The new year brought a significant change in my daily routine, and my evenings are quieter. I’m reading at home, rather than in doctor’s offices or in the hospital. Will I read more? Time will tell. Once again, I set my Goodreads reading goal at 50 books, and here’s what I’ve read since my last review post.
A Countess for Christmas by Anthea Lawson
Noble Holidays, Book 1
I needed a short read to complete my 2021 Goodreads Challenge in time, and I was happy to find this delightful Cinderella-esque holiday novella. Cecilia Fairfax is doing her best to run her family’s home while caring for her father, and dealing with her own grief at having lost her mother. She doesn’t need the additional aggravation brought when a letter informs her of a shooting accident that has left her twin brother Marcus temporarily blinded. The letter was written by Marcus’ host, the Earl of Tarrick, who then accompanies Marcus to his home for Christmas celebrations. This is a delightful stories about two wounded souls who help each other endure and overcome their challenges. What a lovely way to end the year!
A Stitch in Time by Monica Ferris
Needlecraft Mystery, Book 3
The Crewel World needlework shop is gearing up for Christmas, and Betsy is encouraged by her accountant to do more advertising and increase sales. When a fabulous but damaged tapestry is discovered at a local church, several members of her Monday Bunch step in to help restore it. Betsy decides to donate the materials as a way of building up the shop’s reputation for community service. She discovers several curious symbols on the tapestry, and suddenly finds herself the target of a series of deadly pranks – a cut brake line, a fire, and poisoning. Who wants her dead, and why? The answer was unexpected. I’m getting to like these characters so I’ll be reading Book 4 soon.
The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
This book was a Christmas gift from one of my daughters. Apparently, she’s tired of digging through my stuff to find a place to set up her air mattress when she spends the night in my condo, or moving things over to find a place to sit. I’ve watched Marie Kondo’s shows on Netflix, so I was already familiar with her mantra of keeping only things that spark joy, and her method of folding clothes. I can’t identify with many of the claims she makes, such as how inanimate objects feel sad when they’re at the bottom of a pile, or that we need to thank our belongings before getting rid of them. The lessons are taught through a cute story about a young lady who needs help tidying her apartment, told in a comic book format. But since the book itself doesn’t spark joy, I’ll probably donate it somewhere.
Smoky Mountain Christmas by Andrea Byrd
Smoky Mountain Romance, Book 2
Camille is a busy travel writer who wants nothing to do with attachments and love. She rents a remote cabin in the Smoky Mountains, planning to spend Christmas alone, but a heavy snowstorm pushes her rental car off the road and ruins those plans. A handsome cowboy rescues her and brings her to his family’s cabin, where she reluctantly becomes part of their holiday celebrations. Her feelings for Johnny and his family grow, but she’s afraid to give in to her emotions, afraid that her infertility might prevent Johnny from loving her back. This is a sweet novella about overcoming emotional wounds thanks to the power of love.
Unraveled Sleeve by Monica Ferris
Needlecraft Mystery, Book 4
After helping to solve three murders in a short time, Betsy is plagued by nightmares of her own murder. Her friends encourage her to go away for a relaxing trip, and her friend Jill suggests a “stitch-in” retreat on the northeastern tip of Minnesota. Once there, she meets some friendly stitchers – but then finds one of them dead. But by the time the authorities arrive, the body is gone. The missing woman is identified as the guest demonstrator for the weekend, and more questions arise when they discover her ex-husband is a guest at the hotel. As much as she hates getting involved Betsy is drawn in. I’m still enjoying the characters and the way Betsy goes about solving the mysteries – although the way the villains blurt out their entire confessions all at once seems a bit contrived – so I’ll be going on to the next book in the series.
Reading Between the Crimes by Kate Young
Jane Doe Book Club Mystery, Book 2
I read and reviewed the first book in this series a few months ago and finally got around to reading the second book. Private investigator-in-training Lyla Moody and her Jane Doe Book Club have been reading Agatha Christie’s Crooked House. The group meets at the local library, where Harper, one of the members, works. But Harper doesn’t stay for the meeting, and members speculate about her seemingly unhappy marriage. Afterward, Lyla takes her grandmother home, where Lyla’s parents are hosting a society fundraiser. The partying halts when a body is discovered in the library. It’s Harper’s husband, and Lyla is persuaded to help clear her name. As the story progresses, more and more parallels appear between the book they’re reading and the case unfolding. This was a fast-reading book with a few glaring errors, but the mystery is well done. I’ll be looking for more mysteries by this author.