December Book Reviews, Part I

My 60-book Autumn Reading Challenge speeds toward the finish line. I’ve read and reviewed 54 books!!

Ten days to read 6 more. Piece of Cake!

December’s Part I book reviews include my 4 and 5 star reads of fantasy, sci-fi, paranormal fiction, thrillers, a memoir written by a dog, poetry, and a children’s book! I hope you enjoy the browse.

Click on the covers for Amazon global links.

*****

Snow White and the Civil War: Survival of the Fairest by Cathleen Townsend

Clearly, from the title, this is a fairy tale retelling, and though the story of Snow White is recognizable in the book, this tale has enough originality and enhancements to rise above the Disney version. No singing mice here; instead there’s a young woman named Gwen trying to survive in California at the start of the Civil War.

Like in the fairy tale, Gwen flees her evil stepmother (and her mirrors) and finds a new home with seven dwarfs who dig for gold in the mines. Gwen keeps house and cooks while the industrious dwarfs keep her safe. The story diverges from the classic tale as Gwen’s desire to pull her weight encourages her to excel at her domestic skills as well as learn new ones. Life is pretty wonderful, and so is love, until the war and her stepmother get in the way.

An underlying theme of the story is the vital role frontier women played in the forming of the country. That said, there’s plenty of magical and real danger, and Gwen has a strong character arc. The narrative includes less-known historical facts about California’s role in the Civil War. It’s also full of details about the mid-1800’s, including homesteading and survival skills.

Townsend does a good job of differentiating between the dwarfs. Told in first person from Gwen’s POV, she’s the character that I got to know best. She’s well rounded, emotionally believable, and her sensibilities are true to the time period. The pace is moderate, and the book ends with a cliff-hanger, so be prepared to dive into Book 2 (Snow White and the Civil War: Plot of Gold). Recommended to YA and adult readers who enjoy fairy tale retellings and stories about frontier women.

*****

Snow White and the Civil War: Plot of Gold by Cathleen Townsend

This book is Part 2 of the Snow White and the Civil War tale, which should be read in order. It switches its POV from Gwen (Janet/Snow White) to Jack (the Prince Charming who isn’t so charming and needs to grow up quite a bit). The timelines of the stories overlap slightly though the characters don’t meet again until later in the book. The story diverges from the traditional fairytale in that Jack has a complete story of his own – as opposed to the largely absent prince in the childhood versions I read.

Having left Janet heartbroken, Jack’s goal is to impress his father by making a successful business for himself. At the same time the Civil War is looming, and California’s gold can make or break the war depending on whose pockets it fills. The politics of the time are well-researched and play a greater role in the story than they did in the first book. Jack’s efforts on behalf of the Union run parallel to his growing up and growing deeper, which I liked as his primary arc. He’s a three-dimensional character, as are a number of secondary characters.

The pace picks up alongside the action. Toward the conclusion, the story transitions back into the Snow White tale, and the evil stepmother makes her reappearance. All the plot threads come together nicely for a satisfying conclusion. Recommended to readers who enjoy fairy tale retellings, historical fiction, Civil War fiction, and books set in the American west.

*****

Patient Zero by Terry Tyler

I’ve been avoiding pandemic books (since there’s enough of that going around in real life these days), but decided to give this collection of nine short stories a try. Great decision (pats self on back). All of the stories take place in the same world, a place being ravaged by a “bat virus.” They read like vignettes, and I was completely drawn in by the characters and their situations. It was fascinating and chilling at the same time.

Each story focuses on a different character, often living through a different stage of the pandemic. Some of them are alone, others with family or friends. Some are highly prepared, others not so much. What I really enjoyed about the collection was how unique each story was and how believable! Yikes. I could absolutely see these tales happening in my neighborhood.

The deadly pandemic is the driving force behind the stories, but the characters bring their own situations, logic, and emotions into their choices. Not all of them survive, despite the best of plans, and for those who do, the world will never be the same. This isn’t a long read, and I recommend it to sci fi fans who enjoy a fictional pandemic and great writing.

*****

The Glamourist by Luanne G. Smith

I really enjoyed The Vine Witch and picked up this continuing story about Elena, a vine witch, and Renard, her fiancé and a vineyard owner. They’ve left the vineyard for the city to assist Yvette, a young woman on the lam from the law who’s trying to discover her magical abilities, protect a treasured book, and find out why she was abandoned as a child.

