Hi guys! Welcome to the first post celebrating my SIX YEARS as a blogger. CrAzY to think I’ve been doing this that long. It feels just like yesterday I started. I don’t think I even knew that book blogging was a thing when I started. I just knew that I loved books (and hated others) and I wanted a place to talk about them.
Anyway, so out of the many posts I’m doing to celebrate, this is the first topic.[banner to come, because it’s so not happenin at 1:00 in the morning.]
Top Debut Authors
I tried to reign it in, but you can only cut so much when you’ve been in the game for six years. So I had to split it into two posts. This is Part 1 which covers 2011-2013.
What happened to 2010? Well, I don’t have many records for 2010. Just my memories. I didn’t join Good Reads until really late that year.
I have my memories of course, but I can only think of a few authors who were debuts. At that, I know some died before continuing their careers, or simply quit writing afterwards. Some will be talked about in other lists. So I decided to go ahead and start the listing with 2011.
In a few of these cases, the debut I list is their Debut Young Adult novel. A few of these wrote adult previously, but had never published for YA or MG before
Click the book banners to see the Synopsis and my commentary!
TOP DEBUTS 19
In 2011, I read the most books in a calendar year I’ve ever read. I read 190 books. Yep, that’s a lot of books (click here to see them all.) So out of those, these are the debuts that mean a lot to me (or influenced me/the site in some important way.)
Jennifer Armentrout - Obsidian
“Starting over sucks.
When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring… until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.
And then he opened his mouth.
Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something… unexpected happens.
The hot alien living next door marks me.
You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.
If I don’t kill him first, that is.”
This was the very first book I bought and read on my kindle (first kindle) on Christmas day, 2011. I was sucked in instantly and the love/hate chemistry between Katy and Daemon was so on fire. Really addicting! In fact, the last of the series was just published last year (at a whopping 1,001 pages!) This story is still a favorite of mine, and Armentrout is one of my FAVORITE AUTHORS to this day. It’s one of the series that made me fully realize my love of Sci-Fi (though I had plenty of favorites before it.)
Rachel Vincent - My Soul to Take
“She doesn’t see dead people. She senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.
Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about her need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who’ll be next.”
I’ve actually been meaning to go back and re-read it, then finish the series. I remember it being really addictive, and then loving Nash. And then, end up hating him. You won’t believe what he does (in book 3? 4? somewhere around there) The path these characters go on is beyond incredible. and some of the choices they make are heartbreaking. I’d definitely recommend it, even though I never got to finish the series. (I so need to do that this year…)
Trinity Faegen - Mephisto Covenant
“Sasha is desperate to find out who murdered her father. When getting the answer means pledging her soul to Eryx, she unlocks a secret that puts her in grave danger—she is an Anabo, a daughter of Eve, and Eryx’s biggest threat.
A son of Hell, immortal, and bound to Earth forever, Jax looks for redemption in the Mephisto Covenant—God’s promise he will find peace in the love of an Anabo. After a thousand years, he’s finally found the girl he’s been searching for: Sasha.
With the threat of Eryx always looming, Jax knows he has to keep Sasha safe and win her over. But can he? Will Sasha love him and give up her mortal life?”
My biggest memory of this series, was the ending. omg. guys. There was a moment right before the ending that was just out of this word amazing. I almost said divine, but that’d be a bad pun. XD The ending itself was amazing as well. But it’s a moment when the fierce unbeliever in Jax, ends up answering a question that he was born asking. Totally worth the read. I finished it on Netgalley while my grandmother was in a nursing home. Worried about mortality (and her somewhat dis-belief in God at the time,) The book, and Jax’s moment just struck an emotional cord. It made me tear up, and made the book truly mean something to me.
Julie Kagawa - Iron King
“Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined.
Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan’s life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.
When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she’s known is about to change.
But she could never have guessed the truth – that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she’ll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil, no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.”
I found this series entertaining, I’m pretty sure I read all three right in a row. But the real game changer, was the fourth and final book: Iron Knight. what a wowzer. Which is probably why I’m so fuzzy on the details of the other three books. *blushes* my bad. Ash is the perfect brooding prince, and somehow manages to not come off as too cliche’d. But I’ll admit, Iron Knight colored the rest of the series for me.
Andrea Cremer - Nightshade
“Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she’ll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters’ laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything- including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?”
My best friend recommended this one to me, so I read it as fast as I could so I could tell her. It’s front to end action and intensity. Both physically and mentally to the main characters. The intensity was intoxicating, and stayed throughout the series. Human Boy, by the way, ends up on an interesting road. His sweetness, but also his love for Calla, made him a perfect dichotomy to Ren (who’s cocky in his destiny.) In a rare book that I think makes the love triangle work.
