This list is in no particular order. I want to make that clear before I go any further. I’m a bit of a bookworm (erg, was that too sudden? Do you need to sit down for a minute? Catch your breath; I’ll wait). Part of the fun of reading for me is thinking about the authors whose works I’ve discovered for the first time, whose works get me all jazzed over writing and reading, authors whose material being in the world at this point in time makes me grateful to be alive and able to get my hands on said material. Even though I do write nonfiction, and even though Beth and various friends have thoroughly convinced me that nonfiction writing counts as real writing, when I reflect upon this, I don’t often reflect upon the nonfiction writers. Maybe I should; maybe I will. For this past year, I have not, and so that’s something I’ll keep in mind going forward. For now? For now, I want to share with you the authors whose work I’ve discovered and loved during 2015.
Annie Bellet. Now, this might not be fully a 2015 discovery. I came across her work first in Nine By Night, which was a flippin’ awesome bundle (which no longer seems to be live; that’s too bad. It’s a great collection) I read back toward the end of 2014. I did a lot of book binging during last December, and I primarily remember reading a ton of Lindsay Buroker, and I don’t remember if I read Twenty Sided Sorceress series before that or after that, but I don’t care. It’s a great series, and while it’s not the most favorite of my favorite new discoveries, it’s up there.
Meghan Ciana Doidge Picking my favorite author, or even my favorite author out of a distinct category (modern-day set/paranormal suspense/indie-published) is sort of like picking my favorite cat — it’s not gonna happen. Even if I can narrow it down to a small pool (three. Four if you count recently-transitioned-to-spirit companions. Six if you count beloved cats of beloved friends/family. Erm). That said: Meghan? Yeah, I really like Meghan. Maybe it’s that I find her easy to relate to (in a totally not-creepy way). Maybe because I know we’ve been to some of the same places. Maybe it’s the knitting. Possibly it’s the chocolate love. Likely it’s the Persians (it all comes back to cats. Cats are magic). Certainly it is her vampire, who is the most Other-ed of Othery vampire I’ve read since Robin McKinley’s Sunshine novel. I love the world of her Dowser and Oracle books. I love the characters. I love everything about these books, and I’m so glad to have discovered them.
Jordan L. Hawk. This is a tough one. So — I was introduced to Hawk’s writing via her Whyborne and Griffin series, which starts with Widdershins (which you can get for free and you really should do that if you haven’t because, just, yes. Yes. Please, gods, yes). The series is based out of an alternative Massachusetts towards the end of the last century. Electricity is still not overly common, automobiles are scary with their high speeds of 20 mph, and occult magic is a thing that happens and has real results. It’s one of those alternative histories where things are only a bit off, where you forget it’s not your own history, until something bizarre happens and you have no choice to remember because there are monsters trying to break into your world and destroy everything you know and love and — er.
Where was I?
The series made me homesick for a Massachusetts that never was. I’m surprised that I loved this series as much as I did. While I don’t mind reading about M/M love interests, it’s not my most favorite pairing, especially when the two involved are both human. How boring, right? Except, I found Whyborne so incredibly endearing, and Griffin intriguing, and really, I want a great story, I don’t so much care about the gender of the people involved. More than that, I was surprised to like it as much as I did because it’s very much based in Western occultism, and I just don’t care so much about that at all, at all.
Hawk’s writing is fantastic. She’s got some of the hottest sex scenes I’ve read, but also the sweetest, and it’s very much a glimpse into their lives. The stories are solid, and they do this lovely building thing that has me despairing of ever being that good. (I’m not a novelist, and I’m certainly not a serial novelist, and the building that’s gone into this has blown me away). I don’t want to brag, but I am a writer, and I am a bookworm, and I’m that annoying friend who, without trying to puzzle things out, will have figured out the ‘who dun it’ of plots way early on. So having a writer whose stories can surprise me, even four or five books in, is pretty fantastic, and is certainly not something I experience a lot. It’s not every one , and it’s not even always the major things, but layer-y things that she works in that just utterly blindside me. Foreshadowing so deftly done that I don’t register it until the final piece slips into place and it all becomes so obvious. Fantastic. Oh my god.
She’s going to make me a better writer just by trying to be half as good.
Jennifer Lawrence. Specifically her book Fire on The Mountain, whose protag deals with chronic pain for much of the book in a refreshingly realistic way. I keep meaning to check out her second book, and I keep forgetting. Why?? Why does ordering from Lulu.com seem like such an ordeal. It’s not! It’s just not one-click. Oh, how lazy we can be.
N. K. Jemisin. Of my list, she is my most recent new discovery and I cannot wait to delve into the rest of her books. *rubs hands with glee* Her Inheritance trio is a must read for anyone interested in gods-as-characters, god shards in people, walking living myths, etc. So, so good.
I read way more than this, and I read a lot of books I loved a lot, but all by authors whose works I’d already come across.
What are some of your favorite discoveries of 2015? Doesn’t have to be books! (though, please, talk about books!)