New-to-Me Authors I Read In 2018
I read several books last year whose authors are new to me. Some were great picks and I look forward to sampling more of those authors’ work, while others made me regret picking up the book. I’ll focus on the positive in this post and discuss only authors whose work I’d like to try again.
Since joining the blogging community, I’ve often heard of Libba Bray’s books. I finally tried The Diviners, a YA historical fiction paranormal novel, last year when I joined in a buddy-read with Rachel from Life of a Female Bibliophile. The story is set in 1920s New York City and is about a teenage girl who can know the history of an object simply by touching it. She moves to New York City where she helps her uncle, who manages a museum of supernatural objects, and his assistant solve a series of grisly murders.
The characters are compelling and kept me reading, and the story sparked my curiousity due to the murders and what they are leading up to as well as the mysterious dreams the characters get. The Diviners is the first in a series so upon completing it, I yearned to know what follows next. What’s up with the dreams? And will all the characters with supernatural powers eventually team up? I certainly will try more of Bray’s work.
The Book of Hidden Things
Francesco Dimitri is an Italian author and The Book of Hidden Things is his first novel published in English. He translated it himself and it was such a great read. I love how the man writes!
The Book of Hidden Things is classified as a fantasy novel, but that’s up to the reader to decide. It’s about four friends who made a pact after high school to meet up in the same place every year but this time one of them doesn’t show and the other three go look for him and learn interesting and sometimes unsavory things about the missing friend and themselves. The mystery pulled me along, but I fell for the story because of the writing and how atmospheric it is. I felt transported to southern Italy as I read. I can’t wait to try another of Dimitri’s novels.
Sarah Addison Allen
Allen’s writing hooked me from the first sentence. I immediately fell in love with the story and blazed through the book in a day, then went online to purchase another of her novels.
Garden Spells is a magical realism romance novel about the Waverley sisters who had been estranged from each other for about 10 years. The Waverleys are known about their small town for their mysterious garden where they grow plants that supposedly have powers that affect people in interesting ways and maintain an apple tree that bears fruit that foretells the future once eaten. It’s a sweet story and I enjoyed it, especially the quirky characters. I plan to read the other novel I bought — First Frost — this year. It’s set in the same town.
A Duke by Default
I’m not a fan of romance novels, but I read a few of them last year. This was one of the best. A Duke by Default is about a young woman who travels to Scotland to apprentice with a swordmaker and ends up falling in love with him. The story progressed quickly and I liked how the romance develops. This seems to be part of a series, so I’d like to try another novel in it.
Juliet Dark a.k.a. Carol Goodman
The Demon Lover
This is another of the romance novels I read last year. The Demon Lover is the first in a paranormal romance series called the Fairwick Chronicles. It’s about a woman who moves to upstate New York to teach at a small college there and learns that there’s more to the people at the college and the small town it’s located in. She also falls in love with a succubus.
I liked the writing in this and also the setting and characters. Because of that, I completed all three books currently out in the series last year and would like to try more of Goodman’s work. I’d also like to visit upstate New York. This is probably the third book I’ve read that makes me want to do that.
The Shape of Water
This is one of my favorite books of 2018. The Shape of Water is a historical fiction novel about a woman who falls in love with an amphibious man. It’s set in 1960s Baltimore and is based on the movie of the same name (well, it’s the same thing) directed by Guillermo del Toro. Kraus co-authored this book with del Toro.
I loved the writing. Oh my gosh! I don’t think I loved the story as much as I loved the writing. I watched the movie first and loved it too, but I think it might be because I loved the acting. Anyway, I fell in love with the writing as soon as I started and had to stop and go buy my own copy because I was reading a library book at the time. I’ve read another book that del Toro wrote with a co-author, so I think the writing style in The Shape of Water is all Kraus, so I’d love to try another book written by him.
Dread Nation is another of my favorites from last year. It’s YA alt-historical fiction set shortly after the U.S. Civil War where teens — African and Native Americans — are trained to fight zombies to protect wealthy Whites. I enjoyed the story and liked how Ireland commented on social issues of today through it. I also liked the protagonist, Jane McKeene, who is a smart, fiesty, badass. I look forward to seeing what happens next. Dread Nation seems to be the first in a series.
Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
Another favorite read of 2018! 😀 Kintu is also historical fiction but it spans the years 1750 to the 2000s. It’s set in Uganda and is about a family that’s cursed. I enjoyed it. I loved the writing. And, as with Shape of Water, I had to purchase my own copy soon after starting it because I initially read a library book. The story is enthralling and compelling and I love how certain major historical events of Uganda are woven in. Can’t wait to see what Makumbi writes next.
The Girl with All the Gifts
I actually listened to this one, but I could tell that the writing is good. It’s the first book I listened to on audio without first having read it AND was able to remember what I heard. I paid attention! I was so proud of myself; but I wish I’d read the physical copy. I could tell that I would have loved the writing.
The Girl with All the Gifts is about a little girl who’s held at a government facility but doesn’t understand why she’s seen as a threat. It took a while for me to get interested but once I was, I was hooked. I’d like to try another of Carey’s books and I plan to read the physical copy because I think I’ll love his writing.
This is a middle-grade fantasy novel with a touch of horror to it. It’s about a girl who can manipulate shadows and whose shadow can speak to her. I enjoyed the story and was surprised that I did. Though sometimes dark, it was a fun read and a quick one too. I look forward to trying the next book, which is already out — Comet Rising.
Angels & Demons
Dan Brown is a very popular author and lots of people either like his books or think them poor quality and not worth reading. I’ve forgotten why I decided to try Angels & Demons (it’s not the sort of novel I usually reach for), but I enjoyed reading it and actually sped through it. It’s about a professor who’s known for his research on symbology who’s recruited to help solve a murder and stop a bomb threat to the Vatican.
I was surprised that I was so quickly swept up in the story and hooked. I enjoyed it for the art and historical references. I’d like to read the next novel in the series, The Da Vinci Code.