Genre Friday – Cozy Mysteries

Mysteries are all about twists and turns and misdirection. There is often danger. There is almost always a dead body or two. So where does “cozy” come into it?

Cozy Cottage

Not to be confused with a cozy cottage… although a lot of cozy mysteries take place in and around cozy cottages. Hmmm, I wonder if there’s a connection.

The Cozy is a pretty popular mystery sub-genre with a pretty specific set-up. They are generally set in a small town or village, with an amateur (meaning not professional law-enforcement or a PI or anything) sleuth, although they will always have some sort of connection, official or otherwise, that will allow them to gather information on the case. The sleuth is almost always a woman… and not infrequently of the grey-haired, grandmotherly variety. The murder – there is always a murder – is over pretty quickly or happens before the book begins and someone just finds the body to kick things off. There is little to no additional violence. Think Murder, She Wrote for a good, well-known example.

And that’s that. Although, if you are intrigued, this sub-genre has a bunch of subcategories (animals – often cats, crafts, cooking, etc.) all its own so you can delve pretty deeply into the cozy rabbit hole if you should so desire. And, as always, the library is a great place to start.


DITTOS – Like read-alikes, only better!

“Why are they better?” you ask.

Well, partly because some of them, like this one, don’t just have suggestions for what else you might like to read, but what you might like to watch or listen to as well.

But mostly they’re better because Becca made them.Big Little Lies Shelf End Ditto

NYT Bestsellers List

Looking for your next book? Here is what everyone else is reading… apparently.

Combined Print & E-Book Fiction

  1. THE SHACK by William P. YoungShackMackenzie Allen Philips’ youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later in the midst of his Great Sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack’s world forever.
  2. THE DEVIL’S TRIANGLE by Catherine Coulter and J. T. Ellison
  3.  THE CUTTHROAT by Clive Cussler and Justin Scott
  4. BIG LITTLE LIES by Liane Moriarty
  5. THE OBSESSION by Nora Roberts
  6. A MAN CALLED OVE by Fredrik Backman
  7. IN THIS GRAVE HOUR by Jacqueline Winspear
  8. DANGEROUS GAMES by Danielle Steel
  9. A DOG’S PURPOSE by W. Bruce Cameron
  10. WITHOUT WARNING by Joel C. Rosenberg

Or maybe you aren’t looking for spirituality/suspense/drama/romance/action/movie-tie-in? In that case, go here to check out the non-fiction best sellers.

Genre Friday Returns! with Court Intrigue Fantasy

Whether it is set on Earth (past, present or future), in a parallel world or universe, or a mystic realm where the familiar laws of nature do not apply, Fantasy allows imagination to run wild. True to this idea, Fantasy’s many subgenres can vary from one another a great deal, encompassing just about anything one could imagine, which helps to explain the genre’s ever-growing breadth and depth.

The Court Intrigue subgenre of Fantasy generally focuses on and around royalty and the ruling elite. Settings can be anything from a well known historical backdrop (but with magic or something) to some unrecognizable alternate world but we are almost always going to be dealing with the upper crust of society and their despicable plotting and scheming. The plots of these stories are often complex and heavily entangled with politics, power grabs, espionage, assassinations (successful and attempted), court scandal and everything else that you would expect from a political thriller, but normally set in feudal, medieval-esque surroundings with sorcerers and dragons about.


A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

Trying to decide what to check out next?

The New York Times Best Sellers List is a good place to start. Here is what currently tops the list for fiction:


  1. A DOG’S PURPOSE by W. Bruce Cameron – 8 weeks on the List

A canine narrator undergoes a series of reincarnations.

       2.  A MAN CALLED OVE by Fredrik Backman – 36 weeks on the List

A curmudgeon’s gruff exterior masks a generosity of spirit. Originally published in Sweden in 2014.

  1. NEVER NEVER by James Patterson and Candice Fox – 2 weeks on the List

Harriet Blue, a Sydney sex crimes detective, is sent to the outback (the never never) to investigate the disappearance of a mine worker. The first in a new series.

  1. POWER GAME by Christine Feehan – NEW this week

A super-soldier with enhanced abilities teams up with a genetically engineered spy in this Ghostwalker novel.

  1. DARK HUMANITY by Gwynn White and various authors – NEW this week

A boxed set of science fiction and fantasy offerings.

  1. ACCIDENTALLY ON PURPOSE by Jill Shalvis – NEW this week

A security expert starts to sabotage Elle’s love life.

  1. THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN by Paula Hawkins – 101 weeks on the List

A psychological thriller set in the environs of London is full of complications and betrayals.

  1. THE WHISTLER by John Grisham – 14 weeks on the List

A whistleblower alerts a Florida investigator to judicial corruption involving the Mob and Indian casinos.

  1. MILK AND HONEY by Rupi Kaur – 7 weeks on the List

Poetic approaches to surviving adversity and loss.

  1. THE APARTMENT by Danielle Steel – 4 weeks on the List

Four young women share a Hell’s Kitchen loft.

Genre Friday!

Helping people find the book (or books) they wanted is great. Helping people find the books that they never knew they wanted is even better!

Introducing Genre Fridays, a quick, once-a-week look at a random genre, subgenre, theme, setting, etc. It may be a genre you love, it may be one you hate, or it may be one that you have never heard of – regardless, here you will get a brief description as well as a few examples of books in the genre. You might just find your next favorite book. Or maybe you won’t. Either way, it’s meant to be horizon broadening so please enjoy.

Alternate History

Alternate history is usually lumped in with science fiction because many, but certainly not all, alternate history stories contain sci-fi elements, but this sometimes-sci-fi subgenre is often thought of as a genre in its own right. Regardless of the presence or influence of science fiction, the stories always revolve around a drastic change to historical events or circumstances. The primary distinction, if a distinction is made at all, between science fiction based alternate history and the larger genre of alternate history is what is causing the alteration to history and how those alterations have played out.

In science fiction-y alternate history the changes occur when a person or group of people (and often their equipment, vehicles and weapons – these types of stories usually deal with some war or military action of the past and often those that are sent back are soldiers themselves) are somehow propelled backwards through time. This can be accomplished through technology or some unknown phenomenon. Another possibility is that the change in history, whatever it was, has led to an anachronistically advanced society or world – these stories often show similarities to the steampunk subgenre of science fiction.

Pure alternate history depicts might-have-been scenarios. History is filled with near-miss situations that the author can easily tweak to say, “what if this crucial situation had been resolved differently?” Common themes once again revolve around military conflicts, most notably; ‘What if the South had won the Civil War?’, or ‘What if the Axis Powers had won World War II?’ Despite being complete speculation these stories are often meticulously researched and are based upon an author’s educated guess at what might have been, skipping all of the more fanciful or improbable elements found in science fiction based alternate history.


Alternative History1632 by Eric Flint

How Few Remain by Harry Turtledove

Lest Darkness Fall by L. Sprague de Camp

Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick

The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson

The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon