As we wrap up 2019, I thought it might be fun to concentrate on something good and reaffirming this week. As I mentioned last week, seemingly endless scandals—including plagiarism and publisher issues, as well RWA’s shenanigans—can be discouraging for authors, but readers can make everything worthwhile.
So let’s take a minute to give a shout out to a book or author we’ve discovered this past year. Our praise can not only help the author of whatever books we share, but the reminder of how much stories mean to readers can also encourage all of us who write. *smile*
(Quick note on the implosion of the RWA: I’m waiting for a few more shoes to drop before digging into the issues in a post. Romance Sparks Joy created a Twitter moment with threads of the biggest news for those interested in the general story. Given all the evidence of ugliness emerging from the aftermath, if RWA has any chance of surviving the controversy, I think members will need to rebuild the organization (including the permanent staff) from scratch to ensure it fulfills its job of advocacy and support for all.)
What Do We Mean by “Discover”?
Why am I asking about what books or authors we’ve discovered rather than just asking for our favorite books of the year?
Have you discovered any books or authors this year? Click To TweetMany of our favorite books are likely to be written by our favorite authors. (There’s probably a reason they’re one of our favorite authors after all.) And if they’re our favorite author, there’s a good chance they’ve been around for a while and are already plenty of others’ favorite authors as well.
Discovery is more about sharing something new—or at least new-to-us. With this post, I want us to spread the news about a new-to-us book or author so others can discover them too.
So let’s share books we’ve discovered by new-to-us authors or authors new to our “favorites” list. What makes them a great discovery?
The “My Books” section of Goodreads shares all the books I’ve read this past year. The list makes it easy to skim through the books I’ve read and see which ones were “discoveries.”
Series Highlight: Broken Earth Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin
I read the first book in the trilogy last December, so this entry might be bending the rules a bit. However, I didn’t get around to reading the rest of the trilogy until this December (which of course meant that I did a reread of that first book too), so I’m saying it counts. *grin*
Last year, I shared how much The Fifth Season was a triumphant example of how authors can successfully break the rules. Now that I’ve read the whole series, I can add several more ways the books don’t follow the usual advice and yet work fantastically well anyway.
I never would have guessed that a fairly unemotional protagonist (often called “steelheart” by other characters) with a largely second-person point-of-view story would have appealed so much to me, an author of high-emotion, deep POV romance stories. But the author captured my imagination, and sometimes that’s worth more than all the rules and guidelines added together.
I didn’t find the trilogy’s ending quite as emotionally satisfying as I would have liked (again, I’m a romance author with a fondness for happily ever afters *wink*), but it surpassed my hopes for an intellectually satisfying ending. The worldbuilding throughout is amazing, and I’ll definitely be checking out other books and series by this author.
Romance Highlight: Luck of the Draw by Kate Clayborn
Coming from a new-to-me author, this was probably the book that prompted the most tears from me this past year. So for an emotional read, this book was a definite highlight.
As I said in my BookBub recommendation for it:
“I loved this whole series, and it’s no wonder that 2 of the 3 books in the Chance of a Lifetime series were finalists for the RITA award for Long Contemporary Romance. However, this book (#2 in the series) was my favorite…at least if the number of tears I shed was any indication. 😉 The third book (Best of Luck) was a close second, but it’s worth starting with book 1 (Beginner’s Luck) as well, just to meet all the characters. Did I mention I loved this whole series? LOL!”
My writing besties and I compared notes on how every aspect of the characters’ arcs and conflicts create a story greater than its parts. The result was a touching, insightful, realistic, emotional romance that exceeded the expectations of the genre.
New-to-Me Author Highlight: Jackie Lau
With all my health issues of the last few years, I’ve often relied on fun romance stories to keep me going. Like many readers, when I discover an author whose style is perfect for my mood, I glom onto several of their stories.
This year, the new-to-me author that I glommed onto is Jackie Lau. Her books are just delightful and entertaining, often with absurd story details that add to my amusement. For example, One Bed for Christmas (currently free!) includes a hero who wears an inflatable T-Rex costume.
Do you have new favorite books or authors this year? Click To TweetIn addition, Jackie’s stories are filled with trope-y goodness, from the “one bed” scenario above to blind dates and a “fake boyfriend” arrangement. (Some even focus on the intersection of several tropes, like A Second Chance Road Trip for Christmas. *grin*)
Throughout, her characters, their family drama, and the unique settings lift these stories from feeling formulaic. Although none of her books have landed on my very-picky keeper shelf yet, they’re each thoroughly enjoyable.
What Books or Authors Did You Discover This Year?
Now that I’ve shared my examples, it’s your turn!
- Share what books you discovered this year from new-to-you authors!
- Or share what authors you’ve added to your favorites list!
Let other readers discover them as well. And if we’re writers, let this post remind us of how much our stories can mean to readers. *smile*Pin It