The Lost Women of Lost Lake

By Ellen Hart

I like to read new genres and sometimes it is intentional. This time it was by accident, but I am glad that I did.

I have never read gay fiction. This is a gay mystery. Part of me wondered why it needed to be a separate genre. Isn’t a mystery, a mystery. So, I guess it is considered a sub-genre, like paranormal mystery or historical mystery and makes it easier for readers to find what they are looking for.


The Lost Women of Lost Lake is part of the Jane Lawless mystery series. Jane owns a couple of restaurants, and she is also a part-time P.I. She often helps friends in need.

A friend Tessa has sprained her ankle and Jane and another friend Cordelia decide to go help Tessa and her partner Jill out while Tessa is convalescing.

Tessa is a playwright and involved in a local play. Because Cordelia has acted and directed plays, she decides to go along with Jane to help Tessa while Jane helps Jill by cooking. Jill also owns the premier resort in the area.

When a journalist arrives in town with a photograph and asking questions about a bombing in the past that killed a Chicago police officer, a local woman and the journalist turn up dead.

Jonah, the teenage nephew of Jill and Tessa hitch hikes from St Louis to Lost Lake after running away from home. His parents had moved him away from Lost Lake and he missed his girlfriend and wanted to finish high school in Lost Lake. Jonah begs his aunts to let him stay with them. Within a couple days, he breaks his curfew and gets grounded.

Jane sees a strange man looking into Jill’s study window. Tessa has a strange paranoid reaction and Jane uses her investigative skills to help solve what is going on.


I purchased this book at a Library book sale so wasn’t sure what to expect. I had never heard of this author but the description on the jacket seemed intriguing.

I enjoyed this read immensely. The plot was interesting, and it hooked me with the strange man looking in the window. (I guess that is a personal fear of mine.)

The characters were interesting and most felt three dimensional. I loved the setting. Love small towns and a home on a lake. (A dream of mine.) The author made me care about the characters enough that I needed to know what happened to them.

The threat seemed realistic and that pulled me through to the end. The sub-plots were also well written and tied into the main story nicely.

Sometimes it’s good to browse for new-to-you books and authors. The cover attracted me originally. A chair on a deck overlooking a lake with a full moon reflecting on the water. What’s not to like? All I needed to know was that it was a mystery. I read so many series that I can’t promise to read the whole series until I finish some already on my radar but if I see more from this author, I will check them out.

I gave this book 3.5 stars and would recommend to anyone who loves mysteries set in a small town with strong female leads.

Title: The Lost Women of Lost Lake

Author: Ellen Hart

Year Published: September 27, 2011

Category: Mystery, Gay Mystery

Pages: 336

Rating: Goodreads 3.70

Setting: Lost Lake MN

About the Author:

According to Entertainment Weekly, Ellen Hart is a novelist in the cultishly popular gay mystery genre. She is also a Lambda and Minnesota Book Award winner. Three-time winner of the Golden Crown Award. A recipient of the Alice B Medal. Official GLBT Literary Saints and Sinners Festival in New Orleans. Has a GCLS Trailblazer award for Lifetime Achievement in the field of Lesbian literature. Was named a Grand Master for the Mystery Writers of America. The author of over 30 crime novels in two different series. Ellen Hart has taught an Introduction to Writing the Modern Mystery through the Loft Literary Center. Ellen lives with her partner Kathleen Kruger in Eden Prairie, MN.

I have been finding ways to buy books without overspending my budget. This is the first I have reviewed from a library book sale. I was surprised what books were available. One from an author I had hoped to read. I’ve shopped in a few thrift stores recently too. I will continue to buy new books as often as possible, and I do plan on using the library more. This was a good find. I look forward to reading more of my newfound treasures.

Where do you get your books? Do you have a favorite bookshop? I do love the library and I do like to support the authors, but I think buying used can help me find new authors without breaking the bank.

Coming soon:

A tour of Wall of Books, a bookstore I frequent in Ankeny, IA.

I hope you enjoyed this review and hopefully I have introduced you to a new to you author.

