Author of Seraphina and Shadow Scale. I dragged my feet about Seraphina, found it a slow start, and then I was totally all in. I am kind of ready to re-read them, and waiting on the edge of my seat for Hartman to announce her next book. Which *might* be in the same world????
I had heard a lot about The Girl of Fire and Thorns, a Spanish culture, a fat princess, some religion. I just wasn’t that interested. It sounded ok, I tried the sample, which was fine-ish, I guess I just wasn’t all that in the mood for high fantasy worlds. But, then I read this book and it was SO good. I really like Elena, I really liked the world, I really liked the people she came to surround herself with. I can’t wait to see what happens next!
I had heard about the Anna Hibiscus books, about a little girl who lives in Africa, but it wasn’t until this fall that I sat down with my kids to read about Anna. The stories are sweet and delightful, underscoring the similarities of life for children around the world, as well as the differences.
I can’t quite remember how I found out Mori (I think probably Book Riot. . .), but I zoomed through her A Bride’s Story series. I can’t say that I’ve read enough manga to be a manga-reader, but I LOOOOOOOOOOOVED this series. Mori’s previous series Emma might be out of print, as I’ve gotten stalled out by book #7, but A Bride’s Story is one of the best pieces of storytelling I’ve found. Can’t WAIT for the next one. . .someday?
An Ember in the Ashes was everywhere last year, and I was a little hesitant about it. I’d heard it was violent, with a lot of threats of sexual violence in particular, which isn’t my thing. But, then I saw it was narrated by Fiona Hardingham and Stephen West, my two MOST favorite narrators, so I had to give it a try. BOOM. I loved it. Not too violent for me, Laia was awesome, and I just wanted to give Elias a hug for being such a sweet ol’ softie. And I promptly listened to the second one, which was also great.
Sort of a surprise, and I can’t decide if I love her or meh her. MacLean writes historical romance, of which isn’t usually my thing, but she does some great puns with the titles. (I have found that I prefer dirigibles in my romance stories.) MacLean does a good job with juggling relatablity for modern readers and historic accuracy (by which I mean I wasn’t super put off by anachronisms). Her heroines are spunky and driven, her heroes are more of the tortured sort who believe they aren’t worth of love. That’s not my top fave kind of hero, but I don’t mind it here, and I speed read each of these books, unable to pull my eyes off the page. (I stayed up until 4 am reading one! I have kids, I can’t DO that!)
I found an audio version of The Darkest Minds at my local Half Price Books and decided to give it a try after hearing over and over how amazing the series was. The beginning was a little slow as everything got set up, but I really loved the story once it picked up momentum. And Ruby and Liam and Chubs and Zu. Passenger was a total dud for me, which broke my momentum, though I’m hoping to read In the Afterlight soon.
The Truth About Stories was an assigned read for school, and it was AMAZING. I loved listening to King’s speeches, as well as reading the text myself. The state of indigenous peoples really stretched my brain out and pushed the way I think about the world.
I heard about two retellings of Romeo and Juliet with Benvolio and Rosalind as the main characters, a plot which I find super fun to think about. Caine’s Prince of Shadows TOTALLY took me by surprise. I went from thinking ‘it’s fine’ to not being able to stop thinking about it. I am here for more of Caine’s quietly intense writing!
I *finally* read the awesome Station Eleven this year, and it deserves all the praise. Not stressfully violent, but thoughtful and artistic. I loved it.
Somehow I missed Maria V. Snyder’s Poison Study, which I guess came out during my reading dead zone college years, and so many people are loving on it, I wanted to give it a try. First person narration didn’t wow me, but the interesting character relationships did! I’m lining up for the next book in the series.
I picked up The Forbidden Kiss on a whim after seeing it on BookTube (sorry, I don’t remember where!). I didn’t have any expectations before reading it, but whoooooo! It was really fun, very complete story, with a few Disney’s Aladdin references. Through in a kickin’ princess, and I was happy. I haven’t read anything else by Khoury, but she’s on my radar now!
Authors I discovered this year and am planning to explore more.