Bestselling Author

2022 Left Coast Crime Awards (the Lefties)

Left Coast Crime 2022 will present four Lefty Awards at the rescheduled convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Saturday, April 9, 2022. Titles must have been published for the first time in the USA or Canada during 2021, in book or ebook format. Congratulations to all the nominees!

Lefty for Best Humorous Mystery Novel
  °  Ellen Byron, Cajun Kiss of Death
  °  Jennifer Chow, Mimi Lee Cracks the Code
  °  Elle Cosimano, Finlay Donovan Is Killing It
  °  Cynthia Kuhn, How To Book a Murder
  °  Raquel V. Reyes, Mango, Mambo, and Murder
  °  Wendall Thomas, Fogged Off

 

Lefty for Best Historical Mystery Novel
(Bruce Alexander Memorial) for books covering events before 1970
  °  Susanna Calkins, The Cry of the Hangman
  °  John Copenhaver, The Savage Kind
  °  Naomi Hirahara, Clark and Division
  °  Sujata Massey, The Bombay Prince
  °  Catriona McPherson, The Mirror Dance
  °  Lori Rader-Day, Death at Greenway

 

Lefty for Best Debut Mystery Novel
  °  Alexandra Andrews, Who Is Maud Dixon
  °  Marco Carocari, Blackout
  °  Zakiya Dalila Harris, The Other Black Girl
  °  Mia P. Manansala, Arsenic and Adobo
  °  Wanda M. Morris, All Her Little Secrets

 

Lefty for Best Mystery Novel
  °  Tracy Clark, Runner
  °  S.A. Cosby, Razorblade Tears
  °  Matt Coyle, Last Redemption
  °  William Kent Krueger, Lightning Strike
  °  P.J. Vernon, Bath Haus

 

 

NYT Top Ten Best Fiction and Nonfiction – 2021

The New York Times Book Reviews announced its 10 Best Books of the Year for 2021. Books published in 2021 were eligible, as well as a few from 2020, not previously considered. Pamela Paul (a NYT Book Reviews editor) is quoted as saying that the books “stand on the merits of their prose and storytelling.”

Fiction:

“The Love Songs of W.E.B Debois,” by Honoree Fanonne Jeffers

“Intimacies,” by Katie Kitamura

“When We Cease to Understand the World,” by Benjamin Labatut

“No One Is Talking About This,” by Patricia Lockwood

“How Beautiful We Were,” by Imbolo Mbue

 

Nonfiction:

“Red Comet,” by Heather Clark

“The Copenhagen Trilogy,” by Tove Ditlevsen, translated by Tiina Nunnally

“Invisible Child,” by Andrea Elliott

“On Juneteenth,” by Annette Gordon-Reed

“How The Word Is Passed,” by Clint Smith

 

 

2021 – Christmas Themed Mysteries and Romance

Christmas seems to be the most popular holiday theme for mysteries and fiction of all varieties. I discovered that there were hundreds from which to choose, with more written every year. Some writers focus entirely on Christmas in every book they publish.

 

If you are a fan of Christmas themed fiction, then this updated 2021 list of fifty-eight novels, novellas, and short stories is for you. The books were recommended by avid cozy booksellers and reviewers, as well as NBR and Kerrian’s Notebook subscribers. Click on the titles to find out more about the books, then snuggle up with a great Christmas read.

 

Susan Wittig Albert “The Darling Dahlias & the Poinsettia Puzzle

Gretchen Archer  “Double Deck the Halls

Donna Andrews “The Twelve Jays of Christmas

Mary Angela “Very Merry Murder”

Joy Avon “In Peppermint Peril”

 

Laurien Berenson “Here Comes Santa Paws

Susan Bernhardt “Murder Under the Tree

Brittany E. Brinegar “Holly Jolly Murder

Leslie Budewitz “As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles”

Ellen Byron “A Cajun Christmas Killing”

 

