Saturday, December 10, 2022

What Did Women Like in 2022?

First of all - Please enjoy the content of this blog and the spirit in which it's given while ignoring the funky formatting issues. 

You might recall that over the past couple of years I have 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 of the year.  So far!  Each of us could stumble into the pages of our all time favorite book ever between now and the end of the year.  Rest assured.  If that happens, we'll let you know!

This little project turned out to be a fun thing, and if you'd like to see our past favorites you can see them right here and here.  

While compiling our lists many of us have been able to add some new titles, along with some new authors, to our always growing book lists from the recommendations.

But not just mysteries.  And not sticking with books published in 2022.

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.  

So.   We're doing it again this year.  

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

You might run into any of them at any time at a book convention.


Consider this list of holiday recommendations our gift to you.

Marlyn Beebe
 is a r
etired librarian who now spends her time reading, knitting, and wrangling granddaughters.  She lives in Southern California with her husband.  They are owned by Puck, a rare tuxedoed panther. 

Alexander, Ellie.  Left Coast Literary

Harvey, Kristy Woodson.  The Wedding Veil 

Holmes, Linda.  Flying Solo

Juby, Susan.  Mindful of Murder

Kelly, Julia.  The Last Dance of the Debutante

Loigman, Linda Cohen.  The Matchmaker’s Gift

MacNeal, Susan Elia.  Mother Daughter Traitor Spy

Mandanna, Sangu.  The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches.

Roberts, Nora.  The Becoming

Ryan, Jennifer.  The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle

Wiggs, Susan.  Sugar and Salt

Wildy, Janis.  The English Bookshop

Jen Forbus is a former teacher, former blogger, and life-long learner with a passion for animals and photography. 

I been motivated to pick up a number of self-help books, pet-related books, and things on political issues that are important to me. I'm also including a few children's books from what I've reviewed for Shelf. 

My favorite fiction:
1. The Winners (Fredrik Backman)
2. Hell and Back (Craig Johnson)
3. Jackie and Me (Louis Bayard)

My favorite non-fiction:
1. Atomic Habits (James Clear)
2. Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment is Killing America's Heartland (Jonathan Metzl)
3. Funny Farm: My Unexpected Life with 600 Rescue Animals (Laurie Zaleski)
4. Why We Did It: A Travelogue from the Republican Road to Hell (Tim Miller)
5. The Emergency: A Year of Healing and Heartbreak in a Chicago ER (Thomas Fisher)
6. Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents (Isabel Wilkerson)
7. The Forever Dog: Surprising New Science to Help Your Canine Companion Live Younger, Healthier, and Longer (Rodney Habib & Karen Shaw Becker)
8. Loving Edie: How a Dog Afraid of Everything Taught Me to Be Brave (Meredith May)
9. Battling the Big Lie: How Fox, Facebook, and the MAGA Media are Destroying America (Dan Pfeiffer)
10. The Cruelty Is the Point: The Past, Present, and Future of Trump's America (Adam Serwer)

My favorite children's & YA books:
1. The Museum of Odd Body Leftovers: A Tour of Your Useless Parts, Flaws, and Other Weird Bits (Rachel Poliquin)
2. Bottle Tops: The Art of El Anatsui (Alison Goldberg)
3. Unequal: A Story of America (Michael Eric Dyson & Marc Favreau)
4. Pina (Elif Yemenici)
5. Seen and Unseen: What Dorothea Lange, Toyo Miyatake, and Ansel Adam's Photographs Reveal about the Japanese American Incarceration (Elizabeth Partridge)

M'Lou Greene -  "My grandmother taught me to read at age 3, and I've never stopped!" 

I grade the books in my journal on a scale of A+ to C- and anything below that is a DNF.
There's just not enough time in this life to finish books I would consider less than average.
The list here are the books I've read in 2022 which rated  A- or above, and three ** got an A+.
With a few weeks to go in the year, I hope there will be another one or two to add.

Celia Imrie, Orphans of the Storm

Tim Dorsey, Mermaid Confidential

S. A. Crosby, Razorblade Tears **

Lori Rader-Day, Death at Greenway

Kim Michele Richardson, The Book Woman's Daughter **
Susan Moon, Alive Until You're Dead
A. J. Jacobs, The Year of Living Biblically
Sarah Addison Allen, Other Birds
Cornelia Read, The Crazy School
Laurie R. King, Back to the Garden
Randy Rainbow, Playing with Myself **
Richard Osman, The Thursday Murder Club
Great Novels: the World's Most Remarkable Fiction Explored and Explained
    (Not sure who to list as the author, it's a DK book and fantastic)

Aubrey Hamilton is a 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.