Happy Reading,


Six Steps to Moving Your Books

I haven’t had to move in a while but I do remember the last time I had promised to get rid of a lot of books but when it came down to crunch time, I couldn’t. I was working full time, raising two kids and we had to move to an apartment while we built our house. I had to find a kennel for our dog for a couple of months and even though we visited Buddy frequently, I felt guilty.

Because we had to move twice, we had stuff stored in several locations, a storage unit, friends basement, and family member’s basement. By the time we were actually ready to move, I wasn’t sure where anything was at anymore.

When it came down to it, I didn’t have the time to weed through my books like I should have nor the time to sell them, so I hid them from my husband. Sure I got rid of some but I also moved a lot of books.

If I had to do it over again, this is what I would suggest:

  • First do some measurements in your new home. Do you have the book shelf space to hold all of your books? If the space is limited, do you want to fill it with books as soon as you move in, or do you want to allow for some new books later?
  • Weed through your collection. If you really don’t think you will read a book or re-read one, now is the time to either donate, gift it, or sell it.
  • Know that it may take you a while to unpack your books after your move, so pick out how ever many you think you might need to have handy to read until you can get all of them sorted and put on your new shelves. Depending on how fast you read and how long you think it will take you to unpack, I would suggest at least a couple of books.
  • Pack the box less than half full of books otherwise, you will not be able to carry the boxes. Pack some towels or clothing on top of the books. It won’t add that much weight and it might help protect your books during the move.
  • If you know ahead of time that you will need more shelf space, make arrangements to have book cases installed before you unpack.
  • Before you move, decide how you want to display your books. Will you alphabetize by title or author, arrange them by color, stack a series, or separate by genre? Now is the time to figure that out. It will be so much easier to re-shelve them if you have a plan.

I have two floor to ceiling book cases on either side of my fireplace in the family room. I currently have my unread books on one side, not in any order. On the other side I have the books I have read, alphabetized by author. I do have another book case in my office and a credenza for my overflow. I would like to keep only the books that will fit in those spaces. I have not achieved that goal yet but I am working on it.

Bonus Suggestion: If all else fails and you are down to the wire before the move and you told your husband you would get rid of books before the move. Mark the packing boxes Kitchen/Pans. He will understand why they are so heavy and since it says Kitchen, I can promise no one else will unpack that box for you.

I hope you find my suggestions helpful and if you’re moving, I feel for you. It is both the most exciting and exhausting time and it will take a while for that new house to feel like a home. Having your books handy after you have settled in will be a blessing.

If you found this helpful, please share with your friends. I would also love for you to like and subscribe.

I have been working on my website and if you take the time to check out my menu, you will see that my author interviews are in a drop down as well as my book reviews. Going forward you will be able to locate the book reviews by title in that drop down as well. Some of my older posts contain multiple reviews so most of those are under the fiction tab. I hope this makes it easier to navigate. It will take me a little longer to fix a few things but I hope going forward the site will be more user friendly.

Coming Soon: Book Review for Karen White’s – The House on Royal Street

Until Next Time,



Meeting R F Kuang

I attended another AVID (Authors Visiting in Des Moines) Thursday night. This was the second author of seven.

These events are usually held in the Central Library in downtown Des Moines. Most of them fill the room and I have met readers who have driven from out of state to attend. They are free and a great way to connect with favorite and new authors. If you are local, I hope you take advantage of this program.

In an earlier post, I mentioned the first author for 2023 – Sarah Penner, the author of The Lost Apothecary. Thursday, we had Rebecca F Kuang, the author of Babel.

Babel is a fantasy novel, and I don’t usually read fantasy but this one has a lot of good reviews all over BookTube. I won’t go into a lot of detail about the book because I plan to read it and review it later. This one I will be stepping out of my comfort zone but I am willing to read a good read in most genres.

I was chatting with a member of the audience before the talk. I told her I don’t usually read fantasy. She corrected me and said it wasn’t really fantasy but she couldn’t tell me what genre she thought it was. I felt vindicated later when the author described it as fantasy. So, something new for me.

