This week’s topic was supposed to be “Ten Most Recent Additions to My Book Collection,” but I haven’t bought more than a handful of books in the last eight years, so that is kind of a non-starter for me. I am on a very limited income, so I’m an all-library all-the-time girl these days.
So, once again, I scoured the TTT archives looking for something interesting, and this seemed like something I could sink my teeth into. Now some of these folks are already *kinda* well-known, but those I think should be ubiquitous. And the ones that are not known at all really are hidden gems that you all should be reading. So, without more of the, you know, ado, here they are.
Ten Authors Who Deserve More Love
I know, I KNOW. I talk about Robert Crais a lot. But he is still vastly under-appreciated. James Patterson gets all the love (and the sales…and the shelf space…), Robert B. Parker got his name above the title, and Harlan Coben is pretty much solely responsible for, like, 19% of the Netflix catalog. And here’s my guy Robert, writing circles around them all.
Start with: Well, this is tricky. I say The Monkey’s Raincoat, because it’s the first book and I think that series should be read in order. But Crais himself thinks that those early books are a little rough, a little not-representative of his growth as a writer, and he says start with L.A. Requiem.
Doing something new in the fantasy space is tough these days…it’s such a broad and far-reaching genre that sometimes if feels like everything has been done already, and done to death in some cases. But the Staries series felt new and fresh. Sure, there was court intrigue and fae that were keen to stab you in the back. But the land itself being sentient, picking its own ruler…I hadn’t seen that before. And I really LOVED the entire series.
Start with: Lord of Stariel
Lucy Score is another author that I talk about every chance I get and that is for a very good reason: She is JUST THAT GOOD. She cut her teeth in steamy romance novels, and has moved on to steamy mysteries. If you like your mysteries with a funny supporting cast and some romance, Lucy is your girl. She blows Janet Evanovich away in this category.
Start with: Riley Thorne and the Dead Guy Next Door. Or, if you want a romance, Rock Bottom Girl.
As a lover of all things Urban Fantasy, I have consumed “Urban Fantasy Series You Will Love” lists like they are cookies. And I can eat some cookies, y’all.
My point is that I did not see the Alex Craft series mentioned…well, I don’t remember it being mentioned at all, and certainly not often. Those lists are all about Patricia Briggs and Ilona Andrews and Karen Marie Moning and Chloe Neill and Richelle Mead and so many others. And most of those series are really good…but I think that this one was special. I loved the setting, the world building was top-notch…and there was a door into Faerie in the back of a freaking restaurant. I mean…come on. Plus, she wrote a love triangle that didn’t make me cringe, which is a damn miracle.
Start with: Grave Witch
Penny may be the best-known author on this list. Her Armande Gamache books are fairly well-known, I think. But I don’t think that fairly is enough. These books are amazing, and mystery-lovers everywhere should be reading them. I read nothing but mystery series for more than twenty years, and they somehow escaped my notice until 2015, which was eight years after the first book was published. I introduced them to several other mystery-lovers, which tells me that they are still under-read. So, if you like mysteries and you haven’t gotten on the Gamache train, well…here’s a free ticket.
Start with: Still Life
I don’t read a lot of science fiction. I’ve never been a huge fan, which is why I was so surprised to fall head-over-heels in love with Nathan Lowell’s Trader’s Tales. Lowell somehow made space opera feel intimate, with characters that jumped off the page, and stories that seemed possible. Plus, I learned how to make coffee in space!
Start with: Quartershare
I am stunned that 10 years in, there are still people who haven’t read Wool. I happened upon one the other day, who said “yeah…I’ve been meaning to read that for years…”
Stop meaning to. Read it. It’s freaking BRILLIANT.
Start with: Wool
This one is really sad, and I apologize. I stumbled onto Victor Kloss via a facebook ad, one of those “if you liked Harry Potter, you’ll love this!” things. It was available for Kindle Unlimited, so I snagged the first book…and fell in love with this world. Yes, it’s about kids at a magic school, but the feel was completely different from Potter. I thought it was really well done, and devoured the next four books…only to find when I went to see when I should expect book six that Kloss had passed away.
I was pretty devastated. But he had the last book mostly written, and had left copious notes, and after a while, his widow announced that book six was going to be published. Now, I’ll be honest. I haven’t read book six yet. I’m still pretty sad that Victor didn’t get to finish it himself. But the first five books are totally worth it on their own merits, and I believe that I will also find something to love in the last book when I can take enough deep breaths to get to it.
He deserves to be read.
Start with: Elizabeth’s Legacy
Melissa F. Olsen
15+ books into her Old World series and she is still considered a second-tier UF author. She shouldn’t be. I would put her stuff up against Patricia Briggs any day of the week. Her take on magic is fresh, and I am in love with her characters. She knows when to propel the plot, when to tug on heartstrings. Her world-building is top-notch. If you like UF and you have missed this one, give it a look.
Start with: Dead Spots
When your dad has won two Edgar Awards and the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America, you are probably pretty prepared to live in his shadow as a mystery writer. But Alafair Burke is the real deal, y’all. She was nominated for an Edgar herself in 2017, and if she doesn’t win one eventually, well, I’ll eat a sock. She’s terrific…and (shhhhh…) I think better than her dad.
Start with: The Ex
So that’s it. Ten folks you should be reading (if you aren’t). Talk to me in the comments…who is your favorite under-appreciated author?