Safe by Jane Adams

No Deal by J. D. Allen

Find You First by Linwood Barclay

The Lioness by Chris Bojahlian

The Lies that I Tell by Julie Clark

Runner by Tracy Clark

Unforgotten by Clare Francis

The Fear of Falling by John Harkin

The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth

Worst Enemies by Dana King

Save Me from Dangerous Men by S.A. Lelchuk

M, King's Bodyguard by Niall Leonard

The Unkept Woman by Allison Montclair

A Death to Remember by Roger Ormerod

Bobby March Will Never Die by Alan Parks

Skelton's Guide to Suitcase Murders by David Stafford

 Lesa Holstine is a librarian and award-winning book reviewer. While she specializes in mysteries, only half of her favorite books from 2022 fit that category. She blogs at

Love and Saffron - Kim Fay
Knight Owl - Christopher Denise
The Kaiju Preservation Society - John Scalzi
The Dead Romantics - Ashley Poston
Killers of a Certain Age - Deanna Raybourn
Murder at the Jubilee Rally - Terry Shames
The Plot and the Pendulum - Jenn McKinlay
The Cloisters - Katy Hays
The Choice - Nora Roberts
A World of Curiosities - Louise Penny

And, two titles I read and loved that are released in 2023 - 

A Killing of Innocents - Deborah Crombie (Feb. 2023)
Small Mercies - Dennis Lehane (April 2023)

Maddee James, newly ensconced in a 100-year old cabin in the foothills above Golden, Colorado, loves books, pups, snowy days, someone else shoveling on snowy days, her wonderful creative work, working with her son and FaceTiming with her daughter.  

My 2022 list!

* The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise, Dan Gemeinhart  (#1 favorite book of the year, and middle grade no less!)
* Alone, Megan E. Freeman (written in prose, which I didn’t think I’d like, but I loved)
* The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeycutt, Annie Lyons
* The Invisible Husband of Frick Island, Colleen Oakley
* The Secret of Everything, Barbara O’Neal

And then I did a bunch of re-reads as I was in need of comfort reads!:

* Anne of Green Gables (L. M. Montgomery)
* Maisie Dobbs series (Jacqueline Winspear)
* The Alphabet series (Sue Grafton)
* Dismas/Glitsky series (John Lescroart)
* The John Ceepak series (Chris Grabenstein)

Z:\_Shared Data\Abbett\Patti's ABB Folder\IMG_2125 (1).jpg  Patti Lang is a Reader, librarian, coloring aficionado, both nerd & geek, friend, daughter, sister, aunt, feminist, transplanted Michigander.

Patti’s Picks: Favorites of 2022

The Homewreckers by Mary Kay Andrews
All the Queen's Men (Her Majesty the Queen Investigates #2)
by S.J. Bennett
Nonna Maria and the Case of the Missing Bride (Nonna Maria #1)
by Lorenzo Carcaterra
Viviana Valentine Gets Her Man (Girl Friday #1) by Emily J. Edwards
Blackwater Falls (Detective Inaya Rahman #1) by Ausma Zehanat Khan
The Verifiers by Jane Pek
One-Shot Harry by Gary Phillips
The Key to Deceit (Electra McDonnell #2) by Ashley Weaver

When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill
Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen

Bloomsbury Girls (Jane Austen Society #2) by Natalie Jenner
Iona Iverson's Rules for Commuting by Clare Pooley

The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hayes by Cat Sebastian
A Lady's Guide to Fortune-Hunting by Sophie Irwin

These are all books I loved for various reasons; excellent writing, great characters, something different, or the right book at the right time for me.

All books are 2022. 


Dru Ann Love is an award-winning mystery blogger at dru's book musings ( and is Fan Guest of Honor at Left Coast Crime 2023 and Bouchercon 2023. She also does social media for a mystery author.