Veronica Roth - Divergent
“In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.”
I’m not sure I really have to say much about this debut! Other than the world building was phenomenal! The only thing that kind of was a hangup for me, was that Harry Potter was still fresh in the mind (Deathly Hallows Part 2 was released Summer 2011) and I felt like the five factions was really close to the four houses. But the book still highly entertaining. Confession time, I still haven’t read Insurgent. Sorry sorry sorry. I’ve somehow managed to avoid spoilers. Four is definitely a swoon worthy guy, and his whole image (from his name, to his tattoos) make him a thoroughly original character.
In 2012, I read 103 books. Just (or almost) half of what I did in 2011. (Click here to see them.) In the summer of 2012, I got really sick, and reading just wasn’t as easy as it was before. I couldn’t do it as much either. Nevertheless, I’d say that 2012 was the biggest year of debut authors whose works hit it off with me. 2012 was also the first year I went to a con (BEA12) which was a journey in itself! Without further ado, here are the 2012’s that made a difference.
Wendy Higgins - Sweet Evil
“Embrace the Forbidden
What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences?
This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels.
Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna Whitt was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She’s aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn’t until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage and her willpower is put to the test. He’s the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.
Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?”
Holy Hotness Batman. This series is ablaze with the chemistry between Anna and Kaidan. The plot is amazing, the characters are fantastic and like I said, the chemistry and emotions between the characters, are 100%
sinful enrapturing engrossing.
Definitely became one of my favorite series, and Wendy became one of my favorite writers. Could potentially be related, but she’s a friend (and I think, critique partner) of Jennifer Armentrout and both series have small character cameo’s within each other. Kai is definitely a top book boyfriend, and he and Anna are one of my OTP’s. So cute. Kai influencing Anna and vice versus really flavored the whole series. Also, Kai’s love for Anna’s freckles are adorable. Also, also, a specific scene will be mentioned in another list in the coming week. Keep your eyes peeled.
Michelle Hodkin - The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
“Mara Dyer believes life can’t get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her strangely unharmed.
She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.
This book was wonderful, with a main character who’s somewhat unhinged. One of the few books who pulled off some form of magical realism and got away with it. Noah is adooooorable. There’s something he does in the sequel that convinced me that he’s an extremely unique YA Boyfriend. But the book as a whole just pulls off this amazing creepy vibe that makes the book really stick in your mind.
Jessica Shirvington - Embrace
“It starts with a whisper.
“It’s time for you to know who you are…”
Stange dreams leave her with very real injuries and there’s a dark tattoo weaving its way up her arms. The guy she thought she could fall in love with just told her he’s only half-human – oh, and same goes for her. And she keeps hearing a distant fluttering of wings.
Violet Eden is having a very bad 17th bithday.
But if angels seek vengeance and humans are warriors, you could do a lot worse than betting on Violet Eden.”
The Violet Eden chapters starts here, with Embrace. And it quickly became one of my all time favorite series. Each book is powerful, and there is no story-arc lull in this five book series. The emotions are raw, the decisions and mistakes are so real. And the love and sacrifices? So unreal (in the most real, I-long-for-that, sort of way,) so beautiful they’ll make you cry. Violet and Lincoln are my OTP’s for life. They are the OTP to end all OTPs. But that’ll be a different post. Agh, so beautiful. I’ll cherish this series forever.
Katie McGarry - Pushing the Limits
“I won’t tell anyone, Echo. I promise.” Noah tucked a curl behind my ear. It had been so long since someone touched me like he did. Why did it have to be Noah Hutchins? His dark brown eyes shifted to my covered arms. “You didn’t do that-did you? It was done to you?” No one ever asked that question. They stared. They whispered. They laughed. But they never asked.
So wrong for each other…and yet so right.
No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with “freaky” scars on her arms. Even Echo can’t remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal. But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo’s world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she’ll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again..”
I might do a full post on this one soon, because it was so influential for me. It was one of the first arcs I received from a publisher (Thank God, I kept it.) This is definitely a Good-Girl-Meets-Secretly-Sweet-Bad-Boy story, but it’s a realllly good one. A really emotional one. It wasn’t until recently how much I realize this book reflects part of my own life story. (Which is why I might do a post on it.) But even if the romance is 100% amazing, that’s not what sold me on this book.
What sold me, was Noah’s love for his little brother. I can’t say a lot, but there’s a moment when Noah gets desperate. He does what he thinks he must, and then Echo helps him realize that loving, sometimes means letting go. It made me cry like a baby. It was so wonderfully emotional. Katie McGarry became a favorite at that point, and still is.
Marissa Meyer - Cinder
“Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.”
When some people heard of a cyborg Cinderella, they were like “for realz? Wut?” and they just didn’t think it was going to appeal or take off.