Rebecca F Kuang is an award-winning, #1 New York Times best selling author of the Poppy War trilogy, Babel: An Arcane History, one of the year’s most acclaimed novels, and her 2023 book, Yellowface.

Rebecca F Kuang has a master’s degree in Chinese Studies from Cambridge and a master’s in Contemporary Chinese Studies from Oxford. She is now pursuing a PhD in East Asian Languages and Literatures at Yale.

I didn’t want to know too much about Babel before I read it but from her talk, I believe it has something to do with languages.

Rebecca recommended that all readers read a book in another language and one that has been translated from another language.

I look forward to reading Babel very soon.

I am currently reading a Karen White novel, The Shop on Royal Street – a new series that takes Melanie’s stepdaughter Nola from her Tradd Street series that was set in Charleston to New Orleans. It is another ghost story and I do love those. A review will follow soon.

I also am listening to an audio book by T Kingfisher – A House with Good Bones. Another kind of ghost story told in a humorous way. I will be reviewing this one soon too.

What are you currently reading? Anything you can recommend? Have you been able to attend any bookish events in your area?

Don’t Know What to Read in April?

“In the Spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” – Margaret Atwood – Bluebeard’s Egg.

I probably won’t smell like dirt but I will most definitely smell like good books.

It’s easy to get into the rut of only reading newer releases. Most of my suggestions are from books that have been out for a while but you may not have been aware of them.

In the spring, I like to get outside and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. I do like to plant a few flowers but I am not a gardener. I am a reader. I do like to read books in the Spring that are a little lighter and maybe set in the season but as you know, I love mystery and a little horror too so here are my choices. Most of these books are on my to-be-read list and I don’t want to spoil the story for you or me, I will give a brief description.

Maisie Dobbs is a maid in a London household. She first became employed there when she was thirteen. Her employer is a suffragette so you have a good idea of the era of this story. After working for her mentor for several years and with the outbreak of war, Maisie becomes a nurse. She serves in France at the Front. While there, she found and lost an important part of herself. Ten years later in the spring of 1929, she sets out on her own to investigate her first case involving infidelity but discovers something unexpected. In the end she finds herself confronting a personal ghost that has haunted her for over a decade. I chose this book because it begins in the Spring and it is one that has been on my radar for a while. I believe it is the first of a series and I do love series. It has 3.92 stars on Goodreads.

This book is definitely on my list for April. I have been watching the series on PBS and love it. It is the story of a young man who apprentices with a Veterinarian in rural Yorkshire. Since I am an Anglophile, this hits so many buttons. It shares his heartwarming stories of the people in the area and their animals. It begins with James Herriot’s train ride from Scotland to Yorkshire and the immediate household where he ends up living and serving as an apprentice. The Vet, Siegfried Farnum, his housekeeper, Mrs. Hall, and eventually Mr. Farnum’s brother, Tristan, are main characters. The series is full of heart warming stories and the descriptions are beautiful. You can picture the English landscape. Though I haven’t read this one yet, I know I will enjoy it. Goodreads gives this one 4.34 stars.

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is another one that I have no idea why I have waited so long to read. I think I was drawn to it because it is set in Iowa. The protagonist is Sara, who is from Sweden. She travels all the way to meet her pen pal. When she arrives, she discovers that her friend Amy has passed away and Amy’s friends are leaving her funeral. The residents of the small town take it upon themselves to look after Sara. Amy’s home is full of books and between Sara and the residents of the community she is encouraged to open a book store. Sara and the townspeople are a little quirky. This book is said to be a reminder of why we are booklovers. Goodreads has given this book 3.56 stars.

I may not get to all of my Spring recommendations in April but this one I want to read for sure. I have set myself a goal to read one Agatha Christie each month and I am awaiting the arrival of this book. This book has some of Agatha’s short stories set in the springtime. If you are new to Agatha’s novels, I highly recommend them. I love mysteries and I feel Agatha is the queen. You won’t find gore but good mysteries set in an era long gone. She may have some things we don’t feel are politically correct but I am comfortable because of the timeframe they were written in. Goodreads gave this one 3.74 stars.