Lynn Cahoon “Have a Holly Haunted Christmas

Robyn Carr “A Virgin River Christmas

Nancy Coco “Have Yourself a Fudgy Little Christmas

Cate Conte “A Whisker of a Doubt

Maya Corrigan “Gingerdead Man

 

Kim Davis “Frosted Yuletide Murder

Maddie Day “Candy Slain Murder

Vicki Delany “Dying in a Winter Wonderland

Maria DiRico “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Murder

Leighann Dobbs “Grievance in Gingerbread Alley

 

Barbara Early “Murder on the Toy Town Express”

Peggy Ehrhart “Silent Knit, Deadly Knit

Morris Fenris “Christmas Angel Charity

Beatrice Fishback “Winter Writerland

Amanda Flower “Candy Cane Crime

Joanne Fluke “Christmas Cupcake Murder

Jacqueline Frost “Slashing Through the Snow

 

Daryl Wood Gerber “Wreath between the Lines

John Gray “Manchester Christmas

Patrice Greenwood “As Red as Any Blood

 

Carolyn Haines “A Garland of Bones

Victoria Hamilton “Breaking the Mould”

Jo A Heistand “Shortbread and Dead

Julie Hennrikus “A Christmas Peril”

Liz Ireland “Mrs. Claus and the Santaland Slayings

 

CeeCee James “The Frosty Taste of Scandal

Miranda James “Six Cats a Slayin”

Tina Kashian “Mistletoe, Moussaka, and Murder

Andrea Kress “Christmas Recipe for Murder

Laura Levine “Death of a Neighborhood Scrooge”

 

Debbie Macomber “Dear Santa

VL McBeath “A Christmas Murder

Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis, Peggy Ehrhart  “Christmas Card Murder

Ada Moncrieff “Murder Most Festive

Nancy Naigle “Hope at Christmas

 

Carlene O’Connor “Murder at an Irish Christmas

Gail Oust: “The Twelve Dice of Christmas”

James Patterson, Maxine Paetro: “The 19th Christmas

Anne Perry “A Christmas Legacy

 

Amy M. Reade “The Worst Noel

Heather Redmond “A Christmas Carol Murder

Barbara Ross “Nogged Off

Rosemarie Ross “Christmas Candy Corpse

 

Karen Schaler “A Royal Christmas Fairy Tale

Julie Seedorf  “The Discombobulated Decipherers”

Jane Willan  “Abide with Me

Traci Wilton “Mrs. Morris and the Ghost of Christmas Past

Sherryl Woods: “Christmas at White Pines

Happy Choosing!

2021 Barnes and Noble Book of the Year

In its third annual “Best of…” event, Barnes and Noble did a survey of booksellers at its brick and mortar stores, asking which books they enjoyed selling the most during the year. Here’s the list of the eight top nominees that moved the booksellers and/or pointed to pivotal moments in 2021 for them. The booksellers chose among the finalists for the B&N Book of the Year (indicated in red).

Click on the titles to learn more about the books.

 

Cloud Cuckoo Land”  by Anthony Doerr

“The Sentence”  by Louise Erdrich

“Pizza Czar: Recipes and Know-How from a World-Traveling Pizza Chef”
by Anthony Falco

The 1619 Project: Born on the Water”  by Nikole Hannah-Jones, Renée Watson, Nikkolas Smith (Illustrator)

“Together”   by Luke Adam Hawker

“Under the Whispering Door”  by TJ Klune

“The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present (Two-Volume Set)”  by
Paul McCartney, Paul Muldoon (Editor)

“Crying in H Mart”  by Michelle Zauner

Have you read any of the finalists? Please let us know in the comments below.

 

 

2021 Barnes & Noble Best Genre Books of the Year

I’ve been told that the B&N editorial staff reads a lot of books during the year in various genres, then chooses from among those books to select their favorites of the year. The official quote from Barnes & Noble defines the ‘best books’ lists as stories that stay with us long after we finish them, and the ones we re-read again and again and pass on to friends. I would definitely agree with that definition. See if you agree with their choices in a range of genres and let us know your thoughts in the comments below. Happy Reading!

