It’s been another challenging month at our house, with two more trips to the ER and many more doctor visits. Good thing I’ve always got my phone and/or Ipad with me, so I’ve always got something to read. This month I’ve got four mysteries and two romances to share with you.
The Twelve Jays of Christmas by Donna Andrews
Meg Langslow Mysteries, Book 30
Donna Andrews is one of my favorite cozy mystery authors. Meg Langslow is a blacksmith by trade, and she’s also one of the busiest moms I’ve ever read, so I can relate to her. Another thing I love about these books is that I almost always learn something new when reading books by this author. The characters are quirky, but extremely intelligent, and I have a dictionary handy when the occasional new word pops up. In this installment, Meg’s husband and twin sons have left for a skiing vacation. Meg stayed behind because of a twisted ankle. There’s an artist in residence. He’s working for Meg’s grandfather, the zookeeper, illustrating grandfather’s bird book but he’s a diva. He has his poor assistant running ragged. Until the artist turns up dead. Meg’s many relatives begin to arrive, and there’s lots going on, but they all work together not only to solve the murder, but to continue family holiday traditions.
Two Down in Tahoe by Louise Foster
Crossword Puzzle Cozy Mystery, Book 2
I read this book in four days because it’s the kind of story that you don’t want to put down. It’s non-stop action, and lots of witty banter. This case opens when Tracy’s friend and fellow PI appears with an odd request: he asks her to go to Tahoe to meet a client for him. He promises to fill her in later, but she needs to leave immediately. Tracy takes her boyfriend Kevin along (partly as extra muscle, and partly because she seems to have problems finding her way around) as well as her foster son, her landlady, and another friend who just happens to have a personal arsenal. As she feared, the “simple” request turns out to have deadly consequences. The friend disappears, and suddenly things start exploding and people are killed.
A Dash of Christmas Cheer: Three Short Holiday Romances by Alison Henderson
Alison is a fellow member of one of my writing support groups. I noticed that she had released a new collection of sweet Christmas romances, and I needed a little cheer. I read them all during my most recent trip to the ER with my hubby. Each of the three stories leaves the reader with a happy sigh. In “Harriet’s Christmas Wish” a widow learns that her new boss is the high school boyfriend who broke her heart when he left for college. College sweethearts who went separate ways after graduation are reunited in “This Time for Sure.” In “A Very Merry Un-Christmas, a young lady mourning the loss of her mother has no desire to celebrate the holiday, so when a snowstorm leaves her stranded at a bed and breakfast, she’s relieved to find that the proprietor is a college friend who also has no plans to celebrate. This was a delightful read.
The Forever Deal by Monique DeVere
This is a very short story that’s a prequel of Monique’s book The Wedding Favor. There’s really not much I can say about it due to its length (or lack of it). The writing is good, but I had difficulty sympathizing with the heroine. Her reason for leaving her husband seemed contrived. She’d received news that made her understandably upset, but her claim that “I’m not who I thought I was” seemed over the top, and would be more of a reason to turn toward her spouse for support rather than away from him. Fortunately, of course, the husband cared enough about her to keep looking for her and learn about her insecurities.
Death at the Dance by Verity Bright
Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery, Book 2
I enjoyed the first book in this series so much that I purchased the second one, and I wasn’t disappointed. Lady Eleanor Swift has been invited to a costume party at the home of Lord and Lady Langham, who happen to be her new beau’s parents. She is introduced to Lancelot’s trendy circle of friends, but Lance is nowhere to be found. After learning that Lance is dressed as a pirate, she spies him climbing the stairs and follows him. Hearing a scuffle, she opens a door and discovers him standing over the body of a guest. The police arrive within moments, and Lance is arrested. Eleanor and her trusty butler Clifford sort through a fascinating array of suspects, much to the consternation of Detective Chief Inspector Seldon. The book kept me reading when I should have been doing other work, and the ending was quite unexpected. I’m eager to read Book 3!
Temporarily Insane by Vicki Batman
Hattie Cooks Mystery, Book 2
Hattie still hasn’t managed to land another job in the fashion industry, so she takes another temporary job, this time with an accounting firm. She meets an assortment of interesting people, but when one dies soon after she has lunch with him, detective Allan Wellborn is called in to investigate. Allan just happens to be Hattie’s ex-boyfriend, and things get uncomfortable – especially when another co-worker dies after spending a romantic weekend with Hattie. I found this mystery entertaining, though the villain wasn’t a surprise. Hope to read Book 3 next month!