Top Ten New-to-Me Authors in 2015


Top Ten TuesdayI take pride in being a versatile reader, one who is willing to try a variety of genres and writing styles. An open mind when checking out library books or browsing Goodreads has led me to plenty of pleasant surprises, particularly in the past year! Though the novels may have already been bestsellers or their authors beloved by many, those who read it before me are irrelevant to my own enjoyment; I’ve always believed that the joy of reading is that the story is new to you. As I did last week, I’m participating in The Broke and the Bookish‘s Top Ten Tuesday to wrap up my year in reading, this week highlighting ten of my favorite “new-to-me” authors from the past twelve months. Their work may vary in subject and depth, but one thing is similar: the writers are incredibly talented. Which authors did you choose to feature?

As a side note: to make this week’s list-making easier on myself, I’ve limited it to non-debut authors. In other words, these ten writers all had other novels out or planned for soon release when I read their books! If you’re in need of MORE recommendations, take a hop on over here :)

Tara DairmanFirst to praise is Tara Dairman, author of the delightful All Four Stars and its sequel Stars of Summer. Cover to cover and book to book did I fall in love with the series’ adorable narrator, Gladys Gatsby, as she balances a sophisticated food critic career with the typical responsibilities of a middle school student. I finished both with nothing but a smile on my face, leaving me in anxious anticipation over Dairman’s next installment! {reviews: 1 / 2}

Marie RutkoskiI’m ashamed to admit that I waited until this past spring to delve into the stunning world and high fantasy of Marie Rutkoski’s The Winner’s Curse. Written from a unique premise and in incredible detail, I was easily swept away in the adventure and battles of the main character, Kestrel. Next up in 2016? Only more from Rutkoski, of course, as I {hopefully!} finish the trilogy with The Winner’s Crime and The Winner’s Kiss. {review}

Leila HowlandI love me a cute middle grade contemporary {truly: I could spend days rattling off my favorites, from The Penderwicks to The Mother Daughter Book Club} so I was all sorts of excited to come across Leila Howland’s The Forget-Me-Not Summer. My first read by this beloved YA author didn’t disappoint, combining two of my favorite elements in one sweet story: sister dynamics and a small coastal town. My summer TBR pile is sure to include more from her backlist. {review}

Rachael AllenI wrote about – or more accurately, obsessed over – Rachael Allen’s sophomore novel, The Revenge Playbook, just last Monday, so you’re sure to understand why I’ve included her in this week’s prompt! If her debut book or upcoming works are anywhere near as good, I envision a spot for Allen’s novels on my bookshelf for years to come. It’s excellent, entertaining, and well-written stuff. {review}

Courtney SummersCourtney Summers is a veteran author for the YA audience, having written several hard-hitting and gutsy novels, but I only just read one of her books this year. Fortunately, All the Rage was impressive, weaving the ongoing conversation on rape culture with a dark and twisted narrative. It’s become my go-to recommendation for friends in need of a powerful story, just as Summers will certainly grow into my go-to author for good books next year. {review}

Nova Ren SumaNova Ren Suma is yet another author whose books I repeatedly passed over, and for no good reason other than my blatant ignorance of the imaginative stories inside! I had little idea of what to expect when I began her most recent novel, The Walls Around Us, over the summer, but that clearly had no impact on my enjoyment; I finished the ballet-prison-thriller {what can I say? It’s an odd tale} in a single afternoon. More please? {review}

Jason ReynoldsIf you haven’t read one of Jason Reynold’s terrific books, I’ll cut to the chase: you should do so immediately. I myself waited until early last winter to try The Boy in the Black Suit, but I quickly learned why Reynolds has garnered such a legion of fans; he writes with an authentic voice, crafts relatable and honest characters, and explores topics and settings in a distinct style of writing. He has a few novels in the works, and, believe me, I’ll be buying every one. {review}

Liz CzukasI feel that Liz Czukas goes underrated in recommendations of lighter and “fluffier” realistic fiction. Granted, I’ve only read one of her two young adult novels – the Christmas-Eve-grocery-store-set mystery, Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless – but its diverse cast of characters and abundant humor was more than enough to make me a fan. I will have to grab her other book, Ask Again Later, sometime soon – perhaps for my own prom season in the spring! {review}

J.K. RowlingI’ve seen every movie, but it was only until July that I could actually say I’ve read the bestselling Harry Potter series, and I still have five more books to go! I would be committing some sort of literary sin if I excluded J.K. Rowling from this list, as I’ve now joined the millions of readers who have bonded with Harry, Ron, and Hermione over their time at Hogwarts. Here’s looking to as strong of a finale in 2016 when I read the rest of the remaining novels. {review}

Julie MurphyFinally, Julie Murphy’s stellar writing won me over in her second book, Dumplin‘, a story that stars character Willowdean Dickson, a Dolly Parton aficionado and self-proclaimed “fat girl.”  Murphy’s relatable style and realistic plot had me recommending it left and right this past fall, an action I’m sure to repeat once I read Side Effects May Vary. I can never get enough new authors or new books. {review}

Have a lovely Tuesday!

Pros & Cons / Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless by Liz Czukas


Pros and ConsTop Ten Clues You’re Clueless would have escaped my notice if it hadn’t been for the book’s list-loving and Type One diabetic protagonist, Chloe. Determined to read of my literary equivalent, I blew through Liz Czukas’s novel in one sitting, and I haven’t stopped talking about it since. A delightful mix of adorable holiday situations, hilarious grocery store secrets, and so awkward, it’s cute moments, this is a book that will have you smiling from beginning to end. Czukas has made me a fan, as you’ll see in my full thoughts below!

Here’s a book synopsis, for your handy-dandy reference: Top Five Things That Are Ruining Chloe’s Day:
5) Working the 6:30 a.m. shift at GoodFoods Market
4) Crashing a cart into a customer’s car right in front of her snarky coworker Sammi
3) Trying to rock the “drowned rat” look after being caught in a snowstorm
2) Making zero progress with her crush, Tyson {see #3}
1) Being accused—along with her fellow teenage employees—of stealing upwards of $10,000
Chloe would rather be anywhere than locked in work jail {aka the break room} with five of her coworkers… even if one of them is Tyson. But if they can band together to clear their names, what looks like a total disaster might just make Chloe’s list of Top Ten Best Moments. {Goodreads}

Top Ten Clues You're Clueless ReviewAround the Web: “After adoring Liz Czukas’ Ask Again Later positively to pieces, I was scared that her follow-up, Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless, wouldn’t wow me as much. But after two Czukas books, I can now declare that she is the kind of writer I know I can rely on to instantly up my mood” {read the rest of the review at Writer of Wrongs HERE}.

“At a certain point, though, the story ran out of steam. There wasn’t a whole lot going on, and thus, as much as I liked certain characters, they weren’t interesting after a while” {read the rest of the review at YA Crush HERE}.

“Though I didn’t like Czukas’ sophomore novel quite as much as her first, it was still a lot of fun and cemented the fact that Liz Czukas’ books are delightful reads and I don’t want to miss a single one” {read the rest of the review at A Reader of Fictions HERE}.

Let’s discuss! Have you read Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless or Czukas’ debut, Ask Again Later? Do you know of any other books with protagonists that are diabetics? Does it annoy you to read a book set around the holidays in a month other than December?! Just me? :)

Have a wonderful Tuesday!