Wednesday, December 23, 2009

2009: Favorite New-to-Me Authors

I make a point of searching for new authors every year. I make lists and eventually those authors that attract my interest get read. 2009 has been a great year for me when it comes to new-to-me authors as you'll see by my list below. I didn't get to many I wanted to this year, but then, there's always 2010!

Linnea Sinclair - Sci/Fi Romance

In March of this year, after devouring Gabriel's Ghost, Shades of Dark and Hope's Folly, I undoubtedly became a Linnea Sinclair fan and she moved up to the top of my list as a favorite author in the Sci-Fi Romance genre. I still have a few books from her backlist to read, The Down Home Zombie Blues, Finder's Keepers and Games of Command are all in my TBR pile and I'll be reading them in 2010. As you can imagine the new installment in the Dock Five series, Rebels and Lovers is also one of my most anticipated books of 2010. I cannot wait for this book!

Ilona Andrews - Urban Fantasy

Urban Fantasy was a new-to-me genre this year. My goal was to choose and read at least three urban fantasy series -- to give it a chance, something I had been reluctant to do. After much research and thought, I chose the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews as my starter series. In April 2009, I read Magic Bites, and proceeded to devour Magic Burns and Magic Strikes in a matter of days! I couldn't stop reading. After falling in love with the world and the characters Andrews created in the Kate Daniels series, I went on to read more of their work. With the addition of their quirky installment on a new series On the Edge and their excellent short story Sci/Fi Romance Silent Blade, Ilona Andrews moved to the top of the new-to-me favorite authors list of 2009. Magic Bleeds is also on my 2010 list of most anticipated books.

Meljean Brook - Paranormal Romance

Paranormal romance is a genre I enjoy, but don't necessarily love. After a while there just seem to be too many vampires, werewolves and "other" creatures running around, and uniqueness in a series seems to be tough to find. Maintaining tight worldbuilding in a series and balancing it out with the romances taking place in each book seems to be a definite challenge.

This year my paranormal romance reading had dwindled down to three series, but after reading Must Love Hellhounds Anthology, I decided to give the Guardian series by Meljean Brook a try. Well, I haven't been this excited about a paranormal series since I started reading the Psy/Changeling series by Nalini Singh. I began by reading Demon Angel last month and I've already finished Demon Moon and Demon Night. Demon Bound is next on my list and I'll be catching up with this series soon! Brooks is an excellent addition to my paranormal romance list of authors and her series is one I'll definitely continue to follow.

Pam Rosenthal - Historical Romance

I'm always looking for new or new-to-me historical romance writers to add to my list. As opposed to last year when I read quite a few excellent historical romance books, this year most of them fell in the average to the very good category. Pam Rosenthal's The Edge of Impropriety was a surprisingly fresh read, and one I remember even now in a category that too often feels saturated by sameness and predictability. Her backlist is one I will be exploring and I hope to read her new books in the future.

Margaret Campbell Barnes - Historical Fiction

It has been a while since I've read historical fiction, a genre I truly love. Margaret Campbell Barnes' The Tudor Rose: A Novel of Elizabeth of York reminded me not only of that love, but sparked my interest in reading more by this author. She has an excellent backlist and I'll definitely be exploring her work as well as reacquainting myself with other historical fiction authors I've neglected.

Lisa Dale - Contemporary Romance

I cut my teeth reading contemporary romance and to this day it's my favorite genre. My comfort reads are usually contemporary romances. A good contemporary will do it for me every. single. time. But boy are good, straight contemporary romances tough to find these days! The balance is hardly ever there... they are either plagued with suspense (I call it a plague), or the chick lit wave hits them with such force that the romance is lost and they're hardly recognizable. So, to find a contemporary romance writer, one that balances the romance with a good, meaty plot and great characters (including secondary ones), is not that easy. Dale seems to have the potential for reaching this balance. She didn't quite achieve it with Simple Wishes, but she wrote a book I enjoyed regardless. Her It Happened One Night got even closer to reaching that balance, so yes! I'm definitely keeping my eye on this author who only has two books out and whose writing I've enjoyed enough to look forward to that third one.

Sarah Mayberry - Category Romance

After a few years of not reading category romance, 2009 was my year to give this genre another chance. I enjoyed books by different authors, Jill Shalvis, Raeanne Thayne and Lucy Monroe. However of all the authors, Sarah Mayberry was the one who met the requirements most often, that feeling of having read a meaty romance when in fact it was a Blaze. I love the short, quick format for those occasions when I can't seem to find the time or the energy for a long read. Sarah Mayberry left me satisfied after I finished her books. My favorite one is Anything For You, a friends to lovers, which should not be a surprise to anyone who knows me by now. I still have some of her books in my TBR, but I'm saving those for the holidays. :)

China Mieville - Fantasy

After reading Perdido Street Station, I can't say anything but that China Mieville blew my mind. I haven't read any fantasy like Mieville's and I want to read more. I have The City and The City in my TBR pile, but I won't read it. I want to read The Scar and King Rat first, two of his previous books, THEN I'll read The City and The City... I don't know what else to say, but that at some point I'll have to gather my thoughts and write something about this book. I finished it at a time when I did not have the time to do a write up and I wanted to do it justice, so I opted for not reviewing it because it deserved both the time and the effort.

