What We’re Reading – Holiday Edition

New Year

Yesterday we revealed the books we got for Christmas. But I’m sure I’m not speaking for myself when I say I already had a bunch of books started that I probably should finish first.

So, Wickeds, what are you reading to ring in the new year?

Julie: I am reading a recent Joanne Fluke for fun, and Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller for business. Have decided that reading for pleasure is high on my list for 2019, so I expect more reading this weekend!

Jessie: I am halfway through Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin, Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris and Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman. I love reading a mix of fiction and non-fiction!

CityofLightEdith: I just finished Louise Penny’s Kingdom of the Blind and am nearing the end of Lauren Belfer’s City of Light, which I LOVE. I had it around the house – no idea where I got it – and was absorbed almost immediately by this 1901 story of mystery, power, industry, and love in Buffalo. Turns out she has two more later books. I can’t wait!

Sherry: My reading has been ARCs to blurb including Bad Picks by Linda Lovely and Staging is Murder by Grace Topping. It’s always exciting to get a sneak peek at interesting new books. I’m also reading books for a panel I’m moderating on Saturday “Unspeakable Crimes, LGBTQ Mystery Writing.” The three authors, Brenda Buchanan, John Copenhaver,  and Cheryl Head, are all amazing writers.

Liz: I’m reading Michelle Obama’s Becoming, one of my Christmas gifts, and I’m also reading Walter Mosley’s John Woman and Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly. And I have a whole bunch loaded up on my Kindle…

Barb: Sherry, I got to read a bit of Staging is Murder a couple of years ago when I did a manuscript review at Crime Bake. I knew it was gonna get published. I’m so glad I was right. It’s a terrific book. And Liz, Becoming was the most stolen book at our recent Family Christmas All Book Yankee Swap. The most often traded away? Stormy Daniels’ Full Disclosure. What can I say? It was a political Christmas. As for me, I am embarrassed to tell you I am reading my own book, Iced Under. The characters and themes continue in book eight in the Maine Clambake Mysteries, Sealed Off, and though I kept a bible including timelines and a family tree, I found there are some details I’ve forgotten, so…

Readers, what are you reading as we begin the new year? Tell us in the comments!

43 Thoughts

  1. I am reading4 ARCs this week that have a January 8 release date: MURDER LIKES IT HOT by Tracy Weber, THE ALCHEMIST’S APPRENTICE by Gigi Pandian, DARK STREETS, COLD SUBURBS by Aimee Hix and A LITERAL MESS by J.C. Kenney. I also did win an ARC of BAD PICK by Linda Lovely on FB on Christmas Eve so that it next on the list.

  2. I’m still reading the same book I thought I would’ve finished reading before end of the year: Tana French’s THE SECRET PLACE–not because I’m not enjoying it but just because it’s looooong. Still, though, already fit in reading another novel I got for Christmas: Stanley Ellin’s MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL, a short novel and ultimately a much darker one than I thought. Even if the set-up and the structure was fascinating, and the prose elegant as always, it was disturbing in ways I hadn’t expected. Not entirely sure I’d recommend…..

  3. I just finished Bedeviled Eggs and started Stake and Eggs last night. They are from the Cackleberry Cafe series by Laura Childs. I also have 2 Donna Andrews, 2 Victoria Gilbert, a Stuart Woods and a Vicki Delaney book, all from my library! I read a lot!

  4. I just finished my first 2029 book – Murder on Cape Cod by Maddie Day. I loved it! Now I’m starting The Coloring Crook by Krista Davis.

    1. Christi, I’m so impressed! You’re 100 years ahead in your reading. I’m feeling like I’m about 100 years behind. The “To Read” collection on my Kindle has over 300 books in it, and I’m feeling like I’ll never catch up. Hey, at least you’re remembering to use the “9”. I wrote a check this morning and used 2018.

      1. Good Grief! I said 100 years when you’re only 10 years ahead. Irrespective of my incompetence at arithmetic (and I was a math major in college), I’m obviously MUCH less impressed to find that you’re only 10 years ahead in your reading. Unfortunately, I’m still 100 years behind.

  5. I finished Hank Phillippi Ryan’s Trust Me yesterday (I’d had it for a while but didn’t get around to reading it)–compelling reading! Now I’m torn between Louise Penny’s latest book, Ann Cleeve’s latest, and Tana French’s latest. An embarrassment of riches! Now all I have to do is finish the two books I’m writing which are due to two different publishers this month before I can indulge myself.

  6. I finished Murder Wears A Little Black Dress by Debra Sennefelder and started on The Gun Also Rises by Sherry Harris. Up next is Murder, She Meowed and Pruning the Dead. I can’t wait to read Becoming. I love her.

  7. I just finished reading Holiday Hostage by Kathy Daley and now I am starting Jennie Bentley’s home renovation series. Starting with Fatal fixer-upper. I need to put a dent in my reading pile this year, but I know that I will just keep buying more.

  8. Edith, I enjoyed City of Light. Hard to remember that at one time, Buffalo and Niagara Falls loomed so much bigger, especially with the advent of electricity generation at the Falls.

    I’m digging into my past by going back to The Name of the Rose. A mix of mystery and theology – but definitely not what I’d consider “light” reading.

