Friday, 29 November 2013

Book Review: Murder on the first day of Christmas by Billie Thomas

Publisher: Annie Acorn
Publication Date: 17 December 2012
Genre: Mystery
Source: NetGalley / Publisher (In exchange for an honest Review)

Goodreads Synopsis:

Finding a severed hand at a client’s house might throw lesser decorators off their games. But Chloe Carstairs and her mother, Amanda, won’t let a little thing like murder keep them from decking the halls. With a body under the partridge’s pear tree and a dead Santa in a sleigh, they have to crack the case before the killer strikes again - this time much too close to home. 

Filled with laugh-out-loud humor, romance and a delightfully difficult mother-daughter relationship, this new series from Billie Thomas offers a fast-paced caper as these two southern ladies try to keep their very merry Christmas from turning into the Noel from hell.

My Review:
This book is not exactly what I expected. For a comedy novel, I did not find it very humorous, although half way into the book I picked up the humor a little bit easier and I did have a few giggles. Unfortunately this book was a like a hit and miss. I didn't connect with Chloe that well and I got a little bit bored. There were quite a few editing errors, but nothing that took away from the story. 

Characters: 3/5
Chloe -  Chloe is smart and witty. She is one of 2 characters that bring humor to the story. I did enjoy her character but didn't feel a huge connection. I am glad she wasn't all love-sick, even if part of the story was that she was dealing with a separation from Jacob. Chloe is a strong character that holds her own ground.

Amanda - Chloe's mom. I liked this character. She was probably my favourite character in the story. She sees more than she lets on and knows better than to get involved with gossip, but also uses it to her advantage during the investigations.  She has a good dry sense of humour.

Detective McGowan - I wish Chloe could recognise what a catch Detective M is. He likes Chloe, even when she is a suspect and getting into trouble. They would make such a cute couple. He is a nice character addition in the story, my second favourite to Amanda.

Plot, Pace, Writing style & world building: 2.5/5
I really enjoyed the Christmas atmosphere that was created. Although I found the plot a little bit boring, there were one or two twists that made in an interesting read. The pace was moderate, maybe a little slow at times. The writing style was easy but didn't keep my attention all the time. 

Cover talk 4/5
I loved this cover. This is probably what made me chose the book, coupled with wanting to read a good comedy - based on the blurb. 

My Rating:

Favourite Quotes

If there are two words I loathe hearing together, it's "you" and "Southerners." Ranks right up there with sneeze guard and sanitary napkin. And it's usually followed by pithy observations like "I can't believe you Southerners have paved roads" or "I didn't know you Southerners had access to dental care." But at least now I had reason for my ambivalence - the man was a Yankee.

Funny the way people get their senses all mixed up. My friend Jeanette Ernhardt does the same thing. Always afraid her car is burning oil, she'll turn down the radio, sniff and ask, "Do you smell that?"

Author Bio: Billie Thomas is the pseudonym of a Birmingham-based author. After the real Billie passed away unexpectedly at the end of 2011, getting Murder on the First Day of Christmas, the first of a series, revised and published was her daughter’s top priority as a way to honor the mom who had given her a lifelong love of books. In her real life, Ms. Thomas writes within the advertising industry and is a founding member of the writing collective, IndieVisible. Other publications include Bar Code: Your Personal Pocket Decoder to the Modern Dating Scene. The author enjoys combining her interests in decorating and gourmet cooking with her writing. She is still trying to solve the mystery of her own love life.Ms. Thomas welcomes your contacts at You are welcome to friend her on Facebook as chloe.carstairs.73 and to tweet with her as @ChloeGetsAClue

Author Links: Goodreads l Twitter l Facebook l Blog


  1. Yeah, not connecting with the characters is the worst, and the humor is a hit and miss? No thank you.

    1. Oh well, it's just one of those things I guess. Maybe the humor would work for you?

  2. There are so many books out there that maybe we get drowned in cash ciw authors like Stephen King (you'll buy even if you're not sure about the content) and fandom (like in the Hunger Games...but that's no bad thing...I just mean in general...fandom is not good in my view...bluuurgh!) Well. We want a good cover that peaks our interest. We want an interesting blurb that sends our curiousity signal into bleeping overdrive. And we want good humour when the book points that it will deliver that. Isn't humour one person's 'funny' and another's 'what's so funny about that?' I supposed you'll 'get' the humour if you can buy into the characters thought process, which is ultimately down to the author's skill as a writer. From what I can see, the book is worth a go, but I guess it could be one where the writer could improve on critique given? As both a reader and a writer, I'm learning to be balanced whilst at the same time give a fair appraisal of what I have read. Wishing the author well, and thank you Chene for an honest review (not that you'd do anything else) !

    1. I completely agree John :) What works for one, might not work for the other and visa versa. I try to be as objective where I can. I always appreciate your input!

  3. I am sorry to hear the book wasn't too funny. I feel cozy romances like this can be hit or miss with the humor. I can understand why you picked this book though, the cover is cute.

    1. Awe thanks Pamela :) The cover is so cute and I was so in the mood for a good comedy mystery!

  4. Looks like you had a fun challenge regardless of the book not being fun.

    Happy Sunday!

    1. It was a fun challenge! I might not of got all the humor but I did have a few giggles here and there :)


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