Reading Challenge 2021, Part Ten

It seems that the busier I am, the more I read. Perhaps it’s because it’s my way to de-stress at the end of a full day. Anyway, I’m getting closer toward my yearly goal of 50 books. Take a look at this month’s selection:

A Very English Murder by Verity Bright
Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery Book 1

Since I’ve enjoyed Helena Dixon’s cozy mysteries set in 1930s England, I’ve been shown ads for similar books by Verity Bright, who is actually a writing duo. This series features an adventurous young lady who inherits her uncle’s estate. Upon her arrival at Henley House, she witnesses the murder of one of her neighbors, but no one believes her because the body disappeared by the time she reached the murder scene. The next day, the gentleman, one of her uncle’s dearest friends, is found elsewhere, and the death is ruled a suicide. She takes it upon herself to solve the mystery. With her trusty household staff, she narrows down her suspects and proves that she’s not going to sit back without seeing the man’s killer brought to justice. I enjoyed following Lady Eleanor’s character development. Having spent several years as a free spirit, roaming the far reaches of the earth, she has a lot to learn about “civilized” society, despite her time in an English boarding school. This was a well-written, entertaining mystery, and I purchased book 2 right away.

Who Moved My Goat Cheese? by Lynn Cahoon
Farm-to-Fork Mystery, Book 1

Angie has returned to her childhood hometown in rural Idaho to open a farm-to-table restaurant with her friend Felicia. While interacting with local farmers for her supplies, she meets a cantankerous goat farmer who agrees to supply cheese for her restaurant. But the next day, he’s found dead, apparently pushed into a canyon that borders his farm. Despite the frenziness of opening her restaurant, Angie manages to uncover long-held secrets about the man, leading to a number of suspects. I enjoyed the way the mystery was unraveled, but problems with grammar (sentence fragments and run-on sentences truly bother me) lessened my enjoyment. While it would be nice to discover how the restaurant fares, and learn whether or not Angie’s romance with one of the locals actually blossoms, I haven’t looked for the remaining books in the series.

Peel by Angela Brown

Angela was known to me primarily as a children’s book author for one of my publishers. I discovered that she is published in multiple genres, and I picked up this romance novella to sample her writing. Divinea is handling life as a single mom just fine, until her best friend invites to go on a Mediterranean cruise at a price that’s hard to believe. It happens that the best friend’s boyfriend and his friend are also on board, and the friend happens to be insanely wealthy. The writing is excellent. The romance isn’t bad. If you enjoy Cinderella-like stories, then you’ll probably like this one.

Swamp Sweets by Jana DeLeon
Miss Fortune Mystery, Book 21

As usual, the adventures of the Swamp Team 3 kept me awake far into the night! This is the first time I’ve been able to stick with a series this long. It’s amazing how Fortune’s days are so incredible, yet believable. When her friend Ally opens up a new bakery in Sinful, she’s attacked. Of course, Fortune and her friends need to find out why, and that leads into a string of other questions to answer. A host of characters from previous books make appearances, and a new romance might be in the works for two of them. This is a superbly laid out mystery, with a totally unexpected conclusion. Well worth the read!

Murder at the Wedding by Helena Dixon
Miss Underhay Mystery, Book 7

Kitty Underhay is excited to serve as a bridesmaid at her cousin’s wedding to Lord Woodcomb. But soon after she and her maid Alice arrive at Thurscomb Castle, an aide to one of the guests is shot dead. When the murder weapon is found in a hotel room, the local inspector makes an arrest, and the wedding goes on as planned. But the next day, one of the guests is murdered. The groom enlists the help of Kitty and her private investigator beau, Matt Bryant. As with the previous books in this series, I truly enjoyed the mystery as well as the romance, but was disappointed to find several editing problems that weren’t evident in the first six books. I’ve pre-ordered Book 8, so I hope the issues are fixed for that one.


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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9 Responses to Reading Challenge 2021, Part Ten

  1. Jeff Salter says:

    Several goodies here, especially Jana DeLeon’s latest and the Very English Murder.
    That’s a shame about the editing issues on Helena Dixon’s newest.


    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      DeLeon’s books have never disappointed me! She has a new series out in a different genre – I think it’s women’s fiction – and I’m gearing up to try that out. Yes, I was disappointed to find the problems in Dixon’s book, especially since the first six were so good.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Diane Burton says:

    Thanks for mentioning Verity Bright’s mysteries. I’d never heard of them. I love Kerry Greenwood’s Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries (sett in the late 1920s Australia). So the 1930s England sounds like something I’d like. I’m with you about reading–great way to de-stress. I’ve read way too much (is there such a thing???) this year and last.


    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      Thanks for the tip about the Australian mysteries! I’ll have to look into them. And no, I don’t think it’s possible to read too much! Thanks so much for stopping in, Diane!


  3. I grew up destressing by reading! Now my stress comes from not getting enough reading time in.
    You found a lot of winners here,(but thanks for the tip about the grammar). I am not all caught up in the British frenzy that seems to be going on, but A Very English Murder looks particularly good.
    I always enjoy your reviews.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      Not having the time to read frustrates me, too. I’m hoping that once I get my current writing project completed and sent off, I’ll be able to relax and dig into my TBR pile.


  4. It is too bad that the grammar mistakes took away from the enjoyment of the book. I have found that mistakes often irritate me while reading as well. I think the worse one I have come across was when an author changed the name of the main character in the story twice! I assume that they started out with one name and then at some point changed the name and perhaps missed those two places in the story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      Unless your plot requires that the main character’s name changes (witness protection, going undercover, etc), there’s no reason for something like that to get past even ONE beta reader, critique partner, or editor! How sad.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Elaine Cantrell says:

    Jana DeLeon never disappoints.


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