5 Awesome Authors To Give For Christmas
When it comes to Christmas gifts (or birthday, anniversary, or just-because-it’s-Sunday gifts for that matter), a good book is almost always a guaranteed win for a book lover. But the definition of a good book can be different for everyone. For some people, it’s a particular author. For others, a specific genre. And then, of course, there’s bibliophiles like me where the definition of a good book is any book with a good plot and decent writing, regardless of author or genre.With independent publishing, sometimes there’s a really great book/author that doesn’t get a whole lot of publicity. With that in mind, I decided to list five of my favorite authors, along with one or two of their book titles that I think are outstanding. Some are traditionally published, while others are independently published. But regardless of the route they took, they are incredible and well worth the read.1. Lisa Jackson. Up first is the amazing Lisa Jackson, the very talented romantic suspense author. There are so many reasons I love her. Her writing is wonderful, her stories tight and fast paced. Her settings are perfect: idyllic and peaceful during the day, and creepy and intimidating by night. Her characters are well-drawn, people that you would love (or hate, in the case of the bad guy), if they were real.
Many of her books contain the same characters. There’s the New Orleans series with Detectives Bentz and Montoya, and the Montana To Die series with Detectives Pescoli and Alvarez. But what’s great about her series is that you don’t have to read the books in order, or even read all of them, for one to make sense. They all work as stand alone books (although, there are benefits to reading the series in order, too). The most recent of her books that I read was Devious, which is book 7 in the New Orleans series, and I absolutely loved it. Deep Freeze, book 1 in her West Coast series, is another that I love.
2. Stephen King. Is there anyone that can read who hasn’t heard of Stephen King? The man is – well, I don’t know that I can come up with a word to describe him. The imagination that he has, to create the worlds, the monsters, the characters he creates is just mind boggling. And though his books are often several hundred pages long, they’re never boring. Set in everyday American towns, or a post-Apocalyptic world, the stories King weaves are so realistic that they are absolutely terrifying.
His books are so varied that it’s hard to just just a couple of favorites. It and The Stand are two of my all time favorites, and Lisey’s Story is probably my favorite romance novel ever. Yes, I am well aware that calling one of King’s stories a romance seems ridiculously wrong, but if you read Lisey’s Story, you’ll see what I’m talking about. It’s the story of a woman whose husband has died, and how she copes with his death, but also of the love they shared – with King’s unique twist and monsters, of course.
But I think, if I had to pick an ultimate favorite, one of King’s books that stands above all the rest, it would have to be 11/22/63. In 11/22/63, King takes the real life event of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, and toys with the “what if” factor. What if JFK hadn’t been assassinated? What if he had survived the shooting? What if just one thing had been different? Growing up, I’d always heard about what a great man JFK was, and how wonderful the world might have been had he survived and served out his presidential term. King takes those statements and creates his own image of what the world would be like if JFK had survived, and it’s one that makes you think. There’s also a bit of a love story, and a well-drawn historical atmosphere that makes me feel like I know exactly what the ’60s were like. King shows us a potential answer to all of our “what if I could change just one thing in my past?” musings, and makes you reconsider whether or not you’d really want to do that.
3. Tiffany Reisz. I confess to giving in to all the Fifty Shades hype and reading the trilogy about BDSM. I found it interesting, to a point. Less than stellar writing put a damper on what might have been an otherwise incredible story. Which is why Tiffany Reisz makes this list. She wrote a series that brings you into the dark world of BDSM and shows you what it’s (probably) really like. I will admit, up front, that I do not have any interest in BDSM myself. I find the idea of associating pain with sex to be…strange, and very off putting, though I don’t judge those who do enjoy putting the two together.
But when reading Reisz’s The Siren and The Angel, it almost makes sense. She brings you inside the characters heads so well, showing their innermost thoughts, feelings, desires, fears, and wishes in such a way that you begin to realize not only why they enjoy it, but can even understand it. The idea of humiliation, of handing over total control to someone else, is not something I’ve ever thought would be pleasurable, but when reading these books, the idea doesn’t seem quite so outside the realm of possibility.
4. Scott Nicholson. Scott Nicholson is not technically a self-published author, I believe, but I tend to think of him as such. I found him soon after I got my Kindle, when two of his ebooks were being offered for free on Amazon. I’d never heard of him, never seen his books anywhere. But the blurbs for The Red Church and Speed Dating with the Dead sounded so good that I loaded the books onto my Kindle.
What can I say? Nicholson inspired some serious terror in me. He wrote two horror stories that managed to scare me in much the same way that Stephen King scares me. I have a box set that includes three more of his stories that I can’t wait to read: The Skull Ring, Ghost College and As I Die Lying. But I think it’s safe to say that The Red Church and Speed Dating with the Dead will always hold a special place in my heart – as well as that little spot in my mind where fear is alive and well.
5. Ellen Meister. Ellen Meister is in an author group that I belong to online. I discovered her work when she offered galley copies of her latest novel, Farewell, Dorothy Parker for reviews (read my review here), which is due to be released in February 2013. The book was incredible. After reading Farewell, Dorothy Parker, I visited Ellen’s website and began reading the blurbs about her other books. I’m fascinated by all of them and can’t wait to get all of them, but I’m particularly excited to read The Other Life.
Ellen Meister writes very poignant stories that touch your heart and draw you in. She creates characters that make you love them, dislike them, sympathize and empathize with them. If you haven’t already checked her out, I would highly recommend starting with The Other Life, and pick up Farewell, Dorothy Parker when it comes out. I promise, she’s worth it!
So, there they are: five of my favorite authors. Hopefully, they’ll become five of your favorites as well, if they aren’t already. And here’s a bonus sixth one:
6. Wendy Miller. You didn’t really think I wouldn’t include myself, now did you? 🙂 Check out Tangled Deceit, which I released back in July. The Secrets He Kept will be released this weekend, December 1, 2012. I think you’ll love it. And I’m nearing completion on the first draft of my next novel, Ripped Away (I recently wrote about this one, under it’s working title, The Abducted). If you have a romantic suspense lover in your life, they’re sure to love my work, too.
Check back throughout the month, as I give you more Christmas gift ideas. And look for a great laugh when I tell you the story of the first time I tried to bake my grandmother’s Christmas cookies.
© 2012 by Wendy Miller
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