I love to read - especially fiction with a little romance and suspense. I think that is how I 'escape' sometimes and live vicariously through the characters. Some of my favorite authors right now are Debbie Macomber (I'm reading her Cedar Cape series), Maggie Sefton and Cleo Coyle. It is very interesting to me to notice the new genre of books - stories of multiple characters all revolving around a common theme like a hobby or locale.
The Debbie Macomber series is about a town in Washington and you meet several characters in the first book that continue throughout the series. Each book revolves around the one main story (based on the family who lives at the address in the title) but also has the other story lines flowing parallel in the book. In the second book, she added a few new characters and briefly mentioned some that were more prominent in the first book. Reading them makes me feel like part of the homey community and I want to read the next one just to find out how everyone is doing :-)
I just finished her second book, 204 Rosewood Lane. These are books that once I start, all I want to do is read. In this one she resolves the 'missing spouse' from the first book and adds some romantic twists and a couple pregnancies to keep the reader waiting for the next book.
Currently I am reading Needled to Death by Maggie Sefton. In her first book the main character has to deal with the death of her aunt, the last of her family (she thinks :-) which was the result of a vagrant trying to rob her in her home (or so the officials think). Of course it couldn't be that easy or there wouldn't be much to write about.
She quickly becomes friends with the staff and clientele at the yarn shop/coffee house next door and even takes up knitting. Of course, the main character is instrumental in solving the mystery of her aunt's death and thus begins the series.
In this second book, one of the suppliers to the yarn shop is found murdered by the main character - so here we go again. It also is an easy read with a core group of characters that continue from book to book.
I did learn a few helpful knitting tips and how alpaca farms operate. Each book has a pattern and recipe so that is also a plus.
All my reading is not just fluffy romantic mysteries though. I read The True Woman by Susan Hunt as part of a ladies Bible study this fall and winter. It was a good book and created a lot of really good discussion and sharing. Each chapter begins with a real life story of a woman and her struggle (many really hit home!). It helped me to see how God has given women a special place in His plan and that we have a great responsibility to our husband and children - but also that He has given us each other for encouragement and support. We need to be developing relationships with other women within our church family - not just the 'Hello, How are you?" on Sunday morning but really getting to know them.
Our church is starting a "Spritual Sister" program which grew out of Secret Sisters that we have done for several years. Women who wish to participate are matched up by a drawing of names and they are to touch base every week with prayer requests and accountability for their walk with God. My spiritual sister is a vibrant young mother of 3 (early teen and preteens) and very active with her children. I'm excited about getting to know her better and developing a God-honoring prayer partnership.
Last quarter, I attended a women-only Sunday School class which studied a book by Susan Hunt called By Design. It also was a good reminder of our special purpose in God's plan and ways that we minister to His people. There are some new things happening in our church community because of that.
One of the ladies is going through a divorce and her wedding anniversary is 1/29. She will be home alone that night as her ex-husband will have their daughter so some of us have invited her to go out to eat and have our own little 'encouragement party'. She was so happy to have something to do that night! And we all have an excuse for a night out :-)