Sunday, December 17, 2023

Continuing a tradition . . .

 With thanks to Sara Weiss and Erin Mitchell and CrimeSpree Magazine, we were able to continue our annual "What Women Liked" feature.

And here 'tis!  

I hope you find some new books and/or authors for your reading enjoyment from our very eclectic combined lists.

Merry Christmas and The Happiest of Holidays to all of you!

Kaye Barley started this list of what women liked in 2020. Circumstances prevented her continuing to collect the lists this year, so I stepped in to help. Please enjoy!


Here’s how Kaye described this feature when it started:

I asked a few of my women friends who I know to be discerning readers, and who are well known in the mystery community, if they would share some of their favorite reads.

But not just mysteries.

We decided not to limit the books in any way. Just some favorites we’d like to share with others.

And, with that we ended up with a wonderfully fun mix of fiction, non-fiction, children’s books, crime fiction, romance, fantasy, photo books, young adult, etc etc etc.

Nor did we stick with books published in 2020 which made it fun to see some old classics along with a few books to look forward to in 2021.

Most of you who read Meanderings and Muses know some, if not all, these women. And what an amazing group they are; readers, book advocates, librarians, teachers, reviewers, publicists, webmasters, bloggers who support authors – male AND female – and the world of books.

Consider this list of holiday recommendations our gift to you.

Previous years’ lists: 202020212022


Retiree and Happy Traveler

I read a LOT of books this year, which you can see in the sidebar at my blog, Meanderings and Muses.  More than usual, I think. 

But these were my top favorites read in 2023

The Bird Hotel by Joyce Maynard
The Thing About Home by Rhonda McKnight
All That Is Mine I Carry With Me by William Landay
Sleepless City by Reed Farrel Coleman
Fascism: A Warning by Madeleine Albright
The Truth Against the World by David Corbett
Silence of the Seamaid by Ann Medlock
Those We Thought We Knew by David Joy
All the Sinners Bleed by S. A. Cosby
Inheritance by Nora Roberts
The Trouble with You by Ellen Feldman
The Women by Kristin Hannah 
Don’t Forget to Write by Sara Goodman Confino
Payback in Death by J. D. Robb
A Love Song for Ricki Wilde by Tia Williamse
The Memory of Lavender and Sage by Aimie K. Runyan
John Lewis by Raymond Arsenault
The Lantern’s Dance by Laurie R. King 
My Name is Barbra by Barbra Streisand

And Two Christmas Books:
One Christmas Eve by Shari Low
Christmas with the Lords by Hannah Langdon


Reader who is lucky enough to get to work for authors and publishers.

Wrecker by Carl Hiaasen (2023)
Standing in the Shadows by Peter Robinson (2023)
The New Couple in 5B by Lisa Unger (2024)
None of This Is True by Lisa Jewell (2023)
Pay Dirt by Sara Paretsky (2024)
Lost Man’s Lane by Scott Carson (2024)
Clete by James Lee Burke (2024)
To Conjure a Killer by Clea Simon (2023)
Nothing But the Bones by Brian Panowich (2024)
Maternal Instinct by Becky Masterman (2023)
Kill for Me, Kill for You by Steve Cavanagh (2023 in UK/Ireland, 2024 in US)


High school teacher/College professor, avid reader and part time reviewer. 

My top ten in no particular order. 


Third Eye by Felicia Day, full cast production 
Fairy Tale by Stephen King, read by Seth Numrich
Starter Villain by John Scalzi, read by Wil Wheaton
Starling House by Alix E. Harrow, read by Natalie Naudus
This Dark Descent by Kalyn Josephson, read by Laurel Lefkow and Rebecca Norfolk


Lone Wolf by Gregg Hurwitz – you’ll have to wait a few months for this one. 
Hell Bent by Leigh Bardugo
Silver in the Bone by Alexandra Bracken
The God of Endings by Jacqueline Holland
Finally, I read all of Jennifer Estep’s backlist within the last 12 months, but I don’t think I can pick a favorite. 