 

Sci-Fi/Fantasy

“Child of Light” by Terry Brooks

“Leviathan Falls” by James S.A. Corey

“Under the Whispering Door” by T.J. Klune

“A Marvelous Light” by Freya Marske

“The Last Graduate” by Naomi Novik

“ExtraOrdinary” by V.E. Schwab

“Lore Olympus: Volume One”  by Rachel Smythe

“Lesser Evil – Star Wars Thrawn Ascendancy” by Timothy Zahn

 

Mystery/Thrillers

“While Justice Sleeps” by Stacey Abrams

“The Heron’s Cry” by Ann Cleeves

“Mrs. March” by Virginia Feito

“Clark and Division” by Naomi Hirahara

“The Guilt Trip” by Sandie Jones

“Silverview” by John Le Carre

“The Maidens” by Alex Michaelides

“The Man Who Died Twice” by Richard Osman

“The Madness of Crowds” by Louise Penny

“False Witness” by Karin Slaughter

 

Best YA

“Ace of Spades” by Faridah Abike-lyimide

“Realm Breaker” by Victoria Aveyard

“Firekeeper’s Daughter” by Angeline Boulley

“Lore” by Alexandra Bracken

“Blackout” by Dhonielle Clayton

“Small Favors” by Erin A. Craig

“Once Upon A Broken Heart” by Stephanie Garber

“Defy the Night” by Brigid Kemmerer

“The Lake” by Natasha Preston

“Aristotle and Dante Dive Into the Waters of the World” by Benjamin Alire Saenz

 

 Best Fiction

“Cloud Cuckoo Land” by Anthony Doerr

“The Sentence” by Louise Erdrich

“The Paper Palace” by Miranda Cowley Heller

“Greek Myths: A New Retelling” by Charlotte Higgins

“Fault Lines” by Emily Itami

“The Lost Apothecary” by Sarah Penner

“Bewilderment” by Richard Powers

“Beautiful World, Where Are You?” by Sally Rooney

“The Lincoln Highway” by Amor Towles

“Harlem Shuffle” by Colson Whitehead

 

Best Romance

“While We Were Dating” by Jasmine Guillory

“People We Meet on Vacation” by Emily Henry

“Fifty Shades Freed” by E. L. James

“The Soulmate Equation” by Christina Lauren

“It’s Better This Way” by Debbie Macomber

“One Last Stop” by Casey McQuiston

“The Lady Has A Past” by Amanda Quick

“Neon Gods” by Katee Robert

“Legacy” by Nora Roberts

“Lover Unveiled” by J.R. Ward

 

Best Cookbooks

“Death & Co: Welcome Home” by Alex Day

“Pizza Czar” by Anthony Falco

“Nadiya Bakes” by Nadiya Hussain

“Mother Grains” by Roxana Jullapat

“Maman: the Cookbook” by Elisa Marshall

“Burnt Toast and Other Disasters” by Cal Peternell

“Vegetable Simple” by Eric Ripert

“Rodney’s World of BBQ” by Rodney Scott

“Cook Real Hawai’I” by Sheldon Simeon

“The Japanese Art of the Cocktail” by Masahiro Urushido

 

Book List: Jessica Estavao/Jessie Crockett/Jessica Ellicott

Jessica Estavao is a talented, bestselling, award-winning New England author with several entertaining mystery series to her credit. She is one of the “Wicked Authors,” a group of women writing wicked good mysteries mostly set in New England. Take a look at the list of her books below and see if you’ve read them all. (Click on the titles to learn more about the books)

 

Granite State Mysteries  (as Jessie Crockett)

Her debut mystery in the Granite State series, “Live Free or Die”, was the 2011 winner of the Daphne DuMaurier Award for Mainstream Mystery, an auspicious beginning to her career.