The plot is too complex to summarize, but it’s well laid out without any confusion. There are a number of characters with competing goals, and the story unfolds like a mystery as paths cross, clues are deciphered, and magic revealed. With witches, jinnis, eccentric mortals, criminals, and a magical cat, things get interesting fast.

One of the best parts is the world-building. This is a society (city) where witches are everywhere among the mortals. They own businesses and their magical abilities are strictly governed by the laws of the Covenants Regulation Bureau. It’s rather wonderful and fascinating, and both witches and mortals have their law-abiding citizens and criminals. Characters are rich and varied, and I enjoyed the author’s creativity when differentiating between them.

The writing is superb with a snappy pace. I’d suggest starting with The Vine Witch, though this book can be read as a stand-alone. A great choice for fantasy readers.

Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford

The start of this fantasy is all about being beautiful, going to a ball, and marrying a prince. The shallowness of the characters almost made me put the read down. But I hung in there, and lucky for me, things started going wrong, and they continued going wrong. Before I knew it, I was hooked.

In an act of kindness, Nor, a feisty young woman, switches places with her demure twin sister, Zadie, and heads from her sea-stilt village into the mountains to marry Prince Ceren. Not only is Ceren sickly and cruel, but he has brutal plans for her people in his lust for the healing pink pearls that they alone provide. Nor is determined to save her home even at the cost of her life.

The pace moves along well, and there’s plenty of action as well as a touch of romance. The plot is well constructed, integrating key parts of the worldbuilding. I like it when the fantasy elements play a role in the story and aren’t just background. Nor is a great character, unable to keep her mouth shut and ultimately unable to keep the prince from learning her secrets. She’s a well-rounded character as is Ceren and his brother Talin (Nor’s love interest).

The story is told from Nor’s first person POV, which unfortunately requires some “telling” at the conclusion when Talin has to explain a bunch of political secrets and maneuvering. But other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed this read. Recommended to fantasy fans who like a well-crafted tale with lots of action and a touch of romance.

*****

Desolation Bluff by Toni Pike

Oliver is a successful romance writer and happy newlywed. His wife, Vanessa, is his writing assistant, and his best friend Ray handles promotion. But Oliver is also blind, and what he doesn’t see is the way Vanessa and Ray roll their eyes at him and touch each other’s hands across the table. Then a freak accident returns Oliver’s sight. Before he can tell the two most important people in his life about the miracle, he discovers them in the throes of passion. His ability to see becomes his secret, and the tables turn.

The characters started off a touch flat for me, but they didn’t stay that way for long. As soon as Oliver gets his sight back, things get very interesting, very fast. Oliver is quite crafty and when a distant relative, Ferris, shows up at Oliver’s estate, she joins in the scheming. Things escalate like crazy and grow out of everyone’s control. The pace is great and the plot well-conceived.

The characters are varied and interesting, all of them flawed. Even Vanessa and Ray, despite their deceptions, don’t seem to start out with murderous intentions. And Oliver, in many ways the victim, makes vengeful choices with disastrous results. This book is a quick read that I polished off in a morning. Recommended for anyone who enjoys thrillers.

*****

Sam: A Shaggy Dog Story by Sally Cronin

This read is a little more than an hour, but it’s an hour of cuteness and laughs. I’ve lived with dogs for most of my life, and the attitudes and antics of Sam, a Collie, were delightfully familiar. This tribute to a dog’s life is narrated by Sam himself, starting when he was a newborn and stretching into his old age. I rarely laugh out loud while reading, and this book was an exception.

Sam has a very funny (as well as adorable) perspective on life with accounts of his cat friend Henry, his love of chicken and sausages, his dislike of veterinarians, his job as a paper shredder, and his occasional encounters with “that Bloody Danny,” a little canine with poor manners. He relays his experiences with “cat speak” as well as his acquisition of several human words which are strategically employed to earn pieces of cheese.

The book is organized into short chapters by topic. This is a lighthearted and endearing read for anyone who loves dogs.

*****

Thistledown: Midsummer Bedlam by Teagan Geneviene

I read most of this book when it was a blog serial, and since I missed several episodes, it was a pleasure to sit down and read the finished story from end to end. Geneviene has a great imagination, and this tale of fairies is chock full of delightful magic. The sheep float, cherries roll into the bakery in single file, and there are hallucinating bats. This doesn’t even begin to touch on the fairy names which are a hoot all by themselves (Bedlam Thunder, Catseye Glimmer, and Peaches Dragonfly to name a few). And then there’s the hummingbird with the “strange” name Bob.