  1. Buried in a Good Book by Tamara Berry
  2. Smile Beach Murder by Alicia Bessette
  3. A Killing in Costumes by Zac Bissonnette
  4. Vinyl Resting Place by Olivia Blacke
  5. Seasoned With Murder by Catherine Bruns
  6. Two Parts Sugar, One Part Murder by Valerie Burns
  7. Bayou Book Thief by Ellen Byron
  8. Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead by Elle Cosimano
  9. Murder in a Cape Cottage by Maddie Day
  10. A Streetcar Named Murder by T.G. Herren
  11. A Hard Day for a Hangover by Darynda Jones
  12. Cheddar Off Dead by Korina Moss
  13. Murder Is No Picnic by Amy Pershing
  14. Six Feet Deep Dish by Mindy Quigley
  15. Calypso, Corpses, and Cooking by Raquel V. Reyes



  1. The Corpse with the Turquoise Toes by Cathy Ace
  2. The Hidden One by Linda Castillo
  3. The Zero Night by Brian Freeman
  4. The Locked Room by Elly Griffiths
  5. The Finalist by Joan Long
  6. Anywhere You Run by Wanda M. Morris
  7. The Wedding Plot by Paula Munier
  8. No Strangers Here by Carlene O'Connor
  9. Desperation in Death by J.D. Robb
  10. The Middle of Hickory Lane by Heather Webber


2023 – First Quarter

  1. Hide by Tracy Clark
  2. Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun by Elle Cosimano
  3. Time's Undoing by Cheryl A. Head
  4. Against the Currant by Olivia Matthews
  5. Encore In Death by J.D. Robb
  6. Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson


Erin Mitchell is a reader who is lucky enough to get to work for authors and publishers.

The Appeal by Janice Hallett (2022)

Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six by Lisa Unger (2022)

Take Your Breath Away by Linwood Barclay

Flags on the Bayou by James Lee Burke (2023)

The Burglar Who Met Frederic Brown by Lawrence Block (2022)

A Scandal in Brooklyn by Lauren Wilkinson (2022)

1989 by Val McDermid (2022)

Rich Blood by Robert Bailey (2022)

The House Guest by Hank Phillippi Ryan (2023)

An Honest Man by Michael Koryta (2023)

Small Mercies by Dennis Lehane (2023)

The Boys from Biloxi by John Grisham (2022)

Maki Morris  is a creative director who lives in Northern California and is a published author of YA Paranormal Mystery.  She is a Certified Saké and Wine Professional and a Saké Sommeliére. She is still editing her new 19th-century Historical Romance novel.

The Go-Between, L.P. Hartley

Blood, Bones, and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef, Gabrielle Hamilton

Russian Winter, Daphne Kalotay

The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion

Falling to Earth, Kate Southwood

Favorite Classics:

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austin

North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

Kathy Boone Reel is a former English teacher who earned her Library of Science Masters because she loves reading and sharing reading so much.  Her blog, The Reading Room, is where she reviews the books she's read, which are 99% in the mystery/crime genre.  Kathy loves nothing better than to talk books with family, friends, and strangers on the street.

Favorite Reads 2022 from Kathy Reel Boone at The Reading Room Blog

   The Lioness by Chris Bohjalian  (2022)

Locked Room (Ruth Galloway #14) by Elly Griffiths  (2022)

The Overnight Guest by Heather Gudenkauf  (2022)

The Water’s Dead (DI Nyree Bradshaw #1) by Catherine Lea  (2022)

The Companion by Lesley Thomson  (2022)

A World of Curiosities (Armand Gamache #18) by Louise Penny  (2022)

Forgotten Country by Allan Eskens  (2022)

Back to the Garden by Laurie R. King  (2022)

Bleeding Heart Yard (Harbinder Kaur #3)  (2022)

Still Waters (F.B.I. K-9 #7) by Sara Driscoll (2022)

Murder in Immunity (Doyle and Acton #15) by Anne Cleeland  (2022)

The Bullet That Missed (Thursday Murder Club #3) by Richard Osman  (2022)

Bricks and Bones (Sin City Investigations #5) by J.D. Allen  (2022)

Widow Land by C.J. Carey  (2022)

A Three Dog Problem/All the Queen’s Men (Her Majesty the Queen Investigates #3) by S.J. Bennett  (2022)

Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pat  (2022)

Fatal Reunion (Zoe Chambers #11) by Annette Dashofy  (2022)

The Girl Called Justice: The Spy at the Window (Justice Jones #4) by Elly Griffiths  (2022)

Peril in Paris (Her Royal Spyness #16) by Rhys Bowen  (2022)

Mother Daughter Traitor Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal  (2022)

Murder at the Jubilee Rally by Terry Shames (2022)

The Case of the Disgraced Duke by Cathy Ace (2022)

LJ Roberts
, a professional reviewer since 2004, reviews for multiple online mystery sites, plus Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine and Mystery Readers' Journal, and has a review site at      


