You Are the Top! Top Favorites From 2017

Jan 3, 2018 | 2018 Articles, Kathleen Costa, Mysteryrat's Maze, TV

by Kathleen Costa

Enjoy my top favorite authors and their work from 2017 and get an opportunity to win a $3 Amazon gift card. For your entry to be valid, comment with the answer to the post question at the end of the article. Happy reading in the New Year!

In 2017 I reviewed over 150 marvelously entertaining books along with connecting with loads of talented and delightfully friendly authors. Set with the task of choosing my top favorites for the year has been a serious challenge since every single book, and a few television shows, have/has provided me with hours of entertainment and some inspiration…So, drum roll, please!

Top Favorite Authors

bookH.Y. Hanna is my all-time favorite author of my all-time favorite series! I’ve enjoyed connecting with her down under and being part of her advanced reader team. I was thrilled with March’s Four Puddings and a Funeral and October’s Another One Bites the Crust from her seven-book and a prequel Oxford Tearoom Mystery series. Joining Gemma Rose and the ‘bloody’ delightful mysteries, I learned how to make traditional scones to serve with a perfect pot of tea. Cornish or Devon? I decided I’ll have my cream tea the Devonshire way…clothed cream, first, then jam! Also in 2017 she introduced a four-book Bewitched by Chocolate series. Quickly a big favorite I love Caitlyn Le Fey’s continuing magical journey with a myriad of witches, vampires, and chocolate delicacies starting with January’s Dark, Witch & Creamy thru to August’s Witch Chocolate Bites. No matter which series, my Anglophile appetite is satisfied with it’s cleverness, British references, magical lore, and…which English recipe will be your favorite?

I always say murder sounds better with an English accent! Listening to H.Y. Hanna’s Oxford Tearoom Mystery series is my favorite way to enjoy her work, and Pearl Hewitt is a narrator extraordinaire enhancing my experience with her voice artistry. She goes beyond the traditional reading by portraying the various levels of emotion and personality, flawlessly mimicking the British, American, and Australian accents along with the occasional “meorrow” of Muesli the cat. Check out her narration of the classic The Secret Garden. It is well worth revisiting a childhood favorite.

bookKathi Daley is always in the top. I have every single one of her seventy-plus books and am a member of her early reviewer group. For me, it’s the Christmas holidays when Kathi really shines. This year we had the very entertaining Reindeer Roundup in her Zoe Donovan Mystery, Fourth Victim Writers’ Retreat Mystery’s cold case focus, and new to the Kathi Daley library and quickly becoming favorites, Finding Justice in her Rescue, Alaska Mystery and The Christmas Letter from her Tess and Tilly Cozy Mystery. Along with her social media presence, contests, birthday club, and fun events, Kathi has a recipe exchange group from which she adds some of them to several of her books. Always perfect for a book club!

bookJenny Kales has become a special top favorite, too. I really enjoy the Greek twist to her delightful three-book Callie’s Kitchen Mystery series along with many of the classic Greek recipes and a twist to American favorites—Greek Pumpkin Pie! Her stories are made very engaging by the entertaining friends and family dynamics and a bit of romance. I was thrilled to brush off the cobwebs from my teacher’s red pen and act as a beta reader on the October released Secrets and Pies. As an amateur writer, being involved in the process, seeing how the story unfolds, and even knowing I had a tiny bit part in it was loads of fun! Opa!

bookCatherine Bruns renewed my passion for cookies with April’s Frosted with Revenge from her four-book Cookies & Chance Mystery series. Joining Sally Muccio we have her BFF, a very quirky family, and murder that just pops up too often, but the clever twist is the often prophetic fortune cookies making this a very entertaining series. And for an extra treat recipes are included from Sally’s Samples kitchen and the Muccio family’s Italian favorites. But don’t forget! Catherine has two ‘can’t miss’ books in the Gemma Halliday Aloha Lagoon Mystery series with October’s Death of the Kona Man following Carrie Jorgenson as she investigates lots of tropical troubles. Aloooha!

bookSally J. Smith and Jean Steffens is my favorite writing team. They have partnered to create loads of fun in the three-book Mystic Isle Mystery with August’s Mystic Mischief exploring New Orleans and the mayhem that finds its way to Mystic Isle, a destination for paranormal enthusiasts. They also co-wrote two books in their Danger Cove Pet Sitters Mystery with the July ‘must read’ fun Divas, Diamonds, & Death. And as an exciting stand alone, it is well worth one’s time to read March’s Kangaroo Dreaming, a Digby Sloan Mystery. Two heads are definitely better than one!

Top New-to-me Authors

Zoe Arden has become a favorite with a fun, magical series Sweetland Witch. Starting with March’s Witch Cake Murders Ava Rose Fortune navigates being a witch in a community inhabited by witches, vampires, goblins, and even humans. The ninth book, Royal Witch Curse, was just released in December.witchcake

Rickie Blair has turned my blue thumb green with her Leafy Hollow Mystery series. February’s book two, Digging Up Trouble, continues the fun, secrets, and murder as Verity is still in charade of her aunt’s landscaping business. The fourth book, Muddy Waters, sprouted in November to continue the fun.

Ruby Loren has penned the five-book Madigan Amos Zoo Mystery. Madi Amos travels worldwide to consult with zoos on animal management, but ends up investigating murder. Great stand alones, but start with July’s Penguins and Mortal Peril, then continue through her journey with snakes, monkeys, lions, and peacocks…Oh, my!