Bedlam Thunder is the main character and a seer. She has a vision of a colorless, parallel world, and little by little it’s seeping into Thistledown. There are magic books, doppelgangers, hornless unicorns, and kissing fish called suckers. Somehow, Bedlam and Bob have to figure out how to save Thistledown from the insidious drabness.

The story fishtails through this marvelous fairy world. Don’t look for carefully plotted action or lots of time spent ruminating on the meaning of life. For me, the enjoyment of the story was derived from the imaginative jaunt through this fairy world. I recommend this story to children and adults. It’s a quick read and lots of fun. 

*****

Mr. Sagittarius by M. J. Mallon

I didn’t know what to expect when I opened this book, and must have been in just the right mood, because it was charming and poignant and very sweet. The book offers a glimpse of three elderly siblings -William, Harold, and Annette – one already passed on at the books opening. The intermittent visits with these characters, a paragraph or two here and there, form the thread that holds the book’s narrative together. The memories and grief are touching, and it isn’t long before Annette is on her own.

Between the story’s visits with the siblings are loosely related sections of prose and syllabic poetry. Some pieces touch on the seasons. Others are fantastical tales about bubble monsters and snow snakes. Most of them are about nature and flowers which are tied to the garden bench where the siblings enjoyed their days. I especially enjoyed a chain cinquain titled That Twinkle in her Eye is Magic. This book is less than an hour’s read, and I recommend it to readers who enjoy a fanciful and touching foray into poetry and short prose selections.

*****

Whispers of Dawn by Celestine Nudanu

This modest collection of poetry took under an hour to read, and what a worthwhile way to pass the time. The author explains that the form of her poems is called a cherita, a Malay word for story or tale. It consists of six lines broken into three stanzas.

In these small poems, the poet shares her personal truths and depth of experience. Like all short poetry word choice is deliberate and evocative. The collection is broken into seven themes, some light and hopeful, others dark and full of loss: Whispers, Making Love, The Dark Side of Love, Death, Saving Grace, Random Thoughts.

I could have jotted down a dozen favorites, but included two below. Recommended for readers who enjoy short poetry.

***

I cried

the night you left
only once

not because of the cold pillow
but for the stars
that refused to shine.

***

stillness of night

rustle of silk, silvery whispers
draw me to the window

I peep
God’s presence
Amongst the stars

*****

Murtle the Purple Turtle by Cynthia Reyes

Murtle is a unique turtle – she’s purple. And when another turtle points out to her that she’s different, she does everything she can to change her color to green – all to no avail. Then, with the help of her friends, she learns that turtles comes in a lot of different colors, and that being purple is wonderful. The story’s message of self-acceptance and diversity is perfect for young children. and the vivid illustrations are a delight. I recommend this sweet book to preschoolers and their parents.

*****

Happy Reading!

145 thoughts on “December Book Reviews, Part I

  1. […] December Book Reviews, Part I […]

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Annika Perry says:

    Diana, it’s a treat to read your eloquent reviews which capture the books so well! Lovely to see Myrtle making an appearance, a beautiful and empowering book for young ones and Marje’s book has been on my radar for a while and I’m even more enticed by it now!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks for visiting, Annika. All fun books and worthy reads. Murtle is adorable, and I enjoyed Marje’s unusual collection. I’m done with my reading challenge now and a little astonished that I made it. Happy Reading, my friend. ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. olganm says:

    A great and varied collection, Dianah. I know and have read a couple of them, and have others pending, but thanks for reminding me and for your suggestions. Happy Christmas (whatever form it takes this year)!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. […] One of my recent designs is a new cover for “Thistledown — Midsummer Bedlam.” The amazing D. Wallace Peach included a review, along with her extraordinary reading list. Click over and see all the wonderful books she’s been reading. Diana’s reviews here. […]

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Diana, what an extraordinary and diverse collection. And to find myself in such company! It makes me so very happy that you enjoyed Thistledown. Thank you for taking time to read it — and for this marvelous review. You captured so many details, yet gave nothing away as a spoiler. Hummingbird hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you so much Diana for the wonderful review of Mr. Sagitarrius amongst such great company! Lots of enticing reads. I definitely have plans to read some new books soon. Just finishing off a couple of books at the moment. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Adele Marie says:

