My favorite 2018 new-to-me authors

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. This is a fun meme with specific topics each week. If you like to make lists be sure to check it out. I haven’t joined in too much lately, but plan to participate more this year.

The subject this week is “New-to-Me Authors I read in 2018.” Every year I read books by new authors and love many of the books I read by them. In 2018 I read 35 books by “new-to-me” authors. These are my favorites:

Katherine Arden

I read The Bear and the Nightingale, the first book of the Winternight Trilogy. It’s a historical fantasy set in Russia and a fairytale retelling that’s so rich in detail that I felt I was in Russia when I listened to this audiobook.

W.R. Gingell

I read seven of W.R. Gingell’s fantasies in 2018. Ms. Gingell is a self-published author and many of her books are imaginative fairytale retellings with a dose of romance. She is the author I glommed the most during 2018!

Abir Mukherjee

A Rising Man takes place in India. It is a historical mystery about a former Scotland Yard detective arriving in  Calcutta, India to take a post in the local police force. The book details not only a murder and the mystery surrounding it, but all the politics of the Brits in India when the stability of the British Raj is slipping.

Sujata Massey

The Widows of Malabar Hill–another book which takes place in India is also a historical mystery taking place in 1921 Bombay. Perveen Mistry arrives back in India after graduating from law school at Oxford in England. She joins her father’s law firm as one of the first female lawyers in India. She’s a strong advocate for women’s rights, but learns she must tread lightly and though her father is proud of her he isn’t always willing or able to aid her legal career. The mystery and story in this book are very intriguing.

Anne Hillerman

After her father–Tony Hillerman–died, Anne Hillerman continued the Leaphorn & Chee series he wrote for years. Song of the Lion was the first book I read by her and I was so relieved when I read it. She does a great job with the characters and the mystery. I love the Leaphorn & Chee series which I’ve read since I was a teenager. I’m slowly working my way through this series. In some cases I’ve reread books, but in other cases I’m reading them for the first time since I stopped reading mysteries for a few years.

C.J. Cherryh

C.J. Cherryh is a classic science fiction author whom I never heard of when I first started reading science fiction. I only started hearing about her after the internet gave me access to more books, blogs, authors and all else dealing with reading. The Pride of Chanur, the first book in the Chanur series involves humans, but is written from the viewpoint of other alien races. Not something I’ve seen very often when a science fiction has humans in it.

Rebecca Roanhorse

Trail of Lightning is the first book by Ms. Roanhorse and it’s such a good book. It’s a distopian urban fantasy about Navajo Indians with lots of their mythology and stories. I loved it and the second book in the series–Storm of Locusts–is due to come out in April. It’s one of my most anticipated books of 2019.

Heather Gudenkauf

I was looking for a book to read by an Iowa author when I discovered Heather Gudenkauf. Not a Sound is such a good suspenseful mystery. It also has a wonderful therapy dog who helps the main character who is deaf. I want to read more books by Ms. Gudenkauf!

Jackie Bouchard

What the Dog Ate isn’t the type of book I read too often–women’s fiction with a little romance thrown in. Barb @ Booker T’s Farm wrote about Jackie Bouchard in one of her posts. I don’t remember which one, but she mentioned that Jackie Bouchard wrote about dogs. Reading good stories about dogs (not books where dogs die) has been one of my favorite themes of 2018. This book is funny, sad and very human. I want to read more books by Ms. Bouchard!

Jenny Colgan

Christmas on the Island was the best Christmas themed book I read this year. It takes place on a remote Scottish island and is the third book in a series. I haven’t read any of the other books in this series and could tell I was missing some of the fun of this book. I’m going to try to read the earlier books. This is another women’s fiction with a little romance and a lot about life on an island especially during the dark days of winter on a remote northern island and how they celebrate Christmas. There’s heartache and sadness, but also joy and Christmas happiness.

Lisa Preston

The Clincher is about a young woman who makes her living as a horseshoer. I was initially drawn to this book by the synopsis which says the book takes place in a fictional part of Central Oregon. Since I lived in Central Oregon at one time I immediately wanted to read this book! The fact it’s a mystery whose main character has an interesting occupation also helped. I really liked this first book a new series and hope another one comes soon.

