Irish Fiction & Mysteries – 2018


BunrattyCastlefarmhouse copy

St. Patrick’s Day will be here soon! For those of you that focus your reading on holiday/cultural themed books, the list below features Irish writers, mysteries/suspense set in Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day murders, or titles with Irish characters central to the plot. Some are modern classics, some are newbies, but all are entertaining reads. You’re sure to find a story in the list of 33 Irish Fiction & Mysteries – 2018 that you will want to read again and again. (Links included for bold titles)


Lisa Alber: “Path into Darkness

Maeve Binchy:  “A Week in Winter

S. Furlong-Bollinger: “Paddy Whacked

Steve Cavanagh: “The Plea

Sheila Connolly: "Many a Twist"

Kathy Cranston: “Apple Seeds and Murderous Deeds

Kathi Daley: “Shamrock Shenanigans

Frank Delaney: "Shannon"

Nelson Demille: “Cathedral”

Tana French: “Broken Harbor

Patricia Gligor: "Marnie Malone"

Alexia Gordon: “Murder in G Major

Andrew Greeley: “Irish Tweed”

Jane Haddam: “A Great Day for the Deadly

Lyn Hamilton: “The Celtic Riddle

Lee Harris: “The St. Patrick's Day Murder

Erin Hart: “The Book of Killowen

Jonathan Harrington: “A Great Day for Dying

Mary Anne Kelly: “Twillyweed

Amanda Lee: “The Long Stitch Good Night

Dan Mahoney: “Once in, Never Out

Brian McGilloway: “Little Girl Lost

Ralph M. McInerny: “Lack of the Irish”

Leslie Meier: “St. Patrick's Day Murder

Stuart Neville: "Ghosts of Belfast”

Carlene O'Connor: "Murder in an Irish Churchyard"

Sister Carol Anne O’Marie: “Death Takes Up a Collection”

Helen Page: "Equal of God"

Louise Phillips: “The Doll’s House

Janet Elaine Smith: “In St. Patrick's Custody”

Patrick Taylor: “An Irish Country Practice

Peter Tremayne: “The Devil’s Seal”

Kathy Hogan Trochek: “Irish Eyes

If your favorite Irish Fiction & Mysteries – 2018 titles are not on the list, let me know and I’ll add them!

Happy choosing and reading!


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“Louise’s War” and “Louise’s Dilemma” by Sarah R. Shaber


Book Cover - Louise's War


“Louise’s War,” by Sarah Shaber, introduces us to widowed Louise Pearlie, a file clerk in World War II Washington, DC. Louise is not just any file clerk. She has college training, is smart and resourceful, and is a bit of a risk taker. She works in the Office of Strategic Services (aka spy agency) where all the work is classified and government regulations dictate that she can’t even reveal where she works. Louise’s job is to look for information that will help the Allies win the war, perfect for this woman who has escaped her dead-end life on the Carolina coast.  


France is increasingly coming under German control at this stage of the war and it’s been a while since Louise has heard from a close college friend who lives there. Her husband is important to the war effort, and Louise searches for a way to get this Jewish family out of France before they are taken to internment camps.


When papers that would save her friend go missing and a murder is committed, Louise realizes that she can’t trust anyone. She must make alliances she would not have made in less desperate circumstances, and time is not her friend. Shaber creates a tension filled atmosphere of subterfuge and betrayal that keeps us guessing and swept up in the story.


In “Louise’s War,” Shaber demonstrates the gravity of the events of the war through her well-researched picture of life in WWII America, with its details of domestic sacrifices, and the effects of gas and food rationing. Louise’s time at a D.C. boarding house shows the reality of the jammed housing situation in wartime Washington. Massive amounts of food were needed by the troops, so the backyard gardens and chicken coops that Louise tended at the boarding house were true to the period, necessary supplements to rationed civilian food supplies.