Ginn Hale - M/M Fantasy

Ginn Hale wrote one of my favorite fantasy books of 2009, not just M/M, but fantasy. Wicked Gentlemen is a book that stayed with me for quite a while after a read it. I truly couldn't put it away, the atmosphere, the world, the characters, they all stayed with me and I couldn't shake them. This book is one of two books that received an A+ from me this year, so you know I loved it. Her follow up book Lord Foster's Devils is another book I can't wait to read in 2010.

Steve Kluger, Vincent Diamond and Z.A. Maxfield - M/M Romance

In the LGBT category, under M/M Romance there are many authors I "discovered" and really liked or loved this year. There are many more whose work stayed in my TBR pile or TBB list, so my choices were not easy to make. I made those choices based on how the books I read by these authors affected me and how or if they stayed with me.

Steve Kluger's "Almost Like Being in Love" is a book I had on my TBB list for a while, but had not made a move to buy until last month. Reading the book moved this author to the top of my list with little effort. I'll definitely be checking out his other work, no question about it.

Vincent Diamond's "Rough Cut: Vincent Diamond Collected" is a collection of short stories that stayed with me long after I finished reading them. I followed that up with the Animal Attraction 2 Anthology and Feathers. I'm hoping Diamond will just keep writing although I know editing keeps her busy, busy.

And, last but not least, Z.A. Maxfield's ePistols at Dawn was my first book by this amazing author. A book that also stayed with me, not only for the relationships in the book, but for her amazing study of the way society uses masks, individual fears and insecurities, choices and how to triumph over the whole mess. I have other books by Maxfield in my TBR pile ready for reading and hope to get to them early next year.

Who were your favorite new authors of 2009?


  1. I've just (today) finished my first Mayberry (Take on Me) and I loved it! Immediately ordered 3 more... so she's a real find!

    Others worth mentioning are Jennifer Ashley (Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie) and Kresley Cole who I discovered in 2009

  2. New authors that I loved: Sean Kennedy (Tigers and Devils), Vincent Diamond (thanks to you), James Buchanan, Ethan Day, KA Mitchell and Madeleine Urban & Abigail Roux. They wrote some of the best books I read this year. They had the most beautiful romances and best characters I read this year.

    Some authors that continue to impress are Josh Lanyon, Shelly Laurenston, Ilona Andrews and Nalini Singh.

  3. Oh, I've been working on a similar new-to-me list! You've definitely got a couple of the same authors that I do. Ginn Hale was a wonderful 2009 discovery!
    I agree with Mariana, too. I loved Sean Kennedy's Tigers and Devils. I'll have to check out Almost Like Being in Love.
    I've had Linnea Sinclair, Meljean Brook, and China Mieville on my tbb list for ages! Hopefully, I'll get to read them all in 2010. :-)

  4. Oh, I love this post! But I'm cringing a bit -- okay, A LOT, because now I have all these new authors to check out. I've read one book by Meljean Brook this year and I enjoyed it but didn't love it so I can't say she's my favorite...yet! Lol.

    My favorite new-to-authors for 2009 are Patricia Briggs, Lauren Dane, and Nalini Singh

    I have to get some shouts out to Cynthia Eden, Marie Force, and Leslie Parrish as well!

  5. Oh wow! Tabitha just reminded me of Patricia Briggs! Love her too. And Eileen Wilks... can't forget her.

  6. Wonderful list Hils! Thank you for sharing.

    Who were my favourite authors this year? Well, there are a few.

    No surprise to you I'm sure but the new-to-me author that left an indelible mark on me this year is a young man by the name of Zea Miller and his first published book is Amnesic Nostalgia available at Amazon. My favourite anthology for this year was Fool for Love: New Gay Fiction. Sixteen wonderful authors contributed to the anthology and I plan to read their individual titles in 2010. As you, I also very much enjoyed Vincent Diamond's Rough Cut and although ePistols is in my TBR for 2010 I read some wonderful stories by Z.A. Maxfield, of which Crossing Borders remains a favourite. Another author I know we share a like for is Gavin Atlas. I enjoyed all his "bottom boy" stories this year.

    A British author by the name of Jay Mandal writes the most gorgeous stories of gay life, love and relationships. And last but certainly not least are three authors that both excite and challenge me as a reader: Rick R. Reed (erotic horror although he's branching out) and the writing duo of Reno MacLeod and Jaye Valentine absolutely excite and challenge me - Reno MacLeod and Jaye Valentine (erotic horror, urban fantasy and sex erotica).

