Rather than do a recap of 2010, which would probably break my brain because I’ve done a lot of high-impact computer work this week (no, really, not even kidding) and because I can’t remember what I was wearing yesterday, let alone remember what I was reading eight months ago, I wanted to look back on the authors I discovered this year that rocked my world.
These aren’t debut authors, not all of them, anyway. I don’t actually think being a debut author causes any more of a ripple in my consciousness than any other author or book that catches my attention. Any author I discover is new to me – even if they were first published in 1989 or something. So here, in no particular order, are the authors I am SO GIDDYPANTS that I discovered this year:
Shannon Stacey: I really really really really like her contemporary novels, particularly “Exclusively Yours,” and “Holiday Sparks,” the Christmas novella that Carina published as part of the Naughty and Nice” anthology. I don’t know what it is about small frigid cold New England town settings and ATVing, but I’m all over it. Mor pleez.
Nalini Singh: Jane from Dear Author convinced me to try the Psy-Changeling series and the Archangel series, even though at the time I was so burned out on anything paranormal I couldn’t fathom that I might possibly enjoy reading them. These books are cold brilliant. I sat there reading and while one half of my brain was gorging on the text like it was Ritz crackers (yum), the other half of my brain was frozen with the wowOMGagog at the worldbuilding. My only sadness: they can be very cold and dark, and there are some moments of terrible bleakness, and though they balance with burning white scenes of hotty mc hotness, I can’t read one after another without feeling mentally pressed flat. I need recovery books in between, so I can savor these without mental exhaustion.
Ilona Andrews: Lo, though I have seen enough low-slung leather-pants and sword-wielding heroines with nary a glimpse of future muffin-top to last me until I find leather pants (and the UF Belt) of my own, I was convinced to try Andrews’ Kate Daniels series. I tend to do this, actually – wait to start a series so that there’s five or six books to devour one after another – NOM. Kate’s changing role and authority level, her belief in herself and her ability to care for others, and the very, very painstakingly slow revelations about each of the major characters make this a series worth reading in one sitting (Ok, fine, it’s a bunch of books. You are allowed to use the rest room and get some food. Then, back in the chair!). My favorite part is how little tiny moments from earlier books appear in later stories with a nuanced significance.
Julie James: I love smart contemporary romance. James writes a LOT of it, including “Something About You,” which rocked my socks something fierce. James’ characters talk like real people – and dialogue is something that, as I’ve mentioned frequently, can really make or break a book for me. Not only are James’ characters funny and sharp, they’re intelligent, and they don’t play stupid games or play dumb. They’re wonderful examples of savvy character building skills.
Patricia Briggs: I think I read all of them this year, then read them all again, from the Mercy Thompson series to the Alpha-Omega series, and anything else I could get my hands on. Briggs’ books are so meticulously good, they knocked me over, then dragged me back into the book to re-savor what I’d just read. Briggs’ romance writing skill is so good, I totally make the “Romance Novel Noise” (it’s something between a gasp and a sigh – you know you’ve made that noise) when I talk about them.
I started a hashtag on Twitter, #new2me2010 and asked folks what authors they discovered this year. The answers are varied and interesting and awesome. Some folks discovered J.R. Ward, Lorelei James, Erica Hayes and Gemma Files. Other discovered Sarah Waters, Karina Bliss, and Janet Evanovich.
Folks on Facebook have their own (HUGE) list of authors they found this year – including some guy named Stieg Larrson, and authors such as C.L. Wilson, Kresley Cole, and Robyn Carr.
I love how romance novels can be abidingly awesome, just waiting to be rediscovered by new readers to the genre, or longtime romance fans looking for something they haven’t experienced before. Good books are an enduring awesomeness, and I wish you a 2011 filled with authors, books and experiences that are new to you – and worth re-reading over and over. Happy New Year!