Book Cover - Louise's Dilemma



In “Louise’s Dilemma,” Louise’s job focus has shifted to acquiring and cataloguing intelligence about Nazi U-boats in the North Atlantic. Louise and an FBI agent travel to nearby Maryland after a suspicious postcard is forwarded to the OSS. Their investigation takes alarming twists and turns and puts Louise in danger from a surprising villain. Her clever mind and dogged determination uncover something incredible, yet completely believable, given the real-world terrain in that area. “Louise’s Dilemma,” the third book in the series, delivers an engaging historical mystery and a compelling read. I had read it first, then picked up “Louise’s War,” to see how Louise Pearlie’s journey began. I’m glad I did.


Please click here for more information about award-winning Mrs. Shaber and her other books.


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Squeaky Clean Romances – 2018



Valentine’s Day will be here soon! Love is in the air, with bouquets of flowers, tasty chocolates, and romantic gestures melting our hearts. The Season of Sighs is upon us.

This year, I put out an open call for writers to tell me about their squeaky clean romance novels, novellas, and short stories. There are mysteries with a touch of romance, historical romance, inspirational romance, and more, with links to all the books. Click on the 35 titles to find the 'buy' pages, with information about each story. You will find bestselling authors as well as debut authors.

Isabella Louise Anderson  “Cards from Khloe’s Flower Shop

Ines Bautista-Yao  “When Sparks Fly

Jennifer McCoy Blaske  “Out of My League

Faith Blum  All the Way My Savior Leads

Franky A Brown  What Happened to Romance?”

Bridget Burnett  “U R Missing: Andrea’s Story

Linda Covella  “Yakimali’s Gift

Tamie Dearen   “Best Intentions

Cindy Dorminy  “Left Hanging

Donna Getzinger Driver  “Passing Notes

Marianne Evans  “Bella Natale

Aileen Fish   “Charmed at Christmas: Collection of Sweet Regency Novellas

Beatrice Fishback  “Winter Writerland

Kellie Coates Gilbert  “Sisters

Jennifer Griffith  “My Fair Aussie

Tammy James Hesler  “Mountains of Love

Liwen Ho “Straight to You” part of ‘Taking Chances’ series

Rachel John  “The Start of Us

Stacy Juba  “Fooling Around with Cinderella

Nadine C. Keels  “Inspiring Love: Three Romantic Reads

Christine Kersey  “Illegal Procedure” (Fair Catch Series – sports series)

Nerys Leigh  “The Blacksmith’s Heart

Christina Lorenzen  “The Silvershell Beach Inn

Kay Lyons  “This Little Light: Stone River series

Edith Maxwell  "Called to Justice"

Michelle Pennington  “The Trouble with Billionaires

Audrey Rich  “Thinking About Love, Part 2

Christina Rich  “The Negotiated Marriage

C.J. Samuels  “Christmas in Trace Hollow

Margaret Lynette Sharp  “Uncertain Love

Rachel Skatvold  “Guardian of Her Heart

Christy Smith  “Forever and Always

Melanie Snitker  “Finding Grace

Rebecca Talley  “Speak to My Heart

Denitta Ward  “Somewhere Still


Happy Valentine’s Day everyone, and as always, Happy Reading!





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The Edgar Awards – 2018


Edgar Statues

Each year, the Mystery Writers of America honors the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction, and television, published or produced the previous year. This year, on the 209th anniversary of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe, the winners of The Edgar Awards – 2018 will be announced at the Gala Banquet to be held in New York City, on April 26, 2018.


