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happy holidays!

However, or wherever you plan to spend your holidays--in the snow or beside the pool--with family and friends or relaxing by yourself--laboring over a hot stove, ordering in, or eating out, have a great time!

If you are looking for something to read or listen to while doing all these holiday tasks, I can give you a few ideas. Two from authors with whom you may be familiar and two with whom you may not have come across to date.

  • Nicholas Sparks: SEE ME. I surprised myself with this choice, as I wouldn't usually choose a book by this author because I don't generally choose romance. (Think: The Notebook)However, the plot's description of this book caught my eye. Yes, there is romance, but the story revolves around a character (probably with ADHD) trying to reinvent himself and gets swept up in the family drama of two sisters--one of whom is a fellow student. The other, by coincidence, is one he meets on a dark, rainy highway where she struggles with a flat tire. I enjoyed the book, and it kept me guessing.

  • Robert Galbraith: THE CUCKOO'S CALLING. I read this one out of curiosity as it's written by J.K. Rowling under her pseudonym; I did enjoy Harry Potter. It's book 1 of the Cormoran Strike detective series about a down-and-out Afghanistan vet who starts his detective agency and is hired by a wealthy individual who doesn't believe the death of his famous sister was a suicide. It's fast-paced with glamour and humor.

  • Lauren Beukes: THE SHINING GIRLS. This book kept me reading. It was sometimes confusing, with both past and present sequences for several characters, with some seeming to coincide. A serial killer targets his victims by what he claims to see as their "shining." Only one of his victims survives; it is her life's goal to catch this killer. Who will win when the two meet again makes this a page-turner.

  • Jon Talton: CONCRETE DESERT. This is book 1 in the David Mapstone mystery series, where a former history professor returns to his hometown of Phoenix after losing his job due to apparent disagreements with his department head. He accepts a temporary position with his friend, the Chief Deputy in Maricopa County. The job is to re-examine unsolved cases; in doing this, he finds a remarkable similarity between a currently open case and one happening forty years ago. This, plus the reappearance of an old girlfriend whose sister has disappeared, makes for an enjoyable read.

While this is the time of year to be eating and drinking whatever we want and thinking we'll start that new diet come January--we'll not worry about anything now. We think we'll begin everything with a new resolve next month, but still, in the back of our minds, we are already thinking of those new things we plan to do.

Here is one fun thing you might also do now as you mix that batter or wrap those packages. If you haven't tried podcasts as an alternative to audiobooks, here's a podcast I would definitely recommend: Game of Books, which is also available on YouTube.

I met Christie and Cathi this summer at Sleuthfest, a writers' conference held in Florida. Aside from moderating some of the guest speakers, this team also led a morning yoga session--a great start to the day. Their sites are a great way to learn about both new and quite famous authors while they all share a beverage of choice--often a wine designed to correlate in some way with the author. They now also have a new book--possibly a great one for those other readers in your circle: Read Happy: the ultimate reading journal. Treat yourself and explore their sites. I hope to be doing my own interview with them in the near future!


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