Former librarian who loves to talk about what she is reading. She blogs for Kevin’s Corner on Mondays and her own blog Happiness Is a Book on Fridays.

Crime in Corn Weather by Mary Meigs Atwater (1935)
The Vinyl Detective: The Run-Out Groove by Andrew Cartmel (2017)
No Second Chance by Harlan Coben (2003)
Secret Lives by Mark de Castrique (2022)
Great Party! Sorry about the Murder by D. B. Elrogg (2018)
The Red Pole of Macau by Ian Hamilton (2013)
She Talks to Angels by James D. F. Hannah (2021)
Pesticide by Kim Hays (2022)
The Pitch by Kerry Hilton (2023)
Deadly Waters by Dot Hutchinson (2020)
Dead of Winter by Stephen Mack Jones (2021)
Hanging the Devil by Tim Maleeny (2023)
Other Plans by Caimh McDonnell (2023)
Blood Ties by Brian McGilloway (2021)
The Lady from Burma by Allison Montclair (2023)
My Father’s House by Joseph O’Connor (2023)
Never Pick up Hitchhikers by Ellis Peters (1976)
Second Girl by David Swinson (2016)
Bad Debts by Peter Temple (1996)
Outback by Patricia Wolf (2022)


Retired from her day job as a librarian, and moved home to Ohio after spending most of her career in Florida, Arizona and Indiana. She’s the primary mystery reviewer for Library Journal, and the blogger for The Poisoned Pen Bookstore. Her blog, Lesa’s Book Critiques.

All the Sinners Bleed – S.A. Cosby
Deus X – Stephen Mack Jones
Small Mercies – Dennis Lehane
Hanging the Devil – Tim Maleeny
Home at Night – Paula Munier
The Last Devil to Die – Richard Osman
Inheritance – Nora Roberts
Musical Theatre for Dummies – Seth Rudetsky


Reader, author website designer, puppy lover and about to be a grandmother!!!!!

In no order and few of these are new, but they were new to me!

Swan Light / Phoebe Rowe (LOVED!)
Other Birds / Sara Addison Allen
Invisible Woman / Katia Lief (ARC; coming in January — so good!)
Hide / Tracy Clark (and I am currently reading all her Cass Raines books and loving them too)
The Stolen Hours / Allen Eskens
The White Lady / Jackie Winspear
Final Cut / Marjorie McCown
Margaret Mizushima’s Timber Creek K-9 Mysteries
A Killing of Innocents / Deborah Crombie — re-read the whole series in anticipation of this latest
Picture in the Sand / Peter Blauner


Award-winning mystery blogger at dru’s book musings who recently had her first short story “Ticket To Ride” that she co-wrote with Kristopher Zgorski published in the Happiness Is A Warm Gun: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of the Beatles edited by Josh Pachter. She also does social media for a mystery author.

My favorite cozy mysteries

Birder, She Wrote by Donna Andrews
Murder Off the Books by Tamara Berry
Syrup to No Good by Catherine Bruns
Murder is a Piece of Cake by Valerie Burns
Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun by Elle Cosimano
Murder Uncorked by Maddie Day
Take the Honey and Run by Jennie Marts
Ashes to Ashes, Crust to Crust by Mindy Quigley
Hidden Beneath by Barbara Ross
Cheap Trills by Wendall Thomas
A Crafty Collage of Crime by Lois Winston 

My favorite non-cozy mysteries

An Evil Heart by Linda Castillo 
Hide by Tracy Clark 
Where the Guilty Hide by Annette Dashofy 
The Last Remains by Elly Griffiths 
Time’s Undoing by Cheryl A. Head
Home At Night by Paula Munier 
Payback In Death by J.D. Robb 
Dead and Gone by Joanna Schaffhausen 
Mother-Daughter Murder Night by Nina Simon
Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson

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