Friday, December 27, 2013

Best I've Read in 2013: Authors

Today is the last day of my Best I've Read in 2013 posts and it's all about the AUTHORS! I've talked about their books: Contemporaries, Fantasy/Paranormal/Science Fiction, Dystopias, Classics, Novellas and Short Stories. And now it's time for me to talk about the authors who stood out to me this year. In a world where books are being published left and right, where you're constantly facing hordes of new books every week, it's hard to find authors that truly stand out and become favorites. Well, these authors did.


Veterans


Cassandra Clare

Author of The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices, The Bane Chronicles and the upcoming Dark Artifices series
Cassandra Clare was born overseas and spent her early years traveling around the world with her family and several trunks of fantasy books. Cassandra worked for several years as an entertainment journalist for the Hollywood Reporter before turning her attention to fiction. She is the author of City of Bones, the first book in the Mortal Instruments trilogy and a New York Times bestseller. Cassandra lives with her fiance and their two cats in Massachusetts.

Why this author stood out to me:
Cassandra Clare has been one of my favorite authors ever since I started reading her books two years ago. City of Bones was one of the first books I read when I started reading seriously again and it drew me in immediately with its mystery, darkness, romance and beautiful prose. When I began reading The Infernal Devices series, I fell in love entirely with its characters, especially the big three: Tessa, Will and Jem. Their story has stuck with me to this day. Their struggles, their love and devotion to each other, their incredibly loyalty and selflessness shine through in every page to the very end. The conclusion to their story is what resulted in my adding Cassandra Clare to my list of Authors in my Best I've Read in 2013. Clockwork Princess was heart-wrenching and absolutely beautiful. Every word left me on the edge of my seat dreading the inevitable ending for one of my most beloved characters. Even so, I read on through the very end and I was very pleased with the way that Cassandra ended one of my most treasured series. This is honestly the best ending I have ever seen in a series. It was perfect. I know that perfect is a word that most people don't believe in using but I couldn't imagine any better way to have ended The Infernal Devices and to me that is perfection.

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Jennifer L. Armentrout (J. Lynn)

Author of Lux, Covenant, The Dark Elements, and Wait for You series
# 1 New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Jennifer L. Armentrout Lives in West Virginia.

All the rumors you heard about her state aren’t true.

Well, mostly. When she's not hard at work writing, she spends her time, reading, working out, watching zombie movies, and pretending to write.

She is the author of the Covenant Series (Spencer Hill Press), the Lux Series (Entangled Teen), Don't Look Back (Disney/Hyperion) and a yet untitled novel (Disney/Hyperion), and new YA paranormal series with Harlequin Teen.

Jennifer also writes New Adult and Adult romance under the pen name J. Lynn. The Gamble Brothers Series (Tempting the Best Man/Tempting the Player) and Wait for You. Under her pen name, she is published with Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

Why this author stood out to me:
I only began reading Jennifer L. Armentrout's amazing writing this year, but she was on my to-read list for a while. For over a year, I had her Lux series and Covenant series on my TBR list and then I finally had the chance to read Obsidian, a book about aliens of light living in small-town West Virginia, a girl who moves into a house next to one and the story of how they hated (and I use that term very loosely) each others guts so much that they fell for one another--even if they won't admit it. It's witty, steamy, romantic and thrilling. It was definitely worth my time and money. I then picked up Half-Blood, the first book in the Covenant series which in the beginning has a few similarities to another one of my favorite book series. But that isn't what drew me in. It was Jennifer's writing style, her witty characters, and the fact that our heroine, while a little reckless, had a lot of heart. She loved fiercely and believed in herself, her abilities and those that she loved. Even when faced with difficult trials she persevered. I haven't had a chance yet to finish the Covenant series or the Lux series, but you can bet I'll get to it soon. These amazing stories demand it. And through these series Jennifer has made it into my list of favorite authors from the moment I began reading them.

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Lauren DeStefano

Author of the Chemical Garden trilogy and the Internment Chronicles
Lauren DeStefano (pronounced: de STEFF ano) is a lawn gnome enthusiast and New York Times bestselling author of some books, which you can find listed below this bio. For the first six years of her life, she thought she was a mermaid and still has her suspicions. When she isn't writing, she is often composing tweets that make as little sense as possible. They can be found here: https://twitter.com/LaurenDeStefano

Why this author stood out to me:
Lauren DeStefano has a flare for writing about gritty and difficult topics. One of those being a story about a virus causing people to die in their early twenties which turns the world into chaos. People buy and sell young girls into homes where they will bare as many children as possible within the short amount of time they have left in order to preserve the human race. When I began reading the Chemical Garden trilogy, I was sucked into a scary, cruel world where human beings are desperate to save themselves and find a cure for the virus that takes their lives at a very early age. Lauren developed a story so enticing yet disturbing, it left me reeling. Even with the vile characters, I found that the story also had a lot of heart where other characters were concerned. Some of them were naive, some jaded and some just looking for an escape. The story took a wild, surprising and heartbreaking turn at the end with Sever while also offering a lot of hope, and it is because of this last book in the series that Lauren DeStefano makes my list of best authors in 2013.