    Wonderful novels in this review, Diana. I love Sam’s story, so beautiful and emotional. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord Blog Magazine and commented:
    If you are still looking for the perfect gift you cannot go far wrong with a book. Diana Wallace Peach shares the first part of her December reads.. and there is something for everyone and most ages .. Delighted to be included in such a wonderful group of writers. thanks Diana.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Thanks so much for including Sam in this wonderful selection of books.. and lovely to see some familiar faces and some new authors that I will investigate.. hugs ♥

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I bought a couple of copies of Myrtle the Purple Turtle and gifted them. It’s a sweet story. I’m impressed with how quickly you read and the variety. You are not helping me whittle down my stack here. The blind man getting even is interesting as is the city filled with witches and figuring things out.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for stopping by to browse. Having too many books to read is a good thing! I figured out how to make my phone “read” to me, so I read while exercising, driving, making dinner, and cleaning toilets! Those minutes here and there add up to at least 3-5 hours a day! Have a lovely week and holiday, and Happy Reading!

      Liked by 2 people

      • I do also listen to a lot of audible but I think I like your option. I cancelled my subscription but am looking for a less expensive way to have books audible. I read way too slowly. I love devouring books of all sorts so having them read to me is perfect. Thank you for that.

        Liked by 1 person

        • So many books I read aren’t even available on Audible. And it is expensive (I cancelled my subscription too). It took me a while to get used to the phone’s monotone “Siri” voice, but I don’t notice it anymore. I love it.

          Liked by 1 person

  11. Loved the review of Sam the Shaggy Dog. I too have a golden retriever and I could relate to the review so well. Diana I must say you are a voracious reader. All your books sound amazing and nice to read. Will pick one of these books in my free time too.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. mydangblog says:

    Another great set of reviews–I think Desolation Bluff might be right for me. I love the plot!

    Liked by 1 person

    • What I loved about that book was the way the characters’ actions spun out of everyone’s control so that even the good guys become “bad” guys to a degree. It’s a quick read. I hope you give it a try. Thanks for browsing!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Another excellent roundup of reviews! Sam, of course, is irresistible. Your discussion of Snow White and the Civil War reminded me of Gregory Maguire’s reimagining of the Wizard of Oz characters. I heard him give a talk at a writers’ conference about how and why fairy tales are a necessity for adults.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Dare I buy another book! And now you’re got me thinking, two – ‘Mr Sagittarius’ and ‘Whispers of Dawn’ – it’s a style thing as well as content – I can’t resist the way you write reviews! All the best. Diana.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very different books, Eric, but both good! The cherita style of Whispers of Dawn was new to me, and I think you’d like the short form. Mr. Sagittarius is a unique book – a lovely blend of prose and poetry that tells a loose story. Good luck choosing! Lol. Happy Reading, my friend. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  15. markbierman says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on these novels, Diana. The Snow White series has my vote. No offence to Terry Tyler, but not really into pandemic stories at the moment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha. I thought my head couldn’t handle one more pandemic story, but it was so well done. And the Snow White series is a great choice. I’m looking forward to getting my challenge done and returning to more leisurely reading. 😀 Happy Reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Chocoviv says:

    I just finished reading Factor-7 that is coming out in January… it’s pandemic related but with a twist…. btw I am tagging you on a fun tag.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Ann Coleman says:

    Once again, thank you for theses reviews! I’m always on the look out for more reading material!

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Had to laugh by the time I got to the end of this list. Certainly a diverse array you got going here! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Oh, lovely reviews, Diana! I’m happy to see familiar ones too, that of Celestine and Cynthia. I admire how committed you are to your 60-book list, 54 books read and reviewed. That’s just outstanding. You deserve a medal. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  20. I love browsing the beautiful covers, Diana. These all sound wonderful and makes me want to read more! lol

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Jan Sikes says:

    What an incredible variety of books, Diana! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on each of them, and congrats on meeting the challenge head-on and crushing it!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve had to focus on short books for a bit, Jan. And I snuck in a kid’s book too. Lol. I’m glad you enjoyed the variety. I’ve expanded my exposure to different genres – that’s for sure! Thanks for browsing and Happy Reading!

      Like

  22. Great list as usual. Sally’s about Sam is my favorite (an amazing dog story). I grabbed Cathleen’s about the old west California (and so much more).

    Liked by 3 people

  23. acflory says:

    I rather enjoyed the Vine Witch so I think the second book in the series? is a must, as well as a couple of the others. I hope you keep writing reviews even after the challenge is finished. Just maybe not 60…lol!

