Reading Round-Up: December Edition

It’s almost 2021! This is my last reading round-up for 2020, and pretty soon this year will be just a memory. Though 2020 brought lots of changes and more than a few blessings to my family, I know that’s not the case for millions of people all over the world.

Reading has always been a great escape, and my belief is that books have been more important than ever during the past nine tumultuous months. I hope you’ve enjoyed my reviews and that you’ve been inspired to read and review a few books of your own. I look forward to continuing my reviews in 2021 and I hope you’ll join me.

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A Noël Killing (A Provençal Mystery Book 8) by [M. L. Longworth]

The first book I read this month was A Noël Killing by M.L. Longworth. I was looking for a Christmas mystery, and though I hadn’t read the first 7 books in the Provençal Mystery Series, I took a chance on this one. I enjoyed it. It’s a traditional mystery, as opposed to a cozy mystery or a thriller, and the setting in the south of France made it feel exotic. You can read my four-star review here.

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The Getaway: A Magical Christmas Story by [Bibiana Krall]

Next up was The Getaway: A Short Read Christmas Romance by Bibiana Krall. If you know someone with a humbuggy heart this year, give them this book to read. If it doesn’t bring a smile to their face, nothing will. It’s a quick read (as the title suggests), it’s got everything I look for in a Christmas story, and it wraps up with a note from the author that makes the tale even more endearing. Read my review here.

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Two books down, five to go in the Harry Potter series! Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was a great read, and my husband grabbed it up as soon as I finished it. There was really only one thing I didn’t understand in the story, and that was the presence of one particular character. But as I say in my very short review, that really didn’t matter, because the book was a treat to read. Why did I wait so long to start this series?? Read my review here.

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Mistletoe and Mayhem: Yuletide at Castlewood Manor by [Veronica Cline Barton]

Mistletoe and Mayhem: Yuletide at Castlewood Manor, Book 4 in the My American Almost-Royal Cousin Series by Veronica Cline Barton, was a fun Christmas read that I devoured in a few hours. If you are a royal watcher and you like cozy mysteries, this is one for you. Read my review here.

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The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding: A Hercule Poirot Short Story (Hercule Poirot Series Book 33) by [Agatha Christie]

It seems there are two versions of Agatha Christie’s Christmas short story The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding, a shorter one and a longer one, and I have to say I don’t know which one I read. Whichever one it was, it was throroughly enjoyable. I love a good Hercule Poirot mystery, and this one was fun. Poirot is hired to (discreetly, as always) spend Christmas at an English manor house where he hopes to recover a ruby that was stolen from a prince who had placed himself in a, ahem, compromising situation. What ensues is a mystery that is finally solved after a key clue is found in the Christmas pudding. Read my review here.

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Menace at the Christmas Market: An English Village Murder Mystery (Murder on Location Book 5) by [Sara Rosett]

Menace at the Christmas Market by Sara Rosett was a great short mystery. Though it’s not the first book in the Murder on Location series, I found that it was easy to follow. I was brought up to speed instantly with the main character and her job as a location scout in England for a Jane Austen documentary series (I want that job!) and her relationship with Alex, another recurring character in the series. This is a quick read that has all the satisfying elements of a longer novel—murder, red herrings, and a great setting. Highly recommend! Read my review here.

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A LITTLE TASTE OF MURDER: A Brightwater Bay Cozy Mystery (book 1) (Brightwater Bay Cozy Mysteries) by [Carolyn L. Dean]

This was the 60th book I read this year, and my goal was to read 59 books. So…mission accomplished! And bonus—it was a great book AND the first in a series! A Little Taste of Murder by Carolyn L. Dean was an intriguing Christmas mystery with a gorgeous setting (the Pacific Northwest), wonderful and well-drawn characters, and some engaging red herrings. I didn’t figure out whodunit, and I love that in a mystery. Read my review here and put this on your TBR list if you love a good cozy!

That’s all, folks! Happy New Year!

Until next time,

Amy

Meet Densie Webb!

