Monday, December 7, 2015

Book Review: Murder Fir Christmas by Joyce & Jim Lavene (w/$20 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway)


From the publisher: Down the mountain from Sweet Pepper, Tennessee is Christmas Tree Valley, a place filled with hundreds of Christmas tree farms where generations of growers have made people’s lives brighter. Yet even here in this quiet, postcard-perfect corner of the world, darkness and murder can still stalk the night.

Federal Wildlife Agent Bonnie Tuttle has always had a special gift with wild animals. It was one of the reasons she decided to train with the wildlife agency. She’s spent the last ten years in Alabama working, but her mother needs her home and she’s back despite all the bad parts of her life she hoped to leave behind.

Her first day home begins with a fire on the island in Sweet Pepper Lake and the death of Harvey Shelton, the wildlife agent she’s supposed to replace. Bonnie manages to rescue dozens of animals from the fire – including a wolf pup that was shot with the same bullet that killed Harvey.

Now she’s hot on the trail of Harvey’s killer and trying to reintegrate the wolf back into the wild even though he seems to want to stay with her. Yet old memories persist in the small community where she grew up, and the killer now seems to believe that she has what he killed Harvey for. All she has to do is figure out what that is before it’s too late.


I'm always looking for new Christmas cozies to add to my holiday reading list, so I've been greatly looking forward to this one, particularly following the tragic loss of Joyce Lavene to the mystery community.

This is the first book in the Christmas Tree Valley mystery series, and our heroine is Bonnie Tuttle, who left town 10 years ago following a tragic personal life event. Now her brother is moving away and her mother, in the early stages of Alzheimer's, needs her to come home to help run the family Christmas tree farm. She also plans to continue her work as a wildlife agent, and on her first day on the job the retiring agent she's replacing is murdered while trying to rescue stranded animals caught in a fire on a nearby island. She also finds an injured wolf cub that she brings home to rehabilitate. Bonnie finds herself with her hands full between running the family business, catching a killer, and attempting to send the cub back into the wild while he has no intention of leaving her.

Bonnie is a fantastic new character, and I adored the mystical connection that she has with all animals which earns her a Cherokee name. I look forward to watching her relationship with fellow tree farmer/tracker Matthew Brown Elk grow. I also enjoyed favorite characters from other Lavene novels making an appearance here. And of course, above all else, the wolf pup tugged at my heartstrings, and his name is so special. You have to read this incredible story to find out what it is!

Purchase Link: Amazon

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32 comments:

  1. Like you, I'm always looking for festive holiday reads, and this sounds like a great one. Thank you for sharing this great review! Purrs!

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  2. This book sounds like a wonderful holiday mystery.

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  3. A new series from the Lavenes - yay!

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    1. Thank you. I hope you enjoy. Merry Christmas.

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  4. Thank you Melissa for having us here today. Hugs.

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  5. Cute book cover. Sounds like a good book.
    Sue B

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  6. Great review, Melissa. I loved it, too.

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  7. Joyce and Jim Lavene did a great job with this book. I love the way they pulled characters from their other series to make a new series. It is a great read. robeader53@yahoo.com

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  8. I love Joyce and Jim Lavene writing team, and Jiyce will be missed. But, she will always be in her writing, and I can visit her every day! I really lobe the Retired Witches' Detective Club, and am excited about their new Christmas-themed book. kat8762@aol.com

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  9. TW doesn’t know how to read but sounds like you enjoyed it.

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  10. Wow thank you for the gift card contest as well as the book it means we can buy your books and keep reading...Merry Christmas
    Marilyn ewatvess@yahoo.com

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  11. Anuvver pawsum review Mudpie. Weez hopin' you have a blest day.

    Luv ya'

    Dezi and Lexi

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  12. It's a great book. I really enjoyed it.

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  13. I always love a book by the Lavenes.

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  14. A great holiday read. Thanks for the giveaway.

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  15. I always enjoy books by Joyce and Jim---I'm sure we will all miss Joyce.

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  16. My wife's favorite type of book is mystery books featuring cats and dogs. She also loves Christmas so this is perfect for her.

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