Top Ten Tuesday: Best New-to-Me Authors of 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: Best New-to-Me Authors of 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: Best New-to-Me Authors of 2023

2023 was such a wild year for me, reading-wise. I feel like I spent all year struggling to throttle back my review commitments while simultaneously wildly self-sabotaging every time a publisher sent me a new catalog offering review copies of books I desperately wanted to read. Too many good books is one of my favorite problems to have– except when it adds real stress to my life. It is a wonderful problem to have because you’ve discovered new authors you love, which I absolutely did. In fact, today, I’m sharing a list of the best new-to-me authors of 2023.

Note: Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week, participants share a list of their top ten books in a particular topic. This week’s topic is the best books we read in 2023 by authors who were new to us.

Also note: This post contains affiliate links that don’t cost you anything to use but help to support my blog when you use them for your shopping.

Top Ten Tuesday: Best New-to-Me Authors of 2023

Seven Percent of Ro Devereux by Ellen O'Clover

Ellen O’Clover – The Seven Percent of Ro Devereux

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

My thoughts: THE SEVEN PERCENT OF RO DEVEREUX is a debut novel, so Ellen O’Clover isn’t just new to me; she’s new to young adult readers everywhere. Ha. The tricky relationships and friends-to-enemies-to-lovers trope hooked me from the first chapter and had me reading all the way to the end. It’s also got a STEM girl whose dating app goes viral and lands her a chance at her dream job. Waiting for the relationship to turn the corner from enemies to lovers was agony for me in this book. I think readers who like Emma Lord or Jenn Bennett will love this one.

Published January 17, 2023 | My Review

Lightfall books one and two: The Girl and the Galdurian and The Shadow of the Bird by Tim Probert

Tim Probert – The Girl and the Galdurian and Shadow of the Bird

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

My thoughts: I’m pretty sure I saw another blogger raving about how great this series is, and I just had to check it out. The illustrations are so whimsical and fun– and the story is just the same! Bea (the girl) has anxiety, which the author represents in the panels as a cloud surrounding her and separating her from her allies. I loved that visual representation and the encouraging way that Bea’s partner, Cad, offers her his friendship and support. I’m a pretty hardcore fan of this series and already pre-ordered the third book, which should be out in April.

Published 2020 (Book 1) and 2022 (Book 2) | The Girl and the Galdurian Review | Shadow of the Bird Review

Spell Bound by F. T. Lukens

F. T. Lukens – Spell Bound

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

My thoughts: I had completely missed out on this author’s work before the offer to review this book came my way via the publisher. Looking at the cover, it’s probably not the first book I’d grab off the shelf, but once I started reading… I knew Lukens was going to be an author I needed to add to my auto-buy list. Basically, this is about two apprentices who work for two rival sorcerers. They’re responsible for handling calls about hexes or cursed objects, and they decide to team up when one’s mentor goes missing. I loved the back-and-forth between these two characters and the weird/wild magical world Lukens created here. I think I already bought their other books, and I really want to read them.

Published April 4, 2023 | My Review

Hamra and the Jungle of Memories by Hanna Alkaf

Hanna Alkaf – Hamra and the Jungle of Memories

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

My thoughts: This is another book that I read based on another blogger’s recommendations. (I need to keep better track of where these recs come from.) The description of this Malaysian folklore-based reimagining of Little Red Riding Hood had me so curious. And once I got into the book– the writing and rich setting absolutely swept me away. This isn’t Hanna Alkaf’s first book, either, so she’s another author whose backlist is calling to me even as I watch for news of upcoming books.

Published March 28, 2023 | My Review

Witchlings and The Golden Frog Games by Claribel Ortega

Claribel Ortega – Witchlings and The Golden Frog Games

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

My thoughts: I bought a copy of GHOST SQUAD when it came out, but I still hadn’t managed to read it when I saw an invitation to a blog tour from Rockstar Book Tours for THE GOLDEN FROG GAMES. Tour participants also received a PDF version of the first book in the series, so I figured I’d start there and review both. I loved the village and all the pageantry surrounding becoming a witchling and part of a coven. It felt fresh and clever and reminded me a bit of CATTYWAMPUS by Ash Van Otterloo, which I also loved. I heard another book influencer talk about the way that Ortega writes middle grade without ever talking down to readers, and I totally agree. The books feel young, as they should, and yet bear a wisdom beyond the years of the characters that never interferes with the joy of reading them.

Published 2022 (Book 1) and 2023 (Book 2) | Witchlings Review | The Golden Frog Games Review

Brick Dust and Bones by M. R. Fournet

M. R. Fournet – Brick Dust and Bones

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

My thoughts: I’m a pretty squeamish reader, so I don’t read a lot of horror, but there is something about this book. Maybe it’s the old New Orleans setting with its fog of ghostly, dangerous creatures. Maybe it’s the sweet, determined main character who is absolutely in over his head but can’t stop until he finds a way to save his mom. It could also be the poignant writing that I couldn’t stop thinking about, even when the book ended. This is another debut novel, and still one more author whose books I’m anxiously anticipating. Because the cover is a little extra creepy, I went into this book thinking I’d just sample a chapter or two, and before I knew it, I’d been carried away all the way to the last page. I’m super excited for the sequel, which should be out this summer.

