The Books I Read in January 2021

Last year I developed a great reading habit and I have kept it. In January I read 11 books. Most of them were part of one cozy mystery series. Those are the books that I read when I go to bed. So if I fall asleep and can’t remember the last page I read, it is not that terrible. Of course I also read other genres. Mostly I haven’t finished books I started yet, but will hopefully present them to you in a future monthly book review. I mean after all I always read only about 4 or 5 different books at a time …


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I have now read all parts of the Apple Orchard series. Their cozy mysteries are entertaining with Chelsea trying to find her way around in the little town she grew up. It seems a little weird that her best friends are her aunt Miss May and her friend Teeny. Then again both women insist all the time that they are not old at all – unless they can use their age to make Chelsea climb into a house or do something else useful. In general I think that the mysteries became slightly weaker over the course of the series, as is often the case when the main characters don’t develop and certain traits just become a little repetitive. Overall, I still love the series though and will also read the next volumes once they are published.

Chelsea Thomas: Cooking the Books (Apple Orchard Cozy #2) Chelsea Thomas is just getting settled into life back in her hometown of Pine Grove, New York, when a sled race at the annual festival turns deadly. Chelsea doesn’t want to be involved in another murder investigation, and neither does her aunt, Miss May.
But everybody in town had a motive in this case, including Miss May’s friend, town lawyer Tom Gigley. So Chelsea and Miss May start hunting down clues with their trusty sidekick Teeny, learning some dark secrets and strange twists along the way.

Chelsea Thomas: Candy Apple Killer (Apple Orchard Cozy #3) – Chelsea Thomas and her aunt, Miss May, have solved not one, but three murders in their small town of Pine Grove. They’re ready to hang up their sleuthing hats, until a new couple moves into town and stirs up all kinds of Turtle trouble.

Chelsea Thomas: Berried Alive (Apple Orchard Cozy #4) – A new developer wants to build a mega store in town.
 Local business owners hate the idea. But would they kill to stop it? Maybe.
 The night before the first big protest…
 The developer dies, face down in a plate of Miss May’s “Every Berry Pie.”
Chelsea and Miss May vow to solve the case before someone else turns up dead. But will they find the killer before it’s too late? 

Chelsea Thomas: Granny Smith is Dead (Apple Orchard Cozy #5) – Secret tunnels? Check. Bitter family grudges? Check. Vandalism? Affairs? A saucy love triangle? Check, check, check. In Book 5 of the Apple Orchard Cozy Mystery Series, you guessed it…Granny Smith is dead.

Chelsea Thomas: Candy Slain (Apple Orchard Cozy #6) – “Killed by a Candy Cane” That’s the scariest headline ever written in the Pine Grove Gazette. But this holiday season, it’s all too true… This killer had a sweet tooth. So the December air is crisp and just a bit creepy this year. Red-faced children throw snowballs. Elderly couples drink hot chocolate in the cold. Chelsea and Miss May speed through town in their VW Bus, hunting yet another killer. Miss May is a sharp former lawyer, determined to make candy canes sweet again. Chelsea, Miss May’s Watson, just wants to solve the mystery without changing out of her fuzzy red Santa slippers.  Toss in Christmas tree drama, a missing Santa Claus, and buttery holiday cookies? That’s the recipe for a holiday cozy you’ll want to read twice. 

Chelsea Thomas: Shot Through the Tart (Apple Orchard Cozy #7) – ***Star Actor Shot Dead During Performance*** Everyone thought the murder was part of the play at first… but the actor never stood up to take a bow. The killer planned the murder well. Except for one tiny detail… Miss May and Chelsea were in the audience. Now they’re hungry for justice. So they grab their wacky friend Teeny and pursue the case.The clues the girls find are shocking. Could this murder have something to do with Chelsea’s past? Why are there mysterious junk removal guys destroying evidence all over town? And what will happen during the second performance of the play? As Chelsea and Miss May get closer to the truth they realize their own lives are in danger. Will they survive an attack by the killer? And will Chelsea finally get closure on her turbulent childhood?

