Best New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2020

January 26, 2021 Top Ten Tuesday 17

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature/meme now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. The meme was originally the brainchild of The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2020.

Fantasy

Naomi Kritzer‘s marvelous YA fantasy-mystery-thriller Catfishing on Catnet stars a girl on the run and her AI friend; Kritzer nails both their “voices” perfectly. I can’t wait for the sequel to come out! (5 stars.)

Jacey Bedford‘s Winterwood swept me into its magical, alt-history Britain; I fell in love with the cross-dressing pirate mage and the whole milieu. I have the second and third books, and look forward to reading them soon. (5 stars.)

Clean Sweep was my first introduction to Illona Andrews. The author blends humor, action, suspense, and a touch of romance into this urban fantasy, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. (4 stars.)

Romance

Casey McQuiston‘s Red, White, and Royal Blue was one of my 5 star romances for this year. Humor melds perfectly with real, sometimes wrenching emotion in this enemies-to-lovers romance about the American president’s son and a prince of England.

Another 5-star romance was Talia Hibbert‘s Get a Life, Chloe Brown, which also blends humor and deep feeling in a tale focused on Chloe’s desire to check off her “get a life” goals despite her chronic illness (ME/CFS.)

Tracey Livesay‘s Like Lovers Do is a delightful summer best-friends-to-lovers romance that doesn’t ignore the double challenge of being black and female in medicine. (4.5 stars)

And Kate Clayborn‘s Love Lettering was simply charming, a love letter to New York City as well as to romance. (4.5 stars)

Books I haven’t finished yet, but not because I didn’t love them

2020 was a tough year for everyone, and it affected my reading habits in a number of ways (as it did for many other readers.) I had a harder time concentrating on what I was reading. I found it much harder to finish books, even when I liked them. And I tended to gravitate toward familiar books and lighter subjects. For one or more of those reasons, these books are hibernating until I’m ready to pick them up again.

Binti, by Nnedi Okorafor, is beautifully written, with an well-realized main character and wonderful world-building. I listened to the audiobook and loved it… right up until the slaughter of everyone on board Binti’s ship, except Binti herself. While I was expecting the event, I didn’t anticipate the graphic description of the passengers’ deaths, nor how hard it would hit me. I fully intend to finish the book, but I need more emotional bandwidth before I do.


I was thoroughly enjoying Stefan Bachmann‘s Cinders and Sparrows until pandemic and political stress sent me into a prolonged rereading binge, and I set it aside. Again, I have every intention of finishing it—probably sooner than Binti, simply because it’s a lighter book.

17 Responses to “Best New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2020”

  1. Jen at Introverted Reader

    Get a Life Chloe Brown is on my TBR! Everyone seems to love Ilona Andrews so I need to give her books a try.

    I reacted to 2020 the same way you did–I needed fast-paced reads that didn’t take an emotional toll or require too much brain power. I can see why Binti wasn’t the right book for you right now. It is good though so I hope you finish it some day. I still need to read the last one in the trilogy.

  2. Katherine

    I’m shocked that we have no authors in common this year! I think I leaned hard into mystery and you went more fantasy in 2020. I do need to add more romance into my reading this year. I miss the genre and I’m making a note of the authors you mentioned.

  3. RO

    You’ve got a great mix of books for your shelves. I’m still reading mostly suspense, but lately, I’ve been hooked on period pieces on television. It’s making me want to go back and read lots of historical romances again. Hope you’re doing well! Hugs, RO
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