These are some of the books I read in 2022 that stood out to me. Some were published earlier.  (edited list)

Adams, Jane - SAFE
Askew, Claire – A MATTER OF TIME
Cleeves, Ann – RISING TIDE
Harrod-Eagles, Cynthia – DYING FALL
Krueger, William Kent - FOX CREEK

Mayor, Archer – FALL GUY
Nickson, Chris - THE BLOOD COVENANT (Simon Westow series)
Offutt, Chris - SHIFTY'S BOYS
Siegel, Sheldon - DOUBLE JEOPARDY
Siegel, Sheldon - LAST CALL (best depiction of the early days of COVID I've found)
Sokoloff, Alexandra – COLD MOON
Thomas, Will – FIERCE POISON

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

I have been reading almost exclusively escapism this year. For me, that’s fantasy and/or YA. A few old favorites and many new to me authors. This is my top ten for the year in no particular order. 

The Choice by Nora Roberts 
Serpent in Heaven by Charlaine Harris
Bloodmarked Tracey Deonn
The Golden Enclaves by Naomi Novik  
Into the West by Mercedes Lackey 
House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J Maas
Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots
Ordinary Monsters by J.M. Miro
The Left-handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nic
The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi (Audio is fantastic!)

My Turn!

I read a lot of books this past year (have I mentioned how much I love being a retired person? 😊)  The entire list can be found in the sidebar.

I have noticed that my tastes in reading, while always fairly wide and eclectic, are changing somewhat.  In addition to my favorite authors,  I seem to be seeking out more comfort reads (novels and essays) and more poetry.  I'm not listing books of poetry or essays here because they seem to find me not in bound books, but piecemeal in snippets sent by friends, or showing up in blogs I read, or on Facebook.

In my 2021 list I had included a few books which had not yet been published but were published this year.  I've re-read some of them and they made the list again this year.  They are:

The Last House on the Street by Diane Chamberlain 
Songs by Hummingbird by Peter McDade
Lost and Found in Paris by Lian Dolan 
Darling Girl: A Novel of Peter Pan by Liz Michalski 

And my favorites for this year, so far, in no particular order -

A World of Curiosities by Louise Penny
Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen
The Choice by Nora Roberts
The Color of Ice by Barbara Linn Probst
Memphis by Tara M. Stringfellow
I'll Weave a Song For You by Sandra Leavesley
Secret Lives by Mark de Castrique
On the March: A Novel of the Women's March on Washington by Trudy Krishner
Flying Solo by Linda Holmes
The Kingdoms of Savannah by George Dawes Green
Half-Blown Rose by Leesa Cross Smith
Impossible to Forget by Imogen Clark
Lucy Checks In by Dee Ernst
The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston
The Summer of Grace by Karen Jones

And, finally, some books to add to your list to read next year.  (NOT to be missed, in my ever so humble opinion)!

When the Moon Turns Blue by Pamela Terry - Release Date Feb. 21
The Radcliff Ladies' Reading Club by Julia Bryan Thomas - Release Date June 6
No Two Persons by Erica Bauermeister - Release Date May 2

And finally - here's a Christmas Book I think you'll enjoy - 

A Magical New York Christmas by Anita Hughes

Happy Reading!

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas, 
the Happiest of Holidays, 
Joy , 
and Good Cheer!

And Magic!
I hope you find magic

And may I also suggest snuggling up with Eloise!


Gram said...

I look forward to this list..I can only remember one other, but that could be my memory. I always find interesting choices to choose from including new to me authors.

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Thank you, Gram!




Lesa said...

Thank you for doing this, Kaye! I love to see all the lists. I love it so much that I'm sharing the link to your blog on mine tomorrow. Why do a post about one book when readers can see all those lists. I'm sending them here.

Thank you, my friend.

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

I love you, Lesa. And I will be tickled pink to be at your blog.

Thanks so much for participating in this list. It just wouldn't be much of a list without your input.

Aubrey Hamilton said...

I am so pleased to be included in this annual round-up, which has increased my TBR pile yet again. Thank you, Kaye!

Terry said...

I despair! No, not because my latest is not on every list (two is plenty) but because it represents so many wonderful books that I can't possibly get to. Thank you, Kay, for putting this out. I'll refer to it when I'm wondering what to read next! Happy holidays, everyone!

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Aubrey - Thank YOU! ❤

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

And Happy Holidays to you, Terry!