What I’m Reading: Hannah Swensen Mysteries [with Recipes!]

I love cozy mysteries! What makes a mystery a cozy? Well, I’m not sure of the official definition, but the main character is usually a woman, and the plot always seems to involve food or B&Bs or magic. The stories are usually shortish, humorous, and light. Sometimes I read a cozy or two in one day. I think they are the best books for curling up with hot chocolate and an afghan, and they often include recipes. There’s one cozy author who is my favorite, so much so that I’ve collected all her cozy novels, plus her cookbook. Her name is Joanne Fluke, and at last count her Hannah Swensen books number more than twenty. She does write other mysteries, but these are my favorites. I’ve read all of them except her newest one, which I have on hold in Kindle format at my local library. It’s popular enough that they have 5 copies and I’m in line behind a bunch of other people.

51o2+zbasUL._SX308_BO1,204,203,200_ 51C9OGcz+yL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_

Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder        Banana Cream Pie Murder

The oldest and newest of the Hannah Swensen mysteries.

Continue reading


What I’m Reading: Miss Peregrine Books

This series is one of the best I’ve ever read. The books are addictive and engrossing. It’s been some time since I read them on my Kindle (checked them out from my local library), but the stories still haunt me – in a good way. I’m planning to read several more books by the author, Ransom Riggs, in the near future.


Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Continue reading

What I’m Reading: The Eighty-Dollar Champion – Snowman, The Horse That Inspired a Nation


The Eighty-Dollar Champion

I have to admit, I am a complete sucker for a good underdog story, and this is the best underdog story EVER! OK, here’s the plot in a nutshell…. It’s just after WWII, and a young Dutch immigrant comes to America with his wife to work on a tobacco farm. Fortunately for him (because the crop is terrible and he was sharecropping), he’s also expert with horses. Continue reading

What I’m Reading: The Magnolia Story

There’a a couple on HGTV that I love (besides the cute and tall Property Brothers), and they just wrote a book. I love their banter, her designs, and his goofiness. I love that they are unashamedly religious and have four adorable kids. I love that he brings home miscellaneous animals all the time and she goes with it. I love that they frequently express love for each other and their family. I love their show, Fixer Upper (used to be available on Netflix, now can be seen on Amazon Prime). They are without a doubt one of the most-loved couples in the USA.

Chip and Joanna Gaines have a great story, and they put it into a wonderful book, The Magnolia Story. I saw this book on Amazon and got it for my daughter for Christmas. She loved it, too; she even reviewed it on her new blog, simplyrosalie.


The Magnolia Story

Continue reading

What I’m Reading: The Last Valentine

Once upon a time when I was younger, I had a best friend. We both lived in southern California and got married within a short time, serving as each others’ bridesmaids. My friend married a sweet, goofy (going by his jokes, anyway) guy named Jim.

My husband Clete and I moved away to Oregon, and we had only minimal contact with the Pratts for many years. Clete and I started a publishing business, and we attended the LDS Booksellers convention every year in the Salt Lake City, Utah area. One year when my teenage daughter came with me to help with our booth, she went wandering around to look at other booths, and she returned, saying that some guy in another booth said he knew me. I therefore wandered over there, and was shocked to see Jim there, signing books! My first thought was, “Goofy Jim wrote a book?”

As an author and publisher, I have often been asked by friends and acquaintances to read their books. Very few are any good, in fact they are usually cringe-worthy, and I’ve had to use my imagination to avoid hurting their feelings without lying to them. “Wow, your book was so very interesting….” Jim gave me a free book and signed the inside. The book was called “The Last Valentine,” and Jim had self-published it.


The Last Valentine

Continue reading