I am almost done with The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner and will have a review when finished. I am looking forward to April reads. Let me know if you read any of these or what books you would choose to read next month. As the days become longer and warmer, I do move my reading out onto my patio with a cool beverage and a little sunshine. That is what I am waiting patiently for. Where is one of your favorite reading spots?

Please subscribe to my blog to make sure you don’t miss out. I hope to be able to bring content that all readers will enjoy.

Until next time,


The Spite House

I really had high hopes for this one. It is actually a horror novel but I felt it held enough mystery to add it to my March reads. I did do a little research to find out what a spite house is. It is a house built to spite someone. Usually they are built to ruin someone else’s view or be a reminder of something to someone who may not appreciate having to look at the house everyday. There are hundreds of them all over the country and I will probably keep my eyes out looking for them when I travel now.

Spite House is the story of a father, Eric Ross, and his two daughters who are traveling around the country like fugitives. We slowly learn why as the story progresses. Eric Ross takes a job in the hill country of Texas in a house that legend says people disappear in it. The owner neglects to disclose that information when she offers him the job. Eric does understand that the house is haunted and Eunice, the owner, wants proof of the afterlife and she is willing to pay plenty to get that information.

If Eric can complete the task he and his daughters will be comfortable for a while. I did think the backstory was interesting and it might explain what was happening in the house in current time but no one really explained how or why that could happen. I can’t explain too much because I don’t want this to be a spoiler. The author did use a fresher idea as to what the ghosts were capable of doing to humans and there was a twist at the end as to who the live people should actually fear.

I love a good ghost story. This was not one. I was able to read this at night which is one clue for me that it isn’t scary. It also isn’t gory which I did appreciate. I enjoy more psychological thrillers. The ghosts weren’t believable and neither were most of the characters. This story had potential but the author didn’t follow through. Everything felt like hints of horror but I never felt the horror. This is the author’s debut book so there probably will be more books in his future and if other readers like them, I probably would give him another shot. I did like the cover art and that is probably what drew my attention to the book as well as a book seller who said he wanted to read it. But for this one, I gave it 2 stars. It wasn’t a satisfying read for me.

What do you look for when you read horror? Have you read this book and what are your views?

I am already in the middle of book three for March and I am loving it. It is a mystery and I can’t wait to tell you more about it.

In the meantime, keep reading.


J Is For Judgment

The sun is shining bright today so I should get out a little bit but in the meantime, I finished my first book for the month. It was J is for Judgment by Sue Grafton.

I love Sue Grafton’s ABC series. I had never completed the series so decided last year to start from the beginning and read them through. This one was excellent. It pulled me into the story and would not let go.

This was the story of Wendell Jaffe who made it look like he’d committed suicide off of his boat several years earlier after he and a business partner pulled off a Ponzi scheme. He owed so much money the logical thing to do would be commit suicide or turn himself in, or fake a suicide. When the story begins. We don’t know for sure what happened. The wife filed for a death ruling to be able to collect on his half million dollar life insurance. Kinsey Millhone, the protagonist of this series is called in when someone from the insurance company she used to work for, sees Wendell in Mexico. Kinsey starts her investigation. Meticulously following leads, she is like a little bull dog tugging on a bone while everyone is trying to stop her. This book was complex enough to make me keep wondering what really was going on and who was involved. It had a very satisfying ending. Ms Grafton’s characters always feel rounded and there are enough quirky ones to make you want to come back and visit again. She is able to make even the bad guys have something about them that makes them human so that you care about them and she did do that with Wendell in this story. She is adept at describing the setting. One scene in particular made me feel the spray from the ocean and the bitter cold of the water. I would give this book 5 stars.

I plan to continue this month reading mostly mysteries. I want to read at least one Sue Grafton novel a month until I complete the series. I also started re-reading the Diane Mott Davison series set in Colorado about a caterer who solves mysteries. Same situation, never completed the series so last year started from the beginning.

