Top New-to-Me Authors of 2016

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

These are basically all going to be shippy, which should surprise no one and also I regret nothing. The ratings for these books vary from 3.5-5 stars, and they all made me feel things. It was less about rating and more about how much the book convinced me that I HAD to read more books by that author.

As per usual, I got ohhhhhh so close to hitting ten right on the nose.

the-debuts

First, let’s talk about the debuts, aka new-to-me-and-everyone. 2016 had some super excellent debuts. Cherry was one of my favorite books of the year, for example. Some of these books weren’t top favorites, but what they all share is strong characterization. I will, without a doubt, read the author’s sophomore books.

The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You - Lily Anderson
A Shadow Bright and Burning (Kingdom on Fire #1) - Jessica Cluess
Even If the Sky Falls - Mia Garcia

The Only Thing Worse Than You Is Me by Lily Anderson: Bantership guarantees my loyalty as a reader to an author, but the fact that Anderson’s sophomore novel is going to be an Importance of Being Earnest modernization just makes everything so much better. Will I ever stop wanting that? Not Now, Not Ever.

A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess: Though ASBaB gets off to a clunky start, stick it out. There’s an amazing reverse harem and killer slow burn hate-to-love ship here. Also, the plot gets way more awesome. The sequel’s not on GR yet, but I need more Kingdom on Fire ASAP.

Even if the Sky Falls by Mia Garcia: Garcia’s debut does trend a bit to the melodramatic and drop some plot threads, but the characterization and shippiness are excellent. That’s enough to sell me on her next novel, The Year of Everything.

Girl Mans Up - M.E. Girard
Rebel of the Sands - Alwyn Hamilton
The Girl from Everywhere - Heidi Heilig

Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard: There were some elements of this book that were deeply frustrating (re: much of it), but it’s one of those books that’s doing that on purpose. Strong characterization and a cute f/f interracial ship = I am here for more M-E Girard.

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton: Fast-paced, surprisingly brutal, and with a promising ship, so I absolutely must read Traitor to the Throne. There is no other option.

The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig: TGFE’s sort of the exception to the rest of these. The characterization was the weakest aspect of the story for me, though I do like the characters a lot. However, the story’s so fucking awesome that I very much will read whatever Heilig writes, such as the sequel The Ship Beyond Time.

Learning to Swear in America - Katie Kennedy
Cherry - Lindsey Rosin
These Vicious Masks - Tarun Shanker & Kelly Zekas

Learning to Swear in America by Katie Kennedy: LtSiA is adorable, and the voice is freaking cute. I don’t enjoy that much male-narrated fiction these days, but this was a charming exception. What Goes Up sounds like it could be amazing too. Sci fi comedy = thumbs way way up.

Cherry by Lindsey Rosin: ONE OF MY FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR. WHY HAVE YOU NOT ALL READ THIS? FOUR SHIPS FOR THE PRICE OF ONE. Rosin’s sophomore novel has not been announced yet to my knowledge, but I NEED IT. BUY CHERRY SO THE PUBS BY A MILLION MORE BOOKS BY HER, PLS.

These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker & Kelly Zekas: I am so here for historical paranormal. And for ships with fakeout makeouts. So. Much. Damn. Fun. I will abandon my schedule to read These Ruthless Deeds as soon as fucking possible.

The Abyss Surrounds Us - Emily Skrutskie
Shallow Graves - Kali Wallace
Love & Gelato - Jenna Evans Welch

The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie: Female-driven sci-fi with badass scientists and lady pirates? Hello, yes, you have my attention and allegiance, Emily Skrutskie. The f/f hate-to-love ship is an excellent bonus. Hell yes I will read The Edge of the Abyss.

Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace: Listen, if I love a book without romance, it’s amazing. This was such a cool paranormal debut. City of Islands sounds like it will be more awesomeness, though I wish I didn’t have to wait until 2018.

