There’s always those authors where as soon as you see that they have a new book out, you know you’re going to hit the buy now button. You don’t have to read the description, and you don’t have to think about it, because you know it’s going to be good. These are mine. Full disclosure: a few of these authors have been my favourites since I was a kid. So even though I understand and recognize the problematic elements of the writer, they’re still a favourite.
In no particular order:
I can’t even remember where I first heard about her, but as soon as I heard the descriptions of her books (steampunk England with supernaturals thrown in), I knew I had to read them. She has three series all set within the same ‘verse, but in different time periods, as well as novellas relating to side characters within the books. And you often have references and characters who are seen through all three series, which is fun to see. They’re my feel-good books when I don’t want to have to think too hard.
The Finishing School quartet is about a teenage girl who is trained in the art of finishing…anything, up to and including murder. She also learns espionage and becomes quite good at it. The first book is Etiquette and Espionage.
Etiquette and Espionage description, from the back cover:
It’s one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It’s quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to finishing school.
Fourteen-year-old Sophronia Temminnick is a great trial to her poor mother—her atrocious curtsy is an embarrassment to the family name. So Mrs. Temminnick enrols her daughter in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.
But Sophronia soon realises the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine’s, young ladies certainly learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but they also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage—in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year’s education.
Set in the same world as the Parasol Protectorate, this YA series debut is filled with all the same saucy adventure and droll humour Gail Carriger’s legions of fans have come to adore.
The Parasol Protectorate series is about a preternatural (a person who has no soul) and her journey of falling in love and becoming a mother. Soulless is the first book in the series.
Soulless description, from the back cover:
Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations.
First, she has no soul. Second, she’s a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.
Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire—and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.
With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia is responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London’s high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?
Custard Protocol is about the daughter of Alexia from the previous series. She goes on adventures with her friends in a dirigible. The first book is Prudence, followed by Imprudence. There’s going to be a third, as yet untitled, book in this series, and I’m excited for it.
Prudence description, from the book flap:
Introducing the Custard Protocol series, in which Alexia Maccon’s daughter, Prudence, travels to India for Queen, country… and the perfect pot of tea.
When Prudence Alessandra Maccon Akeldama (“Rue” to her friends) is bequeathed an unexpected dirigible, she does what any sensible female under similar circumstances would do—she christens it The Spotted Custard and floats off to India.
Soon, she stumbles upon a plot involving local dissidents, a kidnapped brigadier’s wife, and some awfully familiar Scottish werewolves. Faced with a dire crisis (and an embarrassing lack of bloomers), Rue must rely on her good breeding—and her metanatural abilities—to get to the bottom of it all.
I was instantly sucked into the world of Harry Potter when I first read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone at age nine, and I haven’t been able to break away from JK’s spell since.
She has several books and series out, but the series I know her best for, and always auto buy for, is the Young Wizards series. The Young Wizards series is about a girl and a boy who discover wizardry and survive their Ordeal, which is their first mission or task as new wizards. The wizardry is more scientifically based in this series, as the mission of wizardry is to attempt to try and slow down the entropy of the universe.
So You Want to Be a Wizard description, from the back of the book:
Something stopped Nita’s hand as it ran along the bookshelf. She looked and found that one of the books had a loose thread at the top of its spine. It was one of those So You Want to Be a…books, a series on careers. So You Want to Be a Pilot, and a Scientist…a Writer.
But this one said, So You Want to Be a Wizard.
I don’t believe this, Nita thought. She shut the book and stood there, holding it in her hand, confused, amazed, suspicious—and delighted. If it was a joke, it was a great one. If it wasn’t…?
Oh, how much I love Libba Bray, let me count the ways. I first discovered her with A Great and Terrible Beauty when I was in high school, and absolutely fell in love with the characters and the world. It then led to me buying her books as soon as they came out, and loving every one. My favourite book of hers, as well as probably current all-time favourite, is Going Bovine.
Going Bovine description, from the book flap:
All sixteen-year-old Cameron wants is to get through high school—and life in general—with a minimum of effort. It’s not a lot to ask. But that’s before he’s given some bad news: he’s sick and he’s going to die. Which totally sucks.
Hope arrives in the winged form of Dulcie, a loopy punk angel/possible hallucination with a bad sugar habit. She tells Cam there is a cure—if he’s willing to go in search of it. With the help of a Gonzo, a death-obsessed, video-gaming dwarf, and a yard gnome who just might be the Viking god Balder, Cam sets off on the mother of all road trips through a twisted America of smoothie-drinking happiness cults, parallel-universe-hopping physicists, mythic New Orleans jazz musicians, whacked-out television game shows, snow-globe vigilantes, and disenfranchised, fame-hungry teens into the heart of what matters most.
From New York Times bestselling author Libba Bray comes a dark comedic journey that poses the questions: Why are we here? What is real? What makes microwave popcorn so good? Why must we die? And how do we really learn to live?
To be honest, at first I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to have five authors for this list. Then I realized I’ve been blindly buying Neil Gaiman books without entirely knowing what they’re about.
I read the Books of Magic novelization series when I was younger, and I think I liked them. I remember Timothy Hunter really reminded me of Harry Potter, even though the DC Comics series was published several years before Harry Potter.
I started rereading Neil Gaiman as an adult, starting with American Gods in preparation for the TV series which is beginning to air at the end of April, and working my way out from there, grabbing whichever books suit my fancy.
American Gods description, from the back of the book:
Locked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the magic day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana. A man no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, all he wanted was to be with Laura, the wife he deeply loved, and start a new life.
But just days before his release, Laura and Shadow’s best friend are killed in an accident. With his life in pieces and nothing to keep him tethered, Shadow accepts a job from a beguiling stranger who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. A trickster and a rogue, Wednesday seems to know more about Shadow than Shadow does himself.
Life as Wednesday’s bodyguard, driver, and errand boy is far more interesting and dangerous than Shadow ever imagined—it is a job that takes him on a dark and strange road trip and introduces him to a host of eccentric characters whose fates are mysteriously intertwined with his own.
Who are your must have authors that you love to read? Leave me a comment and let me know!