Each year since 2012, I’ve set a reading goal in Goodreads, and since 2015 my goal has been set at 50 books read in the calendar year. Other than in 2012, I’ve managed to meet my stated goal each year, although at times I did almost nothing but read for the last few days. This year, I succeeded in meeting my 50 book goal with two weeks to spare! Here are my last six reviews for 2020:
Missing in Mudbug by Jana DeLeon
Ghost-in-law, Book Five
Jayden St. James has been on the job as the Game Warden for only one week, but she’s already seen far more than she ever expected in the tiny southern Louisiana town. In Book Four, she helped solve a murder and earned the respect of most of the town’s residents as a sharpshooter. She also got the attention of the handsome sheriff, but both Jayden and Colt Bertrand have sworn off relationships. This time, they’re both called into action when Raissa (from Book Three) is kidnapped and her husband Zach has been injured and left on the side of the highway. Since Raissa and Zach are both FBI agents, the feds come in to investigate. Colt and Jayden have been warned off the case, but as locals they know they have a better chance of success finding her. And as the mystery heats up, so do the sparks between Jayden and Colt. Helena the ghost continues to provide laughs as she “helps” by providing a set of eyes and ears when they need them – in exchange for blackberry pie. Book Six has already been put on hold at the library!
Kudo Kids: The Mystery of the Masked Medalist by Maia and Alex Shibutani
I love to watch figure skating events, and during the 2018 Winter Olympics I became enchanted by the ice dancing duo of siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani, known as the Shib Sibs. When I discovered that they had written a book together I had to check it out! The book is set during the Tokyo Olympics and was released when the games were scheduled this past summer. Like the Shib Sibs, Andy and Mika Kudo are Japanese American, but rather than being Olympic athletes, they’re middle school and high school aged, and they’re in Tokyo because their mother is covering the games for a sports website, and their father is a travel writer specializing in foreign foods. The kids explore the city through a game app on their phones called OlympiFan, run by a mysterious game wizard known as the Masked Medalist. The object of the game is for teams of four to gather clues to discover the identity of the Masked Medalist. The clues lead them to several famous Tokyo locations, and I loved reading about experiences I had during my visits to Japan. Great reading, and I’m sure young tech-savvy readers will love it!
Finding Home on Whisling Island by Julia Clemens
Whisling Island, Book 5
It had been a few months since I’d read Book 4 in this series, but I quickly became reacquainted with these women whose lives have gone through major overhauls. This time we see relationships begun in previous books strengthen, though a few are tested by the return of previous antagonists. Minor characters from previous return with battles of their own. Alexis, who experienced sorrow in book 4, finds new strength and purpose in exercise. Bess’ daughter Lindsey returns home after being fired from a job she loved. We’re also introduced to a few new characters: Julia, a aging movie star who decides to retire from acting and write screenplays, and Nora, an artist who comes to help her sister Deb run an art gallery. As with all extended series, I’m sure the book could stand alone, but having read the books in order it’s nice to see the growth each character experiences. I noticed a few typos, but the story lines are well-told and I enjoyed reading it.
Promises and Sweet Memories by Julia Clemens
Whisling Island, Book 6
A few story arcs are completed in this installment, and a few others are begun. Some couples solidify their relationships (Bess and Dax, Olivia and Dean) and some (Alexis and Evan, Nora and Mack) begin new ones. Julia, the movie star introduced in Book 5, makes new friends on Whisling Island, but a call for help from her mother has her returning to her hometown in Iowa and confronting the family who seems to have no use for her, despite her success. Nora, having discovered in Book 5 what happened to the baby she gave up for adoption many years ago, has a chance to meet that child and the family who adopted her. Alexis is happy that her mother has found happiness with her friend Lou’s father, but Lou’s sister is not happy about it. As always, I was drawn in to each plot line, but was concerned to see more errors than I usually find in Clemens’ writing.
The Duke She Despised by Alina K. Field
Alina was my guest author here on this blog a few weeks ago. I decided to get into the holiday spirit by reading a book with a Christmas setting, and discovered I had this book in my Kindle library. I’d read some earlier romances by Alina K. Field and knew I’d be in for a delightful romance, and I wasn’t disappointed. Filomena is a vicar’s widow who takes a position as housekeeper for a crumbling estate in Scotland. She knows the owner of the estate is the new duke of Kilmarty – the man who’d ruined her chance at an advantageous marriage ten years earlier. She has her reasons for taking the position, but she doesn’t recognize the duke and confuses him with his friend. Andrew, the new duke, doesn’t recognize the young girl from his youth, but he’s intrigued with his new housekeeper and uses her confusion to get to know her as a member of the duke’s staff.
Chaos in Mudbug by Jana DeLeon
Ghost-in-Law, Book Six
In this final book of the series, Jayden St. James, Mudbug’s game warden, is called in to assist Sheriff Colt Bertrand when a damaged shrimp boat washes ashore. No one recognizes the boat, and they begin a search. In the meantime, a private investigator arrives, saying that her missing husband has been spotted nearby. Clues uncovered reveal that the two cases are connected, but neither Jayden or Colt is prepared for danger they’re walking into. While solving the case, they’re both still fighting their attraction for each other, but a message from an old girlfriend of Colt’s could sour things for them. I continue to be amazed at the depth and quality found in each of DeLeon’s books.