Chelsea Thomas: Peaches and Scream (Apple Orchard Cozy #8) – This is the first year for peaches at the orchard and everyone’s got that warm and fuzzy feeling. Miss May is even throws a “Peach Party” to celebrate. The whole town turns up for the big bash. They get full on Peach pie, they get tipsy on Peach Sangria. Everything is, well, peachy. Until a dead body turns up in the bakeshop. The bake shop is locked from the inside. Every window is locked. There are no signs of a struggle. But it’s clear to everyone that this was a murder.
One big problem… Chelsea and Miss May are the only people who have keys to the bake shop. So they’re suspects number one and two in this investigation. It’s crazy. No matter how many murders our girls solve, they just can’t earn the respect of Chief Flanagan and her crony cops. This story has murder, intrigue, and police corruption that will make your head spin. Plus, it’s got a happy dog, a cute little cat, and a tiny horse that will make your heart grow two sizes. Will Chelsea end up in prison for a crime she didn’t commit? What would that mean for her love life? Life’s a peach. Murder is the pit.

Chelsea Thomas: Dread and Butter (Apple Orchard Cozy #9) – Chelsea has always been scared of too many carbs. But this is worse than she ever imagined. Bread is too delicious to be used as a weapon. Especially Miss May’s fluffy sour dough.
Good detectives follow every clue. This time, those clues include a mysterious note, a fallen toupee and a literal trail of bread crumbs. But will Miss May, Chelsea and Teeny be able to find the killer while the crime is still fresh? Or will the clues get so stale they’re too tough to chew?
Pine Grove jail serves pretty good food. Still, no one should spend a night there unless they’re guilty. So it’s up to the girls to catch the killer before an innocent person gets pinned for the crime.


Lana Del Rey: Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass – Lana’s breathtaking first book solidifies her further as “the essential writer of her times” (The Atlantic). The collection features more than thirty poems, many exclusive to the book: Never to Heaven, The Land of 1,000 Fires, Past the Bushes Cypress Thriving, LA Who Am I to Love You?, Tessa DiPietro, Happy, Paradise Is Very Fragile, Bare Feet on Linoleum, and many more. This beautiful hardcover edition showcases Lana’s typewritten manuscript pages alongside her original photography. The result is an extraordinary poetic landscape that reflects the unguarded spirit of its creator.

I like Del Rey’s music and was therefore curious about her book of poetry. It is a great selection of poems about different topics. Also, her photos are beautiful. What I didn’t like was the layout, as in the look of a poem written on a typewriter with changes made by hand. I know that this is a very personal dislike, but I realized I prefer poetry with a clean and complete layout.

Rachel Cohn: Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares (Dash & Lily, #1) – “I’ve left some clues for you. If you want them, turn the page. If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”
So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

We liked the Netflix series a lot so I decided to also read the novel. It is a cute story and I liked a few details from the book more, e.g. that Lily’s father was offered a job on Fiji, starting the following summer. In the series I found it highly unlikely that somebody unemployed couldn’t find any job in the bigger NYC area. What bothered me about the book though is that I don’t think teenagers at the age of 16 express themselves the way Dash and Lily do. I wish they were older, which would make everything much more convincing for me.

Rebecca Fett: It Starts with the Egg: How the Science of Egg Quality Can Help You Get Pregnant Naturally, Prevent Miscarriage, and Improve Your Odds in IVF – The latest scientific research reveals that egg quality has a powerful impact on how long it takes to get pregnant and the risk of miscarriage. Poor egg quality is in fact the single most important cause of age-related infertility, recurrent miscarriage, and failed IVF cycles.
Based on a vast array of scientific research, It Starts with the Egg provides a comprehensive program for improving egg quality in three months, with specific advice tailored to a variety of fertility challenges— including endometriosis, unexplained infertility, diminished ovarian reserve, PCOS, and recurrent miscarriage.
With concrete strategies such as minimizing exposure to common toxins, choosing the right vitamins and supplements to safeguard developing eggs, and harnessing nutritional advice shown to boost IVF success rates, this book offers practical solutions that will help you get pregnant faster and deliver a healthy baby.

My friend recommended this book to me. It is alright if you have never had a focus on vitamins and food supplements. Else, I found it not very interesting. Sorry. I know it is supposed to be the one bible for people reading about improving fertility. The summary pages would suffice. Or just go into any drugstore and buy a prenatal vitamin complex – it contains pretty much everything the book suggests.

© janavar

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