    Liked by 2 people

  24. petespringerauthor says:

    It’s always fun for me to read the reviews of ones that I’ve already finished. Since I’m in the middle of reading one of these right now, I skimmed past that review. I’m funny that way as I don’t want that to influence my objectivity. It’s impressive that you are about to fulfill such a prodigious goal.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m the same way, Pete, about avoiding reviews of books I’m reading. I rarely even read blurbs! I don’t like to know in advance what’s going to happen. Reading reviews is interesting, isn’t it? It demonstrates how many different tastes are out there. Thanks for stopping by, my friend, and Happy Reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  25. I’ve read some of Townsend’s works in the past and really enjoyed them. I might have to add the snow white series to my TBR. I’ve also been meaning to grab Sally’s ‘Sam: A Shaggy Dog Story’… you’ve motivated me to get off my butt and head over there now to grab a copy. Brilliant reviews as always, dear D.

    Liked by 3 people

  26. dgkaye says:

    Did I mention I love your reviews? LOL. Now thank goodness I’ve read 4 of these books and loved them as well. Now I only have to add another 2 that pique my interest, lol. Thanks Diana, I do love you reviews. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Clanmother says:

    A wonderful collection, Diana! What a joyful month of reading.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. A great variety of genres in this part of reviews, Diana. I know some of these authors and have read a few of them. I’m glad they’re Kindle books. Otherwise, you need the shelves the size of a public library. 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Toni Pike says:

    Reblogged this on Toni Pike and commented:
    I’m thrilled to have Desolation Bluff included in this wonderful list of reviews from the amazing D.W. Peach. She has been on a huge autumn reading challenge, and I’m so excited to be in such stellar company.

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Toni Pike says:

    Thank you so much, Diana, for reading and reviewing Desolation Bluff – I am thrilled to be included here with such a fabulous collection of books. I was over the moon with your review. You’re a marvel with your reading challenge. Toni x

    Liked by 3 people

  31. Thanks so much for sharing these fabulous reviews with us, Diana! Such an eclectic collection, too. Bravo to all. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks for browsing, Natalie. Yes, a range of genres! And a number of these are relatively short. I’ve been having fun with my reading challenge and exploring different books and authors. Have a great weekend and Happy Reading. Be well. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  32. Oh, Sam: A Shaggy Dog Story sounds like a win-win. Teagan’s book is on my TBR list. Nice list of books, Diana. Happy reading.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Sam was a wonderfully sweet and funny read, Mary. And not very long. And Teagan’s wild imagination is always a source of entertainment. Thanks for stopping by to browse, my friend. I hope you’re doing well and wish you a lovely weekend. Take care. ❤ ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  33. I just got the Kindle for Vine Witch. I’ll let you know how I liked it if I can ever get through my reading backlog. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • It’s a good one, Sheri. Such amazing world building – magical but with a sense of complete normalcy. Does that make sense? Lol. I think you’ll enjoy it. Thanks for stopping by to browse. Have a wonderful weekend and stay safe. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  34. D.L. Finn, Author says:

    Great reviews and selection of books Diana:) I read some of these and loved them. I had to add the Snow white books to my TBR and the pandemic collection.

    Liked by 3 people

  35. balroop2013 says:

    Now I know why you were saying – reading picture books!! 🙂
    I am glad you have almost finished your challenge Diana. Cathleen’s books sound interesting, a mixture of history and fantasy must be good.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I snuck one kid’s book in there, Balroop. Lol. Not a huge cheat, and I couldn’t resist that cover. Cathleen’s books have a lot going on, a great mashup of fairytale and frontier. Thanks so much for browsing, my friend. Have a great weekend and Happy Reading. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  36. Thanks for these, Diana. It’s always nice to have a new list of books to choose from.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I know it’s a lot to absorb,Anneli, but I’ve been on a big push to finish my reading challenge. Many of these are on the short side and nice quick afternoon reads. Thanks for stopping by to browse! Have a lovely weekend and Happy Reading.

      Liked by 2 people

  37. Thank you so much, Diana for the lovely review and shout out on your blog here and on Amazon too 🙂 . I am humbled. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  38. Lots of interesting titles to put on the TBR list. Right now, however, I seem to be on a nonfiction jag as I try to make sense to of what’s happening in this country. But I know that I will be returning to fiction eventually.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I watch a lot of news, Laurie, so I don’t think I could handle reading about what’s happening too. It’s just too upsetting and crazy-making. But good for you for trying to educate yourself and understand this mess. Thanks for stopping by, and stay peaceful… there’s always fiction waiting in the wings. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  39. You’ve read a nice number of books this month, Diana. I’ve read a few of these and other books by some of these authors. These are all great reviews and fantastic books.