Instead of waiting until the end of the month, I decided it might be easier to review each book as I complete it. I have been weeding through my bookcase this past month but I have also added a few more to my collection so I have a lot of books I want to read this month.

I hope to have a fun reading month but I do plan to enjoy the first signs of spring.

Enjoy the day but try to read, just a little.

Until next time,


Starting Over… Again

I have been missing in action and I do apologize. When I first retired in February 2020, I thought I would have so much time to write and do the things I love. Then the pandemic hit. I felt like I lived in fear for the next two years. My motivation to do much of anything dwindled to nothing. I can’t say I was depressed, not medically because I never sought help for it. I figured I wasn’t the only person moving around in a fog.

I can’t honestly describe all the feelings I felt at that time. Anxiety, worry, fear were probably the big ones. But I feel confident that if we are not at the end of that crisis, we are very near the end. I feel much better about life, more hopeful.

It wasn’t just the pandemic but the results of it that made life difficult. I lost a lot of friends during those two years. I am not sure why they died because most of the time, I found out afterwards and didn’t have anyone I felt comfortable with to call and find out the details.

My most difficult loss was my best friend Susan. Her death was not Covid related but I do blame Covid for her situation. She had a heart condition and needed a valve replaced. Because of Covid, she had to wait to have the procedure done. That is the part I blame on Covid. If we had not been dealing with Covid, I believe she would not have had to wait so long. She did not survive the surgery.

Susan and I were like Lucy and Ethel. We attended writer’s groups, retreats, workshops, and we met for lunch and chats either at Barnes and Noble or my patio when weather allowed. Susan was also my casino buddy. We would meet at either the casino near me, or the one near her and have lunch together and tried our luck at the slots. We used to joke about building up our arm muscles so we could carry out the bags of money we hoped to win. Susan was a more quiet, reserved person, until you got to know her. She could come up with stuff out of the blue and I would look at her like, “Did you really say that?” and then we would burst out laughing. She has been gone for a little over a year now and I still miss her. She was the only friend I felt comfortable enough with to call on a daily basis.

This year I have taken a deep dive back into writing and reading. I attend a couple of writer’s groups. I have attended those continuously, virtually for a couple of years, now again in person. One is a new critique group and they have helped motivate me to begin writing again. Their encouragement doesn’t actually make me run to my office and laptop everyday but it does make me sit down a few times a week and work on my current project.

I decided this evening to go back to my abandoned blog and maybe re-connect with some old friends on here. So I hope to post on a regular schedule. For now book reviews and maybe a chat or two, mostly writing related. I will share information about author events in the future as I become aware of them.

I hope you don’t think too badly of me for not blogging. I had to wait until my heart was actually in it again. I am hoping this is the time. Please comment to let me know you read this and if there is anything you would like to chat about in the future.

Hopefully you will welcome me back. I look forward to hearing from you. Are you writing and reading? If so, tell me about it.

Until next time,


The Mistaken Widow – Cheryl St. John

Reading has always been my escape but this January I have struggled. Not only with what has been going on in our world but somehow through it all I lost a week. I am the President of the local chapter of Sisters in Crime and I realized that we have a meeting tomorrow. Unfortunately I didn’t remember until Tuesday.

Not only do I need to lead the meeting but I am presenting a program on setting goals. So my reading had to take a back seat. I had hoped to post my review of Midwinter Murders – an Agatha Christie novel. That review will come out next week but I needed to post something.

I guess you may be wondering why I posted a photo of this book. Well I thought I might share a little personal story. Cheryl St. John is an author from the Omaha area whom I met in the 1990’s. She has written over 50 novels and a couple of how – to writing craft books for Writer’s Digest. She has also presented workshops in both New York City and Los Angeles for the Writer’s Digest Conferences they normally hold each year.

Cheryl gave me permission to use Write Smart Write Happy for my goal setting program tomorrow. She had a prior engagement or she would have presented the program for us, virtually. Since I had purchased the book when it came out, I had read it before and was familiar enough to use it for the program.

