Top Ten Tuesday: New Authors Read in 2021

For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday:

January 25: New-to-Me Authors I Discovered in 2021

These are authors who I read for the first time in 2021 and who I want to continue to read in the future

Lucy Foley – I read The Guest List and The Hunting Party in 2021. Neither were brilliant but both were entertaining Locked Room mysteries that kept me involved and guessing, That was what I needed mentally when I read them, and it’s good to know there’s an author I can go to for that.

Alix E. Harrow – I’d been meaning to read The Ten Thousand Doors of January since it was released in late 2019. I finally got to it this year. Often when I finally get to a book I’d been meaning to read for a long time, it doesn’t live up to expectations. In this case, it did.

Jenny Offill– I sort of stumbled across Weather at the exact right time to read it: one of those days when you feel like humanity, and the world itself, is headed straight downhill. It didn’t confirm or deny those feelings but it definitely acknowledged them. That inspired me to check out Dept of Speculation as well. I definitely want to look for her work more in the future.

Kelly Link – I read her story collection Get In Trouble, which totally appealed to my desire for weirdness in my fiction. Most of these stories are set in places we recognize enough so that they seem familiar, but Link introduces elements that set it askew, and eventually turn it upside down. I definitely want to check out more of her work soon.

Margarita Montimore – Someone in my book club recommended Oona Out of Order this year, and I enjoyed it a lot. It’s about a women who ages out of order starting from her 19th birthday onward. So she wakes up and it’s 32 years in the future, she’s 51 (externally; internally she’s still 19) and has to live her 51 year old life for a year. From 51 she might leap forwards to 70 or back to 20. It sounds confusing, but it was done well enough for me to want to check out more from the author.

Julia Quinn – I’m not usually a huge reader of the romance genre (which I’m classifying as different from books that have romance in them) but I’m starting to become more of one, since romance novels have happy endings, and the craziness of the last 2 years has definitely made me see the appeal in a story I know will make me happy! I started reading her Bridgerton series, because I liked the Netflix series of the same name. I’m still trying to decide if I’ll read the book before the TV version airs (what I did in preparation for the upcoming second season/The Viscount Who Loved Me) or if I’ll just binge a bunch of them when I’m in the mood for a HEA

Silvia Moreno-Garcia – I read Gods of Jade and Shadow and Mexican Gothic in 2021. I enjoyed them both, but they were both very different books. I suppose the only things you could say they had in common was the speculative fiction genre and a strong Mexican setting. It looks like her other books are just as varied, so I look forward to them.

Philippa Pearce Tom’s Midnight Garden is a book I missed a child. I’d seen so many people cite it as a favorite, so I decided to read it in 2021 when I discovered a copy in a used bookshop. I’m very glad I did! I want to check out some of her other work soon. It looks pretty varied.

Maud Hart LovelaceThe Betsy-Tacy series was another series that I didn’t read as a kid. But again, I’d seen it cited as influential by many people. I finally read the first four books in the series, and found them charming and comforting. I look forward to continuing with the series in 2022.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Last Ten Books I Read With Nature on the Cover

For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday:

May 11: Books with Nature on the Cover (flowers, trees, landscapes, animals, etc.)

I decided to just go with the last 10 I read:

Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl– I really liked this one. It’s sort of a YA fantasy meets Agatha Christie-esque murder mystery. I initially sought this out because I liked Night Film, one of Pessl’s previous books, but this was totally different. But I liked this too.

Get in Trouble by Kelly Link– Liked this one a lot too. I’ve never read anything by Link before, but I definitely want to check out more of her work. Most of these stories are set in places we recognize enough so that they seem familiar, but Link introduces elements that set it askew, and eventually turn it upside down. The stories dip into and out of different genres with ease. The only thing that all these tales have in common is that feeling of ordinary strangeness (or strange ordinaryness, depending how you look at it!)

Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens– I was actually really a bit disappointed in this one. I think because it had been hyped so much. I didn’t think it was bad by any means! I just didn’t think it was as great as I’d heard. I do think that people who really like nature infused writing will enjoy this one though.

The Duchess by Jude Deveraux– This was another book that I’d heard was great, but I found just OK. I’ve been trying to be more open to/aware of the romance genre recently. I’d read other books by the author that I’d enjoyed, so I thought I’d give this one a try, since as I said, I’d heard really good things about it. Maybe my expectations were a bit too high, because it didn’t live up.

Blackthorn by Judy Nedry– This one was a disappointment. It’s subtitled “A Gothic Thriller.” Since I really like gothic thrillers, I was looking forward to it. I ended up with a very unlikeable heroine (which is fine with me, if it works for the book, here I didn’t feel like it did) and a fairly predictable set up.

It Started With A Secret by Jill Mansell- I read this early in the year during a somewhat stressful period for me, and it was just what I needed. It was silly, fun, and it didn’t try to be anything more.

Christmas at the Heartbreak Cafe by Melissa Hill– I suppose that I could say the same for this one that I said for the book above this one.  It was sort of the literary equivalent of a Hallmark/Lifetime movie: you know exactly where it’s going, but you still enjoy getting there, if you’re in the right mood for it.

The Things She’s Seen by Ambelin Kwaymullina – Another fantasy/mystery. This one is a short read (about 200 pages) but it packs a lot into that small space. We get two narratives told in poetry and prose. It also provides a look at some dark Australian history and a look at historical and modern Aboriginal culture.

The Deep by Alma Katsu – This is sort of a supernatural thriller set against the backdrop of the sinking of the Titanic and it’s sister ship the Brittanic. It was a fun combination of mystery, fantasy, ghost story and historical fiction.

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter – This is about two separate events and the connection between them that spans many years, many lives. Not perfect, but I enjoyed it.