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Bite-sized Seasonal Reading

The holiday season is on us, and if your schedule looks like mine, there’s not a lot of free time left. We all have gatherings and parties to attend, shopping to finish, and menu planning to do. Since reading a book may be taking a backseat to all your other tasks, featured this month are some quick reads, books that can be finished in an afternoon or two. Now take some time to de-stress and enjoy these light-hearted stories.

Central Kentucky author Virginia Smith will make readers second-guess their potluck invitations in her cozy mystery, Murder by Mushroom (Steeple Hill, $5.50). Young and single, Jackie Hoffner is trying hard to find her place in the world. With no living relatives and only a cat to keep her company, she leads a lonely life. Her new church family, consisting of mostly older folks, is a place of comfort for Jackie until a particularly crotchety church member is poisoned at a church potluck.

Could Jackie’s casserole have been the culprit? Taking on the role of an amateur detective against the handsome policeman’s warnings, Jackie is determined to find out.

Moms are always taking care of everyone in the family, usually leaving their own needs until last. Sadie Pickett is just this kind of woman in Sadie-in-Waiting (Steeple Hill, $6.99), by Taylorsville author Annie Jones. Sadie’s kids are old enough to not need her help much anymore. Her teenage daughter challenges her every word, and her husband is a dedicated small-town pharmacist who works long hours to keep his business lucrative. Instead of enjoying some independence, Sadie finds herself with a hearty case of the blues and self-pity, especially after a miscarriage. When the mayor offers her a job supervising the cemetery, Sadie reluctantly agrees. While enduring her talk-of-the-town father’s crazy stunts, Sadie soon discovers a new self as she delves into her feelings, her relationships with her family, and into her past.

One of the best parts of this season is the decadent food served up especially for the holidays—dinners steeped in tradition and passed-down recipes, and of course the candies and cookies. Lyon County author Michelle Stone serves up her favorite holiday recipes in Merry Christmas from Kentucky (McClanahan Publishing House, $21.95).

Stone covers every course, from beverage to dessert, and includes a section for gift-giving goodies. With recipes specific to our state such as Bourbon Sweet Potatoes and Kentucky Bourbon Cake, out-of-town dinner guests would certainly want to find this cookbook in their stocking, especially with some take-home samples. The recipes focus on quick and easy with results that look like the cook spent hours in the kitchen, making the book a great reference for your party menu planning.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

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