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch: Pure, 100% banterfluff. Not the deepest story, but the ship is excellent and I felt such nervous butterfly feels reading this one. Her next book is as yet untitled, but it’s a travel romance set in Ireland, so I’m on board.

backlist

These authors I’m late to discover. They’ve all had at least one book out before 2016, but I didn’t read it for whatever reason, but now I’m joining this party.

The Memory Book - Lara Avery
The Impostor Queen - Sarah Fine
The Dark Days Club - Alison Goodman

The Memory Book by Lara Avery: Given my dislike of sad books, I wouldn’t have picked The Memory Book up if it hadn’t arrived on my doorstep from the publisher. It’s one of my top books of the year. Such amazing writing and voice. Like, hot damn. Avery’s blurbs don’t typically sound like my jam, but I’m going to try more. I think I’ll start with Anything But Ordinary.

The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine: There is no time I will not be here for bisexual queen action. There are some silly plot elements, but I definitely need The Cursed Queen and added a bunch more Sarah Fine to my to-read list after reading this fun fantasy.

The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman: Historical paranormal needs to be a thing that happens more. Because it’s so excellent. Historical ladies with powers plus Austeny romances = Christina’s bookish heaven. The Dark Days Pact is one of the 2017 titles I’m most anticipating.

Interference - Kay Honeyman
We Are The Ants - Shaun David Hutchinson (2)

Interference by Kay Honeyman: This book is so cute! It’s like The Unexpected Everything meets Emma. The ship’s adorable, and the voice is super strong. I’ve had Honeyman’s The Fire Horse Girl for ages thanks to Kara, and obviously I need to get on that.

We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson: This is a hard one to explain because it’s like the science fiction version of magical realism, but there’s not a term for that. I’ve already purchased The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley and both his upcoming titles sound amazing: At the Edge of the Universe and The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza.

Shuffle, Repeat - Jen Klein
The Replacement Crush - Lisa Brown Roberts
Cloudwish - Fiona Wood

Shuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein: ADORABLE BANTERSHIP. That’s all you need to know, really. In this case, I’d actually not heard awesome things about Klein’s debut, but I may go back to it at some point. I one hundred percent will be reading Summer Unscripted.

The Replacement Crush by Lisa Brown Roberts: Though it has some flaws, The Replacement Crush is premium bantership with a nerdy LI. When I finished, I added all of Roberts’ backlist to my to-read list, and I will so be reading her next one out which sounds like Christina catnip.

Cloudwish by Fiona Wood: The magical realism part left me wanting a bit, but the voice is A+++++ and the ship’s very cute. Fans of Melina Marchetta’s contemporaries should check this one out. I already own Wildlife (conference fail), and I need Six Impossible Things too.

binges

Not only did I discover this author in 2016, but I read more than one book. I’m ambitious like that.

A School for Unusual Girls (Stranje House #1) - Kathleen Baldwin
Exile for Dreamers (Stranje House #2) - Kathleen Baldwin

A School for Unusual Girls & Exile for Dreamers by Kathleen Baldwin: These books sounded like Christina catnip, and indeed they were. A house for lady geniuses who don’t care for society’s take on women? Um, yes. Obvs I will be reading Refuge for Masterminds next year, despite some quibbles with the precise storytelling. The ships are adorable, and the plots are great fun.

The Anatomical Shape of a Heart - Jenn Bennett
Kindling the Moon - Jenn Bennett
Summoning the Night - Jenn Bennett
Binding the Shadows - Jenn Bennett
Banishing the Dark (Arcadia Bell #4) - Jenn Bennett

The Anatomical Shape of the Heart, Kindling the Moon, Summoning the Night, Binding the Shadows, & Banishing the Dark by Jenn Bennett: TASotH is one of my favorite contemporary romances. Prime, grade-A banteresting book right here. The Arcadia Bell books aren’t as good, but they manage to make a very non-Christina ship work and the plots are awesome. I plan to read her Roaring Twenties series sometime next year, as well as Alex, Approximately.

the-invisible-library-genevieve-cogman
the-masked-city-genevieve-cogman

The Invisible Library & The Masked City Genevieve Cogman: TIL’s also a 2016 debut (at least in the US), but this series is being published much faster than normal, so I’m already two books into it. The Invisible Library series is genrebendy awesomeness with a bisexual librarian heroine. Book three, The Burning Page, comes out in January, and I’m stoked for more.