Here are the nominees for the prestigious Edgars:




“The Dime” by Kathleen Kent

“Prussian Blue” by Philip Kerr

“Bluebird, Bluebird” by Attica Locke

“A Rising Man” by Abir Mukherjee

“The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley” by Hannah Tinti




“She Rides Shotgun” by Jordan Harper

“Dark Chapter” by Winnie M. Li

“Lola” by Melissa Scrivner Love

“Tornado Weather” by Deborah E. Kennedy

“Idaho” by Emily Ruskovich




“In Farleigh Field” by Rhys Bowen

“Ragged Lake” by Ron Corbett

“Black Fall” by Andrew Mayne

“The Unseeing” by Anna Mazzola

“Penance” by Kanae Minato

“The Rules of Backyard Cricket” by Jock Serong




“Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI” by David Grann

“The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple” by Jeff Guinn

“American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land” by Monica Hesse

“The Man From the Train: The Solving of a Century-Old Serial Killer Mystery” by Bill and Rachel McCarthy James

“Mrs. Sherlock Holmes: The True Story of New York City's Greatest Female Detective and the 1917 Missing Girl Case that Captivated a Nation” by Brad Ricca




“Spring Break” – New Haven Noir by John Crowley

“Hard to Get” – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Jeffery Deaver

“Ace in the Hole” – Montana Noir by Eric Heidle

“A Moment of Clarity at the Waffle House” – Atlanta Noir by Kenji Jasper

“Chin Yong-Yun Stays at Home” – Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine by S.J. Rozan




“The Cruelty” by Scott Bergstrom

“Grit” by Gillian French

“The Impossible Fortress” by Jason Rekulak

“Long Way Down” by Jason Reynolds

“The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas



For nominees in the categories of BEST CRITICAL/BIOGRAPHICAL, BEST JUVENILE, BEST TELEVISION TELEPLAY, as well as the recipients of specialty awards, please visit www.theedgars.com/nominees


MWA logo


Congratulations to all The Edgar Awards – 2018 nominees!  Happy reading.  :-)


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New York Times – Top Five Best Fiction for 2017


Book Cover - Pachinko

The New York Times Top Five Best Fiction Books of 2017 list was posted on November 30th. It’s always interesting to see which books editors at the NYT will choose for their “Best of…” lists for the year. The titles are sometimes bestsellers, but more importantly, the editors have fallen in love with the story (or the writing) and Wahoo! the book makes the list.


Check out the top five fiction choices from 2017, selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review. Click on the links below the book titles to read their reviews.



“Autumn” by Ali Smith



“Exit West” by Mohsin Hamid




“Pachinko” by Min Jin Lee




“The Power” by Naomi Alderman




“Sing, Unburied, Sing” by Jesmyn Ward



Let us know in the comments if you’ve read any of the books. Happy Reading!  


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Pulitzer Prize – 2017



The Pulitzer Prize is an award given for work published the previous year in newspaper, magazine and online journalism, literature, and the arts in the United States. Joseph Pulitzer, an innovative newspaper publisher, endowed Columbia University in New York City with $2 million in his 1904 will. Columbia was to create the School of Journalism, as well as scholarships and prizes to promote excellence in certain fields. The intent of the gift was “for the encouragement of public service, public morals, American literature, and the advancement of education."


The President of Columbia has the honor of presenting the yearly awards selected by the Pulitzer Prize board. Pulitzer has evolved over the decades and an expanded prize list now also includes the digital age. The judging is rigorous and to win is considered by many to be the pinnacle in a career.

Click on the titles to read more about each of the books.

Fiction 2017

Presented for distinguished fiction published in book form during the previous year by an American author, preferably dealing with American life. Fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000).

The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday)

"For a smart melding of realism and allegory that combines the violence of slavery and the drama of escape in a myth that speaks to contemporary America."

Other finalists:

Imagine Me Gone, by Adam Haslett (Little, Brown)

The Sport of Kings, by C. E. Morgan (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)


General Nonfiction 2017

For a distinguished and appropriately documented book of nonfiction by an American author that is not eligible for consideration in any other category. Fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000).

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, by Matthew Desmond (Crown)

"For a deeply researched exposé that showed how mass evictions after the 2008 economic crash were less a consequence than a cause of poverty."

