Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature/meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Things I Love/Hate About Romance in Books.
I was surprised when I looked back through this year’s reads to realize how few new-to-me authors I had tried. There were really only about 10 or 11, and a few of them were just OK, so I didn’t put them on this list. I did a lot better with new-to-me authors a few years ago, but I guess that resulted even more authors that I’m trying to keep up with, and less time to try new ones! Still, I now have several fun new authors and three very good ones to follow.
Julie Ann Long, Beverly Jenkins, and Mary Robinette Kowal each draw you in with complex characters, pitch-perfect dialogue, compelling stories, settings so beautifully realized that you feel you’ve experienced them, and distinctive, well-written prose. Long skilfully veers from deliciously witty humor to the heights and depths of emotion and back. Jenkins blends solid historical research, achingly tense-and-tender character-driven romance, and a sensitive portrayal of African-American life. And Kowal writes Jane Austenesque fantasy in prose that exhibits all the keen observation, “sensibility” and dry wit of Austen herself.
I read and really liked the new series debuts from Amanda Flower, Jennifer David Hesse, and Connie di Marco. (Full disclosure; I have kind of read di Marco before, because she also writes as Connie Archer — the Soup Lover’s mysteries. But I figure that a new series under a new pen name with a different style counts as a new author.) Genevieve Cogman’s The Invisible Library has a great premise and storyline, though the actual writing is middling. And Jill Shalvis is another contemporary romance writer I like for her blend of humor, sizzling antagonists-to-lovers romance, and a great supporting cast.