Reading Challenge 2021, Part Nine

Things are still crazy busy around here, but I managed to read some awesome mysteries and a romance. It’s amazing to see the variety of stories out there!

Temporarily Employed by Vicki Batman
Hattie Cooks Mystery, Book 1
Vicki Batman is a very supportive fellow member of the Marketing for Romance Writers group, and I decided to check out her cozy mystery series. When Hattie loses her job due to company downsizing, she takes a temporary job in an insurance company. The job is easy enough, but her coworkers are a bit zany. She puts up with it so that she can pay her rent and eat. She’s more concerned about her high school friend’s older brother Allan. In high school, he was a nerd. Now he’s improved – a lot. And he happens to be a detective. The mystery begins when it’s brought to light that the woman Hattie is replacing didn’t die of suicide, as everyone thought. But unlike other cozies I’ve read, Hattie isn’t involved in solving the mystery. Still, it was a cute story, and I hope to read Book 2 soon, because although the mystery was solved, the romance was very much left in limbo. 

Buried Evidence by Kellie VanHorn

Kellie was my guest author a few weeks ago, sharing her connection to the heroine of this book. Forensic anthropologist Laney Hamilton reluctantly returns to her hometown in Indiana when the police chief asks her to help identify remains found in the area. The bones could be those of her childhood friend who went missing just after they graduated from high school. It happens that the missing girl was the twin sister of her first love, who also happens to be be the police sergeant. Laney has to do her job while trying to keep her personal feelings at bay. This story is much grittier than the cozies I normally read, and parts of it were difficult for me. But it’s well worth the time. 

An Ex in the Puzzle by Louise Foster
Crossword Puzzle Cozy Mystery Book 1

Tracy Belden has all she can do to provide for herself and her foster son Marcus. She’s employed as a part-time private investigator, tailing deadbeat husbands. When she’s not doing that, she packages and ships items sold somewhere. And she creates crossword puzzles. When she’s hired to watch her ex-husband, things get dicey when his second wife is murdered. Tracy is a suspect, but she and her rag-tag team including her eleven-year-old foster son, her British landlady, a handsome younger man who wants to be more than friends, and a few others are determined to find the true villain. This was a well-written mystery with lots of action. I read the entire book in three days, and I can’t wait to read Book 2!

The Brightest Light by Melissa Storm
Alaskan Hearts, Book 2
Librarian Scarlett Cole moves from Texas to Alaska to be near the excitement of the Iditarod. She befriends a musher and makes the decision to train for the grueling race. She’ll need to beat another new musher, the wealthy and well-connected Henry Mitchell III, and she’ll need to do it while fighting her attraction to him. Though others see him as the cocky and overbearing, she starts to learn there’s more to him than meets the eye. This was a nice, sweet romance and adventure story, though I found it a bit of a stretch that a person could go from being totally inexperienced to racing in the most famous dog sled race in just one year.


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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7 Responses to Reading Challenge 2021, Part Nine

  1. Jeff Salter says:

    Books featuring librarians almost always capture my attention, but I think I’d most enjoy reading the Puzzle book.


  2. Diane Burton says:

    Thanks for sharing, Patty. Vicki Batman’s book sounds very intriguing Give me a mystery with humor and I’m happy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      Humor in any kind of story makes me happy! I’ve downloaded the second book in Vicki Batman’s series and can’t wait to read it. Thanks for stopping in!


  3. Once again, y ou found truly interesting books. Thanks for all of them.


  4. Elaine Cantrell says:

    They all sound like they’d be good reads.


  5. The Brightest Lights sounds like something I would enjoy while the other books sound like something might daughter might like. I’ll have to show them to her.


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