Top Ten Authors for Whom I Am Thankful
01. Carolyn Keene & Gertrude Chandler Warner
I am thankful for these authors because they aided me in developing my love of reading early on. These are the authors I remember reading most from my early childhood. Around the ages of 7-10 I read these books ALL THE TIME. Of course, I read others, too, but Boxcar Children and Nancy Drew were my primary series.
02. Laura Ingalls Wilder & Janette Oke
I am thankful for these authors because they wrote wonderful family-friendly books, and I have amazing memories of my mom reading aloud for hours because my sisters and I begged her for just one more chapter. We went through the Love Comes Softly and Little House series at least three times each.
03. The Authors of the Dear America and Royal Diary Books
I am thankful for these authors because these books made history come alive for me. I loved reading them! I learned a lot through them; I was just so fascinated by all the different time periods I could explore. I checked the Cleopatra Royal Diary out from the library 13 times before my mom finally bought it for me one Christmas.
04. Charlotte Brontë
I am thankful for Charlotte Brontë because she was my introduction to classics. Although I read some classics when I was younger, for some reason, I always consider Jane Eyre my first classic. I read it at the age of 12. I fell in love, and it awakened me to the wonderful world of classics. I later went through a period in high school where I almost exclusively read classics, books from the "1001 Books to Read Before You Die" list, and books read by Rory Gilmore. For fun. These books were perhaps not all the most entertaining, but I took something away from each of them. I never would have read many of these wonderful (and some not-so-wonderful-but-still-worth-reading) books if it had not been for this talented lady.
05. Penny Jordan
I am thankful for Penny Jordan because around the time I was discovering classics could be awesome, I was also a Super Secret Romance Ninja and covertly devouring the hundreds of 1980's Harlequin Presents romances from my aunt's basement. I loved other authors such as Janet Dailey, Anne Mather, and Violet Winspear, but Penny Jordan was my absolute favorite. I must have read Substitute Lover, the book pictured above, eight or ten times, and I frequently re-read tons of her other books. Penny Jordan taught me it was okay to love romance.
06. Sarah Dessen
I am thankful for Sarah Dessen because she (along with Meg Cabot) taught me that I did not need to skip from Babysitter's Club straight to adult books, which is pretty much what I had done. There was this awesome genre called Young Adult in between, and there were some fantastic books to be read from it. Sarah Dessen wrote wonderful books with some of the best, most original characters ever. And really, she wrote The Truth About Forever and created Wes Baker. She deserves a spot on this list for that alone. ♥
07. Lisa Kleypas
I am thankful for Lisa Kleypas because she made me fall in love with historical romances. Although I adored the first historical romance I ever read (Scandal by Carolyn Jewel), Lisa Kleypas was the one who hooked me. I read Seduce Me at Sunrise, and I was a goner. I devoured all the Wallflower books, some standalones, the other Hathaway books. Plus! She is one of the few authors who can convincingly write both historical and contemporary romance. Her Travis series is A+++.
08. Sarah Mayberry
I am thankful for Sarah Mayberry because she taught me that category authors can be awesome, too. I had unwittingly started becoming a total snob and writing off Harlequin and Silhouette titles, and then I discovered Sarah Mayberry. Until recently, she was only a Harlequin-published author, but her books are amazing. She could probably write a book teaching the art of friends-to-lovers, and still, no one would be able to capture it as well as she does. Yet her talents extend far beyond that. (Example: Her Best Worst Mistake, which is stunning, but on the opposite end of the spectrum from friends-to-lovers).
09. Eloisa James
I am thankful for Eloisa James because she is a freaking Ivy League Shakespeare professor. And she writes romance novels. As an intelligent, Shakespeare-loving woman who adores romance novels, I have basically appointed her my personal hero. Smart women can not only read romance, but write it. She also did the unthinkable and made me absolutely love her broken marriage plots. Who wants to read about a husband and wife who used to love each other but need to fix their marriage? How can that be a romance novel? If you are asking these questions, like I used to, I suggest you read Eloisa James. By her, it can be even more touching, emotional, and moving because there is so much realism the story. Plus, there are totally Shakespeare references in a lot of her works, and that makes me happy.
10. Jill Shalvis
I am basically thankful for Jill Shalvis simply for existing because she is just that fabulous. I relentlessly stalk her on Facebook, Twitter, and her blog. I love how real and entertaining she is, and that transfers over into her books. She is my favorite contemporary romance discovery of 2012, easily. If you have not read any of her books, you are missing out. Her Lucky Harbor books are my favorite, but I love them all. I don't give a tattered copy of Robinson Crusoe about baseball, but I devoured her baseball books. I am still, perhaps foolishly, holding out hope for the day when she will continue the series with one particular side character.