You know how people talk about getting lost in a book? Well I found myself in a book, literally. Well at least my name.

The Mistaken Widow is a book that Cheryl wrote in 1998. I bought it back then and as I was reading it, I saw Virginia Gruver.

If you are able to read this, you will see my name embedded in the story. There are two characters, one is Gruver – a chauffeur, and Virginia is his wife. This immediately gave me a warm fuzzy feeling. I emailed Cheryl and told her that I caught it. She laughed and said she often does that in her books. Well if that wasn’t enough.

Several years later I was given a copy of the copy edit manuscript as a keepsake from someone in my local RWA chapter. I am not sure if they realized I already had a connection with this book but this felt like serendipity. With today’s technology, I doubt authors receive a hard copy anymore. As a writer, this is so valuable. It allows me a sneak peek at Cheryl’s process of getting this book published.

This week has been a struggle and something tells me next week may be challenging as well but taking the time to plan a goal setting program and remembering a couple happy moments in my past has helped get me into a better place.

We had a blizzard last night and now that my work for the meeting is done, I think curling up with a good book sounds like the perfect end to this week.

Until next time,


The Happiness Project – Gretchen Rubin

I don’t make resolutions each new year but I do set goals and this year have decided to choose a word as a theme. This year’s word is Happiness. I chose this word before I found this book. When I found the book it felt like serendipity. I plan to review this book but not before the end of the year. I love the concept of finding more happiness. After the train wreck of 2020, this seemed like something I could attempt to do.

I found this book during one of my trips to a local book store and after reading the blurb thought it intriguing. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin is a book she wrote mapping out her process to become happier. Like me, she said she wasn’t depressed. She was happy but she felt she could be happier. All credit for this idea goes to Gretchen, I will just apply her ideas to my own life and hopefully find more happiness in 2021.

From what I have read so far, I would recommend it. She approaches this with a serious attitude but also with a little lighthearted feel. So far, I feel like her January goals are something that I could benefit from but like she says everyone is an individual and we all have different needs. If I continue to find this book useful, I will continue reading her monthly sections and applying some of the things she does to make her life happier to my life or discover ways to meet my own challenges that are affecting my happiness. Obviously we are two different people who may have different definitions of happiness but what I have read so far, I think we have enough in common to make this little project worthwhile.

Each month she decides what things she needs to do with her life to become a happier person. January involves boosting her energy. She chose that topic because with more energy she thought it would make it easier for her to make more changes as the year unfolds. Each month she shares anecdotes about her own life and how she plans to make the journey toward more happiness. I plan to review each month and adapt her ideas or add some of my own so that they will work for me. January felt like she truly was talking to me personally. All of her suggestions sounded doable so here we go.

For January I plan to start this journey of transformation by doing the things she suggests for more energy. The first is to get more sleep. I do struggle with this. I tend to be a night owl. Now that I am retired, I thought that was no big deal but it is. I like to be more productive especially now that my days are spent doing the things I want to do. So I have committed to going to sleep earlier so that I can wake up feeling more refreshed and able to go the whole day without longing for a nap. This is day four so far and I did get nine hours of sleep Saturday night.

The next step is Exercise Better. This one isn’t quite as foreign as it might have seemed because my hubby and I have been walking together for a few months now. With the cold weather, it does make it a little more challenging but we are finding ways around it by walking during the warmest part of the day. We also vary where we walk, most of the time it is around the neighborhood but we have expanded to a small lake in our area as well as downtown Des Moines and especially an area called The East Village. We have discovered new shops we enjoy visiting, like the spice shop and a popcorn shop. We have also gone to a local mall that is struggling so, unfortunately for the mall but fortunately for us we do feel safer walking there when the weather is really too cold outside.

The third step is to Toss, Restore, and Organize. This too is something that I have been working on for the past year. I take a different location in my home to de-clutter each week. I don’t do everything all at once. I set a timer and maybe clean out a closet, cupboard, or bathroom vanity and do a little bit at a time. Like another YouTuber I follow, it is progress not perfection.