You'll Be Thinking of Me
This week I welcome Densie Webb, author of You’ll Be Thinking of Me. Nice to have you here on Reade and Write, Densie!
Tell me about your new book.
My novel, You’ll Be Thinking of Me, is the story of a young woman who has a chance encounter with a celebrity, takes an innocent video of the two of them and when it gets posted online, she becomes the target of celebrity stalker, who thinks the young woman is interfering with her relationship with the celebrity. There’s a healthy dose of both suspense and romance and, I’ve been told, a very surprising ending.
Who is the audience for the book?
I’ve had women ranging in age from 19 to 60 read it and say they enjoyed it. I’ve even had a few male readers. But women are the primary audience.
Tell me about the setting of your book—how did you choose it, what kind of research did you have to do, why did you choose it?
Everything takes place in New Jersey, Manhattan and Brooklyn. I lived in all 3 places and have a good friend who lives in the town where one of the main characters is from. I didn’t really have to do much research on the setting, since I lived it.
What was the hardest thing about writing the book?
Everything! I rewrote the beginning and the ending countless times. The time line with seasons changing was tough to keep track of after a certain point. I don’t like using outlines, but I did eventually have to lay out the months, so there wasn’t ice on the steps in August!
If your book were made into a movie, who would you like to see playing the main characters?
I think every author thinks about that. For the main male character, Mick Sullivan, I would say someone like Robert Pattinson (Edward from “Twilight”), Kit Harrington (Jon Snow on “Game of Thrones”) or Max Irons (son of Jeremy). They all have that tortured pout down pat. For the female lead, I’ve thought about Dakota Johnson (“50 Shades of Grey)”, she has a very girl next door look about her; maybe Jenifer awrence, she can be dressed up or down; and Analeigh Tipton (“Stupid, Crazy Love,” “The Two Night Stand,” and “Warm Bodies”). These are all comedies, but she’s great in drama too and very girl next door.
Have you written any other books?
This is my debut novel, but I’m working on two others. One is a contemporary paranormal romance, which may or may not have a sequel, and the other is women’s fiction—a family drama.
Are you in one or more critique groups or partnerships?
I have an awesome critique partner. We meet once or twice a week. We get each other’s writing and it just works. I’ve belonged to several critique groups, but I’ve found that the one-on-one is working best.
Do you write every day?
No. I wish I did. I write and edit non-fiction for a living and sometimes by the end of the day, I’ve got nothing left. But I try to squeeze in a few words whenever I can and the brain is willing to cooperate.
When you read a book, what authors do you like best? What genres do you like best?
I hate answering this question. There are so many wonderful authors out there. But if forced to answer, I’d say Liane Moriorty, Jo Jo Moyes, Emily Giffin, Mary Kubica. I love women’s fiction, and I like it to have some romance and heartache or, I guess I should say I like books that contain some relationship back and forth, which all of these books do in some form or another. I prefer a Happy For Now or a heartbreak ending over a Happily Ever After ending. But a tortuous road to Happily Ever After works too.
Where would you like to go more than anywhere else on earth?
I don’t get to travel outside the U.S. much, so I haven’t given it much thought. But if
someone were to hand me a ticket to anywhere, I guess I’d like to visit Croatia or maybe
Prague (in the summertime, of course).
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Never give up and be prepared for criticism and rejection. It comes with the territory.
What is your favorite movie and why?
That’s just as hard as picking a favorite book. I love movies. I’m a sucker for “The Notebook;” I cry my eyes out every time. “When Harry Met Sally” is just a feel-good movie that I never tire of watching. “Jumper” is a sci-fi movie about moving through space at will. I’ve watched it countless times. “500 Days of Summer” is romantic comedy with a dash of sadness. I’m sure I’m missing some.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Start writing sooner!!
Describe yourself in three words.
Laid back, accepting, flexible.
Is there anything I haven’t asked that you wanted me to?
I think that about covers it.
Where can readers connect with you?
My website: www.densiewebb.com
Where can readers find your books? 
Densie Webb_2013