 

Sugar Grove Mysteries (as Jessie Crockett)

The series begins “Drizzled with Death,” one hilarious romp through championship pancake breakfasts, maple syrup, and animals on the loose. Who knew that falling dead head first into a stack of pancakes could be used as a crime scene setting?

Drizzled with Death” – review here

Maple Mayhem

Sticky Situation

 

 

Change of Fortune Mysteries (as Jessica Estavao)

Jessie moved her next series back in time to 1890’s Orchard Beach, Maine, with a con artist and tarot card reader protagonist. Ruby tries to stay one step ahead of the law, while helping her straight arrow aunt keep her hotel. Great fun featuring an innovative female lead character.

 

Whispers Beyond the Veil” 

review here     

 

 

Whispers of Warning

 

Beryl and Edwina Mysteries (as Jessica Ellicott)

Jessie’s current series is set in post WW1 England and introduces the former Finishing School duo of Edwina, the conservative English character, to Beryl’s adventurous American persona. They reunite many years later in the quiet (or is it?) southern English village of Warmsley Parva when Edwina advertises for a boarder and Beryl crashes onto her property.


Beryl and Edwina, while culturally and personally quite different, are fond of each other even after years apart. They find that their distinctive talents help them wonderfully well in their new business venture, a ‘private inquiry agency’ that solves mysteries in the charming village, while earning them an income.


Ellicott has written a series that is both historically enlightening and entertaining, with the sometimes serious subject matter of the day woven into the story of the two women drawn together by economics as well as friendship. Beautifully researched, the books reveal societal views about women 100 years ago, and peek inside the quaint village shops that have survived despite the post-war challenges.

Edwina’s shrewd intellect and Beryl’s clever approach to the mysteries outwit lesser minds and create a few comical moments to save the day and befuddle the clueless. These two engaging, intelligent women will capture your hearts and minds as you enjoy these wonderful books.

 

 

 

 

Murder in an English Village” 

review here

Murder Flies the Coop

Murder Cuts the Mustard

Murder Comes to Call

 

Murder in an English Glade

Murder through the English Post”  pre-order

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Book List: Author Craig Johnson

Craig Allen Johnson’s writing career has centered around his iconic lead character, Walt Longmire, a modern American sheriff from Wyoming. What makes Sheriff Walt Longmire so immediately likable? Middle-aged, experienced at his job, widower of a woman he loved more than life itself, an attorney daughter of whom he is so very proud, and a Cheyenne best friend/sidekick whom he has known since childhood. Longmire mostly follows the rules, but when justice is in question, the rules are sometimes open to interpretation.

 

The stories are full of wonderful dialogue, intriguing mysteries, life and death situations, and a core set of characters with whom you’d like to spend as much time as possible. Johnson’s obvious love of the wide-open spaces of Wyoming spills onto the pages when the landscape becomes a character, as suddenly dangerous as any killer could be or as mesmerizing as a beautiful painting.


Read the first in the series, “The Cold Dish,” and you’ll want to follow this lawman throughout the rugged Wyoming hills.
Here is the list of the Longmire books, in order of publication.

 

“The Cold Dish”  review here

“Death Without Company”

“Kindness Goes Unpunished” review here

 “Another Man’s Moccasins”

“The Dark Horse”

“Junkyard Dogs”

“Hell Is Empty”

“As the Crow Flies”

“A Serpent’s Tooth”

“Any Other Name”

“Dry Bones”  review here

“An Obvious Fact”

“The Western Star”

“Depth of Winter”

“Land of Wolves”

“Next to Last Stand”

“Daughter of the Morning Star”

Please visit https://www.craigallenjohnson.com for the ‘buy’ links for each of the books and to see the list of novellas that fill the gaps between the novels. Discover what he is doing virtually and in a few months, in person. There is a goodies store on the site, as well as a portal for ordering the DVDs from the TV series. Enjoy!

 

 

*Photos of Craig Johnson taken at Quail Ridge Bookstore in Raleigh, NC, by Patti Phillips.

 

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