    Liked by 3 people

  40. Prior... says:

    Diana – I really like how you provide your reviews in a digest like this 😉
    And you do reviews quite well
    The shaggy dog stories is the one that I want to go and follow up with but I can only imagine how awesome it is for you to read 60 books this fall !!📚📚📚📚📚

    Liked by 3 people

    • I used to post reviews 3 at a time, but then I’d end up leaving a bunch out by the end of the month. This way I don’t miss anyone. And it’s fun to share books, especially the really good ones! Thanks for stopping by to browse. And the story of Sam is a hoot. Happy Reading!

      Liked by 3 people

      • Prior... says:

        And this might have come up before in a comment – but good writers are also usually avid readers and so I can only imagine all the extra ideas you get or the way you get enriched from such default reading – and then adding the time it takes to review – well that is also a kind of “seed planting” as you invest in others – okay – so many layers to what you do here –

        Have a good day

        Liked by 3 people

        • I keep a notebook on hand for when I notice some wonderful word choices and unusual turns of phrases or imagery. Books are wonderful teachers. 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

          • Prior... says:

            Thanks for that tip – I did start to keep separately notebooks for movies or documentary’s I watch – and I use some for projects – never really needed one for books because I read a lot of nonfiction –
            But for the way you read 60 books in a season- well the notebook 📒 seems like a really good idea to “actively” read and then provide such succinct reviews – so nice to know part of your method.

            Liked by 1 person

  41. Wow! You’ve been busy. Thanks so much for the reviews, of course, and you’ve also got me hooked on reading The Vine Witch and Thistledown. : )

    Liked by 3 people

    • My pleasure, Cathleen!! I’m so happy to share your latest. I’ve been reading like a mad woman, but I’ll slow down as I start on the next writing project – just a stand-alone this time. I’m so glad you found a couple reads that intrigued you. The perfect indulgence for the holidays. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  42. Great round-up, Diana. I haven’t read most of these but have some on my TBR list. The only one I’ve read is Patient Zero by Terry Tyler and I thought it was brilliant. The characters were so believable (and situations all too realistic). Disturbing topic but fascinating to see each character react to it in his/her own way.

    Liked by 3 people

  43. J.D. says:

    Fantastic, Diana. I’m not surprised that you’ve almost reached the goal. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  44. I don’t know how you do it ! You are the most prolific writer and reader ever! I’m so glad you do though. It’s a wonderful treat to read your reviews and select additions to my collection, someday I will catch up. Sending lots of love!

    Liked by 4 people

  45. noelleg44 says:

    You are definitely on a roll, Diana. I love the title Murtle the turtle. My son had a turtle named Murtle when he was growing up. Sally’s book about Sam is so endearing, and I will check out Teagan’s book!

    Liked by 5 people

    • Most of these books are on the short side, Noelle, as the pressure of my reading challenge was on! Murtle is cute and Jo’s illustrations are wonderful. Sam’s (Sally’s) book was delightful. And Teagan’s imagination is over the roof. Such fun reading. Thanks so much for the visit and Happy Reading!

      Liked by 2 people

  46. Oh my word! You are rolling, Diana. Thanks for these terrific reviews. I see many familiar names and fanastic reads. Enjoy your weekend. xo

    Liked by 4 people

    • It was close back in November, so I started choosing shorter books! Lol. That helped a lot! My kindle has a few longer books that I’ll indulge in after this challenge is over, but it’s almost empty. Then I’ll start filling it up again. Can’t wait. ❤ Happy Holidays, my friend and Happy Reading!

      Liked by 2 people

  47. henhouselady says:

    Thank you for your book reviews. I’m intrigued by the first two on your list since I’m a Civil War history buff. What an interesting concept.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I knew nothing about California’s role in the Civil War, Molly. In the first book, it’s more in the background but then becomes a significant part of the plot in the second. If you give them a try, I hope you enjoy them. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  48. Tessa says:

    I am so glad you stuck it out with Crown of Coral and Pearl. And I loved The Glamourist even better than the Vine Witch and am getting ready to read the third book which will be out in January – The Conjurer. Wonderful reviews and you are barreling toward that finish line 😊

    Liked by 4 people

  49. Oh, Diana, thank you again. My reading list is growing.
    Sending love.
    G.

    Liked by 4 people

Comments are warmly welcomed. Don't be shy .

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s