    1. My word, I remember reading The Name of the Rose when it first came out, and it was memorable. Better yet, it took me less than a minute to find that copy on my bookshelf. But I read The Once and Future King when I was eleven, and still remember it.

      1. I think we are some of the few people who actually finished “The Name of the Rose.” I’ve heard so many people say that they read some of it. I enjoyed the story but had to create a cheat sheet with all the names to keep them straight.

  9. I actually took a bit of a break from cozies to read Flashback, an 850 middle grade fantasy by Shannon Messenger. After that, I ventured back to mysteries with Mr. Kiss and Tell, the second Veronica Mars tie in, and The Double A Western Detective Agency, a new Holmes on the Range mystery from Steve Hockensmith. Then it was back to cozies for A Literal Mess by JC Kenney, which I finished yesterday. Now, I’m in the middle of a space set cozy with Diane Vallere’s Saturn Night Fever.

  10. The book I’m actually in the middle of right now is Verses for the Dead by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. More of a thriller than a mystery, but their Agent Pendergast series is my secret vice. (Okay, it’s ONE of my secret vices.)

    In my stack to read are Ike’s Mystery Man: The Secret Lives of Robert Cutler by Peter Shinkle, a non-fiction book I was given for Christmas about the man who was our first National Security Advisor and the ways in which he shaped US Cold War Strategy and his private life in the midst of the so-called “Lavender Scare,” a period of homophobia virtually unimaginable today. Also at the top of my To Read pile are Kneading to Die by Liz Mugavero, The Child Garden by Catriona McPherson, and Presidents of War by historian Michael Beschloss. I also have Jane Cleland’s Mastering Plot Twists in my To Read pile.

    I’m also reading two books that I gave others this Christmas and that they enjoyed so much, I had to read them. The first is Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher an absolutely hysterical send-up of academic politics told completely in the form of memos and letters of recommendation. The other is Murder on Cape Cod by Maddie Day which I gave to my roommate because he’s a cycling enthusiast, and I hoped it might whet his taste for mysteries. He loved it, so I’m reading it myself now, and enjoying it very much as well. I never understood quite why authors used multiple pen names until after reading and loving Jesica’s Change of Fortune series, I read Murder in an English VIllage. The styles were so completely different, it was hard to believe both were written by the same person. At that point I began to get it. Although it’s wonderful and deliciously funny, someone coming from Whispers Beyond the Veil would find something very different than they were expecting. Although not as drastically different in tone as Jessica’s two series, Murder on Cape Cod is much lighter in tone than the Quaker Midwife series written as Edith Maxwell.

    Interestingly, the three books I’ve most recently finished (Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny, The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen, and The Throne of Caesar by Steven Saylor) are each the best books each has written.

    By the way if you have a taste for historical series set in ancient times, the three best I’ve ever come across are Steven Saylor’s Roma sub Rosa series (Roman Blood is the first in the series), Lindsey Davis’ Falco and Flavia Alba series (The Silver Pigs is the first book in the Falco series and the Ides of April is the first in the Flavia Alba series. The two series are related and sequential, so I’d suggest starting with the Falco series), and Priscilla Royal’s Medieval Mysteries series (Wine of Violence is the first book in the series). The Saylor and Davis series are set in ancient Rome and the Royal series is set in England beginning during the reign of Henry III. Incidentally, many have compared Priscilla Royal’s books to Ellis Peters’ Brother Cadfael series since both are set in monasteries in medieval times, but I find that I actually like Priscilla Royal’s books even more than Ellis Peters marvelous Brother Cadfael books.

    So that’s what’s at the top of my In Progress, To Read, and Just Read piles. It’s so much fun seeing what everyone else is reading as well.

      1. Edith, sincerely, thank you so much for writing them and giving me (as well as so many others) so much pleasure. The same thanks go out to all the Wickeds as well as the other writers who lurk here. I don’t do New Years resolutions, instead I do New Years Gratitudes. For me it’s kind of an extension of my Thanksgiving Thankfuls. And, in a year when I have so much to be grateful for, wonderful books which stretch our minds, relax our brains, and bring us such joy are right at the top of my Gratitudes.

  11. I’m reading “The Elements of Surprise: Our Mental Limits and the Satisfactions of Plot,” by Vera Tobin. I heard hear on the podcast “Hidden Brain,” and she discusses why plot twists work in conjunction with how our brains work. I find books like this help my writing tremendously, especially when I’m starting a new one, like I am now, and trying to work my way through the plot and what happens when.
    I’m also reading “In Plain Sight: The Kaufman County Prosecutor Murders,” by Kathryn Casey, because I’ve been on a two-year true crime binge and I can’t stop. This one is better than a lot of them! And it has photos, which is a huge plus with a true crime book. I hate it when e-book versions don’t.

  12. Thank you, Sherry Harris and Barb Ross, for your mention of my soon-to-be published mystery, “Staging is Murder.” Barb, your 30-page review of my manuscript at Crime Bake really helped a lot.

  13. I’m making it my mission to read more books by people of colour this year, got ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race’ and ‘Well-Read Black Girl’ ready and waiting!

  14. I’m excited to read Lauren Belfer too after reading her book synopsis. This post was very helpful! The two books I recently started reading are Kiss of the Spindle by Nancy Campbell Allen, as an audiobook, and Royal Secrets by Tracy Hunter Abramson. I’m enjoying both!

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