As the holiday season gears up and 2011 winds down I find myself reflecting on reading in 2011, and books and authors that are new to me. Today I thought it would be fun to look at "new to me" discoveries I’ve made this year. Books that were released a year or more ago, but for one reason or another I have not read. I will share how I discovered them and why I recommend them. In no particular order:
Series: GA Aiken’s “Dragon” series
The book Dragon Actually was released in 2008, and I know I purchased it shortly after it came out. However I wasn’t a big fan of Shelly Laurenston (who I discovered after purchasing also writes as Aiken) and so I never seemed to get around to trying it. I saw a review for the most recent one raving about it – and as I’ve been trying to thin my TBR mountain I found my copy of Dragon Actually and gave it a chance.
This series is amazing! Set in a different world altogether, her heroines are absolutely fierce and fantastic, her heroes are smokin’ hot dragons. She finds a fantastic balance of world building, heat, action, and emotional development in her stories that leave me needing to read more. Once I read the first one I purchased and devoured three more within a few days. I fired off favorite quotes to Mandi, and within days I had her hooked as well. This series needs way more hype – it’s made of awesome. Goodreads, Amazon.
Author: Patricia Briggs
I have not made my way through her entire backlist, but after reading at least six of her books and enjoying every one I can say that Briggs is now an auto-buy for me. Her brand of Urban Fantasy is more action than romance, but I love her story telling and how she can transport me to wherever she’s got her characters. Having read a few of her Mercy series and a few of the older ones – I expect she will continue to give me fantastic reads. Goodreads.
Book: The Care and Taming of a Rogue
On Twitter someone messaged me saying I needed to read the new Suzanne Enoch, that it was their new #1 favorite book of all time. Having never read this author, but recalling that I had a book by her (that I had downloaded free from some amazon special limited time freebie offer) I went to see. Indeed, I had her (2009 release) The Care and Taming of a Rogue.
Our hero is an explorer who has written fantastic books, traveled much of the world, and served in the military before all of that. Unfortunately someone from his last trip has stolen his journals and is claiming that he died – quite a shock to him upon his return to London. Phillipa (our heroine) is a smart girl who prefers books to her sister’s idiot friends, and is a big fan and admirer of the work of Captain Wolfe. From the moment these two meet the sparks fly, and watching Phillipa try and get the Captain to behave “properly” and court her right (the captain wants her – in his bed, on the floor, wherever and however he can get her married or otherwise) is a great deal of fun. The plot with the villain of the tale was also satisfying. In short, I LOVED this book. Goodreads, Amazon.
Author: Shana Galen
I took a chance on an author I had not heard of, and read Shana Galen’s Lord & Lady Spy to review here for Smexy– and I loved it so much that I ran out and got a number of her backlist titles. Her characters are interesting and often unexpected, and I absolutely love her voice as an author. I already have in my hands (can you hear me chuckling?) her release coming in early 2012 and at just 60 pages in I am fully hooked and loving every page. Goodreads.
Series: “Sirantha Jax” by Ann Aguire
I’ll admit- I didn’t love Grimspace. It just didn’t hit that sweet reading spot for me. However – as a rule I often do not love a first book in a series set around a single character that builds so I am going to keep on going with this series. Mandi strongly recommended it to me, and that’s definitely enough. At nearly 50% into the second book in the series, I’m liking it a lot more. Bring on the futuristic space adventure! Goodreads, Amazon.
Series: “Bloodhound Files” by DD Barant
Talking books one day with Smexy’s own Tori she encouraged me to give Dying Bites (book #1 in the “Bloodhound files” series ) a try. In this series the heroine is sucked into an alternate reality where humans are a minority and her training as an FBI profiler is put into play catching serial killers in this other world. It’s not heavy on romance – but it’s got interesting characters, fantastic plot and world building, and I’ve really enjoyed each book so far. I will definitely be keeping this series on my auto-buy list. Goodreads, Amazon.
Book: Dreaming of You
While I have tried repeatedly, I am just not a fan of Lisa Kleypas. I would be fine never reading another of her books, except Mandi intrigued me enough with wistful sighs and talk of Derek Craven to intrigue me into reading just one more.
Oh my, oh wow. Derek is a man who was born in the gutter and abandoned by his whore mother. Having raised himself up out of that world and becoming one of the most rich and powerful men in all of England he is still not satisfied. He meets an authoress who is his opposite in so many ways, and the story details how these two come to be together. Though Kleypas once again reminded me why I don’t tend to read her books and I wished the book had ended several chapters before it finally did, this book was still made of awesome. Goodreads, Amazon.
Author: Sabrina Jeffries
I feel bad for avoiding this author until a few months ago. You see, for some reason I confused her with another (Stephanie Laurens) though why I did so I am still not sure. At any rate, this is another “thank goodness for checking out a book thanks to Smexy!” discovery.
To Wed a Wild Lord (releasing soon, and review to come soon too!) was a fantastic read, causing me to immediately buy and read the three previous novels in the “Hellions of Halstead Hall” series. While I did not love any of those as much as the 4th in the series, they’re still good reads and I will continue diving into this author’s back-list as well as picking up her new titles. Goodreads, Amazon.
Book: 20 times a lady (aka What’s your Number?) by Karyn Bosnak
Jen Lancaster blogged about this book, and how it was coming out as a movie and reading her enthusiasm and description of it made me run out and purchase it that very day. This book is awful. What I mean is, the heroine is the kind of girl I don’t want as a friend and if it hadn’t been such a funny book she would have made me nuts as a fictional character. One day she decides (based on a magazine article) that she’s going to dive through her past lovers to see if she missed “the one” and try to make it work.
What happens is hilarious, embarrassing, and made me actually fall of the treadmill at one point. I loved every single page – it was brilliant. Oh the heroine is a ninny – but you just don’t care. It has romantic elements, but is more “lit” than “rom”. Including every single contemporary romance I’ve read this year, this is by far the best. None other came close to being as enjoyable of a read. (ahem: contemporary romance authors time to up your game for 2012!!!) Goodreads, Amazon.
Before I go I will share a four of my top recommended (and aged like fine wine) book favorites. These are books I’ve been telling people to read/buy for years and love to re-read myself:
Agnes & The Hitman by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer: The mob, government hitmen, a frying pan wielding size 12 chef that gets cranky, and drama galore. Hilarious. Awesome. All time favorite. Goodreads, Amazon.
Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase : for goodness sakes READ IT if you haven’t. Maybe best all-time romance novel. A wild spinster heroine, devilish yet very sensitive hero, guns, a bastard… it’s fantastic. Goodreads, Amazon
Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination by Helen Fielding : I wish Ms. Fielding would return to writing. *sigh* In the meantime, this remains my #1 favorite of hers. A journalist who is known for imagining things actually falls into a real terrorist plot – complete with insanely hot secret agent. Goodreads, Amazon.
Now I look at that shelf of TBR books I’ve got, and I wonder – which ones are gems? What is my next favorite that I don’t even know about yet? What new to me author or series will I next discover? I’d love to hear about your new to you reads!