the same reason.

However, I have to say the end of this book took a bit long for my preferred "formula."

All in all, I think this was a wonderful example of a great cozy mystery that just seems to get the hiccups in the end. If you love donuts, cats, romance, murder, and a touch of thrills you'll love this one.  

Thursday, July 4, 2019

NEW 4th of July Murder Mystery Only 99 Cents!

Happy 4th of July to all my American friends and readers! In honor of this holiday weekend, my new book is only 99 cents! Also, if you purchase the paperback version, the Kindle e-book will be free! Happy Independence Day! Here is the blurb:

It’s going to be an explosive 4th of July for Detective Holiday. Detective Harrison Holiday has experienced a lifetime’s worth of violence and crime in his time on the force, and he’s had enough. Despite only being thirty, Harrison is retiring from police work to pursue his lifelong dream--of running a hot dog food truck. To say goodbye to his cop buddies, he’s having one last hurrah by participating in a theatrical reenactment of The Battle of Lexington at the city’s annual 4th of July celebration along the Missouri waterfront. Unfortunately, for a man like Holiday, murder has a habit of tracking him down--and when a local celebrity gets blown to kingdom come during the festivities, Harrison quickly finds himself dragged down into the crime-ridden world of murder once again.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Strange Brew: Available in Print and E-Book!

Hello friends and readers! N.C. Patterson coming at you today with the news that the first book in my new paranormal cozy mystery series is out in Kindle and paperback format! The e-book is only $2.99 and the print edition is $7.99

For a long time, I've wanted to write a mystery series starring a magical male character, so when my publisher asked if I wanted to do something in a "witchy" vein I knew it was a perfect time! This new series takes cues from the local area I live in. Based on local coffee shops where I go to write a few times a week, I can't help but feel a deep connection to the locations.

If you're looking for something a little different, with a male main character and a warlock instead of your usual witch, this might just be the book series for you!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Strange Brew COVER REVEAL!

Cover reveal! 

Okay, some good news today. This has been an announcement many months in the making . . . maybe longer. 

My first official paranormal cozy mystery is coming out later this month. It is a magickal treat about a warlock who runs a coffee shop with his orange feline familiar Tamsin--and they solve murders, of course. And don't forget his eccentric Aunt Theo! 

Cover design is also by me. This book would not have been possible without the help of Carolyn Q. Hunter, Summer Prescott, and Gretchen Allen!

Monday, April 22, 2019

Final Exam Bluray: A Terror Video Review

The newest Terror Video Review is out. In this video, I review the Final Exam Bluray from Scream Factory.