Goodreads 2023 Challenge, Part One

Soon after I began my subscription to Audible, I checked out the audiobook offerings at my local library. It turns out that by downloading another app on my iPad, I can listen to books owned by a large library cooperative covering most of the state! I found another cozy mystery author to follow, but I after listening to the first book, I discovered that I need to wait until someone else finishes listening to the sequel. Between the two apps and the ebooks I can’t stop downloading I should be well-supplied this year! Here’s the start of my 2023 reading list:

Agatha Raisin and the Vicious Vet by M. C. Beaton
Agatha Raisin Mysteries, Book 2
After I listened to Book 1, I wanted to see if I would enjoy subsequent books in the series. After all, as one reviewer pointed out, Agatha is not a very likable character. She does what she likes and doesn’t seem to possess scruples. This book opens with Agatha returning from a trip to the Caribbean on which she embarked for the sole purpose of chasing after her handsome new neighbor. Unfortunately, the neighbor got wind of her plans to go and immediately altered his own plans. But then a good looking new veterinarian arrives in town and Agatha has a new quarry. She’s not the only woman who’s interested, and when the vet is found dead next to a horse he was treating, there is an endless list of suspects. At first, the death is ruled an accident, but Agatha and her handsome neighbor, James Lacey, suspect foul play and form an alliance to look for the killer. Several of my favorite characters from Book 1 make an appearance and balance out Agatha’s quirkiness, so as soon as I finished listening to this book I queued up Book 3.

To Gain Forever by Tanya Eavenson
Gaining Love, Book 4
Tanya Eavenson, like four of the five authors on this blog, is a former Clean Reads author, but I’d never gotten around to reading any of her books. When she posted on social media that her newest book was free, I downloaded and read it. Karianne is a wedding planner whose own wedding was derailed when her fiancé died in an alcohol-related car accident on the morning of their wedding. Her emotional wounds are great, but suddenly two different men are intent to break through and gain her trust. This was a pleasant sweet inspirational romance and a quick read, and the characters are likable. 

Agatha Raisin and the Potted Gardener
Agatha Raisin Mysteries, Book 3
I’m still enjoying this series of cozy mysteries! Agatha is rattled when Mary, a newcomer to the village, catches the eye of her handsome next door neighbor. When Mary joins the gardening club, Agatha decides she will, too, even though she knows nothing about growing plants. But then Mary is killed in a gruesome murder, and somehow she and James are the ones who team up to find her killer. The investigation has them both wondering a change in their relationship. The ending is a bit of a surprise, and I was puzzled when they let the killer go off on his own after he admits to it. The ending of the book hints at a major change in Agatha’s life, and I’m eager to see how it develops. I’m also eager to see if I’ll continue to listen to books using my Audible app. Stay tuned!

On What Grounds by Cleo Coyle
Coffeehouse Mystery, Book 1
After installing the Libby app on my iPad, I did a search for cozy mysteries. I discovered this series set in a NYC , coffeehouse called The Village Blend. Clare Cosi is the manager, and when she arrives one morning, she finds a mess and the night manager at the bottom of the stairs. The police deem it an accident, but Claire doesn’t believe it. The story started out rather slowly, with lots of historical details about the area of NYC and pointers about brewing gourmet coffee, but once the action really started I enjoyed the story. I was unprepared for the ending, and I’m eager to find out whether Clare reunites with her smooth ex-husband or starts up with the brawny police inspector, who seems quite interested in getting to know her better.

Mystery By the Sea by Verity Bright
Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery, Book 5
I used one of my credits from Audible to listen to the fifth book in this mystery series. It had been several months since I’d read Book 4, but listening to the antics of the familiar characters was like returning home after an extended trip. Lady Eleanor decides to celebrate her thirtieth birthday at a resort in Brighton, and takes most of her staff with her. In addition to her trusty butler Clifford, the housekeeper, cook, and maid come along (though they’re put up in a rooming house rather than the Grand Hotel) and are exceptionally excited and provide an interesting contrast from the seriousness of the actual mystery, which, of course, includes the discovery of a body. The deceased, to Lady Eleanor’s horror, is the husband who she thought had died years ago. Everyone in the hotel is suspect and must remain in the city, so she and Clifford of course have to investigate. When the local police take a piece of evidence she wants to study, she enlists the help of Chief Inspector Seldon from Chipstone, who drops everything to come and make sure she stays safe. I’m sure I’ll be reading more about him in the next book! As always with this series, the story is well told.


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 Goodreads 2023 Challenge, Part One

  1. I’m always up for reading about someone at the sea,(to live vicariously), and I love the title “On What Grounds”, but I am ever so glad that you are enjoying Agatha Raisin. I am taking a hiatus, as I have to get the CDs, but I got quite far along in the series. She becomes a better person as the series continues, I might add, but she is always ‘sharp’, even if she blunts her ‘edge’ a bit.


  2. Jeff Salter says:

    I think I’d like the coffeehouse story, provided that opening section did not bog down too much. That’s one of the issues that most writing “coaches” warn against — so it’s been a peeve of mine when I encounter it.
    The Lady Eleanor story sounds like a lot of fun!


    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      Yes, I’ve been warned against the dreaded “info dump” at the beginning of a story – and I’ve probably warned others, too. The coffeehouse story had a few places where detail took me out of the story a bit – it would have been enough to know that the customer ordered a half-caff caramel macchiato without learning all the steps to make it!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Elaine Cantrell says:

    You always find the most interesting books. You’ve got a good start on your 2023 reading.


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