Published July 18, 2023 | My Review

Katzenjammer and Greymist Fair by Francesca Zappia

Francesca Zappia – Katzenjammer and Greymist Fair

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

My thoughts: I’ve been aware of Francesca Zappia’s books since 2015, but for some reason, I’d never read any until last year. KATZENJAMMER is a pretty surreal book, maybe somewhere in the vein of Nova Ren Suma or A. S. King? I loved the storytelling, though, and the way Zappia made me feel what the characters were experiencing and think about things in a different way. When I saw GREYMIST FAIR, I had just finished reading KATZ, so I was really curious how this author would do a more traditional fantasy story. I loved the way the story is split into parts, and each one reveals more about what’s happening in this small, isolated village. If you like darker fairytale stories, closer to the original Grimm Brothers tales, definitely grab GREYMIST FAIR.

Published 2022 (Katzenjammer) and 2023 (Greymist Fair) | Katzenjammer Review | Greymist Fair Review

Guardians of Dawn: Zhara by S. Jae Jones cover shows a girl staring forward, her hands hovering over a ball of magic, other magic swirled around her in the colors of the sky at dawn.

S. Jae Jones – Zhara: Guardians of the Dawn

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

My thoughts: This is another author I’ve been aware of for a long time, and yet somehow never managed to read until last year. (Insert facepalm.) I actually own a copy of WINTERSONG, which is the author’s debut and looks fabulous. Anyway. This year, I dove into this beautiful, intense series opener about a girl with forbidden magic that may be the key to saving her world. I am guessing, based on the title of this and the sequel, that each book will focus on a different character with a different kind of magic, and they’ll all have to work together somehow to save the world. I’m really excited to read the sequel, AMI, which will be out later this year.

Published August 1, 2023 | My Review

Wrath Becomes Her by Aden Polydoros cover shows a golem made of stone whose face is partly that of a teenage girl.

Aden Polydoros – Wrath Becomes Her

Amazon | BookshopGoodreads

My thoughts: I’ve now read at least four books that explore the Jewish folklore about the creation of a golem, and each one is SO different. It’s been really cool to see how different authors write about it. Aden Polydoros is another author that had been on my radar for a long time, but I just hadn’t managed to read it until last year. And, wow, I’m so glad I did! While this is probably the darkest version of the folklore stories that I mentioned, I loved the depth of heart and feeling that Polydoros brought to the page here. It’s got this terrible sadness– kind of the way FRANKENSTEIN does– and a strange kind of beauty emerges out of that sorrow. I don’t know. I’m not explaining it well, but it’s a story that will definitely stick with me.

Published October 10, 2023 | My Review

Every Time You Go Away by Abigail Johnson cover shows a collage of things arranged in and around the title, like flowers, a cat, a girl in a wheelchair, and a boy sitting on the ground.

Abigail Johnson – Every Time You Go Away

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

My thoughts: This is one of the last titles released by Inkyard Press, which was one of my favorite imprints, so it’s extra sad that I only just discovered one of their authors. Looking over my list so far, there’s so much fantasy on here that it’d be easy not to realize how much I love a good, solid contemporary romance. This one centers on an aspiring jewelry artist and wheelchair user who has long been in love with her best friend. The one who keeps disappearing whenever his mom shows up to rip him away from his grandparents’ house. It’s achingly sad and yet so sweet and hopeful. I loved it and would love to read more by Abigail Johnson.

Published December 5, 2023 | My Review

Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger

Darcy Little Badger – Elatsoe

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

My thoughts: Thank you, Backlist Reading Challenge, for helping me finally get to read this book! I bought ELATSOE when it came out, and I heard so many amazing things about it. Before finally getting to read this novel, I read a short story by Darcy Little Badger in the anthology MERMAIDS NEVER DROWN, and I really enjoyed the writing and how much character development was packed into so few pages. I finally read ELATSOE, and though it wasn’t love at first page, I definitely got swept away in this reimagining of modern-day America with magic and magical creatures. I loved the back-and-forth between the past and present and how the tales of Elatsoe’s six-great grandmother connected to the dangers she and her family faced in the present.

Published August 25, 2020 | My Review

What are the best new-to-you authors you read in 2023?

Did you discover any new authors last year that have become favorites? How did you find out about them?

If you’ve read books by any of the authors on my list, please let me know. I’d love to hear what you thought about them.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

12 Responses to Top Ten Tuesday: Best New-to-Me Authors of 2023

  1. F.T. Lukens is one of my favorite romantasy authors. You should definitely read more of their backlist! I just ordered a copy of Brick Dust and Bones, so I’m really excited to see it on your list. I can’t wait to get a chance to read it!

    • Kasey says:

      Ohhhh– yay!! I think I ordered their backlist as ebooks, but if not, I’ll do it now. I’m so glad you ordered Brick Dust and Bones. I hope you enjoy it. It’s got so much heart.

  2. This is such a good list. I’ve got Lukens on my TBR, but you named a few authors that I’ve really enjoyed: Ellen O’Clover, Aden Polydoros, and Darcie Little Badger, who I also first read in an anthology! I understood what you were talking about when you described Wrath Becomes Her – it’s kind of hard to explain without having read the book, but it’s the kind of book that stays with you.

  3. I’m glad you found so many great authors to love in 2023!

    Happy TTT (on a Wednesday)!


  4. All of these are new to me!

  5. O’Clover made my list today, too!

  6. Eileen Wilkin says:

    A PLACE TO HANG THE MOON by Kate Albus. As soon as we finished it (a library copy), my 12YO said, “We have to own this.”

    SWEEP by Jonathan Auxier – just finished. Amazingly good – heartwarming and heart-wrenching, another golem story! We’ve already requested another of his books (THE NIGHT GARDENER).

    • Kasey says:

      Oh!! I have a copy of A PLACE TO HANG THE MOON. I keep hearing amazing things about it. Definitely reading that this year! I haven’t heard of SWEEP, I don’t think. I’ll add it to my list. Thank you. 🙂