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What I’ve Been Reading…

 

When I wasn’t shopping, putting up the tree, decorating, and cooking, I spent December indulging in everything Christmas. I had read Kate Kingsbury before and decided to read the new one that came out this year as well as some of her back list. If you are a fan of Downton Abbey, which I am, you will love this series. Since I have read a few already, I have come to love the characters. Cecily Sinclair Baxter is the protagonist. She owns the Pennyfoot Hotel/Country Club. There have been so many murders around the holidays that everyone has come to think of the Pennyfoot having a holiday curse. Luckily Cecily has a knack at solving the mysteries. You will get entangled in the lives of the servants as well as Cecily. These stories are satisfying cozy reads and you too will become attached to the characters. I picked up several from this series but only managed to read two. The rest will have to wait till next December. Here are my thoughts on December 2012 reads.

First I read ‘Herald of Death’ –  This one involves a murderer who kills with a different method each time but leaves an Angel sticker on the victim’s forehead. I would give this one 4 stars.

‘The Clue is in the Pudding’ – involves a maid finding a dead guest in his bed. At first it looks like he was poisoned by some Christmas pudding served by the new housekeeper. Pudding the cook was saving for guests for Christmas day. You then discover that though she might have a motive so do several more characters. 4 stars.

Santa Cruise‘ by Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark was the third book from December. I have read a couple other from this series co-written by mother and daughter but it had been a while. This one was okay but found myself not caring so much about the characters. To be honest, I had a hard time telling who was the protagonist of this story. The characters who appear in the series are Regan Reilly a private investigator and her husband head of the NYPD Major Case Squad. I would have assumed they were the main characters but it felt more like Alvirah Meehan, a lottery winner who must have solved a few crimes in previous books in this series was also telling the story. Needless to say, I did finish it, something I don’t always do now – so many books – so little time. If you like a cozy mystery set on the sea, do check this one out. I would give this one 2 stars.

I resolve to continue reading. I believe you have to read to write. What have you been reading? Any suggestions for 2013?

Till next time,

Virginia

 

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2013 in What I'm Reading

 

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2012 – Prioritizing and Perfection

The holidays felt like a blur. So many things to do and so little time, I enjoyed the time with my family and I did manage to carry out most of my personal traditions but many didn’t feel so important this year. I managed to get the tree up the Tuesday before Christmas and the presents wrapped the next night. Instead of setting out the Christmas Village, I left it packed away. I can remember years when I was wrapping presents Christmas Eve knowing they would be opened later that day. I hated those years. I used to decorate almost every room and put up two trees. I don’t try that hard anymore. A person could drive themselves crazy trying so hard to be perfect. I no longer seek perfection. I hung red ribbons on the outside lights, a big wreath at the top of the stairs and I set out my big Santa Clause next to the tree and called it good.  I bought candy instead of making it. I shopped a little bit each week so that it wasn’t a mad dash to buy everything in one shot and though it was still hectic, it was doable.

I learned something important from the holidays this year that I intend to carry over to my writing. I don’t have to do everything. I only need to do what is important. My word count did not grow very much on my current wip. With the holidays, I did feel a little overwhelmed so instead of trying to meet my writing goals, I fit in what I could each day. Instead of actually writing, I continued to note story ideas, build my characters, and work on plot and structure. I know that I need to quit with the perfectionism, especially with the first draft or it will never happen. I can accept that the first draft won’t be perfect.

I also snagged a new critique partner. Someone who was right in front of me looking for someone to work with and I am so glad she approached me.  Carrie belongs to my local RWA chapter. She is our 2012 Board President and she has written a non-fiction book about Winterset, Iowa. You know that place where Bridges of Madison County was set. We plan to start critiquing in February, so now I have to actually start writing. Having a partner who expects something from me will make me produce. I hope to be able to write at least one blog a week but forgive me if I skip  once in a while and know that I am working on my novel. When I do post, I will try to write about where I am in the process as well as what I have been reading.

As far as reading, I finished ‘I Am Half Sick of Shadows’; the latest Alan Bradley novel. I love the little protagonist Flavia De Luce. She is an expert with poisons and chemicals and somehow always helps the local police solve murders. If you haven’t read this series you really should check it out.

I am currently reading – a paperback of  Jennifer Crusie‘s ‘Maybe This TIme.’ and Claire Cook’s ‘Life’s a Beach‘ on my nook. I normally try to read only one book at a time but have found that while the nook is re-charging it’s nice to have a real book handy.

Happy reading and writing…

Virginia

 

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