Make It Count - Megan Erickson

Make It Count, Make It Right, & Make It Last by Megan Erickson: Despite there being just one image displayed, I actually read three Erickson novels this year. I read the full Bowler University series. Sadly, the only one I loved enough to display in this list is the first book, Make It Count. However, I loved that one enough that I’m totally going to read all of her books eventually, because she can do the bantership. The others aren’t bad, but they don’t play to tropes that do much special for me, and the characters aren’t bantery sorts.

Openly Straight - Bill Konigsberg
Out of the Pocket - Bill Konigsberg

Openly Straight & Out of the Pocket by Bill Konigsberg: I absolutely loved Openly Straight, though that ending was NOT OKAY and I desperately require Honestly, Ben. Out of the Pocket, Konigsberg’s debut, was good as well. Sadly, I did DNF The Porcupine of Truth, but I’m definitely here for any Konigsberg with a queer protagonist.

The Duke and I - Julia Quinn
An Offer from a Gentleman - Julia Quinn
Romancing Mister Bridgerton - Julia Quinn
To Sir Phillip, with Love - Julia Quinn
When He Was Wicked - Julia Quinn
On the Way to the Wedding - Julia Quinn
Because of Miss Bridgerton - Julia Quinn
splendid-julia-quinn

The Duke and I, The Viscount Who Loved Me, An Offer from a Gentleman, Romancing Mr. Bridgerton, To Sir Phillip, with Love, When He Was Wicked, It’s in His Kiss, On the Way to the Wedding, Because of Miss Bridgerton, The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After, Splendid, & Dancing at Midnight by Julia Quinn: Clearly I’m not at all obsessed with Julia Quinn since I read twelve of her books in 2016, and I’ve resolved to read ALL the rest. Pictured are the ones that I rated over 3.5 stars. That drops just four, two of which were threes and only one of which (Dancing at Midnight) was actually atrocious. I’ll actually have read at least one more Quinn novel before the end of 2016, but, as of this posting, this is where I’m at. Of what I’ve read so far, I’d say start with Because of Miss Bridgerton, which is the first in a new prequel series, and then go back to the original Bridgerton books.

Do you guys love any of these authors too?

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Review: Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Review: Jellicoe Road by Melina MarchettaJellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Published by HarperTeen on August 26, 2008
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Mystery
Pages: 419
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
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Goodreads
four-stars

I'm dreaming of the boy in the tree. I tell him stories. About the Jellicoe School and the Townies and the Cadets from a school in Sydney. I tell him about the war between us for territory. And I tell him about Hannah, who lives in the unfinished house by the river. Hannah, who is too young to be hiding away from the world. Hannah, who found me on the Jellicoe Road six years ago.

Taylor is leader of the boarders at the Jellicoe School. She has to keep the upper hand in the territory wars and deal with Jonah Griggs - the enigmatic leader of the cadets, and someone she thought she would never see again.

And now Hannah, the person Taylor had come to rely on, has disappeared. Taylor's only clue is a manuscript about five kids who lived in Jellicoe eighteen years ago. She needs to find out more, but this means confronting her own story, making sense of her strange, recurring dream, and finding her mother - who abandoned her on the Jellicoe Road.

The moving, joyous and brilliantly compelling new novel from the best-selling, multi-award-winning author of Looking for Alibrandi and Saving Francesca.

Jellicoe Road is one of those books that I’ve had on my shelves and my TBR list for ages. Ever since I joined the book blogging community on Twitter, people have been telling me to read this book. Jellicoe Road was even recommended by multiple people in my long-dead Sadie Hawkins feature. It’s one of the biggies that was missing from my pretty damn comprehensive YA reading history. Gap has been closed. No need to mind this one anymore. And, unlike the rest of Marchetta’s contemporaries, this one totally got me in the feels, so good job, guys.

