Five favorite new-to-me authors in 2020

Three mystery writers, a science fiction author and a woman who writes books with a SE United States setting

Connect Five Friday is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. (The hashtag is #connect5books) This is a fun and creative way to think about my books and reading. Check out Kathyrn’s blog and link up your Friday Five!

The five book-related items need to connect in some way, but each person who participates can decide for themselves what the book subject and connection is. For example, you could write about five books read last year or five books you want to read. It could even be favorite bookstores or five movies made from books.

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I’ve only included one book cover from each author.

I love police procedural mysteries and read many of them in 2020. Three of the authors in this list of five authors write police procedurals. One author writes science fiction and one author writes Southern-flavored fiction usually with some romance.

Linda Castillo

Books read
  • Breaking Silence
  • Gone Missing
  • Her Last Breath
  • The Dead Will Tell
  • After the Storm
  • Among the Wicked
  • Down A Dark Road
  • A Gathering of Secrets
  • Kate Burkholder Novellas
    • Long Lost
    • A Hidden Secret
    • Seeds of Deception

I read nine books in 2020 in the Kate Burkholder series. (The most of any author in 2020.) The books take place in eastern Ohio. Kate Burkholder is the chief of police of a small town. This is an area where many Quakers live and have farms. Kate was raised as a Quaker, but left the Quakers when she was an adult. All the books feature Quakers. I really enjoy the relationships between the police officer in these books. And there’s some romance as the books go on.

One reason I read so many books by Linda Castillo this year is that there are 13 books so far and my library has the audiobooks. I’ve so enjoyed listening to the narration of Kathleen McInerney.

Jane Isaac

Books read
  • An Unfamiliar Murder (DCI Helen Lavery)
  • The Truth Will Out (DCI Helen Lavery)
  • A Deathly Silence (DCI Helen Lavery)
  • The Other Woman (DC Beth Chamberlain)
  • For Better, for Worse (DC Beth Chamberlain)

I love finding police procedurals I enjoy. Jane Isaac was a great find in 2020 and she has several more books I haven’t read.

I read from two series of police procedurals set in England–five books in all. These books feel authentic and when I read that the author’s husband is a serving detective in the UK that made sense.

S.J. Pajonas

Books read
  • First Flight
  • Broken Flyght
  • High Flyght

I read three books in The Flyght series which is a science fiction series. S.J. Pajonas writes interesting characters who grow and change during these books.

I especially like that the main character–Vivian Kawabata–begins these books as a graduate student preparing to taking over her family’s agricultural dynasty. She soon learns she’s penniless. Her brother emptied the family bank accounts and is on the run. She has to quickly learn to assert herself and learn things she never thought she’d need. She gets an old spacecraft from her aunt to go in search of her brother and try to make some money so she can buy back the family farm. I especially like that she puts her agricultural knowledge to use taking some of the farm animals with her and growing plants on the spaceship!

The world building is so interesting in these books. The people in these books live in an area called the Duo Systems which consists of two systems which include a number of planets. In the culture of these worlds women are usually the ones who inherit and run businesses. Most women (especially wealthy women) make strategic marriages to increase their wealth and power. So women may have a number of husbands. Vivian’s mother only has one husband so Vivian was not used to the idea of several husbands and had to become accustomed to that since she needs money and power quickly. The power structure is interesting, but the relationship dynamics are equally interesting in this culture!

I also like the way the author throws lots of problems and adventures at Vivian and her crew. There are six books so far in this series plus the author has other series for me to try, too!

Mary Kay Andrews

Books read
  • Hello, Summer
  • The Weekenders

I read these two standalone books during the summer of 2020 and they were just the books I needed during the Pandemic. They made me happy! They’re perfect beach reads. I would classify them as fiction with some romance. They take place in Florida and South Carolina and there’s lots of beach in the books! (Since I live far away from the ocean it was fun to read about the beautiful beaches in the U.S. Southeast. I’ll read more books by Mary Kay Andrews–maybe in the summer of 2021.

Valerie Keogh

Books read
  • No Simple Death
  • No Obvious Cause

The books in this series are called The Dublin Mystery series and they take place in Dublin, Ireland! These are police procedurals and I really like the way the author portrays the Gardai team. Luckily, Valerie Keogh has quite a few more mysteries to read.

Connect 5 Friday: Self-published sci-fi/fantasy that needs more buzz

Self-published Scifi/fantasy authors who don’t always get the buzz they deserve

Connect Five Friday is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. (The hashtag is #connect5books) This is a fun and creative way to think about my books and reading. Check out Kathyrn’s blog and link up your Friday Five!

The five book-related items need to connect in some way, but each person who participates can decide for themselves what the book subject and connection is. For example, you could write about five books read last year or five books you want to read. It could even be favorite bookstores or five movies made from books.

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This week I’m talking about five science fiction-fantasy books I’ve enjoyed recently from authors who either self-publish their books or publish them through a small independent publisher. (I have to admit I have trouble telling sometimes whether a book is self-published or the publishing name listed is the name of an independent publisher.) I think all these are self-published. If you know otherwise let me know.

I enjoy highlighting authors who aren’t as well-known as some of the authors who get lots of buzz and/or are published by the big publishing companies. Each of these authors write interesting, fun, well-edited and well-written books. I don’t always get reviews written, but I do want to give a shout-out to these authors.

Between Walls by W.R. Gingell

W.R. Gingell is one of my favorite writers. She mostly writes fantasies. I’ve read most of her books and always enjoy them.

The City Between series is one of my favorites. It’s an urban fantasy series and is a delight to read. Between Walls is number 6 in the series and was published at the end of May 2020.

The main character in the series is Pet who is cheeky and irreverent with a strict moral compass.

Ascending by Meg Pechenick

I’ve read both the books published so far in this series and really hope the author writes more books set in this universe.

Avery Alcott is a linguistic student who learns to speak the language of the aliens who came to Earth 25 years before and then abruptly vanished. When the Vardeshi return she’s recruited to go on a one year mission on one of their ships. She learns it’s not as simple as she had thought to become one of the crew on an alien ship.

Mantivore Dreams by S.J. Higbee

I really enjoy S.J. Higbee’s books. They have adventure, a protagonist to cheer for and usually a bit of romance.

She’s a good story teller and I’ve enjoyed each of the books she’s written. The third book in this series came out at the end of August.

This first book starts in a small village, but soon Kyrillia has to leave the village and many adventures ensue! It’s a fun book with a few twists and turns I didn’t expect!

First Flyght by S.J. Pajonas

Vivian is set to inherit the family business–a large farm. (Their society is matriarchal.) However, her brother has bankrupted the farm and the bank confiscates nearly everything.

Vivian follows leads to other planets in her search for her brother and the missing money. The series is full of adventure, many problems and some romance. Vivian is such a fun character and I really enjoy being inside her head!

Note: Some women in this society have more than one husband–often to build alliances. The first book mostly talks about Vivian’s need for consorts. However, by the third book there was more sex than I was comfortable with! (And I realize this is just how I felt–others may feel differently.)

I don’t mind romance and even some sex in a book, but find that too much sex often takes away from a story. I do enjoy the story the author is telling in these books and the characters are great–especially Vivian. And I do like the fact that Vivian has feelings for the men has sex with.

Termination Shock by Gillian Andrews

This is a good military science fiction. Ryler Mallivan is on a training ship that’s attacked. He has to step up to try to save his own life and other lives.

From there the book continues at a furious pace as this group of survivors find themselves having to try to save the universe. The characters are a diverse group that come together to create a crew that are loyal to each other.

Have you read any of these books? How did you like them? Do you like to read self-published authors?