Thank God I wasn’t one of those people. With my already well established love of Sci-Fi I jumped at the chance. I got it on Netgalley (and still weep that I didn’t think to request a physical copy. I’m still trying to collect arcs of this darned series.) Then, I fell in love with it. I can remember thinking that the first half was a tad slow, but man oh man, did it take off after that. I got so righteously angry on Cinder’s behalf.
Also, a mechanic named Cinder, who’s a cyborg? Best Cinderella ever. Sweet but spicy Kai is also a big plus. And of course, Cinder getting to the ball is 100% badass. Just sayin.
Miranda Kenneally - Catching Jordan
“ONE OF THE BOYS
What girl doesn’t want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn’t just surrounded by hot guys, though-she leads them as the captain and quarterback of her high school football team. They all see her as one of the guys and that’s just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university.
But everything she’s ever worked for is threatened when Ty Green moves to her school. Not only is he an amazing QB, but he’s also amazingly hot. And for the first time, Jordan’s feeling vulnerable. Can she keep her head in the game while her heart’s on the line?”
Of course, this one was amazingly done. I don’t know many authors who could pull off a female quarterback without coming off as….working too hard. But this book was perfect. I love how her romantic interest is actually her competition for being quarterback. It created a lot of conflict internally and externally.
But I loved how Ty treated her, in contrast to how her football crazy father treated her. Agh. I wanted to bitch slap that man so many times. Beautiful. Just a masterpiece. To this day, I’m still picking up Kenneally titles. She has a gift for sports themed writing, which not a lot of people can say. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen another author do sports like she does.
Marie Lu - Legend
“What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.
From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.”
This book was a highly entertaining dystopian (in a year where dystopian was just starting to crest it’s popularity) but what threw me over the edge for this one, was what Day’s brother does at the end. I cried. For real. Writing this post made me realize how many sibling related things sell it for me. I guess it means I really love my sister. But the moment was perfect. I’ve never seen Phantom of the opera, but this was an amazing retelling, and I haven’t seen one do it better yet. But Day and his brother? Boom. Perfection.
A.C. Gaughen - Scarlet
“Will Scarlet is good at two things: stealing from the rich and keeping secrets – skills that are in high demand in Robin Hood’s band of thieves, who protect the people of Nottingham from the evil sheriff. Scarlet’s biggest secret of all is one only Robin and his men know…that she is posing as a thief; that the slip of a boy who is fast with sharp knives is really a girl.
The terrible events in her past that led Scarlet to hide her real identity are in danger of being exposed when the thief taker Lord Gisbourne arrives in town to rid Nottingham of the Hood and his men once and for all. As Gisbourne closes in a put innocent lives at risk, Scarlet must decide how much the people of Nottingham mean to her, especially John Little, a flirtatious fellow outlaw, and Robin, whose quick smiles have the rare power to unsettle her. There is real honor among these thieves and so much more – making this a fight worth dying for.”
Scarlet isn’t for everyone, due to it’s thickly stylized language towards the uneducated of the day and age. But it’s one of the most amazing (if not, the most amazing) retelling of Robin Hood I’ve read yet. And I’ve read a lot of them. Gritty, honest, it tugs at nostalgia’s heart, because, hey, this is Robin Hood. Nearly ever society known to man has a Robin Hood legend. Gisbourne is the perfect villain. Robin is the perfect balance to Scarlet, as he’s easygoing, but tough. Caring, and can be a mother hen when it comes to certain topics. (like making sure Scarlet doesn’t give every meal of hers to street kids.) And attempting to keep her secrets. It’s just BEAUTIFUL.Gah. Another series I’m trying to collect arcs of. So beautiful.
Zoraida Cordova - Vicious Deep
“For Tristan Hart, everything changes with one crashing wave.
He was gone for three days. Sucked out to sea in a tidal wave and spit back ashore at Coney Island with no memory of what happened. Now his dreams are haunted by a terrifying silver mermaid with razor-sharp teeth.
His best friend Layla is convinced something is wrong. But how can he explain he can sense emotion like never before? How can he explain he’s heir to a kingdom he never knew existed? That he’s suddenly a pawn in a battle as ancient as the gods.
Something happened to him in those three days. He was claimed by the sea…and now it wants him back.”