    And thanks to you Steve Kluger is now part of my TBR list for 2010!

    Have a wonderful holiday and I wish you and your family all the best for 2010!

  7. Tumperkin, yes! Mayberry is a great find, just got Home for the Holidays today. :) I also really enjoyed Ashley and I love Kresley Cole, she's already on my list of favorite authors. :)

    Mariana, I'm so glad you enjoyed Diamond! I still have Buchanan in my TBR pile (so, 2010). Patricia Briggs is someone I'll try next year.

    Renee! I can't wait to see your list. I've heard so much about Tigers & Devil's I have to read it. :) I hope you try out Kluger.

    LOL, Tabitha! I remember when I first read Nalini, I was shouting it from the rooftops! I have to try out Laura Dane & Briggs is already on my list for next year.

    Indi! Thanks to you, I already have Amnesic Nostalgia and Fool for Love either on my TBR or TBB list. I know we share the love for Vincent Diamond, McLeod & Valentine and our "bottom boy" best guy, Gavin Atlas! I have Reed on my TBR already, so lots to read for next year! I hope you enjoy Kluger.

    Here's to 2010! Cheers!

  8. I'm with you on Linnea Sinclair and Sarah Mayberry. And Patty Briggs who I feel like I've been reading for years but really just started this year.

    I think Meljean Brook will end up being one of my favorite authors for next year. I plan to start her series next month.

    Robyn Carr is a new favorite for me. I've still got quite a few of her back list to read. :)

    Rob Thurman is another new to me author this year. You know how much love I have for those Leandros brothers & Robin of course!

  9. Oh, fantastic list Hilcia. I'm always on the lookout for new fantasty authors, so I might have to Google China Mieville!

    I have two huge finds this year - Sarah Monette and Juliet Mariller. Sarah Monette writes fantasy and her Doctrine of Labyrinths series blew me away. I have the third book to review yet and then (and only then) am I allowing myself to read the fourth book, which is sitting by my bed.

    Juliet Marillier writes books set in ancient Ireland and Britain...and yes, magic is present. The book I read - Heir to Sevenwaters - was AMAZING! I'm now looking forward to glooming all of JM's books :)

    Oh, and loved Wicked Gentlemen too. I can't wait for the sequel, for for Ginn Hale's new 10-part serial called The Rifter!

  10. Leslie, we have lots of mutual favorites. I also love Robyn Carr and Rob Thurman both new-to-me this year too. They are both high on my list of 2009 authors as well. I also had a couple of late addition to my historical/romance list -- just wish she was still writing. :(

    Orannia, I'm interested in Marillier. I put her on my TBB list after hearing from you *g* -- I'm definitely looking forward to The Rifter from Ginn Hale also. The bit I read on her site looks fantastic! I hope that one comes out soon.

  11. Oh, if you do try Marillier I'd love to hear what you think. And as for The Rifter - I can't wait. That excerpt was amazing!

  12. Wow, I love how eclectic your book categories are! That historical author - Rosenthal - I don't knwo her yet. Also, I'm so with you on a lot of these, and I'm currently devouring Linnea Sinclair's backlist. Got Finders Keepers recently.

  13. LOL, out of curiosity Hils, how many of those authors did you pick up because of blogland? :P

    On top of my head, I cannot think of the new authors to me... will have to wait till I get home.

    However, I'm so happy you enjoyed Meljean Brook! I just can't wait for her new steampunk series starting in 2010.

    I read Almost Like Being in Love by Steve Kluger! It was great!! Just too bad he doesn't have an extensive backlist T_T

  14. Orannia, I'll definitely let you know Marillier. :)

    CJ, Rosenthal is worth investigating, IMHO. Sinclair, I fell in love with -- I couldn't stop reading her work and decided to leave some of her books for later so I could enjoy them more. I'll be picking the rest of them up soon. :)

    Nath, that's a great question. It's a combination, actually. Some of these authors I found by doing research throughout the blogs (i.e. Ilona Andrews), some of them I found by picking them randomly because they interested me (i.e. Lisa Dale), and some I found while looking while looking through amazon, publishers sites, or author sites while looking for good books on specific genres (i.e. Mieville, Kluger). Sarah Mayberry was someone I found through KMont at Lurv a la Mode. And others were new releases I decided to pick up and read because I loved the blurb... the Brook series I picked up because I loved the short story in the anthology Must Love Hellhounds, so lots of different reasons. :)

    I'm sooo glad you liked Almost Like Being Love by Kluger! I'm with you on this one, I wish he had a longer backlist to enjoy. But maybe, he'll keep writing and will enjoy his work in the future instead. :)


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