Susan Furlong

Splintered Silence was my last book of 2018 and was a good book to end the year. The book featured Irish Travellers. We have enclaves of Irish Travellers in this country…who knew? They are also still in Ireland and in Ireland they were finally recognized in 2017 as an official ethnic group. In this book the main character comes back home to hostility from both her family, other Travellers and from the local town. She left to get away from all that as well as other problems, but an IED (improvised explosive device) ended both her Marine MP career and her K-9 partner’s career. Bodies turn up in this book and Brynn and her K-9 partner help solve the mystery.

Did you read new authors in 2018? Who were your favorites?

Review: Not a Sound by Heather Gudenkauf

Not a Sound by Heather Gudenkauf

Series: Unknown

Genre: Mystery

Setting: Iowa

Source: Audiobook, Library

Narrator: Julia Whelan

Publishing Date: 2017

296 pages

Synopsis: When a tragic accident leaves nurse Amelia Winn deaf, she spirals into a depression that ultimately causes her to lose everything that matters–her job, her husband, David, and her stepdaughter, Nora. Now, two years later and with the help of her hearing dog, Stitch, she is finally getting back on her feet. But when she discovers the body of a fellow nurse in the dense bush by the river, deep in the woods near her cabin, she is plunged into a disturbing mystery that could shatter the carefully reconstructed pieces of her life all over again.

As clues begin to surface, Amelia finds herself swept into an investigation that hits all too close to home. But how much is she willing to risk in order to uncover the truth and bring a killer to justice?

My thoughts

This is the first time I’ve read any books by Heather Gudenkauf, but I want to read more. I really enjoyed this story about a woman who lost her hearing in an accident. Her life fell apart after that–she lost her nursing job, she started drinking, her marriage fell apart, she no longer can see her step-daughter as often as she’d like to and she’s estranged from most of her friends. I like that this book feels authentic. The author doesn’t pull any punches.

Background

Two years after her accident Amelia is finally getting her life back together, but it hasn’t been easy. She’s living alone except for her hearing dog, Stitch. She’s applied for a job, but not as a nurse. She loves nursing, but she can’t go back to that yet. She’s joined AA and struggles daily to remain sober. However, she is staying sober.

She does get the job though she missed the first interview when she found a murder victim. The murder victim turns out to be a nurse that Amelia was good friends with before her accident. After the accident she shut out most people. Gwen, the murdered woman, had reached out to Amelia on several occasions–the last time a month or so before–but Amelia ignored her. Since Amelia knew Gwen she’s more drawn to try to find out why Gwen was murdered. There are lots of clues and it’s hard to know why Gwen was murdered. Some strange and scary things happen to Amelia, too–though maybe they’re just her imagination.

Narrator

The mystery is really good. There are a number of parts I thought were scary, but it didn’t stop me from continuing to listen feverishly. I liked the narrator of this audiobook–Julia Whelan. She’s easy to understand though maybe a little too matter-of-fact sometimes. However, I would listen to another book she narrates.

The characters

The fact that Amelia can’t hear really ramps up the suspense in the story. I like that Amelia is determined to be self-sufficient and manage her own life. Stitch is fun to read about. For the most part, he’s a great companion and pretty good hearing dog. He isn’t as obedient as I would have expected though he does come through when he needs to. I was a little surprised he was a hearing dog since he doesn’t always listen too well to Amelia. (That is acknowledged in the book.)

Jake is Amelia’s best friend and the one who has helped her the most to come to terms with her life. He’s a police officer and solidly behind her. Jake was her brother’s best friend and Amelia tagged along behind them–much to their chagrin. She had a crush on him when she was young. Amelia’s husband, David, is still in Amelia’s life. They’re separated, but not divorced. David allows Amelia to have supervised visits with her stepdaughter, but is not very helpful or understanding of what Amelia has gone through.

I’d love to read another book with these characters. However, it doesn’t look like Ms. Gudenkauf writes sequels. I recommend this book–especially if you like mysteries, dogs, people overcoming handicaps and good stories.

My Rating: B+

Narrator Rating: B+

Have you read any books by this author?

Reading Challenges

Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge hosted by Stormi @ Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My!

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge hosted by the POPSUGAR website — A book by a local author (Iowa)