BRAVO. A mermaid tale about a teenage boy. Perfect. This story was super tactile. Salty to the core. Also has a whiff of Percy Jackson, if I’m being honest, because it has a really great Quest type conflict (which isn’t commonly seen in YA.) Anyway, it’s funny, well written, and it’ll rip you right out to sea….only to return you to shore…after you’ve finished the whole series. XD Think Thirteenth Year, but with an older boy….and a YA book. XD
In 2013, I got even sicker. I redesigned my site (only halfway successfully.) and just couldn’t get my head in the game. I only read 66 books that year (the second lowest count from 2011-16.) (Click here to see the books I read in 2013) It was the first year, however, that I went to the ALA (ALA13 – Chicago.) So out of those 66, here are the debuts that were notable (believe it or not, I read very few debuts that year.) A lot of books I read where simply not from debut authors. Some were, but weren’t recommendable, and a few others will be featured in my Indie Authors list post instead.
Evan Angler - Swipe
“Everyone gets the Mark. It gives all the benefits of citizenship. Yet if getting the Mark is such a good thing, then why does it feel so wrong?
Set in a future North America that is struggling to recover after famine and global war, “Swipe” follows the lives of three kids caught in the middle of a conflict they didn’t even know existed. United under a charismatic leader, every citizen of the American Union is required to get the Mark on their 13th birthday in order to gain the benefits of citizenship.
The Mark is a tattoo that must be swiped by special scanners for everything from employment to transportation to shopping. It’s almost Logan Langly’s 13th birthday and he knows he should be excited about getting the Mark, but he hasn’t been able to shake the feeling he’s being watched. Not since his sister went to get her Mark five years ago . . . and never came back.
When Logan and his friends discover the truth behind the Mark, will they ever be able to go back to being normal teenagers?”
Somewhat inspired by Revelations (the book in the Bible) this story is marvelously written, an definitely addictive. It’s extremely well written, with fantastic world building. Not only is it a fantastic debut, but it’s within the top five books I’ve read from Christain Fiction pools. It’s quality standard is not near as low as most christian fiction I’ve read. It’s a bit like Bible meets Unwind by Neal Shusterman.
Ashley Elston - The Rules for Disappearing
“She’s been six different people in six different places: Madeline in Ohio, Isabelle in Missouri, Olivia in Kentucky . . . But now that she’s been transplanted to rural Louisiana, she has decided that this fake identity will be her last.
Witness Protection has taken nearly everything from her. But for now, they’ve given her a new name, Megan Rose Jones, and a horrible hair color. For the past eight months, Meg has begged her father to answer one question: What on earth did he do – or see – that landed them in this god-awful mess? Meg has just about had it with all the Suits’ rules — and her dad’s silence. If he won’t help, it’s time she got some answers for herself.
But Meg isn’t counting on Ethan Landry, an adorable Louisiana farm boy who’s too smart for his own good. He knows Meg is hiding something big. And it just might get both of them killed. As they embark on a perilous journey to free her family once and for all, Meg discovers that there’s only one rule that really matters — survival.”
This book was FANTASTIC. And yay for Louisiana! And smart farm boys! This one is steeped in mystery. It grips you from the beginning, and does. not. let. go.
Right up to the end, when the plot twists and before you know it, it’s all over! A sequel was written (which I haven’t read yet.) but even so, the ending was satisfying, and the mystery was well delivered on. No let downs here. Ethan was adorable (just like it says in the synopsis) and his chemistry with Meg is wonderful, especially after she’s been tormented by schoolmates for carrying a huge back with her (her go bag, which has everything that matters, in case she’s scooped up by WPP agents and isn’t allowed time to go pack.) It’s tender, and beautiful.
Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner - These Broken Stars
“Luxury spaceliner Icarus suddenly plummets from hyperspace into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive – alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a cynical war hero. Both journey across the eerie deserted terrain for help. Everything changes when they uncover the truth.
The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.”
AAaahhhhh. This is one beautiful Sci-Fi. Intricate, and so well done… Sometimes books that are co-authored don’t sail straight for me. They seem too disjointed. But this one was marvelous. And, a Sci-Fi to it’s core. It’s not hardcore per se, but it’s not as watered down as some YA sci-fi’s are. The romance is so well done, but the plot is finely balanced. It’s a survival story, a love story, a political story, it’s just perfect. Tarver is pretty much a space sailor, war hero and all. And Lilac, isn’t as weak as her family’s image makes her seem. The devastation of the Icarus’s crash was very well done. Makes an event like the Titanic sinking feel reachable, and realistic. Highly recommend. It’s also one of the books that inspired me to design my site space themed (though I didn’t redesign for several years after reading this.)
Whew! Sorry for the long post. I tried to keep it brief but I kept remembering things about the books that I wanted to mention. I didn’t think I’d remember enough about these to fully write reviews (since all my original reviews for them have been lost) but by the looks of this gigantic post, I’d say I probably could have. Ah well.
Be sure to subscribe so you catch Part 2, which covers 2014-16! Do you remember any Debuts you read from 2011-13? Or just books from forever ago that particularly stick in your mind? Tell me in the comments!