The Dreamers By Karen Thompson Walker

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In a small college town, a college student falls asleep…and no one can wake her. More students fall into the deep sleep characterized by unusually high levels of brain activity. As the disease spreads through the college and then the town, fear spreads as well. The town is quarantined and no one knows what to do. The story is less about the condition and more about how the various characters react. Eventually, the dreamers begin to awaken and many are disoriented and confused between their dream lives and their reality. An interesting read.

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Once Upon a River By Diane Setterfield

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The story flows like a river…quiet, slow at times, quicker at other times, and deep. A man stumbles into an inn known for its storytelling, carrying a drowned child in his arms. The child begins to breathe again and three separate families believe she belongs to them. Who is this child and how did she come back to life? Once the backstories of the various characters are described, you begin to see how the stories are skillfully woven together. With the first few sentences, I was drawn into the dreamy rhythm and enjoyed the immersion into the story.

Slay in Character By Lynn Cahoon

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Slay in Character, the fourth book in the Cat Latimer mysteries, can easily be read as a stand-alone novel. I’m glad I’ve read the rest of the series, so I can appreciate the growth of the characters and their relationships. Cat and Shauna are hosting a group of romance writers for their latest writer’s retreat plus Jessie is their Covington student guest. When Jessie’s roommate is found murdered, many unpleasant truths come to light. Is Jessie the murderer? Or the intended victim? And just what is Seth, Cat’s boyfriend, working on in the back pasture? Never fear, all is tied up nicely in the end!

How to Knit a Murder By Sally Goldenbaum

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This is a great addition to the Seaside Knitters Society. A young woman returns to town to face her painful past and finish healing. A victim of bullying in school, she has emerged strong and calm, but now has an opportunity to face the man who bullied her as a child. He is still a bully and intent on winning at any cost. The back story of the bully and his multiple victims emerges slowly throughout the story and the message is certainly timely. This series always delivers a picture of strong, supportive women and a warm, caring neighborhood. The solution to the mystery was a perfect fit and a complete surprise.

 

The Whispered Word By Ellery Adams

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In this second book in the Secret, Book, & Scone Society, Nora and her friend find a frail, bruised young woman in Nora’s bookstore. Because of their backstories, they all do everything they can to help her. Nora continues to use her skills as a “biblio therapist” to help people. The women in the group each has her secrets, but has learned that sharing them can be helpful. As they help their new young friend, they must deal with their own pain as they become involved in solving murders and mysteries. I love this series. It is much more than a cozy mystery; it’s also a story of the strong bond these women have formed.

Wreath Between the Lines By Daryl Wood Gerber

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Jenna loves Christmas, but this year is complicated. Her older sister and her family show up unexpectedly and they are not a happy bunch. Then a murder occurs in their small town. Who was the intended target? Jenna’s busy during her cookbook store’s busy holiday season, hosting special events, spending time with her sister and niece, and trying to solve a murder and an attempted murder. This was a quick, fun read for the Christmas season.

Inherit the Wool By Betty Hechtman

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I now have a new series to catch up on! Inherit the Wool is the 6th title in the Yarn Retreat Mystery series. Casey lives in picturesque Cadbury on the California coast and cobbles together a living by hosting knitting retreats, baking muffins and desserts for local coffee shops and restaurants, and even being a magician’s assistant. She also is a successful amateur sleuth. Casey agrees to host a group of her old college friends for a retreat, but things don’t go smoothly. She’s nervous because everyone else seems so accomplished and settled, but cracks appear in her friends supposedly successful lives. When one old friend dies during the retreat, Casey starts snooping and finds out the victim used friends for her own ends. I loved the fact that all the visitors are horrified to find the hotel has no WiFi or cell phone service on its grounds. The knitting scenes made me want to get back to my current work in progress!

Thread Herrings By Lea Wait

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Angie, the owner of Mainely Needlepoint, attends her first auction with her friend and buys a poorly preserved embroidered coat of arms which intrigues her. The real surprise is behind the embroidery; a beautifully crafted bookmark and information about a baby who was given to a foundling home in London. Angie is intrigued by the story and is searching for more information. Her friend, Clem, a news reporter puts the story on air, asking the public for information. Instead, Clem and Angie receive anonymous threats. Of course, Angie doesn’t drop the search, despite the very real danger. The story leads back to the early days of Maine, but who cares enough to kill for it? This series continues to be enjoyable with a well-crafted mystery and sympathetic characters.

In Peppermint Peril By Joy Avon

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Callie is taking time off from her tour guide job and returned to her small home town. She’s helping her Aunt Iphy with her tea shop and catering business and enjoying the holiday season. While catering an event at the large mansion where she spend many days visiting her young friends, a murder occurs. Callie is worried one of her old friends will be blamed, so she does some nosing around. Why was the person murdered and who had a motive? Lots of suspicious characters and some romance makes this a fun, quick read.

Home Made Christmas By Yvette Van Boven

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If you are planning on hosting a Christmas bash, this is the book for you. This is simply the most beautiful cookbook I’ve seen. The stunning photographs are evocative of the season, while the illustrations add a nice whimsical touch. The recipes are generally too fancy for my taste, but if you enjoy entertaining, this would be a great addition. Just browsing through its pages put me immediately into the Christmas spirit!