Reading Challenge 2021, Part One

Once again, I challenged myself to read fifty titles before December 31. This year I thought I’d try to read several books outside my usual go-to genres (romance and cozy mysteries). It just so happened that some of my Christmas gifts included non-fiction books, so I dived into them first. I rounded out my month with a mystery and a fantasy.

Answers in the form of Questions by Claire McNear
It’s a running joke among my kids and grandkids: Don’t call Mom between 7:30 and 8 pm on weekdays! If I’m at home, I’m in front of the TV watching Jeopardy! And unless it’s an emergency, I’m not going to pay attention to you. So I have the feeling that this book was meant as a gag gift. But since I have difficulty getting rid of books until I’ve either read them or fallen asleep on them, I read it all the way through. It’s not something everyone would enjoy, unless you’re as much of a Jeopardy nerd as I am. There’s a lot of trivia: the history of the game, people who’ve played it, how players prepare for it, how they’re chosen, and how they keep in touch with each other after their experience. There’s info about how clues are chosen and the people who write them, as well as the Clue Crew who sometimes give the clues in short videos. I read it all the way through – but I doubt I’d be able to recall anything specific from it.

Surrounded by Idiots by Thomas Erickson
My youngest daughter works in Human Resources for a manufacturing firm, and she mentioned that this book was being used in a training seminar she would lead later on. When she described it, I immediately thought it might help me to create characters. Four categories of people are described, each one named for a color. Reds are what might be thought of as alpha people – dominant and commanding, Blues are analytical and methodical, Greens are friendly and supportive, and Yellows are social and optimistic. The author says that most people are a combination of at least two, which makes sense to me. The reading is a bit dry, but I did get some ideas about creating backstory for my characters and an understanding how they might react in specific situations. Suggestions are given for the best way to interact with each type of person. Since the book I read was from the library, I may just have to purchase my own copy.

Smell You Later by Noel Cash
Rory Harper West Haven Mystery, Book Two
In Book One, two of Rory’s co-workers at MYTH, Inc were murdered. One of the victims had been killed by Rory’s boss, and his duties have increased. He’s now in charge of all five senses rather than just Smell. He’s puzzled when he’s called in to help find the missing son of a wealthy local, but he pitches in to help. In addition, his former boss asks him for help that he’s not sure he can give. Rory also deals with a deep-seated case of guilt, stemming from the memory of his father’s death. That guilt rises again when his co-worker is killed on the job and he feels he didn’t do enough to protect her. I enjoyed following along as Rory and Kix (his love interest) work to find the kidnapped boy. He recruits a former assistant to help him solve one of the earlier murders, but it didn’t seem that much headway was made there. Perhaps it will be addressed in Book Three, which I’ll start reading soon.

The Last Dragon by Daryl DeVoré 
Daryl was my guest here at this blog a few weeks ago. Her medieval fantasy is a delightful story about the quest of Prince Hawkyns, who has sworn to rid the earth of the evil dragon Ayrradex after his parents were overtaken by its magic and his brother was killed. Legend has it that the dragon can only be defeated “when the hearts of a knight and a golden dragon become one” but has no idea where to find the golden dragon. Derry is a lovely young lady with a mysterious past, which is cleverly uncovered bit by bit. She and Hawkyns have an instant connection, and I enjoyed reading about their journey.


About Patricia Kiyono

During her first career, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary music, computer classes, elementary classrooms, and junior high social studies. She now teaches music education at the university level. She lives in southwest Michigan with her husband, not far from her five children, nine grandchildren (so far), and great-granddaughters. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspires her to create stories about different cultures. Check out her sweet historical contemporary romances at her Amazon author page:
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8 Responses to Reading Challenge 2021, Part One

  1. I would find the Jeopardy book quite interesting, as I would most of these. I have gotten quite interested over the years as to what makes people why they are, and I am pretty good at seeing it,(which has given me a lot of compassion for a number of (otherwise difficult )people). The mysteries about the senses also grab my attention….dragons, not so much. I don’t like dragons. I can’t ‘buy’ good dragons.
    Thanks; you always have an interesting array for us.


    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      The Jeopardy book is in my Goodwill box, but I’d be happy to send it to you if you really want to read it! I’m trying to expand my reading beyond the romances that are my “bread and butter” as far as writing. I’ve got a cozy mystery started, so I’m reading more of those for enjoyment as well as research!


  2. Jeff Salter says:

    Interesting selections this month. Capturing my main attention is “surrounded by idiots” — since I worked in H.R. (Personnel) — among many other duties — as assistant director of a large public system for 26 years.
    I haven’t seen the complete descriptions of those colors / types, of course, but I don’t think the four presented covers the territory completely. I found — and (unfortunately expended a LOT of time and energy and effort upon) — a fifth category. These were the hostile, bitter, angry people who seemed to do almost NO actual assigned work, but expended their time and energy in making others miserable. This took its form in focused attacks and undermining of individuals… and in more generalized efforts to make EVERYone miserable by their actions, attituded, words. Nothing pleased them and nothing satisfied them — though they seemed to find pleasure in hurting others. If people (or the organization) gave into them and let them have their way, it only made them bolder in their demands and attacks. Totally without a conception of “Team” or “mission” — it was all about them.
    I don’t know what color this author would affix to that group.


  3. Elaine Cantrell says:

    Your selections really are different this month. It sounds as if the experiment was a success overall.

    Liked by 1 person

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