True story:

In the middle of my traveling craziness last spring, I was down to my last Kirkus review book just as I was getting ready for a long airline trip. Sifting through my piles of publisher ARCs to find something to read after that last title, I picked up a book which looked intriguing (plus it was already getting great early buzz).

A high fantasy romance with a Greek Mythology tie-in sounded fresh and fascinating, but when I opened the front cover, I noticed it was first person, present tense.

Ugh. No thank you…

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A few weeks later, I was honored to moderate an editors’ panel at Chicago North RWA’s awesome Spring Fling conference, which followed the agents’ panel.

Promise of fireIn answering questions about recent titles they’d discovered, one agent and one editor both mentioned “a first person, present tense high fantasy that reached out and grabbed them, which they couldn’t put down….” They were talking about the same book, a debut they’d worked on together that would be coming out in late summer.

Huh. It occurred to me that I probably knew what title they were referring to, and that maybe I ought to pick up that book.

As you know August is pretty busy for me (!) so I didn’t get the chance to write about this wonderful title before. If you’re like me and are wary of first-person, present tense storytelling, let me tell you that Amanda Bouchet’s debut, A Promise of Fire, is terrific, and you are so quickly engrossed in the story that you barely even notice the narrative style after about the second page.

It truly is one of the best debuts I’ve read in years. The book came out in the beginning of August, and received a Kirkus starred review. Book 2 in the Kingmaker Chronicles series, Breath of Fire, comes out in early January, so hop to it!

Of course if you’ve followed me for a while, you may know that the other breathtaking debut I’ve read in the past few years was Sonali Dev’s A Bollywood Affair, which was re-released in July with a gorgeous new cover in preparation for the release of her third book, A Change of Heart (9/27). I still haven’t managed to read this book, but her last two were each on my list of faves from 2014 and 2015. She’s a fantastic author and if you haven’t read her yet, you definitely should.

Another recent debut author who’s had great buzz is historical author Susanne Lord, whose second book, Discovery of Desire, came out this week. The series’ hook is Romance_Discoveryworld explorers and the women who complete them, while the book is set in England and India and includes a missing sister and a woman who needs a husband, but is about to marry the wrong man. Some of my romance besties have rec’d this one plus it’s getting great reviews, so it sounds like a real winner.

Finally, Christina Dodd isn’t anywhere close to being a debut author, and I’ve been reading her for years, but I think she’s hit a whole new level with her Virtue Falls series. I highly recommend every title, but the third book in the series—Because I’m Watching—came out this week too and it may be the best thing she’s ever written. (It also received a Kirkus starred review.)

So many great books, and it’s especially heartening to see fabulous new authors exploding onto the romance scene as well as industry stars hitting new highs.

So what’s on your Wish List?

#LoveRomance #HappyReading #ReadARomance