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Size Doesn’t Matter (99): It’s Not Me, It’s You; Wolf by Wolf; Gone Girl

I received this book for free from ALA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (99): It’s Not Me, It’s You; Wolf by Wolf; Gone GirlIt's Not Me, It's You by Stephanie Kate Strohm
Published by Point on October 25, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Humor, Romance
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Source: ALA
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Goodreads
three-half-stars

One high school girl's comedic examination of her dating past as told by the friends, family, and boys who were involved!

Avery Dennis is a high school senior and one of the most popular girls in her class. But a majorly public breakup with the guy she's been dating causes some disastrous waves. It is right before prom and Avery no longer has the perfect date. She runs the prom committee, how could she not show up with somebody?

Post-breakup, Avery gets to thinking about all of the guys that she has ever dated. How come none of those relationships ever worked out? Could it be her fault? Avery decides to investigate. In history class she's learning about this method of record-keeping called "oral history" and she has a report due. So Avery decides to go directly to the source. Avery tracks down all of the guys she's ever dated, and uses that information, along with thoughts from her friends, family, and teachers, to compile a total account of her dating history.

Avery discovers some surprises about herself and the guys she's spent time with -- just in time for prom night!

Dahlia’s been shouting (lovingly) at me to read this book for months now, so I suspected It’s Not Me, It’s You was going to be a good read. As usual, Dahlia was right, though I did struggle with the format.

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Cover Snark (208): The Snark Support Group

Welcome to Cover Snark, where the people are snarky and the covers quiver in fear. Since I don’t write many snarky book reviews here on A Reader of Fictions, Cover Snark is my outlet. If you click on the title of the book, where possible, I’ve linked to Goodreads. Clicking on the cover itself will show you the cover in a larger size, in most cases. Feel free to love covers I hate and vice versa. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Please note that you should by no means contact the author if you do not like their cover; they likely have ZERO control. Feel free to express opinions in the comments, but please do not @ an author on Twitter because of anything you’ve seen here. Let’s keep it kind.

Shiny and New:

1. The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life – Kwame Alexander
the-playbook-52-rules-to-aim-shoot-and-score-in-this-game-called-life-kwame-alexander
Thoughts: That basketball of words is so cute and clever.

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Review: The Only Thing Worse Than You Is Me by Lily Anderson

Review: The Only Thing Worse Than You Is Me by Lily AndersonThe Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You by Lily Anderson
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on May 17, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover
Source: Won
AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Trixie Watson has two very important goals for senior year: to finally save enough to buy the set of Doctor Who figurines at the local comic books store, and to place third in her class and knock Ben West--and his horrendous new mustache that he spent all summer growing--down to number four.

Trixie will do anything to get her name ranked over Ben's, including give up sleep and comic books--well, maybe not comic books--but definitely sleep. After all, the war of Watson v. West is as vicious as the Doctor v. Daleks and Browncoats v. Alliance combined, and it goes all the way back to the infamous monkey bars incident in the first grade. Over a decade later, it's time to declare a champion once and for all.

The war is Trixie's for the winning, until her best friend starts dating Ben's best friend and the two are unceremoniously dumped together and told to play nice. Finding common ground is odious and tooth-pullingly-painful, but Trixie and Ben's cautious truce slowly transforms into a fandom-based tentative friendship. When Trixie's best friend gets expelled for cheating and Trixie cries foul play, however, they have to choose who to believe and which side they're on--and they might not pick the same side.

Benedick and Beatrice are one of my OG ships, because I’ve been all about that banter all my life. Basically everyone I know well went “oh hey there’s this book you must read IMMEDIATELY” about this one, taunting me with ship ship ship. Well, Morgan, Gillian, Angie, Dahlia, and whoever else has been lovingly throwing this book at my face, the day finally came. You guys were right. Lily Anderson delivers a clever, banter-tastic modernization of Much Ado About Nothing.

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