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?

Named of the Dragon by Susanna Kearsley

named-of-the-dragon-by-Susanna-KearsleyNamed of the Dragon by Susanna Kearsley
Series: None
Genre: Historical Fiction (romance, mystery, suspense)
Setting: Wales (United Kingdom)
Published by Sourcebook, 2015 (originally published July 13, 1998)
Format: e-Arc (Release Date: Oct 6, 2015)
–I received a review copy of this book from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated here are entirely my own.
336 pages
Grade: A-
Synopsis: The invitation to spend Christmas in Angle, on the Pembrokeshire coast, is one that Lyn Ravenshaw is only too happy to accept. To escape London and the pressures of her literary agency is temptation enough, but the prospect of meeting Booker Prize nominee James Swift – conveniently in search of an agent – is the deciding factor.  On holiday she encounters the disturbing Elen Vaughan, recently widowed and with an eight-month-old son whose paternity is a subject for local gossip. Elen’s baby arouses painful memories of Lyn’s own dead child/ and strange, haunting dreams, in which a young woman in blue repeatedly tries to hand over her child to Lyn for safekeeping.

Who is the father of Elen’s baby? What is the eerie, monstrous creature of Elen’s dreams that tries to ensnare her son, and what makes her so sure that Lyn has been sent to protect him?  As she begins to untangle the truth behind the stories, the secret she discovers leads Lyn to an encounter with the past that will change her life forever.

Initial thoughts

  • I love the book! It takes place in Wales and at Christmas time. It’s magical!

Cheers

  • Lyn’s baby died when he was born five years (before the book opens), but she has never recovered from that. I can only imagine how terrible it would be for a baby to die. I can certainly imagine her difficulty moving on.
  • She agrees to spend Christmas in Wales with one of her writer’s (Lyn’s a literary agent) with an enticement of signing another author. She’s dismayed when she arrives and discovers there’s a young mother with her year old baby staying nearby.
  • Lyn has nightmares about her baby nearly every night so she’s not surprised to have them in Wales, too. However, they have changed and include other people who talk about Merlin and his prophecies.
  • The book is historical fiction, romance, mystery, suspense and maybe a little paranormal all rolled into one. Susanna Kearsley’s books often have a paranormal aspect to them and this has a very slight part in the book. However, I’m not even sure it is paranormal.
  • Susanna Kearsley writes so well. I love her use of language, the love of writing which shows through and both the history and characters she writes about.
  • Her characters are well drawn so I feel I know them and would enjoy talking to them. We see through Lyn’s eyes and she has a clear eye–perhaps because she’s a literary agent. She sees the self-centered characters of Bridget, James and Christopher, but accepts them as they are. We get to know other characters, too: Gareth, a famous playwright whom she dislikes at first meeting; Owen and Dilys who take care of Castle Farm; Elen, the mother of Stevie the baby Lyn doesn’t want to see.
  • I’m always a sucker for animals so I like the cats, Chance the Jack Russell terrier and Sovereign the horse.
  • I like the bit of romance in the book as well as the mystery and suspense. I wasn’t even sure it really was mystery and suspense until the end!
  • The book takes place during Christmas and I love Christmas so that was also a plus for me! (Although it’s not a Christmas book per se–Christmas is not the focus of the book.)
  • I haven’t read many books set in Wales and especially with the atmosphere and history of the place I love the setting.

Jeers

  • I’m not sure if there’s a paranormal plot line or not. I could argue either way, but it didn’t really matter to me. I love the book anyway!

And a few thoughts . . .

  • This is the third book I’ve ready by Ms. Kearsley and I’ve loved every one of them. With this book I can certainly see why she is sometimes compared to Mary Stewart. I read all of Mary Stewart’s books when I was a teenager and I loved them.
  • I thought it was so interesting to read at the end of the book that Castle Farm is a real place. Ms. Kearsley  even has photos of it at her website.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

  • Susanna Kearsley studied politics and international development at university, and has worked as a museum curator.
  • Her first novel Mariana won the prestigious Catherine Cookson Literary Prize and launched her writing career. Susanna continued her mix of the historical and paranormal in novels The Splendour Falls, Named of the Dragon, Shadowy Horses and Season of Storms.
  • Susanna Kearsley also writes classic-style thrillers under the name of Emma Cole.

Reading Challenges

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge
  • Cloak & Dagger Mystery Challenge–hosted by Amy @ A Bookish Girl

Books recommended to me . . .

toptentuesday2Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme which I take part in occasionally. It’s a great meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish blog. Every week a new topic is presented. It’s not only fun to think about my list, but to read what other people come up with!

This week we’re talking about the books recommended to us.

  • Most are books I’ve bought already,
  • Most are books from authors I haven’t read yet and
  • Most are recommendations from blogs I regularly read because we read a lot of the same kinds of books.

1. The Magicians series by Lev GrossmanMogsy from Bibliosanctum wrote a review of the third book which makes me want to read these even though she didn’t like the first book nearly as much.

2. Elantris by Brandon Sanderson–A number of the people whose reviews I trust and who read a lot of the kinds of books I read–For example, Tabitha @ Not Yet Read gave the book 5 stars.

3. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch–Another book which so many people whose reviews I read recommend. Anya @ On Starships and Dragonwings gave it 5 stars.

4. His Majesty’s Dragon (Temeraire series) by Naomi Novik–And another highly recommended book. I think Lark @ The Bookwyrm’s Hoard was the first blogger to mention this book to me. She gave the book 5 stars.

5. Underground by Kat Richardson (and the whole Greywalker series)–recommended by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer as a series I would like. I’ve read the first two books in the series and liked them a lot. Kimba gave this book 5 stars.

6. Memory Zero by Keri Arthur (and others in the Spook Squad series)–recommended by Lark @ The Bookwyrm’s Hoard

7. Cress by Marissa Meyer–This series is very popular, recommended by many bloggers and I’ve read the first two books and like them a lot.

8. Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie–This book won the Hugo, Nebula, British Science Fiction, Locus and Arthur C. Clarke Awards for 2013. Nathan @ Fantasy Book Barn gave this book 5 stars.

9. The Apple Orchard by Susan Wiggs–recommended by Lark @ The Bookwyrm’s Hoard

10. The Jack Reacher series (Killing Floor, book 1) by Lee Child–recommended by Li at Me and My Books