Random (but not really)

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Books of 2015: Best New-to-Me Authors

Books I loved (Published in 2015)
Books I Loved
Covers I loved
Covers I hated

Although I did a LOT of re-reading this year, I still managed to find some new-to-me authors: two historical romance authors and two comic series.

Joanna Bourne
The Spymaster’s Lady (2008)
My Lord and Spymaster (2008)
The Forbidden Rose (2010)
The Black Hawk (2011)

The series I read was historical romance with elements of mystery (spies, duh) and since I love historical mysteries, this was catnip to me. The series is set between 1794 and 1818 with the upheavals in France being at the heart of most of the escapades.

The first book I thought was phenomenal, and the next two were very good. Oddly, the third, which had my favorite character, Adrien, was the weakest book of the series. Which I found terribly disappointing.


Carla Kelly
Miss Grimsley’s Oxford Career (2012)
Summer Campaign (2012)

These books are set during the Napoleonic era, and are not part of a series–or even much similar to each other–but both are delightful. The first finds a young lady attempting to go to Oxford, however, this isn’t the story you’re probably expecting with that set-up. It was lovely.

The second tells of a young woman who is about to make a terrible marriage, but has little to no choice in the matter. Because social strictures were quite different at that time, you spend the book wondering how on earth she’s going to escape her engagement.

These are also boink-free books, which I especially liked. :)


Daniel José Older
Salsa Nocturna (2012)
Half-Resurrection Blues (2015)

These are supernatural fantasy with Hispanic characters, which is a sub-genre you don’t see a lot of. But that isn’t why you should read it. You should read them because they’re good stories, and come at supernatural fantasy from a different point than much of what is currently out there: for one thing, the main character doesn’t have super-strength or super-healing or anything except his ability to walk in the human world and the world of ghosts, and a sword to help him out.

The short story collection, Salsa Nocturna, came first, and is a lovely introduction to both the world and many of the characters in this world.


Ms. Marvel
No Normal (2014)
Generation Why (2015)
Crushed (2015)

This a a fabulous YA comic. The girl who becomes the new Ms Marvel is Muslim, with strict (but not unrealistically so) parents, a brother who seems to be embracing a form of Islam that worries her family a little, and two best friends–one of who is a Muslim who chooses to wear the full hijab, and the other a Catholic boy who is most likely in love with her.

The first volume requires no familiarity with the Marvel universe; the following volumes left me feeling a tiny bit lost, since I don’t follow the referenced volumes, but they are still good, and this is a series you should get for teen girls in your life AND read for yourself.

Black Widow
The Finely Woven Thread (2015)
The Tightly Tangled Web (2015)
Last Days (2015)

This series is NOT for young teens, and the end is very dark, but it is very very good, and I highly recommend it. Black Widow is very much a damaged character, trying to make up for her past as a Soviet assassin (the last volume delves deeply into her past, and is as depressing as it is good).

As I’m a fan of complex, complicated, conflicted characters (yes, I did run out of “C” words) I very much loved Natasha. She’s all those, but she’s also competent (another “C” word!) and does what needs to be done–things that other Avengers won’t do.

Very lovely, and well-worth checking out; just be aware that it’s dark–especially the final volume.

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