I spent my youth reading V.C. Andrews novels – family saga gothic fiction with dark secrets and twisted mysteries. Last November I was looking for a change in novels, something more my age. I was having difficulty trying to focus in on the exact genre I was yearning to read. I browsed the “Mystery” section at bn.com, but everything seemed way too violent, sexy or supernatural. My husband suggested Stuart Woods, but he didn’t sound that appealing, I wanted something more Nancy Drew.  I wanted a mystery that I could solve, something fun, that would make me laugh, but still keep me engaged until the unveiling at the end. Then I discovered that there is a name for such a genre: Cozy Mystery.

What is a cozy mystery? I think of it as a light-hearted mystery with a happy ending, nothing too obscene or grotesque. There is most likely a murder, an unknown killer, and maybe even an innocent person accused. These novels are more Hallmark Channel than Investigation Discovery or Cloo. Like a PG movie for those of us not interested in the details of a predictable sex scene or a violent, gory murder.

Goodreads describes a cozy mystery as, “Cozies very rarely focus on sex, profanity or violence. The murders take place off stage, and are often relatively bloodless (e.g. poisoning, while sexual activity (if any) between characters is only ever gently implied and never directly addressed.” And that’s exactly what I wanted.

I plan on reviewing some cozy mysteries soon. Grab a blanket and make yourself some hot tea, because you’ll want to snuggle right up with these page-turners.

Drink of choice: Earl Grey tea

There was time now. Books lined the shelves where I ran my finger over the authors’ names. Other stacks of books surrounded me as I browsed the shelves: Gorey, Steinbeck, Wilde. There was time. No, I didn’t survive a nuclear attack, and I’m not the only living person on earth, and my glasses are in perfect, unbroken condition. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that sometime in the past three weeks I had wandered into the Twilight Zone.

Three weeks earlier, my place of employment laid off about a third of its employees, while the remaining 19 of us had our hours cut. These employees were people that I had worked closely with for more than six years, talented people, some employed before me. My elected furlough day is Wednesday. Everyday Wednesday, as my colleagues punch in, I lay in bed and think about how I want to spend my day off –alone. Reduced hours meant that I had to rethink my spending, my routine, my time. There was time. Time for me to cry and mope and drink away my lost hours? Maybe. Or was this the universe giving me an opportunity?

The one thing to know about me is that I like books. Love books. OK, books are my whole life. I like the smell of the aged pages, the loud crack of the spine, unique binding and the texture of the cover. Every bibliophile can attest to that. If I could, I would probably spend my whole paycheck on books and coffee.

In 2011, I challenged myself to read 50 books by the end of the year. I wanted to read one book a week, but allowed myself an extra two weeks for books that might take a little longer to read. I didn’t make it to 50, I probably read about 30. I knew it was a huge undertaking, but it was one that filled my life with a productive and exciting goal.

On January 7, 2015, I challenged myself again to read 50 books by the end of the year. Maybe this time around I will complete my goal and read 50 books, maybe I only read 25, but whatever it is, I know that there is no better way to spend my Wednesdays off than with a good book. There was one more issue to resolve. Reduced hours also meant a reduced book budget, so it was off to the Public Library for some rentals.

Books of Choice this visit: The Cat, The Quilt and The Corpse by Leann Sweeney, The Persian Pickle Club by Sandra Dallas, and Classified as Murder, A Cat in the Stacks Mystery by Miranda James.

Drink of choice: Tazo Passion tea.