Meredith Potts has a fun mystery series, the Daley Buzz, starting with May’s Chocolate with a Side of Murder and then more entertainment through the next seven books of caramels, apple pie, lemon bars, cookies, Halloween candy, Christmas cookies, and gelato, Sabrina Daley manages the Daley Buzz coffee shop, and with family tragedies and town secrets, it all make for lots of excitement.

Sandi Scott delighted me with a delicious four-book series, Seagrass Sweets Mystery, savoring August’s Madeline Murder and December’s Praline Murder. Then new this year is her three-book Pet Portraits Cozy Mystery introducing my favorite sexagenarians sisters in October’s Murder in the Art Gallery and then ending the year with murders on the Great Lake and a movie set.

Honorable Mentions are Part of my Top!
Janet Hubbard is a new favorite that captured my Francophile attention with her Vengeance in the Vineyard trilogy. Cheers with a glass Champagne…Bordeaux…or Burgundy! Cate Lawley has really rocked the paranormal with the Vegan Vampire, Death Retired, and a fun Goode Witch Matchmaker. Tegan Maher is the author of a fun series Witches of Keyhole Lake that must not be missed. Lotta Smith thrilled me with an eleven-book Paranormal in Manhattan series that puts “I see dead people” on a list of prerequisite skills for government work. Marty Wingate sparked my interest in all things flora with her six-book Potting Shed Mystery.

Top Streaming Shows on Acorn-TV

Agatha Raisin (2016-present) is based on M.C. Beaton’s books. Agatha, a transplanted Londoner investigating murder and mayhem in the Cotswolds, is outstanding, clever, and loaded with giggles. This books are not to be missed!

Midsomer Murders (1997-2011; 2011-present) an all-time favorite, and although I was a purist only interested in the original episodes with Chief Detective Inspector Tom Barnaby (John Nettles), I am now a big fan of the new CDI John Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon) as he uses his quiet manner to investigate murder in Midsomer County. tv

Murdoch Mysteries (2004-present) is a marvelous series set in the early 1900s Toronto following Detective William Murdoch and now broadcasting season eleven. We are treated to more investigations some close to home, intrigue, clever inventions, and contemporary references that are worth a giggle or two. The enjoyment is capped by an excellent supporting cast and appearances of a few historical figures.

Pie in the Sky (1994-1997) is an excellent lighthearted detective mystery following DI Henry Crabbe (Richard Griffiths) whose retirement is on hold, but his dream to open up a restaurant still goes forward. When a crime pops up needing his expertise, he hangs up his apron and heads out to save the constabulary’s reputation.

Accidental finds include two great Irish dramas. Striking Out (2017) is great in the courtroom with Amy Huberman, and Jack Taylor (2010-2016) is gritty on the streets with Iain Glen. Both are excellent!

Happy Reading and Streaming in the New Year!

Watch for KRL’s Favorite Books of 2017 this weekend! You can find most of these book reviews and TV reviews in our mystery section.

From 2017, who was your favorite author, series, or book and why?

To enter to win a $3 Amazon gift card to start off 2018, comment below with your email and share your answer: Who was your favorite author, series, or book from 2017? To enter by email send your name and email address to krlcontests@gmail[dot]com with “You’re the Tops!” in the subject line. Be sure to include your answer to the post question for a valid entry. A winner will be chosen on January 13, 2018.

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Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is a 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying her retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. My favorite series last year was Kristen Painter’s Nocturne Falls series. It’s paranormal romance which I don’t usually read but her books are fun and I like her characters. There are also a number of other authors who write stories set in that world.

  2. Author and series Ilona Andrews for her Kate Daniels and Hidden legacy series. For mystery, favorite author is Dean James and all his pen names. Favorite series cozy mystery: Jenn McKinley’s Cupcake Bakery mysteries, regular mysteries: Joe Lansdale’s Hap and Leonard series.

  3. My favorite book was the first of a series: “If You See Kay Run.” Two more have followed this yr. and there’s another on the way. They’re by Tina Glasneck and Fiona Quinn–mysteries, but not quite cozies. Really funny, w/ a touch of the risque’, but nothing the least bit explicit.

  4. What a year! Share your top author, series, or book for 2017. If you win the gift card and play your cards right (choices), you could parlay $3 into three eBooks..yeah!

  5. I read many good books in 2017 but looking back I think my favorite was “Pages in the Wind” by Sally Saylor DeSmet.
    It was well written and really made the reader think. It was great psychological thriller. It explored how fragile the mind really is while showing how resilient it can be.

  6. It is hard to have a favorite but Anna Lee Huber has been a delightful surprise with her Verity Kent Murders and I do like Susan Elias MacNeal also…

  7. One of my favorite books of 2017 was written by a new to me author Aimie K Runy “Daughters of the Night Sky”. I had a lot of favorites but picked rhis because it was well written and researched. It was a very interesting read. Thank you for the chance.
    Lamonicaks (at) gmail (dot) com

  8. My favorite read this year was Cold Reign by Faith Hunter. It also happens to be from my favorite series (Jane Yellowrock).

  9. One of my favorite series that I read this year was the Consignment Shop Mysteries by Duffy Brown. Can’t wait for the new one coming out later this year.

  10. New authors: Kathi Daley, Rickie Blair, Gemma Halliday, Anna Celeste Burke, Lyndsey Cole, and so many more…series I am enjoying now is the cozy high heels mysteries by Gemma Halliday.

  11. My favorite book from 2017 was Digger, the case of the chimera Killer by Robert D. Calkins.

  12. We have a winner!



  1. Happy 2018!! Lots more Callie’s Kitchen to come, plus Facebook parties and reader/author events! – Jenny Kales - […] Costa of “Kings River Life Magazine.” Here’s the link if you’d like to read the article. I’m in some…

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