The next step is Tackle a Nagging Task. This involves doing something that you keep putting off. Maybe make an appointment with the dentist or an eye exam. Just find one thing that you need to do but have ignored for too long.

The last step is to Act More Energetic. This is basically the same concept as we act a certain way because of how we feel when in reality we feel a certain way because of the way we act. I know what I want to change for this step and I hate to admit it here as I type in my office in my pajamas but I know I would feel better about myself if I would get up in the morning and get my stuff done earlier and then shower and dress before noon. I know that this is true because I worked from home for the last three years before retirement and I had the opportunity to work in my pajamas if I chose to but because of my work ethic, I only took advantage of doing that when I was ill. Every other day, I got up like I had all those many years, dressed, put on make up and fiddled with my hair so that I was presentable. Though our virtual meetings were scheduled, we never knew when a supervisor might plan a surprise virtual one on one. I could not let that happen and not be prepared. So that is on my calendar this month to change. This is January 4th as I type this and I will admit, it did not happen today. Tomorrow is another day and I will do better. To do my part to help make these changes happen, I have written down a step each day that addresses each of these areas in my planner. As I do them, I can cross them off. I will see what works and what doesn’t and share my results. I have a feeling that even if I don’t make all the changes, I will see improvements that will make me happier. Again, progress not perfection.

One of my 2021 Planners

What do you do at the beginning of each new year? Do you set resolutions or goals? If you do, please feel free to share them. Have you heard of this book and maybe tried this yourself? If so, was it successful?

Well lunch is calling me. May 2021 bring us all more happiness. Unless this project takes a weird turn and I abandon it, I will follow up monthly with updates.

Until next time…


December Reads – 2020

Yes this is a picture of my December Reading Goal.

I would like to say I read all of the books on my to be read pile in December but I can’t. I also missed my goal of four books for the month. I did read three books from this pile. You can find my reviews of those books in posts during December. They were The Christmas Spirits on Tradd Street by Karen White. I did enjoy that book and I would probably choose it as my favorite read for December. I also did see that she has the next book in that series done and it will be out in the fall 2021. I will be adding that to my list.

My second favorite for the month was Mr. Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva. That was an interesting holiday read and again, I would look for more from this author in the future.

The last book I completed for December was Murder in the First Edition by Lauren Elliott. It was a good cozy and the first by this author that I have read. I have another in this series that I hope to read in January. After I start that book, I will decide if I want to continue with that series. If I hadn’t purchased that second book, I may not have committed to another. It was a good book, if you are a cozy fan. It was well written but something didn’t pull me in to call it a favorite. I did like it well enough to finish the book so it may have been more about me and where I was at this month, than anything actually about the book. I wouldn’t discourage you from reading it, if you like cozies. We all have different tastes and this series may be something you will enjoy. And since I plan to read another one, I may change my mind later.

I had hoped to squeeze out at least one more read before the end of the month but it didn’t happen. If anything, I hope maybe I introduced you to a new author. Let me know if you have read any of these books and if you have any suggestions for me to check out in this new year.

I am thrilled to be starting a new year. I have probably spent too much time setting goals and that may be part of the reason my reading seems to be a little slow jumping out of the gate this month. I did decide what books to choose for my January picks but I found it difficult to choose which one to actually start reading.

I have started the new year out waffling between two books to read first but think I have finally settled on reading Midwinter Murders by Agatha Christie. I need to read Emma for sure this month because it is part of a Jane Austen reading thing from a Vlog I follow where the Vlogger invites other readers to discuss the book.

I hope to meet my minimum goal of four books this month. I will give it my best.

Have you set any reading goals? Is that something you even do?

While setting goals for this year, I decided my word for the year is Happiness. Not that I am not happy but 2020 has been difficult and I think I could be happier. This goal is set around a book – The Happiness Project. My next post will explain a little more about that project and my goal.

For now, happy reading and until next time…


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