It’s been so long since I’ve written a Reading Roundup, that I’m dividing this one into two installments. Today’s covers books I read in October and November, which includes a nod back to summer and a look forward (at the time) to the Christmas season. I’m not a fast reader, so there aren’t too many books on the list, but most of them were hits.
Sand and Mistletoe by Chautona Havig
I absolutely loved this book! I found Portia endearing, without being sappy or unrealistic. Despite the somewhat unrealistic way Portia meets Reese and Duncan, it somehow works. It was nice to see interaction between Portia and young Duncan, who is a member of the Deaf community. It’s something that’s rarely featured in novels, especially contemporary Christian romance.
I like how faith is weaved naturally into the story. It never feels forced. I think Portia’s family is a hoot and I love their Shakespearean names.
The story’s complications are realistic and the ending is satisfying. A great, feel-good holiday tale.
Thank you to Celebrate Lit for the review e-book copy of this book. Opinions are my own.
Rating: 4 stars
Tea and Treachery by Vicki Delany
This was a compelling cozy. I loved the Maine setting and the tea shop that Lily owns. The author must really have a love for tea.
Lily owns a tea shop and cooks breakfast for her grandmother’s B and B next door. When a neighbor want to redone and sell their house to a developer to build a golf resort, Rose (grandma) threatens the developer. Then the developer ends up dead and Rose is a prime suspect. Lily and her friends work with Rose to clear her name. This is a twisty mystery with lots of good suspects. I only figured it out just ahead of the reveal and that’s unusual for a cozy reader like me.
The characters are realistic and fun. Rose is feisty but not stereotypical. I loved this. It’s the first in a series but I’m looking forward to the next. I only gave it for stars because it’s just the first in the series and who knows how awesome the next one will be.
Thank you to NetGalley for the review ebook. All opinions are my own.
Rating: 4 stars
A Christmas Tale for Little Women: A Miss Adelaide Christmas Novella by Linda Brooks Davis
This Christmas story is written as a prequel for Little Women, a book I loved as a young girl. The characters are richly drawn and reflect those created in the classic. The atmosphere of the 1912 setting is brought out clearly and adds to the joy of the book. The theme is uplifting and shows the joy of faith.
I felt a little let down by this novella. I (probably unfairly) compared it to the original and just didn’t get the same feeling. It was a nice story, and I enjoyed it, but it didn’t make my heart sing.
Thank you to Celebrate Lit for the review e-book. All opinions are my own.
Rating: 3 stars
Gourd to Death (Pie Town Mystery #5) by Kirsten Weiss
This was a fun mystery. It is not the first book in the Pie Town mysteries series, but I enjoyed coming in at this point. There’s a hint of humor in this fall pumpkin festival-focused book, starting with the body being found squashed (had to go there) by a giant pumpkin. The main character owns a pie shop and is part of a mystery-solving club that includes her sidekick, the shop’s pie crust dough maker. The two investigate the murder of one of the town’s optometrists and wind up in wacky situations. Add to it that another town has a competing pumpkin festival, and the hijinks get really next level.
The ending was satisfying and the characters are likeable (or wonderfully unlikeable) and interesting. There’s depth to them. The plot moves swiftly for a cozy and it is a great fall read, especially just before Halloween.
Rating: 4 stars
If I’m Found by Terri Blackstock
Wow! The second book in the If I Run series, it really gets your heart beating. At first it seems it will follow the same pattern as the first book, but events don’t follow exactly the same way. Casey is still on the run and Dylan is starting to believe her story of a conspiracy led by Detective Gordon Keegan. The cat and mouse game continues and leads to a thrilling peak at the end that leads into the third book.
I listened to this as an audiobook, and really liked the narrator. Her voices for the men aren’t always as easily distinguishable as I’d like, but she does an excellent job. I highly recommend this on audio because it seems to add to the thrilling nature of the story. Have the final book ready. Just like with the previous book, you’ll want to get to the end of the series without delay.
Rating: Five stars
In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren
I thought this story would be a retread of the movie Groundhog Day, but it really had its own unique flavor. The main character finds herself reliving the same Christmas vacation with her family and friends at a Utah cabin. The first few times are bumpy, but then she decides to be herself.
She has always had a crush on Andrew, whose family is like family to hers. Their parents and friend Benny all met in college and gather together each year at the cabin and go through a series of traditions. As our main character relives these traditions (over and over) she gets a different perspective.
This has a little bit of suspense to it. You never know when the next jump happens or which one will be the last. The character complications are believable and the characters are a lovable, quirky bunch but still realistic.
I loved this book. It’s a bit “open door” so be prepared, but mostly its a sweet story about the value of family, being yourself, and having a unique perspective on tradition.
Thank you to NetGalley for the review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
Rating: Five stars
How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind” Dealing with Your House’s Dirty Little Secrets by Dana K. White
I’m usually not much for house cleaning or books on the subject, but this one caught my eye after I watched a virtual presentation of hers on organizing. The book reflects what many of us feel, that house cleaning is a chore, and not very much fun, as opposed to the latest craze in organizing and blessing your home.
White’s book is based on her blog A Slob Comes Clean and is very down to earth about taking the job of cleaning your house a little at a time. She starts with doing the dishes as a main focus to get into a routine and builds from there. She focuses more on decluttering than organizing, with the motto of “do the easy stuff first.”
I found this book to be very relatable (I struggle with keeping an ideally-spotless, perfectly decluttered home). White shows the reader that you don’t have to be perfect, just persistent.
Rating: 4 Stars
I’m reading a load of holiday books right now, so look for a half-month review session coming soon. Also upcoming is the Holiday Gift Guide for Book Lovers, as well as a free resource for followers. Lots going on this month.