Like any voracious reader, my to-be-read pile is at least a mile high. I mean this literally: I have novels stacked in teetering columns around my living room and at the side of my bed. And that doesn’t even include all the new titles on my iPad just waiting for me to click on their little icons. This month I finally decided to put aside those well-worn reads I return to again and again and try out a new author or two. Or four, it turns out.
Here are the authors I’m discovering this month, and the books that are making me fall hard for them:
Paper Princess, Erin Watt (EverAfter Romance, April 4, 2016)
Any book that’s described as “this generation’s Cruel Intentions” has my full and undivided attention, which is why I snapped up this young adult novel when it came out back in April. The other day I finally -– finally! -– started reading it and had a very hard time putting this book down so I could actually get some sleep that night. I’m still not finished yet, but I can’t wait to continue the story of Ella Harper, who spent most of her life growing up in poverty. After her mother dies, she ends up in the posh home of Callum Royal and his five sons. None of the boys want her there, and her new prep school world is both foreign and daunting. But Ella is a survivor, and she eventually finds an ally in Reed Royal, one of her new stepbrothers. Of course they develop feelings for each other, making everything deliciously complicated. Written by two best-selling authors under a pen name, Paper Princess might officially be my new favorite YA novel. And even better, book 2, Broken Prince, releases on July 25.
When a Scot Ties the Knot, Tessa Dare (HarperLux, 2015)
Fellow reader friends have been recommending Tessa Dare for years, but somehow she remains one of the few romance novelists to fly under my radar. Until now, that is. I decided to buy When a Scot Times the Knot, and zipped through it in one sitting. Fun storylines, witty writing and hot heroes; what more could you ask for in a romance novel? This story is about Maddie, a shy and awkward young girl who invents her perfect man, only to have him actually show up on her doorstep years later. But her ‘dream man’ has more flaws than she bargained for, and the two have a lot to overcome in order to find true love together. The premise is adorable and makes me so glad that I finally discovered Dare’s romances.
A Shade of Vampire, Bella Forrest (CreateSpace, 2012)
I’ve heard so much buzz about this self-published vampire series that I finally decided to find out what all the fuss was about. Thank God I gave it a chance! The story is sweet and easy to read, and it creates a crazy-compelling love story between Sofia and her dark vampire prince Derek. Part captive story, part paranormal romance, this is like if True Blood and Twilight had a vampire baby. I’m only halfway through book one, but luckily there are 30 (!!) other novels in this long-running, captivating series.
If I Was Your Girl, Meredith Russo (Flatiron Books, May 2016)
I don’t often go for the serious reads, but something about this debut novel by Russo just called to me. It’s about Amanda Hardy, who’s starting life at a new school in the South, befriending a big pack of girls, and falling for a cute boy named Grant. But Amanda was actually born Andrew, and after a vicious attack at her previous school she’s trying to hide her secret from the new people in her life. The story doesn’t shy away from the realities of being a trans-teen or the secrets, complications and dangers that surround gender identity politics. This isn’t always an easy book to read, but it is important and beautifully written. I’m so glad that I discovered If I Was Your Girl, and Russo is now on my list of must-read authors.