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Tahereh Mafi

Author of the Shatter Me series
Tahereh Mafi is a girl. She writes books and reads books and drinks way too much coffee.


Why this author stood out to me:
If you want to talk about an author whose prose is elegant, enticing and wonderful this is the author you want. Tahereh Mafi has a writing style like no other. The words that she uses makes the feels of her story so much more encompassing. She has a way of making you feel every little moment, every small detail in a way that can't be described. Within the amount of time that it took me to read Shatter Me and Unravel Me I felt every emotion possible. There are moments that made me want to throw the books clear across the room and through a window and then there was the occasional moment that had my face flushing so bright red I could've put Rudolph to shame. Not because the scene I'm talking about was erotic in any way, but because of the subtlety of the moment and just how beautiful it was and how I really felt everything that our main character was feeling in that moment. I couldn't imagine this story written any other way. I can't wait to pick up Ignite Me and read more of her beautiful writing.

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Debut Authors

I didn't read very many debut authors this year but out of those that I did read, these two stood out the most to me.

Janeal Falor

Author of the Mine series
Amazon best selling author Janeal Falor lives in Utah with her husband and three children. In her non-writing time she teaches her kids to make silly faces, cooks whatever strikes her fancy, and attempts to cultivate a garden even when half the things she plants die. When it's time for a break she can be found taking a scenic drive with her family or drinking hot chocolate.

Why this author stood out to me:
Janeal Falor really shined through for me this year with her debut novel You Are Mine about women enslaved by warlocks. These women have magic in their blood and it is the potency of that magic that decides how much they are worth--and that's not saying much. If they have powerful magic in their blood, they will be sold to the highest bidder and will therefore have to do anything and everything they tell her to do. It doesn't matter what that is. The main character of Janeal's novel is sold to a despicable man, but in a switch of fate ends up with what she believes is a barbarian. She goes on an incredible journey of self-discovery and learning about the world around her. She tests not only her owner, but the magical country she lives within and just how far she can go without being punished. I couldn't put this book down until I knew what happened to her in the end and I was surprised at how her situation turned out. I'm really looking forward to continuing on reading about her journey in the sequel.

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Pepper Winters

Author of the Monsters in the Dark series
Pepper Winters wears many roles. Some of them include writer, reader, sometimes wife. She loves dark, taboo stories that twist with your head. The more tortured the hero, the better, and she constantly thinks up ways to break and fix her characters. Oh, and sex… her books have sex.  She loves to travel and has an amazing, fabulous hubby who puts up with her love affair with her book boyfriends. Her debut book Tears of Tess will be followed with Quintessentially Q. You didn’t think Q could stop so soon, did you? Her other two titles, Last Shadow and Broken Chance will be coming soon.

Why this author stood out to me:
 Pepper Winters wouldn't even be on this list if I hadn't gone out of my comfort zone and read her book about women trafficking, slavery and non-consensual sex. Going into reading Tears of Tess, I was really worried that I wouldn't like it. I was so sure that I wasn't going to be able to finish it but was surprised to find that I really enjoyed it. While her situation was scary and disturbing, I found myself immersed in the story. The man who owned her was mysterious and nothing at all like I expected. There was a depth to him that is only revealed at the end of the story and the whole time I read I could feel that there was more to him than he let on. I found myself entranced by him even though I knew he was a monster and that's exactly what happens to our protagonist as well. She went from one extreme with her boyfriend to the other extreme with her master. It intrigued and excited her, giving her feelings for him that she never thought was possible. I applaud Pepper Winters for touching on a subject that most people can't even read, let alone write about.

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Which authors stood out to you this year? Did any of these authors make your list?

This is the last post of my Best I've Read in 2013. I really hope that you've all enjoyed learning about the books I loved reading and the authors that stood out to me this year. I also hope that if you haven't read any of these books that you'll pick them up and give them a chance. You won't be disappointed! :)


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Happy Reading

-Kelly