Other finalists:

In a Different Key: The Story of Autism, by John Donvan and Caren Zucker (Crown)

The Politics of Mourning: Death and Honor in Arlington National Cemetery, by Micki McElya (Harvard University Press)


Congratulations to all for this wonderful achievement.  :-)


Please visit www.pulitzer.org for more information and for the list of prizewinners in other disciplines.


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Goodreads Choice Awards – 2017





Most of the winners of major book awards are selected by members of the groups that give the award – much like the film industry’s Academy Awards are selected each year. Mystery writers vote on the major mystery awards; romance writers vote on the Rita Award, etc.




Goodreads, the popular readers/authors site, has a slightly different model for the Goodreads Choice Awards. During the year, readers chat about books they’re reading and make lists of their favorites for their friends and followers to see. They also rank books they’ve read with stars, indicating how much they liked (or disliked) the titles published that year. There are thousands of books listed on the site, with thousands of comments, giving anyone who’s interested a way to see how a book (published in the U.S. in English) is viewed by the Goodreads group. Amazon acquired Goodreads, so these reviews and stars probably have an impact on book sales.



During October each year, the Goodreads staff looks at the stats and does the math, then nominates 15 books for each of 20 categories that have an average rating of 3.5 stars or more.



The members of the Goodreads community vote in elimination rounds. They are allowed to vote in all twenty categories, giving a broader view of a book’s popularity. If you sign up to become a member of Goodreads, you can vote as well.



Opening round now closed  (voting on the selected 15 in each category, write-ins accepted) : Oct. 31st thru Nov. 5th




Semifinal Round now closed: Nov. 7th thru Nov. 12th  (voting on the original 15 along with the top 5 write-ins in each category – voters can change their minds about the original vote):



Final Round now closed: Nov. 14th thru Nov. 27th  (voting on final top 10 books in each category)


It's December 5th and the winners have been announced. Click on the links and see how close the voting in some categories was.



Here are the 2017 links for eight of the categories (once there, the other twelve categories are an easy click away):


Mystery & Thriller

Historical Fiction



Science Fiction


YA Fantasy & Science Fiction





The 2016 Goodreads Choice Awards went to:

Fiction: Liane Moriarty “Truly Madly Guilty”

Mystery & Thriller: Stephen King  “End of Watch”

Historical Fiction: Colson Whitehead “The Underground Railroad”

Fantasy: J.K. Rowling “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”

Romance: Colleen Hoover  “It Ends With Us”

Science Fiction: Pierce Brown  “Morning Star”

Non-Fiction: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jeremy Carter “Hamilton: The Revolution”

YA Fantasy & Science Fiction: Sarah J. Maas  “Court of Mist and Fury”



Did you read any of the winning choices from 2016? If so, what did you think? Let us know in the comment section.



The 2015 Goodreads Choice Awards went to:

Fiction: Harper Lee’s “Go Set a Watchman”

Mystery & Thriller:  Paula Hawkins’ “The Girl on the Train”

Historical Fiction:  Kristin Hannah’s “The Nightingale”

Fantasy:  Neil Gaiman’s “Trigger Warning”

Romance:  Colleen Hoover’s “Confess”

Science Fiction: Pierce Brown’s “Golden Son”




The 2014 Goodreads Choice Awards went to:

Fiction: Rainbow Rowell's "Landline"

Mystery & Thriller:  Stephen King's "Mr. Mercedes" 

Historical Fiction:  Anthony Doerr's "All the Light We Cannot See"

History & Biography:  Helen Rappaport's The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra"

Romance:  Diana Gabaldon's "Written in My Own Heart's Blood"

Science Fiction:  Andy Weir's "The Martian"



The 12 additional categories include cookbooks, horror, non-fiction, children’s books and more.



It’s interesting to note that in 2013, 1,953,770 total votes were cast for the Goodreads Choice Awards.

The final tabulation for 2015 was 3,007,748 votes.

In 2016?  3,550,346 votes.    :-)

This year's final total was 3,887,698!


Happy reading! You're in for a treat.  :-)




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